Translator’s notes: The raws only go up to chapter 24 for free, and chapter 25 onward requires the beloved virtual points to unlock. While the raws are available on pirate sites, I thought it better to support the author by using the original. Also pirated versions don’t have the author’s notes that I sometimes find relevant to the story. I went ahead and bought points to unlock the entire novel so you don’t have to wait for me to accumulate points by checking in, commenting etc…
Only after being taken into the Hall of Splendor by Eunuch Fu did these six low-ranked palace maids realize the stroke of luck that had befallen them.
It was as though heaven’s fortune had descended and struck them all on the head.
The Hall of Splendor was his highness the Jing Prince’s residence, and Eunuch Fu was the estate’s eunuch in charge of internal affairs. This time he was choosing people to fill spots in the Hall of Splendor, though no one had expected themselves to be chosen.
Everyone could understand what it meant to work in the Hall of Splendor so the group was overjoyed.
Eunuch Fu glanced at these overjoyed low-ranked palace maids and his eyes flashed a little, though he didn’t say anything and called over a low-ranked eunuch to lead them away before leaving himself.
The low-ranked eunuch took Xiao Hua and the rest to the palace maids’ room and gave them a brief explanation of the Hall of Splendor’s situation and the restrictions of working here. He then left them to familiarize themselves with the situation. Their roles would be arranged by tomorrow.
The palace maids’ room was similar to the rooms in the sweeper area, the only difference being that it was six to a room here instead of four. The room was a large open area with three beds in a row on either side. Because all the beds were against the wall, there really wasn’t a need to worry about whether a spot was better than another. Xiao Hua chose the innermost bed on the right side and placed her bag of belongings down. Xiu Yun chose the middle bed next to Xiao Hua’s.
Qiao Lian’s personality was forceful, and seeing Xiao Hua occupy an innermost bed she immediately walked towards the innermost bed on the left side. The low-ranked palace maid called Zhi’er started moving around the same time, and the two of them stood glaring at each other in front of the bed. Zhi’er was seemingly no match for Qiao Lian and went to the middle spot instead. The remaining two could only go to the outermost beds. Xi’er chose the bed by Xiu Yun and Mei’er was left with the remaining bed.
Their personalities were just that weird. Despite having just fought over spots until their faces were red a moment ago, they soon gathered together and started chatting.
As expected, they talked about the kinds of jobs they might get, as well as whether or not his highness would be hard to serve.
Xiao Hua didn’t join in the fun, silently organizing her stuff instead. The palace maids each received a small cabinet as well. Xiao Hua checked for dust in her cabinet and put her two sets of clothing inside.
Each person got a set of bedsheets and blankets on their bed. Xiao Hua again busied herself with arranging her bedding. After everything was done, she half lay on her bed as she looked at those clearly excited low-ranked palace maids, letting out a sigh in her heart.
In fact, if she had the choice, she wouldn’t have come here. But since it was an order from above, what could a mere low-ranked palace maid say. She could only take things as they came.
Xiu Yun also didn’t join in on the conversation, and silently arranged her own bedding. Only her lightly trembling fingers revealed how excited she was.
Her sister’s words had finally been confirmed!
The Hall of Splendor was a very large palace pavilion.
The actual hall in the middle was an enormous residence where the Jing Prince lived. There were adjacent halls on either side, and on the edges were small courtyards where the palace maids and eunuchs lived. There was also a large kitchen that covered much of the area.
The chores of Xiao Hua’s group had been decided. They were responsible for sweeping the various courtyards and walkways of the Hall of Splendor. Their roles hadn’t changed much and they were still low-ranked palace maids who were sweeping outside. However, sweeping the Hall of Splendor was naturally different from sweeping various places outside, so everyone was endlessly joyous. Only Xiao Hua was worried after a few days that things weren’t as simple as they seemed.
No matter how wealthy the Hall of Splendor was, they didn’t need to hire six low-ranked palace maids to do such a small task. However, she wasn’t able to figure out their intentions.
A few more days passed. Although the six palace maids were always working inside the Hall of Splendor, they never saw the Jing Prince. Only when Zhi’er brought back some news did they realize the Jing Prince had not been in the estate these past few days.
Zhi’er was someone who was really good at flattering others with her palm sized faced, large eyes and cherry lips. She was full of smiles when she spoke, and her words were especially sweet. Within a few days, she had gotten to know several of the low-ranked eunuchs, and the news about the Jing Prince was also obtained from them.
Xiao Hua understood the thoughts of these low-ranked palace maids in the room.
What could there be to not understand? No matter if it was low-ranked palace maids or common estate maids, their thoughts would all be similar. Everyone understood the concept of being the closest pavilion to the water.
Yet her heart was filled with anxiety. Eunuch Fu and Auntie Qi’s behavior was too strange. The Hall of Splendor was extremely solemn. All the servants that came and went were either eunuchs or palace maids who were average in appearance and over thirty years old. These few days the only bright faces she saw were those of her group. Everyone else’s expressions were solemn and lifeless.
The situation was abnormal enough for it to be creepy. Xiao Hua’s biggest desire now was to reach the age of release. She wanted nothing else. But often times when a tree wanted to remain still, the wind would unceasingly blow.
The Jing Prince returned from his trip outside, and realized something was abnormal the moment he entered the Hall of Splendor.
His steps slowed slightly, then passed by the few people who were kneeling and entered the hall right away, Eunuch Fu following behind him.
After the Jing Prince left, Xi’er who was kneeling excitedly pulled on the people around her, “That was our royal highness.”
Xi’er’s voice was very low, and only the palace maids kneeling next to her could hear her. Xiao Hua had kept her head lowered the whole time, and didn’t see clearly what the person looked like. The only things she saw were once again a pair of men’s feet.
The Jing Prince entered the hall and sat down. A low-ranked eunuch served some tea and took his leave.
Only the Jing Prince and Eunuch Fu were left in the hall, the atmosphere extremely heavy.
Eunuch Fu knew his highness’s personality and awkwardly laughed a few times in his heart, standing by his side without speaking.
Both people were the types who could keep their composure well, and were completely able to disregard the silence inside the hall. The Jing Prince finished his tea. With the help of a low-ranked eunuch, he went to the inner hall and changed into his regular clothing before coming out and sitting in the hall once more.
He sat for a very long while, long enough for people to forget the passing of time. During this time the Jing Prince had done nothing except sit there silently, making others feel extremely weird.
Eunuch Fu glanced at his master who sat there silently as though imitating a monk, and felt disorder in his heart.
Eunuch Fu had entered the imperial palace when he was eight years old. At eighteen he was assigned to serve the mother of the Jing Prince. After she passed away, he had remained beside the Jing Prince, who was then known just as the fifth prince, all the way until this fifth prince received his father’s orders to rule over a vassal state and moved to the Jing Province. As of today, he had assumed the management position in the estate and oversaw not only the Jing Prince’s food and drink, but also various affairs within the prince’s estate.
In theory, his current life shouldn’t be any worse off than the management eunuchs within the imperial palace. However, Eunuch Fu was actually unhappy.
The reason was non-other than the Jing Prince’s weird personality.
His personality was weird, his temper was weird, and his actions were weird.
He was clearly capable of speech, but never spoke, earning himself the nickname of “mute” yet accepting this with equanimity. Even though this had resulted in the current emperor’s disgust, he had no intentions to change.
When first arriving in the Jing Province, Eunuch Fu had been extremely shocked when he found out his highness was able to speak.
Alright, forget about that part. After all, his highness’s affairs were not something a servant could comment on.
But what was up with not wanting to get close to girls?
When it first started, Eunuch Fu hadn’t been worried. When the Jing Prince’s consort first married in, a bunch of arguments broke out resulting in a rift between the prince and his consort, which meant the prince rarely went to spend the night with his consort. This was something Eunuch Fu could understand.
The following year, Senior Concubine Qiao entered the doors.
The Jing Prince again acted like it was a transaction. Apart from dutifully visiting the first few days, he rarely went after that. He often went several months to half a year without going to that part of the estate. The time he spent with the two were pitifully few. Not to mention the two madams who were bestowed by the emperor before they left to the Jing Province. He hadn’t even touched them.
It wasn’t that Eunuch Fu was vulgarly interested in the Jing Prince’s intimate affairs. It was because he spent twelve hours a day by the prince’s side, and knew many things others weren’t aware of.
Whether or not he got intimate with women wasn’t the point. The prince was already twenty-five this year, and still had no offspring. This couldn’t be called a small matter anymore. Within the royal clan, which twenty-four, twenty-five year old wasn’t a father to several kids? But the Jing Prince didn’t even have a single sapling.
Eunuch Fu could be said to have watched the prince grow up. They had known each other for a long time and their relationship was naturally not ordinary. It was natural for him to be worried about this matter.
Worrying was one thing, but speaking about it to his highness was certainly not appropriate. Eunuch Fu was extremely anxious, and helplessly gathered several of his “old buddies” who had served in the estate for a long time for a discussion.
After various debates and discussions, the underlying conclusion obtained was that no man was immune to charm. His highness being indifferent definitely had to do with his harem not suiting his tastes. The solution was to add some new faces.
But for a servant to offer girls to their master?
Let’s not joke around. For them to secretly discuss this was one thing, it they were to openly suggest it was just asking for death. They had all come from the palace, and this little bit of insight and sense of taboo was common sense.
They could thus only rely on external forces.
From their discussions, they realized there were only three possible sources. One was for the consort to suggest it, but this was impossible and was eliminated right away.
Another way was when the officials under their jurisdiction sent over beauties to gain favor. The Jing Prince’s behavior had always been apathetic, but it wasn’t as if no one tried to send over a few beauties. The point was that every time the Jing Prince’s reaction would make everyone extremely embarrassed, and over time people were tactful enough not to offend their superior anymore.
The third way was the emperor’s bestowal. The Jing Prince had never been favored by the emperor, and this was apparent by how he had never been bestowed anything after moving to the Jing Province. The emperor had probably forgotten about this son of his already, let alone worry about his intimate affairs.
Unable to think of a fitting solution, these faithful servants could only helplessly compromise. They decided that every time the estate brought in new people, they would pick a few with fresh and tender appearances to serve by his highness’s side and see if they could stimulate this apathetic prince’s appetite.
Of course this was all kept under wraps, and could never be revealed in the open.
It was also why this new batch of low-ranked palace maids were trained so strictly while undergoing overt and covert scrutiny. The ones selected not only had fresh appearances and excellent etiquette, but they all had experienced their first periods already. One could see how much effort these “loyal” servants had spent on his highness’s matter.
If the Jing Prince had been willing to speak, he would definitely have told them they were overthinking things.
No need to mention these things at the moment. Basically, it wasn’t the first time pretty palace maids had been selected to serve at his highness’s side, but each had been asked to leave due to various reasons every time. Eunuch Fu’s group was also like an undying cockroach, continuing to struggle after suffering defeat after defeat. The current batch was already their fifth attempt in over two years.
Suddenly, a hoarse voice sounded and interrupted Eunuch Fu’s aggrieved line of thought.
The sound of this word almost made Eunuch Fu shed a few old tears.
If the master was too taciturn, the servant would also have trouble serving properly. Luckily he had served by his master’s side from a young age, otherwise he really wouldn’t be able to endure such an oppressive atmosphere.
Eunuch Fu awkwardly laughed inside and spoke in an earnest voice about some not so earnest things, “Your highness, this hall hasn’t had fresh and pretty faces in a long time and it’s always stuffy and dead. This old servant thought your majesty would be annoyed at seeing this same air day after day, and so brought some spritely palace maids in to add some color.”
The Jing Prince’s heart had a trace of helplessness, but his expression remained unchanged. Even his mouth remained unmoved as he continue to sit there and “ponder”. Eunuch Fu watched the back of the Jing Prince’s head as his own expression became aggrieved.
His highness was definitely doing this on purpose. It’s definitely on purpose.
Such were his thoughts but he remained stifled there silent and unmoving.
Another while passed before Eunuch Fu finally got the answer he wanted.
Having been kept in suspense for so long, Eunuch Fu’s heart even had a rare moment of excitement. This emotion hadn’t appeared much since moving to the estate.
“Then this old servant will go make the arrangements.” After speaking, he hurriedly left the hall, clearly in high spirits.
Only after Eunuch Fu left for a while did the Jing Prince’s calm and expressionless face show a trace of emotion.
This old thing!
Whatever, let him do as he wants.
How could he not understand Eunuch Fu’s thoughts. However, Eunuch Fu had served him for two lifetimes, and in both his lives he had been steadfastly loyal. Even in death he had died protecting him.
For things that were still within what he could permit, he was willing to tolerate Eunuch Fu’s whims.