Note: The names are retained in traditional Chinese characters as the RAWs I’m translating from are in traditional Chinese and it also makes it easier for me when I’m translating. The new vocabulary terms on the other hand are in simplified Chinese.Characters Shown / Mentioned in this Chapter:
葉璃璃兒 – Ye LiLi er – Main Female Protagonist – first di daughter of the Ye family, but the third child in the family.
定王定國王墨修堯 – Ding w.a.n.gDing guow.a.n.g Mo Xiu Yao – Imperial Prince Ding of the highest rank黎王 墨景黎 – Li w.a.n.g Mo Jing Li – Imperial Prince Li
鳳之遙 – Feng Zhi Yao – Friend(?) of Ding w.a.n.gYe Family Members:
葉尚書老爺 – Ye Shangshu laoye – Ye Li‘s father who has the t.i.tle or position of official in charge of presenting memorials to the emperor and official correspondence
葉老夫人葉老太太祖母 – Ye laofuren Ye laotaitaizumu – Ye Li‘s grandmother from her father’s sidethe old madam of the family
徐氏 – Xu shi – Ye Li‘s mother
of the household(葉夫人 – Ye furen – can refer to either Xu shi or w.a.n.g shi)
趙姨娘 – Zhao yiniang – a newly-arrived concubine of Ye Shangshu
葉瑩 – Ye Ying – 4th daughter in the Ye familyBold - Names of people, placesItalic - Chinese terms in pinyinUnderline - Unknown
Fu Imperial CapitalChapter 7: To Tell On Somebody And To Be Told On In Return
In the horse-drawn carriage, Feng Zhi Yao convulsed with laughter, his appearance of a graceful gongzi naturally non-existent. Waiting until he had laughed enough, only then did he raise his head towards Mo Xiu Yao on the side and said, “Xiu Yao, this new w.a.n.gfei of yours is extremely amusing. Haha…it’s a pity I didn’t get to see Mo Jing Li‘s face just now…”
Mo Xiu Yao‘s gentle eyes had a trace of thinking deeply within them, it was evident that this future w.a.n.gfei‘s display had been outside his expectations. Even if he still didn’t know what she looked like, but with the handsome male looks of Ye Shangshu for a father and one of the four great beauties of the capital of that year for a mother, although Ye Li‘s looks may not be the best, it still wouldn’t be too lacking. What was even harder for people to imagine was her means of doing things which really made her not seem like the girl who had no talent and no virtue in the rumors that’s being spread about.
“But this Ye third xiaojie‘s move is seriously generous, more than five thousand taels’ worth of a Guanyin statue was sent out just like that. Isn’t she afraid that Mo Jing Li will seriously not pay for it?” Mo Jing Li was the current emperor’s own blood-related younger brother, if he wanted to repudiate it, the Ye third xiaojie really can’t do anything about it.
Mo Xiu Yao smiled indifferently, shaking his head and said, “Mo Jing Li this kind of person’s best part about himself is his reputation. He definitely won’t allow people to talk about him taking others’ things for free and not repaying his debts.”
Feng Zhi Yao‘s eyebrows raised as he smiled, saying, “Then there’ll be a good show to watch. According to what I know, last month Mo Jing Li had also taken a pair of authentic works of the previous dynasty’s Cao Sheng from Shen De Xuan, adding up the two of them would amount to over ten thousand taels. This time…the way the emperor treats you can still be considered to be not bad ah, at least this new w.a.n.gfei of yours is very wealthy.” Come to think about it, this Mo Jing Li really isn’t like a person, on one side there was the matter of him abandoning the person and breaking off the engagement, on the other side he had also taken things from that person’s shop for free of charge. Fancy that he is even actually someone from the imperial family, really too shameless. Mo Xiu Yao shot him a glance, “When talking about being wealthy, who would dare compete with your Feng family?” The Feng family was one of the four wealthiest merchant families in Da Chu, it was also the only one of the four that was residing in the capital, compared to the other three families it naturally had a bit more in terms of advantage and power.
Feng Zhi Yao helplessly waved his fan and said, “That is laoyezi‘s money, it has nothing to do with me. Who doesn’t know of me as this wastrel living in poverty who is unworthy of respect.”
Once Ye Li had returned to the fu, she was invited by the yatou working alongside laotaitai to go over and set foot into the Rong Le hall she rarely visited when it wasn’t the time to pay respects but where the whole family was already there altogether. Even the often busy Ye Shangshu wasn’t absent as he gloomily sat together with laotaitai at the lower side, glaring at Ye Li who had just entered through the door. Ye Ying at that time was nestled against w.a.n.g shi‘s bosom sobbing and choking from her tears, her pair of watery eyes turning bright red from crying, it made her appear even more like she was too fragile to stand against the wind (meaning extremely delicate or of fragile state of health) in a lovely and moving way.
“Li er pays respect to zumu, pays respect to fuqin. Greetings to furen and the yiniang…..”
“Evil girl, still not getting down on your knees!” Ye Li hadn’t finished talking when there was the crashing sound of the teacup in Ye Shangshu‘s hands smashing onto the floor beside her feet as well as the sound of his stern voice bellowing at her.
Ye Li was silent for a moment, completely unperturbed as she retreated one step to the side and said, “I don’t know what this daughter had done wrong, I only ask fuqin to please state it clearly.”
Seeing her not at all looking like she wanted to acknowledge her mistakes, Ye Shangshu who was about to get angry again was interrupted by laotaitai who made a coughing sound to stop him and said, “Li er, today in the Shen De Xuan you had forgotten your manners in front of Li w.a.n.g, if this were to spread outside others would think that our Ye family doesn’t educate our daughters at all. Waiting until the day of your fourth younger sister’s first return to her parental home after her wedding, you will have to pay a courtesy towards His Highness Li w.a.n.g. These days you should just stay within your own yuan.”((This translation is brought to you by ))
Ye Li swept a glance towards w.a.n.g shi who was embracing Ye Ying and who unwittingly revealed a trace of a smiling expression at the corner of her mouth, and raised her head with a blank look on her face as she looked at laotaitai, saying, “Zumu, please forgive me. Since zumu said that Li er had done wrong then Li er had definitely done something wrong, it’s just that Li er is dull and stupid and so still doesn’t know where I had done wrong. I still ask that zumu point out the one or two things so all will be well.”
Laotaitai was startled for a bit, looking at the puzzled and clueless-looking Ye Li and was unable to say anything.
w.a.n.g shi supported Ye Ying to sit properly then got up to walk over in front of Ye Li and gave a friendly smile, saying, “Li er, w.a.n.gye is the current emperor’s blood-related younger brother and today you have provoked w.a.n.gye to be upset, if w.a.n.gye were to cast down his blame upon us, none of us in our family would be able to hold up under it. Just be good and admit your mistakes to laotaitai and laoye, we will not blame you.”
Ye Li blinked and pursed her bright red lips as she thought deeply for a moment, her face looking even more puzzled, “Provoked w.a.n.gye‘s anger? But Li er really hadn’t interacted with w.a.n.gye much ah. w.a.n.gye wanted to buy a Guanyin statue but it was just that he didn’t bring enough silver taels with him, Li er still had someone fetch the item and gave it to w.a.n.gye for him to take away, I really hadn’t purposely made things difficult ah. Why would w.a.n.gye get angry? Unless….unless that jade Guanyin had some kind of defect?”
Everyone was at a loss for words while Zhao yiniang at the side let out a ‘puchi’ giggling sound and covered her mouth as she laughed, saying, “Third xiaojie, furen‘s meaning is…how could you accept w.a.n.gye‘s money?” For Li w.a.n.g to go and buy things and yet not bring silver with him–if it were to spread outside, who would believe it? It was evident from the start that he hadn’t intended to give silver but was caught by Ye Li‘s words, even the items he had habitually taken in the past also had to be compensated–how could he not be angry?
“Zhao yiniang what is with this talk, how could w.a.n.gye be concerned over this mere bit of money? Not to mention…Shen De Xuan is open for business. Not just talking about w.a.n.gye, if it were the emperor surely he also wouldn’t have the principle of not giving money?” Ye Li reasoned, surprised.
Zhao yiniang didn’t get angry but chuckled, saying, “What third xiaojie said is right. Even the palace’s purchases have to be paid for. If they also didn’t pay…who could still do business?”
“Shut up! What nonsense are you speaking!” Ye Shangshu in a bad mood swept a glance over the currently favoured beloved concubine who had just entered the household not long ago. Zhao yiniang blinked coquettishly yet also tactfully didn’t say anything more.
Ye Li appeared as though she had suddenly realized something and turned towards w.a.n.g shi, saying, “Could it be that w.a.n.gye truly is angry over this matter? Is it possible…that all the merchants in the capital have never accepted w.a.n.gye‘s silver taels? If it was like this, then Li er really did do something wrong. Zumu and fuqin should be rest a.s.sured. Later on Li er will command someone to have the silver taken back, in addition add three thousand taels more as a form of apology towards w.a.n.gye.”
w.a.n.g shi promptly pulled up, complaining miserably on the inside. If they really allowed Ye Li to handle it like this, only feared that the reputation of w.a.n.gye buying things in the capital and never having to pay for them would be spread widely. Ye Li didn’t at all care for w.a.n.g shi‘s face and with some concern and some grievances, turned towards laotaitai, saying, “If it were really like this, then it would be best to close up the Shen De Xuan as well as the other shops early on.”
Ye Shangshu‘s face turned cold and said, “Shen De Xuan is your dowry, why would you close it. When you get married into the Ding guow.a.n.g fu, it wouldn’t look good.”
Ye Li’s eyebrows creased and said, “But…this Shen De Xuan‘s profit for one month is less than one thousand taels, everytime w.a.n.gye comes and sets his eyes on something, it would be worth over three thousand taels. If w.a.n.gye were to come once every month….”
Hearing this, laotaitai and Ye Shangshu were both startled and couldn’t help but look towards w.a.n.g shi. Shen De Xuan was the antique store that the capital counted on, how could the profit of each month be less than one thousand taels? This Li w.a.n.g is also really too much, as a dignified w.a.n.gye, even if they were to disregard him going to the shop and taking those kind of things once in awhile, but frequently going to take things is really unreasonable. Even the emperor himself wouldn’t have justification for frequently taking his subjects’ things without paying for them.
w.a.n.g shi was surprised for a moment, grinding her teeth and not daring to say anything, her face starting to turn pale. Laotaitai fixed her gaze on w.a.n.g shi and said in a heavy tone, “What exactly is going on here?”
It needed to be known that during these years, Ye furen‘s dowry of shops that were taken in were included in the fu‘s expenses. If someone were to obstruct from within, that would be tantamount to having a voracious desire for the Ye fu‘s silver. At the time when Ye furen had been seriously ill, laotaitai had also for a period of time had the household in the palm of her hand and so naturally was fully aware that Shen De Xuan was one of the two most profitable shops among Ye furen‘s dowry, its every month’s profit would at least be more than three thousand taels.
w.a.n.g shi gritted her teeth and said in a low voice, “Replying to laotaitai, these two years…perhaps it’s that business hadn’t been too good…” How could she dare say that that money had gone into her own personal storehouse?
Ye Li saluted towards laotaitai and faintly said, “Furen during the whole day is occupied with the affairs of the fu, how could she know about the matters from outside. Laotaitai is somewhat unaware, our family is actually talked of bitterly by the people below. These past few days Li er carefully inspected the accounts of every shop, take Shen De Xuan for example, in actuality the profits of every year would at least be more than thirty thousand taels, but since starting from three years ago, the yearly income transferred to the fu was unexpectedly even less than ten thousand taels. Actually more than half was swallowed up by the steward from below. Originally when mother was alive she explained, these twelve shops before Li er gets married only needed to operate in order to derive benefit, the profit should at least be two hundred and fifty thousand taels. Apart from providing for the fu‘s expenses, she was still considered to be the di mother of my fellows sisters and younger brother in the fu, naturally should give to my sisters to spend on their bridal gifts. Didn’t expect…now muqin‘s painstaking effort was but a wasted effort. These few years, the silver taels handed over to the fu is still less than one hundred thousand taels. This is the ledger, please take a look over it zumu.”
In this moment not only Ye Shangshu and laotaitai, but even the other xiaojie and yiniang‘s faces all changed. More than a hundred thousand taels vanished into thin air and without a trace, moreover among this also included what was to be given to their own daughters’ dowry. A quarrel immediately broke out inside the hall, “Laoye, laotaitai, furen kindly looked at this from top to bottom but still think about us sisters and shu zi shu nu, laoye must have those inhuman beings that deserve death by a thousand cuts punished as the best course of action ah.”
“Exactly, truly someone with a black heart, even the money in our fu they even dared to get greedy over.”Glossary:w.a.n.gfei (王妃 – consort princess / wife of an imperial prince or “王 – w.a.n.g“)Shangshu (尚書 – t.i.tle or position of official in charge of presenting memorials to the emperor and official correspondence)Xiaojie (小姐 – Young miss / lady)Shen De Xuan (慎 – careful / cautious 德 – virtue / morality / ethics- 軒 – pavilion with a view / curtained carriage)Laoyezi (老爺子 – my (you etc) old father / polite appellation for an elderly male)Fu (府 – official residence / family residence compound / household / term for family and home put together)Yatou (丫头 – young maidservant / young girl)Laotaitai (老太太 – elderly lady)Shi (氏 – clan name / maiden surname)Er (儿 – term of endearment for one’s child / child)Zumu (祖母 – respectful or intimate way of addressing grandmother)Fuqin (父亲 – respectful or intimate way of addressing father)Furen (夫人 – lady or madam of the house / wife)Yiniang (姨娘 – normal concubine)w.a.n.g (王 – imperial prince)Yuan (院 – a residence within a family residence compound)w.a.n.gye (王爺 – term for addressing an imperial prince)Laoye (老爺 – master / lord of the household)Guow.a.n.g (国王 – former appellation for '亲王 – qinw.a.n.g' which is the highest rank of a prince, used from Han to Ming dynasty)Di (嫡 – legitimate / of the official wife)Muqin (母亲 – respectful or intimate way of addressing mother)Shu zi shu nu (庶子庶女 – son(s) and daughter(s) of a concubine)
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