Sorry for the late post….
“Do you still blame Eunuch Fu?”
Hearing Nana He ask this, Xiao Hua was a little frozen.
“Nana sees that your relationship with his highness is very good, but Nana also doesn’t want there to be any hang-ups in your heart towards Eunuch Fu. You probably don’t have any resentment towards the way his highness handled the situation, but you probably still have some thoughts, right?”
Xiao Hua half lowered her eyes and didn’t speak. There was also no resentment in her appearance.
How could there not be any hang-ups? If she said there wasn’t she would be lying, and she didn’t want to lie to Nana He.
Nana He sighed, “Let Nana tell you a story.”
Actually this was a very, very long story. It started with a timid teenage girl who entered the palace and was conferred as an attendant. This attendant gave birth to a prince in secret. Because she was afraid her son would be harmed, she used all sorts of protective measures to keep him hidden for six years.
Any child would more or less end up developing issues if they were raised in such an environment as they were growing up. This particular child ended up becoming antisocial like a wooden person, and wouldn’t even speak.
After he was revealed to others, his life did not get any easier. Not only did he receive all sorts of mockery, insults and disdain, but due his mute condition not improving despite a long treatment period, his royal father also rejected him.
His mother passed away and his father didn’t want him. Even a commoner’s child would have a hard time, let alone one that lived deep inside the palace. The palace was sweet on the outside but harsh on the inside. Nothing truly ruthless happened on the surface, and he was at most neglected. But since even the master suffered, one can easily imagine what it must have been like for those serving him.
Luckily this child had two extremely loyal servants by his side. He was young and seemingly defenseless against the incoming malice, and the two never left him unprotected.
There was no need to mention the trials the two of them went through. The child was after all a prince, and people didn’t dare act too obviously. The servants weren’t as lucky….
Actually Xiao Hua had already understood everything at this point in the story. That prince was his highness, and those two servants were Auntie Qi and Eunuch Fu…..
To say she didn’t have any thoughts would be a lie.
She had told herself initially it was for the best that the Jing Prince and Eunuch Fu made up, but she still had some thoughts against it. She felt that the Jing Prince’s cold treatment towards Eunuch Fu was a little too passive, and wasn’t quite able to vent her resentment….
She had known long ago that to the Jing Prince, Eunuch Fu wasn’t just a regular servant. Only after Nana He’s story did she realize just how different he was.
“To put it disrespectfully, Eunuch Fu basically views his highness as his own lifeblood. He would put himself in the way of anything that’s harmful to his highness. Back then Nana was also assigned to the Venerated Concubine’s palace, and also come over from all those initial hardships….Now his highness has grown up, become of age, and has been assigned a vassal state. Eunuch Fu should have been happy, but instead he started worrying about his highness’s descendants. Madam is probably already aware how you came into the estate, and the reasoning is the same for those people….”
The surroundings were very quiet. Even the occasionally chirping of birds had seemingly faded.
“Nana thought Eunuch Fu’s methods were wrong initially as well, but due to various outside factors, it’s also hard not to understand his efforts. Ai, this old fellow always played his part well and respectfully. The only time he overdoes things is when it’s in regards to this situation…..
Xiao Hua’s tears had long since overflowed. Not for herself, but for the Jing Prince.
She had always thought his personality had to do with his upbringing, but she never expected the Jing Prince to have such a past. Her heart felt as though it was being squeezed, and she almost couldn’t catch her breath.
“Nana isn’t trying to justify anyone’s actions. I just wanted to tell you that people aren’t just black or white. Perhaps from your perspective, he’s bad. But from his own perspective, he would think he was good. The truth can only be figured out by oneself.”
“Nana, I don’t intend to blame Eunuch Fu. Everything you said, I understand.”
“As long as you understand. Hurry and wipe away the tears. The intention was to come for a casual chat but I ended up making you cry. This Nana deserves death.”
“Never say that Nana. Xiao Hua is grateful to you for telling me all this.”
Thank you for letting me know his past. Thank you for making my heart ache for him.
Ding Xiang brought out some water and helped Xiao Hua wash off her makeup. Only afterwards did Xiao Hua smile shamefully.
“Nana is actually glad his highness is good to you. Although Nana hasn’t served by his highness’s side before, having observed for so many years I also understand that he needs a considerate person.” Nana He stroked Xiao Hua’s hand, and said: “Nana reckons your body will be recovered soon. You’ll have to put some effort in for the rest.”
“For women, nothing is better in life than having a child by their side. It’s best if you have your man’s regard as well, but you can also do without it.” This last part was side extremely quietly. Although Nana He was never married, she had seen too much. At this moment, she could either be expressing her thoughts or giving some pointers.
“Nana, Xiao Hua understands.”
“It’s good that you understand. Lean in close, Nana will tell you methods to increase the chance of getting pregnant. You can ponder over it in your mind. Once the time is right, you can decide what to do.”
Nana He spoke quietly. Xiao Hua’s face and ears started turning red as she listened.
After she was done speaking, Nana He said: “Alright, alright. This old lady has sat here long enough, it’s about time to head back.”
“Nana, let me see you off.”
Xiao Hua stood up to escort Nana He out. Nana He didn’t want to let her, but couldn’t win against her in the end.
Only after leaving the doors of the western pavilion did Nana He feel relieved.
Even if Auntie Qi hadn’t asked her to, she would still have talked to Xiao Hua about it.
His highness had both of them in his heart, and if things were awkward between them it would inevitably make it difficult for him. Xiao Hua hadn’t spent as much time with him as Eunuch Fu, and over time the prince would inevitably lean towards Eunuch Fu and feel that she wasn’t mature enough.
Also, making up with Eunuch Fu wasn’t without benefits for her.
After thinking all sorts of nonsense, Nana He couldn’t help but laugh in spite of herself.
She was really old, and worried too much.
That night when the Jing Prince returned it was already after dinner time.
His face which had been solemn the whole time grew a little warmer when he arrived at the western pavilion.
Xiao Hua had already gotten into the habit of waiting for the Jing Prince. She was in the eastern side room tracing over characters when she heard the noise outside and went to welcome him.
After helping him change and learning that he had yet to eat, she had Ding Xiang go order food.
“Highness, are you tired? It’s already so late and you haven’t eaten yet.”
Xiao Hua chattered away as she helped the Jing Prince onto the kiln and served him tea. She then stuffed a large and soft pillow behind his back, sat herself beside him and stroked his legs.
Just from this light touch, Xiao Hua could tell that the Jing Prince had spent the day sitting bent over at his desk. She felt some heartache, but also felt some vexation that he didn’t take care of himself better.
Her gaze fell upon Eunuch Fu by the side, and she spoke with a natural attitude: “General Manager Fu has been busy the whole day along with his highness. You’re definitely extremely tired as well, why don’t you sit and rest for a bit.”
This was Xiao Hua’s first time speaking to Eunuch Fu since that event.
Not only did Eunuch Fu sense it, the Jing Prince sensed it as well.
“This old servant isn’t tired. Thank you for the consideration, madam.”
“How could you not be tired? His highness is already this tired from sitting, you were standing the whole day.”
She indicated for Ding Lan to bring a chair. Eunuch Fu hurriedly refused, “How can a servant sit with the master? Thank you for madam’s goodwill.”
Seeing this, Xiao Hua could only say to the Jing Prince: “Highness, General Manager Fu isn’t willing to sit while you’re here. How about letting him go rest in another room?” Seeing the Jing Prince nod, Xiao Hua smiled at Eunuch Fu again and said: “General Manager Fu should hurry and take a rest. I will let you know if his highness needs anything.”
Eunuch Fu could only follow Ding Lan to the outer room. Xiao Hua called Chun Cao over and gave her a few orders, having her bring tea and snacks as well as not to forget dinner. After this period of hustle and bustle, she turned and saw the Jing Prince’s gaze upon her.
Xiao Hua fiddled with her hair and said quietly in embarrassment: “Eunuch Fu is the old gramps by highness’s side after all. Even if this servant concubine was slightly discontent at one point, I can’t remain discontent forever. After all, as long as a person treats highness well, this servant concubine would feel that person is good.”
The Jing Prince’s eyes contained a smile as he stroked her lowered head.
It was good that she could understand.
The Jing Prince’s dinner was eaten on the kiln’s table. Eunuch Fu ate on a small table outside.
After following the Jing Prince for so many years, his highness couldn’t be said to be an attentive person. Eunuch Fu’s meals could be said to be extremely good, but most of the time he could only randomly eat a couple of bites. Those serving by the Jing Prince’s side didn’t have time to eat their fill.
Eunuch Fu also knew Madam Hua was showing him goodwill.
Seeing her express this, no matter how arrogant he was, he still let out a breath of relief. It wasn’t a good thing if his highness’s favored person had a grudge against him. Eunuch Fu who had long since accepted the reality of the situation also understood this fact. It was just due to his old age his skin was thin, and he was temporarily unable to lower his head.
What he didn’t know was that Auntie Qi and Nana He had both spent quite a lot of effort for his sake. The Nana He who always sat in the small kitchen in the past made a rare trip outside. She still had to consider that Madam Hua’s thoughts were hard to fathom, and only brought up the topic after several trips.
Fortunately, to everyone’s delight, things turned out the way they all hoped for.
Eunuch Fu kept an ear open while he ate. He heard the young Madam Hua’s voice sporadically saying “eat some more of this”, “how about another bowl of rice?” and “this soup is pretty good”. Although his highness didn’t respond, from his past experience Eunuch Fu could tell that he definitely obeyed.
He suddenly had the weird thought that it was good for his highness to have such a person by his side. After all, she was very considerate.
One could see many things while sitting outside. Eunuch Fu saw Xiao Xia Zi and Xiao Qin Zi coming and going, preparing water in the bathroom via the side door. He knew that this was definitely prepared for his highness by Madam Hua.
His highness’s lumbar spine, shoulders and neck were all unwell. Madam Hua would have people boil some hot water every few days, have him soak for a while and then help him loosen up. As a result, his highness wouldn’t feel any discomfort while working the next day.
Eunuch Fu wasn’t sure what serving his highness in the western pavilion was like, but there wasn’t anything preventing him from asking Xiao Xia Zi and Xiao Qin Zi about it. Eunuch Fu’s imposing presence was still pretty effective against these two low ranked eunuchs. Even more so since he was just asking about his highness’s everyday routine. The two of them naturally told him.
Eunuch Fu merely wanted what was best for his highness. Therefore, when Ding Lan said “Madam says for general manager to go sleep. She will take care of his highness here”, Eunuch Fu didn’t refuse and followed Ding Lan to the auxiliary residence.
This was the first time he could feel at ease without being by his highness’s side.