Transmigrator Meets Reincarnator
Chapter 263: Birthday Gift (2)
This chapter has been stolen from volarenovels. Please read from the original source!
Madam Zou wanted to draw everyone's attention back, but she didn't dare to make any moves in front of Matriarch He. She could only grit her teeth and bear with it. However, the gaze she cast towards Chu Lian was full of envy and disgust.
This state of affairs didn't carry on for too long. When Matriarch He saw that it was about time, she led the group of guests over to Countess Jing'an's courtyard.
Once they entered the courtyard, they met Heir Jing'an, He Changqi, and the second son, He Changjue.
All of the guests here knew very well what the actual purpose of this gathering was. As soon as they entered the parlour, the focus of the noble madams and ladies shifted towards the two men.
Royal Princess Duanjia was walking by Chu Lian's side. She turned her head slightly to look at He Erlang, only to see him standing there with his head lowered like a block of wood or a statue, not even daring to look up.
It was only then that a hint of satisfaction showed in Royal Princess Duanjia's eyes.
Countess Jing'an had already changed into an auspicious dark red gown and an outer coat lined with red fox fur. There was a turquoise headband resting on her forehead, and she had taken the care to powder up her face a little, concealing most of her usual sickly air. The thickness of her winter clothing also covered up how skinny she was. At a glance, she didn't look much different from a normal, healthy noble madam.
The noble guests came up one by one to wish Countess Jing'an a happy birthday and to offer up their gifts.
The guests today were all from houses familiar with House Jing'an. Knowing that the sickly Countess Jing'an wouldn't be able to withstand a prolonged banquet, they didn't drag out the ceremony and moved at a quick pace.
Finally, it was time for the two daughters-in-law to congratulate their mother-in-law on her birthday.
Madam Zou's gift was indeed a hundred-year-old ginseng, causing the people gathered to react with amazement.
Countess Jing'an held Madam Zou's hands in hers and patted the back of her hand. "Dalang's wife, you didn't have to go to such big expense!"
"Mother, I would be willing to go vegetarian and pray in our family's Buddhist shrine for three months as long as it can help you recover, let alone give you just one ginseng."
Countess Jing'an smiled and rebuked her gently for not caring more for her own health instead.
The noble madams seated around Matriarch He and Countess Jing'an all praised Madam Zou for being filial.
Madam Zou cast her gaze downwards as if embarrassed by the praise. In actual fact, she was brimming with glee.
She had spent a few hundred taels on that hundred-year-old ginseng and had even been feeling a little sorry about the expense. However, now that this ginseng had earned her some good reputation amongst these ladies, she felt that the money had been well spent.
Filled with satisfaction, Madam Zou's gaze couldn't help turning to Chu Lian. A glint of provocation and smugness from her victory shone in her eyes.
Now that she had given such a precious gift right before Chu Lian, if Chu Lian's gift looked too shabby in comparison, she would completely lose face. She wanted to see how this 'smart' Third Sister-in-Law of hers was going to deal with this situation.
Chu Lian was in the middle of whispering something to Royal Princess Duanjia, so she hadn't noticed her eldest sister-in-law's nasty look at all.
Realising that it was her turn, she turned around and took the box that Wenqing had been carrying for her before offering it up to Countess Jing'an.
"Mother, this headdress is my gift to you. I hope you'll like it!"
How could a countess lack for any accessories at all? It looked like her Third Sister-in-Law wasn't as smart as she imagined.
Countess Jing'an's expression seemed normal. She received Chu Lian's gift cheerfully and affably. "Sanlang's wife, you shouldn't have gone to all that trouble!"
Chu Lian was so young that she should have been able to stay in her maiden home for another two years, if not for Matriarch He's burning desire to have a great-grandson!
Later on, after she had married in, He Sanlang had treated her so abnormally; he hadn't been home much after getting married and had then taken off for the northern border without any warning. This little daughter-in-law of hers hadn't cried or complained. Instead, she had remained kind and innocent. There wasn't any resentment in her towards House Jing'an for He Sanlang's actions, nor had she maintained a distance from the family.
Countess Jing'an already felt guilty enough in her heart. Seeing how young Chu Lian was, she felt even more inclined to spoil Chu Lian.
It's not the gift that matters, but the thought that counts.
Chu Lian wasn't expecting to show off her gift. Just as she was about to turn and sit back down at her seat, Madam Zou hurriedly shot a meaningful look at a young madam next to her.
That young madam stepped forward and smiled as she said, "I wonder what kind of headdress Honoured Lady Jinyi has presented as a gift. It can't possibly be something from the palace, could it? If Countess Jing'an doesn't mind, could you show it to us and let us expand our horizons?"
As expected, when it came to accessories, all the noble madams and ladies here were interested as well. Since someone had already started the topic, they all started to clamour, wanting to see what Chu Lian's gift was.
Countess Jing'an hadn't been intending to open it on the spot. She also thought that her youngest daughter-in-law's gift would be rather average. While she was hesitating, Madam Zou had already added oil to the fire after a quick turn of wit.
"Mother, this is Third Sister-in-Law's way of being filial to you. Why don't you just let everyone have a look?"
Countess Jing'an didn't know how to get out of this situation without offending someone. She sent an apologetic look to Chu Lian before allowing her handmaid, Miaozhen, to open the accessory case.
Royal Princess Duanjia looked down upon petty people like Madam Zou the most. She rolled her eyes at Madam Zou without the slightest bit of respect.
When Madam Zou turned her head, she just happened to catch Royal Princess Duanjia's eye roll. The anger that abruptly rose within her made her face turn all sorts of colours as she almost fainted right then and there in rage.
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