Ninth Imperial Glorious Phoenix Chapter 8

Chapter 8: The Wet Nurse

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During this period, Mingzhu had restless sleep and was easily startled awake. Whenever Su Lan saw her asleep, she gently placed Mingzhu’s feet on a silk cushion and covered her with a thin blanket.

Geng Momo peeked through the curtains and, seeing Mingzhu asleep, gestured for Su Lan to leave. Su Lan quickly waved for another maid, Su Mei, to watch over Mingzhu, then quietly exited with Geng Momo to the winding walkway. “What instructions do you have, Momo?” she asked softly.

Geng Momo sternly scolded Su Lan, not showing any mercy, “I didn’t want to say anything to you earlier, but you’ve been serving Miss for many years, how could you not understand what’s urgent and what’s not? Miss went out quietly at night, and all you did was follow her without thinking to send someone to inform me. Luckily, there are no villains in these mountains. Otherwise, if something happened, it wouldn’t be enough to punish just you!” She used to be Madam Fu’s personal maid and later married a steward, taking care of Mingzhu as her wet nurse until she was sixteen. Of course, she had Madam Fu’s complete trust and face. Being a stern person, she wouldn’t let Su Lan off easily given such an opportunity.

Su Lan blushed with shame and pleaded nervously, “I was in a hurry and didn’t think of it. I was wrong, please understand Momo, don’t let Madam Fu know.”

“Whether Madam Fu knows or not is not up to you,” Geng Momo glared at her. “Where did the others go? Why were you the only one on night duty?”

Su Lan whispered, “Momo, you know, since Miss had a nightmare and woke up, she hasn’t been very stable. She often talks nonsense at night and is easily startled. She dislikes having too many people around and is only happy when everyone is gone, not even allowing anyone from outside. It took a lot of effort for me to stay outside and serve her.”

In fact, Mingzhu had secrets to hide and was afraid of revealing them in her sleep. She wouldn’t allow anyone to attend to her while she slept, but they didn’t know that and thought it was just her temper. Geng Momo had no choice but to sigh and said anxiously, “Is that shoe really lost by Miss herself? Wasn’t there another one on the winding walkway? We sent someone to search just now, but couldn’t find it. It’s Miss’s personal belonging. If someone picks it up and makes a fuss, what should we do? Madam Fu entrusted her to me. How can I explain this to her?”

Of course, the shoe wasn’t lost by Miss herself; it had something to do with Yuwen Chu. The first one had fallen into the abyss and couldn’t be found, and as for the second one, Su Lan nervously recalled but couldn’t remember if it had been knocked off the cliff by Zhang Huan, the imperial bodyguard from the Ying Wang Mansion.

Seeing this, Geng Momo pinched Su Lan’s arm and twisted her flesh, scolding her through gritted teeth, “You useless girl, why don’t you know anything?”

Su Lan winced in pain, bowing her head and pleading softly. Geng Momo knew she probably wasn’t telling the truth, so she threatened harshly, “I know you’re loyal to Miss, but you must understand what’s urgent. If this matter isn’t handled properly, we’ll both end up dead. Why don’t you speak up now? Do you want me to report to Madam Fu, have you punished, and implicate your parents?”

“It was Miss who accidentally dropped it while dancing on the winding walkway…” Su Lan stammered but refused to tell the truth. Geng Momo continued to press her relentlessly, and as they argued, Su Mei walked out and said, “Miss is awake, she wants all of you to go in now.”

Mingzhu was in a bad mood when she woke up. When she got agitated, even the Prime Minister couple couldn’t control her. Geng Momo guessed that the two of them had woken her up, so no matter how they tried to please her when they went in, they couldn’t get a good response. Geng Momo blamed Su Lan, “You stubborn girl, if you had told the truth earlier, Miss wouldn’t have been awakened. It’s all because of your lack of understanding. Do you need me to teach you how to respond when you go in?”

Su Lan remained silent, only bowing her head and giving a respectful salute to Mingzhu when she entered, saying with a smile, “Miss, you are awake?”

Mingzhu leaned lazily on the recliner, staring out of the window at the greenery, lost in thought, ignoring Su Lan’s words. With her back to Geng Momo, she coldly said, “I forbade her from speaking. Momo, why don’t you say it? Should she listen to you or to me?” 

Was there even a need to ask? She was the mistress of all these people, so of course they should listen to her. Geng Momo’s face turned red with embarrassment when Mingzhu challenged her authority in front of the maidservants. She choked up and was about to kneel down to kowtow to Mingzhu, “This old servant was confused. I only remember when Madam entrusted Miss to this old servant when she was just a little girl. This old servant always remembered to treat Miss as my own child…” Geng Momo glanced at Mingzhu and saw her indifferent expression, just gazing out of the window as before, not rushing to assist her as she used to. Geng Momo continued to act, prostrating herself on the ground and crying sadly, “I was too worried and lost my sense of propriety. I thought it was just Su Lan and the others being ignorant, instigating Miss to do wrong things. It was all for Miss’s own good…”

Mingzhu interrupted Geng Momo’s words calmly, “You don’t need to keep mentioning your merits, Geng Momo. I’ve always remembered your kindness. Over these years, you’ve taken care of me as I grew up. Now that I’m grown, I can’t bear to let you continue to toil day and night for me. When I return this time, I will inform my mother and find a good house for you to retire in peace.”

Was she about to be kicked out? Geng Momo was shocked and overwhelmed with shame, covering her face and bursting into tears, “Being able to raise Miss is my honor. How dare I mention any kindness? If I didn’t serve Miss well and earned her displeasure, I wouldn’t have the face to retire. Please, Miss, take back your decision.”

Su Lan and the others hadn’t expected Mingzhu to be so upset this time. Afraid of retaliation from Geng Momo later, Su Lan quickly stepped forward to plead for her. Only then did Mingzhu say, “I’m grown up now, and I know what I should do. Don’t treat me like a clueless child anymore. What happens in my room is my decision. Is that clear to everyone?”

Geng Momo fell silent, not daring to speak out or make a fuss. She simply shed silent tears. Mingzhu glanced at her calmly and said, “Help Geng Momo up.” But she didn’t offer her a seat.

Su Lan and Su Mei exchanged glances, understanding that Mingzhu was asserting her authority over Geng Momo. They obediently helped Geng Momo up, without saying a word.

“You may rest, Geng Momo. You’ve been looking for me all night, and you must be tired. You don’t need to come to serve me in the coming days.” Mingzhu stood up and gestured for Su Lan and the others to come forward and help her change and freshen up.

Previously, Geng Momo had always held face in front of Mingzhu, almost like a second mistress. Suddenly, she was struck by this blow and naturally felt aggrieved. She only thought that Su Lan and the others had spoken ill of her in front of Mingzhu. She stood there, refusing to leave, crying, “Why does Miss suddenly detest me so? I really can’t live with this disgrace.”

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