Transmigrator Meets Reincarnator
Chapter 434: Eldest Madam Returns (1)
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On the following day, Matriarch He's health had deteriorated so much that she was too weak to get out of bed. He Changqi had suddenly become the only master in the entire estate who was entirely healthy and normal.
He Changqi was actually mired in his own worries, and he was in no mood to celebrate New Year’s. Each day, he would leave early in the morning to search for any news of the situation in the north, only returning late at night. He even used his connections to send a request to Princess Wei.
Early this morning, the silent and subdued entrance of the Jing'an Estate suddenly turned lively again.
A few carriages marked with the flags of the Jing'an Estate stopped in front of the gates.
Following that, a green-clad maidservant jumped out from the lead carriage before quickly placing a wooden stool beneath its door. She lifted up the curtain covering the entrance and carefully helped out the person within.
The first to emerge from the confines of the carriage was a young lady wearing a dark green hood. She looked to be about fifteen or sixteen years old. She had a slender figure, dressed in a plain-coloured vest over a russet dress. Closely following her was a middle-aged woman.
The woman was slightly plump and was wrapped in a brocade cloak. Her hair was combed up into a conch shape, with only a simple silver hairpin to decorate her black hair.
She turned her head slightly and patted the young lady's hand, as if to reassure her.
Her face actually held some resemblance to House Jing'an's matriarch.
"Nianzhen, this is your grandmother's home." He Ying's voice was clearly emotional right now. The gaze she was directing towards House Jing'an's gates were filled with both yearning and greed.
Pan Nianzhen hugged her mother's arm tightly. Her narrow eyes filled with uncertainty and envy as she took in the large, luxurious gates of the Jing'an Estate and the roofs of the buildings within.
She gulped nervously and said, "Mother, Grandmother's home is so huge. I've never seen such a large courtyard in my whole life. Can we stay here forever from now on?"
The corners of He Ying's mouth tilted upwards. "Of course. Since we've returned, no one can chase us out!"
Senior Servant Liu hurried over with some servants in tow after receiving the report from the gatekeepers.
Ever since He Ying had married into the Pan Family, far away in Siyang, they hadn't met in decades. Now that she was meeting the He Family's former Eldest Young Miss again, a mix of emotions welled up within Senior Servant Liu.
She walked up to He Ying and bobbed in greeting towards her, together with the servants behind her. It was only after a respectful pause that she raised her head and said, "Eldest Madam, it must have been a long journey for you. Please, follow this servant into the estate."
Even though it had been many years since they had last met, He Ying was able to recognise the senior servant who was even more well dressed than she was.
"Senior Servant Liu, I hope you've been well since we parted."
After saying so, He Ying rearranged her expression into a frown as she took in the servants who had come to welcome her together with Senior Servant Liu. All of a sudden, she let out a mocking peal of laughter. "I see that we're not that welcome after all, since you've only sent servants out to welcome us back."
Senior Servant Liu's expression changed. She pressed her lips together and just barely managed to hold back the sharp words bubbling up within. Then, Senior Servant Liu respectfully lowered her head as she replied, "Eldest Madam might not have gotten the news yet. None of the male masters of our house are home right now. The matriarch and the countess are both sickly and bedridden, so the honour of welcoming you has been left to this old servant."
He Ying's brows drew together. "Mother is sick?"
Senior Servant Liu nodded, her heart clearly aching for the matriarch. "Eldest Madam and Miss Pan, please enter first and listen to this old servant's explanation later."
It was only then that He Ying stopped talking and let the maidservants help her and her daughter into the estate.
The news had been sent to Qingxi Hall already. Perhaps due to the pending reunion with the daughter she had been separated from for decades, the matriarch was much more spirited than the two days before. She forced herself out of bed and on her feet.
The matriarch let her maidservants help her dress before letting Muxiang escort her to the hearth in the parlour. It was there that she awaited the arrival of her long lost daughter.
Matriarch He's old eyes remained fixed on the entrance the whole time. Eventually, she urged, "Muxiang, send someone to ask if they've entered the inner court."
Muxiang covered her lips and smiled. "Of course, this servant will go now. Please don't worry, Matriarch. Eldest Madam has already entered the estate, it will only take her a moment to arrive in the inner court. Senior Servant Liu has even sent out sedans and specially arranged for the most fleet-footed menial servants to carry them. They won't be delayed."
The matriarch sighed. "I know that, but I just can't help myself."
Just as Muxiang walked over to the parlour entrance and lifted up the heavy drapes covering them, she spotted Senior Servant Liu leading a group of people down the corridor. She turned around joyously and said, "Matriarch, Eldest Madam has arrived!"
"Quick, welcome them in!" Matriarch He was so happy she almost leaped up from the hearth, giving Muxiang a fright as she hurriedly went over to support the matriarch.
The haughtiness on He Ying's face immediately faded the moment Senior Servant Liu lifted the curtains.
Once she entered the parlour, she fixed her eyes on the old woman sitting by the hearth. Tears seemed to spring to her eyes almost instantly.
Matriarch He looked down upon the daughter who had left her as a young lady and grown into a middle-aged woman. Her old eyes looked hazy as tears welled up in their corners.
"Miss Ying, come to Mother's side and let Mother take a good look at you."
He Ying ran forward and threw herself into Matriarch He's arms. The mother and child who had been separated for years hugged each other tightly and cried their hearts out.
Pan Nianzhen was at a loss for what to do. She shrunk back and looked up at the kindly matriarch sitting at the head of the room before her attention was attracted by the sumptuous luxury of the parlour furnishings. Her eyes darted here and there, looking over everything with desire.
TL Note: The titles that the servants use go by the relation of the addressee to the current head of the house.
Matriarch He, mother of the current count (one generation up) = Matriarch
He Ying, sister of the count (same generation) = Eldest Madam
Chu Lian & Madam Zou, daughter-in-laws of the count (one generation down) = Young Madams
Pan Nianzhen, maternal niece (one generation down, but not within the family) = Miss Pan (meaning lady of the Pan family)
The servants use 表小姐 for Miss Pan, which is literally 'cousin miss', to indicate that she's related to the family, but not through the direct line.
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