Final regular chapter of the week. Hopefully you enjoyed them. I’ll try my best to stockpile during the week so I don’t end up releasing too late on the weekends in the future.
A few days later, Eunuch Fu carried a box over to the western pavilion.
The things were first presented to Xiao Hua and the Jing Prince. They were a couple of light yellow strips. They were extremely elastic. Xiao Hua squeezed it a little, and found they were very durable, not too hard and not too soft.
The two looked doubtfully at Eunuch Fu.
“This is something this old servant found from the outside. It’s refined using beef tendons, making it both soft and durable. It’s extremely suitable for the little master and mistress to grind their teeth.”
It sounded easy, but Eunuch Fu had actually put in quite some effort.
Eunuch Fu had asked several people, ranging from Doctor Hu to Matron Xu. The babies were in their teething phase, and enjoyed chewing on things. But things that were too hard weren’t suitable since it would harm their baby teeth, and things that were too soft weren’t useful. This was also why Yi Yi enjoyed chewing on the Jing Prince’s hand. It was both soft yet durable.
Although Eunuch Fu didn’t show much reaction to this time’s scare, his heart had ached a lot. In theory he should be a little more biased towards Zhuo’er since he was the son after all. But instead he was like the Jing Prince and cherished Yi Yi a little more. It was clear that it wasn’t a good thing for a baby to be too silent. Little baby Zhuo’er was easily overlooked by others.
Since his heart ached, Eunuch Fu started racking his brain for ideas. In the end, he found this thing.
Matron Xu, Nana He and Doctor Hu all took a look, and felt that it was suitable for teeth grinding. It should be placed in its own box, and rinsed with boiling water before and after. Since there were many servants around, this wouldn’t be a problem.
Therefore, Yi Yi finally got something that she could chew on without restraint.
Ding Xiang rinsed it with boiling water and gave one to each baby. Yi Yi naturally refused to let go once she got it. Xiao Hua put the other one in Zhuo’er’s hands. Zhuo’er looked at his sister who was chewing on hers happily, and tried it out after hesitating for a while. In the end, he realized it was better than his own little hand, and thus changed his target.
Eunuch Fu saw that the little master and mistress seemed to like it, and his own face wrinkled in happiness. He put down all his official business, and it was said that he went to find someone who specialized in refining these things.
Since this was to be placed in the mouth, Eunuch Fu didn’t dare treat this lightly. Not only did he bring the person into the estate, he gave him his own pavilion and arranged several guards on the outside.
That master saw his own inadvertent creation receive a lot of interest from the prince’s estate, and carefully and meticulously did his work. He even made all sorts of different shapes under Eunuch Fu’s instructions, such as a little sheep, a little horse and what not. In the end he even made something that could be put over the child’s finger, and also something in the shape of a peach.
Xiao Hua was no longer surprised whenever her son and daughter had something bizarre in their hands.
Northern winters were always bitterly cold.
It wasn’t that bad inside the house with heated vents and furnaces, but it was extremely difficult travelling outside. Especially when people from the south came to the Jing Province. Encountering such weather, they suffered unspeakable misery.
The sky was overcast, seemingly about to snow at any time. But it had just snowed, and they were finally able to resume their journey. The Li family would feel like dying if another round of snow started.
Five people were crammed into the small carriage. Each wore an ill-fitting large cotton jacket as they shivered from the cold.
“This Jing Province is too cold. How can such worn out clothing keep out the chill? Fur-lined ones would be much better.”
The one speaking was a sixteen or seventeen year old girl. She was pretty and delicate, and at the moment she tugged restlessly on her rough azure cotton jacket.
Li Xue Bing gave his daughter a glance and didn’t speak. Qi-Shi pulled her daughter over to her side and said: “Lian’er, endure a little longer. It’ll be ok once we get to your cousin’s place.”1
Concubine He half embraced the third young mistress Li Miao Fang. The two were huddled together for warmth. Seeing the second young mistress’s attitude, she couldn’t help but say: “Second young mistress, do you still think things are the same as before? It’s already pretty good that we have clothes to wear.”
Ever since the Li family encountered trouble, Concubine He changed from her past steady self. Even if it was towards Qi-Shi’s older daughter, she didn’t show much courtesy. In the past, Qi-Shi would have already had her old maid give her a slap, but she couldn’t do it now. She was afraid to speak up since they had to rely on her.
Of course, Concubine He wasn’t a fool. She knew how to make herself feel good and relieve the melancholy in her heart. Qi-Shi would often be infuriated with her until her face turned red and her neck grew thick, but Concubine He never pushed her far enough for her to flip out.
Having struggled with Qi-Shi for many years, Concubine He understood Qi-Shi too well.
“Concubine He, how could you say that? Is this the tone you should have when speaking to the young mistress?” Qi-Shi said with a glare.
Concubine He changed her face on the spot, her eyes full of tears as she cried in grievance to Li Xue Bing.
“Lord, this concubine has really been wronged! This concubine is just speaking for the second young mistress’s own good. How can we get by if everyone was to be this picky? Isn’t the third young mistress wearing this rough cotton jacket? Isn’t this concubine wearing the same? Even my lord is wearing it. Why is it only the second young mistress who can’t endure?”
Li Miao Lian’s face turned red from being stoppered up, and said resentfully: “Aren’t you just able to be so arrogant because you were able to hide a few pieces of jewelry? What sort of woman would be as immoral as you, stuffing jewelry into, into that area…..”
Concubine He wasn’t going to let her off that easily: “Immoral? How is this concubine immoral? Isn’t this group of over ten people relying on this concubine’s “immoral” conduct to eat and drink? It’s easy for second young mistress to say. Even those clothes you are wearing was exchanged by this immoral behavior! Furthermore, under those circumstances you lot were all standing there foolishly while this concubine stuffed some jewelry in her undergarments. Who did my actions end up provoking? How was it immoral?”
Concubine He’s voice rang throughout the small carriage. She was a born actress, and her voice was naturally outstanding. It completely projected her grievance, and made Qi-Shi and Li Miao Lian fall over from anger.
She pounced onto Li Xue Bing and cried delicately: “My lord, this concubine can’t live on. This concubine was thinking of my lord to begin with. Even if my lord was able to be absolved of the crime, your possessions and property would all be confiscated. Having a bit of money would give us a chance to make a comeback. Even if that’s not possible, at least our family temporarily wouldn’t have to go hungry….this concubine’s thoughts were always for my family, how was it immoral? Coming to the Jing Province so far away, the food, drink and carriages were all exchanged with this concubine’s “immoral” act…..
Li Miao Lian cried angrily on the side, “You’re thinking of the family? Who are you trying to fool? Aren’t you just trying to get some money and run off with some random man…..”
“I can’t live any longer. I refuse to be insulted like this! I’ve followed my lord for over a decade. Although my birth is lowly, I’ve still followed my lord ever since I was a maiden. Where would a woman like myself run off to with money? There’s also the third young mistress. Could it be that I would leave my own daughter behind? My lord if you don’t seek justice for this concubine today, this concubine will commit suicide with third young mistress by jumping off the carriage. How could the third young mistress have the face to live with a mother who would scheme to run off with some random man….”
“Enough, enough!” Qi-Shi rubbed her brows and suddenly spoke, “Lian’er, apologize to Concubine He. Even though she’s a concubine, she’s still someone serving your father. You cannot be lacking in etiquette.”
“I won’t!” Before she finished speaking, Li Miao Lian saw her own father’s expression turn dark.
“Apologize to Concubine He!”
Qi-Shi pinched her from behind. Li Miao Lian could only say with a rigid face: “Concubine He, I was wrong.” Although she said this, her tears flowed involuntarily.
Concubine He also didn’t say anything, wiping her own tears with a handkerchief and leaning against Li Xue Bing’s body, seeming extremely wronged.
Li Xue Bing sighed, “Don’t cry. This lord knows you mean well.”
“My lord—-” Concubine He sobbed, “As long as you understand this concubine means well, then everything is fine. This concubine isn’t afraid of suffering any grievance.”
Qi-Shi was about to be sick at this scene, and could only turn around and give her own daughter a glare. Li Miao Lian also realized that she wasn’t able to come out on top against this Concubine He, and sobbed angrily as she wiped away her tears. Although Qi-Shi was angry, her heart still ached for her daughter and she hurriedly changed the subject.
“How are Hong’er and the rest doing? The weather is so cold, and the two carriages are also filled with so many people.”
Concubine He rolled her eyes under her handkerchief. Not wanting to be overly crowded, Qi-Shi had insisted on another carriage. They were clearly already dogs in the water, and she still insisted on luxury.
However, she didn’t say these words out loud. Having made such a fuss already, the mother and daughter pair wouldn’t dare provoke her for a few days.
Concubine He had caused a huge disturbance, but she was also a little worried in her heart.
It wasn’t clear what the lord’s nephew’s situation was like. She was Li Xue Bing’s concubine for over ten years and only found out now that the Li family had such a rich and prestigious nephew.
Unfortunately it was said he wasn’t favored. Otherwise, a grand and majestic prince wouldn’t have been sent to such a barren place where even birds refused to crap.
Concubine He was of lowly birth, and was an actress from a theatrical troupe. She managed to seduce Li Xue Bing one day and entered the Li Family’s gates. She spent many years struggling for his affection against Qi-Shi in the rear court, and naturally didn’t know what a vassal state and vassal prince was. Only after the situation occurred did Li Xue Bing mention that he still had this nephew.
The Jing Province naturally couldn’t be compared to the area south of the river. The entire way, Concubine He saw only a barren road. The weather was cold, as though it was a place for prisoners to serve their sentence. She wondered how such a place could have any wealth or status.
Only when they arrived at the Jing Prince Estate would she realize what imperial magnificence looked like. Of course, this was something in the future.
Xiao Hua and the Jing Prince were eating when Eunuch Chang walked in.
“What is it?”
Eunuch Chang’s expression was extremely weird, as though astonished by something preposterous.
“A family came into the estate, claiming to be your maternal uncle.”
The Jing Prince frowned and muttered to himself before saying: “Have Eunuch Fu go take a look.”
Eunuch Chang agreed and Xiao Hua added, “Eunuch Fu is in the western wing.”
This was usually when Eunuch Fu would go to see the children, and he could definitely be found there.
After eating, they sat down in the eastern side room. The Jing Prince picked up a book while Xiao Hua sat by the lamp and started sewing clothes meant for the children.
She snuck a glance at the Jing Prince and felt that he was a little distracted.
From what she knew of the Jing Prince’s past, his mother was an attendant who later was promoted to a concubine. Her mental state wasn’t too good and she ended up passing away early. As for the venerated concubine’s family, Xiao Hua had never heard anything about them.
After a long while, Eunuch Fu came.
“This old servant went and took a look. After verifying their identity, they indeed seem to be highness’s uncle, the venerated concubine’s older brother.” He paused and spoke again: “Over ten people have come, seemingly the entire family. According to the lord uncle, the family encountered some problems in the south and they are here to seek shelter.”
Eunuch Fu spoke a little uncertainly. After all, they hadn’t had any contact in several decades. The Jing Prince had grown up only hearing about this uncle, but had never seen him in person.
The Jing Prince thought further. In his past life, he had contacted this uncle and sent someone over with a letter. However, that side hadn’t responded. After he came to the Jing Province, he had never tried to contact him again. After reincarnating, he had almost forgotten this person existed, but they unexpectedly came at this time. In his past life, this situation hadn’t occurred.
However, many things were different in this life. The Jing Prince didn’t think too much about it. After all, it was his own mother’s older brother, his own maternal uncle. If he came, he came.
“Make arrangements for them first. This humble prince will see them tomorrow.”