Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter: 011 out of 513 - Improving the quality of life
T/N: Here's an extra chapter. I had extra free time today. Thank you Mezhanos and Dragon_Reader for writing reviews on Novel Updates!
Ji Man wiped her tears and said with a bitter laugh, "This servant has been locked in the confinement courtyard by the marquis. How could my days be good? The residence's servants act respectfully in front of their superiors and step on those below them. If there isn't someone managing them, they don't follow the rules. Every day, they only give this servant leftover rice and vegetables. This servant only stole a chicken from the kitchen yesterday and accidentally started a fire that almost became a disaster because this servant was starving."
Wen Wan furrowed her brow. "No matter what, you're still the marquis's concubine. There's no reason for you to be eating leftover food. If this news spread, people will laugh at the marquis for not being able to support a concubine!"
Ji Man lightly nodded and kowtowed to Wen Wan again. "Madam, you have a good temperament. It's so much better than this servant's temperament. You'll probably be with the marquis for a lifetime. But if your temperament is too good, there will inevitably be sly servants that think you're easy to bully and act without propriety."
These words were magnanimous and fitting to the occasion. Wen Wan repeatedly nodded as she heard these words. In her mind, she thought that Nie Sangyu wasn't as rude and unreasonable as she had heard from rumors. At the very least, her current words were reasonable. Even if Nie Sangyu was a confined concubine, she couldn't allow the servants to bully her.
"I understand. I'll speak with the people in the kitchen later. You can go back to your room now. I'll just treat it as if it was an accident that started because the food was too dry." Wen Wan said.
"Thank you very much, Madam." Ji Man followed traditional etiquette by kowtowing again.
Wen Wan turned around and left the courtyard. She called Tan Xiang over and went to the kitchen next.
Muxu slipped back into the courtyard and hurriedly went over to help Nie Sangyu stand up. "Master, what did you say to Madam? Madam looked so angry."
Ji Man faintly smiled. She pulled Muxu inside the room, closed the doors, and finally said, "Do you understand what advancing by retreating means?"
Muxu blankly looked at her.
Ji Man knocked her forehead and quietly said, "Those servants are clearly bullying you because the marquis is giving me the cold shoulder. They're intentionally not giving us food. Otherwise, how could there always be so little food when you go there so early each time? They think that I won't be able to complain because I'm being confined, so I told Madam that I was the one that stole the chicken."
Muxu jumped in fright. "You… It's a crime to steal. You told Madam…. What if she…"
"She won't." Ji Man shook her head. "First of all, Madam has a kind nature. And, even if she wants to put me on the spot, she wouldn't use this issue against me. She would only help me hide this secret. Otherwise, if the news that the marquis's concubine stole a chicken spreads, it would be humiliating for the marquis's entire household."
Muxu thought for a while before she suddenly realized. "So it's like that. Master, you're so clever!"
Ji Man stretched her hand out to mimic stroking a nonexistent, long beard. She said with a smile, "Not at all. It was nothing. Let's wait and see what we'll eat tonight. After Doctor Li brings back the money, we'll have other work to do."
Muxu increasingly felt that her master had changed into a completely different person. But she liked this current master more than her previous one, so she didn't contemplate this change any further. Anyways, there were advantages to following this master.
Ji Man finished embroidering another two handkerchiefs during the rest of the afternoon. Her speed had become faster and faster.
The two times that Liu Mama came over. She saw Nie Sang Yu embroidering. When she took the handkerchiefs from her to take a closer look, she saw that the embroidery was exceptionally elaborate and vivid. Strange. What was wrong with Nie Sangyu? Her recent behavior was so different from her usual behavior. However, she didn't seem as strident as usual and other people feel more comfortable in her presence. It would be good thing if she was to be obedient and didn't anger the marquis.
After the marquis's wife recently took her top position, she tied up the rules by established standards for the other courtyards' meals. The honored concubines would have two meat dishes, three vegetarian side dishes, and soup for lunch and dinner. The ordinary concubines would have one meat dish, two vegetarian side dishes, and soup for lunch and dinner. If any of the courtyards were lacking food, including the confinement courtyard, they were all allowed to go to her for support.
No one understood why the madam would start making changes with the meals first, but the kitchen had always been a strategic place for ill-gotten gains. After this rule was set down, it damaged the interests of many people. There were many people in the residence that were dissatisfied with Wen Wan behind her back.
However, Ji Man was ecstatic. In her mind, she thought that the female lead was the only good person in the world a hundred times. There was a plate of shredded pork with green pepper on the table. Although the shredded pork portion wasn't much, there was still meat to eat! Mu Xu had also daringly asked the kitchen servants for two extra bowls of rice. They ate their dinner with satisfaction with the master sitting down and the servant standing.
At the very least, they wouldn't be hungry at night anymore?
The next day, Doctor Li brought the silver taels that the jewelry had been sold for. There were a total of two hundred and thirty silver taels. Ji Man smiled as she thanked him and put thirty silver taels into his medicine box. Doctor Li was frightened by her action and repeatedly declined. After Muxu said a few words to help persuade him, he finally profusely expressed his thanks and accepted the money.
Thirty silver taels wasn't a small amount. Nie Sang Yu's monthly allowance was only five silver taels and five coins. But what must be given had to be given. In certain areas, you couldn't be stingy.
"The person in charge of the kitchen is Aunty Zhao, right?" Ji Man asked as she embroidered.
Muxu nodded. She wrinkled her nose and said, "Aunty Zhao is somewhat fierce and isn't easy to get along with. I heard that she's a distant relative of Steward Qian. The servants all try to flatter and ingrate themselves to her."
Ji Man said, "We're both in our confinement period, but you can still go to the kitchen. When you go over there today, bring five silver taels and secretly give it to her. Ask her to find a time when there's no one here and come over."
Muxu curiously asked, "Master, what are you planning?"
Ji Man smiled, "Secret."