Often times Xiao Hua was unwilling to recall her death in her previous life since it was a memory that was both laughable and terrifying. She had caused her own death.
When she found out someone had slipped her an infertility pill, she instantly lost her mind. Without questioning or investigating, she had slipped every woman within the 4th young master’s pavilion the infertility pill. She had known she was done for. A concubine who already intimately serviced someone but was unable to have children had no future…
Xiao Hua had analyzed her attitude at that time multiple times. She felt that it wasn’t just because she knew she was finished that she would make such a crazy move. It was because she was tired. Tired of the kind of life where you have to start contending with people as soon as you opened your eyes in the morning.
Before she could complete her plan, she was caught red-handed by Qiao-Shi. With both witnesses and material evidence, the only thing left to her was to await death. The 4th young master had tried to prevent it, but unfortunately Qiao-Shi had escalated the situation to the previous estate madam. The order came down right away to have her beaten to death.
She still couldn’t forget the initial feeling of being beaten to death. The bone penetrating pain, the feeling of being beaten into pulp inch by inch, the feeling of organs being shattered into pieces…
Only at the moment of death did she truly understand that she had been a dancing clown from the beginning until the end. It wasn’t that people wouldn’t deal with you, they just hadn’t found the right opportunity. As soon as the time was right, having her beaten to death was a matter of minutes, without even the need to compensate anyone for her life.
How could it be forgotten? A concubine, despite having a higher status than others, was ultimately still a servant. Having signed the life and death agreement, if the master’s household wants you dragged out and beaten to death that’s exactly what happens.
Xiao Hua tightened her robes, and slowly made her way to the small wayside pavilion. As she passed the small kitchen, Grandma Wang called her from inside.
She brought out a bowl of rice from the corner and shoved it at her, “Haven’t eaten yet right? I noticed you hadn’t left your shift yet all this time, and also heard them say it’s gotten really chaotic over there. I left you some food.”
Xiao Hua suddenly felt the chill in her bones dissipate and smiled, “Thank you, Granny Wang.”
Grandma Wang said gruffly: “No need for thanks, hurry and eat. I kept it warm for you all this time.”
Xiao Hua sat on her stool and explained the situation from start to finish while eating.
Grandma Wang sighed, “Obtaining riches and status is a matter of fate. As a servant, if the master wants you slapped you get slapped. You wouldn’t be able to resist even if you were beaten to death. Luckily you’ve got a good head on your shoulders and didn’t get caught up in this mess.”
She continued slowly: “I’ve worked in this estate for several decades, and watched countless concubines vanish. Making them vanish like that, it’s a pretty good move…” She pointed upwards at the heavens, “Looks like those that are able to remain to this day are unavoidably all honest people. The dishonest ones have long since disappeared to who knows where.”
While Xiao Hua understood who Grandma Wang was referring to, she couldn’t help but shiver. In her previous life, she had never paid attention to the estate’s affairs. The Jinxiu Pavilion was already enough to keep her occupied. Unexpectedly, it was this filthy everywhere.
Grandma Wang saw her fear and consoled her: “Not getting mixed up in it was the right thing to do. The amount of dirty secrets in such a large residence is overwhelming. Just do your job properly and wait to be released. It’s a shame though. Such a beautiful and spritely little lass, it’s really a shame…”
Grandma Wang took advantage of the light to size up the lass in front of her.
A palm sized face, exquisite features, fair skin, and most eye-catching of all were her pair of eyes. Long eyelashes and large eyes with an upward tilt, oozing a seductive charm whether or not she smiled. In her long life, it was her first time seeing such an exquisite child. While she had yet to mature, she was sure to grow into an unparalleled beauty.
Xiao Hua let out a snort of laughter, “Granny Wang, what’s such a shame?”
Grandma Wang patted her face, “Little lass, laugh a little less in the future. You’ll provoke a calamity.”
Xiao Hua was startled. She touched the corner of her eyes and silently nodded her head.
She knew she had a pair of beautiful eyes. After all, in her previous life the 4th young master had on several occasions stroked her face saying her eyes could steal his soul. Whenever he got caught by her puppy eyes, he would be willing to promise her anything.
The reason she was always favored in her previous life was due to this body and this pair of eyes.
Having returned, she had always kept this in mind. In front of others she always had her head slightly lowered, hiding her eyes. She would rarely laugh sincerely, and whenever she laughed it remained wooden, not reaching her eyes. Only in front of Granny Wang could she laugh properly.
Grandma Wang saw that she had finished eating, and rushed her off to bed. “Hurry and rest up. These days are not going to be peaceful. You need to be on your guard.”
“I know. Thank you granny. You should sleep early too.”
Xiao Hua returned to the room, disrobed and lay down without even lighting the lamp.
Too many things had happened today, leaving her mind a complete mess. She had the weird feeling that things were overlapping with her past life, but at the same time felt that the situation was extremely chaotic.
After reincarnating, she would always have a surreal feeling, as if everything in front of her was a dream.
After all, she herself wasn’t clear why she was able to return. She only knew she lost consciousness after being beaten to death, and when she woke up it was the night she was promoted and placed into Bi Yuan’s room. That night Bi Yuan was on night duty so the room was empty. She had pinched her arm until it was bruised. She couldn’t believe that after dying she resurrected and returned to the past. Her disbelief lasted until the next morning after Bi Yuan finished her shift and returned. Upon seeing Xiao Hua with thoroughly red eyes and a distracted expression, she made fun of her for being so short-sighted and getting overexcited before she even started working.
She had only believed she returned after seeing Bi Yuan well and alive.
Because in her previous life, Bi Yuan died a few short years after becoming the 4th young master’s chambermaid, dying even earlier than her.
Xiao Hua let her imagination run wild, and drifted off to sleep while in a daze. Her sleep was restless, unable to find peace even in her dreams. All sorts of images appeared in her mind, including Bi Yuan, Cui Lan, every girl that she had struggled with in her past life, and also Qiao-Shi…..
Qiao-Shi walked towards her, with disheveled hair and crying tears of blood. Laughing and crying while muttering to herself. Xiao Hua felt anxious in her heart, trying to get closer to hear what she was saying. Yet no matter how hard she ran, she could never reach Qiao-Shi. As she finally got close, she could only hear a single phrase –
I won’t let a single one of you off….won’t let a single one off….a single one off…..
Xiao Hua was suddenly startled awake. The room was frighteningly dark and silent, the only audible thing her own rough breathing.
The room door creaked open and Xiao Hua was fiercely startled, “Who’s there?”
“It’s Bi Yuan. What’s wrong, had a bad dream?”
Bi Yuan lit the lamp. The oil lamp’s light was only pea-sized, unable to lift the darkness and casting an eerie light upon her face.
Xiao Hua was startled once again, and was about to scream when she heard Bi Yuan say, “Hmm, why is the lamp wick so short?” She turned and used something to pull on the wick. The room gradually brightened.
Bi Yuan saw Xiao Hua whose face was drenched and pale, “You really had a nightmare?”
“Yeah.” Xiao Hua smiled with some lingering fear in her heart, and glanced at Bi Yuan before lying back down.
Bi Yuan carried the oil lamp to the bedside, fumblingly taking off her clothing and lay down before blowing out the lamp.
The room was plunged into darkness once more but Xiao Hua was unable to close her eyes.
In her past life Bi Yuan died by falling into the well. When they fished her out, her body was bloated from being soaked for so long. Xiao Hua saw it with her own eyes. Everyone called it a suicide, but Xiao Hua was the only person who didn’t believe that. Having fought against Bi Yuan for so many years, she was extremely familiar with her character.
She might have been upset, she might have despaired, but she definitely wouldn’t have killed herself because she couldn’t bear to leave the young master behind.
Bi Yuan was deeply in love with the 4th young master. Xiao Hua also only slowly realized after competing with her for some time.
That’s right, who wouldn’t adore the young master.
An unparalleled lord amongst a field of jade-like beauties.
Handsome, genteel and refined. Well-learned and most importantly warm and considerate. His tenderness would always inevitably give people the feeling of being cupped in his hands.
She recalled that she was also quite smitten with him at first. The reason she resorted to all sorts of means at the time was not just to elevate her status, but was also because she was charmed by that tenderness.
Yet afterwards her feelings cooled under the 4th young master’s tenderness and affection, because it was too tiring.
Men like him were naturally born to be surrounded by women, and his treatment of them was both kind and unkind at the same time. Kind because of his innately tender nature. Unkind because he was generous with his tenderness, never able to keep his gaze on just one woman.
Not even Xiao Hua, who was his favorite concubine in the past, could keep his undivided attention. He was always easily stolen by other good looking little flowers. The flower didn’t have to be the most beautiful, as long as it was fresh.
Xiao Hua got to understand his innate character in her past life, and thus gradually retracted the affection in her heart. Her actions afterwards were mostly for the sake of his support and shelter.
If she had really fallen in love with such a man, Xiao Hua thought her past life might have been even more pitiful. Just like Bi Yuan, who wantonly attacked the girls around her as if in a cock-fighting ring.
Therefore she had never believed it when they said Bi Yuan threw herself into the well. The woman who had just been pecking at her ferociously the day before, how could she have thrown herself in the well the very next day? Her woman’s intuition told her it was Qiao-Shi, even though at that time Qiao-Shi rarely showed her face.
Including the case of the infertility pill, she had a flash of clarity at the moment of her death. She realized that the 4th young master hadn’t had an heir thus far. He had no issues with his body, yet none of the girls got pregnant with his child, not even a miscarriage.
Then she thought of Qiao-Shi.
Was it because Qiao-Shi couldn’t have a child that none of the girls in the young master’s entire pavilion could have a child? Or was it that she wasn’t the only one who had been slipped a pill? Had all the girls been slipped one as well, and she had only coincidentally found out about her own situation?
Xiao Hua involuntarily had these kinds of thoughts many times since reincarnating, but they would always give her the chills.
Actually life as a servant in ancient times was quite tragic. How was it tragic? It will be shown in bits and pieces later on. It was not as glamorous as “Dream of the Red Chamber” made it out to be. Senior maids were raised as “secondary wives”. At most, it was like raising a dog. If they want to play with you they throw you a bone. If they no longer want you, it’s a wretched ending. Xiao Hua did not understand this in her previous life, and in this life understands it too well so she’s very sensitive. She’s actually just self-aware, knowing what she can touch and knowing what she can’t. Don’t feel like Xiao Hua is too cowardly, guessing that Qiao-Shi was the main culprit yet not daring to go take revenge for her past life. As stated, this story is not about a cannon fodder chambermaid who reincarnates and gives the principal wife a beatdown. Furthermore, she had lived too chaotically in her past life, and so it’s merely a guess at the culprit. And in this life nothing has happened yet. Of course, even if it wasn’t just a guess, she still wouldn’t go get revenge because she knows she doesn’t have the resources. Her way of thinking is very simply to survive.
The author is so right. Life back then was horrible for most women, but especially servants and courtesans. I’m also glad XH isn’t planning to take revenge or something like that, it’s much more unique and smarter that way.
Thanks for the chapter!
Young Master was like a bee attracted to flowers. He had no loyalty to any of them. And of course he was using women to fill the void left by realizing his work would never amount to anything.
I think our MC is being quite sensible and I like that. When you can’t fight you lay low and try not to get anyone’s attention.
>Having signed the life and death agreement, if the master’s household wants you dragged out and beaten to death that’s exactly what happens.
Ooof, what a harsh world these people all live in, where the life of a servant is to be less cherished than a speck of noble dignity. I end up feeling sorry for them all… and hoping beyond hope that our dear heroine will survive the dog-eat-dog world surrounding her!
ooo I wonder if the main wife poisoned the water…
I really like how realistic this concept is. Those reincarnators who even plot again the emperor are so…. 😩
“Her woman’s intuition told her it was Qiao-Shi, even though at that time Qiao-Shi rarely showed her face”
I didn’t look at the original but I’m thinking the literal translation is show her face but the accurate translation is show her hand.
I went back to take a look. The phrase in question was: “哪怕那个时候乔氏很少在人前露脸”, which when translated literally is “even if at the time Qiao-Shi rarely showed her face in front of others”. The “even if at the time” and “in front of others” part makes me think it’s more about her appearing, not about revealing her hand. It does sound a bit awkward in English, and something like “rarely made an appearance” would probably be better. It’s my first time translating so I appreciate the insight! Hopefully my improvement throughout the novel is noticeable.
It’s so evil to slip infertility pills to people because having children is EVERYTHING in that time. A woman’s worth was especially tied to it, societally and personally. No matter how the author tries to make us sympathize her her, I dislike Qiao-shi.
The eldest son was supposed to be borne by the main wife and concubines could only be taken after the wife had given birth. These were the general laws of the backyard and that’s why principal wives were given so much power. Why feel sorry for maids knowingly trampling over a wife’s rights?
Hm, it could very well be someone related to you. I think it may be the heir. After all, who wants a threat? To cut off any future troubles would only be right (in their mind). Or perhaps it might be the parents, for the same reason.
I think xiao hua has the right idea, not getting involved, keeping her head down.