Housekeeper of the Hundred Blossom Palace - Chapter 51
Yui Mei was relieved, so she climbed inside the carriage. Afterward, she asked the crown prince where they planned to go.
“We’re going to Jozhou.”
‘Even if you say that, where’s Jozhou in the first place?’
Actually, Yui Mei did not have an inkling about the geography of this place.
Well, it’d be more appropriate to say that geography was not something a commoner would have any knowledge of.
As for the reason – the military handled information such as geography directly, so it was not publicized.
She also knew that even Ancient Japan treated detailed maps as top secret information, and this point did not change no matter what world and what country she was in.
That being the case, commoners only knew the surrounding towns and villages from where they lived.
Further than that, they could only say ‘so this country had that kind of place’, that’s the level of awareness they had.
“I’m sure you didn’t know where that is, so here’s a map.”
The crown prince handed a simple map to Yui Mei, as if reading the question in her mind.
It was the kind of map even illiterate people could understand, with places drawn as explanation.
According to this map, this country was divided into nine provinces, namely: Kizhou, Enzhou, Seizhou, Jozhou, Youzhou, Keizhou, Yozhou, Liangzhou and Yongzhou.
Yongzhou was directly under the emperor’s control so it was the central state, and the provinces were arranged clockwise around it, starting from Kizhou.
The border region surrounded with desert where Yui Mei came from was located northwest, and the sea was located at the southeast part, where Jozhou was.
They were currently headed towards Kai, the city of Jozhou which was surrounded by the sea.
As for the reason –
“We’re going to visit my sister.”
According to the crown prince, the princess’s name was Pan Yu, and she had been married off* to one of the sons of the Hong family which governed Jozhou.
Yu was eighteen, two years older than Yui Mei.
In other words, she was Yui Mei’s older sister.
The crown prince then explained the reason they were visiting Yu.
“Yu caught a terrible cold at the end of winter. Her cold was cured, but her energy did not return, apparently.”
“Is that so.”
Yui Mei recalled the influenza that plagued the Inner Palace before spring.
That influenza was a formidable enemy, but even normal colds would become troublesome if aggravated.
Irritated nostrils and inflamed throats even though fever subsided, various prognostic symptoms – in short, guard shouldn’t be lowered against this illness even if it was already cured.
“I heard her appetite decreased and she lost weight, so I wanted to see her situation as well as bring her some get-well gifts. But if I went there ostentatiously, they would have to receive me ostentatiously as well, right? That’s why we’re stealthily going there. ”
“Oh, so that’s how it is.”
Yui Mei nodded in understanding after listening to the crown prince’s explanation.
If the crown prince took a lot of people to visit her as usual, Yu had no choice but to get up as well for the sake of hospitality.
That would be mistaking the insignificant for what was essential.
“It would take a while to travel to Kai, Yu’s current home, but since the roads here are maintained, it will take us a day to leave Yongzhou, and two more days before we reach Kai.”
Yui Mei understood it based on the crown prince’s words, so she had to work hard as the court lady chosen to accompany the crown prince in this journey.
If they were in the Inner Palace, it would be Eunuch Libin’s role to take care of the crown prince.
However, for some unknown reason, this Imperial Guard guy Li Yong was the one here instead of Libin.
Moreover, this Li Yong might also require taking care of.
It was understandable that they could not mobilize people who did not know the subtleties in this area, but Yui Mei was the only court lady here, so why did the people she had to take care of increased?
There was a limit to that ‘labor shortage’ reason, and Yui Mei was only a mere housekeeper at the Inner Palace, so this burden was quite heavy for her.
Therefore, Yui Mei took advantage of the break when the carriage stopped to take a rest. She furtively drew closer to Li Yong.
“Ahm, I had never experienced doing the work of an attendant.”
That’s why Yui Mei wanted to plead with Li Yong so he could realize the things that were impossible for her.
She knew caregiving thanks to her previous world’s profession, but she had never tried serving nobility in both worlds.
Li Yong sighed at Yui Mei’s honest confession.
“.. The crown prince is aware of that, so just do what you can. I can manage myself.”
She promptly answered, relieved that Li Yong was no longer under her care.
Yui Mei went on to gather some withered branches to boil water for tea, and fed them to the fire.
Afterward, she took the teapot and placed it on top to brew tea.
“Hey wait, what’s with that method?”
Li Yong had been watching Yui Mei from the side, so he interrupted her.
It seemed that the way she made tea was odd.
‘Even if you say so…’
For Yui Mei, making tea meant just putting the tea leaves into the hot water and it’s done.
Indeed, the tea served at the crown prince’s palace was very elegantly brewed, but the tea brewed with the aforementioned method was more than enough for her to drink.
In the first place, before coming to the Inner Palace, she could only drink plain hot water, and she had never experienced drinking tea in the borderland.
And in her previous world, there were convenient packets for making tea.
There were also those who tried their hand in making Chinese tea among her friends who were addicted to Chinese dramas, but she was satisfied being the drinker.
With a background like that, it would be totally impossible to make a perfectly delicious tea here.
Such thoughts ran across Yui Mei’s mind but since she could not voice them out, she opted to remain silent, scowling a bit.
Li Yong furrowed his brows.
“You’ll get embarrassed if you didn’t even know how to brew tea, you know.”
And so, it was decided that Li Yong would demonstrate it to her.
T/L Thoughts: Ancient China had these Nine Provinces, with the same letters, but author-sama provided a different reading… Torn between which one to use, but ended up using Japanese first letter sound coupled with the Chinese ‘zhou’ instead of ‘shuu’ to make it more fictional, except for Liangzhou and Yongzhou. 🙂
Here’s the Japanese vs Chinese one:
毅州(キシュウ)、Kishuu vs Jizhou
苑州(エンシュウ)、Enshuu vs Yanzhou
青州(セイシュウ)、Seishuu vs Qingzhou
徐州(ジョシュウ)、Joshuu vs Xuzhou
揚州(ヨウシュウ)、Youshuu vs Youzhou (although they had the same letter as Aunty Yang)
荊州(ケイシュウ)、Keishuu vs Jingzhou
與州(ヨシュウ)、Yoshuu vs Yuzhou
梁州(リョウシュウ) Ryoshuu vs Liangzhou (adapting Liangzhou as it sounded more Chinese)
耀州(ヨウシュウ) – Youshuu vs Yongzhou (I think this is typo in the part of author-sama, or maybe they’re homographs since we already have Youshuu. Anyway, Yongzhou it is.
To know more about it, here’s the link: https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E4%B9%9D%E5%B7%9E/6127
*Pan Yu’s marriage was that of an Imperial princess to a subject.
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