TL’ed by snowflake_obsidian
Edited by Xia
- By character count we’re more than 20% through the novel!!!!
- I took some liberties in describing the preparation of the pastries, as well has how those are eaten. My mother used the mentioned food preparation techniques, and growing up I was her little helper. My foodie friends include people from both Taiwan and the mainland so I’ve been introduced to pastries and other goodies from different areas. The food preparation and eating descriptions in this chapter are probably typical/sufficient for the Chinese mind though there are implicitly understood things which may not be apparent to say a westerner.
- Don’t read this chapter on an empty stomach.
 “反常既为妖，变态则也！”; I talked to several native speakers who didn’t know or weren’t sure about the meaning (literary and/or classical Chinese). Finally I asked someone who majored in Chinese at a mainland China university. Her explanation was that something is not normal and there must be a conspiracy. That drove me to an English dictionary to check the different ways conspiracy can be understood. The translation of the phrase reflects my understanding in the given context.
Su Tang lowered her head and looked at her own chest (胸部), deeply considering….you see, how full, how expansive, how is it possible to not be magnanimous, broadminded?
Notice the 胸 character in the last segment. That piece can be understood as….
- 怎么 会 没心 胸 呢 ; How is it possible to be uninterested in breasts/bosom/a chest.
- 怎么 会 没 心胸 呢; How is it possible to not to have breadth of mind.
- 怎么 会 没心胸 呢; How is it possible to not be generous, magnanimous.
One native speaker said that 没心胸 is a metaphor with the same meaning as the idiom 寬宏大量 which means generous, magnanimous. Another native speaker said that Su Tang is playing with the words, intentionally changing breadth of mind into chest size. This friend went on to say that this style of writing is quite standard in romance fiction with a female lead who is both clever and cute.
 吃饭; is literally eat rice. The phrase generally refers to eating a meal.
Ch 20 – Breadth of Mind is Full and Vast
Song Shi An was completely shaken. He didn’t anticipate that Su Tang would suddenly ask this question. His eyes somewhat glistened. By the time he was completely still, he unperturbedly said, “No.”
“Huh?” Su Tang was somewhat taken aback.
Song Shi An obviously didn’t expect more would be brought up. Raising up he said, “I’m going to the study now.”
Su Tang watched his big strides as he left. Recalling something, she hastily shouted toward him. “That, want to give Xuan Zi a little bit to eat?”
Song Shi An turned his head to look at her, his gaze extremely complex. “No need. If grandma knew then it would be bad.”
“But he’s still a kid!” How could this cold noodles not care even a little bit!
Song Shi An thought a bit and answered, “He’s not small anymore. When I was as big as him, I could both ride a horse and shoot arrows.”
Su Tang was irritable. “You think everyone is the same as you who is unable to be an ordinary person!”
Song Shi An was temporarily at a loss, “What does that mean?”
Not in a good mood, Su Tang said, “Abnormal, harming your son by actually starving him !”
In a flash Song Shi An’s face darkened, flicked his sleeves and left in a huff.
Su Tang heavily sat down and looked at the full pans of food on the table. She remembered when young that Aunt Zhou starved her, and felt rather grieved thinking about the mistreatment. Pushing ones’ own cause onto another, she soon afterwards felt sorry for little Xuan Zi. So, she then hurriedly ordered someone to bring a food container and lined it with several chopsticks-full of good food.
Shao Yao saw her intentions, deliberated, and cautiously reminded her, “Lao taitai prohibited….”
She said a few words, but didn’t dare to say more. Making remarks on matters without explicit approval was inappropriate. Shao Yao’s few spoken words exceeded the bounds. However, although a few words, yet Su Tang was dumbfounded realizing, this is to say she was disobedient to lao taitai’s intent.
Su Tang said in a low voice, “Don’t be afraid, lao taitai said a new wife cannot be punished or blamed in the 3 days. And what’s more, we’ll hide this food container and not let people catch sight of it.”
Shao Yao was somewhat silent, as expected, shao furen was extremely daring. Shao Yao’s line of sight turned to the person of Xi Que, and considered having her urge shao furen. Who would have expected that Xi Que was deeply thinking, gazing into the distance, and completely didn’t notice her worried eye expression.
Xi Que thought of a question. This question was very abstruse, very grave, but also very absurd, to the extent that she thought for a very long time and was completely unable to reach a conclusion.
But Su Tang couldn’t stand the odd gaze looking toward herself. She ruthlessly knocked on her head and asked, “What’s with you?”
At this moment the three people, master and servants, were walking on the path toward the quiet room. Xi Que was unexpectedly jolted, startled and discontented. She said, “Young miss, you must not knock my head again! You’ll knock me completely stupid!”
Su Tang giggled. “You’re already stupid enough, can’t get any stupider.”
Shao Yao heard these words and with great difficulty resisted letting out a laugh. Xi Que saw that her own family’s young miss embarrassed her in front of other people. She snorted, “I am not stupid! Young miss, you’re the one who’s stupid!”
“Where is this young miss stupid?” Su Tang said laughing.
Xi Que raised up a meaty chin, said, “Young miss, actually you’re fond of guye!”
“Where am I fond of him?” Su Tang said, staring in anger.
Xi Que curled her lip, “Just now, I accidentally heard you talking with guye. Young miss, don’t blame me, I didn’t say it. You were jealous!”
Jealous? Her heart jumped. Su Tang looked at Xi Que and saw that her face was completely earnest, but didn’t say anything.
Jealous? Because cold noodles weighs Xuan Zi more heavily (in his heart) than herself, and as a result indignant? A shiver hit Su Tang. She isn’t jealous, envious of a small child. If so, she’d be embarrassed and her family completely humiliated along with her! She is not a person without generosity!
Su Tang lowered her head and looked at her own chest, deeply considering….you see, how full, how expansive, how is it possible to not be magnanimous, broadminded ?
In a flash she poked Xi Que’s forehead. Su Tang said, “You, superficial, just superficial. Why insist on having other people look on! Your family’s young miss deals with matters based on the merits, makes clear distinctions between right and wrong in safeguarding her own interests, and is not jealous of a small child!”
Xi Que palm-faced and muttered to herself, “Leaving aside what you said, then why do you appear flustered and exasperated?”
“Where am I flustered and exasperated, merely off kilter!”
“That’s right. If you aren’t fond of guye, then why off kilter? Shao Yao, what do you say?” After Xi Que finished speaking, she hurriedly hauled in an ally.
Although Shao Yao saw this master and servant pair chatting quite a few times, she herself didn’t actually dare go beyond the boundaries. Now unexpectedly seeing Xi Que ask her, as well as shao furen looking at her again seemingly waiting for an answer, she couldn’t help but flush with embarrassment. “Nubi, nubi, nubi also feels that shao furen is expected as a matter of course to like shaoye ….”
Although the question was sidestepped, Su Tang still succeeded in having a fit. She likes cold noodles?! What a joke!
However, kindness, snort. She is not wasting time explaining to this superficial pair!
Seeing Su Tang increase her walking pace, Xi Que shook her head and heaved a sigh. “Why say those words. Isn’t it merely yourself being unable to see what other people clearly see?”
“The spectators objectively see the game, unlike those who are actively involved.”
“Uh, uh, this is a, Shao Yao you really are a scholar!” Xi Que said, her face grinning from ear to ear.
The sacred room was in the rear of He Xi courtyard. The room wasn’t large but very crude and simple. Soon after Su Tang entered in the door, she saw Xuan Zi very erectly kneeling on the prayer mat, directly facing a bare wall.
Hearing people’s voices, Xuan Zi’s pair of eyes which were hung low, jolted. But he didn’t turn his head around until a person squatted by his side. He turned his eyes sideways, eyes stared in askance.
Was somewhat startled.
Su Tang moved her head closer, and whispered, “Xiao Xuan Zi, are you hungry?”
Xuan Zi didn’t utter a sound.
Su Tang revealed a large sleeve with a small snack box hidden inside, and slightly lifted the lid. Immediately, strong sweet fragrant aromas assailed the nose.
Xuan Zi swallowed saliva, twisted his head around and continued to look at the wall. He replied, “I’m not hungry!”
Just as he finished speaking these words, noises immediately came from his stomach. A spell of drum beating.
Su Tang drew herself to the side of the prayer mat and sat down. She continued to urge him saying, “It doesn’t matter, nobody will know. Feeling starved is very difficult.” Speaking, she already took out the snack box, completely opened the lid, and passed it to the front of Xuan Zi.
Whoa, the luster of brightly colored stir-fried pork, the seductive aroma of bamboo shoots and braised mushrooms, tasty tender sticky rice, boned roast duck stuffed with diced meat, also assorted sweet and sour pickles, and on top of that an accompanying small bowl of sweet-smelling cooked rice…. The noise of Xuan Zi’s stomach became terrible, and the flow of his saliva became more terrible.
But he pursed tight the lips on his small mouth, pushed away the food box and said, “Great-grandmother said I cannot eat supper.” Afraid of not being able to stand the enticement, Xuan Zi straightforwardly closed his eyes.
Su Tang couldn’t help but express her approval. Good little kid, ample self-control! Back in those early years when dad punished her with not eating, older 2nd sister snuck 2 steamed buns. Su Tang without the least hesitation snatched and nibbled.
“You really won’t eat? The night will be long and go slowly.” As before, Su Tang wasn’t giving up.
Xuan Zi was drooling, and just shook his head in reply.
“Ok then!” Su Tang stood up, “Grandma said you couldn’t eat rice. I understand. I’ll go now. Wait for me.”
Xuan Zi looked at the leaving woman carrying away the food box. His little mouth deflated ….he was really hungry!
Su Tang left using quick strides and went to the kitchen. The very elderly maid servants’ hearts all pounded on seeing her enter.
Su Tang didn’t waste words and directly asked, “Is there sweet rice flour, sesame, and sweet red bean paste? ….very good. Uh, what about minced meat, not bad, not bad. That spinach over yonder, put it in boiling water boil for me….”
By the time everything was all prepared, the water in the steam pot was boiling. Su Tang pulled up her sleeves, cleaned her hands and soon afterwards began to bustle about. Mixing, stuffing, kneading flour, rolling and binding up wrappers, pressing creases….the work processes like floating clouds and flowing water, smooth and extremely easy. The crowd of people watching on were all dumbstruck.
Soon afterwards, not more than a quarter hour, a few piping hot pastries came out from the stove.
Su Tang selected several to put into snack box. After that she said to the crowd of people, “You can eat what’s leftover.”
Waiting until after Su Tang had gone, a bold servant girl on the side seized a green colored small dumpling, and softly bit into it. At once, endless flavor dispersed inside her mouth.
“Whoa, too delicious!” A nicely suprized look was on the maid servant’s entire face.
Su Tang faintly heard a voice cry out in surprise and turned her head to glance. She couldn’t help pursing her lips in a complete smile.
Tasty, definitely delicious, that one which the maid servant grabbed was a wrapper of sweet rice flour mixed with spinach juice, the inside filling a paste of minced meat mixed with bamboo shoot and additionally a little chicken broth. Ha ha, that was her hands very skilled artistry!”
Xuan Zi was already famished to the point that his chest stuck to his back. He ran a long time which made him both tired and hungry. At this moment his little head was drooping, his eyelids were drooping, and he was quickly falling fast asleep. Unexpectedly he heard the sound of the door being pushed open. His body jolted and without losing time he again straightened his back. He saw Su Tang sit down on the side, and in her hand as before a snack box. His eyebrows wrinkled as he respectfully said, “You shouldn’t tempt me again. I will not eat rice .”
Su Tang uncovered the box and smiling said, “Who said this is rice?”
Xuan Zi’s drooping pupils looked, and merely saw 8 pastries arranged in a snack box. 2 were white, moulded into the shape of little rabbits. 2 were sprinkled with sesame, shaped into a model of small bags. And 2 contrasting green color round dumplings, nevertheless their translucent glittering color was too fascinating. Furthermore there were 2 light yellow colored, lively adorable small ducklings.
Su Tang saw his eyes betray a gleam. She hastily said, “You see, grandma said you couldn’t eat rice but didn’t say you couldn’t eat pastries. We won’t be counted as being disobedient, right? Come, eat.”
As Su Tang’s mouth coaxed, a drum pounded inside her heart… does this count as false reasoning?
Xuan Zi’s innermost being generally acknowledged the contradiction of selfish sinister desires and righteousness clashing in people’s hearts. She spoke the truth. Great-grandmother said he could not eat rice, but didn’t say he couldn’t eat pastries. Then (if) he ate one, great-grandmother wouldn’t be angry.
Xuan Zi cast a casual glance at the food container, retracted his line of vision, glimpsed again, and paused again.
Su Tang patiently held a smile. She knew at this moment that the heart of this small brat was entangled, muddled, completely in shambles. It was quite obvious that he was already wavering, then now have to vigorously adjust the expectation!
Su Tang picked up a round dumpling and softly took a bite, the inside sesame filling spilled out, aroma wafted about. Su Tang sucked a bit, the taste spread in her mouth. The aftertaste lingering, she said, “Good fragrance, nicely sweet, good sticky rice. Go ahead and eat.”
Xuan Zi’s saliva quickly turned into a waterfall!
Su Tang intentionally did not look at him and just continued to eat. When free, she still responded evasively, “If you won’t eat, then I’ll eat them all.”
Xuan Zi’s helplessly watched as she got rid of a duckling, and again got rid of a small white rabbit. He was worried now. He most liked these 2 here inside (the box). Why didn’t she eat the others!
Su Tang was again facing the remaining small white rabbit. By the time she started to use her hand to take it, Xuan Zi finally couldn’t bear it. “You, you, you eat that sesame one, ok!”
Speaking hastily, he put the remaining small white rabbit in his hand.
Su Tang narrowed her eyes and smiled, proud of herself. Taking advantage of the opportunity, she said in a low voice, “There are mashed lotus seeds inside. I heard people say that this is your most favorite filling.”
Xuan Zi pursed his small mouth….and didn’t purse it again. Saliva flowing out, he fiddled with the small bunny rabbit’s ear with his hand, somewhat embarrassed. This is cute. Is eating it alright or not.
Su Tang made out his thoughts. Using a dirty trick, she said, “If you’re not eating then give it to me. I’m starving.” Speaking, she assumed the posture of wanting to snatch it.
Upon seeing this, Xuan Zi anxiously stuffed the small white rabbit into his mouth. He ruthlessly bit a piece and afterwards muttered, “I already bit it.” You cannot steal it now.