Outside the Hall of Splendor, the low-ranked eunuch guarding the door said “Miss Xiao Hua is resting” to Xi’er and then stopped paying attention to her.
Xi’er still wanted to say something but the eunuch gave her a look and spoke again: “You should hurry and leave. If you hadn’t served here in the past and if you weren’t indeed familiar with Miss Xiao Hua, I would’ve long since driven you away. Is this somewhere that can be approached by random workers?”
Xi’er was a little annoyed at his snobbish behavior, but didn’t dare express anything and could only stamp her feet and leave.
Xi’er’s heart was a complete mess the whole way back. She couldn’t help but recall what happened a few days ago—
“Xi’er, this is something ordered by the consort. You have to do it well.” Cheng’er said.
“No buts. Unless you don’t want to help the consort out?”
These days Xi’er had been completely brainwashed by Cheng’er, and even gradually started feeling honored to be able to help the consort.
As for her fear of Eunuch Fu, it had faded quite a bit until there was almost nothing left. Just as Cheng’er had said, was the consort bigger or was Eunuch Fu? The consort was the prince’s main imperial concubine, she was definitely the bigger one. If the consort protected her, Xi’er truly didn’t have to fear Eunuch Fu.
Therefore, when Cheng’er had told her the consort’s assignment was to find an excuse to meet Xiao Hua, Xi’er had agreed after some hesitation.
But Xi’er still felt faintly concerned, because she clearly knew in her heart that her relationship with Xiao Hua wasn’t as good as she made it out to be.
But since she had gotten onto the tiger’s back, it was hard to get off. She also didn’t dare refuse the consort’s commands, and could only gather her courage and hope Xiao Hua would be willing to meet her once based on their “decent relationship” in the past.
As for what she was supposed to do when they met, Cheng’er hadn’t said. She only said to bring her out for a meeting and try to find out some things from her if possible. Who knew that after coming to the Hall of Splendor she wasn’t even able to see the person in question?
Xi’er returned to the needlework area. Cheng’er saw her return and found an excuse to leave. After an hour or so, Xi’er was once again taken to the Changchun Pavilion.
This was her second time there. The first time she was too busy being scared that she didn’t pay attention to anything else.
This time her situation was different, and she was able to notice that the Changchun Pavilion was indeed grand, deserving of being the consort’s residence. The “big sis Chun Xiang” that Cheng’er often brought up was also very imposing. All the palace maids in the pavilion had treated her with respect and deference on the way there.
How good would it be if she could become like big sis Chun Xiang at some point? Everyone would have to obey her.
As Xi’er was lost in her own thoughts, she was brought into a room in the eastern building.
This time Xi’er didn’t get to see the Jing Consort, and rather it was an old nana who served by her side that asked Xi’er a few questions.
After hearing her say she hadn’t been able to meet the person, that old nana couldn’t help but furrow her brows, and asked about the situation in detail.
Xi’er answered while feeling apprehensive at the same time. Could it be that the consort was avoiding her out of disgust at her failure?
She didn’t realize that she had truly overthought things. The Jing Consort only met her the first time due to her panic and impatience. How could she be someone that a low-ranked palace maid like her could meet whenever she wanted?
Nana Li finished her questioning and left.
Chun Xiang came over with a smile on her face.
“Xi’er, right? This is bestowed upon you by the consort. Receive it well.”
Xi’er squeezed the embroidered pouch in her hands. She felt a little overwhelmed by this favor and didn’t know how she should react.
“I’ll have someone send you out.”
Chun Xiao finished speaking and called a low-ranked palace maid over to send Xi’er out.
Within Chang Chun Pavilion, in the main residence’s western room.
After listening to Nana Li’s report, Xiao-Shi’s hands clenched her handkerchief tightly. On the side, Qiu Xiang and the rest were silent.
Xi’er was still young and hadn’t grasped the significance of many details during her encounter. Those in the room were all experienced characters. Just based on the phrase “Miss Xiao Hua is resting”, they could see many problems.
Why was she resting in the middle of the day? Could she have been tired out the night before?
Xiao-Shi sourly thought in her heart.
Although this wasn’t exactly the case, it wasn’t far from the truth either.
Xiao-Shi’s handkerchief had been ripped into shreds, but it still hadn’t been able to relieve the hate in her heart. The people on the side saw her appearance and all shrunk their heads, not daring to make a sound.
“Have her go again and carry out the plan!”
Xiao Hua took a nap in the afternoon, and woke up at night for a satisfying meal. She felt awake and energetic.
She wouldn’t be able to fall back asleep this early so she grabbed Chun Cao to chat and do some needlework.
Speaking of needlework, Xiao Hua had recently been idly learning. She still wasn’t able to make anything that required embroidering, and her larger pieces were limited to socks and underwear. She wasn’t able to make anything else.
Having put it on the back burner these past few days, she picked it back up since she had more free time.
Since her clothes were all prepared for her by others, she didn’t have anything to work with. Therefore she grabbed a few pieces of cloth and practiced her embroidery on them.
The embroidery was learned from Chun Cao. Although she was young, she knew quite a bit. Of course she only knew the basics, and could only embroider some grass and flowers. She was still a beginner.
Xiao Hua normally didn’t have anyone else around her who she was close to. Despite knowing Chun Cao’s skills were limited, she still learned from her and viewed it as practice. She would sometimes learn from Nana He as well, but due to her age, Xiao Hua felt bad asking her to strain her eyes to teach her.
Only when Eunuch Fu’s voice sounded by the door did the two stop their hands.
They raised their heads and saw the Jing Prince at the door. Chun Cao immediately knelt down, and Xiao Hua knelt along in a daze.
Eunuch Fu waved his hand. Chun Cao left and he himself followed as well, closing the door behind him.
Seeing that person and thinking of the events the night before, Xiao Hua couldn’t help but turn red.
Because she wasn’t asked to rise, she didn’t dare stand up. Her half lowered eyelids saw the Jing Prince take two steps into the room, and then turn around and pull her up.
Xiao Hua didn’t dare raise her head this whole time and naturally didn’t see the Jing Prince’s eyes sweep over her body several times.
She followed him to the inner part of the room behind the screen. The Jing Prince raised his arms, and she dutifully began to undress him to his underwear. The Jing Prince’s eyes circled around the room and he sat down before the dressing table.
Xiao Hua froze at first before hurriedly approaching and carefully removing the white jade crown from his head. She brushed out his hair, first using a comb to carefully smooth it out before tying it with a headband underneath his neck.
After tying his hair, she wasn’t sure what to do next.
Was she supposed to pull him to the bed?
Although she knew that the Jing Prince could only be here for that, she had never made such a forward move with him before. She didn’t know what the matter was. In her past life she was very familiar with such actions, but for some reason wasn’t able to do so in this life. Perhaps because her mentality hadn’t adjusted yet?
Xiao Hua sometimes still felt that she was quite scared of the Jing Prince.
The reason was no other than his lack of conversation with her. When he occasionally spoke, it would only be those few words.
This feeling was very weird, making Xiao Hua often feel at a loss. She wasn’t able to imagine how someone who became more and more passionate while doing that could return to being apathetic afterwards.
Their bodies had become more compatible but their hearts had never gotten close. She couldn’t figure out what he was thinking, and he most likely never considered her thoughts either.
Sometimes it was hard not to feel aggrieved, but Xiao Hua would toss such emotions out right away.
As she was feeling ill at ease, a phrase rang out by her ear, “Change clothes.”
Xiao Hua froze once again, not knowing what the Jing Prince meant. She looked at his body which only had one layer of underwear remaining. Was he asking her to help him take everything off?
Thinking of the result, Xiao Hua was extremely embarrassed.
But since the prince said it, she definitely had to act accordingly. The pressure this man gave off was too great, especially when there were only the two of them. It made her feel inexplicably nervous.
Xiao Hua’s trembling fingers approached the Jing Prince’s chest and took off his undershirt, revealing his fair yet sturdy chest.
She didn’t dare look at his face, and could only lower her eyes. However, what she saw instead was the prince’s jade-like chest along with his sturdy abdominal muscles. She didn’t dare stare, and could only lower her head even further. However, this time her eyes met with the little tent in that area.
Not only her face was red, even her entire neck had turned red.
“Go, change clothes.”
Hearing this, her trembling fingers approached his underpants as her mind turned blank.
“You, go change clothes.”
Xiao Hua raised her head and blinked her eyes in confusion. Just what did he mean? Was it necessary to be so stingy with his words?
“Change to yesterday’s outfit.” The Jing Prince paused and spoke again: “You.”
This time Xiao Hua understood. Thinking of the foolish things she just did, she lowered her head, grabbed the clothes and fled into the palanquin bed’s curtains.
She changed her clothes with trembling hands and tried to muster up her courage to go out again but was too embarrassed. She hesitantly stuck her head outside the curtains and said with a low voice, “Highness, this servant is, is ready.”
The moment the words left her mouth, she wanted to slap herself to death. What does she mean by “ready”? Ready for what? She was very afraid he would interpret it inappropriately. Actually the situation was already inappropriate. It was just that Xiao Hua hadn’t managed to react to it yet.
The Jing Prince sat there and looked at her for a long while before he approached with an obscure expression.
Xiao Hua instinctively shrank her head back inside at seeing his actions.
The Jing Prince entered and sat on the side of the bed. Xiao Hua stared blankly for a while before half kneeling and helping him remove his socks and shoes.
From the Jing Prince’s angle, he could clearly see the lines carved out by her snow white back, her slender neck and the lightly fastened string that could easily be pulled open.
Thinking of the night before, his eyes became deeper by a few shades.
Yesterday was due to Eunuch Fu’s implicit and explicit hints. He hadn’t intended to come and was going to go to the inner hall to rest. However, through some divine intervention his feet had taken him in the other direction.
He didn’t have the chance to think clearly yesterday, but thinking of that set of clothing today he knew it was definitely prepared by that old thing Eunuch Fu. He knew what Eunuch Fu planned to do, but still fell into the trap. During the day his thoughts were filled with the image of her in those clothes.
Today he had kept the urges in his heart hidden until now it had reached the breaking point. He didn’t understand where these urges came from, whether it was due to the person, or due to the clothes, or due to the ecstasy he felt last night.
He pulled her into his arms and felt her tense up. In the past he hadn’t realized it every time, but after last night it was especially clear.
“This humble prince scares you?”
This was the Jing Prince’s first time earnestly speaking to Xiao Hua. Normally he either said nothing, or directly gave orders. This sudden question left Xiao Hua at a loss.
After a moment of silence, she quietly spoke again: “A little, little bit.”
The Jing Prince had a hard time understanding fear.
He knew some people feared him, such as those in the estate, those whose lives were in his hands. However, others didn’t fear him, such as those who looked down on him, held him in contempt or treated him as inconsequential to begin with. Those who looked down on him or despised him all did so behind his back unless they had backers that allowed them to do so openly. Those who treated him as inconsequential did so based on their own status.
The Jing Prince never knew how to comfort others. No one had taught him this and he had never learned it.
He could only speak plainly. He said woodenly with his rigid face: “Don’t be scared, this humble prince cherishes you.”
This “cherishes you” made Xiao Hua instinctively twitch.
Damn, was this an imposter? How was he able to say such teasing words?
To go as far as to say “cherish” was going too far.
The Jing Prince had spent the day thinking of how the low-ranked palace maid seemed to fear him. He didn’t like that she was afraid. He had just found out last night that she had been afraid this whole time.
He couldn’t figure it out, and so unwillingly spoke a sentence to Eunuch Fu beside him.
“Low-ranked palace maid fears me.”
Eunuch Fu was extremely familiar with the Jing Prince’s speech patterns. He thought about it in his mind, and as the expert interpreter who was good at understanding others, Eunuch Fu replied, “Your highness, if you cherished her she wouldn’t fear you anymore.”
This was accompanied by a poorly concealed smirk. Of course, the Jing Prince didn’t understand the meaning of this smirk, and what he didn’t understand he would put to the back of his mind.
Thus he took Eunuch Fu’s words to heart and spoke them out loud at this moment, stunning Xiao Hua into oblivion.
Different effects somehow led to the same outcome. At least, Xiao Hua was no longer as tense and nervous.
The low-ranked palace maid no longer feared him. The Jing Prince felt very satisfied.
Jing Prince: Don’t be scared, this humble prince cherishes you.
Xiao Hua: Cherish your mom’s head!1