Since Old Madam Cheng allowed her to forgo paying daily respect, Cheng Yujin slept comfortably that night until she woke up naturally the next day. Although she could sleep in, Cheng Yujin had been living a very self-disciplined life over the years. Her daily routine was very well-regulated, so she automatically woke up at the usual time.
Cheng Yujin stayed in bed for a while, then quickly got up to get dressed. She had anticipated that these few days wouldn’t be very peaceful, but she still underestimated those people’s shamelessness.
Cheng Yujin had only inserted half a hairpin into her hair when she heard loud noises outside. Cheng Yujin’s courtyard had strict rules, and no one dared to make a lot of noises. Hearing the commotion outside, everyone in the room looked at each other, their expressions darkened.
Cheng Yujin compared two hairpins and stared indifferently into the mirror. Lian Qiao caught her signal and took the initiative to stand up and say: “Miss, this servant will go out and take a look.”
After speaking, Lian Qiao hurriedly went out. Before she even came back, the voices of people shouting outside had already reached Cheng Yujin’s inner chamber.
“Is Eldest Miss up? This old servant comes on Madam’s order to deliver shredded chicken porridge for Eldest Miss.”
Cheng Yujin sighed. She knew this voice. It was a senior servant woman who served Qingfu Junzhu. Since she was Qingfu Junzhu’s person, Cheng Yujin had no choice but to give her ‘mother’ a face. She stood up and walked to the adjacent room.
“So it is Liu Mama1 who comes. Please come in.”
Without waiting for Cheng Yujin’s servant girl to lead her, Liu Mama had already walked into the western room. Lian Qiao’s followed in; her expression was dark. Cheng Yujin pretended not to see Liu Mama’s rudeness and asked with a smile: “Liu Mama rarely comes to visit. What brings you here so early in the morning?”
Liu Mama rubbed her hands and said: “This old servant has long heard that Eldest Miss is kind and virtuous. This old servant has always wanted to come and serve you, but Madam’s side pretty much needs this old servant’s service, so there has never been a chance. Today, there is a rare opportunity. This old servant hears that Madam personally prepares breakfast for Miss, so this old servant volunteers to go and deliver the food.”
As Liu Mama spoke, she lifted the food box in her hand and said with a cheeky smile: “Miss, this is Madam’s sincerity. You should eat it now.”
Seeing that Liu Mama was about to bring the food box to Cheng Yujin by herself, Lian Qiao’s eyelids jumped. She quickly snatched the food box from Liu Mama and forced a smile: “We will do it ourselves. Mama doesn’t need to be bothered.”
Liu Mama laughed. She began to brag about how nourishing this shredded chicken porridge is and praised Qingfu Junzhu’s love for Cheng Yujin. At this moment, another senior servant woman named Panzhi, who served Ruan-shi, entered the door. When she heard someone in the room mentioned ‘Eldest Madam,’ the corner of Panzhi’s eyes twitched, and she rushed in.
Seeing Cheng Yujin’s gaze, Liu Mama also turned back and happened to see Panzhi, who was rushing in. The two women glared at each other. Fire sparks crackled between them.
Liu Mama snorted. She said sarcastically: “Hey, Second Madam’s great Panzi is here. How coincidence. What brought you here so early in the morning?”
Panzhi returned with a cold smile: “Mother and daughter are connected by hearts. Eldest Miss is still recuperating from a serious illness, and Second Madam feels so distressed that she even lost her appetite and sleep. Second Madam couldn’t sleep well last night and woke up early this morning to personally cook the yam radish porridge for Eldest Miss. Pity all parents in the world. Second Madam’s motherly love is truly touching.”
Panzhi deliberately said ‘mother and daughter are connected by heart’ in front of Liu Mama, which was a naked act of provocation. Cheng Yujin coughed. She raised her head and smiled: “It turned out that Second Aunt made the porridge by herself. I should accept the elder’s kindness. But unfortunately, Liu Mama also sends me porridge. I cannot drink two bowls of porridge by myself. What to do?”
Lian Qiao inwardly mused. Miss seemed to be in the mood to watch some fun. There were obvious sparks between the two women, but Miss deliberately fanned the flame from the side.
Sure enough, Liu Mama and Panzhi immediately ate the bait. Liu Mama glared at Panzhi and yelled: “Our Madam is Eldest Miss’ mother, of course she is closer to Eldest Miss than an aunt from another branch of the family. And Madam also sent this chicken porridge first! Your second branch saw what our Madam was doing and shamelessly copied it! Whether it is from the closeness of relationship or the order of arrival, our Madam should be the first!”
Not to be outdone, Panzhi replied, “Eldest Miss’ body and stomach is still weak from the cold. How can she eat something as heavy as fish and meat? Look at the amount of oil in your bowl of porridge. Do you want to make Eldest Miss sick again?!”
Liu Mama couldn’t bear her anger. She rolled up her sleeves and began to curse at Panzhi. Panzhi had served Ruan-shi for so many years, stepping on many rivals on her way. If the enemy was weak, she knew to be strong. When the enemy was strong, she knew to be weak. Under Liu Mama’s endless scolding and curses, Panzhi’s lips flattened, and she started crying aggrievedly.
The more they quarreled, the fiercer they became. It was unacceptable for servants to quarrel in front of a master, but Cheng Yujin simply sat elegantly and said nothing. None of the two women were willing to be outdone, and they gradually forgot where they were now. Finally, Liu Mama saw that her scolding couldn’t defeat Panzhi, and directly rushed to push the latter furiously.
When things got physical, Panzhi naturally was unwilling to be beaten one-sidedly, and the verbal fight quickly escalated into a physical one. Seeing this, Lian Qiao secretly snickered, but she immediately stepped forward and yelled: “What are you doing in front of Eldest Miss? Presumptuous!”
Jinning Courtyard’s lower-ranked servants received the order and quickly rushed up to separate the two. When Panzhi and Liu Mama were pulled apart, their hair was messed up, their clothes were disheveled, and they both were in a sorry state. When they began to calm down, what they saw was Lian Qiao’s furious face. They turned their head and saw Cheng Yujin, sitting on the top seat, totally indifferent.
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