Chapter 87.5 - Family Meeting

Adorable Food Goddess Zi Yi 281, 紫伊281 2022/9/21 7:28:13

“What mold? What type do you want?” Uncle Jiang asked.

“Just this big.” Ye Jiayao gestured with her hands. “In various types, like heart shapes, flower shapes, and others. Regarding the patterns on them, would you be able to make what I draw?”

Uncle Jiang thought about it. “That’s fine. Shuanzi could also do this type of skillful work, and he is even better than me at carving flowers.”

“Shuanzi?” For a few seconds, Ye Jiayao didn’t realize that Uncle Jiang was using Jiang Li’s pet name. She turned to Jiang Li and teased, “Should I call you Shuanzi in the future? I think A-li still sounds better, though.”

Jiang Li looked like he was really thinking about it. Uncle Jiang replied, “It’s just a name. It doesn’t matter what Third Lady calls him.”

Ye Jiayao frowned, troubled by that term. “Uncle Jiang, just call me Yaoyao from now on.”

“How can I do that, Third Lady?”

“I like it when you call me Yaoyao, it seems more affectionate. You see, I call you Uncle Jiang and you call me Yaoyao. Isn’t that great?”

“No, no. You’re Third Lady,” Uncle Jiang protested.

Ye Jiayao resisted the urge to shout at him. He’s so stubborn!

Whatever.They could call me whatever they like.

“Then I’ll go and draw the patterns soon. How long will it take to make?” Ye Jiayao asked.

Uncle Jiang looked at Jiang Li, clearly intending to let his son take the job.

Jiang Li responded, “If it’s not a complicated pattern, then it will most likely be done in one day,”

“That quickly?” Ye Jiayao was glad.

Jiang Li nodded.And by ‘one day’ I meant that includes day and night. As long as it is something Third Lady needs, I’ll be happy to give up food and sleep to make it possible.

“Okay, then I’ll go and draw the patterns now. You don’t need to rush, okay? As long as it is completed in three days, it’s fine with me. All I want is for the work to be meticulous.”

The patterns on the mooncake were usually flowers accompanied by various words, like good fortune, longevity, Number One Scholar, Mid-Autumn, or the brand. This time, as it was especially for the Elder Princess, Ye Jiayao decided to use ‘Fu Shou An Kang’ (good fortune, longevity, and good health), along with their surname ‘Helian’, to create five blessing. The flowers she decided to use weretree peony and hibiscus which symbolized wealth and auspiciousness.

She had learned carving flowers before, so her drawing skills were quite good. She drew five designs in one sitting and chose the peony with the word good fortune first for Jiang Li to work on. If it was made well, then they would make the rest. She not only needed these molds for the mooncakes, but also for the other pastries.

When she went to find Jiang Li after finishing her drawing, he was not there.

Uncle Jiang said that he told Jiang Li to go out and buy some things and he will be back soon. He told her that he would just hand the drawing over to Jiang Li.

Ye Jiayao was perplexed. It was already so late. Apart from entertainment and dining places, all the other shops were closed. What could they possibly buy?

Meanwhile, in the Jing An Mansion, they were holding a family meeting.

The meeting was presided by Lady Xia You and the participants included the eldest son, Xia Chunli, who was born of a concubine, and his wife, the eldest daughter-in-law, Lady Xia Née Qiao, the two legitimate sons – second son and future successor Xia Chunyu and the third son, Xia Chunfeng, who just returned from the frontier.

There were two main focuses of the meeting. First was the present for Helian Mansion’s Old Ancestress’ 70th birthday, and the second was the Lord coming back to Jin Ling for the Mid-Autumn Festival. It had been many years since he came back, so Lady Xia You wanted to ask the sons for ideas on how to make this Mid-Autumn Festival livelier.

Lady Xia Qiao had already started thinking about these problems long ago. She had wanted to please her mother-in-law. “Old Ancestress is a Buddhist, how about we let Mingxiu embroider a portrait of Guanyin as a gift?”

Qiao Mingxiu’s mother was from the number one embroidery family in Ji Nan. Most of the embroidery from the Qiao family was given as an imperial tribute. Her mother’s embroidery was exquisite, unparalleled, and very precious. Qiao Mingxiu’s embroidery was also amazing, especially the double-sided embroidery, which is a skill that was handed down to her. She was most proud of this skill and naturally would not leave out any opportunity to show it off.

Lady Xia You calmly said, “Your idea is good, but on the Old Ancestress’ 60th birthday, Elder Princess Yu De already gave her a Suzhou-style Guanyin portrait embroidery. If I remember correctly, the Guanyin embroidery was from the Qiao family too.”

“Then… we can still stitch a million ‘Fu’ (good fortune) picture,” she tried again.

“Next year is the Empress Dowager’s 70th birthday. I heard that the Empress is going to personally stitch a million ‘Fu’ picture. If you were to stitch one before the Empress and also gift it to the Elder Princess, I’m sure the Empress would not be happy to know this,” Lady Xia You said.

Qiao Mingxiu was at her wit’s end. Can’t gift this, can’t gift that, she already couldn’t think of any other ideas and turned to Xia Chunli, hoping that he could think of something better, but Xia Chunli just lowered his head and drank his tea, pretending not to see.

“We’re been family friends with the Helian family for generations, so I think we don’t need to be so picky, as long as they feel out sincerity,”

“Then tell me how will they feel the sincerity?” Lady Xia You asked.

When talking to her biological son, Lady Xia You used a completely different tone which showed her hopes.

Xia Chunfeng had only mentioned it casually. How would he know what to give?

“Ask Second Brother. He has the most ideas,” Xia Chunfeng pushed this difficult task to his Second Brother.

Xia Chunyu was still thinking about Yaoyao’s matters at this time, and he didn’t know if Uncle and Auntie Jiang could persuade Yaoyao to stay. There was still no news as of this moment.

Everyone’s gaze locked onto him, but Xia Chunyu was in a daze and had not reacted.

“Second Brother, Second Brother? What are you thinking about? Mum’s asking you!” Xia Chunfeng elbowed his second brother.

Xia Chunyu finally responded, and asked in a puzzle, “What?”

This immediately resulted in Lady Xia Yao rolling her eyes. “You didn’t hear what we were talking about just then? What were you so engrossed in thinking about?” she scolded.

“Elder Princess’ birthday present,” Xia Chunfeng whispered.

Xia Chunyu immediately understood and mused, “I heard that on the 8th of August, there will be a consecration for the Golden Buddha at Puji Temple which will be presided over by Master Hongji. They have also invited eminent monks from the five famous temples in Huai Song. We can ask for a string of blessed Canaan prayer beads then. I think this present won’t be too bad,”

“Elder Princess has been vegetarian for decades and has also been praying for decades. What type of prayer beads would she not have?” Qiao Mingxiu said.

Her embroidery had been rejected, so what good were prayer beads?

Lady Xia You was naturally inclined to help her son, and said calmly, “How is it the same? The scale of the consecration ceremony this time is like never before. The six famous monks from Huai Song will be chanting the sutras, so even trying to a get a talisman is hard, not to mention praying beads. I’m sure Elder Princess will like the gift,”

Qiao Mingxiu was not happy. Mother-in-law was just more biased towards the younger brother and whatever he said was good. Her husband, as the eldest, received lesser treatment because he was not her biological son.

“Mum is right, Second Brother’s idea is great,” Xian Chunli quickly said, “It’s just that it might be difficult to get the prayer beads,”

Xia Chunfeng smiled, “Eldest brother, this might be difficult for other people, but if it’s our second brother asking, then there should be no problem. Who doesn’t know the friendship between second brother and Master Hongji?”

Lady Xia You also saw no problem and said, “Then we’ll leave this matter to you, Chunyu,”

“Now, let’s move on and discuss how we should celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival this year. We haven’t had a proper reunion during the Mid-Autumn for many years now,” Lady Xia You threw out the second discussion point.

“Mum, I think you should just decide for this. Every Mid-Autumn is basically the same,” Xia Chunfeng said unenthusiastically.

This resulted in Lady Xia You’s scolding, “You’re so simple minded! How many years has your father been away from home? It is rare for him to come back once and you don’t even think about doing filial duties? It was all for nothing to raise you up,”

Xia Chunfeng innocently said, “It’s because there are so many complicated matters that father doesn’t want to return to Jin…”

He stopped halfway after a death glare from Xia Chunyu. That brat! Doesn’t he have a filter on his mouth after going to the frontier?

Xia Chunfeng had touched a sore spot. If Mum wasn’t happy, then everyone had to look at her expressions.

Xia Chunyu was about to talk, but saw Song Qi at the door signally to him with his eyes, and said, “There is no rush. Everyone should have a think about it since there is still time, and we can discuss it another day,”

“Second Brother is right. We should all have a think. There is no need to have it full of liveliness, as long as father spends a happy Mid-Autumn,” Xia Chunli also said.

Lady Xia You sighed, “Then we will continue discussing tomorrow,”

As soon as the family meeting was dissolved, Xia Chunyu was the first to rush out. “Already stayed,” Song Qi said quietly.

Xia Chunyu smiled, a heavy weight was lifted. Yaoyao had a safe place to stay. If Uncle Jiang looked after her, then that would get rid of a lot of his worries.

“And about Wei, how much have you found out?”

“Second daughter Miss Ye is still in Yang Zhou, and will only be back in Jin Ling after a few days. Wei Liujiang is currently staying with Vice Minister Mu’s family. However, his own residence has almost finished renovating. Wei Liujiang will be coming to take the metropolitan examination this time. Apparently his talent surpasses many people and there are quite a lot of people who have expectations of him,”

Xia Chunyu sneered. Talented? Not matter how talented he is, these type of playboys are jerks no matter what. Everyone has expectations of him? Then everyone should take a proper look.

“Keep an eye out there and report back if there is any news,” Xia Chunyu instructed.

“Second brother, what are you muttering about? Who is this Wei Liujiang? Did he offend you? I’ll go and teach him a lesson,” Xia Chunfeng had caught on earlier that his brother was distracted and had eavesdropped out of curiosity.

Xia Chunyu looked at him apprehensively, “It’s none of your business. You just worry about yourself,”

Xia Chunfeng was disappointed and said sullenly, “What do I have? Nothing! I’m bored out of my wits. Second brother, I heard that even Helian Jing that kid has things to do. Let me do something as well!”

Xia Chunyu glowered, “You’re already prepared for the military exam in autumn? Nothing to do? Aren’t you going to hurry and practise? You’ll be going to replace Father guarding the frontier if you don’t rank in at least third place this year,”

“Is it that easy to come in third place? Not everyone is like you!” Xia Chunfeng said dispiritedly.

When he thought about it, he and Little Jing were equally pitiful – they both had such strong and able older brothers so they seemed so incompetent in comparison.

Seeing that Second Brother was about to scold him again, Xia Chunfeng quickly escaped.

When he got to the door, Eldest Brother was waiting for him. Xia Chunli patted his shoulder lightly, “Your second brother is only doing this for your benefit, don’t mind too much. In fact, I think that you’re quite good. I’ll be supporting you,”

“I know that Second Brother is doing it for my good,” Xia Chunfeng said in embarrassment.

In reality, Eldest Brother was also very capable, but his status meant that he was destined to always be in the shadows of the one who everyone focuses on. However, it couldn’t be helped. Who told him to be an illegitimate child?