Chapter 36

After eating Nana He’s special meals for a few days, Xiao Hua noticed her body undergoing some peculiar developments.

Everywhere else seemed unchanged, it was just her breasts that were swelling up significantly.

Based on her past life’s experience, Xiao Hua knew she was entering puberty.

It had also come late in her past life, and she hadn’t grown out well. Apart from her skin, her face and her pair of eyes, there wasn’t much else that was attractive about her.

In her past life, the 4th young master had lamented several times that everything about her was good, just that her breasts were small. At that time, Xiao Hua had been set on fighting over his favor, and hearing the 4th young master’s criticism she was also vexed. But this sort of thing wasn’t something you could change by feeling vexed. Xiao Hua could only come up with other ideas, and make it up in other areas…

Of course, when seeing the 4th young master’s newly favored women and their large breasts, she would feel both resentful yet actually envious. She had asked many times why her breasts weren’t that large. Those were the best weapons against men in the fight for their favor.

In this life Xiao Hua reached puberty slightly earlier, but apart from being careful not to touch her chest during her work, she didn’t think too much about it. After all, they were small in her past life, and in this life at fourteen they were also just two small protrusions and she didn’t expect things to suddenly change.

Furthermore, she had no thoughts of trying to “advance”, so whether they were large or small didn’t really matter to her.

But after a few days, Xiao Hua started feeling a little strange. Her chest wasn’t just swelling, it was hurting as well. If she took a slightly larger step, her now slightly bigger curves would radiate waves of pain.

Was it due to the nourishment being too good, her life being too good?

Having such a private spot feel unwell was embarrassing. Xiao Hua was already very familiar with Nana He, and so told her about her feelings of discomfort. She thought that with Nana He’s age and experience, she should know what to do.

At the time, Nana He only smiled and didn’t say anything. The following day she gave her a strange cloth band.

The band was actually more like a piece of clothing, a red embroidered cloth with several strange straps sewn to it.

She didn’t really understand and asked Nana He was it was. Nana He didn’t explain further before taking her to her bedroom and making her take off her clothes.

Although they were the same gender, Xiao Hua was definitely embarrassed to be taking off her clothes in front of someone else.

Seeing Xiao Hua’s little face turn red, Nana He smiled and said: “Little lass, what’s there to be embarrassed about. This is a brace to be worn on the inside of your clothes. Nana was afraid you didn’t know how to wear it so I’m giving you a hand.”

Xiao Hua could only take off her clothes with a red face.

Nana He placed the brace on her body and swiftly tied the straps on her shoulders. Xiao Hua saw that it was basically a piece of clothing. It was similar to a pair of cloth pouches which were open in front of the chest and connected by three straps. There were also straps for the shoulders and the base. Once it was in place, it covered the chest while revealing a slender little waist underneath. Nana He helped her put it on before tightening the straps.

After putting it on, Xiao Hua wasn’t sure if she was imagining it but she clearly felt that the curve of her chest looked a little bigger.

However, she was embarrassed to look clearly and hurriedly put on her clothes.

“How is it? Not too uncomfortable, right?” Nana He smiled and said.

Xiao Hua moved a little and took a couple steps. It really felt a lot better.

“Nana, it’s much better. This little undergarment is really magical.” Saying thus, Xiao Hua secretly pulled open her blouse and snuck a few glances.

This chest cover perfectly wrapped her newly developed area without being too loose or too tight. Seeing the two little curves, Xiao Hua was shy yet delighted.

Nana He laughed and waved, saying: “What’s magical about it? It’s just something designed by servants for those concubines in the palace to make their figures look better. Almost all the women in the palace wear something like this, but it hasn’t spread outside the palace which is why it’s unknown. But the chest cover is truly nice. Wearing it straightens your posture and adds some shape. Most importantly, it’s also said to prevent sagging.”

Xiao Hua’s face turned thoroughly red. This Nana He was so old, yet still said something like this. Even if she wanted to sag, there was nothing there that could sag. Of course, Xiao Hua didn’t say this out loud.

“Alright, as long as it’s comfortable. You are starting to develop, bracing it a bit will prevent your chest form getting injured. This area is different from others, and needs to be properly protected. Not only for looking good, but also for breastfeeding your future children. If it’s uncomfortable, apply some warm water to it before bed and it should feel better after a while.”

Breastfeeding was thinking a little too far for Xiao Hua, and she didn’t have too many thoughts of wanting to look good. But she did feel that wearing it was really comfortable. Most importantly, it no longer hurt to walk.

After saying a few more words of thanks to Nana He, the two left the room. During this time, Nana He told Xiao Hua that when she had time some other day, she could teach her how to make one herself, saying that it was very easy to make.

Xiao Hua’s face turned red again at her words. Her sewing skills ended at being able to repair torn clothing. As for anything harder than that, her heart was willing but her abilities were not up to par.

She had been a slave from a young ago and was sold from one place to another. There was no one to teach her, and she had never learned it before. After getting to the Jinyang Estate, her mind was focused on climbing the ranks and was even less inclined to try and learn. Especially after becoming a concubine, all the needlework was left for those common maids to do. Therefore she was still not proficient at it after two lifetimes.

Xiao Hua was an honest person and didn’t conceal it, spilling the truth of the matter to Nana He.

Nana He was actually not surprised, smiling and saying: “It’s no big deal if you didn’t know how to do it in the past. It’s not too late to learn now. We can’t have a maiden who doesn’t know how to sew. Nana will teach you from now on.”

Xiao Hua was extremely moved in her heart, “Nana, thank you, truly. I keep inconveniencing you.”

“What inconvenience? Nana’s days are usually also idle, treat it as a way for me to pass the time.”

Nana He was also an efficient person. Having brought it up before noon, she gave Xiao Hua a small sewing basket when she came to the small kitchen in the afternoon. Inside where two needles, some fine thread and the starting framework for a piece of cloth, allowing Xiao Hua to start learning from the very basics.

Xiao Hua had long wanted to learn needlework, because it really was inconvenient for a woman to not know it. Since Nana He was willing to teach her, she naturally paid extremely close attention in learning.

Since she didn’t get along well with the palace maids in her room, she didn’t bring her things back to practice, and instead sat in the small kitchen to learn. She clumsily weaved the needle while chatting with Nana He.

Thanks to this, Xiao Hua’s days became even more fulfilling. Those unhappy thoughts from her room no longer remained in her mind.

*****

Xiao Hua’s days became more satisfying, but some others were no longer as satisfied.

Especially seeing Xiao Hua’s face more often filled with rarely seen smiles these days, Qiao Lian felt it was even more of an eyesore. She had always felt that this Xiao Hua who never spoke and seemed well behaved was actually also someone who flattered others.

People were afraid of being compared to others. She had to sweep the courtyard outside while others served his highness inside the hall. She had to eat a communal meal while a certain someone could enjoy personalized dishes. They were both low-ranked palace maids. She had to suck up to those low ranked eunuchs before they would show a pleasant expression to her. A certain someone didn’t have to do anything for those eunuchs to all start calling her big sis Xiao Hua, and their faces were full of smiles and respect.

All this made Qiao Lian jealous and resentful, but since Eunuch Fu treated Xiao Hua differently she didn’t dare express anything.

As her feelings pent up, she did something foolish.

Xiao Hua only had a few sets of clothes. Apart from what she received along with the others when they first entered the Hall of Splendor, the rest were given to her by Eunuch Fu after entering the hall itself. Out of these clothes, Xiao Hua’s favorite was the pink short coat and pale greenish blue striped skirt. Xiao Hua liked pink clothing in her past life, and her preferences hadn’t changed.

This day she opened her cabinet and prepared to put on her freshly washed pink short coat. However, when she took it out and prepared to wear it, she noticed that there were two holes cut in her coat and skirt.

The holes were clearly cut with a pair of scissors. Xiao Hua’s face turned gloomy.

It was still early and all the low palace maids in the room had yet to leave for work.

From the moment Xiao Hua opened her cabinet and grabbed her clothes, Qiao Lian’s eyes flashed. Seeing Xiao Hua grab that set of clothing after all, she even laughed a little in schadenfreude. Just as she was getting ready to watch Xiao Hua hopping around in anger, she suddenly felt her head being covered by something.

Qiao Lian pulled of the thing covering her head and saw that it was actually Xiao Hua’s cut clothing.

Raising her eyes, she saw Xiao Hua standing in front of her with a cold expression.

“You, what are you doing?”

Xiao Hua smiled coldly and said: “Did you have fun?”

Qiao Lian had trouble concealing the guilt in her expression, “What are you talking about? Why am I having trouble understanding you?”

Xiao Hua’s eyes flashed. Just a little girl who can’t even pretend well. At first she had some anger in her heart, but at this moment they had extinguished by quite a bit.

But she definitely would not tolerate such actions. Normally the sarcastic words were just small grudges and she couldn’t be bothered with it. She had hear such words many times before, why would she bicker with these little girls?

But this time things were different. She dared cut her clothing. What if she dared cut her face directly next time?

Xiao Hua didn’t say anything, and directly slapped Qiao Lian across the face. The sound rang out across the room, shocking everyone.

“Let me tell you something. I can’t be bothered to respond to the crap you spout regularly. But everyone has a temper. Let me show you what my temper looks like.” Looking at Qiao Lian who was slapped silly, Xiao Hua continued speaking: “A slap in exchange for a set of clothes, I think you got the better end of this deal. You dared cut up the clothes that Eunuch Fu bestowed, your guts are pretty big.”

Using a tiger’s skin to make a banner1, Xiao Hua had always been capable of this trick. Having struggled against others for so many years in her past life, what trick wasn’t she capable of using? It was just a matter of whether she wanted to do it or not.

Qiao Lian whose mouth had always been merciless suddenly wasn’t able to react, and could only subconsciously quibble, “What are you basing you accusations on? It wasn’t me….”

Xiao Hua gave a cold laugh, and after a long while finally opened her mouth and said: “Let me respond by saying this. Don’t think everyone else is stupid in front of your piddling abilities….”

After speaking to this point, Xiao Hua turned and left the room.

In the eyes of the palace maids in the room, Xiao Hua had always been a quiet and even slightly weak person. When she encountered instances of mockery, she would silently endure without saying anything. Everyone lost their rose-tinted glasses at this episode. Only now did they realize that Xiao Hua had another side to her, and that this side made others feel indescribably cold in their hearts.

Out of everyone, the most shocked was Xiu Yun. Her heart was both scared and panicked, thinking that Xiao Hua wasn’t someone easy to deal with after all……

Author’s notes:

Qiao Lian may seem formidable, but is actually a dummy, with a child’s temper.

Hua Hua is a flat little board, so they definitely have to turn huge. We can’t let our Xiao Hua be a fried egg in both lifetimes…..

Translator’s notes:

Probably preaching to the choir here, but please keep in mind that the views presented here are based on ancient times. You don’t have to go learn to sew (unless you want to!), or worry about whether your physical appearance matches some sort of ideal. As mentioned in one of the author’s previous notes, everyone has their own preferences. What’s important is to work towards your own ideal version of yourself, not towards someone else’s. Everything else will fall into place afterwards.

Thanks again for everyone’s support. Special thanks to Kiwi who donated despite the bar being full and left a nice message. I’ll keep the translating going even after capturing my princess, don’t worry.

  1. Idiom kind of opposite to killing the chicken to scare the monkey. It means to make an example out of something powerful and scaring others away.
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weirdnshort
weirdnshort
1 year ago

oh haha that’s a bra. I never really thought about what females wore back in the day.

Tukesi
Tukesi
1 year ago

Thank you!

Queenofthefuzzybugs
Queenofthefuzzybugs
1 year ago

Usually in novels with harems, concubines are most focused on their beauty. After all, their sole purpose is basically keeping their Lord happy in the sack. And because the lords don’t view these women as equals (status), they also expect all their tastes and fetishes catered to as well. Wives generally aren’t expected to be as beautiful, just bear children and manage the estate.

It’s no surprise our MC and those trying to get her in the prince’s sack are basing her beauty on a “concubine’s standard”. It’s not like they care about her as a person after all. She just needs to be a pretty enough vase to attract that indifferent prince.

lamperouge0
lamperouge0
1 year ago

The slap was so satisfying. Thanks for the chapter!

Kimmy G
Kimmy G
1 year ago

Thanks for the chapter!
People who are stupid and annoying are the worst?.

marchmallow
marchmallow
1 year ago

I binge on a lot of ancient chinese harem intrigue novels that I’ve been desensitized… or, at least, developed an understanding about how vastly different it was for women in the ancient times compared to now. We can’t force modern principles on these (non-transmigrated) heroines if we want them to be a little realistic.

EllieKit
EllieKit
1 year ago

Knowing how to sew for common women in ancient times is comparable to knowing how to use a computer in these times. If you don’t have the skill, you’re really hampered in your future. Nowadays, knowing how to sew is still a good skill to have, for the simple reason that it means you can mend little tears and reattach buttons. And knitting can be a really enjoyable and soothing hobby.

Saphti
Saphti
1 year ago

I need to know where to order “Nana He’s special meals” for *cough* personal experiment…..

ASIO
ASIO
11 months ago

I know they are all just servants, so their lives don’t mean much, but it’s kind of icky how the eunuch and nana change Xiao Hua’s body without her knowledge or consent. I know human rights didn’t exist back then, but it makes me uncomfortable reading about it every time it pops up. It’s something I try to ignore, but they won’t let me…

Jube
Jube
1 hour ago
Reply to  ASIO

In reality whenever you read ancient novels it’s a must that you have to forget about modern principles and translate it into modern equivalents for your benefit. In proportion this would be the equivalent of giving a better diet to someone so their skin would be clearer. Her body wasn’t “changing” out of bizarre methods like plastic surgery in modern times ,in reality she like most slaves suffered from a lack of nutrition and could never reach into a healthy state where they would properly fully develop. Kinda live Levi from attack on Titans, he was short because of malnutrition. This could be seen as a mother or schools giving kids milk everyday in hope that the child would grow tall. Although modern days have human rights, social dynamics aren’t that much different if you remove the modern civility. Just as much media pushes women to have beauty standards just like in ancient days.