She slept until noon the next day. When Xiao Hua awoke, Chun Cao was keeping watch next to her.
“Big sis Xiao Hua, you’re awake.”
Xiao Hua’s mouth was extremely dry. “What time is it?” Her voice was very hoarse.
Chun Cao went and poured her some water, “It’s already noon. Don’t worry, it’s fine. Eunuch Fu sent someone over. Big sis Xiao Hua you don’t have to work today. You can go back tomorrow.”
Hearing this Xiao Hua let out a sigh of relief, and flopped back onto her bed.
Thinking of Eunuch Fu’s “consideration”, her heart was very upset.
Chun Cao saw that Xiao Hua’s expression wasn’t too good, and said while smiling: “Big sis Xiao Hua, don’t sleep anymore for now. I will bring lunch over from the small kitchen. Sleep after eating.”
A moment later, Chun Cao carried lunch back.
Lunch was very bountiful, with three dishes and a soup. Seeing the familiar little black soup container, Xiao Hua knew that it was definitely prepared for her by Nana He.
Xiao Hua got off the bed and sat at the round table in the room.
Chun Cao set out the meal while saying: “Nana He is really nice. She said since there were only the two of us, she made both of our lunches together. This container of soup was brewed for you, Nana He said you must drink it all.”
Xiao Hua forced a smile, grabbed her chopsticks and started eating.
Chun Cao spoke while eating: “Big sis Xiao Hua, don’t be unhappy. Although Chun Cao is young, she knows quite a lot. If this matter was spread outside the Hall of Splendor, others would be beside themselves with jealousy. If you serve his highness properly, he will give you a status in the future.”
Turns out Chun Cao thought the reason she was upset was because the prince didn’t give her a status. Xiao Hua didn’t explain that she was the one who refused it. Only the Jing Prince’s wives and concubines could live in the western three pavilions. The prince wanting to arrange a pavilion for her there was him wanting to confer her status.
Chun Cao didn’t understand Xiao Hua’s thoughts, but Xiao Hua was clear about Chun Cao’s thoughts.
In this enormous estate, being able to able to tumble from a low palace maid to his highness’s concubine was to ascend to the skies. But Xiao Hua actually hated the life of struggling with others she experienced in the past. She was afraid, and rejected it from the depths of her heart.
Actually, what was there to be unhappy about? Her days would continue to pass the same way!
At least, at least with this, as long as she was cautious, her days wouldn’t be too hard in the future. Even if she couldn’t be released, such a large estate wouldn’t be lacking in food and drink for her.
Thinking like this, Xiao Hua’s heart was a lot more comfortable.
People have to be good at comforting themselves. How could one’s life be unchanging and unhindered? When you couldn’t refuse the trials ordained by fate, you could only face it calmly and try to find some happiness for yourself while you do so….
For some reason, Xiao Hua recalled these words spoken to her by that girl called Qing Wan.1
She also understood these concepts, and had always told herself the same thing. She was ultimately just stubborn….
After thinking things through, Xiao Hua started to eat with gusto.
The rice was fragrant, the dishes were delicious and Nana He’s brewed soup was also tasty.
No starvations and no beatings, no need to worry about food or clothes, and no annoyances. What was there to be unhappy about? At least his highness had silently agreed to her remaining in the hall. This was a sort of implicit sheltering, right?
She felt even more comfortable after thinking this.
After eating, Chun Cao cleared the dishes and didn’t let Xiao Hua help, allowing her to rest.
Xiao Hua’s body was indeed still sore, especially that area, so she didn’t insist and returned to her bed.
After a while, Chun Cao returned and gave Xiao Hua a bottle of medicine.
“This was given by Eunuch Fu. He said his highness bestowed it to treat your wounds.”
Presumably thinking about where Xiao Hua would have been injured, Chun Cao’s little face flushed red.
Xiao Hua’s face also turned extremely red. While Chun Cao was out in the afternoon, she carefully applied the medicine on her body. It was a cool soothing sensation that seemed to be very helpful. She then carefully applied some to her lower half. As expected, she was no longer as sore afterwards.
After applying the medicine, Xiao Hua pulled up her blankets and prepared to sleep well.
She decided to rest up properly and put on her best appearance for work tomorrow, as though, as though nothing had ever happened.
Eunuch Fu tucked his neck in, and racked his brains all day trying to figure out the situation.
Theoretically speaking, his highness should be showing some signs of activity, but he hadn’t said anything, as though nothing had happened the day before. If it wasn’t for the medicinal ointment his highness had him send to Xiao Hua, he would really think nothing had happened.
Something was wrong no matter how he thought about it. Today the little An brat came early in the morning to tell him everything he overheard, saying his highness didn’t do it just once, but also a second time in the bath.
For Eunuch Fu, this news was like nectar bestowed by the heavens. Of course it wasn’t bestowed upon himself, it was just an analogy. He was very clear about his highness’s indifferent attitude towards such matters. To have been able to keep going until late into the night was a rare display of incredible might. It was clear that Xiao Hua was quite liked by his highness, but why did his face look like nothing had happened?
If the Jing Prince knew what Eunuch Fu was thinking, he definitely would have spat a mouthful of blood onto his face.
What does this humble prince’s intimate affairs have to do with this damn eunuch? Not only did he send someone to eavesdrop, he even asked for details. Was there a eunuch such as this?
Unfortunately the prince didn’t know, and Eunuch Fu couldn’t figure it out. He could only sneak glances at the apathetic looking man who was looking through various records.
The Jing Prince also gave Eunuch Fu a blank stare without saying anything.
He knew what this old thing was thinking about. He was probably thinking why he hadn’t arranged a position for that low-ranked palace maid.
He, Jing Prince Luo Jing, wasn’t someone who wouldn’t take responsibility. It was just that Xiao Hua had actually refused to go to the rear court, and wanted to remain a low-ranked palace maid. What could he say about it? Regardless, it was up to her. If she was willing to be a low-ranked palace maid then let her. If she wanted to be conferred a status he wouldn’t mind giving her one.
After all, he was quite satisfied last night….
Thinking of this, and remembering those sensations, the Jing Prince’s pupils became several times deeper.
The two acting nonchalant, one sitting one standing, remained within the hall in silence.
That night while the Jing Prince ate his meal, Eunuch Fu found some time to go find Auntie Qi, and told her the situation.
Auntie Qi finished listening and spoke while laughing, “You really like to worry about unnecessary things. We servants don’t need to overthink things. Wasn’t his highness always so silent and stuffy?”
Eunuch Fu’s expression was strange, feeling vexed and rebuking Auntie Qi: “I’m just trying to figure out what’s going on.”
“I’m calling you a worrywart and you’re still not listening? Don’t you think the situation is pretty good? Our highness was always such an apathetic character. Don’t you think if he conferred her a status and stuffed her into the western three pavilions, he wouldn’t have the time or will to go see her anymore? That’s without even considering what the consort’s reaction would be. Keeping the person by his side is pretty good. Much more convenient.” Looks like Auntie Qi could see more of the game as a spectator.
This “much more convenient” made Eunuch Fu started giggling vulgarly, thinking that Auntie Qi made a lot of sense.
“Much more convenient, much more convenient.” He stood up and headed out, “I’m still very busy, gotta go.”
Auntie Qi only smiled a little, and didn’t say anything more.
Xiao Hua started working again.
At first she was a little nervous, but seeing both the Jing Prince and Eunuch Fu act as though nothing happened, she gradually relaxed and focused on her work.
The Hall of Splendor was well regulated, and she didn’t hear any rumors flying around. Everyone acted as they did in the past. Xiao Hua stuck her head in the sand and pretended nothing had happened.
However, seeing the Jing Prince’s normal apathetic and silent manner, she inexplicably felt some coldness in her heart.
This person actually acted like nothing had happened. However, thinking of his status, she could understand everything.
That’s right. As a prince, sleeping with a palace maid wasn’t some rare occasion. Why would he treat it as a big deal?
This was also fine. She could pretend nothing had happened. Perhaps once she came of age, the estate would release her.
Another two days passed. The Jing Prince made an excursion to inspect his vassal state, and Xiao Hua felt even more at ease.
In the past, Xiao Hua used to take out the few pieces of silver she earned to admire, and dream a little about her life after leaving the estate. After the event, her heart had become disordered and she didn’t take them out again.
Recently she recovered her old habit, and started digging them out during her free time again to count over and over.
Chun Cao watched Xiao Hua count her silver until she blanked out.
“Big sis Xiao Hua, was there something you wanted to buy?” Chun Cao thought Xiao Hua wanted to buy something, and continued speaking: “Although our estate forbids servants from casually going out, it’s still quite convenient to buy things. There are those who are responsible for this, and as long as you give them the money you can tell them what it is you want to buy. However, it might take some time because they have to accumulate enough requests before buying everything in one go.”
Xiao Hua snapped out of it and smiled: “There isn’t anything I want to buy. The estate gives us everything, what need is there for us to buy things ourselves?”
“I see you always counting your silver so I thought you wanted to buy something.” Chun Cao explained.
Xiao Hua’s face was a little embarrassed. “No, not at all. I’m just thinking of how much I could save by collecting my salary until I get released. I don’t have any relatives outside, so if I save enough I wouldn’t be stuck without anywhere to go.”
Chun Cao fell silent.
As an orphan, Chun Cao was also someone without any relatives outside, having been sold to the Jing Prince Estate from a young age.
Because she didn’t know how to flatter mid-ranked palace maids, the chores she received were those extremely bad ones. She knew that being able to relocate to the Hall of Splendor this time around was all due to Xiao Hua. Life here was really good and no one bullied her. These were the best days she had ever spent as far as she could remember.
According to the estate’s rules, palace maids would be released at twenty-five, but girls at that age had already passed the ideal age for marriage. At that time, whether they could find someone to marry was hard to say, and if they had no relatives outside it was even more tragic.
But how could servants raise any objections? Especially servants like them who were sold into the estate by traffickers. Although the age of release was a little old, they didn’t have to buy themselves out, and the estate would even arrange housing and erase their registry record. For a servant, these were all huge blessings.
Things were rarely perfect. Having all this was already very good.
Within the estate, all those palace maids with lonely pasts would often be at a loss when thinking about their future. Chun Cao was the same way. It was just that she still had many years left before being released, and so didn’t think that far ahead.
Chun Cao also knew about Xiao Hua’s recent situation. She used her pure body to serve his highness, but he didn’t express anything and didn’t ask her to service him again.
Based on Chun Cao’s understanding, big sis Xiao Hua hadn’t gained his favor before losing his favor, and lost her innocence for nothing. She also didn’t manage to ascend to the sky, and was still a low-ranked palace maid.
But as servants, what could they say? However, Chun Cao was endlessly sympathetic in her heart.
Seeing Xiao Hua plan her future life at this moment, she felt even more heartache.
“Big sis Xiao Hua, you’ve suffered.” Saying thus, Chun Cao’s eyes turned red.
Xiao Hua froze a little before figuring out why Chun Cao was acting this way. She was a little moved but also felt it a little amusing, “Silly lass, what suffering are you talking about. Isn’t this expected for us servants? As long as we can live, not have to starve or get beaten, and our days are smooth, then everything is fine.”
Xiao Hua half lowered her head and rubbed the silver in her hands.
“But, but how are you going to marry someone in the future?”
Mentioning this, Xiao Hua was also a little upset in her heart.
She could only smile and say: “You’re being silly again. It’s not that easy to find someone to marry at twenty-five. It would have been difficult regardless so it’s no big deal. I’m not thinking about it now, just trying to do my job properly. I’ll save up my silver so I’ll have some means of living in the future.”
Chun Cao thought about it and realized she was right, and forced a smile to interrupt her and say: “I’ve always spent as fast as I earned in the past. I need to learn from big sis Xiao Hua in the future and save some more of my silver. Then I wouldn’t starve to death when I leave the estate in the future.”
Xiao Hua was also aware of Chun Cao’s personal situation, and knew that she had no relatives outside. Thinking that this little lass was pretty good, she listed out her future plans in details, such as her plan for a small pavilion, pretending to be a widow and start a business, or buy some land to collect rent.
Although the laws of the Grand Xi Dynasty were strict, they were extremely lenient towards widows and encouraged them to remarry. Besides, when widows went out they wouldn’t attract attention.
Xiao Hua had considered too many things, even preparing an identity for herself. Hearing this, Chun Cao thought her plans were really well thought out. Perhaps she herself could do the same.
Therefore, the two of them sat and discussed in detail. As they spoke, their futures seemed to have become bright.
After a while, both of their moods had improved significantly.
That’s right, servants should be able to comfort each other. Otherwise, going about things by themselves day after day, there wouldn’t be much point in living.
This is in line with the Jing Prince’s personality. If he was suddenly warm and affectionate, then things would collapse. However, this author will let them become affectionate, you guys understand, hehe.