Too many things had happened and Xiao Hua only remembered the Jinyang madam once she had some free time.
Although Xiao Hua had threatened her that day using her current status and hadn’t seen any movements since, Xiao Hua still felt it was better to tell the Jing Emperor about this.
This was something Xiao Hua had gotten accustomed to: not keeping anything from the Jing Emperor. Their current environment was overly complicated, and the slightest misunderstanding could result in a rift between them. It’s fine if it happened once or twice, but if it happened too much it would harm their relationship. Therefore, Xiao Hua’s way of dealing with it was not to hide anything and be completely open.
This day after dinner, Xiao Hua sent Ding Xiang and the rest out and told the Jing Emperor about her past.
She truly revealed everything, starting from her experience of being sold off as a child.
The only thing she changed was how she had ended up becoming one of Ruan Siyi’s senior maids. She said it was because she happened to catch his eye, and could only go along with it.1
She truly had to go along with it. Who would have thought she would get another chance after dying?! Her attitude afterwards had truly been extremely unwilling.
Thus the Jing Emperor found out that there was once a man who had stray thoughts about his woman when she was still so young.
At that time, Xiao Hua wasn’t even fourteen. Truly worse than a beast!
The Jing Emperor was a little angry. This was just an instinctive reaction, something all men would innately feel. Then he realized that he had also wanted Xiao Hua’er when she was very young.
At that time she was still very petite. She was a cute and dainty little lass.
The first time she had cried very tragically. At that time he had wondered why she was crying. Shouldn’t your ancestors be rejoicing in their graves that this humble prince had graced you…..
Afterwards, he had gotten a little obsessed. Whenever he went to patrol his vassal state, her little teary-eyed appearance would always pop up in his mind….
“Were you in a lot of pain that first time?” The Jing Emperor pulled Xiao Hua into his arms and stroked her hair.
Xiao Hua froze. Wasn’t she telling him about her past? How did the topic turn to her first time?
The distant memory still seemed fresh in her mind…..she truly had been in a lot of pain. At that time, he didn’t know to be tender yet, and even had her bathe him afterwards. Then he wanted to go again in the bathhouse pool…..
Thinking of the experience, Xiao Hua’s face turned red.
The Jing Emperor seemed to have remembered what had happened after as well, and kissed her forehead in an apologetic manner.
“At that time, We didn’t understand.”
Xiao Hua was extremely shy and couldn’t help but rub her face against his chest.
The Jing Emperor revealed a smile. He felt his heart was very warm, as though it were about to melt. The two cuddled for a while before he opened his mouth and asked: “And then?”
And then? That’s right, she hadn’t finished telling him!
“Then this servant concubine was sold off. Because the other two had been intimate with the fourth young master, they weren’t sold off to any bad places. Then, I somehow got sold to the prince’s estate.”
“En, We knew about this.”
“Majesty knew?” Xiao Hua crawled out from his arms, not daring to believe it.
“Can’t really be counted as knowing. This was something the subordinates were responsible for. Eunuch Fu always investigates anyone entering the estate. Back when you went to the western pavilion and were made a madam, Eunuch Fu needed to change your registry and mentioned a few things to me. It was too busy back then, and I also didn’t mind it.”
Xiao Hua stroked her face in embarrassment. She had thought her past was very mysterious, but they had already thoroughly investigated everything. She curled up in her original spot again and brought up what happened at the mid-Autumn banquet.
After listening, the Jing Emperor frowned.
“She used your past to threaten you?”
“She hinted at it, but it doesn’t seem like she wants to make a fuss out of it. She probably just wants to get some benefits from this servant concubine.”
The Jing Emperor didn’t speak, and half knitted his brows.
“This servant concubine didn’t bother with her. This servant concubine still knows not to compromise in this situation, otherwise things will be hard to deal with in the future. This servant concubine isn’t afraid of being laughed at, but I’m just afraid people will insinuate that I was a bed maid and cause problems….”
Speaking up to here, Xiao Hua finally started feeling uneasy.
“Majesty, this servant concubine…..”
The Jing Emperor patted her hand comfortingly, “Don’t worry. A small marquis’s madam. She wouldn’t dare even if you ignored her.”
“Sorry, this servant concubine has a lowly background….” As she spoke, Xiao Hua’s eyes turned red.
How could she not care about it? She just intentionally ignored it. Back at the western pavilion it wasn’t that noticeable, but after coming to the capital, everything was about background, household status and etiquette. The reason those officials made such a fuss a few days ago was, to put it plainly, because of her lowly status. She didn’t have a formidable clan behind her, and only had the Jing Emperor. If it were the empress in her position instead, no one would have popped out.
But Xiao Hua also knew that her birth wasn’t something she could change. She didn’t feel ashamed of her birth, but merely felt that she was bringing a lot of trouble onto her man. Her son was also implicated by his mother’s lowly status.
“Why cry? You are Our senior concubine. How can your status be lowly?!”
“That’s not it. This servant concubine just feels I’ve brought a lot of trouble onto majesty. Zhuo’er and the children have also been implicated…..”
Don’t think she wasn’t aware just how much pressure he had been under in court the last few days before finally managing to suppress things.
“We don’t feel troubled. Zhuo’er also wouldn’t.”
Xiao Hua smiled through her tears and pounced into the Jing Emperor’s arms.
Although she understood this already in her heart, she was still pretty moved when he said it. With just these few words, she was able to put aside her sense of inferiority. She could laugh coldly and disdain the slander of others.
The Jing Emperor wiped Xiao Hua’s tears, “Don’t overthink it. Since there hasn’t been any movement, it means she’s afraid. No need to mind her.”
Because the Jing Emperor needed to get up for court every morning, Xiao Hua’s daily routine had been adjusted to match his.
The two got up bright and early.
They first washed up and ate breakfast. After breakfast, the Jing emperor changed his clothes and went to court.
Looking at Xiao Hua who spiritedly helped him change, the Jing Prince’s eyes flashed in a smile. He said nonchalantly: “Going to the Fengqi Palace later and act the ostentatious and domineering favored concubine?”
Xiao Hua paused and shot the Jing Emperor an angry glance, “Isn’t it due to majesty spoiling me?”
The Jing Emperor stroked the hair by her temples, “It’s Our fault for being muddleheaded and spoiling a demoness.”
Xiao Hua was also aware of her demoness label. But by the time she found out about it, the Jing Emperor had already dealt with the situation. Xiao Hua was indescribably moved at that time. She gave it her all to reward the Jing Emperor that night. The next morning when they woke up, the Jing Emperor joked “We are very pleased with Our demoness concubine”, giving Xiao Hua, who was on the bed unable to move a finger, quite a heavy blow.
But this was merely a little joke between the two of them. They had a mutual understanding.
After the Jing Emperor left, Xiao Hua grabbed the second prince and looked him over. She then went to the side hall to see Zhuo’er and Yi Yi, eating breakfast with the two little ones. Xiao Hua split her breakfast in two nowadays. She would eat a few bites with the Jing Emperor and then the rest with the two children. She could eat just about enough and be done.
Then she would help the children change into outdoor clothing and take them out for a stroll in the courtyard for some morning exercise.
Now that they had Whitey, a new type of exercise was added in the morning.
The little puppy was less than two months old, and would run around behind them with its chubby body. Sometimes it would chase Yi Yi, sometimes Yi Yi would chase it and they would play for a while. Then, Yi Yi went with the palace maids to get Whitey cleaned up, Zhuo’er went to the Hall of Celebrated Glory for his lessons and Xiao Hua went to the Fengqi Palace.
“Greetings to the empress.”
After Xiao Hua saluted, she sat herself down in her usual spot.
The empress had gotten thinner compared to the past few days. Her makeup couldn’t cover her dry skin and sallow face. Her wrinkles had also increased. She wasn’t thirty yet but looked to be an old woman in her forties already.
In comparison, Xiao Hua who was sitting below had a glowing face, a rosy and fair complexion and looked so tender it made one resentful.
“Senior concubine….cough cough….is very free….these days?” The empress’s eyes almost popped out from glaring. She really wanted this person before her to vanish and never appear in front of her again.
Xiao Hua glanced at the empress and leisurely fanned herself, “Not really, this servant concubine has quite a few things to do normally. When his majesty goes to court, I accompany the children for a bit and come pay respects to empress. After going back, I have to accompany his majesty for lunch and take a nap. Then it’s time to coax the children. Compared to others I’m naturally leisurely, but compared to empress I’m outrageously busy.”
“You—-” Before she could say anything, the empress started coughing. The palace maids hurriedly surrounded her with tea and water while helping her catch her breath.
Nana Zhao was both anxious and angry, and turned back to give Xiao Hua a look. She happened to meet Xiao Hua’s smiling gaze, startling her into turning back immediately.
“Empress, you really can’t go on like this. It’s better to call an imperial physician over….oh, why are you even coughing up blood? It’s not good to cough up blood. This seat remembers that there’s a sort of illness that makes one cough blood, it’s an extraordinary one…..” Xiao Hua was speaking coolly when suddenly she withdrew the smile on her face and stood up rather hurriedly. Her gaze was bewildered and she covered her nose and mouth with her handkerchief.
“Concubine, what’s wrong?” Ding Xiang asked.
Xiao Hua shook her head and said something, but no one could hear clearly due to the cloth over her mouth. However, she walked towards the exit rapidly without giving the empress a glance, seemingly in a panic as though being chased by a ghost. The people she brought along all left majestically as well. Half the hall suddenly became empty.
Only after stepping out did Xiao Hua stop and remove the handkerchief. She called loudly: “Hurry and call for imperial physicians. Call several of them over, tell them the empress’s situation is bad.”
Hearing this, the empress didn’t even cough anymore and directly fainted.
The hall immediately grew chaotic. The palace maids anxiously and in panic carried the empress to the inner hall. The Virtuous, Serene and Tranquil Concubines slipped out of the hall.
Virtuous Concubine Qiao looked bewildered at that hall and then at the senior concubine. The Serene Concubine had recently teamed up with the senior concubine and they could be said to have some relationship. She asked: “Senior concubine, was what you just said true….or false?”
“Who knows? We have to wait for the imperial physicians to find out. This seat has seen this sort of illness outside the palace before, it’s an extraordinary one.” Xiao Hua knitted her brows and looked at the hall in disgust. “What a calamity! Virtuous Concubine Qiao, you keep an eye on things here, ok? This seat is going to change her clothes.”
After speaking, Xiao Hua took her people and left.
The Serene Concubine gave Virtuous Concubine Qiao a glance and saluted, “Virtuous concubine, since the senior concubine ordered you to keep watch, then we’ll have to trouble you. Us sisters won’t bother you anymore.”
After speaking, she pulled the Tranquil Concubine with her and left, leaving behind Virtuous Concubine Qiao who had an ugly expression on her face.