Who Cares

Who Cares – Chapter 1

Translator’s notes:

This novel is really exciting in my opinion, full of face slapping and a stoic heroine that watch everything burn, after she lit the fire, those kind of stuff. But the novel is really hard to translate for me  (aside from the fact that what I do is edit the mtl)  because it’s full of things that I don’t understand, Confucianism, Legalism, Neo-Confucianism, not to mention the historical background and lots and lots of idioms. I will try very hard to do some research and try to explain things, but I will only brush over the difficult subject. If you still don’t understand please google it yourself. If you find any error in my translation please correct it in the comment.

If you find words with blue color you can click on it (if you’re using phone) or hover it (if you’re on your computer) then the explanation of the word will pop-up.

 

Chapter 1 Mourn the death

Guan Suyi was sitting in the pavilion surrounded by greenery while arranging flowers. Two maids stood at the left and right, handing out flower branch or a pair of scissors from time to time. Outside the bamboo curtain, which was swayed back and forth by the breeze, was the setting sun and many fallen leaves. Autumn has arrived.

“Madam, the eldest son is here, he wants to see you.” The middle-aged servant’s hasty footsteps disturbed the tranquility.

Guan Suyi was stunned, her calm face showed a daze, as if she tried to remember who the “eldest son” from the woman’s mouth was . After a while, her eyebrows frowned, she slowly and decisively spit out two words, “Not seeing.”

The servant woman wanted to say something but stopped, she also knew that the madam was stubborn and very assertive, when she said not seeing it means not seeing. But this was just a remote estate of the Zhao family. Only domestic slaves or female relatives who have made mistakes would be sent over. Life was extremely miserable. How could it be compared with the prosperity and wealth of Yanjing? The servant woman wanted to return to the main house but had no opportunity. After finally waited for so long finally the eldest son came, how could she missed the chance to curry favor with him, after leaving the second gate, she ignored the madam’s order and let the eldest son in.

After inserting the golden chrysanthemum into the vase, Guan Suyi turned it around, trying to find any shortcomings. Suddenly saw one of the golden chrysanthemum leaves was too lush, lacking the artistic conception of blankness and the beauty of containment. She picked up a small scissor and wanted to trim it a bit.

“Mother.” The guilty shout made her fingertips tremble slightly, the sharp blade missed the extra leaves, but cut off a beautiful golden chrysanthemum. Guan Suyi didn’t immediately put down the scissors, nor did she show any annoyance. Even the frowning eyebrows were flattened at this time. She picked the leaves with the tip of a knife, then took the cut flower branches and threw them into the small bamboo basket beside her. Then she looked at the young man standing outside the pavilion with a panic and decadent face.

Looking from top to bottom, her gaze rest on the crutches in his hand and the obviously short left leg, Guan Suyi was a little surprised and wanted to ask, but in the end, she didn’t speak. Wasn’t she being sent away to Cangzhou precisely because she cared too much?

The young man saw the concern in her eyes, and the misery and guilt that had stuck in his heart instantly broke out. He limped a few steps forward, and wanted to rush to the woman’s feet to cry. Guan Suyi did not dodge, but the two maids had already blocked the young man. They asked while supporting him, “Eldest son, what’s the matter with you? What kind of grievance have you suffered? Your foot is injured, you must not knock it!” What kind of grievance can make the eldest son, who regard madam as an enemy, come all the way to Cangzhou to complain, and still in this kind of bad situation?

If the two of them didn’t ask, the young man was able to tolerate it, but once asked the flood seemed to break away, tears fell instantly, choking while intermittently saying, “Mother, son has let you down! You have always been strict with this son, you would scold if son was too playful, you would punish if son made a mistake, but you also would praise if son made progress. You treat son as your own, but son listens to other people’s slander. I always felt that you have ulterior motives, inside harbor evil intentions, so deliberately alienate you and get close to Aunt Ye. Son is really stupid. Son is wrong!”

Guan Suyi held her forehead with one hand, and placed the other flat on the stone table. She tapped the edge of the table with her fingertips, seemingly to be listening attentively, but also looked stunned. Aunt Ye? Which Auntie Ye? After two years in Cangzhou, she deliberately forget about Zhao’s mansion, and it took quite a while to find this person from her dusty memory.

Aunt Ye was the cousin of Zhao Luli’s first wife, and soon after she passed the door she took the name of taking care of the children to climb higher. She had blood connection with Zhao Luli’s children. It could be said that she had watched them grow up since childhood, and she also looked very similar to their mothers, completely satisfying the children’s desire for maternal love. On the surface she was just a concubine, but she was quite popular in the Marquis mansion. Zhao Luli was also particularly infatuated because of her similar appearance to his first wife. Needless to say, the two children treated her as their biological mother.

On the other hand, Guan Suyi was in embarrassing position. There was no prominent family background and no rich dowry. In order to gain foothold in the high gate Marquis Zhenbei Mansion, she had no other choice but to restrain herself and observe proprieties, adhered strictly to her role. She did everything she could to serve her mother-in-law, take care of her husband, educate her children, fulfill her duties, and she did everything to perfection. But in the end she was ruined and sent away.

The unbearable memory became clear again, and the corners of Guan Suyi’s mouth raised slightly, as if mocking herself at that time, as if mocking the young man crying miserably and desperately under the stairs.

“What’s wrong with your legs?” she asked quietly.

After receiving the long-lost care from his mother, the young man burst into tears and felt guilty. “Son’s leg was broken by people! It was Aunt Ye who bribe son’s close servant and order him to lure son into fight with the rogues. The imperial physician said that I will never be able to walk like ordinary people anymore, it’s basically crippled. In order for Zhao Guang to inherit the position of Marquis Zhenbei, she ruined son’s life! Mother, you have always been strict with son, teach son to study, and order son to observe courtesy, and you will punish if there’s mistake and negligence. On the other hand, Aunt Ye who only blindly pampered and indulged, told son to go farther and farther on the treacherous road, and today become like this.”

Guan Suyi’s eyes were distant and her expression was hard to fathom. The young man once called “Aunt Ye” so affectionately, but only said “Madam” when he came to her, and never called “Mother”. When she left Zhao’s Mansion, she thought: I don’t know how long the harmony of this “close family” will last. But she didn’t expect that after only two years it came to this point, broken leg and crippled, Ye Fan is really cruel.

The young man was so distraught and did not notice his mother who was obviously distracted, still confided, “At this moment, son finally figured out that what is good for you may not be really good, and what is bad for you may not be really bad.”

Guan Suyi laughing silently, her eyes became more and more mocking. What is bad for you? Daily necessities, study books, practice martial arts, and even future marriage, she exhausted her body and mind to plan for both this son and daughter that had no blood connection with her, but in their hearts it turned out to be something bad.

Forget it, encountering such a wolf-hearted family, it was not wrong to end up like today. Guan Suyi shook her head and sighed slightly.

Hearing the sigh, the guilt in his heart grew stronger. He hesitated for a moment and finally confessed, “Mother, son was so wrong back then. I should not listen to Aunt Ye’s instigation and slander you for having an affair with Master Xu. Although son’s legs and feet are useless, and Aunt Ye is not good, but with my father still here, the title of Marquis Zhenbei is still mine. When I become Shizi, I will definitely take you back.”

At this point, his eyes became red and his fists were also firmly clenched, it made a “click” sound like cracked bone, as if enduring great humiliation and anger. He hesitated and hesitated, faltered and faltered, but in the end gritted his teeth and squeezed out a word, “Mother, do you know? My mother is not dead!”

Your mother? Guan Suyi was in a daze for a while before she realized that Zhao Wangshu’s mother was Zhao Luli’s first wife, Ye Zhen. She was not dead? how could it be possible? Zhao Luli hated himself for not be able to follow his wife to reincarnated and continue their fate together. If she didn’t died, how could he not look for her, and why would he want to marry another person?

Soon, the young man gave the answer, “My mother is exactly Ye Jieyu, Ye Zhen. She is not my mother’s twin sister, she is precisely my mother. For glory and wealth she abandoned her husband and son. I hate that that my father and my sister know the truth, but they still helped her everywhere. They even killed the fetus in your stomach, and sent you to Cangzhou on the charge of losing your chastity. She has already switched to other’s embrace, why should she still want to dominate father, why should she let me be covered with such an unbearable life experience…”

The young man changed from a low sobbing to a weeping bitterly. The Aunt Ye he loved was cruel, cold-blooded and merciless; the dead mother he admired was greedy for wealth and abandoned her husband and children. If she put herself in his shoes, Guan Suyi would cry too. But what she cared about was not this bizarre, ridiculous scandal, but the middle sentence.

“My miscarriage is not an accident, but the work of your father and sister?” Recalling that one extremely humiliating night, Guan Suyi’s plain heart suddenly stirred up a storm. It’s ridiculous. Zhao Luli had never touched her in the five years of being married to Zhao’s family, only once when he was drunk. To this day, she still remembered the disgusting alcohol on his body and the sound of “Ye Zhen” that kept echoing in her ears, full of love and guilt. He regarded her as a substitute for his cherished dead wife, and this substitute wanted to give birth to his child, which would interfere with the interests of the children from the first wife, it was naturally intolerable.

After thinking about everything, Guan Suyi’s calm face finally shattered, and she asked slowly, “Have I wronged Zhao Luli, wronged you, wronged Zhao Chunxi? Why are you doing this to me? What a pure family style Marquis Zhenbei Mansion is; what a noble original wife; what a virtuous character and well-loved by the emperor Ye Jieyu, but it turns out just male thief and the female prostitute, bunch of pigs and dogs!”

The young man was ashamed and embarrassed, but faintly feel pleased. The male thief and the female prostitution, bunch of pigs and dogs, the scolding was really right! Only mother the most qualified to scold like this. He knelt down willingly, originally thinking that mother would lose control and vent, but he saw her suddenly chuckled and shook her head, quickly recovered her calmness.

It’s a good thing she had a miscarriage. Guan Suyi stroked her flat abdomen, only to feel the pain of guilt and regret buried deep in her heart, disappearing without a trace at this moment. “Su Yi Zhu Bo, Cong Zi Yu Wo“, Su Yi (white clothes) spotlessly white, pure and good character, this was her grandfather’s expectation of her. Although falling into the quagmire of Zhao’s family and couldn’t escape, she was not contaminated with the slightest filth after all. This child was not a hope or sustenance for the future, but a sin, doesn’t matter if it doesn’t come.

If the father was not the father, the mother was not the mother, the son was not the son, how could the Zhao family was not in chaos? Guan Suyi had anticipated this a long time ago, but she didn’t think that there was such a shocking inside story hidden inside, which really opened her eyes. She didn’t care about the repentance of the young man, and she didn’t want to be a tool for him to vent his grief and resentment. Just as she was trying to get people to drag him away, someone from the Zhao Mansion in Yanjing came in and carried the eldest son with his unhealed leg into the carriage and quickly left.

Outside the pavilion, the autumn cicadas made a loud sound and the tired birds swirl in the air. Guan Suyi was in a daze for a while. Then she pulled out the golden chrysanthemums in the vase and replaced them with twisted thorns and withered reeds. The spikes of thorns pierced her fingertips, causing a piercing pain, but she seemed to not feel anything, her expression remained flat and calm from beginning to end.

After trimming the reed flock with scissors, Guan Suyi laughed at herself. What a weird and sad work, just like her life. What if it was possible to leave at the beginning? Knowing that Zhao’s family was a puddle of stinking dirt, she could not leave or stay, so could only watch as she drowned. From the corner of her eye, she caught a glimpse of  books on the table, and finally showed a resentment expression and threw them into the tea-making stove and put them on fire.

The maid exclaimed, “Madam, don’t you read these books every day? How could you burned them?”

“Half of my life’s tragedy probably stems from this. How can I not burn them?” Guan Suyi stared at the rising flames and thick smoke, her eyes felt sore, and tears gradually flowed.

Another maid pulled her and told her to stop talking. If madam was born five years earlier and met a strange flower like the Zhao family, she would divorce and remarry along time ago, how could there be such today? If it weren’t for the popularity of Xu shi‘s Neo-Confucianism, if it weren’t for the popularity of “Female Caution”, “Internal Training” and those kind of books, how could madam be imprisoned here and not free. If she remarried or divorce, it would be tantamount to ruining the reputation of the sisters in the clan. They would have no marriage prospect in the future, lonely and helpless, so they would have no choice but to shattered their teeth and swallow their blood. Those hypocrites were really harmful!

After that day, perhaps because she felt that there was no hope in this life, Guan Suyi’s unhealthy body rapidly deteriorated. When the end of her life was approaching, she seemed to hear Zhao Luli and Zhao Wangshu’s hurried footsteps and distraught repentance, but only left one sentence: “I only wish I will never see you again in the next life.”

 

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