Translator’s notes: Thank you to my fan Geri for donating despite the bar being full yesterday, I’m glad you’re enjoying the novel. Chapter bar has been refreshed.
Imperial Physician Hu’s medical skills were extremely good, and Xiao Hua soon woke up.
When she woke up, she found that Chun Cao had appeared before her once more, and from her she found out the reason she was repeatedly feverish.
To think it was actually poison.
The concept of poison was extremely foreign to Xiao Hua. Even when she was slipped infertility medicine in her previous life, the doctor had said it wasn’t any high end scheme but merely an abundance of things with cold essence such as safflowers, causing her to be infertile.
The person who poisoned her was unexpectedly Xiu Yun!
Xiao Hua simply couldn’t imagine how Xiu Yun had such remarkable abilities. They had all entered the estate as low-ranked palace maids, yet she had been able to acquire fever causing poison from somewhere.
Xiao Hua couldn’t figure out the twists and turns of the situation, and Chun Cao was only able to tell her bits and pieces.
Chun Cao knew Xiu Yun was the culprit only because Eunuch Fu had punished her, and had also driven the rest of the low palace maids out of the Hall of Splendor.
In other words, only Xiao Hua and Chun Cao were left in the palace maids’ room.
Chun Cao told Xiao Hua that she would be taking up those low palace maids’ duties in sweeping the courtyard of the Hall of Splendor in the future. Hearing this Xiao Hua was very happy, and could be at ease in recuperating. Chun Cao also told Xiao Hua that Doctor Hu’s skills were very good. Her poisoning wasn’t very serious, and as long as the right antidote was taken she would be recovered in a few days.
Xiao Hua didn’t feel much regarding the expulsion of her roommates, and as for why Xiu Yun was so ruthless and poisoned her, she guessed that it was due to jealousy.
What she couldn’t understand was what Xiu Yun was so jealous about that she would make such a ruthless move. At most it was because she managed to remain in the hall. Also, where had she gotten such a mysterious poison? But thinking of Xiu Yun’s strange “hometown acquaintance”, Xiao Hua pretty much understood.
The truth of the situation was really as such. Although Xiu Yun had been all sorts of unbalanced and jealous of Xiao Hua in her heart, her abilities weren’t profound enough to think of using poison.
Ru’er was the one who helped her think of it, and it was all for the sake of rectifying the aftermath of Xiu Yun’s impulsiveness.
When Xiu Yun was kicked out of the hall, she had secretly gone to find her sister.
When Ru’er found out her sister had done something so impossibly stupid, she had given her a huge scolding. But what’s done is done, and there wasn’t anything she could do to change it. Luckily Eunuch Fu did not remove the people who were kicked out, giving them a trace of hope.
Ru’er had thought that since Xiao Hua was the only one remaining, if she got rid of her, perhaps her sister would be able to ascend again. After all, Xiu Yun had also managed to remain in the hall for a long time, and was only kicked out due to a momentary lapse of judgement.
The thoughts of ascending to the sky had already become Ru’er’s heart demon. Since it wasn’t possible for her, she would make sure her sister could do it. In order to let Xiu Yun catch this wave, she had invested a lot of money and effort. There was no way she would be resigned to failure.
She happened to have this type of poison in hand, and made Xiu Yun use it on Xiao Hua.
This poison was actually a type of medicine, and wasn’t harmful to the body. It only raised the temperature and made the body weak. Even without a doctor, the victim would recover naturally within ten days or so.
This type of medicine was an unspoken secret within the imperial palace. Palace maids would often use it against those who they felt were an eyesore, because there was a rule in the imperial palace: servants who fell ill for several days without recovering would be sent out to avoid spreading the illness. The princes were especially afraid of getting sick, and thus such a medicine was born. It didn’t endanger one’s life, and the result would only be removal of those eyesores.
When the Jing Prince moved to his vassal state, he had taken several palace maids to the Jing Province. The medicine was also brought over by those palace maids.
Ru’er had stayed within the estate for quite some time, and had good relations with others. Having found out about the medicine by chance, she managed to acquire some for herself to use against formidable opponents who tried to steal her position. Who would have guessed that she didn’t need it for herself, but ended up giving it to Xiu Yun to use against Xiao Hua?
The medicine was placed in Xiao Hua’s teapot that stored her drinking water. After using it once, Xiu Yun waited for Xiao Hua to get feverish and be moved out. Unexpectedly, Eunuch Fu had invited a doctor over to treat her instead.
Seeing Xiao Hua about to recover and get back to work, Xiu Yun took the chance to apply another dose. She thought that Eunuch Fu would not be as kind and patient to invite the doctor again. Everyone had blamed it on Xiao Hua’s delicate and weak body, but who knew her hopes would be shattered once more.
She didn’t have time to discuss her second attempt with Ru’er, and had made the decision herself.
If Ru’er had known her sister would be so foolish, she would have scolded Xiu Yun to death. But it was already too late. Whatever Eunuch Fu wanted to investigate within the estate would be quickly found out. In fact, in pulling the radish from the ground, the dirt had come along with it. Even Ru’er herself was implicated.
The result was Eunuch Fu having them both directly beaten to death.
No matter the place, these sorts of shameful hidden schemes would be a threat, especially when poison was involved. Most importantly, they had dared to use the poison inside the Hall of Splendor.
The Hall of Splendor was where the Jing Prince lived. Eunuch Fu and the rest had ensured it was built as a metal container from day one. It was difficult to even make inquiries about the situation inside, but even though the prince wasn’t the intended victim, someone had still unexpectedly been poisoned inside the hall.
Eunuch Fu had served by the prince’s side for so long, and also managed to raise him to adulthood with Auntie Qi. Naturally he didn’t rely on his lengthy relationship with the prince, but rather his formidable methods. Being able to survive all sorts of trials within the imperial palace, who wouldn’t pick up a trick or two? Although he was normally all smiles and gave off the air of a kindly old man, his means were rather ruthless.
Killing one person in order to warn a hundred others. He had directly ordered the two sisters to be beaten to death within the Hall of Splendor in front of everyone. Chun Cao had also witnessed it with her own eyes, but Eunuch Fu had ordered her not to tell Xiao Hua. Therefore she told her that they had been expelled.
Xiao Hua wasn’t aware of any of this. After recovering this time, she resumed her normal work schedule.
Such a large palace maids’ room now only contained Xiao Hua and Chun Cao.
During this time several low-ranked eunuchs came in and moved the extra beds out, and relocated their beds. They also added a round table and a few chairs to the room, making it seem a lot more spacious. It was also more convenient for them to eat their meals.
Chun Cao was arranged by Eunuch Fu to sweep the courtyard, but during these few days Xiao Hua clearly noticed that she was actually here to take care of her. Chun Cao was young, but quick with her hands and feet. She had sharp eyes, and would often take care of things without Xiao Hua having to say anything.
Xiao Hua felt very apologetic. They were both low-ranked palace maids, so what basis was there for her to have a caretaker?
She brought it up a few times, but Chun Cao normally acted as she was supposed to. She was also afraid Xiao Hua would feel bad about it, and thus purposefully leaked the story behind her circumstances.
Chun Cao used to work in the estate’s laundry room, and it was normally very hard work. Being able to work as a sweeper maid in the Hall of Splendor could be seen as salvation for her. She also understood Eunuch Fu’s intentions. If it wasn’t for Xiao Hua needing a companion who could also conveniently look after her, the Hall of Splendor didn’t need her to come sweep the courtyard.
Although Chun Cao was still young, she had stayed in the estate for a long time. She knew that if it wasn’t for special purposes, the Hall of Splendor wouldn’t need to bring in low-ranked palace maids. All the daily work could be done by low-ranked eunuchs. If she didn’t even have this little insight, she would probably be thrown back to the laundry room after a few days by Eunuch Fu.
Since Xiao Hua couldn’t convince her otherwise, she could only give up. However, she normally did her best not to let Chun Cao help her with anything.
After living with her for a few days, Xiao Hua noticed that Chun Cao would have nightmares in the middle of the night.
Xiao Hua was a light sleeper due to her past experience as a maid. For the last several nights she had heard Chun Cao talking in her sleep.
Chun Cao didn’t say much, only calling out “don’t beat me to death, don’t beat me to death….”
Having been beaten to death in her past life, Xiao Hua was especially sensitive to this topic. After enduring for a few days, she shook her awake one night during her nightmare.
“Chun Cao, what’s wrong? Why do you keep crying not to beat you to death?”
Having spent time with Chun Cao these past few days, Xiao Hua was still rather fond of this girl who was younger than her. She wondered whether Chun Cao had seen someone get beaten to death during her time in the laundry room.
Chun Cao might have been too shocked by her nightmare and ended up forgetting Eunuch Fu’s orders in that moment. She ended up blurting out the fact that Xiu Yun was beaten to death.
Xiao Hua’s face turned pale after listening.
At this time, Chun Cao snapped out of it and was worried almost to tears.
“Big sis Xiao Hua, you definitely can’t tell Eunuch Fu that I told you about this. He ordered me not to tell you.”
Chun Cao was quite scared of Eunuch Fu. Someone who was normally full of smiles but in the blink of an eye could order someone beaten to death. Beaten until they became a blur of blood and meat, beaten to a pulp.
Xiao Hua froze, “Xiu Yun was beaten to death?”
Chun Cao nodded her head and carefully looked at Xiao Hua’s expression, “Eunuch Fu said her guts were huge enough to encompass the heavens, actually daring to use poison within the Hall of Splendor.” She paused a little and added, “He said no matter who the victim was, this sort of action could not be tolerated.”
“How did you find out about it?”
Chun Cao’s face paled and looked a little traumatized. Her voice was fearful, “Eunuch Fu called everyone within the Hall of Splendor over and had the beating carried out in front of us.”
“Oh.” Xiao Hua nodded her head and slowly walked back to her own bed.
Chun Cao was afraid she would overthink things, and explained: “Big sis Xiao Hua, don’t overthink it. This matter doesn’t concern you that much. Xiu Yun broke a taboo by poisoning someone within the Hall of Splendor. Eunuch Fu very clearly intended for others to see this beating, killing one and scaring a hundred. He’s warning everyone to be more alert in the future.”
“Xiao Hua forced a smile and said: “I’m fine, I understand.”
The two spoke a few more words before each returning to sleep. This time though, Xiao Hua didn’t feel like sleeping.
It wasn’t that she felt guilty about Xiu Yun, although she had died for reasons related to her which was somewhat uncomfortable. Especially given that she had also died via beatings in her past life. However, apart from lamenting how a servant’s life was really treated like grass, she was thinking about Eunuch Fu’s unexpected ruthlessness. Really, a book shouldn’t be judged by its cover.
She raised her vigilance towards Eunuch Fu by several fold. Her small complaints about him were also stamped out at this time.
The Hall of Splendor’s environment had always been peaceful. Without Xi’er’s group and their sarcastic mutterings, Xiao Hua’s days passed pleasantly. She went to work when the Jing Prince was present, and otherwise spent her time in the small kitchen or in her room.
She didn’t know any needlework in her past life, and now having returned to the life of a servant she still didn’t know any. Normally it was inconvenient when things needed stitching. Although Chun Cao jumped at the opportunity to help, Xiao Hua was embarrassed and could only learn properly from Chun Cao and Nana He.
Xiao Hua’s comprehension skills were good and she put a lot of effort into learning. Needlework was a visual activity to begin with. After a few days, Xiao Hua had learned the form of things. No need to mention embroidery yet, but she had become pretty good at mending things or making basic, unembroidered things.
After finishing her “apprenticeship”, the first thing Xiao Hua tried making was her own chest wrap. Xiao Hua had asked Nana He to help her bring in the materials from outside. Servants normally couldn’t leave the estate, but if they wanted to buy something they could still ask others to help.
Xiao Hua used her monthly salary to buy the cloth. This was Xiao Hua’s first time receiving her salary, which included her salary from when she was in the sweeper area.
The sweeper area’s salary was five hundred coins, and the salary was raised to two taels of silver in the Hall of Splendor. Xiao Hua didn’t have many possessions. Adding on around five taels of silver Granny Wang had given her when she left the Jingyang Estate, she had a little over nine taels of silver.
Xiao Hua was very happy to receive her monthly salary. Based on her calculations, if she remained in the hall, two taels a month would mean twenty four in a year. She was fourteen, and still had to stay in the estate for eleven more years, meaning she could receive two hundred and sixty four taels of salary.
Ten years was very distant and very long, but Xiao Hua was already making preparations. She compared her salary to the cost of living outside, and felt that two hundred some taels of silver should be enough to buy a small pavilion outside. The rest of her money could be used to start a small business or buy some farmland. It should definitely be enough to make a living.
Thinking of her hopes for a beautiful life, Xiao Hua put even more effort into her work, and the smiles on her face also increased.
The Jing Prince felt that the low-ranked palace maid had seemingly changed. Although she still stood there honestly during work, her temperament seemed completely different.
He wasn’t very sure exactly what the difference was, but he did feel that her occasional smiles were quite eye-catching.
Of course, he merely paid her that sliver of attention, and there wasn’t anything more to it.
The Jing Prince was rather busy during the day. For him, this low-ranked palace maid was merely an additional person around him who he felt wasn’t an eyesore. Since she wasn’t an eyesore and her skills were rather good, the Jing Prince decided not to have any thoughts of trying to kick her out.
Eunuch Fu saw Xiao Hua steadily remain in the hall for over two months and his old face almost bloomed in happiness. It was fine as long as she could stay. There would be opportunity for more later on, he just had to give a couple of helpful shoves from behind.
Xiao Hua wasn’t aware of Eunuch Fu’s thoughts.
She only cared about working peacefully and minding her own business. Her days passed very smoothly. The Jing Prince asked her to help him loosen up every so often, and she would do so properly.
After spending such a long time with him, she realized this master was quite easy to serve. He had no particular opinions, his words were pitifully few and his presence was extremely minimal. His thoughts were also hard to see through, but as a low-ranked palace maid she didn’t have to try and figure out his thoughts. She just needed to focus on her work.
Compared to the taciturn Jing Prince, Xiao Hua was actually more afraid of Eunuch Fu. Every time she saw his smiling face, she felt a little chill.
In the blink of an eye, mid-August approached.
Author’s note: Another breakthrough in the next chapter, prepare for a whole bucket of contrived circumstance. Don’t give this author crap about it because you guys aren’t the only impatient ones. This author is also impatient. This introverted Jing Prince needs to be given some ruthless medicine. Otherwise who knows when he would finally start paying attention to our Xiao Hua Hua?