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Chapter 52 – To Bring Under Control
The next morning, only An Zi Ran and Fu Wu Tian were at the quiet and clear dining table.
The An family did not have breakfast at a considerably late time, but for Wang Qing Lan and them to wake up at six a.m., especially during the cold early hours of the winter, it was practically impossible.
Translations by www.vmnovels.com
However, in order to find an opportunity to please An Chang Fu, Wang Qing Lan and them would get up early every morning and some would personally cook breakfast for him, but ever since the death of An Chang Fu, such a thing has never happened again. Even An Qiao E and An Ke Xin would often find excuses to eat in their rooms. An Zi Ran acquiesced to this behavior because he did not want to see their faces at the dining table.
Chef Wang put the reheated breakfast on the table.
The An family usually started to eat breakfast at seven a.m. But today An Zi Ran woke up late. When he appeared at the dining table, the breakfast was already cold.
As for the initiator, he sat very calmly next to An Zi Ran holding the eggs in the big bowl and began to peel the shells, so leisurely that it caused one to raise eyebrows.
Chef Wang was about to return to the kitchen to prepare breakfast for the women, but An Zi Ran suddenly shouted for him to stop.
Chef Wang took a moment before he realized that the young master was calling him. The young master had a terrible expression on his face, and he thought that he had done something wrong. His heart was very apprehensive. “Young Master, is there something else?”
An Zi Ran asked, “During the time that I was away, why were the food expenses for the family even higher? I don’t understand how this can happen when there was ten less people to feed.”
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Chef Wang thought that the young master suspected him of stealing from the food expenses and his legs were scared soft. He collapsed onto the cold floor and hurriedly explained, “Young Master, it was not me. I don’t have it. It was Concubine Fang and them who ordered me. And there was also the Eldest Miss and Second Miss.”
An Zi Ran calmly said, “Stand up and talk.”
Chef Wang saw that the young master looked calm and suddenly realized that he had overreacted. The young master did not suspect him. Most likely, he was going to take this up with the concubines. Thinking so, his words came out much smoother.
“Young Master, the day after you left, Concubine Zheng and Concubine Fang went to Su Zi to ask for money. Su Zi refused, saying that no one can ask for more money without your approval. In a fit of anger they beat Su Zi. Then later they said they were the masters of the house, and they had this servant cook chicken, duck, bird’s nest, and such for them. This servant refused, so Eldest Miss and Second Miss would come to cause trouble every day. This servant had no choice and finally can only cook it for them.”
Every so often the An family would send some servants to the markets to buy the ingredients needed to make their masters’ meals.
What the masters ate would naturally be the best. Even poultry like chickens and ducks were raised within the family and fed with high quality grains. Each one was tender and fat. The poultry sold outside couldn’t even measure up to two-thirds the quality of the An family poultry. However, the concubines and their daughters ate all these high-quality poultry in less than ten days.
Su Zi tried to stop them, but he was only a servant after all.
Fortunately, all the money spent within the family was recorded in ledgers that An Zi Ran revealed every night. Sooner or later, he would notice the excessive use of funds.
“Go and summon Su Zi.” An Zi Ran said calmly to Chef Wang.
Chef Wang licked his lips. He couldn’t tell if the young master was angry or not, but he knew that there would be a good show next, and that he should go out quickly.
When he left, only An Zi Ran and Fu Wu Tian were left in the room.
An Zi Ran looked down and saw two more peeled hard-boiled eggs in his bowl. After a moment of silence, he put an egg in Fu Wu Tian’s bowl. “This is for you. One is enough for me.” He was still dieting, and most of the fat in the egg was concentrated in the egg yolk. It was not advisable to eat more.
“Wang fei is so good to this prince,” Fu Wu Tian said with joy.
An Zi Ran became silent.
The two men finished their breakfast at a much faster speed than the women. After they ate, they moved into the great hall and arrived at the same time as Su Zi. When he heard that the young master wanted to see him, and that it was about the late master’s two concubines, he would have hurried over at once if his father hadn’t stopped him.
“Young Master, you called for me?”
An Zi Ran wasn’t very willing to eat the piece of pastry that Fu Wu Tian stuffed in his face. After eating it, he forgot to wipe his mouth, so Fu Wu Tian used his fingers to wipe the crumbs sticking to the corners of his lips.
Su Zi saw this scene just as he was coming in, and was stunned into silence.
An Zi Ran calmly pushed Fu Wu Tian away, picked up the ledgers on the table, and handed them to him. “The food money for Concubine Fang, Concubine Zheng, and their daughters have exceeded the limit this month. Deduct two months of allowance from them. You don’t have to give them any money on the first of the month. Furthermore, Concubine Fang had to replace some furniture in her room. Deduct another month of allowance. If they have any objections, have them come to me.”
“Yes, Young Master!”
It was hard to hide the excitement in Su Zi’s tone and expression. He couldn’t wait to see how their faces would change from this announcement. But what disappointed him was that Wang Qing Lan was very peaceful during the time when the young master was absent, so they couldn’t bring her under control this time.
An Zi Ran continued, “Also, tell Chef Wang that this month he won’t have to make any extravagant dishes for Concubine Fang, Concubine Zheng, and their daughters. Congee and salted vegetables will suffice.”
Su Zi gave an affirmative sound and left the great hall at mach speed.
An Zi Ran turned his head and saw Fu Wu Tian looking at him. Those black jewel-like eyes were like whirlpools sucking him in. He tried to resist, but couldn’t help saying, “What are you looking at?”
Fu Wu Tian took his hand and said with emotion, “Wang fei looks so good when he is being serious.”
An Zi Ran immediately pulled back his hand. He shouldn’t have asked.
After a while, there was a sudden loud noise from outside the hall. Fang Jun Ping and Zheng Bi came in with their daughters. Zheng Bi’s noisy voice could be heard before they even entered the hall.
“An Zi Ran. What is the meaning of this? What right do you have to deduct our monthly allowance?”
The four of them appeared in the great hall. They were so angry that their necks were bulging with fury. The way they glared at An Zi Ran, it was as if they wanted to swallow him with their eyes. An Qiao E and An Ke Xin were also there. They were not too distressed by the monthly allowance, because they didn’t get much money anyways. An Chang Fu had set the amount when he was alive.
The girls in the family rarely went out, and the cost of food and clothes were counted under a different budget. They didn’t get to spend much money every month. Although they felt that it was unfair, they saw that An Yu Zhi also got the same amount as they did.
What were really unbearable were the three meals.
It was easy to adapt from poor to rich, but it was hard to become frugal after becoming accustomed to luxury.
They were accustomed to having lavish meals with generous amounts of meat and fish every day. From eating and drinking well, how could they still eat congee and salted vegetables? Almost feeling nauseous from the food, they spat it out. An Ke Xin even knocked the bowls over on the spot.
“By the right that I am head of the family.”
The four met An Zi Ran’s indifferent eyes, and they all shuddered.
Lan Xiang Courtyard (Fragrant Orchid Courtyard)
Wang Qing Lan stood in the yard and looked at the beautiful scenery of budding spring. She heard the maidservants talking about the news of Fang Jun Ping and them going to seek An Zi Ran. She cheerfully curled the corners of her lips, revealing a smile of ecstasy.
They were a group of stupid women with no brains. She knew that An Zi Ran would definitely rectify them after returning. That’s why she didn’t act like them and take advantage of An Zi Ran’s absence to tyrannically abuse the servants.
If it weren’t for An Chang Fu dying early, she could’ve easily used her little tricks to eradicate these unsightly people, including Liu Mei Xiang.
Thinking of this, a shadow flashed across Wang Qing Lan’s eyes.
It was a shame, he died too early.
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