Transmigrator Meets Reincarnator
Chapter 204: Winner (2)
This chapter has been stolen from volarenovels. Please read from the original source!
Lady Pan stared after Chu Lian's figure in disbelief. By the time she managed to regain her senses, Chu Lian had already disappeared into the crowd. Lady Pan’s good mood was completely destroyed by this one short conversation. In her frustration, she shot a look of contempt at Madam Zou before she left, not forgetting one last action to show her vexation.
When the madams around them saw that it wasn't House Jing'an's Eldest Young Madam who was to present the round cakes, there were a bunch of strange looks directed towards Madam Zou. Madam Zou immediately felt the urge to dig a hole and hide in it.
By the time Chu Lian had properly presented her round cakes and returned to Matriarch He's side, Royal Princess Duanjia had squeezed in beside her. She leaned close enough to whisper in Chu Lian's ear and asked if she needed any help.
Chu Lian smiled and shook her head, telling her that everything was fine.
Royal Princess Duanjia's expression relaxed and she gave her a nod before leaving.
The banquet was about to begin, and the judging of the round cakes would occur at the end. Royal Princess Duanjia was part of Prince Wei's estate, so she wasn't going to be seated with Chu Lian's group.
By the time all the female guests were seated, the banquet officially started.
Royal Princess Duanjia was sitting with Princess Wei, closer to the imperial family. At the top sat the Empress Dowager and the Empress. Imperial Concubine Wei was seated below the Empress, while a few old concubines of the previous Emperor were seated below the Empress Dowager.
Princess Wei was ranked below the various concubines, so she was seated with the wives of the other princes. Royal Princess Duanjia was at the table next to hers, where all the princesses were seated. Imperial Princess Leyao was placed diagonally across from Royal Princess Duanjia.
Chu Lian was sitting beside Matriarch He, with other noble madams of the same rank. There was one more seat reserved for House Ying's matriarch here, but House Ying's matriarch hadn't come, seemingly due to health issues.
Other than their matriarch, none of the madams of House Ying were qualified to enter the banquet. Thus, Chu Lian didn't see anyone from House Ying here in Ninghe Palace.
When Chu Lian turned to look at Empress Shen, who was giving a speech, she felt a gaze burning like coals on her. She followed the sensation, only to meet with Imperial Princess Leyao's eyes.
Imperial Princess Leyao was so angry that her little hands were curled into fists. She had never suffered a setback like that before!
With her high and mighty status, if she wanted to teach anyone a lesson, she would be able to do so without any restraint. Even if they died in the process, no one would be able to touch her. Now, all she had been trying to do was make trouble for Brother He's annoying wife. However, she kept failing to do so! She was able to accept it back at the Dingyuan Estate, as that hadn’t been in her territory, but here? In the palace? She should’ve been able to get Chu Lian in trouble by now, but all her schemes were still failing spectacularly! How could she not be angry?
If she could, Imperial Princess Leyao would kill Chu Lian on the spot to relieve this hatred within her.
Chu Lian's gaze swept over Imperial Princess Leyao once before she shifted her eyes elsewhere, as if she hadn't seen that burning hatred in the princess' eyes.
Chu Lian performed perfectly at the banquet, doing everything as customary. She didn't attract anyone's attention nor did she flout any rules of etiquette. She was just waiting for the banquet to end so she could go home to Songtao Court, have a nice hot bath, and then fall in bed for a good night's sleep.
In the later half of the banquet, it was finally time for the round cakes to be judged. Each estate’s round cakes were placed in similar silver trays. The top ten ranked noble madams and imperial family members would then taste each one before choosing a winner.
From her conversation with Royal Princess Duanjia earlier, Chu Lian knew that this competition wasn't as fair as most people would think. The 'round cakes' that she had submitted were also a little different from most, so she wasn't too worried about being chosen as the winner. She just sat calmly and ate while watching the show.
Although the food of this imperial banquet wasn't too tasty, the fruits offered after the main meal were delicious. They were serving dragonfruits and mangosteens that were part of the tributes from the western regions. They never had a chance to taste these in the Jing'an Estate. It was unexpected that the Empress Dowager would bring these rare fruits out for her guests at this banquet.
The round cake competition was at its peak when the eunuch guarding the entrance at Ninghe Palace suddenly announced, "The Emperor has arrived!"
Normally, the Emperor wouldn't come to Ninghe Palace. In previous years, it had always been either the Empress Dowager or the Empress hosting banquets like this. Their guests would also be the ladies of the noble houses. In the past two years, the Chengping Emperor had never come to grace the Mid-Autumn Banquet. However, since he was here now, the crowd was naturally happy to see him. They didn't have many chances to peek at the face of the almighty Emperor on normal days.
The Chengping Emperor had come over purely for a change of pace after a long stretch of boredom in his imperial study. He hadn't arranged this visit in advance.
He happened to chance upon the judging of the round cakes, so he joined the judges since he was in a good mood.
The banquet became even livelier after the arrival of the Emperor. In a short moment, the judging was over. The scroll with the results of the competition was passed to one of the court ladies who served in the Empress Dowager's palace.
The Chengping Emperor was seated next to the Empress Dowager as he chatted warmly with her, all the while listening to the court lady announce the winner of this year's round cake competition.
The announcer's voice was bright and clear, covering the entire hall in an instant.
The madams seated at the same table as Lady Pan were already smiling and congratulating her in low voices, without waiting for the announcer to finish speaking. Lady Pan was also full of pleasant smiles upon receiving their congratulations; a nice warmth settled in her heart.
The announcer's voice rang out in the hall, declaring, "After the judges' appraisal, the winner of this year's competition is House Jing'an..."
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