When Feng Yu Heng arrived, Xiang Rong was seated on a chair in Shu Ya courtyard’s main hall. With her head lowered and hands folded, she appeared a little nervous and a little happy.
The matriarch sat in her seat with her eyes closed. Jin Zhen was half-seated and half knelt by her feet, massaging her legs. While she massaged her legs, the matriarch said: “Ah, that Chen shi really knew how to relax, raising a girl to be so good at massaging. You as well, with such good skills, why did you not come to me earlier.”
Jin Zhen had a gentle appearance and said with grief: “This concubine has admired mother-in-law for a long time, but I never dared come forward. This concubine has a poor background and is afraid of dirtying mother-in-law’s eyes.”
The matriarch also knew when to treat the people she used. Hearing Jin Zhen say these things, she quickly responded: “If we are speaking of background, you are a girl who was raised by our Feng manor, so we at least understand your background. Unlike Han shi, who came from some brothel. That is truly losing face for the Feng manor.”
Jin Zhen felt her heart bloom from the matriarch’s words. Turning her head, she just happened to see Feng Yu Heng enter and quickly rose to greet her: “Paying respects to the second young miss.”
The matriarch, hearing that Feng Yu Heng had arrived, smiled out of habit before even opening her eyes “A-Heng! You have returned?”
Feng Yu Heng went forward with a smile, “Yes, I have caused grandmother to be concerned.”
“Grandmother is concerned about you. If I do not worry about you, who would I worry about! Quickly, come sit.” The matriarch pulled Feng Yu Heng’s hand and had her sit on a soft cushion next to her.
“How was it, was playing with imperial daughter Tian Ge fun?”
Feng Yu Heng nodded, “It was alright. We went to Refined Deity Building to eat, and I even met some girl friends.”
“Oh!” Hearing that there were other girls, the matriarch quickly asked: “What families are the girls from?”
Feng Yu Heng replied with a smile: “There is the young miss of the palace’s Bai craftsman family, Bai Fu Rong. There was also the daughter to the first wife of the prime minister’s family, Feng Tian Yu. Then there was the daughter of the first wife of General Ping Xi’s manor, Ren Xi Feng.”
The matriarch nodded, “Un, imperial daughter Tian Ge’s friends really are some impressive figures. There is no need to speak of the daughter to the first wife of General Ping Xi’s manor. Although that prime minister, Lord Feng, is an opponent of your father’s at court, their family is indeed on par with our Feng manor. As for the palace’s craftsman Bai…”
The matriarch paused for a moment, while Feng Yu Heng waited for the matriarch’s evaluation of Fu Rong. She had always believed that Bai Fu Rong being able to become friends with Xuan Tian Ge was not solely because of a good personality. If it were simply a good personality, perhaps the daughter of a craftsman would never have the chance to meet the imperial daughter. Thus the reason for them being so close now, there must be some other reason.
Sure enough, after a long silnce, the matriarch had some insights: “Although the Bai family is only a craftsman family, they are respected by the Emperor. This was especially the case when the late Empress was still alive, craftsman Bai was hand picked by the late Empress to make jewelry. Over these years, all of the wives to high-ranking officials find receiving a piece of craftsman Bai’s jewelry to be awe-inspiring. Naturally, the palace is no exception. The Bai family’s daughter to the first wife, Bai Fu Rong, is present every year at palace banquets. The nice things that the Emperor gives to imperial daughter Tian Ge, will also be given to her as well. She has truly become something akin to an adopted daughter. She is doted on far more than that imperial daughter Qing Le.”
Feng Yu Heng nodded. No wonder Bai Fu Rong could play with the people of the imperial family from childhood. Their relationship, naturally, was good. Thinking of Qing Le’s attack today, it should be related to Bai Fu Rong being doted on.
“A-Heng.” The matriarch solemnly and sincerely said: “Being able to meet this young miss, you must take good care of this opportunity to get along with them more. You are also the child of the Feng family. The honor of the Feng family is closely tied to you.”
Feng Yu Heng faintly smiled but did not speak.
Seeing that she did not answer, the matriarch resentfully closed her mouth. Instead, she turned to the reason she called Feng Yu Heng and Feng Xiang Rong to Shu Ya courtyard “Just now, someone came from Ding An palace with an invitation. In three days, Princess Ding An will be celebrating her birthday. As usual, they have invited our manor to enjoy the festivities.”
Feng Yu Heng remembered the words Xuan Tian Ge had said and asked the matriarch: “In years past, have people of the Feng family gone?”
The matriarch shrugged, “How could there be anyone that went. Just sending some gifts symbolically was enough.”
Feng Yu Heng let out an “Oh” sound, “Then grandmother wants A-Heng and Xiang Rong to make a visit this year?”
The matriarch patted the back of her hand, smiling: “My dear granddaughter really is smart. Originally, our Feng family dislikes attending these sorts of occasions. That Lord Ding An is not someone related to the imperial bloodline. The Emperor also is not very fond of them. In the capital, most of the wealthy and respected people do not give Lord Ding An any face. But you have not been in the capital. I figured that you have just returned, so you should come interact with the madams and young misses of the capital some more. In any case, this will let everyone know that the Feng manor’s second young miss has returned.”
Feng Yu Heng corrected the matriarch: “Not second young miss, it should be concubine’s young miss. If I am always called the second young miss outside, others will believe that I am the Feng family’s second daughter to the first wife. This would be bad for eldest sister.”
The matriarch was embarrassed for quite a while before helplessly changing the topic: “Also, there is Xiang Rong. Previously, she and Fen Dai were both too young, so there was no need for them to attend this type of occasion. Now that she is ten years old, she should go out some more. Originally, Fen Dai should also be going, but she has been injured.” Bringing up Fen Dai’s injury, the matriarch subconsciously glanced at Feng Yu Heng and saw Feng Yu Heng looking at her with innocent eyes. She could not help but feel a little embarrassed, “That… just treat it as taking your little sister out to gain some experience.”
Feng Yu Heng did not refuse and nodded, “Ok. A-Heng will bring third sister on a trip to Ding An palace.” Perfect, she had wanted to see what the place Xuan Tian Ming had set fire to looked like now.
Seeing Feng Yu Heng agree, the matriarch finally let out a sigh of relief. She was really worried that Feng Yu Heng would say to her: “Why should I go to the places you do not like to go” She would really lose too much face. When the person from Ding An palace came, they specially mentioned the Feng family’s second young miss, who had not been in the capital for many years, and hoped that she could attend. In any case, they were a royal family. If the Feng family’s daughter of the first wife did not want to give them face, then it was no problem. If they could not even successfully invited a concubine’s daughter, then it would be too unseemly if word got out.
“I have already called for someone to bring you new clothing. It is autumn now, so the air is becoming cooler. The clothes should have a few more layers.” The matriarch continued, “Especially for A-Heng, you have not been back for long. If there is anything lacking in your courtyard, you must remember to tell grandmother! Now that that vile woman, Chen shi, is no longer here, if you are missing anything, come take it from grandmother’s. You must not be overly modest with grandmother.”
Feng Yu Heng nodded, “Grandmother doting on granddaughter is perfectly justified. How could A-Heng be modest with grandmother.” As she said this, she glanced at Xiang Rong, “Is that not right, third sister?”
Xiang Rong had not said anything for a long time. Feng Yu Heng suddenly calling her startled her. She had not understood what Feng Yu Heng was saying, but her second sister had asked, so simply nodding would not be wrong.
The matriarch understood what Feng Yu Heng meant and immediately made herself clear: “Xiang Rong is also the same. If you are lacking anything, simply tell grandmother. Grandmother loves you all.”
Xiang Rong quickly stood up and saluted, “Thank you, grandmother.”
Feng Yu Heng also stood up and similarly saluted, saying: “A-Heng thanks grandmother for showing her loving care.”
The matriarch smiled and had them sit back down: “You are both good children who do not cause worry, unlike the one Han shi gave birth to.”
Because of Feng Fen Dai acting out before the ninth prince, the matriarch began to see her as an eyesore. She was originally a hard-to-love concubine’s daughter, who did not know to follow the rules. Her sisters were obediently standing there, yet she rushed forward to show off what ability? She had her arm snapped, right? Serves her right.
“Is the eldest young miss not going?” The previously silent Jin Zhen interjected, “Why does mother-in-law not have eldest young miss go as well.”
The matriarch had thought that Jin Zhen’s massaging skills were pretty good, so she had seen her in a better light. Now that she heard Jin Zhen mention bringing Chen Yu along, she could not help but let her expression sink: “The Feng family sending out two young misses is not enough? We must also send Chen Yu out as well? Just how much face does Ding An palace have?”
Jin Zhen quickly explained: “Mother-in-law has mistaken this concubine’s meaning. This concubine was thinking that head madam had previously offending imperial concubine Yun, and the imperial palace has passed down an imperial decree ordering the eldest young miss to remain out of the palace for five years!”
“Ah!” The matriarch subconsciously let out a startled sound. Hearing Jin Zhen say this, she recalled that there was this matter. If Chen Yu definitely could not enter the imperial palace for five years, then there were not many banquets to attend outside the palace. No matter how bad the Ding An palace was, it was still a palace and it still sounded better than a manor. With this consideration, the matriarch immediately changed her mind, “Granny Zhao, quickly, inform a fast maidservant to bring Chen Yu over.”
Granny Zhao quickly left to inform a servant. Not long after, Feng Chen Yu came in with a nimble girl.
Before she could salute, the matriarch hurriedly said: “Chen Yu, properly prepare yourself. In three days, Princess Ding An will celebrate her birthday. Go with your second sister and third sister!” As she said this, she advised granny Zhao: “Tell the tailors to also prepare a new set of clothes for the eldest young miss.”
“Wait.” Feng Chen Yu quickly stopped granny Zhao. Puzzled, she then asked the matriarch: “Grandmother, Princess Ding An celebrating her birthday is not something that Chen Yu has not needed to attend in past years, right?”
The matriarch sighed, “This year is different. Just go with your sisters this time. Treat it as going out and diverting your mind.”
Chen Yu was a little unhappy, “Why do I need to divert my mind? Granddaughter’s mood is very good. There is not a bit of unhappiness.”
Jin Zhen interjected: “This concubine greets eldest young miss. Eldest young miss, mother-in-law is saying eldest young miss should go to the palace to gain some experience.”
Feng Chen Yu disliked hearing these words even more, her elegant eyebrows coming tightly together. Her gaze towards Jin Zhen carried disdain, “Jin Zhen, I am the Feng family’s daughter of the first wife. Our Feng manor is also a prestigious manor. For what reason must I go to a pseudo-royal’s palace to gain experience?”
Jin Zhen did not care about that unpleasant gaze. She cared even less that she had called her by her name. She still smiled and said: “The Feng manor’s prestige is naturally high, but our family’s master does not like too much noise, thus the family has never organized a banquet. If eldest young miss wants to see more of the other manor’s madams and young misses, it would not be too simple.”
“That’s right.” The matriarch continued: “Chen Yu! Grandmother knows that you feel wronged, but you can not enter the imperial palace for five years! If you do not attend Princess Ding An’s birthday banquet, there are not many banquets outside of the palace. As for Wen Xuan palace…” As she said this, she glanced at Feng Yu Heng and helplessly said: “Your mother has already offended their princess and imperial daughter to that degree. Even if you did go, it would be hard to be seen in a good light.”
Feng Chen Yu’s expression reached the limit of ugliness. Fiercely glaring at Feng Yu Heng, she felt that being reduced to this degree was all Feng Yu Heng’s doing.
She had originally wanted to refuse to go, but hearing Jin Zhen say: “Just now, the one sending the invitation said that it seems the seventh prince will be going.”
Feng Chen Yu’s eyes immediately lit up!