Transmigrator Meets Reincarnator
Chapter 256: Targeting Guilin Restaurant (1)
This chapter has been stolen from volarenovels. Please read from the original source!
Matriarch He stiffened imperceptibly and turned towards Dalang's wife, who was sitting not too far away with her head down.
Even though they met every day, why did she have the feeling that Dalang's wife had changed a lot recently?
How could Matriarch He have missed that hidden meaning in Madam Zou's words? Dalang's wife was afraid that the two little ones had lost favour with her and was trying to make sure that she wouldn't forget about the existence of the two young girls.
Unfortunately, Madam Zou hadn't understood her kind intentions at all. Her heart was only filled with thoughts of fighting for favour.
Matriarch He's earlier good mood completely dissipated.
"Do as you like. Make sure that the servants keep a watch on the girls' health. The weather outside is so cold now, so make sure they put on more layers and bring a hand warmer with them when going out."
Matriarch He picked up her teacup and took a sip before she said, "It's your mother's birthday tomorrow; how are the preparations going?"
"Rest assured, Grandmother. Granddaughter-in-Law has already ordered the servants to prepare everything. There won't be any accidents tomorrow."
"This old woman is already getting on in age and your mother's health still isn't what it was. It's been hard on you all these years!"
Madam Zou almost cried out upon hearing these words of praise from Matriarch He. Wasn't it so? She was the only one managing this huge estate. How could it possibly be easy? She had to get up early in the morning before the sun rose and listen to the daily reports from all the stewards of the estate, arrange for servants where needed, and even had to mind the relationships between the people in the estate.
It could be said that this great Jing'an Estate wouldn't be able to function without her.
Madam Zou felt even more aggrieved upon thinking about all this and sunk even further into her self-pity.
Tears leaked out of her eyes, already beyond her control. "As long as Grandmother understands Granddaughter-in-Law's hardships, then this bit of labour is nothing to Granddaughter-in-Law."
"Alright, stop crying, don't spoil your eyes by crying too much. If you have any hardships, you can tell Grandmother directly."
Madam Zou was still choked up with tears as she looked up at Matriarch He with wet eyes. "Grandmother, since you asked, Granddaughter-in-Law won't keep it from you anymore. Granddaughter-in-Law does have a matter to discuss with Grandmother."
Matriarch He was slightly stunned. She hadn't expected that Madam Zou would really take her up on her offer.
"What is it? Just say it out directly. There's nothing you have to hide from me."
Madam Zou hesitated before finally gathering the courage to speak. "Grandmother, Mother's medical expenses... I'm afraid our estate's public accounts can no longer afford them..."
A single month of Countess Jing'an's medicine cost at least a thousand taels. The monthly income for House Jing'an's public accounts was merely one to two thousand taels. Furthermore, Madam Zou wasn't good at business management, and the managers of the stores and properties they had were appropriating funds for themselves. It was getting harder and harder to keep this noble estate afloat.
Countess Jing'an had previously paid for her own medicine, and her expenses had only shifted to the shared accounts just two months ago. After less than three months, the estate's funds were already dwindling.
Matriarch He hadn't expected that their estate's funds would be exhausted so quickly. Her brows drew together in a frown and she was about to speak when a maidservant announced the arrival of Third Young Madam.
Even though the matriarch had been interrupted, she wasn't angry at all. Instead, her expression turned cheerful. "Quick, invite Sanlang's wife in. It's cold outside!"
The thick curtains covering the entrance of the heated room were pulled aside by the maidservant standing outside, and Chu Lian crouched slightly to enter the room.
Since Chu Lian's noble title had been bestowed by the Chengping Emperor himself, she could be counted as part of the imperial family. Thus, the palace’s Department of Textiles had sent Chu Lian two outfits when they prepared winter clothing for the imperial family.
There was a lovely light vermillion court dress and a simpler teal dress with auspicious pictures embroidered over it. There were twelve pictures of flowers embroidered on each dress, and the design was both complicated and beautiful at the same time. This standard of craftsmanship was as expected from the department in charge of clothing the imperial family.
Today, Chu Lian was wearing that bluish green dress with a flared skirt.
Her slender hands were stuffed into a snow white sleeve made of rabbit fur. She only wore a single white jade hairpin on her head, and the rest of her black hair was left cascading down her back with some strands resting on the fluffy white fur collar of her dress. She looked like a cute, obedient little bunny in this getup. If not for the fact that her hair was done up in a married madam's hairstyle, one might think that she was a young noble maiden who had just come of age!
"Granddaughter-in-Law has come to greet Grandmother," Chu Lian cheerfully called out as she entered the room.
Matriarch He felt happy just seeing Chu Lian's smooth as porcelain, doll-like face with a smile. "What are you doing coming here so early on such a cold day! Come, sit next to Grandmother!"
Chu Lian bobbed towards Madam Zou before sitting next to Matriarch He.
The matriarch ordered Senior Servant Liu to give Chu Lian a cup of warm honey water. She knew her little granddaughter-in-law didn't like to drink sencha, unlike most people.
Madam Zou watched coldly as Matriarch He unconsciously showed loving care and consideration for Chu Lian. The hands under her sleeves curled into fists.
Madam Zou suppressed her jealousy and waited until Chu Lian had been given a warm cup of honey water. Only then did she say, "Grandmother, about that matter that Granddaughter-in-Law mentioned earlier..."
Reminded of the pressing problem at hand by Madam Zou, Matriarch He's expression turned serious. "It was my fault for not considering this matter more carefully. However, I seem to remember that we should have at least three thousand taels of income from the shopfronts in our estate's accounts."
Three thousand taels were more than enough to sustain the estate's monthly expenses, even after taking away Countess Jing'an's medicine fees.
Madam Zou's lips parted, but she hesitated to speak. Finally, she used her remaining courage to say, "Grandmother, that was the situation five years ago. It can't be compared to the situation now."
Madam Zou suddenly shot a glance in Chu Lian's direction. When she saw that her sister-in-law had her head lowered and was drinking some honey water instead, a spark of dissatisfaction flashed through her heart. "Granddaughter-in-Law doesn't have a single store in hand that can compare to Third Sister-in-Law's Guilin Restaurant."
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