Chapter 81: Chunyu’s Mother
This was Ye Jiayao’s first time to go the Helian Mansion so she now only realized that the Helian Mansion and the Jing An Marquis’ mansion was actually very near each other. They were just two streets apart.
The gatekeeper went to announce her arrival and shortly after, Helian Jing welcomed her with quick steps.
“Big Yaoyao, you are finally here! I have waited for so long.” Helian Jing didn’t dare to step foot outside the house at all in fear that he would miss Yaoyao when he comes.
“Did I hold you up?” Ye Jiayao asked, embarrassed.
“No, not at all. I am just anxious, and also, Mother said that she wants to confirm the menu personally,” Helian Jing said. “But, don’t worry, my mother is very easy-going. She won’t give you much of a hard time.”
Despite his reassurance, Helian Jing was still uncertain. He had thought that he only needed his brother’s consent in this matter, so his mother’s interference was a surprise. If Big Yaoyao was rejected again, Helian Jing didn’t know if he could face him again.
Ye Jiayao scoffed, “I am not worried. It is actually good that your mother would be taking matters into her hands. At least, she knows more than you do.”[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======
If it was just Little Jing, he would approve everything on the menu without even looking at it properly. It would be better if the old princess herself goes through it so Ye Jiayao could get an honest opinion.
In the mansion’s main room.
Princess Yu De was in the middle of chatting with Jing An Marquis’ lady, Xia You. For the past three years, their topic has always been on the marriage of their sons.
Both families have outstanding sons, the cream of the crop. Chunyu was 21 years of age while Helian Xuan was already 23. Most men at that age were already fathers, but both boys had yet to settle down. Mainly because they were both too busy, but also because they were very opinionated and have high standards. They?were never satisfied with their parents’ arrangement so their marriage just kept getting delayed.
Luckily, there were certain prospects for Chunyu’s marriage. However, Xia You was a bit worried seeing as her future daughter-in-law seemed a little unsettled.
“Liu Li is a little willful, but she is still young. It is only normal for her to be curious about the things outside the palace. Whose child isn’t just a bit mischievous? I feel that the Empress Dowager is making a mountain out of a molehill this time,” Princess Yu De said nonchalantly.
Xia You forced a smile. Liu Li is Princess Yu De’s niece, so naturally, Yu De would side with Liu Li.
Her initial excitement about this marriage proposal had already faded. If Chunyu really marries Liu Li, his future would be bright and it would bring great things to the Xia family. However, with Liu Li’s powerful guardians, there was a strong possibility that Chunyu would just get bullied by this pampered and willful princess. Besides, if Liu Li ended up living in their mansion, Xia You was going to have to bow down to her daughter-in-law’s will.
She always had the last say in the Marquis Mansion and she was used to being the one who calls the shots. It would be difficult for her to accept the sudden appearance of someone with a higher status suppressing her.
Therefore, these past few days, she had been in a conflicted turmoil.
“Empress Dowager also did it with Liu Li’s interest in mind,” Xia You reminded Yu De.
“Liu Li merely had fun out of the palace once. What is the big deal? When I was her age, I was also extremely curious about the world outside the palace. I would dress up as a little eunuch and sneak out several times! That was also when I met the prince…” Princess Yu De’s lips lifted into a reminiscent smile, her gaze seeming to drift off.
Xia You didn’t know how to react to that.??Mm, you did great sneaking out,?sneaking a beautiful marriage out, sneaking a happy-ever-after out, perhaps Liu Li would be as lucky as you…
The problem was that the Empress Dowager and the Emperor think highly of Chunyu. In their minds, what was left to discuss of this marriage was just its announcement. It should be time for Liu Li to control herself and await the marriage instead of sneaking out of the palace like an errant child.
Xia You just lowered her head to drink her tea to attempt to conceal the awkwardness.
Luckily, Princess Yu De did not reminisce the past for too long. She sighed and said, “The Empress Dowager is just too uptight over Liu Li. She is the only one left in our seventh brother’s family so she’s being very overprotective. The Empress Dowager originally planned to finalize Liu Li and Chunyu’s marriage before Mid-Autumn, but there had been trouble with West Mongolia recently and the Emperor is very worried. I heard from Xuan-er that they might have to dispatch some troops.”
Xia You secretly heaved a sigh of relief, grateful for the sudden change of subject. She thought that it was lucky that West Mongolia got in trouble, or else, Chunyu would’ve been rushed into marriage.
Xia You was puzzled by her reaction. Why was she glad that the wedding got postponed? Could it be that between the interest of the Marquis Mansion and her personal preference, she was choosing the latter? She has to think this matter through thoroughly.
“Reporting to the Princess, the birthday feast’s chef is here with the menu. Young Royal Highness asks if you would like to take a look?” the servant reported.
“Where is he?” Yu De Princess asked.
“He is currently waiting in the reception pavilion,” the servant replied.
Seeing that Yu De had something to settle, Xia You rose to take her leave. She had only come today to find out about the incident on Liu Li’s punishment, but as soon as she and Yu De got talking, time got away from her.
Yu De stopped her from leaving. “Don’t be in a hurry to leave yet, go with me to take a look. I heard that this chef is new. I don’t like this, but this is Little Jing’s first task and he is putting all his effort on this. I don’t think he’d take a heavy blow like this well. Just back me up in there so he would dispel the intention of hiring that chef.”
For the second time, Xia You didn’t know how to respond to what Yu De said.??So you’re dragging me along so I can be the bearer of bad news? You want me to play the bad guy so your son doesn’t hate you?
“In my opinion, newbies have their benefits. After all, only newbies can come up with new tricks. Since Little Jing thinks so highly of him, he must have his merits. Don’t worry too much. Besides, Little Jing is a sensible child, if?he gets shot down, I’m sure he’d understand. This is the Old Lady’s big event so I’m sure he knew that this can’t be done carelessly,” Xia You refused tactfully.
“The severity of the feast doesn’t matter because he allows his emotions to affect his decisions. I heard that this chef was his friend. I asked him a few questions about this last night, and he got annoyed and frustrated. I’ve pampered him since he was young so my words would not weigh as much as yours to him. Come with me. You can provide more opinion, and if I left anything out, you can cover for me.” Princess Yu De pulled Lady Xia You over resolutely.
Xia You was unable to refuse, but she vowed that she would not play the bad guy.
In the reception pavilion, Helian Jing was in awe after taking a look at the menu Big Yaoyao had prepared.
“Big Yaoyao, this is too detailed! How did you think of all these? This is almost the standard of an Imperial feast! The one from Fu Ji pales in comparison with yours.”
Of course, it is the standard of an Imperial Feast. This is the improved version of the Imperial Feast with the best reputation in history.
“Does it violate the regulations and system of the ceremony?” This was the only thing that Ye Jiayao was worried about. The ancient feudal society was strict with hierarchy, paying particular attention to eating, dressing, and even marrying. The consequences were dire if the boundaries were crossed.
Helian Jing replied, “There are regulations for the ceremony, but my grandmother’s status deserve the standards of an Imperial Feast.”
His grandmother was the only first-class lady who got her title granted by the Imperial court in Huai Song. Her son was the only king with a different surname who got bestowed the title due to his outstanding contributions. On top of that, her daughter-in-law was the Emperor’s blood sister, the Empress Dowager’s blood daughter, Princess Yu De. Even if the Empress Dowager summons her in, she was allowed to be on an equal footing with her.
Ye Jiayao said, “If you think that this is too extravagant, I still have two other plans with me. I designed a total of three sets in different grades.”
Her experience in the modern workplace had taught her to plan backups in case the first proposal got rejected. Failing to prepare for possible changes or refusal would be equivalent to passing up an opportunity.
Helian Jing thought about it for a while before he said, “My mother likes extravagance while my grandmother prefers frugality. My brother likes parties to not be overly extravagant that it makes people jealous, but not too simple either that it becomes a laughing stock. He kind of prefers moderate feasts.”
Ye Jiayao nodded in understanding. It really didn’t surprise her that Helian Xuan was the most thorough with his considerations. “Then I better let your mother look at the middle-grade menu later on.”
Helian Jing shook his head. “My mother would definitely like this set. The more extravagant it is, the more she will like it. Let her take a look at this first. If there is anything to be taken out, we’ll let grandmother do it. If you take the middle grade or the low grade to her straight away, she would definitely reject it on sight.”
In the middle of their conversation, Princess Yu De and Lady Xia You entered the room.
With both their graceful presence and bearings of upper-class women, Ye Jiayao could not tell which one was Little Jing’s mother. Both of them didn’t seem to resemble Little Jing or Helian Xuan. However, the lady with an oval face looked very familiar. She just couldn’t recall when or where she saw her.
Helian Jing rushed forward to bow. He greeted with a smile, “Mother, I thought you wouldn’t have the time to come over because Auntie is here!”
“Your grandmother’s birthday feast is not important only to our family. The Empress Dowager and the Emperor place high importance on it and have even asked about it several times. Of course, I have to be here to check on it, Little Jing,” Princess Yu De said.
Helian Jing did not reply to his mother, but instead, turned to greet Xia You. “How are you, Auntie? What is Brother Chunyu busy with these days? He doesn’t drop by to play anymore.”
Ye Jiayao’s heart skipped a beat. She looked so familiar because this was Chunyu’s mother!??Sh*t! I’m not prepared for this!
After greeting Xia You, Helian Jing introduced Ye Jiayao,?“Mother, this is Li Yao, the head chef of Heavenly Residence that I mentioned to you before.”
Ye Jiayao cupped one fist in the other hand, bowing respectfully.
Princess Yu De shot a glance at Ye Jiayao.?So young? This is more of a disaster than I thought.