Chapter 32: Fire in the Kitchen (2)
The garden was tastefully arranged. Beside the flower patches stood two fake decorative mountains, and next to them were a few sets of stone tables and stools fit for sitting. Not too far away was a small lotus pond, lush with verdant lotus leaves. Some water lilies had been planted near the edge, and two or three of them had already bloomed, perching delicate and white upon the green of their pads. It made quite the pretty picture.
Xiyan brought Chu Lian over to rest on the stone stools. “Third Young Madam, those white water lilies are really beautiful.”
Chu Lian wasn’t in the mood for flower viewing. She was concentrating on searching for Lady Zou’s figure, which should be appearing on the road to the main kitchen any moment now.
As expected, Lady Zou eventually came hurrying over from beyond the begonia trees.
Xiyan showed her doubts on her face. “Third Young Madam, Eldest Young Madam seems to have gone to the main kitchen as well.”
Chu Lian hurriedly walked over. “Sister-in-Law, Sister-in-Law!”
Lady Zou, accompanied by a maidservant, paused for a moment and looked over. “Sister-in-Law, what are you doing here?”
Chu Lian could only lower her head, pretending to be bashful and slightly embarrassed. “I came to see if there’s anything to eat for tonight.”
Lady Zou smiled upon hearing so. “Although you’re already a married woman, you’re only fifteen years old. It’s normal to be a little peckish. Just tell Eldest Sister-in-Law what you like to eat; Eldest Sister-in-Law will get the servants in the main kitchen to cook it for you.”
When Chu Lian turned to look towards the kitchens and realised that Senior Servant Gui hadn’t come out yet, she quickly sent Xiyan to call her back.
“Eldest Sister-in-Law, you looked like you were hurrying somewhere. Are you heading to the main kitchen too?”
Lady Zou sighed. “Mother isn’t feeling very well today. She couldn’t get up, even by late afternoon. I’m here to brew some medicine for her!”
Chu Lian furrowed her brows. The book hadn’t mentioned that Countess Jing’an’s condition would worsen today. However, she couldn’t bother with it right now. Countess Jing’an still had a few more years of life in her; she wouldn’t die today. Right now, the most urgent task was to stop Lady Zou from entering the main kitchen.
Seeing that Lady Zou was about to go, Chu Lian hurriedly tugged on her sleeve. “Eldest Sister-in-Law, how’s Mother now? What’s her condition like today? Should we invite an imperial physician to check on her?”
Although Lady Zou was in a hurry, seeing that her younger sister-in-law’s face was full of worry, she couldn’t leave her alone. She could only stop for a moment and explain everything to Chu Lian.
When Chu Lian spotted Xiyan and Senior Servant Gui exiting together, it felt like a stone had been lifted from her heart. At the same time, the sound of a great explosion came from the direction of the main kitchen, and following that, the building was lit aflame.
Although Chu Lian already knew that something was going to happen, she didn’t know that it would be an explosion like this. For a moment, she was stunned and rooted to the spot.
Lady Zou, on the other hand, jumped in fright and quickly ordered her maidservant to call people from the outer court to put out the fire. She thanked her lucky stars that she had been talking to her younger sister-in-law here and hadn’t entered the main kitchen.
When she turned around, the first thing she saw was a teary-eyed Chu Lian. Lady Zou’s heart ached for her young sister-in-law. Chu Lian was still at a tender age; she had only gone to the kitchens because she was feeling a little peckish, but before she had even found a snack, a huge incident like this had happened. She must be scared silly!
Lady Zou softly tried to reassure her. “Third Sister-in-Law? Don’t be scared, I’ve already sent someone to call for the water hoses to put out the fire. Those servants will be fine. It’s dangerous here; why don’t you head back to your own courtyard first?”
After saying so, she turned to face Senior Servant Gui and Xiyan who had just walked over. “Why are you two still in a daze? Hurry up and send your young madam back to her courtyard for some rest!”
Chu Lian finally regained her senses and said, “Eldest Sister-in-Law, I’m fine. Please be careful here. I’ll go back first.”
She had just walked out from behind a fake mountain when she bumped into He Changdi, who had just rushed over from the inner court. He Changdi noticed her hesitant expression. His heart thumped hard, knocking against his rib cage as he quickly instructed Laiyue to bring more people over to the rescue. After remembering that his eldest sister-in-law had been injured in this exact great fire, He Sanlang quickly rushed over to Qingxi Hall.
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