Housekeeper of the Hundred Blossom Palace - Chapter 14
After Ming Xian was done with his business, he excused himself from the study. He strode on with nary a word for a while.
“Is it really fine without saying anything?”
Li Yong, his subordinate, whispered when they reached a deserted corridor.
“What do you mean?’
“About the girl that was in the clinic….”
Li Yong chose his words carefully, but the corners of Ming Xian lips lifted in a smirk.
“Really, why on earth did that girl decide to come here?”
Ming Xian was reminded of the court lady he saw at the clinic, and he gave a strained laugh.
The girl’s hair was novel, with its marvelous tinge of midnight-blue. Also, the hue of her eyes was the noble blue.
She said she was named Yui Mei, because she was a girl born on a rainy day. She even sulked, saying that she wished her parents gave it a bit more thought when they named her.
If It was just the hair color, then there must be others who have something similar. It was the same for the eye color. The noble blood could also be inherited, even if it was far down the lineage.
However, possessing both qualities was a different matter altogether; moreover, she was also named ‘Yui Mei’. It was definitely not a coincidence.
Even if the name ‘Yui Mei’ was helplessly perfunctory, it was still a name bestowed by Zhi Wei to that infant.
According to Yang, the person who managed all the court ladies, Yui Mei was a maiden recruited from the border regions. If it was the borderlands… then it would be the location of the nunnery where Lady Zhang, one of the Beauties, was banished.
“Lady Zhang was the victim who bore the brunt of the power struggle.”
“Indeed. Kind and calm, such an unfortunate person.”
At Li Yong’s words, Ming Xian casted his eyes down as he recalled the past.
In order to strengthen her power and control, the empress dowager forced her niece on Zhi Wei to become his empress, just as she did to Ming Xian. Unfortunately, Zhi Wei did not have the power to resist her at that time.
The empress dowager was the one who gave birth to the emperor, so her pride was extremely high. That trait of hers was also inherited by her niece. Despite her great beauty, the empress was quick-tempered and highly irritable, so Zhi Wei finally found it unbearable.
Therefore, Zhi Wei planned to be husband and wife with her only for appearance’s sake. However, being the birth mother of the emperor was far more important in the Inner Palace, more than being the empress. The empress dowager kept on pestering them for a child, to the point that even their intimacy was monitored by her.
Zhi Wei had no intention of letting the empress bear his child, so he devised a plan. He fed the empress with sleeping pills in order to pull through the situation. The empress, who was raised as a sheltered lady, fell for that puerile trick. She thought that nightly activities were conducted like that.
Due to the savage circumstances, It was only natural that the emperor would seek out respite among the tranquil concubines.
And it was to Lady Zhang the emperor gave his heart to.
At that time, he also had a son, Ming Xian, from another concubine, so he felt he was relieved of his duty, since he already had an heir apparent. Shortly after, Lady Zhang bore the dragon seed in her womb, and she gave birth to a princess.
On the other hand, the empress fretted over the turn of events.
The other concubines gave birth, but the empress still did not have a child. It was only natural, since nothing happened between her and the emperor. However, it was enough to breed malicious rumours that the empress was infertile.
In order to dispel those rumors, the empress planned to secretly obtain seed from the emperor’s relatives. She then conceived and gave birth to a male child, and she claimed that child as the crown prince.
Unexpectedly, Lady Zhang also gave birth at this time.
However, the emperor made a huge ruckus by stating that it would be impossible for the empress to conceive, as they never did the act. A man who frequently visited the Inner Palace in secrecy was also identified, so things escalated to the point of censure, thus the empress dowager interfered.
— ‘’My maid saw that man come out of Lady Zhang’s chambers.”
By the empress dowager’s command, Lady Zhang’s residence was searched, and an object that purportedly belonged to a man was found.
— “I never saw that man, much less that item!”
However, they turned a deaf ear to Lady Zhang’s words.
Lady Zhang did not have any backing, so even if Zhi Wei wanted to shield her, she did not have a chance against the empress dowager. In the Inner Palace, the empress dowager’s words carried more weight than the truth.
Adultery by imperial wives was a capital crime, punishable by death. That was the desire of the empress dowager, but Zhi Wei vehemently protested, thus she escaped death by a hair’s breadth. However, Lady Zhang was eventually driven out of the Inner Palace, and along with the new born princess, they were forced to live in the nunnery located in a remote region.
Afterward, news came that Lady Zhang took her own life. Since there was no news regarding the baby, they thought the infant died with her.
The empress, who was the true perpetrator of adultery, was still in the harem, due to the protection of the empress dowager. However, Zhi Wei fervidly refused to acknowledge her child as the crown prince, so the boy left the Inner Palace last year when he turned fifteen.
However, the empress continued to scheme to make her son the crown prince, so she tried to poison Ming Xian countless times, and she even sent assassins after him time after time; it was a restless life. Thanks to that, she did not have the time to bear an heir, so she remained childless.
The stalemate continued, and sixteen years had passed. Who would have thought that such an existence would be mixed among the maidens of marriageable age gathered for the Inner Palace.
Ming Xian had the opportunity to hold Lady Zhang’s child just once. He remembered how those blue eyes the same as his had stared straight at him.
“It would be boring if he were to know about it so easily,” Ming Xian muttered.
What in the world was Yui Mei’s purpose for returning to the Inner Palace?
Along with anxiety, Ming Xian felt exhilarated. It was as if a lovable, boisterous bird wandered inside a place where the atmosphere was stagnant since the wind stopped blowing.
If the identity of Yui Mei, who had no support, was revealed, then Lady Zhang’s history might repeat itself.
It was not certain whether Yui Mei knew this, but she did not assert her birthright, and she was working as an ordinary low ranking court lady. According to Yang, she was an industrious person. Initially, he thought she was working at the clinic, but surprisingly, she was just a housekeeper. What a waste of ability. Moreover, she could read. She even explained the origin of her name when asked the other day. From that alone, it could be surmised that she could write, and she knew the meaning of those letters. Yang did not notice that Yui Mei could read, but this might be her own unsubstantiated assertion.
‘She doesn’t want to be conspicuous.’
Ming Xian also decided not to say a word about it to Yang. In addition, without scheming for it, she obtained Lady Wang’s request to clean her residence, which formerly belonged to Lady Zhang.
The residences of some of Shi Wei’s residences were neglected, and were in a terrible state, but there was no move for improvement. All of these concubines were daughters from families belonging to the faction opposing the empress dowager.
The empress dowager pulled strings to send useless workers. Her repeated interference, and the shortage of laborers due to the epidemic, caused even Yang to struggle. The empress also regarded Lady Wang as her enemy, since she reminded her of Lady Zhang, who was also a former court lady.
It must be destiny’s hand that Yui Mei was the one who saved that Lady Wang. It was also Lady Wang who started the trend of placing bowls of hot water in the room, and it became popular among the concubines. Apparently, it was also Yui Mei who taught her those things.
Creating a trend would boost one’s position in the inner harem. In the midst of concubines shaking in fear of the curse, Lady Wang and the other concubines, who were suppressed by the empress dowager, were slowly gaining their foothold. In the garden of women, one rumor could trigger an avalanche, for better or for worse.
If the identity of Yui Mei, who was living unobtrusively, was brought to light, then the empress dowager and empress would definitely find a way to either expel her, or capture her.
If Yui Mei was acknowledged as a princess, then the empress’s adultery would also be judged.
“That’s why, Li Yong, observe Yui Mei’s condition regularly.”
Li Yong answered reflexively, and he looked befuddled.
“Did you mean…me?”
“Indeed. If it was anyone else, then wouldn’t a misunderstanding occur?”
If speculations that Ming Xian was trying to summon Yui Mei arose, then Yui Mei would be in an unfavorable spotlight.
Ming Xian intended to observe Yui Mei, and then report her true motive for entering the Inner Palace to Zhi Wei.
‘Revenge against Father is also a likely reason. After all, it is plausible that a child would harbor resentment against the father who abandoned her in a nunnery.’
More than anything, it was urgent to know the extent of Yui Mei’s knowledge and her views regarding herself.
“…I am also currently in a precarious situation, though.”
“I leave it to you, Eunuch Wang Libin,” said Ming Xian to Li Yong, who was looking sullen.
Libin was Li Yong’s work name. Li Yong also had his own struggles.
“Oh, things are getting busy now.”
Contrary to his words, Ming Xian looked like he was enjoying himself immensely.
T/L Thoughts: Merry Christmas, everyone! We have a triple release for today! Bonus chapter for Kof-fi, and another as my gift to you guys. I also released them earlier than the scheduled time, while I’m still free. Hope you enjoy reading them. Please leave a rating in NU, if you do 🙂
I did not expect Yui Mei’s mother would be the one true love of the emperor. It was truly unfortunate that though she escaped the death penalty, she did not escape death. Maybe we can do a fanfic with her as the protagonist, so she can be reborn and take revenge against the empress — “Rebirth and Revenge of the Calm Concubine”. Lol. Well, the harem drama explains why the emperor’s concubines were not gorgeous beauties like the shrewish empress, but plain women who exude tranquility, like Lady Wang.
Hi everyone, Hanazakura here, thanks for reading, I’m grateful to you guys! Hope you enjoyed this chapter. We reached our 10th chapter milestone, hurray! Housekeeper of the Hundred Blossom Palace will now have a set schedule! 🙂 We will be releasing a chapter three times a week from now on. It will be every Mon, Wed and Fri, at 8:00 GMT. 🙂
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I also launched my Ko-Fi page! Please do check it out if you would like to support me as I strive to provide high quality, manually translated chapters. Extra chapters will be released when Ko-fi goal is met! Thank you very much (deep bow)! I’ll continue doing my best!-