Housekeeper of the Hundred Blossom Palace - Chapter 22.2
Li Yong must change from his imperial guard uniform into the eunuch garb, but doing it multiple times in a day was really troublesome. He had a feeling he already mastered how to swap outfits quickly. After disguising into Libin, Li Yong decided to look for Yui Mei, when Ming Xian’s secret guard, who was staying in the Inner Palace, appeared and wordlessly pointed him to another direction.
‘So that’s where the girl is today.’
Li Yong slightly raised his hand towards the secret guard to express he understood, and he strode towards the place he pointed to. He saw Yui Mei’s figure after a while.
She was leaning against a tree as she gulped water from the bamboo tube. She appeared to be languid and seemed despondent.
“What happened, are you feeling unwell?”
Li Yong called out to her.
In that case, it would be good if she asked for medicine from Doctor Chen, the clinic physician, since she seemed to have a great relationship with him.
Yui Mei glanced at Li Yong, and then mumbled.
So she was feeling down because she was hungry.
Apparently, she missed the chance to get something to eat as a snack today.
“Well, there’s a box here full of snacks, though.”
“Can I have some!?”
Yui Mei’s eyes were shining as she stared at the box Li Yong showed her.
“…It’s a present I received, but I thought I’d share it with you. Go ahead and eat.”
“Thank you so much for the food!”
Ming Xian instructed him to explain it as such, since it was uncertain whether there were eavesdroppers around them. Yui Mei let it slide, and she looked around for a place they can sit safe from prying eyes, then she sat down on the stone steps under the eaves of a storage shed.
She was truly a very simple girl.
“Wow, it’s gāo!! Let’s might as well eat together, Libin!”
Yui Mei beckoned to Li Yong. He contemplated his next move.
‘She invited me, so it would be rude to turn her down. Besides, I was made to go on a round trip to and fro the Imperial Palace and Inner Palace, so I guess this much is fine.’
Li Yong made excuses for himself, and sat down beside Yui Mei.
“Hmmm, so delish! Ah, but it can’t compare to Mei Na’s freshly made gāo!”
Yui Mei was grinning ear to ear while stuffing her cheeks with the cake as she expressed her impression.
Indeed, freshly made cakes were truly delicious.
If Ming Xian were to hear about it, he would surely be envious, since it was far beyond his means.
That was why Li Yong could never reveal that he would sometimes use food sampling as pretense to snitch food at the crown prince’s palace kitchen.
To emphasize once again, being a guard was a test of one’s stamina, so if he didn’t eat, he would ruin his health.
Following this line of thought, Li Yong suddenly remembered the incident that morning.
“By the way, Yui Mei, do you know a good method to help a person who has difficulty waking up in the mornings to rise more easily?”
“Please sleep early.”
Yui Mei replied with an obvious answer to Li Yong’s question.
Li Yong already knew that kind of answer without asking, so he was slightly miffed.
“Ahh, another thing, even if the mind is tired, if the body is still full of energy, it’ll be difficult to sleep. I recommend doing light exercises in the sun… So , is His Highness weak in the morning?”, Yui Mei added, and finally asked.
Li Yong evaded the question, then he ruminated on Yui Mei’s answer.
‘Exercise, is it. Maybe I can make him blend in with the Imperial Guards to run for once.’
Li Yong half-seriously thought.
After eating gāo, he parted ways with Yui Mei, and once again, he changed from his eunuch clothes into the uniform of the Imperial Guards, then he returned to Ming Xian’s office.
“Welcome back, Li Yong.”
The memorials in front of Ming Xian obviously increased. Probably, the emperor’s share was also passed on to him. It was a regular occurrence, but he couldn’t help but feel it was worsening over time.
Ming Xian’s desk work was too overloaded. Previously, he still had the time to train with the sword and to move his body around, so surprisingly, Yui Mei’s advice might be right.
Besides, Ming Xian was serious, so he would still complete his work without complaint, but if one were to think about it carefully, the country would not collapse immediately even if Ming Xian left behind some of his work.
“Your Highness Ming Xian, we have nice weather outside. Would you like to leave your work for a while and take a stroll?”
“It’s rare for you to say that, Li Yong.”
Fundamentally, Li Yong never interfered with his master’s itinerary, so Ming Xian blinked.
“Yeah, that’s good.”
Ming Xian broadly smiled. He ignored the ministers’ protests as they told him that ‘it should not be done!!’, and went on a stroll under the pretext of observing the imperial guards’ training.
‘Those guys should spend more effort in making His Majesty stay at his own office, instead.’
The ministers were taking it lightly, since Ming Xian would readily stand-in for the emperor.
Their stroll was an abrupt change of schedule, but it brought unexpected change. When Ming Xian went back to do office work, he noticed that after observing the training, the pile of memorials had lessened.
‘So, a lot of work which did not require His Highness Ming Xian’s perusal got mixed in.’
Even if Ming Xian rejected those kinds of jobs, it would still take him a lot of time to check all those memorials. That useless time would give pressure on Ming Xian’s day.
Yui Mei’s advice this time was relatively great. Li Yong decided to use this strategy again.
Thanks to the decrease in his workload, Ming Xian had some free time, so he dismissed all the ministers, asked about Yui Mei’s condition, and for the first time in a while, he was able to relax in his office.
“Really, that girl truly loves to eat.”
Ming Xian narrowed his eyes as they conversed. It was as if he wanted Yui Mei to enjoy freedom in his stead, contrary to his shackled self.
Yui Mei and Ming Xian had a complicated relationship, but Li Yong thought it would be good if Ming Xian’s ways changed for the better.
They returned to the Inner Palace after work ended, and Ming Xian had his dinner at an earlier time than usual, afterward, he slept soundly that night.
The next day, he woke up by himself.
Everything turned out as Yui Mei said, so Li Yong came to know of her strength once again.
‘Maybe I could give her some manju as thanks.’
It would be troublesome to change his clothes again, but despite this, Li Yong still thought it would be good to go and see her again.
T/L Thoughts: Gāo is cake in chinese. The original character can also be read as round dumplings. Yes, that’s right, Li Yong, it’s good if you often go to see Yui Mei 🙂
examples of Gāo:
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