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Chapter 12: Punishment

    Glossary

    houyuan - inner courtyard, backyard, rear court; traditionally refers to the quarters of the womenfolk in a family

    meimei - younger sister;  san meimei - means third (younger) sister

    jiejie - elder sister; can be added to names to show respect or a close relationship;  da jiejie - the eldest sister in the family

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

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

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

    yiniang - concubine, not the legitimate wife; added to the end of the maternal name to show their (lower) status compared to the wife

    furen - legitimate wife; would be added to the surname of the household as a form of address; usage is similar to the English "Missus"

    (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 called out in an imposing manner, causing the originally noisy Qi Luo Yuan to quiet down immediately......

    Liu yiniang only saw Yun Qian Meng's cold eyes stabbing at her like a sharp knife, feelings of fright shook her heart. She momentarily forgot to cry and struggle, and only watched Yun Qian Meng approach her step by step with a lifeless look in her eyes......

    "Liu yiniang, you can eat with disregard, but you can't be irresponsible with your words!" Yun Qian Meng stood in front of Liu yiniang. Towering above her, she coldly looked down at Liu yiniang, the coldness in her eyes caused her to start trembling from head to toe!

    Yun Yan, who was not far away, saw that Yun Qian Meng was glaring at her mother. Even though Yun Qian Meng's calm face did not betray any emotion, her severe gaze nevertheless gave Yun Yan's heart the shivers. Only now did she react, forcibly breaking free from Mu Chun's grasp and crawled, still kneeling, to Liu yiniang's side. Holding out her hand to shake her mother out of her dazed state, she lightly reminded, "Yiniang, da xiaojie is asking you to speak!"

    Shoved by Yun Yan, Liu yiniang quivered from head to toe, finally reacted, then immediately hug her head and quietly spoke, "Da xiaojie, this matter is concerns the rest of Yan'er's life, nubi would never speak recklessly about this!"

    Yun Qian Meng didn't immediately accept her argument and instead carefully sized up the pair before her. Both of their words and expressions, whilst cautiously prudent, didn't have a hint of avoidance. It was clear that Liu yiniang was not making baseless accusations!

    On top of that, with regards to Yun Yan's future happiness, Liu yiniang was unlikely to bring these matters up just for fun!

    Only, Liu yiniang certainly knew how to hide her intentions in her words. These matters were unexpectedly concealed and hidden away for so many years. If not for Yun Yan's current situation, it was quite likely that she would have carried the secret to her grave! Now that it could be of use to her, she tried use this information to negotiate; truly a calculative person!

    But she had no way of knowing that Yun Qian Meng's previous incarnation was an expert at investigating crimes and cases. Even without giving her any clues, she could still find the truth of the matter if she made a painstaking investigation; she wasn't even slightly threatened by their behaviour!

    After a brief analysis, Yun Qian Meng revealed an indifferent smile. Everyone then heard her speak calmly, "Yiniang truly has a meticulous mind; exploiting ben xiaojie to help Yun Yan break off their marriage proposal, then let ben xiaojie be the antagonist, then you can be the fisherman that catches both!"

    After she spoke, Liu yiniang who was still kneeling and crawling on the floor visibly shuddered, and then lowered herself even further, not daring to speak!

    She had never expected that Yun Qian Meng would actually become so intelligent; capable of seeing through her selfish motives in a flash!

    At this point, Liu yiniang was starting to question her earlier decisions. The current Yun Qian Meng could break through others' mental defenses with just a few words; was definitely a more difficult opponent than Su Qing. Coming here today to greet and face her, was it the right or wrong decision?

    Yun Yan at this moment, hearing the ridicule in Yun Qian Meng's words, sensed that her own mother was becoming more nervous and scared, and gathered up her courage to say, "Please forgive us, da xiaojie! Yiniang didn't have ulterior motives!"

    Only, it would have been better for not to say anything. Her explanation, on the contrary, served only to prove that Liu yiniang really was concealing her other intentions!

    Yun Qian Meng kept her indifferent smile from start to finish, but the look in her eyes only got colder as she immediately turned to enter her loft......

    When Liu yiniang and Yun Yan saw her leave, they looked at each other in dismay, not knowing what to do......

    Mu Chun saw how her young miss was leaving, then looked at the kneeling pair. She immediately understood Yun Qian Meng's intentions and quickly followed behind her to leave the courtyard......

    Seeing that only the two of them were left in the courtyard, Yun Yan, who was planning to stand up, was pulled back down by Liu yiniang in an instant, and asked uncertainly, "Yiniang, what's going on?"

    "Yan'er, today, whether da xiaojie will help us or not, will depend on our current kneeling!" Liu yiniang had survived under Su Qing's watch for so many years, naturally understood that this was Yun Qian Meng giving them a punishment!

    Even if she really did know the truth of how Yun Qian Meng's mother">furen had passed away that year, she shouldn't have attempted to blackmail her with the information!

    Yun Qian Meng was letting her know that no matter what kinds of thoughts she had, Yun Qian Meng was able to see through everything very clearly!

    Liu yiniang was also truly impressed with Yun Qian Meng's formidable ability, finally understanding why in just a few days, her name had become a heated topic of discussion within the fu!

    "Xiaojie, leaving Liu yiniang and san xiaojie kneeling in the yard can't be a long-term solution!" Mu Chun was somewhat concerned as she attended to Yun Qian Meng who was practising calligraphy.

    For the whole afternoon, Liu yiniang and Yun Yan knelt properly outside her loft. Although Qi Luo Yuan was considered rather remote, some servants still passed by. If others saw the situation, it might leave a stain on the reputation of the eldest young miss!

    But Yun Qian Meng smiled and didn't answer, seriously finishing the last strokes of her writing. Then, receiving a handkerchief from Mu Chun to wipe her hands she asked profoundly, "Do you really think that if we don't say anything, Su yiniang and her people wouldn't know?"

    Su Qing had managed the xiangfu for almost twenty years, everyone inside had long since become her agents. Even the slightest movements of the wind and the grass would be passed to her ears. It was quite likely that before Liu yiniang even set foot into her Qi Luo Yuan, Su Qing had already received the news!

    Catching her implied meaning, Mu Chun lightly creased her brows while a concerned expression emerged on her face, "Then if xiaojie forces them to keep kneeling, what will happen if Su yiniang complains to xiangye?"

    "No need to worry!" Hearing Mu Chun's concern, Yun Qian Meng finally sincerely smiled. She looked at the weather outside, saw that it was almost dusk and told Mu Chun, "Let them come in, go fetch some water. Go tell Shui'er in passing that tonight's dinner will be held in the drawing room, no need to bring it to the courtyard!"

    "Yes!" Seeing Yun Qian Meng relaxed, Mu Chun tidied up the stationery on the table, then turned to exit the loft......

    When Liu yiniang and Yun Yan received permission to enter, they cheered up immediately. Even though their legs had fallen asleep and turned numb, it didn't affect their current relieved and happy feelings. They, supporting each other to enter the loft, meet Yun Qian Meng, who was sitting inside drinking tea while reading, and kneeled again......

    "Yiniang and san meimei must be tired, so let's just skip the pleasantries! After tidying yourselves up, follow me to the drawing room for dinner!" Seeing them start to kneel again, Yun Qian Meng closed her book and drily spoke. Coincidentally, the golden rays of the setting sun shone on her lily-white face, giving her an elegant grandeur. Liu yiniang and Yun Yan who had slightly lifted their heads at her couldn't help but gape in awe!

    "Yiniang, san xiaojie, please wash up!" At this moment, Mu Chun brought in a copper basin and softly reminded them to freshen up their faces which had been stained with tears.

    They both lightly apologized, then quietly cleaned up their tear-stricken faces......

    Currently, Liu yiniang's happy feelings had turned into apprehension. Even though Yun Qian Meng was now treating them amiably, she didn't seem to be asking about the happenings that year, causing her to be unable to figure out what to do next.

    Why, without rhyme or reason, did she want to have dinner at the drawing room? That was the only place laoye had to pass through when he returned to the houyuan, unless......

    After some careful deliberation in her heart, Liu yiniang finally expressed happiness in her eyes. Her expression when looking at Yun Qian Meng was filled with even more gratitude......

    "Normally, with Yun Qian Meng's mother">furen's dowry, xiaojie's boudoir shouldn't be so sparsely furnished!" Seemingly wanting to curry favor with Yun Qian Meng, Liu yiniang smiled and cautiously said.

    But Yun Qian Meng only put down her book, stood with Mu Chun's support and led everyone to leave......
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