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Chapter 9: Disciplining the Little Devil

    Glossary

    ben - I, me; often used before the status or position of the speaker when they are talking down to someone of a lower status then them; Qian Meng uses  ben xiaojie - this lady; Xuan Zhi uses  ben xiang - this minister; all of these are used when the speaker is demanding respect from the listener

    xiaojie - young miss; usually from a good family, but can be used to refer to any young girl

    lairen - come, people; the zhuzi commands all the servants nearby to come over before giving them their orders; usually used to direct a large number of servants at once

    'er - child; added to names as a form of affection, closeness or endearment

    zhuzi - the masters of the household;

    nubi - slave servant girl

    nucai - slave servant; referring to themselves in third person is a form of debasement

    laoye,  xiangye - old master, master; the head of the house

    Gold Medallion  jinpai - this was given the Shui'er and Bing'er by the Empress Dowager; it carries some status, as the people who carry one are usually related to the imperial family; no one will mess with them

    yuan - literally garden; here, it means courtyard, which is where noble women will be spending most of their time, since they can't go out freely

    guo - country; the story is set in 'West Chu Country'

    houyuan - the backyard or inner yard of the residence; the womenfolk: concubines, daughters, are generally not allowed to leave the houyuan of their own accord; something about women's rights

    (TL Note: Zhao was described to have been overly pleased with his own cleverness. That's what I'm trying to deliver with the phrase 'gleefully smug'.)

    (Edit: I made a huge mistake! Butler Zhang's name was actually butler Zhao! Even if he doesn't deserve to have his name remembered correctly, all instances of Zhang have been replaced with the correct reading of Zhao. My apologies!)

    (Edit: I was advised that Zhao's position  guanjia was more equivalent to the role of a butler in feudal China. It certainly makes sense, since he seems to hold a rather high position amongst the servants. Might take a bit to get used to it.) 😅

    Yun Qian Meng stared coldly at butler Zhao's widely grinning face; she had planned well in her heart!

    When Mu Chun saw how gleefully smug the vile butler Zhao looked, her heart was immediately filled with contempt! She was ready to stride up before him to argue, when she received a sideways glance from Yun Qian Meng. Understanding tacitly, she set her mind at rest and stood back at her original position. She no longer felt like meddling!

    "Then in butler Zhao's opinion, ben xiaojie's real face being exposed to unfamiliar men is some small and insignificant matter? This concerns ben xiaojie's dignity and reputation! For butler Zhao to be so unexpectedly sloppy in his job, what do you mean caring?! What do you mean apologetic?!"

    As the saying goes, nobody could slap a smiling face!

    (a Chinese saying that claims if you smile and apologize first, the other party would not have the heart to punish you)

    Butler Zhao thought if he kept smiling widely, Yun Qian Meng would give him face!

    But he was counting his chickens before they were hatched. She not only maintained a chilly expression, but also had convicted him of his crime from the very start!

    Butler Zhao had been tyrannically abusing his powers since Su yiniang started to govern the xiangfu. At this moment, his face paled; the grin he originally wore on his face was frozen, but he didn't want Yun Qian Meng to expose the fury buried inside his heart. For a moment, his face displayed all the colors of the rainbow, causing the watching Mu Chun to choke on her laughter.

    As for Yun Qian Meng's questions, he didn't dare to remain careless; the smile on his face gradually withdrew. He stood still in a flash, a dangerous glint in his eyes as he spoke, "Young miss, why are you making things difficult for us servants? We are just listening to zhuzi's commands! Moreover, as long as you don't leave your bedroom, nobody can see your real face!"

    He did not expect not only did she not get angry after hearing what he said, she laughed instead! After some mild giggling, she spoke again with a calm, cold voice, "If such a thing were to happen to Yun Ruo Xue, even if butler Zhao was lent ten times as many guts, you wouldn't dare to do anything, right?! Furthermore, does butler Zhao still remember the reason father punished Su yiniang last night?!"

    The time was now just about early morning. Besides the sounds of clucking chickens from afar, Qi Luo Yuan, this remote courtyard, was as silent as the grave. Hence, Yun Qian Meng's rhetoric was heard loudly and clearly by everyone. Butler Zhao's face once again paled, the viciousness in his eyes scattered, leaving behind a scorched look.

    "Su yiniang, despite being part of the womenfolk of, left the fu without explicit permission, thus was sentenced by father to be confined at her quarters for ten days! Right now, you, butler Zhao, brazenly brought males into my Qi Luo Yuan, in an a attempt to ruin ben xiaojie's purity and reputation! If these words were to somehow reach Empress Dowager's ears. butler Zhao can only imagine how you will be killed!"

    Yun Qian Meng had no intention of giving him any chances to explain his actions; openly convicting him of these crimes. Her actions caused even the dozens of men behind the butler Zhao to lose all the color in their faces!

    They might be the lowest of the low in society, but the deep-rooted feudal way of thinking has ingrained in their minds one basic principle. The imperial power was as high as the sky!

    When they heard this good-looking young lady spit out the two words 'Empress Dowager', all of them immediately snapped out of their charmed state. Immediately, in rapid succession, they all lowered their heads; they no longer dared to gaze fixedly at Yun Qian Meng!

    Butler Zhao, despite his endless scheming, had not expected Yun Qian Meng to find Su Qing's punishment as a justification; much less that she would manage to connect two completely unrelated matters!

    However, in this case, he did not have the option to confess his mistake! With Yun Qian Meng's current temperament, even if he confessed, she still wouldn't let him go!

    It would be better for him to deny desperately in the face of death! As long as he could convince others that he had no selfish motives, then even with the backing of the Empress Dowager, there was nothing she could do to him without any hard evidence!

    Moreover, Qi Luo Yuan was in the deepest part of the xiangfu, and he had his men guard the entrance. Right now, nobody knew if Yun Qian Meng could even take a step out of this place!

    Thinking that way, butler Zhao breathed out a sigh of relief. He quickly adopted a selfless expression, then brightly said, "Young miss, don't tell me that you plan to convict nucai based on your conjectures alone? Don't tell me young miss isn't afraid of disappointing everyone in the xiangfu? What's more, the Empress Dowager's daily matters are of the utmost importance; how could there be time for these small matters? Young miss is also a well-bred lady of nobility, how can you leave the fu and enter the palace to bother the Empress Dowager every day?!"

    His words sounded righteous to the point of reverence, but Yun Qian Meng still felt his words were disdainful!

    It looks as if this butler Zhao was not only stiff and stubborn, but also a craven and cowardly person. This kind of rogue, what right did he have to manage anything in the xiangfu?

    This butler Zhao even had the audacity to place a few of his guards outside her courtyard; her heart was incomparably chilly!

    "Shui'er!", she shouted, causing butler Zhao to look puzzledly at Shui'er that had stepped forward. His scheming heart tried to figure out what play Yun Qian Meng would make next!

    "What are young miss's orders?!" Both Shui'er and Bing'er had been here for half a day; their hearts had long since felt deeply disgusted by the shameless and disgraceful butler Zhao. Now that the young miss had called for them personally, she stepped up immediately to prepare for the errand.

    "Ben xiaojie has a splitting headache, go bring the Empress Dowager's gold medallion to the palace and hire a physician. If the Empress Dowager asks you anything, remember everything that has happened here these two days, report them clearly, one by one, for the Empress Dowager to hear!" Yun Qian Meng understood in her heart that against people like butler Zhao, words alone won't be enough to handle him!

    But the Empress Dowager's gold medallion was different. It held the power to determine a person's life or death! Even Yun Xian Zhi would have apprehensions when faced against it, what more of a lowly butler!

    Shui'er too, was intelligent, and quickly pulled out the gold medal from within her sleeves. By now the sun had already risen, the light of dawn pierced through layers of clouds towards the land; the golden medallion in Shui'er's hands flickered as it reflected the light, momentarily blinding butler Zhao......

    Only now, butler Zhao finally realized that he was actually in mortal peril! Both of his legs were uncontrollably shivering, he glanced at Yun Qian Meng's unchanging cold expression, and immediately kneeled towards her......

    "Young miss, spare my life! Young miss, please spare my life! This one is only a nucai, thought wholeheartedly to let young miss dwell in a spacious and shining new house! Absolutely no ill intentions! Young miss, please perceive the truth!" At this point, butler Zhao finally realized why Yun Xuan Zhi had treated the young miss so differently last night compared to the past. He had been too focused on getting his revenge for the events last night that he hadn't had time to mull over Yun Xuan Zhi's change in attitude!

    To only realize it now, he really didn't even have time to regret!

    Now, Yun Qian Meng was no longer the meek, cowardly and softhearted young girl that had never set foot outside the boudoir. Faced with butler Zhao's persistent pleas for forgiveness, her expression was completely unmoved. She glanced at Shui'er to see that she had put away the gold medallion and advanced towards the exit without a trace of hesitation......

    "Greetings to xiangye!", just stepping out of the yuan, Shui'er saw Yun Xuan Zhi hurriedly advance towards her!

    Having heard Shui'er's call, his heart shivered slightly with cold, then he immediately presented a cold smile.

    It seems, contrary to expectations, Yun Xuan Zhi had very keen foresight. As soon as he knew that the people in his own xiangfu were going to be punished via the Empress Dowager, he immediately came to obstruct it!

    Then, finding out what butler Zhao was doing today, his heart knew that things were bad, so he had immediately sent someone to the palace to take sick leave, then hurriedly rushed to the backyard!

    After all, the Empress Dowager's maternal family, the Qu family could be said to have the most influence at the moment; he naturally could not show any conflict with the Empress Dowager!

    "Greetings to father!", having swept her gaze at the visibly more relaxed expression on butler Zhao, Yun Qian Meng calmly walked ahead, gracefully completed a bow towards Yun Xuan Zhi, then quietly stood at his side.

    Yun Xuan Zhi noticed that she looked like she was unwilling to speak further; he couldn't help but crease his eyebrows inwardly.

    He was too busy comforting Su Qing yesterday, so he forgot to warn butler Zhao who, unexpectedly, had stirred up so much trouble for him today!

    Thinking this way, Yun Xuan Zhi glared at the troublemaking butler Zhao and loudly shouted, "Lairen! Drive all of these workers out for benxiang! As for butler Zhao, in spite of benxiang's orders yesterday, bothered young miss's recuperation at his own accord. Lairen! Drag him down and beat heavily for twenty sticks! His salary will be cut off for half a year!"

    Butler Zhao heard that his life was preserved, and that Yun Xuan Zhi was protecting him. He regained his happy expression, ready to thank profusely for the favor but was unexpectedly interrupted by Yun Qian Meng's voice!

    "Father, this butler Zhang is arrogant without measure; ignored your orders previously, then damaged nü'er's reputation. If father is too forgiving, then in the future, the servants in the xiangfu will be undisciplined and uncontrollable!", Yun Qian Meng was still looking straight ahead, her voice was not too fast, not too slow, but each of her words were as sharp as knives, compelling Yun Xuan Zhi to punish butler Zhao more fiercely!

    Hearing that, butler Zhao and Yun Xuan Zhi stared blankly at each other. Butler Zhao eyes were pleading desperately at him, but he could only furrow his brows and speak somewhat awkwardly, "Then what is Meng'er's wish?"

    Now that Yun Xuan Zhi passed the difficult questions to her, she unexpectedly flashed a brilliant smile, then spoke with feigned naivety, "Just wondered who recommended butler Zhao to work, that person should also be held responsible! After all, xiangfu is not just any residence. If people were to lead the wolves inside the house, then the West Chu guo will lose daddy who is one of the supporting pillars of the country!"

    Yun Xuan Zhi definitely did not expect her to take things to the next level!

    Thinking back on how butler Zhao was recommended to him by Su Qing, and knowing that he couldn't bear to let her feel unhappy, he only swept his gaze across the piteously begging butler before speaking heartlessly, "Since that is the case, Meng'er's way is good, but it still takes time to find a new butler from scratch. Why don't we keep butler Zhao for now, when daddy finds a suitable replacement, he will be dismissed!"

    After listening, Yun Qian Meng looked at his ashen face and understood that if she would be met with resistance if she pressured him any further. So she nodded and said, "Let's follow father's wishes!"

    As soon as she was done speaking, she ignored the rest of the people in the courtyard and led her own yatou back into her loft......
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