Chapter 23

Since it was only some flesh wounds and with Auntie Chen’s medicine, the low-ranked palace maids who were beaten recovered within a few days.

After keeping silent a few more days, each started getting restless again.

Having experienced this beating, it seemed that Qiao Lian and Xi’er had grown even more impatient and eager to leave the sweeper area.

But since they had just entered as low-ranked palace maids, the people they knew outside their circle were only the mid-ranked palace maids who were in charge of them as well as the Aunties. Auntie Chen who was in charge of the sweeper area was a grave and stern person, so they only dared to fawn upon the mid-ranked palace maids.

Within the room, Xiao Hua and Xiu Yun both remained inactive. Xiao Hua because she didn’t have the desire and Xiu Yun seemingly because she was overly dense, and didn’t have a grasp on these concepts.

But in Xiao Hua’s opinion, there was no way someone who got the qualifications to enter this estate amongst so many other girls could be dense.

Perhaps Xiu Yun had the desires but was just better at hiding it?

Xiao Hua kept these thoughts inside her mind and didn’t speak them out loud.

But soon Xiao Hua didn’t have the time to think about others because her period came.

This was Xiao Hua’s first period in this life. In her past life her period had started very late as well, only coming at fifteen. It actually came slightly earlier in this life.

In her past life it was a torturous session every time and she expected this life’s to be no different.

Feeling chills from head to toe, her hands and feet cold as ice, all her body’s sensations gathered in her lower abdomen. Her face turned pale from the pain and her legs turned weak, as though falling heavily ill.

The other three in the room had already experienced their periods before. The Jing Prince Estate’s benefits were good, even handing out menstruation straps.1 Xiu Yun saw Xiao Hua’s expression of suffering and helped her collect the strap as well as a bag of herbal powder.

The mid-ranked palace maid asked about the situation, and upon finding out it was Xiao Hua’s first period she let her have a few days off, telling her to rest until it passes before getting back to work.

Since Xiao Hua was feeling extremely uncomfortable, she didn’t dwell on it and simply lay back on her bed.

Finally after enduring four or five days her period was gone. Xiao Hua seemed to be resurrected, feeling comfortable all over. She didn’t delay and went back to work.

****

All the meals for the palace maids in the estate were prepared at the meal management center.

Every day when the time came, mid-ranked palace maids from everywhere would lead a few low-ranked palace maids to carry the food back. Normally Su Yan would be the one to take people for their sweeper area, though the low-ranked palace maids would be chosen at random. Whoever she ran into would be brought along.

This counted as the only opportunity for those in the sweeper area to roam outside so those low-ranked palace maids often fell over each other to be chosen, hovering around Su Yan as mealtime approached.

Out of the four in the room, only Xi’er and Qiao Lian would normally do so. Today was a rare occasion as Xiu Yun also seemed to have something on her mind as the time approached. Xiu Yun seemed to have made a big decision before coming up to Xiao Hua and saying quietly: “Xiao Hua, could you please help me with something? I want to make a trip to the meal management center, could you come with me?”

Xiao Hua was very puzzled. Just go if you wanted to, why drag her along?

Xiao Yun seemed to have noticed her confusion and explained: “My older sister also works in the Jing Prince Estate. I haven’t seen her in a really long time. She’s currently working in the meal management center so I thought I’d try and see if I could run into her. If we really meet up, I need someone to cover me for a bit while I talk with her.”

Since she had already put it this way, refusing would seem a little unreasonable. Xiao Hua also didn’t think too much and walked out with Xiu Yun after agreeing.

Their luck was pretty good. Su Yan was just about to leave to fetch lunch and also happened to see Xiao Hua and Xiu Yun. Knowing that these two were normally extremely well-behaved she went ahead and picked the two of them, called another two over and the five of them left for the meal management center.

The sweeper area was located in the estate’s northwest corner. To reach the meal management center they would have to pass a long alleyway.

Along the way, pale grey perimeter walls were everywhere and one could see many palace maids coming and going. Occasionally a palace eunuch would pass by.

Xiao Hua only learned about eunuchs after coming to the Jing Prince Estate. It was said they came from the imperial palace, and had always been serving the princes and imperial concubines inside. The eunuchs in the estate were all brought over by the prince as he came to the vassal state.

They all had some feelings of reverence, especially when seeing the usually imposing Su Yan lower her head towards those dressed as eunuchs. The act subconsciously birthed this type of reverence within the hearts of the low-ranked palace maids.

After arriving at the meal management center, Xiao Hua realized that comparing the Jinyang Marquis Estate’s main kitchen to this place would be like a minor mage standing in front of a grand wizard. Not only was the area large, the people working inside were all extremely organized. It was clear their roles were well divided and their habits were excellent.

Xiao Hua often felt that the customs of the Jing Prince Estate were far better than those of the Jinyang Marquis Estate. Without looking at anything else, in the main kitchen of the Jinyang Marquis Estate the sight of old maids yelling at common maids for slacking was common. Here, no one dared to be sloppy in their tasks, and those in charge also austerely kept things well under control.

The meal management center was divided into several areas. The area that prepared meals for the palace maids was a large building in the outer corner. Those coming to fetch the food were not permitted to enter, and could only wait by the door for someone to bring the food out.

There were a lot of people outside the kitchen doors obviously here to fetch food.

After arriving at the meal management center, Xiao Hua noticed Xiu Yun’s normally calm gaze turn a little anxious. She saw her looking all over the place but wasn’t sure whether she spotted her sister or not.

At this moment, a round faced sixteen or seventeen year old palace maid dressed in a bright red short coat and verdant skirt walked up.

She first smiled at Su Yan and spoke: “Greetings big sis. I saw someone from my hometown amongst your group, and want to ask about my family’s situation. Would it be possible to accommodate us for a bit?”

Status in the Jing Prince Estate could be differentiated by the clothing. Mid-ranked palace maids would dress in bright red short coats and verdant skirts. Su Yan was also dressed this way. Therefore, even if you didn’t recognize someone you were able to tell how to address them based on the clothing.

Furthermore, mid-ranked palace maids were also divided based on their assignments. Clearly those that worked in the meal management center was a little higher in status than those in the sweeper area. Therefore Su Yan was very willing to give her some face. Especially since this was human nature. Having worked in the estate for so long without being able to go home, seeing someone from your hometown would naturally evoke such a situation.

Xiao Hua saw the palace maid call Su Yan over and knew it was definitely Xiu Yun’s biological sister. She didn’t know why she had to say “someone from my hometown”.

However, this was their business and since it wasn’t necessary to provide any cover on her part anymore, she didn’t think too much of it.

Xiu Yun walked with Ru’er to a secluded corner before stopping.

“Sister, we finally meet. You have no idea how scared I was…..” Xiu Yun’s expression was very emotional. She pulled Ru’er’s hand and started to sob.

Ru’er half embraced her and patted her comfortingly. Only after some time did Xiu Yun recover her calm.

Ru’er glanced around, confirming they were alone before saying quietly: “How is this batch of low-ranked palace maids? Have you been paying attention to see if you are the best of the lot?”

Xiu Yun wiped away her tears. Hearing her sister ask this question her face reddened a little, but she knew their time was short.

“There are a few whose appearances are top notch, I can’t be counted as one of the best.”

A trace of disappointment flickered across Ru’er’s face. After some thought she asked again: “Then have you observed amongst the other rooms if there is a room where all the people have decent appearances?”

Although Xiu Yun didn’t understand her line of questioning, she still honestly answered: “Some rooms could be passable, some not so much. But the people in my room do each have their own distinguishing features.”

After speaking, Xiu Yun revealed a puzzled expression but Ru’er ignored it and continued asking, “Your group wouldn’t happen to have been placed in the same room from the beginning, and now in the sweeper area as well would it?”

Xiu Yun nodded her head.

“Did this happen with any other rooms?”

Xiu Yun thought about it and shook her head.

Ru’er let out a breath of relief, looked Xiu Yun up and down and spoke with a sigh: “My sister’s appearance is becoming better and better. Make sure to mind your words and actions, and maybe a huge stroke of fortune will fall upon you.”

Xiu Yun’s expression remained puzzled, “Sis, what do you mean by that? Also, what you initially told me to do, I still don’t understand the reason for it.”

Ru’er knew that she now had to tell her sister the truth of the matter, and after half a second of hesitation she opened her mouth: “I was fifteen when I entered, and as of now have been here almost two years. I was like you and went from the training grounds to the sweeper area, but in between then I was taken to serve in the Hall of Splendor for a few days. Because my etiquette was lacking and wasn’t stable enough I was eliminated and placed in a different role….I am good at networking and know of many things. Afterwards, I realized that every one and a half years the estate would bring in a batch of low-ranked palace maids, and every time a few of them would be selected and sent to the Hall of Splendor to serve in front of his highness.”

“But what does that have to do with the two of us?”

Ru’er had a little hate for the iron not becoming steel and said quietly: “You know that the pavilion by the water gets the moonlight first, right? Which palace maid of the right age isn’t eager to serve by his highness’s side? But the Hall of Splendor is managed by Eunuch Fu, and he never picks people from within the estate. Every time it would be from amongst newly entered low-ranked palace maids….”

“When I first entered I didn’t have a grasp of the situation. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been eliminated. You have to work hard. If you’re able to catch his highness’s eye you would ascend to the sky….for the sake of finding out when the estate was bringing in people, I had to spend a huge amount of effort and money to obtain the information from the hands of the traffickers. I’ve invested all my many months of savings into this. You need to work hard for me.”

Her sister’s words were too unimaginable to the extent that Xiu Yun found it hard to digest right away.

Hearing Xiao Hua call out that they were leaving, she could only hurriedly nod her head at Ru’er.

Ru’er patted her sister on the arm, “Remember my words.”

Xiu Yun nodded again and returned to her group who already had the food in hand.  

Author’s notes:

In the theater—

Interviewer: Author

Interviewee: The author’s little brat the Jing Prince.

Author: Little brat, people are saying you have wives and concubines already. Why are you drooling over our little flower?

Jing Prince: “…..” Who is Xiao Hua, this humble prince doesn’t know her. Also, this humble prince doesn’t drool.

Due to the interviewee not talking, subtitles have been added. Everyone please see the subtitles.

Author: Little brat, some people are saying you are no good as the male lead, and they want someone else.

Jing Prince: “…..” Damn, this humble prince died in his last life without being a main character. Coming back in this life you’re still not going let this humble prince become a main character? (Due to his anger, the Jing Prince finally opens his mouth and says two words: “How come?!”)

Author: (innocent expression) People disdain you for not being a virgin and say you’re no longer clean. (Author is also grumbling in her heart about why she created an unclean male lead).

Jing Prince: “…..” This humble prince is a royal son of the Grand Xi Dynasty. As a royal descendent, is it possible to remain a virgin? (not even worth an expression of disdain)

Author: “Well that’s not going to fly. Everyone dislikes unclean male leads. How about this, why don’t you tell us about your good points to let our readers accept you more.

Jing Prince: “….” Although this humble prince isn’t the virgin you guys are talking about, this prince is a male god in terms of exercising self-restraint. This humble prince lives a clean life, this humble prince does not fall for feminine charms, this prince was a vegetarian and lived as a monk in his past life who understands that “to have not is to have, and to have is to have not”. As for the Xiao Hua you guys are talking about, what the heck is that?

Author: (gloomy expression) Xiao Hua is my household’s little maiden.

Jing Prince: “…” What does your household’s maiden have to do with me?

Author: Aren’t you able to become the male lead because of her? How are you like a male lead? Male leads need to be able to say sweet nothings, make oaths of eternal love and be pure of heart and body. You fail on all three accounts, couldn’t hit shit after three strikes. If you hadn’t caught my unwed daughter’s eye, you would be a minor character even after burning incense for eight lifetimes. (author has gone berserk)

Jing Prince: “….” This humble prince tears up.

The passage above was just messing around, just laugh and let it go. The male lead will reappear within two chapters, don’t be impatient. You won’t be able to eat warm tofu if your heart is impatient.

  1. In ancient times they apparently used something like this
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Queenofthefuzzybugs
Queenofthefuzzybugs
1 year ago

You know, if they didn’t have bedmaids and allow for so many concubines, I imagine the work ethics and drama wouldn’t be so bad in these places. Instead it’d just be girls arguing over the hottest servant in the palace, which wouldn’t be nearly as bad…

Devi
Devi
3 months ago

That maybe so. But, the manservants of palace or prince estate were… mostly eunuch, right? While people can be creative, the eunuch can’t have children.
The other choices were the guards, shadow guards, and some stewards. Most of the stewards and guards of princes and great generals, especially the promising ones have high chance to be an official. So, it’s unlikely they’d marry a slave girl as his wife (the girls might marry them if the guys were willing to wait until they’re free from slavery/25 y o). Meanwhile the shadow guards were … death soldiers. They can’t marry nor have child. They’re cold weapons and shields who can’t have family, ever.
Unless the author make a new rules (changes) in those common rules of ancient setting. Chasing after those “manservants” would bring as much risk/grievances as chasing the prince, but it’ll bring much less benefits. So, regardless there was polygamy or not, being honest and getting rid of wishful thinking are still the golden rules.

lamperouge0
lamperouge0
1 year ago

Thanks for translating! I’m really enjoying the story so far!

Greylily
Greylily
1 year ago

Ahh so Xiu Yun does have some tricks up her sleeve, or rather her sister. She herself is just going along for the ride, I guess. But in this rate, Xiao Hua is amazing to be able to infer that Xiu Yun is not really a dense person who kept her head down. Her current thought process really makes me feel a bit relieved as she’s not blindly trusting others yet not antagonistic either. Oh well, so I guess these two will definitely be chosen to serve with the Prince as they’ve both kept to the rules and are within the said room which had the good-looking girls together since the beginning.

Ps: the AUTHOR-ML interview cracks me up haha

Tina
Tina
1 year ago

My goodness, Xiu Yun certainly is a schemer (or rather, becoming one due to her sister) after all! Oooh, I sense some drama drama DRAMA coming up soon!

And the little “skit” between the ML and the author was hilarious! I love how the author scolded the ML for not being a pure virgin and for not going crazy over the FL at first sight of her… uh… downturned head? Ah, poor guy… he seems pure enough to pass muster… not as sex-crazed as some MLs I’ve read, at least!

weirdnshort
weirdnshort
1 year ago

hahaha. love that interview… yeah – the ML already has wives and concubines, why is he eyeing this littler flower??? LOL.

Whitespade
Whitespade
1 year ago

Idk if I want to continue as I hate ML with wife, our MC just become a homewrecker.

Writerfromanotherstar

I want to throw rocks at the male lead and I haven’t seen him… Tsk

PricklyLily
PricklyLily
1 year ago

I hope this ML is one of those who dotes on MC and didn’t continue with his concubines. Tsk… He even has wives.

Sl
Sl
1 year ago

Lol the mini theatre. Thank you for the chapter

ruinthyself
ruinthyself
11 months ago

this mini theatre made my day ah~ can’t wait to see the ML!!!

bob_the_building
bob_the_building
11 months ago

“…minor mage standing in front of a grand wizard.”

Is that a figure of speech? Or is their legitimate magic in this world?