Transmigrator Meets Reincarnator
Chapter 433: The New Year (2)
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As expected, when night fell and the maidservants had just started serving up a whole array of steaming hot dishes on the table, the gluttons from the northern border troops arrived.
He Changdi was bedridden so the only person who could host their uninvited guests was Chu Lian.
She stood at the main entrance to welcome them in, looking upon the huge group of foodies helplessly. It seemed like it wasn't just He Sanlang's band of brothers who had come. Even Great General Qian had followed along. Of course, Sima Hui was here too.
Chu Lian was starting to suspect that the extra portions of food she had ordered Wenqing and Wenlan to prepare weren't going to be enough.
However, it was too late to prepare more food. If they really ran out, they would just have to add a big bowl of dumplings for them and make sure that they left with full bellies.
In order to match the festivities, Chu Lian was wearing a pink dress with white rabbit fur accents. Layered on top was a bright red vest and a white fox fur cloak. Chu Lian still had a little bit of baby fat clinging to her face, giving her a youthful air, and whenshe was dressed up in so many layers, it made her look like a cute little ball.
After Chu Lian personally greeted Great General Qian with a respectful bob, General Qian pulled out a red packet from his sleeve and passed it to Chu Lian.
"Take this, it's a New Year gift from your Uncle Qian."
Chu Lian stared in a blank daze for a moment before quickly reacting and receiving the envelope with both hands. She smiled at General Qian and said, "Uncle Qian, I'm already married, I'm not a child any longer."
Although her current body was only fifteen, she had been in her twenties in her modern world and was long past the age where she would receive red packets from her elders. On the contrary; whenever she went home for New Year’s, Chu Lian would be the one giving out red packets to her little nieces and nephews. Now that an elder had suddenly given her a red packet, Chu Lian felt a little awkward.
While Duke Lu was the fearsome Great General Qian in the border camp, he had come here to visit her as an elder, so she had changed her form of address for him accordingly.
General Qian found it amusing that the little Honoured Lady Jinyi was acting like an adult. "Even though you're already married, you're still a young lady who has just come of age. Don't tell me that you're too shy to accept your Uncle Qian's red packet?"
Chu Lian smiled in return and said, "Alright, please don't tease me, Uncle Qian. I'll accept it!"
Now that General Qian had opened up the way, the rest of the people who had come for her cooking all gave her red packets. Even the youngest Xiao Hongyu managed to take out a thin red envelope and pass it to Chu Lian. He showed a foolish smile and said, "I don't have much savings, so please don't take offense, Sister-in-Law."
Although Xiao Hongyu called Chu Lian 'Older Sister-in-Law', he was actually older than Chu Lian by four years, so it was still acceptable for her to accept his gift as a junior.
The last person to enter was Sima Hui.
Chu Lian hadn't seen her in quite some time, so she was naturally happy to meet her friend again on New Year's Eve. Sima Hui was normally taller than Chu Lian by half a head. Today, she had stuck a red feather in her neat hair, making her look even taller and slimmer than usual.
Sima Hui offered up a smile and pulled on Chu Lian's hand in a familiar way. She took off a red purse with embroidered flowers from her waist and gave it to Chu Lian. "Lian'er, I didn't prepare a red packet for you unlike the Great General and the others. Take this as Sister Hui's New Year gift to you."
Chu Lian's smile was even brighter than usual as she dispensed with the usual courtesy of rejecting the gift. She reached out to receive the purse immediately. "Since it's something that Sister Hui prepared for me, I'll accept it shamelessly!"
Once Chu Lian had finished accepting the stack of red packets and one red purse, she finally welcomed everyone into the He Estate.
While He Changdi and Chu Lian were passing their first New Year together with a lively celebration, things weren't going so well back in the capital’s Jing'an Estate.
It was now certain that Count Jing'an couldn't come back for New Year’s, while Second Young Master He Changjue, who was investigating a case in Zhangzhou, had also sent a letter stating that he wouldn't be able to make it either.
Eldest Young Madam was grounded in her branch's courtyard. It was rumoured that she wasn't feeling very well these two days and that Senior Servant Qiao had taken over management of her own courtyard's matters.
Matriarch He had just taken control of the household again and was going through the public account books. The sudden stress and hard work had caused her old illnesses to flare up, making her bedridden.
Eldest Young Master He Changqi disapproved of his grandmother's overwork. He specially ordered Senior Servant Liu to keep watch over the matriarch's health.
Senior Servant Liu had no other choice but to take up the task of checking the accounts herself. She picked a portion of the account books and left the rest to Muxiang.
Senior Servant Liu wasn't good at numbers, so it was Muxiang who oversaw the accounts.
At the end of the year, rumours started swirling about the capital that the northern border troops had fallen into critical danger, and that it wasn't boding well for the fifty thousand troops hanging in the balance.
Matriarch He's health declined even further upon hearing these rumours. Due to the rumors, many noble houses stopped associating with House Jing'an.
TL Note: Red packets are given to young children for the (lunar) New Year to bless them. It used to be given in the form of coins, treated as lucky amulets to chase away evil spirits with the hope that children would grow up safely~
The red packets are usually given by senior family members to children. The typical practice in modern times is to continue giving the red packets to any single junior family members even into their twenties- the expectation is for young married couples to give out red packets to junior family members as well.
However, when you get to your twenties, you do get embarrassed about taking money from your elders, hence Chu Lian's reaction. For General Qian and the others, it's their way of sending well wishes to Chu Lian and her hubby, plus it lessens their guilt over showing up unannounced for the meal :P
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