Those memories seemed far removed yet right in front of her eyes. Xiao Hua’s mood was disordered but at the same time her hands were placed on the prince’s body and started massaging.
The shoulders under her hands were very sturdy, completely different from the 4th young master’s. The 4th young master liked to read and was in the end undisciplined, never training his body much. He did take care of himself though, and his physique was tall and broad. It was just a little too soft….
Because she was lost in her own memories, her hands seemed to have a life of their own, finding the acupuncture points by themselves and slowly starting to massage them.
Eunuch Fu held his breath to the side, deeply afraid his highness would flip out after coming back to his senses. But a long time passed without any movement, and Eunuch Fu finally put his heart to rest.
The Jing Prince had wanted to tease Eunuch Fu at first, but who knew that the pair of little hands would massage so comfortably. He could feel how small the hands were through two layers of clothing, but they still had a lot of force and the massage felt very good. What the Jing Prince didn’t know was that Xiao Hua had grown up doing manual labor, so she had a decent amount of strength. Of course it couldn’t be compared to that of a man, but it far exceeded that of girls her age.
His shoulders and back felt very comfortable so the prince could clearly feel the movements on his legs were a little annoying. He raised his foot and shook them a little.
Eunuch Fu saw this and immediately waved his hand for Xiu Yun to stand aside.
The weather was excellent, not too cold and not too warm, with a slight breeze blowing in through the window. The prince’s breathing subconsciously grew slower and calmer, and he actually fell asleep.
The next time he awoke, over an hour had passed.
The Jing Prince was awoken by Eunuch Fu’s calls, and the instant he opened his eyes they recovered their clarity.
Every time the Jing Prince fell asleep he would dream. He never mentioned this and those around him didn’t know. This time however, after muddle-headedly falling asleep he didn’t dream about anything and slept for over an hour.
Eunuch Fu saw the prince wake up and leaned in close to say a few words. He hadn’t wanted to wake the prince, but was helpless since there was an extremely important report.
Xiao Hua’s hands hadn’t stopped for the entire hour. Seeing the prince awaken and Eunuch Fu approach to speak, she immediately withdrew her hands and went back to standing at the side.
The Jing Prince didn’t give Xiao Hua any extra glances, sitting up while Eunuch Fu helped him put on his shoes before leaving the study. Eunuch Fu gave Xiao Hua a look of praise before following him out.
Xiao Hua let out a breath and relaxed her tensed shoulders. Only after relaxing did she realize her own arms were aching. Even in her past life she hadn’t massaged anyone for so long.
Xiu Yun had remained on the side as a pillar without making a sound, and she didn’t say anything at this moment either. Xiao Hua did feel her gaze sweep over herself several times.
Xiao Xia Zi walked in with a face full of smiles: “Big sis Xiao Hua, Grandpa Fu said you must be tired from all the hard work and said you can go rest. When his highness returns, Xiao Xia Zi will naturally come fetch you.”
While the prince had fallen asleep, Xiao Xia Zi had come in to switch out the tea, and naturally saw the previous scene. Therefore his tone was especially gracious.
Also, “big sis”? Her age was around the same as his, and in the past he had never addressed her by big sis, directly calling her name. He also wouldn’t refer to himself as Xiao Xia Zi, but would use “I”.
Xiao Hua sensed the difference in treatment, and Xiu Yun seemed to sense it too, her gaze faintly sweeping over her once more.
Xiao Hua had intended to decline, but was a little helpless. Furthermore, she truly was tired. Not only were her arms tired, her heart was tired as well. She nodded her head and left by herself, not looking at Xiu Yun’s face anymore.
Sometimes people were just that strange. Because of a little difference, their hearts would become estranged. Luckily Xiao Hua had never intended to form a deep relationship with Xiu Yun. Although the two came and went together, it was only a superficial relationship.
When Xiao Hua returned to the room, everyone else was present. The palace maids sweeping outside actually had more free time compared to those serving inside the hall. There wasn’t too much work and there were many doing the same job, so they spent most of their time in the room or went outside to play.
Especially having stayed here for some time, they were no longer as afraid to go out. Xi’er said they were always meeting up with their friends, and Xiao Hua was clear on that as well.
Seeing Xiao Hua return before her shift was up, the eyes of Qiao Lian and the others flashed. Seeing her return by herself without Xiu Yun they had all kinds of different unanswered questions. Normally she came and went together with Xiu Yun. However, upon returning, Xiao Hua lay on the bed and closed her eyes. Everyone was familiar with her personality so no one opened their mouths to ask.
Only after a while did Xiu Yun enter.
Seeing her return, no one spoke to her either.
The air in the room had been like this recently. Xiao Hua and Xiu Yun were isolated to the extreme, and every now and then someone would throw a few verbal barbs at them. But due to their personalities, when someone attacked them with words, they would either ignore it or pretend not to understand. After several times, no one wanted to put themselves forward to be snubbed.
Xiu Yun lay on her own bed, her mind a mess.
No one knew that she was currently wildly jealous of Xiao Hua. She spent a lot of effort to suppress the disturbance in her heart.
She was fifteen after all, and as a girl from the countryside the only reason she was able to make it this far was because she kept her sister’s words in mind as well as her own efforts in learning.
Before they entered the Hall of Splendor she didn’t feel it, but after entering and especially after the other four were expelled, the amount of pressure on her had been unimaginably large. No one knew how much she had suffered, and behind her taciturn appearance no one knew how much effort she put in to learn the rules and etiquette while ignoring the incoming ridicule and mockery.
Her thoughts had started out very simple. She didn’t want to marry the landlord’s idiot son, so when her sister Ru’er said she could bring her into the estate, she came. Who knew that after entering, her sister would tell her a few secrets? She started gradually having her own thoughts.
And Xiao Hua –
Actually, Xiu Yun had quite liked Xiao Hua at first. During their time in the sweeper area, she had yet to meet with Ru’er and her thoughts had been very innocent.
But after knowing the ‘secret’ and seeing the difference between them, she had started to dislike Xiao Hua a little.
Why was it that she could remain so calm? No matter what she faced, she would be unperturbed. At first Xiu Yun couldn’t understand Xiao Hua turning a deaf ear towards Qiao Lian’s occasional mockery. Only later did she slowly understand.
This was the best method of dealing with such people!
The more time she spend with Xiao Hua, the more complicated Xiu Yun’s heart became. Especially since both of them ended up with the same role inside the hall. Her pressure grew even greater.
She had listened to her sister and started to secretly observe and learn from Xiao Hua. She thought that Xiao Hua was really incredible, each and every move full of profundity. Especially after entering the Hall of Splendor, she felt Xiao Hua’s movements were the ideal standard, not too much, not too little, it was just right.
She started unwittingly imitating Xiao Hua’s way of doing things. At first she didn’t notice these things, merely wanting to avoid being expelled. She wanted to remain behind. After realizing she had been imitating Xiao Hua, Xiu Yun hated her even more. These complicated thoughts tormented her daily. On one hand she was secretly glad to have managed to keep her job, and on the other she hated Xiao Hua for setting a standard to imitate.
Xiu Yun lay on the bed with her disordered mind thinking up a storm of random things, and saw Xi’er and Mei’er heading out to the bathroom.
She waited a while before following them out.
“Che! I had thought that there was someone incredible in our midst, turns out it was just someone with unrequited affection!”
Qiao Lian who was chatting with Xi’er and the rest suddenly burst out with this statement, and all the gazes in the room gathered on Xiao Hua.
Due to last time’s shoulder massage, Xiao Hua’s status had risen imperceptibly.
Xiao Hua really didn’t want to admit this, but there was no way she could avoid it.
Not only did Eunuch Fu show an amicable attitude towards her and had spoken with her a few times, even the few low ranked eunuchs in the hall greeted her with smiles. Those in the same room saw the developing signs, and having found out the story from who knows where, the last few days their gazes had been strange and the few had started targeting her.
Unfortunately everyone had overthought things. Since that time, the Jing Prince hadn’t called Xiao Hua to massage his shoulders again. These few days he seemed to be very busy, leaving early and returning late. Even when he was present he hadn’t shown any differences in behavior.
Gradually the strange gazes became frigid irony and scorching satire, the most talented at it being Qiao Lian. She would always suddenly burst out with a couple lines of sarcasm.
Xiao Hua had thought her own endurance was very strong, but encountering these episodes daily still made her moody.
Every time she was about to lose her temper, she reminded herself of what happened in her past life. Her way of thinking was good, and she was able to suppress the frustration in her heart, but saying she was comfortable with it would be a lie.
Every person had a temper, right?
Yet no matter how hot the temper, it couldn’t suppress a weary heart. Her heart was really weary. She clearly wanted to pass her days in peace until she was released, why was that so hard? Why was there always so much unrest? Her job was tiring enough, but now even a good rest after work had become out of the question!
Xiao Hua heard Qiao Lian’s words and didn’t say anything. While she normally wouldn’t utter a word, this time she actually stood up and walked out.
As she stood up, she gave Xiu Yun a look. Xiu Yun averted her eyes, and Xiao Hua wasn’t able to describe what she was feeling in her heart.
The Hall of Splendor was very large. Xiao Hua impulsively walked out but didn’t know where to go to hide from her troubles. Her area of activity was extremely limited. If she wasn’t in the hall working she would be resting in the palace maids’ room, essentially never going anywhere else.
She walked blankly, and ended up in the western corner area of the Hall of Splendor.
That was where the kitchen was located. The prince’s meals normally didn’t come from the meal management center, and instead came from this little kitchen.
It was afternoon and the sunlight shone nicely onto the front door of the little kitchen. There was an old woman who appeared to be a palace maid harvesting vegetables by the door. Xiao Hua casually found a few steps, sat down and stared blankly into space.
Nana He had actually noticed the low palace maid early on. She watched her hesitating incessantly with a blank face, not knowing where to go, and saw her finally decide to sit on the steps beside the small kitchen.
The Hall of Splendor was very large, yet also very small. It was large in area but small in terms of the speed news travels at.
Especially as one of the old folk of the hall, Nana He was clear on what these newly entered palace maids were here for. Their each and every move was secretly under observation daily by the low-ranked eunuchs. After all, this matter concerned his highness so it couldn’t be taken lightly. Therefore, regarding the schemes of these few palace maids, Nana He had heard about it before.
At this moment, the girl who was clearly not yet grown had a vacant expression on her face. Even though her countenance revealed tenacity, it wasn’t able to hide the weariness that didn’t befit her age.
As someone who had stayed in the palace for several decades, how could Nana He be unable to tell what it was?
Unable to help feeling some sympathy arise, Nana He who was in the middle of harvesting vegetables pretended to speak casually: “Little girl over there, could you help this old woman harvest some vegetables? There are so many vegetables, I’m tired to death. My waist and back are killing me.”
Xiao Hua saw the palace maid with the appearance of an old lady, perhaps several years older than fifty. Her hair was grizzled and she appeared much younger than Grandma Wang, but somehow still reminded her of that old woman who had given her such warm feelings.
Grandma Wang. Who knew if she was doing well at the moment?
She didn’t say anything and walked over.
Nana He grabbed a stool and gave it to her. Xiao Hua took it and sat down, burying her head as she focused on harvesting the vegetables. It seemed if her hands were somewhat busy, her heart would be somewhat calmer.
Xiao Hua’s movements were quick, and a basket was soon filled up. Nana He also didn’t stand on ceremony, grabbing another basket from the kitchen and placing it in front of her.
Xiao Hua didn’t make a sound, continuing to work, focusing on the harvesting.
Nana He suddenly found it kind of amusing, “You little lass are quite the introvert. Saying nothing and asking nothing before helping this old woman. You didn’t even ask who this old woman is.”
Xiao Hua spoke with her head lowered: “In any case I didn’t have anything to do and was completely idling about. Regarding granny’s identity, since you are here you definitely belong to this small kitchen.”
There was no excess curiosity and her mouth wasn’t sweet, but knowing when to give and when to take. She also didn’t seem like some of the low-ranked palace maids who flattered anyone they saw. Nana He’s impression of Xiao Hua became even better.
“You must be part of those palace maids who come in not too long ago, right?” Nana He bent her waist, picking up the vegetables with her hands and plucking off the tougher leaves.
Xiao Hua nodded.
“This hall only has a few old palace maids who are advanced in age and a few low-ranked eunuchs. The days are so quiet and peaceful. Are you used to it?”
“I’m working as a servant, so it doesn’t matter whether I’m used to it or not.”
Nana He said: “I supposed that’s true. I couldn’t tell because of your young age, but you seem to be quite steady unlike those few low palace maids who are jumping about every day.”
“Thank you granny for your compliment. I’m just an introvert and not a lively person.”
The second basket was filled up by the two, and Nana He was really unable to find a third basket. She could only say to Xiao Hua: “Thank you for being such a kind hearted palace maid. In the future if you don’t have anywhere to go play during your leisure time, you can come find this old woman for a chat. This lady is old, there isn’t anyone willing to pay attention to me.”
Xiao Hua didn’t think too much, merely feeling like this granny was very similar to Granny Wang. Perhaps she was also a pitiful person. Therefore she didn’t refuse and nodded her head. Seeing that it was quite late, she said: “Then I’m leaving first granny, I still have work to do.”
Nana He also didn’t stop her, and smiled as she let her go busy herself.
After this impromptu episode, Xiao Hua felt much more comfortable in her heart.
Looks like her bad mood was due to her being shut-in. She thus decided to interact with others more in the future to relieve her feelings. Of course, these others didn’t include those roommates of hers.
Little comedy skit—
Eunuch Fu: Your highness, do you remember the low palace maid who helped massage your shoulders?
Jing Prince: “…..” (Not even sparing him a glance) This humble prince is very busy!
Eunuch Fu: It’s the one that gave you a very comfortable massage.
Jing Prince: “…..” This humble prince is very busy!
As the cheat code given to the female lead by the author, Eunuch Fu’s mood was very jittery. He turned around and went to find this novel’s female lead Xiao Hua Hua[enf_note]Cute way of saying Xiao Hua, kind of like doggy is to dog.[/efn_note].
Eunuch Fu: Regarding your first close contact with our highness, what are your thoughts?
Xiao Hua Hua: No thoughts in particular. Weren’t you the one who pushed me out of my depths?
Eunuch Fu: (extremely angry) You dare fool around with me? Drag her out and have her beaten to death…
Xiao Hua Hua: (face full of tears) The Jing Prince’s huge muscles were very firm. Much firmer than those of my man in my previous life.
Eunuch Fu: Then do you have any other thoughts?
Xiao Hua Hua: (sweating all over) T.T…….
Granny sounds like a good compromise between wet nurse and elderly lady. Thanks for your hard work!
Our MC is not naturally an introvert nor is she by nature very submissive. Having to act like things she’s not plus get isolated for favor she never wanted on top of it… I hope she someday gets to express all those repressed emotions. Poor Girl!
Sorry if my note was a little unclear. The “Nana” part of “Nana He” was what I was referring to. Xiao Hua uses what I previously translated as granny (婆婆) in this chapter as well, whereas the author uses what I translated as Nana (嬷嬷) He. Chinese is hard >.<. I have edited my footnote to be a little more explicit. Also, thank you for always being one of the first to read and comment on the chapters!
The story is getting so good. Quality translation once again, thankyou!
I’m always won over by friendly supportive grannies. I relate to XH’s personality a lot. Fortunately, she met nana He. Hopefully she gets to express herself more. Thanks!
Thanks for the chapter!
Thanks for the chapter!
I am happy for XH that she found someone who could hopefully become her friend.
Looking forward to her next massage session?.
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