Chapter 243: Madam, the Lord Called You Home for Dinner
“Little Shangshu!” When Xia Yuqing and the others saw the person who suddenly appeared, they were startled, and their surprise grew even more when they saw several people following behind Shao Zitang.
“Your Majesty, Prime Minister, why are you here too?” Xia Yuqing hurriedly got up and rushed towards them, filled with joy and asked.
Feng Tingye reached out and rubbed Xia Yuqing’s slightly disheveled hair, smiling faintly, “Wasn’t it you who anxiously sent Lu Rui to find me? Seeing how anxious Lu Rui was, I figured you must have come as well, so I came with Zitang.”
Xia Yuqing nodded, feeling relieved. “Finally caught up. Emperor, Little Shangshu and Miss Yan…”
Just as Xia Yuqing was about to ask for Feng Tingye’s help, he preemptively covered her mouth.
“Hush, this is Zitang’s family affair. It’s best for us to stay out of it.”
“…” Ultra Seme Lord, what are you doing here? Are you just here to watch the show?
Feng Tingye seemed to sense Xia Yuqing’s helplessness and the corners of his lips curved even deeper. “Don’t worry, Zitang can handle it. Nothing will happen.”
Really? Xia Yuqing turned her head and glanced at the mother and son who were already confronting each other, her lips twitched, thinking to herself, with such a fierce mother, it probably won’t be that simple!
Shao Zitang, under the gaze of everyone, walked towards Yan Tingfang. Ignoring Madam Shao’s cold stare, he reached out his hand to pull Yan Tingfang up.
Yan Tingfang looked up blankly at the hand extended before her, for a moment unsure how to react.
Impatience flashed across Shao Zitang’s expression when he saw her like this. “Give me your hand.”
Only then did Yan Tingfang snap back to reality. By the time she reacted, she had already stood up from the ground with the help of Shao Zitang’s pull. Even after she was pulled up, their hands remained tightly clasped. It seemed that someone… had no intention of letting go so easily.
“Shao Gongzi…” Yan Tingfang was about to remind Shao Zitang to let go of her hand when she was abruptly interrupted by his harsh voice. “Shut up!”
Yan Tingfang was taken aback and could sense that Shao Zitang was in a bad mood. She pursed her lips and remained silent.
Madam Shao narrowed her eyes and watched their interaction. She coldly exclaimed, “Zitang, what are you doing?”
Fearlessly, Shao Zitang lifted his head to look at Madam Shao and calmly replied, “As mother sees it.”
Madam Shao’s face darkened at his words. She reached out and slammed the nearby table, causing it to break into several pieces with a loud crash.
Everyone present, including Xia Yuqing, was startled by the sudden outburst.
After a moment of shock, Xia Yuqing widened her eyes in disbelief as she looked at the elegant Madam Shao. Can someone please tell me why Madam Shao, who is supposed to be a refined lady from a prestigious family, suddenly exudes such a domineering and tomboyish aura? Is this world turning into a fantasy again?
In contrast to Xia Yuqing’s astonishment, Shao Zitang, who was at the center of the storm, remained unusually calm, as if he had long been accustomed to such situations.
“She is a courtesan from a brothel!” Madam Shao said with a stern face, filled with anger.
Shao Zitang could clearly feel the coldness emanating from Yan Tingfang’s hand in his palm. He couldn’t help but tighten his grip, resolute as he said, “I knew it from the beginning!”
“Since you know…”
“I love her. I love her to the extent that I want to marry her and spend my life with her. That kind of love. So, I know everything about her, and she has never thought of hiding anything from me.”
Yan Tingfang widened her eyes in disbelief and looked at Shao Zitang. Ever since she had voluntarily left Shu Kingdom and expressed her feelings to Shao Zitang, he had never explicitly shown his true feelings towards her, leaving her to believe that she was merely wishful thinking. Now… is this sympathy or genuine affection?
“If you knew, then why…?”
“I said it before. I love her. It’s the kind of love that father has for you, mother. I want to marry her. Her past may not be honorable in your eyes, but that’s because she hadn’t met me back then. Otherwise, I would never let her experience such things. Now, all I want is to treat her well. I hope you can forgive us and support our relationship.”
“Oh my god! Little Shangshu really surprises us when he speaks up! I used to think he didn’t care about anything, always acting indifferent. But now, he’s spouting sweet words and making solemn vows. Tsk tsk… He’s just like the Prime Minister, pretending to be one thing while hiding another. Such a two-faced recluse!”
As soon as Xia Yuqing heard Shao Zitang express his love for Yan Tingfang, she felt relieved and walked over to Feng Tingye. She sat on his lap and started cracking melon seeds while watching the drama unfold. Occasionally, she couldn’t help but sigh with emotion.
Lu Rui, Yun Xi and the others, who were standing beside her, looked at her comfortable and contented expression. They couldn’t see any trace of the panic they had witnessed earlier. Indeed, having someone to rely on made a huge difference. But, Emperor and Empress, is it really appropriate for you two to openly display your affection and watch the drama unfold as if no one else is here? The atmosphere on the other side is so tense that they’re about to start fighting! Are you intentionally blinding us, you D*mn lovebirds?
Leng Ruofeng, who unexpectedly became the target of the conversation, furrowed his eyebrows and pondered seriously with a solemn expression. What does “two-faced recluse” mean? But he did understand the part about being inconsistent. Is he… inconsistent?
“Support?” Madam Shao sneered, staring at Shao Zitang’s brows and eyes. She squinted and said, “Zitang, the Shao family cannot tolerate a woman from the red-light district as the mistress of the house. If you really want to start a family, I can find another woman for you who possesses both beauty and a suitable background…”
Shao Zitang looked at Madam Shao’s fierce expression and chuckled. There was a hint of mockery between his eyebrows and eyes. “Unfortunately, mother, I’m afraid you will be disappointed this time.”
Shao Zitang embraced Yan Tingfang and his gaze turned icy. “I want no one but her. If you can’t accept her, it’s fine. I won’t force you. I’ll just keep delaying the matter with you. In the end, you’ll never have a daughter-in-law or grandchildren.”
“You!” Madam Shao wanted to slam the table, but she realized that the table had already been shattered by her previous outburst. There were no more tables nearby for her to vent her frustration.
She silently withdrew her hand, trying to hide any evidence of her anger. Then, she put on a nonchalant expression and said, “Zitang, are you really going to defy your mother for the sake of this servant girl?”
“I didn’t intend to defy you, mother, but there are some things I cannot back down from. I’ve finally set my heart on her. Mother, why do you have to come between us and ruin our relationship?”
Shao Zitang stood his ground, refusing to back down. He looked at Madam Shao with unwavering determination. Madam Shao didn’t respond, but narrowed her eyes and stared at Shao Zitang intently. The atmosphere between the mother and son instantly became tense.
Those around them could almost smell the faint scent of gunpowder lingering in the air.
Xia Yuqing dropped the melon seed shells in her hand, watching this extremely tense scene with trepidation. Yan Tingfang also unconsciously tightened the hand that was holding Shao Zitang’s hand, his face showing evident concern.
Just when everyone thought Madam Shao was about to lose her temper, they heard her coldly snort and say, “So, Zitang, you don’t accept your mother’s arrangement, is that it? Fine, as per the old rules, let the family discipline handle it.”
“!” Family discipline? Could it be that they are going to throw the rebellious son and Miss Yan into a pig cage together? Or are they going to seize them both and administer hundreds of lashes? Regardless of which punishment it might be, once the family discipline is invoked, these two will truly become a pair of unfortunate mandarin ducks reporting to the King of H*ll!
Xia Yuqing’s face changed slightly, and she hurriedly grabbed Feng Tingye’s sleeve, hoping he could help. However, Feng Tingye remained seated and unmoved, and he even took the opportunity to grab her unruly hand and held her still, preventing her from moving.
“Be good, don’t move. The real show has just begun,” he whispered.
“…” Show? What kind of drama is this if they have to resort to family discipline? Do they have to wait until they beat each other to a pulp before they make a move to collect their bodies?!
Although Xia Yuqing felt a bit gloomy, she still followed Feng Tingye’s words and quieted down to watch how things unfolded. She always felt that the person behind her seemed to know something and deliberately kept it from her.
On the other side, when Shao Zitang heard Madam Shao mention family discipline, his eyebrows raised, and instead of showing any fear, he appeared somewhat happy.
“Are you really going to resort to family discipline?”
Madam Shao replied impatiently, “It’s necessary.”
“What if I win, Mother?”
“If you win, Mother will accept this girl into the Shao family.”
Yan Tingfang suddenly paused and looked at Madam Shao in astonishment. Before she could say anything, Madam Shao added, “But if you lose, you will have to drive this girl out of our house and never see her again.”
Shao Zitang’s face darkened slightly. He tightened his grip on Yan Tingfang’s hand and a hint of determination flickered in his eyes. “It’s a deal.”
“Why can’t I understand a word they’re saying? Wasn’t it supposed to be about family discipline? Why did it suddenly turn into a win-or-lose showdown? What are they trying to do?” Xia Yuqing looked puzzled at the sudden change in the situation. This sudden shift in tone and plot twist, is she dreaming in broad daylight with a confused mind?
Feng Tingye lightly smiled as he pinched her bewildered little face and chuckled. “It’s nothing. It’s a tradition in the Shao family. When someone defies the head of the family, they settle it through a martial arts contest. Whoever wins gets to make the decisions. It’s simple, straightforward, and decisive.”
“Why do they look like they’re joking around instead of resorting to family discipline?!” Xia Yuqing couldn’t help but grab Feng Tingye’s collar and complained loudly.
Feng Tingye didn’t pay much attention and wrapped her hand in his own innocently. He smiled and said, “Didn’t I tell you? The Shao family’s family discipline is about settling disagreements with a fight. Whoever wins gets to call the shots. It’s simple, rough, and straightforward, isn’t it?”
“…” D*mn, are you f*cking with me?! How can there be such a ridiculous family discipline in this world? And isn’t the Shao family known for their scholarly background and noble lineage? From the beginning, she wanted to say that Madam Shao, as a young lady from a prestigious family, should be dignified and elegant, or delicate and graceful, or a refined young lady. Why does she keep slamming the table and wanting to fight all the time? This is not logical!
As it turned out, such ridiculous things do happen in this world, and Xia Yuqing finally reacted as several people stood in the backyard of Shao Zitang’s residence, facing the competition platform.
“…” Why does the home of a civil official like the little Shangshu have such a large combat arena? Shouldn’t this kind of thing only exist in the homes of military generals like General He, who have fought on the battlefield and shed blood? Wait, no, they did mention earlier that the little Shangshu did want to become a military general in the past, but due to certain physical obstacles that could not be overcome, he had no choice but to give up.
But now, those are not the main points. The main point is… who is that woman standing opposite Shao Zitang on the stage, wearing a clean and neat equestrian attire, exuding a heroic aura, and looking eager to try?
“Your Majesty, is Madam Shao really planning to personally challenge little Shangshu? Does Madam Shao really have martial arts skills? LLittle Shangshu’s martial arts are so powerful, won’t something… go wrong if Madam Shao fights him?” Xia Yuqing looked at the strange mother and son confronting each other on the stage, and her mouth involuntarily twitched.
Although she had just witnessed Madam Shao’s outburst and knew that she might be skilled in martial arts, seeing a noble and elegant lady transform into a domineering figure from the martial world gave her a feeling of being in the wrong theater! What happened to the grace and elegance? What happened to the delicate temperament? What happened to the refined young lady? Gentlemen, please stick to the script! Most importantly, little Shangshu and Madam Shao are mother and son. If they fight like this, what if Madam Shao gets injured? Wouldn’t little Shangshu be to blame?
Feng Tingye listened to Xia Yuqing’s series of questions and couldn’t help but chuckle innocently. He said, “Ai Fei, didn’t I tell you?”
“What?” Xia Yuqing instinctively shivered all over, a bad premonition rising within her. The last thing she wanted to hear right now was this sentence. Every time she heard this sentence, she would inevitably learn a shocking truth. Nowadays, this sentence in her heart is equivalent to the dreaded “but” that most people are extremely reluctant to hear!
“Madam Shao comes from a martial arts family. Her father was the revered leader of the martial arts world, and her mother was the younger sister of the former leader of the demonic sect. Madam Shao has been practicing martial arts with her father since she was young. Although she is a woman, she is also one of the top martial arts experts in the martial arts world. Very few people can match her, so Ai Fei can rest assured.”
“… Your Majesty, you never told me about this.” Rest assured… How can I rest assured? Madam Shao turns out to be such a powerful martial artist. She should be more worried! What if little Shangshu loses? Are you really going to let Madam Shao drive Miss Yan away?
“Is that so? Perhaps I have been too busy lately and momentarily forgot.”
“…” You can forget such an important thing? You’re clearly messing with me!
“… You told me before that little Shangshu’s parents are from prominent families, so they have conservative and outdated thinking. How come now there’s suddenly a daughter of the leader of the martial arts world?” Xia Yuqing looked at Feng Tingye with an angry expression, her face clearly saying “You lied to me!”
Feng Tingye stared at Xia Yuqing’s indignant gaze with a smile that didn’t reach his eyes. He smirked slightly and said, “When did I tell you that Zitang’s parents are from prominent families? I remember I only mentioned that Zitang’s parents are more conservative.”
“But you clearly said that after Old Madam Shao passed away, she took over as the head of the Shao family. I thought… I thought…”
“You thought that the person who could take over the Shao family must also be an heir of a prominent family?” Feng Tingye chuckled lightly, his eyes filled with mockery.
“…” Fine, I assumed too much! But, the Ultra Seme Lord, can you honestly say that you didn’t deliberately mislead my thoughts a little?!
Xia Yuqing disdainfully glanced at Feng Tingye and was about to shift her attention to the stage when suddenly she seemed to think of something. Her eyes widened, and she turned her head to ask, “Little Shangshu’s martial arts skills weren’t taught by Madam Shao, right?”
Feng Tingye grinned, revealing a set of white teeth that made Xia Yuqing involuntarily shrink her neck.
“No, Zitang’s martial arts skills were not taught by Shao Aunt. He was taught by his grandmother.”
“Grandmother?” Little Shangshu’s grandmother is Madam Shao’s mother, right? The younger sister of the former leader of the demonic sect?
“En, Aunt Shao’s martial arts were taught by her father. Her father and mother were childhood enemies, but somehow they developed feelings for each other while fighting. Although they eventually got married, they still held a grudge against each other and wanted to regain the upper hand through their children. Unfortunately, they only had one daughter in their entire lives, who inherited her father’s talent but not her mother’s. So Zitang’s grandmother set her sights on Zitang’s father. You know, there’s a saying that a son-in-law is like half a son. But Zitang’s father was not cut out for martial arts at all. Zitang’s grandmother had no choice but to pin all her hopes on Aunt Saho’s child, which is Zitang.”
“…” Can I say what a peculiar family they are?
Xia Yuqing was speechless for a moment and twitched the corner of her mouth as if she suddenly realized something. “So you mean the technique that little Shangshu initially practiced, which caused his growth to stop at the age of ten and then rapidly recovered to normalcy when he reached adulthood, was from his grandmother?”
Feng Tingye pondered for a moment and said with a deep voice, “According to his grandmother, that technique is the most proud supreme skill of the demonic sect. However, no one had succeeded in practicing it before Zitang. Ahem, mainly because each person who practiced that technique had different final transformations, and she couldn’t predict…”
“…” In other words, little Shangshu actually acted as an extremely miserable guinea pig? No one had succeeded in practicing it before, so who knows if little Shangshu’s current state is considered successful? Each person who practiced this technique had different final transformations? Who knows if little Shangshu’s abnormal shota-like appearance back then was a result of practicing the wrong technique and going astray? Isn’t this clearly setting him up for failure? Are you guys trying to play little Shangshu to death?
“Your Majesty, please don’t tell me that even the so-called family laws were created for the sake of competition between the mother and son?”
Feng Tingye glanced at her with a slightly raised eyebrow, his eyes clearly saying, “What do you think?”
“…” No wonder the Ultra Seme Lord wasn’t at all worried when he heard about the family laws earlier. Instead, he breathed a sigh of relief. It turns out he knew from the beginning! But Xia Yuqing could only respond with a “hehe” to this extraordinary family.
Lu Rui and Yun Xi looked at Xia Yuqing and Feng Tingye chatting casually as if nobody else was around, feeling speechless. Emperor and Empress, can’t you be a bit more anxious? Haven’t you noticed that the two people on the stage are about to start fighting?!
On the stage, the two confronted each other, surrounded by a terrifying aura. It’s hard to imagine that they are close relatives and not blood enemies.
“Little Tangtang, this is our 248th showdown. From childhood to now, you have never won against your mother. This time won’t be an exception. Be sensible and surrender now. As long as you follow your mother’s wishes and drive this girl away, swearing never to associate with her again, your mother will forgive and forget as if nothing happened. Otherwise, if you lose and cry, your mother won’t comfort you.” Madam Shao stood with her hands on her hips at the edge of the stage, chin raised, looking proud and arrogant as she spoke.
Yan Tingfang in the audience felt a sense of unease upon hearing her words and looked at Shao Zitang with worry.
However, Shao Zitang was not influenced in the slightest by her words. He met her gaze and sneered, “How could we pretend that nothing happened? Mother, those so-called 200+ showdowns were just trivial matters from many years ago, right? At that time, I was still a little child. I wouldn’t mention that you bullied the younger one, but you dare to boast about it now? It’s been over ten years, and I am no longer the little kid I used to be. You, on the other hand, are an old woman, yet you still dare to speak so arrogantly. Well, I suggest you prepare yourself to welcome your future daughter-in-law.”
“…” Xia Yuqing and the others silently watched the mother and son who were already exchanging barbs before the fight had even started. They finally understood where Shao Zitang inherited his merciless tongue.
“Are you indirectly saying that you despise your old mother?” Madam Shao’s face darkened, and she stared at Shao Zitang, almost spewing fire from her eyes.
Shao Zitang casually shrugged his shoulders. “I’m just stating the truth, Mother.”
“Fine, fine!” Madam Shao’s anger surged. She snorted coldly and laid down a harsh ultimatum, “If you lose today, you and this girl will both roll out of the manor and never come back. I don’t need such an unfilial son.”
“…” So, this is a century-long battle that started with a conflict between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law and has now escalated to a mother-son confrontation? Xia Yuqing couldn’t believe her eyes as she watched the intensifying battle on the stage. Her mouth twitched uncontrollably from the beginning.
After a fierce exchange of words, before Xia Yuqing and the others could even react, the mother and son were already entangled in a fight.
Shao Zitang’s spear in his hand was as sharp and ruthless as it was during his fight with Ji Miaoyan in the Black Wind Stronghold. With no mercy, he swung the spear in various complex patterns, resembling a splendid silver flower blooming before Xia Yuqing and the others. Amidst the fierceness, a chilling aura spread, magnificent and cruel.
Madam Shao didn’t back down either. She swung her fluid-like long sword with great speed, effortlessly countering Shao Zitang’s fierce attacks.
The two of them engaged in this stalemate, neither gaining the upper hand.
“Uh…” Xia Yuqing, an outsider watching the battle between experts, couldn’t see beyond the surface and could only vaguely make out the flashing blades and sword shadows. It was impossible to determine who had the advantage.
After observing for a while, Xia Yuqing couldn’t help but tug at Feng Tingye’s sleeve and asked in a low voice, “Your Majesty, they’re fighting so fast that my eyes can’t keep up. Who is currently in the lead? Does Little Shangshu have a chance to win?”
Feng Tingye’s gaze had been fixed on the two figures on the stage, but upon hearing Xia Yuqing’s question, he turned his head and glanced at her with a faint smile. “Zitang doesn’t want to hurt Aunt Shao, so he is somewhat hesitant.”
“Don’t worry. As Zitang said, although Madam Shao is skilled in martial arts, her age is a disadvantage. If we can delay the fight a bit longer, her fatigue will naturally reveal her vulnerabilities. By then…”
Xia Yuqing’s eyes suddenly brightened. “Your Majesty means…”
“Although he is trying to avoid harming Aunt Shao, Zitang may still have a chance to win.”
As Feng Tingye predicted, after a series of entanglements, Madam Shao suddenly charged towards Shao Zitang with her sword in hand. With a swift movement, she performed a sword dance in mid-air, aiming directly for Shao Zitang’s face.
However, Shao Zitang remained still, standing in place, waiting for Madam Shao to approach. At that moment, he made a slight movement with his feet and effortlessly evaded the sword coming towards him. At the same time, his spear in hand smoothly flipped, striking Madam Shao’s sword in a clean and precise manner. He forcefully sent her sword flying and, in an instant, the tip of his spear appeared a few centimeters from Madam Shao’s throat.
“Mother, you lost!”
Just as Xia Yuqing and the others thought the battle was over, they suddenly heard Madam Shao let out a soft laugh. “It will be a hundred years too early to think you’ve won. Take a look at the direction the sword flew.”
After Madam Shao’s words fell, Shao Zitang heard a cry from behind, “Sister Fang, be careful!”
Shao Zitang’s expression suddenly changed, disregarding everything else, he turned around and lunged towards Yan Tingfang’s direction.
With a crisp sound, in the nick of time, Shao Zitang once again sent the sword flying that was aimed straight at Yan Tingfang. Before he could catch his breath, Madam Shao seized the opportunity and kicked Shao Zitang in the chest, sending him flying. At the same time, she swiftly grabbed the sword that Shao Zitang had knocked away and thrust it down towards him from above.
Shao Zitang, caught off guard after being kicked by Madam Shao, felt a slight pain in his chest and fell to the ground. Before he could recover, Madam Shao launched an attack. He could only watch as the sword approached him.
“Little Shangshu (Lord Shangshu)!” Everyone nearby was startled witnessing this scene.
In an instant, they saw a shadow swiftly pass by, throwing itself onto Shao Zitang, intending to take the incoming sword with their own body.
Shao Zitang’s pupils suddenly contracted, hastily reaching out to pull the person into his embrace, and rolled on the ground…
With a crash, the sword forcefully pierced a few centimeters away from their faces.
Shao Zitang and Yan Tingfang were left in a disheveled state, panting slightly, their faces looking grim.
Xia Yuqing and the others breathed a sigh of relief. Thankfully, no one was injured!
“D*mn it, are you crazy? Just jumping out like that! Do you want to die?” Shao Zitang, as soon as he caught his breath, shouted lowly at the person in his arms. He resembled the furious anger he displayed when Yan Tingfang tried to help him by pouncing at him in the palace of Xia Kingdom.
At that moment, Yan Tingfang thought Shao Zitang felt that she was a hindrance, unable to be of any help and only slowing him down. It was only now that she realized he was expressing his concern in his own clumsy way. He had incorporated that subtle care into his scolding. This person was always so awkward. Just like when he was clearly furious with her for attempting to assassinate the Princess Chang, but after scolding her to tears, he hurriedly comforted her and gave her a long-lost warmth when she needed it most.
With these thoughts in mind, for some reason, Yan Tingfang’s eyes suddenly became a little hot, and she stared into Shao Zitang’s eyes, replying, “You’ve saved my life so many times, returning one life to you is nothing.”
Shao Zitang was stunned, reaching out and cupping Yan Tingfang’s face from both sides, he said, “Silly girl, I didn’t save you so many times for you to repay me like this. If I exchange so many lives for just one of yours, wouldn’t I be at a loss?”
Yan Tingfang was also taken aback, understanding the meaning behind Shao Zitang’s words. Her little face suddenly turned completely red.
The two of them were immersed in their deep affection, inextricably entwined, when a voice abruptly interrupted the atmosphere, dampening the mood. “Little Tangtang, you lost, do you remember what you promised mother just now?”
Shao Zitang and Yan Tingfang simultaneously looked up, meeting the gaze of Madam Shao, who was looking down on them from above.
Shao Zitang pursed his lips and chuckled, saying, “Later, this child will move out with her. I won’t be a hindrance in mother’s sight within the estate.”
Madam Shao did not respond, her face remained stern as she stared intently at Shao Zitang’s resolute expression.
Just as Xia Yuqing and the others anxiously watched the confrontation between the mother and son, thinking that Madam Shao was truly furious and prepared to break up this love match, a steady male voice suddenly came from outside, breaking the suffocating silence.
“Madam, please don’t play any longer. Be careful not to make these two children resent you in the future. I’ve already prepared your favorite diced fish head with chili and sweet and sour spare ribs. Let’s go back and have dinner first.”