Transmigrator Meets Reincarnator
Chapter 207: A Request from Old Duchess Zheng (1)
This chapter has been stolen from volarenovels. Please read from the original source!
Since House Jing'an's round cakes had won the competition, Matriarch He was quickly surrounded by all the noble ladies who wanted to congratulate her on the win. The Empress Dowager even specially awarded her with a sapphire headdress, adding on to House Jing'an's glory.
Even after so many years, Matriarch He had never enjoyed such attention in the palace before. It was only natural she was in an extremely good mood now. As Chu Lian had decided to stay by her grandmother’s side for the duration of the banquet, many of the noble ladies surrounding them also directed questions towards her.
Since Matriarch He was intending to introduce her to the others anyway, Chu Lian took the chance to get acquainted with a number of noble madams in the capital.
The banquet eventually spiraled down to a close. As the time approached to leave the palace, Princess Wei sent one of her court ladies over to invite Chu Lian to come play at Prince Wei's estate in a few days, thus drawing another wave of envy from the ladies gathered.
They departed from the hall afterwards and made their way over to House Jing’an’s carriage. Just as Chu Lian was about to help Matriarch He up, they were hailed by an elderly woman came rushing over from behind.
This elderly madam was no stranger; it was Old Duchess Zheng. Beside her was a slightly chubby, middle-aged lady, who had such a friendly smile, her eyes turned into a pair of two cheerful crescents.
"Old Sister, please hold on!"
Matriarch He turned around, only to see her old friend. She smiled in welcome and said, "We're sisters, the two of us. Why the rush? Walk a little slower, and be careful not to strain your waist!"
Old Duchess Zheng came over with a wide smile. When she reached Matriarch He's side, she first smiled at Chu Lian before turning back to the matriarch. "There’s a certain matter that I’ve come looking for Old Sister for..."
Matriarch He generously answered, "There's no need to be so courteous between us. Just say it straight."
Old Duchess Zheng was about to speak of her matter when Chu Lian caught sight of some people who had just exited the palace behind them. That person with a round face and slender brows- wasn't that Lady Pan?
Hadn't she left the banquet early on? Why was she only exiting the palace at this hour?
Chu Lian's brows drew together in a slight crease. They had offended Lady Pan earlier today, so she was afraid that they would get into a quarrel if they bumped into each other now. Thus, she Chu Lian suggested, "Grandmother, there are many people coming and going here. How about chatting inside the carriage instead? It might be more comfortable for Grandmother and Old Duchess Zheng."
Matriarch He had clearly spotted Lady Pan on the way out of the palace with her group of servants in tow. Thus, she invited Old Duchess Zheng into House Jing'an's wide carriage and they boarded together.
Although the carriage was quite spacious, it wasn't meant to serve as an actual room. With all four of them here, it became a little cramped.
Madam Zou had just lifted the curtain and was about to enter when Matriarch He said, "Dalang's wife, the carriage is a little cramped. Go to the one at the back instead!"
The hand that Madam Zou was using to hold up the carriage curtain clenched. She looked up at the four people seated inside before bowing slightly to Matriarch He and leaving for the other carriage.
Chu Lian glanced at Madam Zou's departing figure and sighed inwardly.
The distance between them had still increased in the end.
Her eldest sister-in-law was already looking at her through tinted glasses. From now on, no matter what she did, Madam Zou would probably look badly on her. Chu Lian wasn't one to go seeking trouble- as long as no one tried to attack her. Although she didn't like squabbling over petty matters, she wasn't one to sit back and let others take her to task, either. In the future, she and Madam Zou would be like a well and a river; their waters were not to seep or mix with each other.
Duke Zheng's estate wasn't far from Count Jing'an's estate. They would be taking the same route along Zhuque Avenue for some time anyway, so this was a convenient time for them to talk.
With House Zheng's carriage following behind, the two old sisters chatted in House Jing'an's carriage with a lively air.
Old Duchess Zheng had also seen something fishy in the events at the banquet. She held onto Matriarch He's hand and reassured her, "It's not uncommon for things like that to happen when it comes to such a big occasion. It's fine as long as you've made it out safely."
Matriarch He nodded and smiled at Old Duchess Zheng. "Oh you. Stop thinking about that. Hasn't our House benefited from that unfortunate turn of events?"
Old Duchess Zheng smiled and looked at Chu Lian. "After tasting those round cakes, I just knew it was your young lady's idea. Since Sanlang isn't at home, you probably don't have much to do in your estate. Come to the Zheng Estate with your grandmother some other time."
Chu Lian was slightly surprised. She hadn't thought that Old Duchess Zheng would take the initiative to give her an invite to her estate. In the original story, this old madam was like a hermit. She would only socialise with the few madams she had befriended in her younger days.
Chu Lian turned to Matriarch He. For a matter like this, it was better for Matriarch He to make the decision for her as the senior member of her family.
Matriarch He was very satisfied with Chu Lian's action. She playfully rebuked her old friend and said, "I think you just want to taste my granddaughter-in-law's culinary skills for yourself. Inviting her over to play is just a pretense!"
Even though Old Duchess Zheng and Matriarch He had already been close friends for a few decades, when she heard Matriarch He exposing her ploy, Old Duchess Zheng still blushed a little.
She sighed lightly and said, "I'm not going to hide things from you. I've brought my daughter-in-law along with a request."
Chu Lian found it strange. Duke Zheng had a very successful career, and their only heir was in the Imperial College. In the coming Autumn Examinations, he would definitely be able to place in the higher ranks. It could be said that all things were going smoothly for House Zheng. Why, then, did Old Duchess Zheng need to request help from Matriarch He?
Even if she were to request for help, something that troubled House Zheng was likely something that Matriarch He wouldn't be able to help with. Although Matriarch He was highly regarded in their social circles and was even close friends with the Empress Dowager, she didn't have the power to interfere with the court.
Suddenly, a thought flashed through Chu Lian's mind, which rendered her speechless.
"Do speak directly. As long as it's something within my means, I'll do my best to help."
Old Duchess Zheng shot a sideways look at Matriarch He and seemed a little tongue-tied. When the younger Duchess Zheng saw that her mother-in-law was too embarrassed to speak up, she helped her out by saying, "Matriarch He, the matter is like this..."
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