Chapter 15

The shadows of the trees in the imperial gardens flickered and danced.

It was still dark outside, but due to the moon in the sky it was still possible to make out the surroundings.

Luo Huai Yuan rubbed his buttocks as he limped back. He had taken this road back to the Xianyun1 Palace Hall too many times. He could walk it with his eyes closed.

He fumbled his way back and found the gates of the hall only open a crack. He struggled and pushed the doors open, and before he could force himself in a sharp yet happy voice sounded in his ear.

“Highness, you finally returned. You have no idea how many times Concubine Ma came asking about you. This servant kept saying you were still asleep. Concubine Ma said to go see her after you’ve woken up.”

“I got it. Tell me the rest after letting me inside.”

Xiao An Zi moved to the side to allow Luo Huai Yun inside. When they reached the lights, Xiao An Zi felt a shriek rise in his chest, but right as it was about to reach his mouth he swallowed it back down. He then said in a low voice: “Fourth prince, why is your face bruised?”

“Er…..”

Luo Huai Yuan felt his face. Only after his touch resulted in pain did he realize Xiao An Zi wasn’t lying to him.

No wonder he felt sore all over. Turns out his face was also bruised. He had thought it was just his butt.

“How will this do? If Concubine Ma sees highness’s face is hurt, she’ll definitely cry again…..”

Having had enough of Xiao An Zi’s fussing, Luo Huai Yuan pushed him away. “Enough, enough. I won’t go see mother concubine today. If Que’er comes, say I haven’t woken up yet.”

“There’s no other choice…..” Xiao An Zi said sullenly.

While they spoke, the two had already entered the Xianyun Hall. The moment they entered, Xiao An Zi shut the doors.

“My goodness. Fourth prince, why are you covered in dirt!?”

“I say, Xiao An Zi. Can you stop being so dramatic? Go get me some water to wash it off.”

Xiao An Zi left while muttering to himself and Luo Huai Yuan entered the inner hall. There was a mirror that was half a person’s height inside, and he went over.

The copper mirror was bronze colored, but since it was something belonging to the royal family, it had been polished until it was gleaming, and the reflection could be seen extremely clearly. In the mirror was a little fatty, his round and chubby face full of bruises as he grimaced at himself.

Luo Huai Yuan was frozen.

When he woke up, he was curled up by himself in a corner of the imperial gardens. That small corner was where he loved to spend his time when he was young after crossing over to this world. Therefore, despite not having been there for many years, he knew instantly where he was.

He had raised his head and saw the full moon above. It was a silent night.

In his daze, Luo Huai Yuan had even wondered if everything had merely been a dream, and that he had just woken up now after falling asleep, tired from playing too much.

Then, he had stumbled back, his head muddled the entire way.

Now that he was standing in front of the mirror, he was thunderstruck as he looked at himself.

Was it truly all a dream?

But why could he still clearly see the blood trickling from her lips as she closed her eyes and departed, and feel that heart-rending grief in his chest? He still felt that heaven-scouring fury, his unvented resentment and his unwillingness that made his heart and his hands, and even his entire body tremble.

Was it truly a dream?

Luo Huai Yuan, looks like you like dreaming too much. That’s why you feel everything was a dream!

There was no dream. It had never been a dream. Otherwise, your heart wouldn’t be hurting so!

Xiao An Zi carried over a basin of water.

He was thirteen or fourteen years old, his features delicate and his body frail. When he was seven or eight, he was arranged by Luo Huai Yuan’s side to serve. Now that he was older, he was still loyal and devoted. His mouth was just a little fussy.

“Highness, hurry and come wash up. The small kitchen’s fire had long been extinguished. Therefore, this servant could only fetch a pail of cold water.”

Luo Huai Yuan didn’t speak. He first took off his clothes by himself and walked over to let Xiao An Zi wipe him down with a towel.

Xiao An Zi fussed as he wiped. After wiping for a while, his eyes turned red and his tone was mournful.

“Highness, did the second and third prince beat you up again? Why else would your body be full of bruises as well…..”

Luo Huai Yuan froze and said superficially: “Don’t remember.”

That’s true. The fourth prince’s memory had never been good. But was it so bad that he didn’t remember being beat up recently? Xiao An Zi wasn’t old and he didn’t think too deeply. He could only look sympathetically at his pitiful master.

After washing up, Luo Huai Yuan crawled into bed.

Xiao An Zi wanted to keep watch for the night but he didn’t permit it, and had him go rest. His thoughts were very chaotic and he wanted to be by himself.

The inner hall grew dark but Luo Huai Yuan wasn’t able to fall asleep.

That resentment and grief prior to his death in his past life was still fresh in his mind. Although his body had calmed down, his mind was unable to do so.

He had actually reincarnated? He had returned back to when he was twelve years old!

During this period of time, Luo Huai Yuan had already recalled this event.

In his past life, his royal father had also gotten fed up of this fat and foolish son of his, and ordered for his food to be controlled so he could lose weight. It was supposed to just be controlling his portions each time, but instead some contemptible people took advantage of this to take away his food. He had been suffering from hunger when old fifth Luo Jing had given him a plate of osmanthus flower cakes. He was about to go share them with his mother when he ran into the second prince Luo Jin and the third prince Luo Qi. They had not only knocked the cakes down, they even made him kneel and pick the cakes back up.

At that time he had already lived in the Grand Xi for twelve years and had been taught from a young age by his timid mom to remain low-key, mediocre, timid and foolish. It was best to let others feel disgusted when looking at him. At that time he also understood that if he hadn’t done so, he might have died prematurely as his mom had said.

This palace was too frightening, and the two women that had dominated the harem were too frightening. Luo Huai Yuan had been unconvinced when he first transmigrated, but gave up after seeing countless women miscarry or their children die prematurely via more and more hidden schemes…..

This word was too savage, and he was so weak others could pinch him to death!

Therefore, he pretended to be foolish. He pretended for twelve years until it became second nature. But he still had some temper after all, and being stomped on and humiliated by those two children, he had thrown the cakes in Luo Qi’s face in a fit of anger. What followed was a round of violent beating.

He hadn’t retaliated. The moment the cake left his hand, he had snapped out of it. He had covered his head and taken the beating before going to his little space to sit blankly. Then he had accidentally fallen asleep and only returned after dark.

He had actually come back to this time?

Luo Huai Yuan wouldn’t think of this as the opportunity in novels where the weeb counterattacks as the male lead who reincarnates, gets revenge on all his enemies and conquers the world. Perhaps if he was the same person as he used to be back in the modern world, he would have done so. However, after everything that happened in his past life, Luo Huai Yuan wouldn’t have such naïve thoughts anymore.

Are the heavens messing with me?

You refuse to give me any goldfinger and want me to suffer eight more years in this palace before getting my freedom? Actually it wouldn’t be freedom since he would still lose his life after a number of years.

He would even cause her to be dragged in—–

“…..if you’re still my consort in the next life, let’s be husband and wife, ok? I will bravely cherish you, cherish you so, so much. I will treasure you….”

“…..give birth to some fat little children for me at that time. I’ll take you to travel the world….”

“…..I’ve always wanted to do so, but never had the money before, and didn’t have the freedom now….”

The words he spoke prior to his death seemed incredibly laughable in his memories. How could he do all this if he didn’t even have control over his own life?

The blood trickling from her mouth and her face as she died flashed before his eyes. Luo Huai Yuan, are you really going to have her accompany you in death once again?

***

Concubine Ma came to the Xianyun Hall bright and early.

She didn’t even give Luo Huai Yuan and Xiao An Zi a chance to put on an act.

As expected, when she saw her son’s face, she couldn’t stop crying.

“My son, your mom has let you down……”

Concubine Ma was a plain woman. Her figure was chubby and her face was round. Of course, she wasn’t ugly. But within this palace filled with flowers, she seemed a little ugly.

Others felt that Concubine Ma being able to give birth to the fourth prince was a sort of miracle. She was just a palace maid by Emperor Xi’s side, and he had once slept with her after getting drunk.

This wasn’t the first time something like this happened, but those palace maids were all good looking ones. Even Emperor Xi didn’t expect that the palace maid he randomly pulled over when he was drunk would be so plain looking. Of course, the deed was already done. Regardless, all the women in the palace belonged to his majesty, and being able to sleep with him was a blessing.

As Concubine Ma was taken out, Emperor Xi had given orders. The eunuchs had complied accordingly and rubbed Concubine Ma’s bellybutton area until the royal seed had all flowed out.

Unexpectedly, Concubine Ma had still gotten pregnant.

The emperor had few children so getting pregnant was naturally a good thing. Therefore, Concubine Ma was conferred the most common of titles, mistress, and given a palace hall to live in. Ten months later, she gave birth to a son. Emperor Xi was overjoyed and conferred Mistress Ma as Concubine Ma instead.

Of course this was only what happened on the surface. Even Mistress Ma hadn’t expected to be able to give birth to the child safely. Having stayed in the palace so many years, she had naturally seen many things that weren’t visible to those above. The harem had many shameful secrets and all sorts of hidden schemes.

Without saying anything else, there were quite a few concubines who got pregnant in the imperial palace. However, those who were able to give birth successfully could be counted on one’s fingers. Prior to Concubine Ma giving birth to the fourth prince, apart from the empress’s crown prince, there was only Senior Concubine Xu’s second and third prince.

Concubine Ma was a timid person. If she had the choice, she would have rather not been graced by the emperor at all. But she was a palace maid and could only have accepted it. Who would have thought she would give birth to a prince?

It was good to give birth to a prince. Her wealth and status increased by quite a bit. But before that, she had to figure out how to keep her son alive.

Concubine Ma was a foolish person, and she could only use foolish methods. Actually, even if she had good methods she wouldn’t have been able to use them. She didn’t have any background nor was she favored. Even a more influential servant in the palace had more power than she did. Her foolish method was to not be a threat. If her child was just as plain as her, the concubines in the harem wouldn’t take him seriously. It wasn’t enough for the prince to look plain. He had to be hated by his majesty, and also can’t have any promising prospects. Only someone like this would not be a threat.

Therefore, while Luo Huai Yuan was still a helpless baby, he was fattened up by Concubine Ma. When he was around two or three, he was already a small blob of meat. He only learned to walk after he turned four.

During his infancy, his mom would hold him daily and ask him not to blame her since she had no choice. Luo Huai Yuan hadn’t been able to move at the time, and after listening for a while he had understood the gist of things.

This was a foolish woman and also a weak woman. She was just a pawn under imperial rule. She didn’t have the ability to overcome the whims of fate. She could only try and protect her own using her methods.

To protect himself, Luo Huai Yuan could only follow along.

After racking his brains, he realized that this woman wasn’t actually foolish. Her method was merely the only one available to her.

It had truly been useful. Emperor Xi hated his fat and timid self, and he was able to survive to maturity.

“….did the second and third prince beat you again? Didn’t mom tell you to avoid them? You retaliated, didn’t you? Didn’t mom tell you that as long as you don’t resist, those lofty people wouldn’t come bother you in the future? If you were to resist, they would only enjoy messing with you even more….”

This was Concubine Ma speaking from her experience as a palace maid. She had experienced this for many years, and was also using her experience to teach her own son.

Luo Huai Yuan’s face was wooden as he listened to Concubine Ma speak while crying.

He couldn’t be blamed. Anyone would go crazy after being brainwashed daily!

“Mom, I definitely won’t resist next time, I definitely won’t…..”

Only these words could make Concubine Ma’s tears and fussing stop. This was Luo Huai Yuan’s experience from his past life.

Concubine Ma hugged her fat son and sobbed: “Oh son, it can’t be helped. It’s all because we’re lowly in status. There aren’t that many years left. Once you come of age, you can leave this place. Before then, we can only endure.” In his past life, Concubine Ma had told him the same thing.

After finally sending his mother concubine off, Luo Huai Yuan fell exhausted back in bed.

Leave this place. Leave this place. Just what should he do to leave this place?

Author’s words:

Haha the osmanthus cakes. Fatty Yun having a deep impression of those cakes wasn’t for no reason. Repressed Jing, do you still remember those cakes by Lake Daming?

The male lead has appeared. It’s him, you can label him.

  1. Idle Cloud

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