(The double meaning of “face” in Chinese refers to a person’s dignity and shame ~MCM)
Housekeeper Zhou was oddly arrogant today. “Young…… Master, the Mistress has told me that the affairs of this Manor are still under my jurisdiction,” he said with a tightlipped smile.
The title of young master was intentionally drawn out by Housekeeper Zhou, carrying a hint of disrespect and half-heartedness.
Fan Xian sanguinely stared back into the latter’s scornful eyes. Although he had never pitied himself for being an illegitimate child, he was not used to such a despicable attitude. He was not pleased.
Realizing that things were getting awry, a bright servant girl slipped away and looked for the Old Madam. Meanwhile, the other servants were spectating nervously. Although it was technically two separate houses, in reality, everyone knew that young master Fan Xian’s status was not particularly reputable. Moreover, the servants in the Manor in Danzhou were all picked off from the main one in the Capital by the Second Mistress. (Not so sure about this sentence ~MCM)
This was why the Second Mistress’s confidant, Housekeeper Zhou, dared to treat the young master with such disrespect. After all, in everyone’s opinion, the one who would eventually inherit the assets of the Count of Southernland would be the young master in the Capital and not the adorable twelve year old young man.
Even though the servants respect and dote on Fan Xian, when it came to taking sides, none of them dared to risk offending the Second Mistress by siding with Fan Xian.
Only the servant girl Si Si, who was close to him, held Fan Xian’s hand tightly. Fan Xian understood the servants clearly. As it did not affect their lives, they felt neither sorrow nor disappointment; they could only bow their heads and look curiously at the pallid housekeeper. Why did such a dutiful person act out? (The sentence was rather long, so it was vague if it was Fan Xian or the servants who looked at the housekeeper. ~MCM)
Housekeeper Zhou was originally the second Head housekeeper of the Count’s Manor in the Capital. Because he committed a slight, he was chased to the faraway and secluded Danzhou port. However, Housekeeper Zhou has never felt that he has forever lost the glamour of the Capital and was hence not despondent. (It means he thinks he could return to the Manor in the Capital someday ~MCM)
The Southernland Count’s actual wife has already been deceased for many years. Because the Second Mistress had given birth to a son, plus the fact that she was also from a noble family, it was almost certain that she would gain the status of the wife. During this crucial period, Housekeeper Zhou, who had the trust of the Second Mistress, was naturally up to no good.
In order to complete his mission, he was very careful in handling the Manor’s affairs. He was also careful to treat the Old Madam with the utmost respect and affable towards the servants, scarcely interfering other people’s work. The only time when he would reveal his true colours was when he saw the little whoreson (小贱种is used, which was an insult on his mother and his illegitimate status) who caused his faux banishment.
Strangely, he was slightly afraid of the boy who was only a little older than ten years.
No matter where he went, he could always see that boy’s faintly smiling face and those two bright eyes on him. Although the face was clean and pretty, it would also be creepy if such a face was to follow a person for every waking second.
When Housekeeper Zhou was greeting the servants amiably, Fan Xian’s pretty face would be hidden amidst the flowers, staring blankly at him; when Housekeeper Zhou creased his brows and went over the accounts conscientiously, Fan Xian’s clean mug peeked out from window into the accounting room, innocently looking at him; when he was respectfully reporting to the Old Madam, Fan Xian’s adorable features were gently leaning on the Old Madam, gazing curiously at him.
And thus, a few months went by. Housekeeper Zhou thought he was about to become crazy; whether his eyes were closed or open, he would see that cute and innocent little face. It was almost as if it was a floating head of a ghost – if it was not a ghost, how could it be so ether lovely and looking so intently at him?
He could no longer withstand such a stress on his mental health. He even became extremely paranoid. Was the boy aware that he was here to deal with him? However, Housekeeper Zhou quelled that thought immediately. This baseborn brat was still young, how could he possibly understand the politics and perils of the adult world? Yet…… why does he keep staring at me? Why? Just like the situation now, where his words would obviously humiliate a son-of-a-bitch like him, how is it possible that he could still smile like that?
Housekeeper Zhou sneered silently. Since the events in Danzhou are already about to end, why should he get upset over this whoreson’s antics?
Fan Xian did not know that his relentless observation of the Housekeeper would have brought upon the latter such great mental stress. Of course, even if he did, he would not have been sorry for it. He was really curious about what methods that Mistress in the Capital would use to handle him.
However, having seen Housekeeper Zhou punishing his Eldest Servant girl as an excuse to bolster his own image, Fan Xian’s mood soured. Moreover, after hearing himself being called “young master” reluctantly, the smile on his face slowly grew tighter.
“I’ve heard that the young master had kicked out the Eldest servant girl a few years back. That’s too much.” Housekeeper Zhou appeared to be oblivious towards the young man’s change in expression and continued to speak with a disdainful face, “From now on, because young master is still too young, you should care less about the affairs of the Manor.”
Fan Xian laughed. “Are you warning me to know my place?”
Housekeeper Zhou did not dare to outright admit it. “I wouldn’t dare. It’s just that, before arriving, the Second Mistress have ordered that I should look after young master more because you are still very young.”
“Aren’t you afraid I would use my authority as the young master and slap your big mouth?” Fan Xian asked curiously.
Housekeeper Zhou chuckled and stroked his sparse beard. “Although young master had lost his mother when he was young and had no one to discipline him…… everyone knows that you have read a lot of books and educated yourself since you were young. Why would you treat your servants so harshly?”
He leered at the ten year old bishounen in front of him, guffawing silently in his heart. Such a small boy actually dared to flaunt his status as a master. (Not quite sure about this one, either ~MCM)
“Oh.” This time, Fan Xian seemed to remember his status as a baseborn and turned around and left.
The servant girls were feeling indignant for the young master. However, seeing that there were no conflicts, they were relieved for Fan Xian. Si Si continued to hold on to Fan Xian’s hand tightly, her eyes wet. She felt sorry for the young master. Afraid that he was seething, she stole a glance to the side, relaxing only when she saw that Fan Xian’s eyes were calm.
Fan Xian led Si Si into the house holding her hand. He removed two benches from their positions and placed them at the door. Leaving one of them for Si Si to sit on, he carried the other into the garden.
The servants have not dispersed yet and Housekeeper Zhou was still basking in the glory of his heroics.
Fan Xian brought the bench in front of Housekeeper Zhou. The onlooking servants were bewildered; even Housekeeper Zhou could not understand what he was playing at. Just as he was about to ask, the little Fan Xian was already standing on top of the bench.
Fan Xian was currently only twelve and was not tall yet. Adding the height of a bench, he was only barely as tall as Housekeeper Zhou.
Everyone was baffled and did not know what he intended to accomplish by standing on the bench. Fan Xian slowly raised his right hand and collected two hot breaths in his palm before hoisting it high.
“What are you doing?” The words were still stuck in his mouth, not having enough time to spray out along with his spittle.
Fan Xian’s small hands were already drawn back and ready. He viciously swept forward another round!
A “Paaaaaaa!” sound echoed. Housekeeper Zhou was knocked unto the ground with the slap, a bright red slap mark streaked across his face and a trace of blood on the corner of his mouth. He was slapped silly. He did not anticipate that this child actually had such strength in him and that…… this child actually…… dared to hit him!
Fan Xian leapt off the bench and rubbed his wrist. Taking a handkerchief from the hands of a nearby servant girl, he cleaned his hands and looked down at Housekeeper Zhou, who was groaning in pain and caressing his cheeks on the floor. “Just because I am educated doesn’t mean I don’t dare to hitanyone. Although I will never ill-treat my servants, I am more than delighted to educate you in the ways of the dandy.”