Transmigrator Meets Reincarnator
Chapter 228: A Test (1)
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Anyway, in the worst case scenario, she could just pass down some secret recipes to the best cooks in the Zheng Estate. After all, she had enough of those so-called 'secret recipes' to hand them out by the dozens.
Chu Lian smiled. "Old Duchess Zheng, Duchess Zheng, please wait for a moment. I would like to discuss this matter with my grandmother first. You won't be disappointed by the results."
Old Duchess Zheng and the younger Duchess Zheng exchanged looks. They had indeed gone overboard with their request, so they felt a little guilty. Since Chu Lian was still trying to compromise despite their rude request, they quickly agreed.
Old Duchess Zheng even ordered her handmaid to lead them to a nearby room for privacy.
Once they entered the room and closed the door, Matriarch He took Chu Lian's hands into her own. Her tone was still rather miffed as she said, "Lian'er, they are the ones in the wrong for this matter. You don't have to try to accommodate them."
Chu Lian helped Matriarch He to a chair made of yellow peach wood and reassured, "Grandmother, I know you’re trying to protect me because you’re worried I’ll be taken advantage of. However, you and Old Duchess Zheng are such old friends, and Old Duchess Zheng was just worried for Old Duke Zheng's health. I think her actions are forgivable. Furthermore, this matter isn't as serious as you think. Granddaughter-in-Law has plenty of ways to let Old Duke Zheng eat all the delicacies he wants! Just sit here for a moment and don't worry for Granddaughter-in-Law. Granddaughter-in-Law will take care of everything!"
Matriarch He stared into Chu Lian's bright eyes. When Chu Lian simply continued to innocently blink at her without a hint of forced reluctance, Matriarch He set aside her worries and smiled.
She was indeed close to Old Duchess Zheng and didn't want to make a huge fuss over this. Because the two of them were the matriarchs of their respective houses, it was hard to avoid these sorts of conflicts of interest, no matter how hard they tried- they just had different statuses and different interests at heart. They usually tried to avoid clashing with one another, but if they couldn't come to an agreement, then neither of them would give way.
Today, if their roles had been reversed, Old Duchess Zheng would have done the same.
However, if there was a solution that fulfilled the interests of both their sides, that would be even better.
"Alright, Grandmother will listen to you." Matriarch He patted Chu Lian's soft little hand.
Chu Lian sat right next to Matriarch He. The only people in this room were the trusted servants she had brought from the Jing'an Estate, and there weren't any strangers here, so there was no need to observe etiquette so strictly.
Chu Lian looked straight at the maidservants she had brought with her today: Xiyan and Mingyan.
Both of them stiffened a little after receiving her gaze; they instantly understood what Chu Lian was thinking about. Actually, after listening to Chu Lian's conversation with Matriarch He, they had already started to have an inkling of what Chu Lian's solution was.
Xiyan's inner conflict was completely exposed from her expression and her brows started to furrow together. On the other hand, Mingyan didn't seem to show much emotion.
Chu Lian quietly observed their reactions and motioned them closer. "Xiyan, Mingyan, come over here."
Xiyan and Mingyan walked up to Chu Lian with their heads lowered before asking in unison, "Third Young Madam, do you have any orders for us?"
Chu Lian didn't like to beat around the bush, so she immediately said it straight out. "I'm sure you've already guessed what I'm thinking of. Old Duke Zheng needs someone to take care of him while he's recovering, but I can't stay behind in the Zheng Estate. You've been serving me all this time and I've never kept my cooking or secret recipes hidden from both of you. You must have learned quite a bit from the daily meals in my courtyard. Now that this chance has come, are either of you willing to stay behind and take care of Old Duke Zheng's meals?"
As expected, Xiyan and Mingyan had indeed guessed what their young madam had in mind.
By the time Chu Lian had finished telling them her proposal, Xiyan already appeared anxious and unwilling. Conversely, Mingyan was much calmer than Xiyan. She kept her head lowered with her fringe shielding her eyes. Chu Lian couldn't tell what she was thinking.
Out of the corner of her eye, Mingyan cast a glance in Xiyan’s direction and saw Xiyan’s silent state. Since Xiyan was refraining from expressing her emotions aloud, Mingyan also didn’t speak up.
Chu Lian frowned when her two maidservants refused to speak. She continued explaining, "The two of you are my first-class personal handmaids, so I can't bear to send you off to someone else just like that. If one of you is willing to stay behind, when Old Duke Zheng gets better, I'll still send someone to bring you home. Of course, if both of you are not willing to stay back, I won't force it. There are always plenty of other solutions we can think of."
Chu Lian didn't like to force others at all. If none of the handmaids wanted to stay back, she wouldn't force the issue. She could just give out a few more secret recipes to settle the matter.
However, staying behind to take care of Old Duke Zheng was a rare opportunity for Xiyan and Mingyan. The two of them weren't stupid. They most likely realised that there were many benefits for them in this arrangement.
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