As you may have noticed, I am graciously giving you the opportunity to find hot singles in your area, or lose your belly fat with this one trick (doctors hate it!). Jokes aside, I’m working with Ezoic on ad placement to cover my website hosting costs, so this translator will have something to rely on when he comes of age to be released (i.e. when this novel is completed). Apparently it’s a machine learning optimization process, which aims to improve the experience over time. Currently it’s testing various placements (I’m not the one stuffing them everywhere >.<) and things should improve over the next few weeks. I will bribe you into acceptance by sponsoring another chapter for this week.
TL,DR: Ad placement is being tested and improved over time by robots. Take a sponsored chapter this week from me to let it slide.
The morning’s light shone through the window and bathed the room in its glow. The lacquered, patterned palanquin bed was surrounding by verdant green curtains, within which were two people sleeping peacefully.
The Jing Prince awoke at his usual time. He opened his eyes which were still filled with the blurriness of sleep, but they soon became clear once again.
His gaze moved downwards. Her back was still snuggled up against his chest, her body curled up. One of his arms was being used as a pillow for her slender neck, and the other arm was on her waist.
The Jing Prince had a moment of discomfort because he truly was not used to such an intimate position. Furthermore, he remembered they hadn’t fallen asleep in this position last night. However, he couldn’t recall how they ended up this way.
She was fast asleep. From his angle, he could clearly see her appearance. Her long curly eyelashes lightly trembled along with her breathing, her cheeks had hints of red within the white, just like a ripe peach.
It gave one the urge to take a bite.
The Jing Prince continued looking at her for a long while before withdrawing his gaze and relaxing his slightly stiff body.
As he relaxed, he smelled her faintly fragrant hair. The slim softness under his hand shifted lightly, and his palms swam upwards as though it had a mind of its own.
It travelled upwards until it covered those two soft mounds, rubbing and squeezing them subconsciously a few times. The soft satiny feeling under his palm made him recall the memories of a few days ago.
The person in his arms let out a moan. His lower body stiffened as his lips slowly drew near to the slender, jade-like neck. Only after a brief pause did he intermittently give it a few kisses, his actions seeming a little clumsy.
After a while, the Jing Prince didn’t want to hold it in any longer, ripping off the cord on his underwear. His palms moved back underneath the blankets.
Xiao Hua felt the abnormal movement, and before she could open her eyes she felt her own underwear being pulled aside.
The movement was a little clumsy and the motion pulled on her skin causing a little pain. Before she could figure out what was going on, here slender legs were spread from behind by his knee. After rubbing against her a few times, the breathing by her ear grew heavier and he directly buried himself inside.
Xiao Hua drew in a breath between her teeth and lightly called out, “Highness….”
Her voice still contained the hoarseness of having just woken up which added some charm.
Her neck was lightly bitten before she started getting rocked back and forth.
Xiao Hua had never experienced such a position before. Although the prince’s movements were rough, it included a few hints of gentleness. It wasn’t long before her grunts slowly changed to moans.
It wasn’t clear how much time had passed. Only when Xiao Hua felt her waist was about to come loose from the thrusting did he grip her tightly and heavily thrust one last time before no longer moving.
Xiao Hua was extremely embarrassed. It was early in the morning and the skies were bright and clear. Although her past life wasn’t lacking in sessions during the day, the Jing Prince’s apathetic manner made her extremely bashful.
The person behind her held her for a long while before finally pulling back.
Xiao Hua buried her face in the blankets and played dead, not daring to raise her head out of shyness.
The Jing Prince gave her a glance, stroked her hair which was scattered over her back, put on his underwear and got up.
Outside the screen, Eunuch Fu heard the movement and asked quietly, “Highness plans to get up?”
Eunuch Fu immediately led a few low ranked eunuchs inside.
Xiao Hua had planned on getting up to help him change, but felt something flowing out between her legs moment she moved. Her mind blanked and she shrunk back into the covers out of reflex and pretended to be an ostrich.
She held her breath as she heard people outside helping the Jing Prince change and wash up. Footsteps sounded as the people left and the room was emptied out. What Xiao Hua didn’t know was that the Jing Prince had glanced several times at the curtains and his lips had curled up slightly in a good mood. It just wasn’t apparent.
The room finally became quiet. Xiao Hua remained buried and let her imagination run wild until a voice sounded unexpectedly.
“Madam, would you like a bath or would you rather sleep a little more?” Since the Jing Consort was confined, Xiao Hua didn’t have to go pay respects at the Changchun Pavilion and could sleep in however late she wanted.
Xiao Hua heard Ding Xiang’s voice and was frozen for a moment.
How did Ding Xiang know she was awake?
Thinking of the noises she had made earlier, Xiao Hua’s face suddenly turned bright red.
That damn prince, who was it that let him do her bright and early in the morning? Since even Ding Xiang knew she was awake, did Eunuch Fu and the low-ranked eunuchs know as well?
At this moment Xiao Hua didn’t know what to think anymore.
Only after moping about for half a second did she quietly say: “I’ll take a bath.”
Ding Xiang made a sound of acknowledgement and went to prepare water.
Ding Xiang finished preparing the water and came over to support Xiao Hua to the bathtub. Xiao Hua felt a cold trickle down her leg as she stood up and didn’t dare look at Ding Xiang’s expression. She entered the bathroom and got into the bathtub with her head lowered.
After washing up, Xiao Hua wrapped a white towel around herself and walked out, her long wet hair hung behind her back.
Ding Lan carried the steamer over to dry her hair while Ding Xiang carefully applied foundation on her face. After her hair was dried, Ding Lan brushed her hair into a flowing bun and stuck in a hairpin.
Because she didn’t have to go pay respects today, the three of them chatted while getting ready and were naturally much more leisurely than before. Each of them had smiles on their faces, their mood clearly excellent. Even the usually stern Ding Xiang had a smile around her mouth.
“Madam is becoming more and more beautiful.” Ding Lan sighed as she looked at the person in the mirror.
That person had an extremely exquisite little face, a sharp and pointy chin, long slender eyebrows that didn’t need any liner to stand out, glistening and limpid peach blossom eyes, and a charm that didn’t need any adornments. Because she was still young, her appearance carried a hint of freshness, and along with her face and eyes it created a charming yet innocent appearance that was extremely moving.
Hearing Ding Lan’s words, the beauty in the mirror glared angrily and said: “Are you saying I wasn’t beautiful before?”
Ding Xiang smiled on the side, “Madam was naturally beautiful before as well. It’s just today you look extra beautiful.”
“Today his highness seems to have gotten up late.” Ding Lan said.
These words made Xiao Hua’s face instantly turn red. She scolded: “You little scoundrel. How dare you make fun of this madam?” Although her words were as such, her brows didn’t show any signs of anger.
Ding Lan feigned a pleading expression and said: “His highness waking up late shows how much he cherishes my madam. He had just finished handing out punishments yesterday and came to our western pavilion right away. It’s clear that his highness cares about madam in his heart.”
“You’re still going on about it? Ding Xiang, hurry and help me deal with her….”
“Who are we dealing with? This servant is here to help.” Chun Cao heard the ruckus and came in, her face also full of smiles.
“Hurry, Chun Cao. This little scoundrel Ding Lan is making fun of your madam. Help me deal with her.”
Chun Cao struck a pose and rolled up her sleeves, “So, you dare make fun of the madam.” She reached her hands out to tickle Ding Lan.
Ding Lan repeatedly begged for mercy, crying loudly for the madam to spare her and that she wouldn’t dare do it in the future. Only then did Xiao Hua wave her hand for Chun Cao to stop.
Everyone calmed down after the round of merriment.
“His highness’s personality is hard to change. This servant feels that such a result is already extremely rare.” Ding Xiang said.
Xiao Hua’s face was completely red, though it wasn’t clear if it was from laughing earlier or from embarrassment. She rubbed her fingers and thought of the Jing Prince’s clumsy attempts at comforting her last night. A faint hint of sweetness arose in her heart.
“This servant feels that although his highness doesn’t clearly express it, madam still has a place in his heart. It’s just his apathetic personality isn’t good at expressing such things.” Ding Lan said.
“Is that true? But his highness doesn’t come that often.” Mentioning this still made Xiao Hua feel a little apprehensive.
Chun Cao winked and put her face close to Xiao Hua’s ear, “Didn’t madam notice that ever since madam started serving his highness, he had never gone anywhere else?” This was something Chun Cao was very clear about. She had already been present in the Hall of Splendor at the time.
Xiao Hua’s face grew even redder, but the worries about her period of treatment faded quite a bit.
Does this mean she should do her best?
If she maintained this momentum and grasped the advantage, even if the Jing Consort’s restriction gets lifted she wouldn’t have to be as worried as before.
Xiao Hua squeezed the hands of the people around her, “No matter what, I still have to thank the three of you. Thank you for sticking with me during my hardest times.”
Chun Cao was a little moved.
Ding Xiang however lowered her face, “This is what servants should do. For those in the western pavilion, honor will be shared by everyone but setbacks are shared by everyone as well. What happened at Changchun Pavilion is the best example of this.
Chun Chao’s surging emotions were shaken. She was also aware of what happened at the Changchun Pavilion, and naturally knew how “setbacks” were shared.
She also recalled something Ding Xiang had said before, “…..if any accidents occur, masters and mistresses will naturally be fine. The servants under them will be the ones dying. Serving by the mistress’s side doesn’t only bring prestige. You also have to assume a lot of risk…..”
“Alright, you guys help madam get changed. I will go fetch food.” Ding Xiang said and left.
Ding Lan and Chun Cao divided the work amongst themselves and helped Xiao Hua put on a pink light jacket with embroidered cherry-apple borders along with a brocaded pleated skirt. The three of them went to the eastern room. Xiao Hua sat for a while and drank a cup of warm water. Ding Xiang returned with breakfast.
Breakfast was a bowl of bird’s nest congee, and a couple of refreshing side dishes. The starch dishes were golden fried buns, bean paste filled little buns, chestnut pastries and a small steamer basket of steamed shrimp dumplings.
Xiao Hua usually didn’t eat much but today her appetite was quite good. Not only did she eat the bird’s nest congee, she also ate a golden fried bun and a sweet bun each. The basket of shrimp dumplings also suited her tastes and was eaten completely.
After the dishes were cleared and her mouth was rinsed, Xiao Hua stepped outside in the walkway to stand for a while.
It had stopped snowing the last couple of days, but the snow didn’t seem to be melting. It was already early February, and it should be time for things to start blooming. However, the Jing Province was still a land of ice and snow. The air was extremely fresh outside, and breathing it in resulted in a refreshing chill to the lungs.
Previously they had to go pay respects at the Changchun Pavilion daily no matter what the weather was like. Having come to the rear court for two months, this was Xiao Hua’s first time feeling so idle, as though a heavy burden had been lifted.
“Ding Xiang, how long until the snow melts. It’s clearly already spring, but it still feels like winter.”
Ding Xiang smiled on the side and said: “Probably soon. It doesn’t feel as cold these past few days.”
“Have you told Auntie Qi about Qiao Lian’s matter?”
“This servant has told her. Auntie Qi said she will move her to a different area and arrange things well.”
“Madam, it’s still a little cold outside. Let’s go inside after standing for a bit.”
“Let me stand here a little longer. These moments of enjoyment are rare.” Xiao Hua said, and flashed a bright smile towards Ding Xiang. This was Ding Xiang’s first time seeing Madam Hua smile so beautifully since she started serving her. It gave others a breathtaking, soul-shattering feeling.
Doctor Hu had sought out an audience with the Jing Prince the day before, but hadn’t obtained a clear answer, making him fumble about in the dark.
Little Doctor Hu saw that his father had something on his mind, as though he had encountered a difficult problem. However, he thought about it and didn’t ask.
This morning, Doctor Hu was summoned to the Hall of Splendor.
Eunuch Chang led him to the study before taking his leave. The Jing Prince sat within the study at his desk, the usual apathetic expression on his face making it hard for others to tell what he was thinking.
“Highness.” Doctor Hu saluted and stood there without making a sound.
The room was extremely quiet. Only after a long while did the Jing Prince slowly say, “Do your utmost to treat things over at the western pavilion.”
Doctor Hu froze a little before giving a bow.
“You may leave.”
Doctor Hu kept his silence, bowed once again before retreating to the door and turning around to leave.
After exiting the Hall of Splendor, he walked back towards the medical center. The entire way back, he felt that one couldn’t rub the head of a short monk.1
The way his highness handled things was getting weirder and weirder. Initially he had planned on performing customary treatment if he didn’t hear from his highness within a few days.
The treatment would have been customary, but the difference between that and doing his utmost was extremely large. Doing his utmost meant completing treatment in around half a year. Without doing his utmost, it could possibly take an entire year. For example, Senior Concubine Qiao at the Rongxi Pavilion had already been informed the treatment would take a year.
He had taken his highness’s silence for tacit approval of performing regular treatment. After all, the task he received long ago was extremely weird. Thinking of the situation all those years go, Doctor Hu couldn’t help but sink into his memories….
“Calculating a woman’s ovulation period?”
Doctor Hu had stood there for some time without the Jing Prince saying anything. After a long while, this question suddenly came up.
Doctor Hu wasn’t unfamiliar with the prince’s behavior, because in the past his highness had summoned him once before and acted the same way. But that time was….
Doctor Hu felt a chill and snapped out of it. He muttered to himself before replying: “This subordinate is naturally able to do so.”
While he was still the imperial physician, he was the best women’s doctor in the court. There were many women in the palace, and many of them were falling over themselves over the issue of pregnancy. Therefore, being able to calculate when a woman was most likely to get pregnant was a highly sought after skill. Being able to use this properly meant a rapid rise in status was not out of the question.
However, Imperial Physician Hu did not reveal his ability. He knew that an innocent man would become a criminal on account of his treasures. Although it was merely a skill, there were many shameful secrets within the palace. Intelligent people would avoid getting mixed into it. Of course there were other imperial physicians with this skill, although they weren’t as proficient at it as he was. However, these people had still received the favor of several concubines due to this, and were naturally quite pleased with themselves.
There weren’t many people who knew Doctor Hu had this skill. How did the Jing Prince come to know about it?
Doctor Hu hesitated and was a little apprehensive.
“Then you can calculate when a women wouldn’t get pregnant?”
The Jing Prince’s train of thought was always hard to fathom. Hearing this made Doctor Hu even more doubtful, but he didn’t question it. He merely mulled it over before saying honestly: “This I can also do.”
After a pause, Doctor Hu spoke again: “However, I need to personally take the pulse for it to be accurate. Furthermore, this isn’t something that can be completely accurately calculated, and accidents may occur. The frequency cannot be too, too often.”
The last part was spoken extremely hesitantly.
There was a long, long silence before a few words were spoken.
“Go take the pulse of the low-ranked palace maid called Xiao Hua. Don’t reveal any clues when doing so.”
Doctor Hu was a smart man, and listening up to this point he had pretty much figured out the Jing Prince’s intentions. Although he couldn’t understand the reason for doing this, he still honestly obeyed the orders and didn’t make any comments.
Based on the Jing Prince’s rear court, Doctor Hu could also infer some clues.
Over the years, the Jing Prince seemed unwilling to let anyone give birth from start to finish. Of course the Jing Consort was included in this as well. He was normally clear minded and abstinent, and extremely apathetic regarding matters between men and women. It was unexpected he would spend so much effort on a low-ranked palace maid.
To say it was favor was a little bit of a stretch. If it was favor he wouldn’t have been summoned for such a thing. But to say it wasn’t favor, why would he repeatedly send someone over for his calculated dates every month without fail?
This was his master’s private business, and Doctor Hu naturally kept quiet about it. He kept it secret to the extent that he didn’t even tell his own son about it.
Now that the situation with the Jing Consort occurred, Doctor Hu had thought the Jing Prince would go along with the flow. He could temporarily leave it at that and no longer had to go through the trouble as before. This was what he had theorized. Unexpectedly, the Jing Prince and his weird personality had summoned him today to have him do his utmost during treatment. This was completely opposite to his previous intentions.
He couldn’t figure it out. He couldn’t figure it out no matter how he pondered!
However, Doctor Hu didn’t make things difficult for himself and waste anymore thoughts on guesses. If his highness said to do so then so be it. Even if he couldn’t figure it out, he could tell that his highness treated that madam differently.
As for how it was different, some more time was needed before it would become clear. After all, things weren’t clear at the moment and it was too early to say anything.
After Doctor Hu left, the Jing Prince sat by himself in the study for a long time without moving.
He knew what he was doing now went against his original intentions, but he still did it nonetheless. He didn’t know whether it was right or wrong, but when he spoke those words out loud he couldn’t help but let out a sigh of relief.
Thinking of the burning feeling in his heart from last night, he touched his chest and his gaze turned gloomy.