Transmigrator Meets Reincarnator
Chapter 428: Losing Favour (1)
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They returned the New Year gifts?
Returning those gifts meant that they no longer wanted to associate with House Jing’an!
Matriarch He slammed her palm on the table, causing the teacups to shake and clink.
“Are they trying to bully our House Jing’an now that we have fewer members around?” Matriarch He’s chest heaved as she bellowed in rage.
Senior Servant Liu saw that Matriarch He’s complexion had turned pale and noted how she was desperately trying to catch her breath. She quickly patted the matriarch’s back in fright and tried to reassure the old woman. “Matriarch, please keep your health in mind! It’s not worth it to let those fairweather friends anger you so much that your health declines. The countess is still bedridden and Erlang and Sanlang aren’t around. This house still needs your support to stand strong.”
Matriarch He finally calmed down a little. She rested for a moment before asking, “Which houses returned our gifts? Have you recorded their names?”
Muxiang had lowered her head during the matriarch’s rage, not even daring to breathe until Matriarch He had spoken to her. In a small voice, she obediently reported the name of every house that had returned their gifts.
Matriarch He’s hands curled into fists. “Remember all of those names! Since they don’t want to associate with us any longer, we don’t have to go out of our way to accommodate them either!”
The matriarch paused in thought before giving them another order. “Get someone to bring over all the gifts that were sent back. I want to inspect them myself.”
Muxiang left to carry out her orders immediately.
In half an hour, Muxiang returned with the stewards of the outer court, along with a group of manservants who carried the New Year gifts into Qingxi Hall’s parlour.
The stewards bowed respectfully towards the matriarch and said, “Matriarch, these are all the gifts that were sent back from the various noble houses.”
Matriarch He walked over to the gifts with the help of her cane. She pointed at the boxes placed on the carpet and ordered, “Open all of them! I want to see what’s inside for myself.”
The manservants carefully opened each of the red carved wooden boxes. When Matriarch He was finally able to see what was in them, her eyes widened in disbelief.
Her first reaction was to blow up in anger. “Is this what you prepared as gifts?! An absolute disgrace, the lot of you!”
The stewards were all frightened by the matriarch’s temper and immediately kneeled to the ground. “Please have mercy on us, Matriarch. It was Eldest Young Madam who ordered us to do so. Although we felt that it wasn’t appropriate, we couldn’t disobey Eldest Young Madam’s orders.”
Matriarch He was trembling with rage. She wanted to lift her cane and teach all these servants a lesson, but she managed to restrain herself in the end.
Senior Servant Liu hurriedly stepped forth to support the matriarch. She was genuinely worried that the matriarch would faint from her anger.
“Matriarch, what’s done is done. There’s no way to make up for this even if you lose your temper.”
Matriarch He took in a deep breath and let out a long sigh, seemingly having lost all her spirit in that one huff. Disappointed, she said, “Tell them to dismiss themselves.”
Senior Servant Liu waved her hand at the stewards kneeling on the ground. The stewards quickly took the chance to make their escape and left.
Senior Servant Liu helped Matriarch He over to the warm hearth for a break.
“That Madam Zou is becoming more and more careless! Send someone to bring her here.” The matriarch’s anger hadn’t died out at all. She had only suppressed it momentarily. Once Madam Zou appeared, the wrath of the heavens would likely rain down upon her.
Just look at what she had prepared for the noble houses as New Year gifts! They would normally send out the highest quality of mountain ginseng, but it had been swapped for an inferior grade of ginseng. The jade Buddha statues were actually made of flawed jade, and the high-quality sencha tea cakes had been changed to low-quality loose leaf teas…
Madam Zou had been in charge of the household for at least five or six years. How could she be so careless as to make such a terrible mistake?
Shortly after, Madam Zou rushed over to Qingxi Hall with her trusted senior servant and handmaid by her side.
“Granddaughter-in-Law greets Grandmother.” Madam Zou made a perfect curtsey without any fault. Even her expression was dignified and composed, without any trace of impatience or apprehension.
Senior Servant Liu frowned upon seeing Madam Zou acting in this manner.
The matriarch harrumphed and said, “There’s no need to greet me now. Just take a look at those gift boxes behind you!”
Hearing so, Madam Zou finished her curtsey to the matriarch before turning to look at the brocade-lined gift boxes.
When she was done, she turned back to the matriarch and asked curiously, “Grandmother, these are the New Year gifts I ordered the stewards to send to the other noble houses. Why are they here?”
The matriarch was almost forced to laugh from the intensity of her anger. “Madam Zou. Don’t you know exactly why these are here in my hall?”
It was only now that surprise showed on Madam Zou’s face. She asked in disbelief, “Grandmother, were these New Year gifts returned?”
Matriarch He’s expression was overcast as she watched her granddaughter-in-law putting on a show.
Madam Zou walked over to Matriarch He’s side, her head lowered. She acted as if she was suffering some grievance and said, “Grandmother, it’s not that Granddaughter-in-Law was trying to skimp on the New Year gifts, but the public funds are simply not enough. Granddaughter-in-Law had no other choice.”
The matriarch frowned. “Didn’t I draw Guilin Restaurant’s profits into the public accounts?”
Madam Zou acted as if she was struck dumb and quickly explained, “Grandmother, Guilin Restaurant has already closed down since the middle of the month. Just a single month’s worth of profits isn’t enough for our New Year expenditures.”
Matriarch He lapsed into deep thought for a moment.
Although she now knew the reason behind the lackluster New Year gifts, Matriarch He still couldn’t forgive Madam Zou’s carelessness as the lady-in-charge of the household.
She continued restraining her anger and replied, “No matter what, it’s your responsibility that something like that has happened. I see that you no longer want to be in charge of the household. I’ll be the one to take over your labours then. Return to your courtyard and reflect on your mistakes!”
Getting her authority revoked was something out of Madam Zou’s expectations.
The alarm and astonishment she had been faking instantly became real. Her eyes widened, showing her disbelief. It took her a good long moment to finally regain her senses and react. She lost all of her noble reserve and dignity and kneeled in front of the matriarch, even going so far as to grab on to the matriarch’s leg as she pleaded.
“Grandmother, you can’t do this! It was all my fault, I shouldn’t have insulted the noble houses by sending such poor quality gifts. I’ll make up for it right now! I’ll use my own funds to make up for it! Please, give Granddaughter-in-Law a chance!”
Matriarch He seemed indifferent to her pleas. She looked at the sorry Madam Zou as she declared, “Madam Zou, it’s too late to regret your actions now. Servants! Send Eldest Young Madam back to her courtyard!”
Once Matriarch He had given the order, Madam Zou was dragged out of the parlour by a few strong senior servants.