Chapter 155 “Banquet in the Palace”
As the long-expected date of the celebratory banquet closes in on them, so does the festive mood of the holiday. The season may not be the warmest of the year, nor was it the most beautiful, but it doesn’t hinder the residents of the city in enjoying themselves by basking in the blooming fragrance of the autumn flowers.
Early this morning on the fated day, Madam Lan had specifically set aside a large chunk of her time to carefully dress Ling Yue up for the occasion. While Lan Caier couldn’t make it for the event this evening due to the need of continuing her secluded training, it matters not for the point of this was to introduce Ling Yue to the rest of high society.
Grooming himself properly, Lan Ying Wu ditched his usual beardy face and led his wife and god daughter into the carriage for the palace.
As per tradition, lanterns are hung along the palace walls to indicate the parking spots for the officials according to their rank.
“Ling Yue, the banquet for the Ghost Festival is divided into two parts, the men’s feast and the women’s feast. For you and your mother, you two will be attending the one inside the inner palace hosted by the Queen Dowager herself. All you have to do is follow your mother’s lead and you be fine.” While still outside the palace wall, Lan Ying Wu left the girls to their own device for he can’t interfere in this.
Understanding everything at this point forward now belongs to the womenfolk, Madam Lan led the way for Ling Yue by pulling her along into a chariot meant for the palace grounds. Deep and wide, the paved roads inside the palace was like a maze if not for the illuminating glow of the lanterns guiding their way at every corner.
For the ladies of the capital, the annual Ghost Festival didn’t merely represent a feast inside the palace walls, it’s also a gathering place to build connections with other houses and to demonstrate the merits of their offspring’s. If lucky, they might just catch the fancy of the Queen Dowager like Lan Caier did and become a titled princess. Or in some cases, maybe get a marriage arrangement with some powerful young heir.
As soon as Ling Yue and Madam Lan dismounted from their chariot, they were welcomed by the scene of various finely dressed ladies from the other officials in court. Their goal the same as theirs, attending the banquet.
It’s been over a year since Madam Lan left the capital, as such, she was very pleased to recognize some of her old acquaintances among the crowd. Wanting to greet the other ladies, she walks over to only be avoided like a mouse meeting a cat. An awkward situation for her no matter the occasion, especially when Ling Yue was by her side.
“Mrs. Lan.” Just when Madam Lan didn’t know what to do against the cold reception, another woman in her forties called out to break the strange atmosphere.
“Ling Yue, I finally found you.” Feng Xue excitedly ran over and grabbed Ling Yue’s hand.
Originally Mrs. Feng didn’t have any connections with Mrs. Lan in the past, but ever since their daughters became good friends, Mrs. Feng naturally held some favorable impressions of the Lan family.
Not long after, Liu Cheng’s mother also came over along with her two daughters. Together, the group headed into the banquet hall.
“Just now I noticed everyone was intentionally avoiding me, is something happening without my knowledge?” Madam Lan asks, confused over the strange behavior.
This translation is hosted only on: https://bcat00.wordpress.com/
“This… Mrs. Lan, the reasoning why the other ladies would avoid you is likely due to this invitation letter.” Mrs. Feng and Mrs. Liu are both vaguely aware of the situation. Bringing the letter out, they hand it over to Mrs. Lan so she can see for herself.
The invitation letter was sent from the Hong House the day prior to the palace banquet, mainly to invite the ladies of the various houses to attend a tea party.
Because Mrs. Feng and Mrs. Liu had good impressions of the Lan family, both ladies decided to keep themselves absent from the event. However, from the words of the other ladies who did attend the tea party, there were a lot of unfavorable news going around that day about the Lan family.
In summary, it mainly consisted of false rumors regarding how Madam Lan letting a girl of unknown origin into the family. A cowardly act. And of course, they didn’t forget to bash Ling Yue too about how she likes to seduce men in open public and attack others in a pet shop.
Now that definitely didn’t sit well with the ladies of high society. Who doesn’t have a daughter in their family? If the bad influence somehow rubbed off on their own daughters, it would be a horrible outcome. As such, when seeing Mrs. Lan and her newfound daughter together tonight, it’s to be expected that everyone would run away.
“What a good Hong House. We only took a few eggs off their hands and they are using such underhanded tricks. Such narrow minded people.” Hearing the whole story on the side, Feng Xue couldn’t resist flaring up at the injustice.
Needless to say, the whole thing originated from Zhu Ge Rou and her daughter Hong Yu Ying.
“Ling Yue, this sort of stuff isn’t uncommon in capital so don’t take it heart. Mother doesn’t like to befriend those who believes in just any old rumors anyways so let us go into the banquet.” Despite the bad news, Mrs. Lan didn’t take it to heart.
Her level of toleration has greatly impressed Mrs. Feng and Mrs. Liu. Enjoying each other’s company, they and their daughters all entered the Hundred Phoenix Wing of the inner palace where its jam packed with guests already seated inside.
Normally, according to their family rank, Mrs. Lan and Ling Yue should be seated in the middle tables, but due to their late entry, some other ladies of other ranks had already snatched their seats away. As such, they can only sit in the lower tables.
As soon as Ling Yue got seated, she immediately sensed two powerful eyes coming her way. Turning around, she realizes it’s from Hong Yu Ying and Nangong Qinglin. As good friends, it’s natural that both girls would sit together at the same table.
Ling Yue couldn’t tell what they are talking about right now, but based on their gnashing teethes and nasty glares, she figured it can’t be anything good.
Surprisingly, she couldn’t find An Ming Xia’s presence in the banquet. In that case, it must be due to the poison stings from the bees. The girl still hasn’t recovered yet.
“Do you see, that’s the recently recognized second miss of the Lan House. Such poor dressing, not even a decent trinket on her body.”
“I know right. If the first miss of the Lan House is refusing to come then wouldn’t it mean she’s not recognizing this girl either.”
Fortunately Lan Caier didn’t follow along for the occasion, otherwise with the girl’s hot temper, there be a public scolding long before the start of the feast.
Getting no response from the ladies of the Lan House, the various gossipers gradually lost interest and shifted their attention to what the female sex liked the most: gossiping about which lord got a new concubine, who got a promotion, and everything else actually…
“Mrs. Lan, you look absolutely divine in how well you kept your looks up. Is there some sort of special beauty cream you use?” Mrs. Feng asks after taking notice of how youthful the woman looked under the dim lights of the banquet hall.
If you like this translation, consider donating for a extra release or simply turning off adblock for me helps too.
(30$ to make me stay up late into the night is fair right for this novel?