Translator’s notes: Thank you to Kimmy and Tina for this sponsored chapter.
No one understood the Jing Prince’s thoughts, but Xiao Hua Eunuch Fu’s thoughts were more and more laughable.
Looking at the new set of clothes in her hand, along with Eunuch Fu’s words of “you have to wear it tomorrow” when he gave it to them, Xiao Hua rubbed her brows in distress.
As of now, four out of the six palace maids had been told ‘you guys leave’ by the prince, leaving only her and Xiu Yun. The reactions of those who had to “leave” won’t be mentioned for now, but as days passed Xiao Hua felt the pressure building up. She even had thoughts of purposefully messing up and getting thrown out.
But Eunuch Fu’s temper hidden underneath his calm made her afraid to carry out such a plan. Since she knew he wanted them to remain, if she purposefully messed up Eunuch Fu would definitely be able to tell based on his years of experience inside the palace.
Xiao Hua didn’t dare take this risk. She was just a low-ranked palace maid. If Eunuch Fu decided to have her dragged out and beaten to death, she could only accept it.
If you couldn’t figure out the thoughts of those above, and they also happen to hold your life in their hands, you might as well work honestly without thinking of anything else and submit to the will of heaven.
Beside her, Xiu Yun still hadn’t spoken. Who knew if she had similar thoughts?
However, Xiao Hua was more and more unable to see through Xiu Yun. She herself was only able to smoothly remain until now based on her two lifetime’s worth of experience.
Whereas Xiu Yun was so calm and unflustered at fifteen years old. Apart from admiration, Xiao Hua was also bewildered. There was also the weird situation with Xiu Yun’s “hometown” acquaintance, and her recent feeling that for some reason, Xiu Yun’s behavior started to resemble her own more and more.
Therefore, Xiao Hua barely spoke with Xiu Yun nowadays. The two came and went together, but would spend the entire day without saying a word.
“This is really a case of similar people having different fates. Eunuch Fu treats the two of you so well, it really makes our eyes turn endlessly red.”
This was Qiao Lian’s voice. She always enjoyed mocking others. Seeing that Xiao Hua and Xiu Yun were immune to her previous mockery, she had switched her tone in the last few days but it was still extremely sarcastic.
Xiao Hua knew her intentions. Wasn’t she just trying to turn the others against them?
She had ignored her words so often that now she had stopped taking them in at all. Therefore, Xiao Hua was indifferent, putting her new clothes into her cabinet. Xiu Yun also didn’t make a sound, but merely lowered her head even more.
The other three didn’t speak but their gazes towards the two were extremely complicated.
The next day, Xiao Hua and Xiu Yun put on their new clothes and went to work. They were right on time as the Jing Prince returned soon after.
Six minus four equaled two. Eunuch Fu had given all of their previous chores to Xiao Hua and Xiu Yun, so currently they were serving the Jing Prince his meal.
The Jing Prince lived a simple life, so simple that Xiao Hua felt this wasn’t someone with a prince’s status. Even the Jinyang Marquis Estate’s young master had more dishes during his meal.
The prince had only five simple dishes, though there were both meat and vegetables which were well matched. The appearance was delicate and the taste should be quite delicious. They weren’t even really needed to serve during the meal. He held his own bowl and ate by himself. At most they helped pour the soup for him.
Xiao Hua saw the prince’s tranquil eyes turn towards the eight-treasures soup1, and immediately grabbed the empty bowl and presented it with her head half lowered to the prince.
The hand that reached over was fair and slender, with the bones and muscles clearly defined. It was a beautiful hand that still visibly contained strength.
After the prince put the bowl down, a few low-ranked eunuchs stepped up to offer some water for him to rinse his mouth, and another two cleared the table. The Jing Prince then returned to the inner hall.
Eunuch Fu looked at Xiao Hua and Xiu Yun in satisfaction, his eyes filled with praise.
“The two of you are pretty good. Keep up the good work, I’ve got high hopes for you.”
These two lasted the longest out of this batch. Eunuch Fu saw that the two had steady attitudes and behavior, and had even more hopes for them.
As the days passed, Eunuch Fu had already put the four expelled maids to the back of his mind, placing all his attention onto Xiao Hua and Xiu Yun. His attitude towards them grew more and more amicable, and he would give them some words of encouragement every now and then.
Xiao Hua smiled a little and half lowered her head, her attitude respectful and modest. Xiu Yun was a little nervous in her heart, and could only imitate Xiao Hua’s appearance, half lowering her head.
Eunuch Fu’s eyes flashed and didn’t speak further, but the smile on his face grew even wider.
There was a very large study in the Hall of Splendor. The area it covered was very large, perhaps over half of the front hall. The book collection was also very expansive.
The Jing Prince’s favorite leisure activity was to read when he didn’t have any official business. This was what Xiao Hua had realized over the days.
He would read for hours, and they could only stand by staring blankly for hours.
Luckily this didn’t happen too often, otherwise Xiao Hua’s legs would suffer. Even so, Xiao Hua would soak them in hot water every night and give herself a massage to circulate her meridians.
This day the Jing Prince seemed to be very idle, picking up a book and reading for several hours without moving. He sat upright in the same spot the whole time, and apart from occasionally enjoying tea and refreshments he hadn’t moved. Xiao Hua knew she was in for a long war of attrition today.
This sort of situation had happened several times before Xiao Hua realized that Eunuch Fu was able to serve by his side so many years for good reason. Just being able to endure an entire day of silence, and stand without doing anything, was an extremely incredible ability.
“You highness, it’s not good for your waist and shoulders if you keep sitting like that to read.”
The quiet atmosphere was broken by Eunuch Fu’s voice.
The prince raised his eyes and looked at him, and lowered them once more. He knew in his heart the old fellow was getting worried, and since he had nothing to do today, the desire to tease him a little sprung forth in his heart.
Sometimes the apathetic prince would also feel that life was really as lonely as snow. Therefore, teasing his dearest Eunuch Fu could be counted as a sort of rare amusement for him.
It was just that those around him weren’t aware of it. Eunuch Fu had always assumed that since the prince was so indifferent most of the time, the only reason he got responses from him was due to the many years of service from a young age. On the rare occasions he would get a response, Eunuch Fu even felt like shedding tears of gratitude as well as a feeling of guilt. He clearly knew with the prince’s personality that he wouldn’t like it, but still forced him to respond.
After a long while, the Jing Prince’s voice sounded out, though he hadn’t raised his head.
There was only one word, but it was still a response.
Eunuch Fu took advantage of the downward slope to move the donkey, licking his lips while saying: “How about lying down on the couch for a bit, it would be more comfortable.” His expression was one of great bitterness, as though sharing his master’s discomfort and worries.
The Jing Prince’s eyes flashed with an unknown light as he grabbed his book and walked to the study’s couch.
Eunuch Fu immediately stepped forward, taking off his shoes and placing a pillow down. He was awfully busy.
He had decided to continue speaking today, and spoke as he helped the prince lean on the couch: “Your highness, this old servant has heard that after sitting for a while, having someone massage you will make things feel a lot better.”
Today the Jing Prince was extremely cooperative.
“Ai!” Eunuch Fu’s baritone was actually able to make such a high pitched “ai” sound, one could tell how excited he was. He looked towards where Xiao Hua and Xiu Yun were standing and waved his hand, “Come, come, come, the two of you come help his highness loosen up.”
As though afraid the Jing Prince would be unwilling, he hurriedly turned his head back to the prince and spoke: “Cough, cough, this old servant’s arms and legs are old and his hands are rough. I don’t want master to be in pain from my squeezing, better let the young girls do it.”
Then, without waiting for the prince to respond, he repeatedly urged the two who were frozen to the side.
Eunuch Fu’s method for them to get closer was based on his disciple An Chen’s mischievous idea.
Eunuch Fu saw that the two of them hadn’t had any mishaps recently, and it looked like they could steadily remain in place. Thus his thoughts started to change. He had instead started worrying about the Jing Prince’s lack of action.
Thinking about it, it was quite hard to be the Jing Prince. When he took action, Eunuch Fu felt he was intolerant of people. When he didn’t take action, Eunuch Fu felt he was too passive and wondered why there was no action.
Returning back to the topic at hand.
According to An Chen, when men had nothing to do, they liked to find two pretty little girls to massage their shoulders and legs. Fooling around here and there would eventually lead to the bed.
Eunuch Fu wasn’t a man so he didn’t understand the desires of men. But he did do his homework and knew what An Chen said was true. He also knew that many rich households’ young masters liked this act. He was also a little desperate, willing to try anything.
His highness was also a man. Perhaps he would like this sort of method?
Whether his highness liked it, only the heavens knew. In any case, Xiao Hua did not like it and her face filled with black lines3.
This, this Eunuch Fu was messing with people right!? Why did his actions seem to be filled with malicious intent?
Xiu Yun’s reactions were faster than Xiao Hua’s by quite a bit, stepping forward first and kneeling in front of the prince’s legs, seemingly ready to begin massaging his thighs.
Xiao Hua was a step slower and the only remaining spot was the prince’s shoulders.
Seeing Eunuch Fu glaring at her, Xiao Hua could only helplessly approach her “reserved spot” and half raise her arms, though she was in a bit of a daze.
How was she supposed to help him loosen up?
Actually, Xiao Hua had been uneducated in her past life and relied completely on her looks to serve people. But the one skill she had was acupressure massage.
Being able to learn this was completely due to luck and coincidence, and it was after she became the 4th young master’s concubine.
After Xiao Hua had become Ruan Siyi’s concubine, he had already become very lecherous. Not only did he have many “female friends” outside, he also had several chambermaids and concubines inside the pavilion. Xiao Hua was already counted as extremely favored, but unfortunately there was only one man being fought over by many women so there were unavoidably occasions when she was snubbed.
The number of women by the 4th young master’s side continued to grow to the extent that there were times when she hadn’t seen him in half a month. Xiao Hua had grown worried in her past life.
At the time she lived in the eastern side pavilion, where there was an old sweeper woman who wanted to obtain her favor. She had offered up her family’s trade skill. At the time Xiao Hua was willing to try anything, and had also heard that acupressure massage was a rare skill. Since the 4th young master used to study hard in the past, he unavoidably had some discomfort in his neck and shoulders. Xiao Hua thought it might end up being useful, and learned from the old woman.
Only after learning did she realize this coarse looking old woman actually had some skill. It was said one of her ancestors was a great doctor, and researched a set of acupressure techniques. Unfortunately by the time it was passed down to her, the family had already fallen into extremely dire straits, leaving her as the only offspring and daughter.
After her father passed away, she sold herself off into slavery, and normally did a few chores serving others during the day. The only reason she had brought it up was because her family was waiting for money and was extremely poor, so she had gone to find Concubine Hua to discuss things. Who knew she who would obtain Xiao Hua’s favor?
Actually while the old woman said she knew how to do it, she only knew a little based on what she learned from her father as a child. As time passed, she had forgotten most of it. Seeing that Xiao Hua was interested, she gave her a handwritten copy of her family’s techniques.
At that time Xiao Hua had already learned to read. During her time as the 4th young master’s chambermaid, he saw that she couldn’t read and wanted to pamper her by teaching her. After acquiring the notes, she flipped through it roughly and felt the contents to be very profound. It didn’t seem to be a scam. The old woman also didn’t dare scam her. She gave the old woman twenty-some pieces of fine silver which counted both as a reward and a purchase.
The old woman only knew a few basics. The rest Xiao Hua learned by slowly studying the manual. Luckily the book not only taught the positions of the acupuncture points, but also recorded down some past experiences. It could still be slowly comprehended.
Xiao Hua’s personality was either you don’t learn it, or you learn it very seriously4.
Adding on the rivalry between the women in the pavilion, there wasn’t much to do in her spare time. Knitting was always an option, but Xiao Hua had been a sweeper maid. Where would she have picked up knitting? After coming to the Jinxiu Pavilion, she was busy with trying to climb the ranks, and had even less time to learn. Now this book could be useful for her spare time, and could also be used to get the young master’s favor, so she was naturally focused in learning.
Using the book for guidance and two personal maids as test subjects, she slowly got unexpected pleasure from this practice and was able to bring out some of its essence. Unfortunately her heart hadn’t been calm and she had ulterior motives for learning this, therefore only learning the acupressure massage and ignoring everything else regarding osteopathy since she wasn’t trying to become a doctor and also couldn’t really understand it.
After feeling proficient to some extent, she pulled the 4th young master over to win his favor.
Unexpectedly, the effect was pretty good. Therefore, even though the 4th young master had new flames every so often, he would come to her every few days, giving her a lot of favor.
Xiao Hua’s foundation was good to begin with, and now with this added benefit, the 4th young master favored Xiao Hua extremely.
Sometimes, the massage would end up with them both in bed which naturally made her feelings a little complicated. This was also why Xiao Hua was a little dazed at the moment.
Author’s Notes: Acupressure massage and osteopathy has been around for a long time, and it grew into more of a traditional practice during the Ming Dynasty. This author sits for long hours at work, sits and counts her characters for long hours, and would always go get a traditional therapeutic massage. Once every ten days or so, relaxing the bones and muscles a bit.
- Soup made with eight different beneficial herbs and spices
- Noise of affirmation, like mhmm.
- Like this
- Do or do not, there is no try.