Transmigrator Meets Reincarnator
Chapter 446: News Reaches the Capital (1)
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Realisation dawned upon Old Duchess Zheng. She sized up Pan Nianzhen seriously for a moment. The way the young lady shyly kept her eyes down was much more to her liking than how her mother acted.
As Matriarch He’s old friend, she couldn’t help but be curious.
“How old is she? Is she engaged yet?”
“She just had her coming-of-age ceremony this year. She’ll be sixteen in the new year.”
“Why, she’s a full-grown lady already!”
“Isn’t that exactly why I’m worrying about it now?”
Old Duchess Zheng chuckled and shot her old friend a look. “Alright, I understand. I’ll keep an eye out for you. If there are any suitable families, I’ll bring it up with them.”
The matriarch was glad that her friend could help her, of course.
Meanwhile, the young miss in question sitting behind Matriarch He ducked her head. Her cheeks flushed upon the sudden mention of her future engagement.
He Ying’s expression turned.
Her mother was trying to marry her daughter off to someone else?
Right now, she and her daughter were penniless and helpless. They didn’t have any noble titles or ranks, and she was a widow. Even with House Jing’an backing them, her daughter wouldn’t be able to attract a good family. It would most likely be a poor minor official or some noble’s son with something wrong in his household.
Compared to that, wouldn’t it be better to let her daughter stay in House Jing’an?
They would be able to stay in her maiden home forever then.
He Ying hadn’t been slacking these past few days in her maiden home. She had gone around listening to all the news she could get about the estate.
Her elder brother had three sons. The eldest and the youngest were married, but the second one, Erlang, was still single. Furthermore, he was working for Prince Jin in Zhangzhou. His future was extremely bright!
He Ying had had her own plans for her daughter’s marriage. The conversation between Matriarch He and Old Duchess Zheng had agitated her, and she now felt that she should push her plans into motion a little earlier.
As she was thinking of how she could do that, Old Duchess Zheng directed her attention to Pan Nianzhen and said, “Royal Princess Duanjia is here. She’s going to take all of you young ladies off to play! Why don’t you follow along?”
Everyone turned towards Princess Wei. The pretty young lady dressed in bright red with a white fox fur cloak was obviously Royal Princess Duanjia.
Royal Princess Duanjia gave her birthday wishes to her mother before she was ordered to take care of all the young noble misses who had come today.
Matriarch He turned to look at Pan Nianzhen. “Go on. It’s rare for the royal princess to be in the mood to socialise. There’ll be more to talk about with young ladies your age.”
However, after she thought on it a little more, she couldn’t rest easy sending Miss Pan away alone, so she ordered Senior Servant Liu to follow.
Pan Nianzhen was still hesitant. Most of the beautiful young ladies in the group following after the princess had very high statuses, so it was rather intimidating. However, just as she raised her head, she caught a threatening glare from her mother.
Pan Nianzhen didn’t dare to disobey her mother. She stood up and bid her goodbyes to the older women before rushing off to follow Royal Princess Duanjia.
Princess Duanjia didn’t like to socialise with all these fragile noble misses in the first place. Just looking at them sucked all the energy out of her. If it hadn’t been a very special occasion for her mother, she would have snuck off to laze somewhere else by now.
She sighed inwardly. When was that darned Chu Liu coming back? She was going to die of boredom here in the capital.
Of course, Pan Nianzhen’s identity as a distant relative of House Jing’an wasn’t enough to attract Princess Duanjia’s attention.
The princess didn’t like hanging around with so many people, so she was only giving the bare minimum of hospitality to her guests. Thinking of the task her mother had given her, she led the group of ladies over to Plum Pavilion.
It was the end of December, so it was just the right season for plum blossoms. Prince Wei’s Estate had had plum trees growing in the Plum Pavilion since the previous dynasty. After a hundred years or so had passed, the branches of the old plum trees had become gnarled, and they bloomed even more vigorously. Princess Wei loved plums, so Prince Wei had ordered all sorts of plum trees to be planted here.
The current Plum Pavilion was overflowing with plum trees in full bloom. Their beauty and aroma had long become one of the most famed winter scenes of the capital.
There was a special corridor built in the plum tree garden of Plum Pavilion, where some tables and chairs had already been placed. Light muslin veils were covering both sides of the corridor and braziers had been placed within. The moment they entered the corridor, a burst of warm air surrounded them. It was the perfect location for admiring the plum blossoms.
However, it wasn’t just the plum blossoms they were meant to be admiring today.
Right next to this walled off garden, with just a single barrier separating them, came a burst of men’s voices and laughter.
Once they heard the sounds of young men so close to them, most of the young ladies instantly knew what the real purpose of this plum blossom party really was.
All of them exchanged glances and smiles.
Instruments of the Four Arts— zither, Go, calligraphy, and painting— had been placed in the corridor. They were meant for the young ladies to play with and pass the time, but mainly for them to show off their talents in front of the young noblemen.
Once Royal Princess Duanjia had led the party of ladies in, she leaned against a chaise in the corner with a completely disinterested expression.
She had no interest in this matchmaking party. After she ordered Jinxiu to pour a cup of honey water, she sipped a little and frowned.
Inwardly, she complained to herself, ‘Why isn’t Chu Liu back yet? Wouldn’t it be nice if we sat here with some barbecue and wine and enjoyed the beautiful scenery? Why do I have to entertain these snobby, pretentious noble misses here? How boring!’
Pan Nianzhen was timid and Senior Servant was still keeping an eye on her, so she simply sat off to the side and watched the noble misses in the center playing the zither and painting.
There was envy in her gaze.
Suddenly, there was a burst of movement from the crowd. The ladies gathered together and pointed at the wall separating this garden from the next one, chattering in excited voices.
Pan Nianzhen stood up in curiosity and moved towards where the ladies were pointing.
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