What Exactly is This Family Thinking?
The matriarch was shocked by the sudden arrival of good news, as she urgently asked: “What is the good news?”
The servant: “Elder madam, go to the front yard to take a look. The eunuch that had come to make the imperial decree is already waiting in the front yard!”
Hearing that there would be an imperial decree, the matriarch trembled as a conditioned reflex. In the past half year, the Feng family had received more imperial decrees than in the previous 20 years, but each time, it did not seem to be a good thing, and if it was anything good, it was related to Feng Yu Heng. Thinking like this, she naturally felt that this imperial decree would most likely be for Feng Yu Heng, thus she quickly informed the servant: “Perhaps second young miss still has not gone very far. Quickly chase after her and bring her to the front yard.”
The servant that had come with the message stomped her foot and laughed, saying: “Oh! Elder madam, this imperial decree is for you! It’s an extremely good thing!”
Granny Zhao immediately felt that something was off and quickly said: “Speak clearly. What exactly is the good news?”
Only then did the servant say: “An imperial decree came from the palace for the elder madam. It says that elder madam will be conferred the title of first rank noble lady! Elder madam, quickly go to the front yard to receive the imperial decree!”
“Oh!” The two were stunned at first then revealed their joy. Granny Zhao immediately informed the servant: “Quickly have people call the concubine mothers and young misses of each courtyard to go receive the imperial decree together. Right, you must bring second young miss back too. She left not too long ago.”
“Ok!” The servant happily ran out to spread the word.
Granny Zhao helped the matriarch stand up. While helping her tidy her clothes and hair, she said: “Our manor will soon be welcoming the eldest princess of Qian Zhou. Thinking about it, his Majesty is definitely feeling that elder madam not having a noble title is something that is unacceptable. But speaking of this, this old servant feels that this noble title is coming a little too late. Elder madam, you are the mother of a standard first rank official. You should have received it long ago.”
The matriarch was already full of enthusiasm. How could she still be worried about such things, as she pushed for granny Zhao to hurry up. She then said: “Whether it came early or late, either way, it has come. If his Majesty decided not to confer this title, there is also nothing we could do!”
Granny Zhao casually said: “Hah, thinking of how that Yao shi has the title of first rank noble lady makes this old servant feel wronged on elder madam’s behalf.”
The matriarch also felt wronged on this matter: “Hmph, A-Heng even knows to request a noble title for her own mother; however, my son doesn’t have that on his mind!” Upon mentioning this, the matriarch’s expression sank.
Granny Zhao quickly tried to pardon herself: “It was all this old servant’s fault for being poor with words. Elder madam, you absolutely must not get mad at master. Master is the prime minister, so he naturally must be an example for the other officials. If he is like the others and only looks out for his own family’s benefit, how could that be good!”
The matriarch was also thinking of this reasoning, and her expression improved slightly.
Granny Zhao secretly let out a sigh of relief. It really was too dangerous earlier. If the elder madam had truly gone to get angry at master because of what she had said, her crime would have been too great. She began moving her hands faster and brushed the matriarch’s hair once more then said: “Everything’s ready. Elder madam, let’s quickly head towards the front yard!”
On this side, the matriarch led her servants over to the front yard. The people from the other courtyards also began to head towards the front yard. Feng Yu Heng was on her way back to Tong Sheng pavilion but was brought back. In regards to the matriarch suddenly being conferred the title of first rank noble lady, she did not feel that it was unexpected.
Feng Jin Yuan was already the prime minister; therefore, being conferred the title of noble lady was just a matter of when. Moreover, the title of noble lady was just a reward for the family of the government officials. It did not have any real purpose.
But Huang Quan provided some analysis, saying: “This is so the elder madam doesn’t lose too much face in front of Princess Kang Yi, right?”
Feng Yu Heng laughed, “If things don’t go well, she will lose face in front of me.”
“Hm?” Huang Quan was puzzled, “His Majesty is always thinking of young miss. How could he allow elder madam to suppress young miss?”
“How could you know what his Majesty is thinking?” Feng Yu Heng raised the corner of her lip and wickedly said: “Perhaps someone is trying to curry favor and is doing their best to treat grandmother well!”
“Young miss is saying that it was eldest princess Kang Yi?”
“Just wait and see!”
The two chatted until they arrived in the front yard. The people from the other courtyards also rushed over. Only after all of the people from the Feng family had been gathered did housekeeper He Zhong quietly say something to the eunuch. The eunuch then raised his voice and loudly said: “Elder madam of the Feng manor, Li shi, to receive the imperial decree.”
The matriarch quickly walked forward then kneeled, loudly saying: “This humble old woman will receive the decree.”
With her kneeling, everyone in the Feng family also kneeled on the ground. The eunuch opened up the scroll in his hand and loudly said: “Elder madam of the Feng manor, Li shi, has been noble and is considerate. This time, you will be conferred the title of first rank noble lady and given a court dress, and that shall be the case!”
The matriarch’s smile bloomed like a flower, as she immediately replied in a loud voice: “This humble old woman accepts the decree and gives thanks for the imperial grace. Long live his Majesty.” She then raised both of her hands above her head and received the decree in her hands. A servant to the side also came forward and carried the court dress back.
Granny Zhao helped the matriarch up then gave a small pouch of money to the eunuch that had brought the imperial decree. The eunuch fiddled with it a little then said in satisfaction: “Congratulations to elder madam Feng. I wonder if elder madam still has any instructions. If there are none, then we will be returning to the palace.”
The matriarch quickly said: “We have troubled the eunuch, yet we did not even invite you into the manor for a cup of tea.”
“Ah! No need, no need! Elder madam, please take care. We will be retiring!” The eunuch did not remain for an instant longer. After announcing the decree and receiving a reward, he quickly left.
Feng Yu Heng looked at the imperial decree in the matriarch’s hands and wanted to laugh. She could almost imagine the irritated look the Emperor must have had when handing down this imperial decree. It was such a simple decree with just a few words. It did not even provide any further titles. It was clear that the Emperor did not want to confer this title.
Thinking about it, this was the case. Feng Jin Yuan had not requested a noble title for his own mother after so many years. This was enough for the Emperor to see that this prime minister’s family was not worth looking at. He did not confer it early, nor did he confer it late. He waited until just before Kang Yi married into the manor to confer this title. Even if she thought with her toes, she would be able to figure out how this title came to be.
Sure enough, after the eunuch left, some people that looked like palace maids that had come along did not leave. The leader walked over to the matriarch and bowed: “This servant pays respects to elder madam. Congratulations to elder madam on being conferred the title of noble lady.”
The matriarch looked carefully for a while then recognized her: “You are the palace maids from Qian Zhou?”
The servant said: “Indeed, we are. Elder madam has good eyes.” While saying this, the friendliness caused her to be surprised. “I wonder, is elder madam satisfied with this grand gift our eldest princess sent?”
The matriarch was startled, “What grand gift?”
The servant smiled and said: “The imperial decree for this title! Our princess said that eldest princess is the leader of the family, so she should always stand at the top. That’s why she especially went to the Emperor of Da Shun and requested his Majesty to confer elder madam the title of first rank noble lady.”
The matriarch was completely stunned. This title was conferred because it was requested by Kang Yi? Thinking a little more, that would be the case. If Feng Jin Yuan had gone to request it, he definitely would have told her ahead of time. This imperial decree had come suddenly. Earlier, she had only been occupied with feeling happy. Only now did she begin to feel that things were strange.
The servant saw that the matriarch did not speak for a long time and quickly said: “Our eldest princess said that because the matter between her and Lord Feng happened suddenly, and Qian Zhou is too far from Da Shun, there presently is not enough time to prepare a dowry. Thus eldest princess thought of what she could do for elder madam, and it is not out of pity for elder madam. Also, our Princess Ru Jia also had something that she wished to give you!”
Saying this, she waved, and two palace maids immediately came forward with two wooden boxes. The boxes were extremely heavy, and the palace maids were unable to carry them. They had to rely on leaning them against their bodies.
“This is the two bolts of moon palace silk that his Majesty of Da Shun gifted to Princess Ru Jia on the first day of the year. Princess said that she felt intimate with elder madam from the first moment she saw you. In the days that she lived in the manor afterward, she felt more and more as though you were her own grandmother. Now that her desire has come true, princess said that this will be considered a greeting gift to elder madam!”
This caused the matriarch to truly begin smiling. Not only did she receive the title of noble lady and a court dress, she now received two bolts of moon palace silk. This was truly unexpected.
The eyes that looked at the two wooden boxes were practically glowing, as she repeatedly said: “The two princesses are too courteous.”
The servant was also good with words: “They will be family after not too long. Princess wishes to perform a grand ceremony and kowtow to elder madam.” She ordered for the two bolts of moon palace silk to be handed to the matriarch then said: “Us servants must return to report to the eldest princess, so we will not be staying. Elder madam absolutely must take care of herself. Eldest princess has said that after she has married into the Feng family, she will definitely go take care of elder madam every day.”
This palace maid’s words were sweet, causing the matriarch to smile from the bottom of her heart. The hostility that she originally had towards Kang Yi was completely eliminated. She had gone from being on guard against her to being whole-heartedly expectant.
Once the palace maids from Qian Zhou left, the people remaining in the yard were only people from the Feng family. Seeing that the matriarch’s happiness had not yet passed, Feng Chen Yu thought quickly and took the initiative to go forward, kneeling on the ground and saying: “Granddaughter congratulates grandmother on being conferred the title of noble lady!” After saying this, she bowed deeply.
Since she had already done this, how could everyone else continue to just watch. An shi quickly pushed Xiang Rong, and Xiang Rong also went to kneel behind Chen Yu.
Feng Yu Heng and Feng Fen Dai kneeled a little later, but they could be considered as having followed the sequence of events. After this, it was the concubines that kneeled, including the still-pregnant Han shi, but the matriarch did not hurry to have her stand.
Although this was not the first time that the Feng family kneeled towards her, this time was different. She was a noble lady with a ranking. From this moment forward, she would no longer need to envy the females of other families, and she definitely no longer needed to avoid banquets out of embarrassment from not having a title.
With such vain thoughts, she left everyone kneeling for half of the duration of a stick of incense. Only then did she say: “Alright, everyone may rise. It’s just the title of noble lady. What’s the need for this much kneeling.” The words clearly did not match up with what she was feeling. Even an idiot could see that she was all smiles.
After Chen Yu stood up, she took a couple steps forward and said with a smile: “In the future, grandmother will be a noble elder madam. Whenever you go into the palace, you will need to wear the court dress. How prestigious! I never thought that eldest princess would be so invested. Now that grandmother is a first rank noble lady, even if she is the princess of Qian Zhou, Qian Zhou is still just a vassal state after all. Comparing it like this, her ranking would be below yours.” After saying this, she lowered her voice and spoke at a volume such that only she and the matriarch could hear: “Grandmother is a first rank noble lady, and second sister is a second rank county princess. Eldest princess has truly put in a great deal of effort!”
The matriarch’s eyes lit up. That’s right! She had always been jealous of Feng Yu Heng’s status as county princess. Now that she had the title of noble lady, she was pressing down on her head!
Upon thinking of this, the matriarch’s smile became even wider.
Feng Yu Heng stood to the side. Although she did not hear what Chen Yu said, she was able to clearly see the movement of her lips, and she was able to understand the contents of what she said. She could not help but smile to herself. A sham of a noble lady wanted to suppress a county princess that had been conferred lands. What exactly was this family thinking?