Edited by Jelly Mae & Spirit Song
After this incident, fewer people would visit Zhaoyang Palace. The concubines who used to have frequent contacts with Imperial Concubine Jing no longer visited her. The Empress raised this matter to the Emperor. Although the Emperor was blessed by the heavens with divinity, the Empress advised it would be best for him to avoid inviting malevolence; thus the Emperor should not visit Imperial Concubine Jing for the meantime.
The Emperor agreed. Besides, there was no shortage of beauties in the Imperial Harem. In fact, he was afraid that someday he would be too busy and forget about the matter with Imperial Concubine Jing, so he specifically instructed for the removal of her plaque from his list of visitations.
In the end, the Emperor really did forget about this matter.
That was how he also forgot to reinstate Imperial Concubine Jing’s plaque back on his list.
Thus, Imperial Concubine Jing fell out of favor.
Of course, all of this would happen much later. Presently, Zhaoyang Palace was still in the midst of an exorcism which was being conducted by Buddhist monks. Xiao Lan was also not any less terrified by this incident. As soon as she returned to Mingyue Palace, she had Lin Feilu accompany her as she began to conduct a cleansing ritual.
(T/N: An exorcism is a lengthy ritual that involves spiritual masters, like Taoist practitioners or Buddhist monks, to exorcise ghosts and evil spirits from places or people. A cleansing ritual can be performed alone or with others, and is usually done to commune with deities to ask for blessings or to ward off evil spirits. What happens in these cleansing rituals varies from meditation by reciting mantras to simple altar offerings like incense or fruits.)
Although Lin Feilu was not taking it seriously, in order to make Xiao Lan feel at ease, she was being cooperative.
Life in the side residence was going about its business, when suddenly a quarrel had erupted from outside. Xiao Lan seemed to have understood what had happened after hearing only a few words. With a helpless expression on her face, she said softly to Lin Feilu, “Feilu, kneel down here until the incense stick completely burns out. Mother will return soon.”
Lin Feilu immediately agreed. However, as soon as Xiao Lan went out, she got up and followed her.
Outside, Yunyou was arguing with Hongxiu. This Hongxiu was Concubine Xu’s palace maid, who lived in the main residence of Mingyue Palace.
It took Lin Feilu a long time to understand what was going on.
The concubines of the imperial family were entitled to a monthly allowance. They were given food, charcoal, fire and silver according to their rankings.
Concubine Xu lived in the main residence of Mingyue Palace and Xiao Lan’s position was below her. Thus, every time the Imperial Household Department delivered the allowance allocated for Mingyue Palace, it would be received by Concubine Xu. However, she would intentionally deduct half of the allowance’s share that belonged to Honorable Lady Xiao Lan.
Today was the day to receive this month’s allowance. Yunyou was worried that their share would be forcefully taken from them again, so she went early to the Imperial Household Department to wait. However, the staff kept giving her trouble as she attempted to line up.
Although Concubine Xu was also not favored, the Imperial Household Department sided with her because she was friends with Noble Consort Ruan. When it was finally Yunyou’s turn, all the provisions for Mingyue Palace had already been taken away.
After Yunyou returned and went to the main residence to claim their share, as expected, their share of supplies was reduced to half.
This led to a dispute.
Lin Feilu heard Yunyou speaking angrily, “My Lady is still raising two children. If the princess and prince dies of hunger and cold, will you be able to bear this crime?”
This was most likely not the first time that she was threatened this way. Hongxiu smiled nonchalantly and replied, “If you let your Lady eat less, won’t you have enough to save?”
Yunyou was so angry that she desperately rushed forward to fight her, but was stopped by Xiao Lan.
Lin Feilu recollected her memories and recalled that Xiao Lan really did eat very little.
Their meals were not nutritious. It mostly consisted of gruel and few side dishes, but Yunyou was good at cooking. Although Lin Feilu was picky, it was not impossible for her to eat. Xiao Lan always gave the meat dishes to her two children. She didn’t eat much, sometimes she even drank only a bowl of rice soup.
(T/N: Rice soup, also known as rice oil, is a layer of porridge oil that condenses on the surface of a pot when cooking porridge or cooking with rice.)
Lin Feilu thought that perhaps she was just trying to stay in shape, but in truth, they just did not have enough food to eat?!