Translator’s notes: Thank you MaChe for donating despite the chapter bar being full. I’ll try to reset the bar either tomorrow or the day after.
That night, Xiao Xia Zi came and delivered two sets of clothing.
Xiao Hua tried them on and felt they fit quite well this time. Most importantly, they were a little looser and wider, not “fitting” like those before.
The clothes that got ripped had been hidden in her cabinet, but her embarrassed feelings at that time could not be wiped away. Luckily the Jing Prince didn’t have any other reactions, or Xiao Hua would have been embarrassed to death.
She hated how she couldn’t stick her head in the ground during these next few days of work.
What she was hoping for in her past life finally developed a little in this life, but ended up causing such a joke.
It was such a disgrace!
Xiao Hua had only paid attention to her own embarrassment and didn’t notice the gazes of the others in the room, especially when she ran in while covering her chest. More than one person had noticed.
Therefore, the palace maids in the room grew even quieter, their expressions turning weird.
After a couple more days, Xiao Hua grew ill.
Suddenly ill, and seriously ill. She got a fever during the night which hadn’t faded by morning.
Xiao Hua was awoken by the discomfort at night, her whole body hot and cold at the same time and her head murky and dazed. She knew she had a fever, and endured until the others awoke the next morning. She weakly propped her feeble body up and asked the others if they could help her let Eunuch Fu know she was ill and couldn’t come to work.
Her mentioning it was also wanting to see if Eunuch Fu could help her find a doctor. After all, when a normal servant fell ill, they would have to shoulder it themselves. What master’s household would pay to let you see a doctor?
But she thought that since this was the Jing Prince Estate, their benefits were pretty good and Eunuch Fu also favored her, perhaps he would find her a doctor.
She didn’t know if her voice was too quiet, but no one heard her and no one paid her any attention. Everyone seemed to ignore her and didn’t think it was strange she wasn’t getting up for work.
Only after they all left did Xiao Hua lay back helplessly paralyzed on her bed.
She had an indescribable feeling in her heart, a little cold a little hurt, but full of uncontrollable grievance.
She didn’t understand why the heavens would treat her this way. Why couldn’t the heavens treat her a little nicer, and were always so harsh….
Xiao Hua lay on the bed drifting in and out of consciousness. She even felt that dying like this would be fine, since she wouldn’t have to suffer any more difficulties….
When Xiao Hua awoke, she was still on her bed.
She was woken up by someone. An unfamiliar face appeared in front of her eyes.
“Big sis Xiao Hua, come drink some medicine.”
This was spoken by a girl around ten years old. She seemed very small, her hair tied in twin buns. She looked very pure, and wore a set of low palace maid clothing.
Xiao Hua didn’t have time to ask who she was before she was propped up and a bowl of medicine was placed near her mouth.
After drinking the medicine, her mouth was full of bitter flavor.
Xiao Hua was a healthy person in both her lifetimes. It was unexpected that this time she would fall so seriously ill. Her body ached all over, and was unbearably sore. She knew this was a symptom of her fever.
The low palace maid had a face full of smiles, “I’m called Chun Cao1. Eunuch Fu arranged for me to take care of you. Big sis Xiao Hua, you should have a good rest. You should feel better after a good night’s sleep.”
Xiao Hua’s felt uncomfortable and didn’t have much energy so she didn’t speak any further. She lay back on the bed and closed her eyes.
Looks like she wouldn’t die this time around. She also didn’t know how they found out about her illness.
She didn’t know that when she didn’t appear on time today, Eunuch Fu had called Xiao Xia Zi to come wake her, thinking she had overslept. He unexpectedly saw Xiao Hua lying by herself in bed, burning up from fever, without a single person in the room.
Eunuch Fu greatly favored this low-ranked palace maid so he wouldn’t just let her burn up like this. He ordered someone to invite a doctor over to take a look at her.
Of course at this point, he was well aware of Xiao Hua’s surroundings. A person was sick to the extent of not being able to get up, and yet five others in the same room didn’t notice anything. Who would believe it?
Although Eunuch Fu’s personality wasn’t very proper at times, he wasn’t blind. Being able to protect the fifth prince until he had grown, Eunuch Fu was definitely not as simple as he looked. However, he didn’t say anything, and didn’t even reprimand anyone. He just pulled an honest and diligent low-ranked palace maid from the estate to take care of her for a few days.
Sickness comes like an avalanche, but leaves like spinning silk.2
Xiao Hua’s illness lasted several days, and she did not go to work during these days.
The Jing Prince came back these couple days and noticed a person missing from the hall. The low-ranked palace maid who always stood silently in the corner, and had some decent skills, was no longer there.
But he only pondered it silently and didn’t open his mouth to ask. It wasn’t in his character to ask, but his eyes would keep drifting to the spot where she used to stand.
He thought that he needed to be loosened up, and also thought that with Eunuch Fu’s meticulous consideration he should have been able to tell what he was wondering about. Unfortunately, this time Eunuch Fu’s meticulous consideration was nowhere to be found.
He endured for two days before asking: “Low-ranked palace maid?”
It was just three simple words, his tone was also very steady, but his words contained a hint of questioning.
When Eunuch Fu heard this he was shocked at first, and then said with smiles heaped onto his face: “Your highness is talking about Xiao Hua? That low-ranked palace maid got sick, but should be recovered soon. I will have her come work tomorrow.”
What answered him was the customary silence, but Eunuch Fu’s heart was blooming with happiness.
A miracle, it was a miracle that his highness would open his mouth to ask about someone. There wouldn’t have been anything special if he asked about a man, but asking about a woman was a first. As an understanding and considerate personal eunuch, he would definitely do his best to satisfy his highness’s requests.
These few days he could also tell that his highness treated that low-ranked palace maid a little differently. The progress was just a little slow, making Eunuch Fu sweat with impatience. But he didn’t dare make any rushed moves, afraid that haste would make waste.
During an idle time in the afternoon, Eunuch Fu sent Xiao Xia Zi to check on the low-ranked palace maid called Xiao Hua. If possible, let her return to work tomorrow.
Xiao Hua had passed these few days pretty peacefully, with Chun Cao being there to take care of her.
Food, medicine and water were delivered by Chun Cao, who was hardworking and full of smiles. There were several times where Xiao Hua felt embarrassed for the inconvenience.
While Xiao Hua recuperated in the room, her roommates rarely spent time there, though it wasn’t clear whether it was due to a guilty conscience. Even when they returned they remained silent.
What was worth mentioning was that Xiao Xia Zi carried over a small wooden bed and placed it beside Xiao Hua’s bed. Normally Chun Cao would sleep next to Xiao Hua, and whenever she needed water or something during the night, she was there to lend a hand.
All this made Xiao Hua a little afraid but she didn’t know what to say. As a palace maid herself, they arranged for a low-ranked palace maid to come take care of her. If they told her that this was a benefit all servants received in the estate, she would definitely not believe it.
But she also didn’t believe that Eunuch Fu had some purpose for her. At first she had thought Eunuch Fu was offering the Jing Prince a choice of chambermaids, but seeing the prince’s manner of ignoring everyone, this explanation had become a little contradictory.
Since she couldn’t figure it out, Xiao Hua decided not to think about it.
Perhaps they gave her a few conveniences for the sake of her skills?
This explanation seemed to make sense. Therefore, Xiao Hua secretly decided in her heart to properly service his highness in the future. So when Xiao Xia Zi came and asked if she could return to work, even though she still felt a little weak she nodded her head and agreed.
As a servant, if she didn’t have this little bit of sense, she should just give up. They gave her good food and drink, treated her illness and even sent a low palace maid over to take care of her. Wasn’t it all so she could serve wholeheartedly? Maybe his highness wasn’t feeling well and needed loosening up?
The next day, Xiao Hua got out of bed and with Chun Cao’s assistance put on her clothes.
The clothes were a little loose and Xiao Hua knew she had gotten thinner again. Although she had only been sick for a few days, she was inevitably unable to stomach her food, and thus lost weight rather quickly. She would often be dumbfounded by her constitution. It was hard for her to gain weight, yet really easy for her to lose weight. All it took was missing a few meals. Luckily that area hadn’t gotten any thinner. Was this finding fortune in the midst of misfortune?
“Big sis Xiao Hua, you aren’t completely recovered yet. Are you able to work like this?”
Chun Cao treated her sincerely these past few days, and showed her every possible consideration. She was clear that Xiao Hua’s body was still rather weak. But how could a servant wait for their body to be fully recovered. It was fine if she was nearly recovered.
Having spent time with Chun Cao these few days, Xiao Hua was rather fond of this low-ranked palace maid. She was agile yet spoke little. Even seeing the others in the room never speaking with Xiao Hua who in turn ignored them, Chun Cao never asked about it.
But Xiao Hua knew that having recovered, Chun Cao might have to leave soon. Chun Cao probably knew it as well, having tossed and turned all last night.
Xiao Hua didn’t ask where Chun Cao came from since she knew she wouldn’t be staying long. Might as well not ask. This made Xiao Hua seem a little fickle and unappreciative, but it was a way for her to protect herself after all.
“How could I have it my way as a servant? As long as I’m pretty much recovered, it’s ok.” Xiao Hua squeezed Chun Cao’s hand and walked out.
Xiao Hua entered the hall as the Jing Prince was about to eat breakfast.
His breakfast was very simple, a bowl of red bean porridge with a few pastries and three side dishes.
Xiao Hua served the prince’s meal as before. What she didn’t notice was that a gaze swept over her body.
After breakfast the Jing Prince left the Hall of Splendor.
Xiao Hua didn’t have anything to do but didn’t want to go back to her room. She went and sat in the tea room.
She sat until noon when the Jing Prince came back for lunch, and after lunch he went to read in his study.
Today’s weather wasn’t very good, and it started raining in the afternoon. It was chilly and windy.
Xiao Hua guessed that the prince wouldn’t be going out in the afternoon anymore. This wouldn’t be a problem normally, but Xiao Hua had just recovered from a serious illness. Since her body wasn’t completely recovered, after standing for a while she felt that she couldn’t stand any longer, her legs were incredibly weak.
In the past she was able to easily make it through this, but today things were especially hard to bear. But as a servant, she could only endure with a pale face.
Eunuch Fu knew that the prince wanted to loosen up his muscles and bones yesterday, otherwise he wouldn’t ask about the low palace maid. Since it was raining today and there wasn’t anything pressing in the afternoon, he opened his mouth and said: “Your highness, how about getting Xiao Hua to help you loosen up a bit?”
The Jing Prince lifted his gaze from the book and swung it around a little, but didn’t say anything.
After another while, he suddenly stood up and walked out.
Eunuch Fu had thought his highness might be going to the rear hall to rest a little and followed behind him, but unexpectedly he walked towards the outside. It was raining outside, so he could only call for a low-ranked eunuch to bring an umbrella and straw raincoat while he followed behind.
“Master, there isn’t any official business and it’s pouring rain. Where are you going?”
The rain was very loud and the prince didn’t speak. Or if he did, Eunuch Fu did not hear it. He could only hold the umbrella and follow blindly in bewilderment.
Xiao Hua didn’t stop to think what the prince went to do out in the rain. She only let out a breath of relief.
She felt that she couldn’t hold out much longer, so she said to Xiao Xia Zi “If his highness returns come call me in the palace maids’ room”, and returned to her room.
Back in the room, both the small bed and Chun Cao had disappeared as expected.
Xiao Hua’s heart felt some inexplicable discomfort. She sat on her own bed and stared blankly into space, not looking at any of her roommates. She felt a little thirsty so she grabbed a teapot on her cabinet and poured herself a cup of water.
The water was cold. Servants didn’t get to drink much warm tea.
While working in the hall, she was able to go get some warm water from the tea room. Normally when she wanted warm water she could only go to the small kitchen. But that wasn’t always convenient so every low palace maid had a teapot that they could store water in. If they wanted water they could drink straight from it.
After drinking water, Xiao Hua lay down and slept. Unexpectedly, her fever flared up again before it was evening.
The Jing Prince only returned after dark. Xiao Xia Zi remembered Xiao Hua’s words and went to call her, but ended up finding her once again semiconscious with fever.
Eunuch Fu heard from Xiao Xia Zi that Xiao Hua was feverish again and was unable to get up. His heart was inevitably a little fidgety.
Wasn’t this low palace maid Xiao Hua a little too delicate? She got sick again after just recovering?
But since his highness had asked about this low palace maid a couple of days ago, Eunuch Fu could only suppress his twitchy feelings and have Xiao Xia Zi fetch the estate’s doctor and have him take a look.
Xiao Xia Zi prepared to carry out his orders when Eunuch Fu called him back, and told him to fetch Doctor Hu from the medical center.
The Jing Prince Estate’s medical center’s doctors were split into two types. The first were those who treated the masters, and the second were common doctors who treated servants and eunuchs for things such as headaches and heat strokes.
The last time Xiao Hua was treated by a common doctor who treated palace maids. If Eunuch Fu hadn’t clarified, Xiao Xia Zi definitely would have fetched the same doctor again. Since Eunuch Fu had spoken, Xiao Xia Zi slipped away to fetch Doctor Hu.
This Doctor Hu was definitely skilled since he used to be an imperial physician before moving to the Jing Province with the Jing Prince. Normally he only treated the few masters and mistresses, and was even known as a specialist in treating those masters and mistresses.
Doctor Hu was brought to the Hall of Splendor by Xiao Xia Zi and initially thought his highness was feeling unwell. Unexpectedly, he was taken to the palace maids’ room. However, those who were able to muddle along as an imperial physician for several decades were all experienced. He didn’t say anything before taking a pulse.
Xiao Hua was sleeping in delirium at the moment, and certainly wasn’t aware someone was here to treat her.
Doctor Hu took her pulse and muttered irresolutely to himself for a moment before saying: “This low-ranked palace maid isn’t feverish from illness. She was poisoned.”
Hearing this, Xiao Xia Zi felt his legs go limp, hurriedly saying he had to find General Manager Fu before running out.
Xiao Xia Zi found Eunuch Fu and whispered a few sentences into his ear. Eunuch Fu hurriedly followed him back.
This case of poisoning was no small matter.
The Hall of Splendor was strictly guarded. Although it appeared to be relatively empty, without the permission of a few major characters not even a fly could enter. Even if the Jing Consort had something to report, she had to request permission via the low-ranked eunuch at the door before being allowed to enter. All the food was checked even more strictly.
This poisoning was most likely done via food. Xiao Hua ate at the small kitchen, which was also responsible for the Jing Prince’s meals. The situation was definitely serious. No wonder Xiao Xia Zi and Eunuch Fu were being so cautious.
When Xiao Xia Zi led someone who looked like a doctor inside, Xiu Yun had seen it while sweeping the courtyard.
Her heart pounded nonstop, lamenting in indignation that Xiao Hua really was different from the rest.
The other palace maids didn’t have much face. If they weren’t sick to the point of dying, no one would invite a doctor for them. Furthermore, those who fell ill in front of their masters would often be relocated elsewhere.
What she didn’t expect was that not only did Xiao Hua not get moved out, people even came one after the other to treat her. Xiu Yun’s heart was extremely panicked, but as she thought about her sister’s words her heart calmed down once more.
It was fine. Her sister had said that the doctors who treated palace maids would not be able to discover anything, and would only think it was a fever.