Chen shi Returns to the Manor
All of the servants were chased from the kitchen by Feng Yu Heng, and none of them knew what the second young miss was thinking. They all stood around in the yard in a daze.
Feng Yu Heng then said to Wang Chuan: “Have you remembered everything I just said?”
Wang Chuan nodded: “I have remembered it. Huang Quan should have already arrived at Hundred Herb Hall. It will depend on how quickly they can dispense medicine. She should be able to return very soon.”
“Good.” Feng Yu Heng continued: “Then you can go look for the people. Just do it as I said. You have also seen just how big this kitchen is. You should have an understanding of how many people to bring.”
Wang Chuan looked around the kitchen one more time then left.
Feng Yu Heng finally went out into the yard and looked around at the group of servants, coldly saying: “The family feast for tomorrow, I have already made arrangements. You guys… take a vacation.”
She had said that she had already made arrangements, and she really did make arrangements. After dismissing the servants, Huang Quan returned from Hundred Herb Hall with one of its clerks in tow. They placed many bags of medical herbs on the tables. Not longer later, someone came to deliver vegetables. Then a butcher came to discuss what Feng Yu Heng needed and said: “Do not worry, young miss. To preserve the freshness of fish, this one will bring it over first thing tomorrow morning.”
Feng Yu Heng was very satisfied with this sort of arrangement. She then discussed with the person that Wang Chuan had brought back for a couple hours. Only after she had personally set the menu did she return to Tong Sheng pavilion to rest. As for the kitchen, that was left to Wang Chuan and Huang Quan to supervise.
In the evening, she went to visit the kitchen once more. She found that things were advancing at an unsteady rate. Huang Quan and Wang Chuan had decided to take turns to keep watch overnight to ensure the safety of the food.
That night, Xuan Tian Ming arrived as scheduled. He discovered that the garden had become fragrant, while the leaves fell in autumnal colors.
Finally, Chen shi returned to the manor.
The members of the Feng family all got up early and dressed well. As the day approached noon, servants went to tell the concubine mothers and young misses of each courtyard to quickly gather at the main gate to form a reception. The head madam’s carriage had already arrived in the capital.
Because the reason Chen shi had left the manor was to pray for the Feng family’s fortune, her return to the Feng manor was an honorable matter. Even the matriarch wore a set of new clothes. She had even put some osmanthus-scented hair oil, appearing very bright and shiny.
Feng Jin Yuan had just returned from the court and simply waited with the others in his official’s garb.
Not long after, a carriage was seen slowly approaching and stopped before the Feng manor’s gates. On the top left corner of the carriage was a wooden sign that had the single word Feng written on it.
Yao shi, An shi, Han shi and Jin Zhen were the first to step forward. As concubines, they had to kneel to welcome Chen shi.
When the carriage’s curtain was pulled back, the four knelt on the ground and said in unison: “This concubine welcomes head madam back to the manor.”
The one to get out first was the servant who had been left behind to take care of Chen shi, Man Xi. Feng Yu Heng looked at Man Xi a little more carefully. The exposed areas showed no signs of injury. Thinking about it, Chen shi was pretty controlled in her beating of servants. She specifically chose to hit areas that could not be seen. It was both painful and hard to discover.
After Man Xi got off the carriage, she immediately turned around to help the person in the carriage. There, Chen shi’s fat body could be seen squeezing out of the carriage. Wearing a full set of plain clothes, she only had a single white jade hairpin. When seen, she appeared calm and tranquil.
The matriarch had never seen Chen shi look like this before. She could not help but be stunned. After a long time, she finally recognized her and nodded. It seemed that the temple and nunnery on Pu Du Mountain really were good places to fix a person. Even someone like Chen shi could be changed to act like this. It was truly rare.
Once Chen shi got off the carriage, she did not say anything and leaned over to help the four kneeling people. She placed her hands on Yao shi and An shi’s wrists and said: “Younger sisters, quickly please get up. Why are you waiting on ceremony like this, quickly get up.”
The four rose with the empty assistance of Chen shi. Chen shi then gave them a kind smile. Moving around them, she took a few steps forward and arrived before the matriarch, where she knelt and said: “Daughter-in-law pays respects to mother. The master of Pu Du Nunnery was concerned with mother and asked daughter-in-law to greet mother.”
The matriarch was completely satisfied with Chen shi’s actions. She felt that ever since this daughter-in-law entered the family, she had never felt this at ease with her before.
“Quickly, get up.” The matriarch still enjoyed maintaining her stature. She raised her hand and granny Zhao came forward to help Chen shi up. The matriarch then said: “Being able to pray for the fortune of the Feng family, and at the same time, being able to improve yourself through meditation is also your blessing and good fortune. I look forward to the blessings and good fortune carrying on with you. There is no need to direct any of those thoughts towards the Feng family.”
Chen shi obediently bowed: “Daughter-in-law will remember mother’s teachings.”
The matriarch’s mouth twitched slightly. Chen shi’s appearance combined with her tone were fresh at the start, but now that she had spoken a little more, it began to feel awkward. She had an inkling of a feeling, was this person before her even Chen shi?
“This concubine greets husband.” Chen shi then turned towards Feng Jin Yuan, “This concubine recited sutras hundreds of times for husband while at the nunnery, praying for your safety and good fortune.”
Feng Jin Yuan was also surprised by Chen shi’s change. Feeling quite moved, he nodded, “If you can be like this, then I can relax.”
After they finished their greetings, it was the children’s turn to pay respects to Chen shi.
Chen shi had the appearance of a loving mother, as she looked at the children. She first said to Chen Yu and Zi Hao: “You two are the daughter and son of the first wife, so you need to have the appearance of one. You must show love to your younger siblings and you must support them more outside. Do you understand?”
Chen Yu and Zi Hao replied in unison: “Daughter (son) will remember it.”
Chen shi nodded and turned to Feng Yu Heng. In an unprecedented move, she raised Feng Yu Heng’s hand and earnestly said: “Mother specially made sure to pray for our A-Heng’s good fortune. You are our Feng family’s child to become engaged. Mother prayed to Guanyin to protect your and his Highness Prince Yu’s ability to live happily and peacefully.”
Feng Yu Heng looked at Chen shi and felt that this person’s benevolent affection combined with the words she said really made people feel moved. Unfortunately… unfortunately, this was all fake. The eyes could not keep up with the act and leaked an impossible to hide hatred and madness.
She helplessly gave a bitter smile then bowed to Chen shi: “Many thanks mother.”
Chen shi patted the back of her hand then patted Zi Rui’s head. Asking a bit about the homework he had received, she then turned to greet Xiang Rong. Finally, her gaze fell on the arm that was still in a sling that hung from Fen Dai’s neck: “Mother also does not know how to ease the pain in your arm.” Chen shi spoke and actually let out a tear, “Mother has concentrated on reasoning with Buddha before understanding that mother has done a great many things wrong. Now I hate that I can not suffer in Fen Dai’s place.”
Feng Fen Dai was, in the end, still young. She was surprised by her bluff. Seeing Chen shi cry tears, she also began to cry. She cried and cried then fell into Chen shi’s embrace: “Mother, Fen Dai really missed you.”
Feng Yu Heng felt her skin crawl. She clearly saw in Chen shi’s eyes that she was tired of this.
After Fen Dai finished crying, Chen shi turned to appease Jin Zhen: “These days, I have troubled you with looking after husband. Previously, there have been times where I mistreated you. Now, you are a younger sister in my family. This is now completely different from before.” After she finished speaking with Jin Zhen, she went to appease An shi: “You do not look too well. If your body is not feeling well, you must remember to see a doctor!”
Finally, the spotlight fell on Yao shi. Chen shi could be seen take a few steps forward and hug Yao shi. The tears in her eyes, they fell from her eyes “Big sister, I should be calling you big sister. You were the one who entered the manor before I did. However, your maternal family had such an incident. Previously, I had been arrogant and always caused you hardship. I hope big sister will not blame me.”
Chen shi was originally fat and very strong. Yao shi was held in a hug that made it hard for her to breathe. She hurriedly said to her: “I do not blame you. How could this concubine blame head madam. Madam, there is no need for this. This is quite a joke for the servants to see.”
With this, Chen shi finally let Yao shi go. Then, with the praise of the matriarch and Feng Jin Yuan, she followed everyone towards the banquet at Peony courtyard.
Walking at the back, Fen Dai wiped her tears, as the emotions she felt were quickly pushed away. She glared at Han shi and coldly said: “Now that Chen shi has changed her personality, it seems that the manor’s feng shui will flow back in her favor. You really are useless!”
The harsh look made Han shi tremble, as she became even more pale.
The matriarch had a smile on her face. When she walked inside, she especially waited for Chen shi, but Chen shi had changed from her normal bearing. She no longer made a show of her strength, instead she properly followed behind the matriarch, one step at a time.
The matriarch could not help but nod her head. If Chen shi could continue to act like this, the Feng family really was blessed.
Everyone sat down in Peony courtyard, and servants began to bring food and drinks to the table. The matriarch told Chen shi: “The food and drinks today were managed by A-Heng. It is also for the sake of letting her learn how to run a home. After all, she will be marrying into Yu Palace and become the head wife there. It must not be that she does not learn anything from her maternal family.”
Feng Jin Yuan also said: “If there is anything wrong with the feast, then you as the first wife should give her some advice.”
An shi, hearing these words, could not help but lower her head and sigh. Having Chen shi give advice, then wouldn’t things become worse and worse. When had Chen shi ever run the home. All of these years, if it were not for Chen Yu cleaning up her messes, who knows what the family would look like.
Chen shi was also modest and replied to Feng Jin Yuan: “This concubine does not know the rules of the palace and worries that something wrong will be taught. Thinking about it, there is no rush. A-Heng is only twelve years old. When she is fourteen years old, how about husband invite a granny from the palace to teach her for a year. A-Heng then will also benefit.”
Feng Jin Yuan felt that the things Chen shi said were very reasonable and could not help but say: “It seems that your thoughts really are well-rounded.”
Chen shi covered her mouth and smiled, nearly causing Feng Yu Heng to spit out in laughter.
Truly, this sort of overwhelmingly emotional action, whether it was Han shi or Jin Zhen that did it, it was pleasant to see. But Chen shi… forget it. In a world where dignity was important, what was the point in questioning her mannerisms.
She retracted her gaze and watched the last servant bring the last dish to the table. Thinking about it a little, she feared that it would not be long before a good play would take place.
Very quickly, sixteen main dishes, eight cold dishes, one soup in addition to one serving of congee were placed before everyone.
Everyone looked at the dishes on the table and felt that the things were still the same as what was eaten regularly, but it also seemed that the dishes somehow seemed different from usual? Smelling it, it also had an odd smell…