Chapter 150: Honoured Lady (1)
Someone from the palace?
Matriarch He and He Changqi exchanged confused gazes the moment they heard this news.
The master of the estate was away at the border, and their heir only had a minor position at court. A family like theirs wouldn’t usually get visitors from the palace. Even if Matriarch He were to send her token to the palace to request a visit, they would have to wait days for a reply, even though the matriarch was close friends with the Empress Dowager.
Upon seeing their surprised faces, Senior Servant Liu quickly added a few more details. “The steward said that it’s one of the high-ranked eunuchs from the inner chambers. He’s here to read out an imperial decree that he brought along with him.”
An imperial decree?
This was even more startling to them.
None of the masters of House Jing’an had ever done something worthy of getting an imperial decree.
Although they were still extremely confused, Matriarch He sent the news out to all the masters of each courtyard, ordering them to gather in the parlour at the outer court to await the announcement of the imperial decree.
In a short moment, the entire He Family was kneeling on the floor inside the parlour. Chu Lian knelt behind Madam Zou, according to rank.
She lifted her head a little so she could see what happened next. The high-ranked eunuch cast a swift glance over the gathered crowd before he straightened, adjusted his sleeves, and took up the yellow imperial decree from a tray held by a lower-ranked eunuch.
His sharp voice began to read.
“By order from the heavens, as decreed by His Majesty: Madam Chu, the wife of House Jing’an’s third son, He Changdi, has been recognised for her praiseworthy and beautiful spirit, peaceful and pure demeanour, as well as her quick wits and vast intelligence. Our great emperor, by his benevolence, hereby bestows upon Madam Chu the fifth-ranked title of Honoured Lady, and grants the name Jinyi…”
Even before the eunuch finished, that one line was enough to stun everyone present.
Even the old Matriarch He, who had experienced more of the world, was staring with her eyes slightly widened. What was going on? How had Sanlang’s wife acquired the title of Honoured Lady in the blink of an eye?
Even Chu Lian herself was in disbelief.
Suddenly, she remembered what Royal Princess Duanjia had said to her back in Prince Wei’s estate. “Just you wait, I’ll get you a noble title later on!”
It seemed like this sudden bestowal of a noble title definitely had something to do with Royal Princess Duanjia.
Chu Lian didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. She thought that the princess had just been joking; who could have expected that she had really gotten her a ranked noble title? Although it was the lowest ranked Honoured Lady, it was bestowed upon her directly by the Emperor. That kind of honour meant that she had far more clout compared to any feudal princess.
Madam Zou, who was kneeling in front of Chu Lian, was completely dumbfounded. She subconsciously glanced over her shoulder, as if there was still a chance that her sister-in-law was a different Chu Lian than the one being mentioned in the imperial decree.
She only peeked a little before turning back around. However, what she saw didn’t please her. Her hands were already clenched into two tight fists.
An uncontrollable amount of envy and jealousy flooded her mind.
Third Sister-in-Law had gotten such a great honour simply by going to Prince Wei’s estate. If she had known earlier about it, she would have surely followed along with Third Sister-in-Law when she went to Prince Wei’s estate. Perhaps then she would be the one mentioned in this imperial decree, rather than Chu Lian.
This Honoured Lady title personally bestowed by the Emperor would have been hers. After building a strong connection with Prince Wei’s estate, even if she could no longer produce any more children, Dalang wouldn’t be allowed to take any concubines.
Though Chu Lian was kneeling behind Madam Zou, she could sense that something wasn’t quite right with her eldest sister-in-law’s emotional state. However, she was unable to observe her and figure out why. She could only guess at the thoughts running through Madam Zou’s head right now.
When the high-ranked eunuch had finished reading the imperial decree, he lifted the scroll with both hands and a wide smile. “Honoured Lady Jinyi, please rise and receive the decree!”
Xiyan quickly helped Chu Lian stand up, and Chu Lian walked up to the front of the crowd. She then received the yellow imperial decree from the high-ranked eunuch with both hands.
“We’ve troubled you.”