Pampered Into Being the Empress – Chapter 7
Translated by: Cozy Translations
Chapter 7 – Feeding
With her scheming1, Rong Xi fainted in Mu Huai’s arms that day knowing that she won the gamble this time.
Bathing in ice water during late autumn naturally resulted in her falling very ill. When she returned to her room, Shun Fu let her take these next few days to recuperate and recover.
Rong Xi vaguely recalled how Mu Huai was talking to her that morning, telling her to obediently follow him and she will have a bright future. For Rong Xi, her motto was naturally that her future prospects or whatever weren’t important, only keeping her life was.
As long as Mu Huai didn’t want her life, she was satisfied.
Currently, her greatest wish was to safely live to twenty-five years old. Counting all the rewards, bonuses, and salary that she earned in these past ten or so years at Yongxi Palace, she had already saved up around 200 silvers. Once she saved up enough money, she could then leave the palace to look for Nanny Huan, and she would no longer have to slave away or cautiously pass each day.
Nanny Huan was Rong Xi’s mother’s old servant. She came to Rong family when she was just twelve or thirteen, as of this year, she wasn’t even thirty yet.
When Rong Xi recalled her days as the young miss of an official’s family, she felt as if it was another life time.
Rong Xi’s father, Rong Bing, came from an extremely poor family. After many years of bitter and hard work, he achieved second place in the new scholar discipline, and the Emperor made him a fourth-grade official of the Ministry of Rites–he was in charge of royal ceremonies and the guarding of the royal family’s imperial mausoleum.
Rong Xi’s mother, Lady Fang, also came from a poor background. She was the daughter of a roadside tofu-seller. At that time, Rong Bing was truly poor, and it was thanks to the Fang family financially supporting him that he was able to successfully participate in the official’s exam. When Rong Bing passed the exam, in order to show his gratitude for the Fang family, he married their eldest daughter, which was Rong Xi’s mother, as his main wife.
Rong Xi remembered when her mother was still alive, she and Father were deeply in love. Father did not take in any concubines or mistresses either.
The year Rong Xi turned three, Lady Fang left the mortal world and Rong Bing’s mother used the “Three greatest ways of not showing filial piety, of which not having sons is the biggest”2 to force Rong Bing to continue the family bloodline.
No matter how much Rong Bing missed his deceased wife, he was forced by his mother to take in a concubine. Afraid that the addition of a strange woman in the household would make Rong Xi feel wronged, Rong Bing immediately laid down some rules when the concubine came, not allowing her to covet the position of the main wife.
No matter if she would give birth to a girl or a boy, Rong Xi would always be Rong family’s di3 daughter, no matter who, their position would never surpass Rong Xi’s.
Rong Xi remembered that Aunt’s4 personality was gentle and never instigated anything, so she never hated that Aunt. In fact, she actually somewhat pitied her, feeling that although Father did not wrong her or her mother, he was a little too harsh in treating this Aunt. Thankfully, that Aunt was quite lucky; within a year of entering the estate, she gave birth to Rong Xi’s younger brother.
Rong Bing named him Rong Hui.
Rong Hui was very cute when he was born and looked quite similar to Rong Xi. Ever since he was little, he liked to stick to her. She got along very well with this brother of hers that shared the same father but different mothers.
When Rong Xi turned eight, her appearance became more and more beautiful, and anyone who saw her would praise her endlessly, saying how if she was already so beautiful now, then what will happen when she’s all grown up.
Rong Bing protected Rong Xi very well. When they would stroll along the streets, he never allowed her to show her face, she would always wear a veil. Rong Xi always assumed that her life would continue to flow along happily like this, being the young miss of an official’s family. She would stay like this until she became an adult and then she would marry a kind and scholarly young master from a family of similar standing, then they would pass their days harmoniously with their children until the end of her days.
But who knew that something would suddenly happen to Rong family.
The previous emperor’s wife, Empress Yizhen’s mausoleum suddenly had a termite invasion. Rong Xi’s father and the official from the Ministry of Works were responsible for the construction of the tomb, so they could not escape the responsibility for this matter. After they moved Empress Yizhen’s tomb, he was stripped of his position.
Rong Bing wasn’t terribly upset by his dismissal. He had accrued some savings over the years and he dismissed all of the servants, preparing to take Rong Xi and Rong Hui out of Bianjing and back to his hometown of Hongdu to become a teacher.
But he never imagined that the imperial censors actually felt that the destruction of the tomb caused the royal family to lose their dignity and said Emperor Mu Zhen’s punishment was too light, at the very least Rong Bing must be exiled.
Every time Rong Xi recalled that year’s events, her heart would be overcome with a chill.
Her father perished on the journey to his exile. When her paternal grandmother found out that Rong Bing had been stripped of his position and then died, Rong Bing’s pregnant concubine wanted to bring Rong Xi and Rong Hui back to her maternal home for support but was rejected at the door.
Later, her father’s concubine passed away while giving birth.
Her little brother Rong Hui went out to go play and vanished without a trace, never coming back home.
For survival, Rong Xi came up with ways to conceal her appearance and went to a broker’s house. The broker’s house sold both her and Nanny Huan to the home of a client’s distant relative. Rong Xi then became the maidservant of the relative’s concubine’s daughter. And later, she entered the palace as a maidservant in place of this relative’s maidservant, becoming Concubine Yu’s palace maid.
Before, Rong Xi more or less wanted to enter Yongxi’s Forbidden City, wanting to do work in this all-respected place.
But after she entered the palace, she wanted to leave instead.
In the six months that she ran errands for Concubine Yu, she was able to leave the palace for half a day and saw Nanny Huan. Nanny Huan was married and no longer worked at that distant relative’s estate. She set up a sugar stall east of Washi’s Zhuque Gate. Her life was quite satisfactory.
Nanny Huan and Rong Xi made a promise. When she turned twenty-five and left the palace, Rong Xi will live with her. These past few years, she had also kept note of some outstanding and upright young scholars for Rong Xi. That way, she would be able to marry a good man when she leaves the palace.
Starting from then, Rong Xi began to harbor hope for her life.
She continued to think of ways to save up money to leave the palace and then also set up a stall in Washi, selling some food such as cakes and cookies.
There were many flourishing businesses in Country Qi. Ever since society became more open, especially during these years when Emperor Mu Zhen’s on the throne, it was like a beautiful flower finally blooming.
As long as you worked diligently, then you would have a path for surviving in Bianjing. Although this type of life wasn’t by any means considered wealthy, it was considered a satisfactory one.
If she were to be Mu Huai’s palace maid for nine years or so, she should be able to leave the palace. Strategizing up to here, Rong Xi felt that the headache she got from bathing in cold water had eased up a lot.
“—-Du, du, du5.”
Rong Xi heard someone knocking on the door and called them in, but her eyebrows slightly creased into a frown.
“Rong gugu, this little one has come to bring you food.”
The person who came was a young eunuch carrying two boxes of food for Rong Xi.
Ever since the day she fell sick, Mu Huai ordered the physician to take a look at her body. The physician wrote a prescription, saying that her body was considered to be quite healthy, she would recover as long as she ate some nourishing foods. As a result, Mu Huai ordered the eunuch to bring her various types of precious nourishing foods every day. He even had the eunuch monitor Rong Xi to make sure she ate everything.
Stewed abalones, ginger chicken soup, etc. each and everything were extremely nourishing ingredients that gt sent over at least once.
Today, the dishes the little eunuch brought included pine mushrooms and braised bamboo shoots soup, swallow wings and fresh water chestnuts, and smoked sea cucumbers. She should’ve been happy seeing all these good things, but it was really difficult to obey Mu Huai’s orders of eating everything.
Mu Huai was really generous with the dishes he bestowed. The abalone and sea cucumber were both as big as her hand, and each dish contained seven or eight of them. The chicken was a whole chicken, and the soup was in a large bowl. Even if she were a cow that had four stomachs6, she would still not be able to finish all these.
Seeing Rong Xi’s troubled face, the little eunuch spoke up, “Rong gugu…you’ll have to work hard today, just finish all these…otherwise, this small one won’t be able to answer to the higher ups…”
Rong Xi saw the eunuch was quite young and thought if her younger brother was still alive, he would probably be around the same age. After looking left and right, she spoke into his ear in a small voice, “I really cannot eat all of these good things, but the food that the master bestowed cannot be wasted, why don’t you help me finish it?”
The little eunuch’s eyes glowed, but once he thought about Mu Huai’s dark and heavy gaze, he shook his head.
Rong Xi continued to persuade him, ” There’s no one else around. If you secretly eat some, His Highness won’t find out.”
Finished, Rong Xi immediately gave the stewed abalones to the little eunuch.
The little eunuch was still hesitating when he saw that Rong Xi’s expression immediately changed. She was clearly horrified, looking as if she saw King Yama. He turned around to look, only to see Mu Huai’s wheelchair stopped not far from Rong Xi.
When the little eunuch came in earlier, he forgot to close the door. Who knew that Mu Huai would come in at this time without a sound, and no one detected his presence.
He was so frightened he had goosebumps. He secretly gave a sigh of relief, thankful that he didn’t open his mouth just now and eat that plate of abalones, otherwise Mu Huai would definitely have him beat with planks.
Mu Huai’s eyes were extremely chilly. He obviously overheard the conversation between the two. His voice carried a hidden anger within as he spoke to Rong Xi, “What, this Prince rewarded you with food, but you want to give it to other people to eat instead?”
Author has something to say: Little brother will be the thick gold finger that will help Rong Rong walk the flower road in the future.
- The actual idiom used is 兵行险招, which means to confuse the enemy so as to gain a greater chance of winning
- In ancient China, sons were viewed more highly because they would be the one to carry on the family name (and thus bloodline), while daughters would be married into other people’s families
- A title used to denote the eldest daughter of the main wife
- Referring to her father’s concubine
- Sound effects
- This is true. A cow has four stomachs. TIL