Pampered Into Being the Empress – Chapter 9
Translated by: Cozy Translations
Chapter 9 – A Little Cute
Although Mu Huai was technically asking her, based on her identity, she did not have the courage or status to say no.
Rong Xi had her own plans. She was thinking, in a few years, the Emperor will make Mu Huai a titled prince1 and he will move out of the imperial palace to establish his own residence outside2 The Holy One3 will also arrange a marriage for him, arranging some young miss from a noble family to be his princess consort. Moreover, he’d probably take in two or so concubine within these years as well.
At that time, Mu Huai would have a gentle and virtuous wife to take care of him as well as a few beautiful women to serve him. Since ancient times, men could never say no to beautiful women; perhaps Mu Huai’s personality would mellow out. In addition, the one thing that Yongxi Palace’s Forbidden City didn’t lack was servants. When she reaches the age to leave the palace, Mu Huai will always meet a maid or eunuch that will serve him better than she did.
She always hid her appearance, and in Mu Huai’s eyes, she was a maid that could not look any more average. He would not miss her forever.
When the time comes, she could even beg Mu Huai’s princess consort. Anyways, she’ll have plenty of chances to leave the palace.
The autumn winds were bitingly cold. After Rong Xi finished mapping out her future paths in her mind, she looked into Mu Huai’s eyes, decisively answering, “This slave is willing. This slave is willing to stay beside Your Highness, serving Your Highness forever.”
—“Alright. Then tomorrow, you will continue to follow me. If you do things well, this ye4 definitely won’t mistreat you.”
Mu Huai spoke in a light tone and then released Rong Xi’s chin.
Her skin was as pale as the fresh snow. Even though Mu Huai didn’t put much strength into it, he still left behind a faint red fingerprint on her chin. Mu Huai uneasily observed the feeling of a young lady’s soft skin between his thumb and index finger.
Ever since Rong Xi began to follow him, he always had a suspicious feeling.
Other than her face, Rong Xi was exceedingly beautiful everywhere else.
The creator was quite a jokester, letting her be the epitome of beauty everywhere, but refusing to give her a beautiful face.
Thinking of this, Mu Huai was indifferent.
The palace didn’t lack beautiful people, and he was also sick of looking at them. But he felt that the little palace servant in front of him now was quite pleasing to the eye. He even felt that the little beauty mark on her cheek was even a little cute.
The autumn rain washed down the eaves, the sounds of them dripping into the bronze buckets could be heard from far away5
In the main hall of Jihua Palace, the brazier was burning a well-known fragrance, the smoke curling as it drifted in the air.
Noble Consort Li had yet to turn 40, and since she took very good care of herself, even though she had birthed two royal children for the Emperor, that delicate face still looked like the face of a 20 year-old young maiden. She was wearing a wide-sleeved, bright red diyi6. A jade hairpin encrusted with pearls adorned her hair, which was pulled up into a bun. She sat on the pearwood armchair in the main hall.
Dressing up in such an extravagant fashion, naturally it was for the Emperor.
Noble Consort Li’s eyes constantly drifted towards outside, a yearning expression could be seen on her face.
Senior servant Qiu Ju ladled a bowl of bird’s nest soup for her. After Noble Consort Li received it, she used a carved silver spoon to scoop the sweet soup into a porcelain cup. The encrusted nail guard7 on her pinky finger was slightly upturned. Every movement of hers showed the grace and style of a noble consort.
After Noble Consort Li drank a few mouthfuls, she had a lonely expression on her face as she called for Qiu Ju to take away the bird’s nest soup. Seeing the time was getting late, she urged the eunuch standing by outside the hall, “Why isn’t the Emperor here tonight? You, go out and see if something has happened to the Emperor.”
After the eunuch outside the hall received the order, Noble Consort Li recalled Mu Qian’s pair of hands that were hit until they were swollen by Mu Ji, and her face turned a little ugly.
She spoke to Qiu Ju again, “Even though Qian’er’s8 hands seemed to be better after putting on some medicine, she still can’t hold a brush or write. She felt that she lost all face, these past few days, no matter what I say she refuses to go to Hanlin Academy. That fourth prince really is…using such cruel methods on his own younger sister, really has no clue how to be tender towards women.
Although Qiu Ju agreed with Noble Consort Li’s words on the surface, she was extremely clear in her heart. This Second Princess’ wounds on her hands really weren’t that big of a deal. She didn’t want to go to Hanlin Academy these past few days was all because she wanted to use this as an opportunity to sleep in.
After a while, the eunuch who went out to investigate came back.
Noble Consort Li called him to enter the hall, and her eyes carried hints of anxiousness as she asked, “Is Emperor busy with national affairs and thus delayed the time, he promised that he would come to my palace tonight.”
The eunuch raised his eyes to glance at Noble Consort Li’s expression before immediately lowering them again.
Noble Consort Li’s visage was still quite calm at the moment, but after he gives his reply, it might not be so.
But what the master asks, he must answer so he spoke in a respectful tone, “Emperor…Emperor walked by Virtuous Consort Yin’s old palace…and went in and said that he wanted to stay the night. Coincidently, this small one went to go inquire, the gonggong serving the Emperor allowed this small one to immediately come back to inform niangniang9 to say that he would not be coming tonight…”
When he finished, Noble Consort Li swept her sleeves and all the cups and plates smashed onto the ground.
The eunuch had long prepared for this, seeing Noble Consort Li’s fury, he immediately retreated.
The ground in Jihua Palace was covered with luxurious red embroidered carpets, the one she was currently standing on was a wolfskin.
Qiu Ju called for a maidservant to clean things up and went to soothe Noble Consort Li, “Niangniang quell your anger, it’s almost the death anniversary of Virtuous Consort Yin. His Majesty thinking about her at this time, it’s also quite natural…the person His Majesty cares about most is still niangniang.”
Noble Consort Li glanced at Qiu Ju from the corner of her eye and gave a cold snort, “You don’t have to coax me with pretty words. Who he cares about the most, the old people10 in the palace are very clear.”
After Noble Consort Li rose from the armchair, Qiu Ju followed her out of the hall.
The bright moon hung in the sky, hanging on the eaves were red lanterns.
Noble Consort Li looked up and counted the guardian beasts on her palace roof. She spoke in a faint tone to Qiu Ju, “Mu Huai’s Quyun Palace has seven guardian beasts, two more than mine. Do you know why, Qiu Ju?”
Qiu Ju opened her mouth, unsure of how to answer.
Noble Consort Li’s voice chilled a few degrees as she continued, “You should know, the location of Mu Huai’s palace is the closest to Jiazheng Hall, only a dozen or so steps and you can reach it.”
Qiu Ju stuttered as she replied, “This slave…this slave didn’t know.”
Noble Consort Li returned to the hall and waved for the servants to retreat. Qiu Ju knew that she wanted to speak to her privately and thus shut the windows and doors.
—“Mu Huai’s Quyun Palace was originally constructed according to the standards of the Eastern Palace11.”
Noble Consort Li’s voice was full of resentment.
Qiu Ju’s heart jumped when she heard this and hurriedly persuaded, “Niangniang don’t say that. No matter who becomes Crown Prince, it would never be the Fourth Prince…Fourth Prince, he…is a cripple.”
That’s right, how could a cripple become Great Qi’s heavenly one?
Mu Huai should be treated as an abandoned one, in the future just randomly make him into a ranked prince, but Mu Zhen had yet to designate an heir even now. Her Ji’er had long had his coming-of-age but Mu Zhen hadn’t even made him a titled prince yet.
The more Noble Consort Li thought about this, the more she felt anger building up in her heart, her gaze turning more resentful and poisonous.
She was born from a noble family, her father was head of the Bureau of Military Affairs, holding the command of Great Qi’s army. But Mu Huai’s birth mother Virtuous Consort Yin’s father was just a lieutenant in the city guard. When he was alive, he guarded the Baokang Gate in southwestern Bianjing. The only slightly outstanding descendant from Yin family was just Yin Cheng that martial artist, but he was just a regular guard.
Virtuous Consort could not match up to her in any aspect, yet the Emperor loved her the most.
When she recalled this, Noble Consort Li took a deep breath, her expression returning back to normal. She did not have to be Mu Zhen’s most favored consort, but her son definitely cannot be suppressed by a cripple.
Mu Huai was too domineering, too arrogant, even daring to bully and humiliate her son and daughter at Hanlin Academy.
She definitely had to teach him a lesson.
After Shun Fu passed away, Rong Xi’s responsibilities suddenly grew larger. In the past, not only did Shun Fu care for Mu Huai personally, he also took care of all the big and small affairs within Quyun Palace, supervising the palace’s dozens of people.
Rong Xi discovered that there were a few maids who did the rough work and never served within the hall, only responsible for cleaning the courtyard, trimming trees, etc.
Mu Huai liked being alone. The maids and eunuchs would only dare to heed Shun Fu’s commands to go in and clean up the hall he resided in when he left for Hanlin Academy. Before Mu Huai returned, they would hurry out of the hall, hiding in some place he would not see them.
Mu Huai never stated explicitly, but Rong Xi was clear that anything Shun Fu did before, she would have to do now.
But when she actually took on these duties, she didn’t feel unfamiliar as when she was working under Concubine Yu, she was also in charge of the general affairs there. However, Mu Huai’s Quyun Palace was much larger than Concubine Yu’s Fuqu Palace. The palace maids and eunuchs that she was in charge of was much more than before as well.
On the other hand, the bodyguards that were never far from Mu Huai only listened to his commands alone. Rong Xi and they had different responsibilities and did not interfere with each other.
Today was Zhuang Emperor’s birthday. Noble Consort Li personally planned Zhuang Emperor’s birthday banquet. Mu Huai usually didn’t attend any banquets but for Zhuang Emperor’s birthday, he, as a prince, must prepare gifts and personally attend the celebration.
Mu Huai previously handed the key to Quyun Palace’s storage room to Rong Xi, allowing her to clear up the finances. When Rong Xi witnessed Mu Huai’s wealth, she couldn’t help but be tongue-tied.
The storage room was very large. There were several hundred redwood boxes full of countless pearls, jade, gold, and silver. On the antique shelf made of paulownia wood, many treasures and calligraphy paintings from the previous dynasty were placed on there. Rong Xi that some dust had gathered on there and deduced that Mu Huai had not had anyone clean in here for a long time.
Zhuang Emperor sits on the most noble seat and does not lack anything. To give him ordinary gifts such as gold, silver, and jade would be lacking in sincerity.
The night before she was in the study grinding ink for Mu Huai when he brought up the birthday gift. Rong Xi suggested he personally pen a hundred-longevity drawing on gold-flecked paper and then personally present it to Zhuang Emperor at the birthday banquet.
Mu Huai was a little doubtful of this suggestion and asked Rong Xi, “Hundred-longevity drawing? There are a hundred ways to write the word longevity?”
Rong Xi nodded at Mu Huai, replying, “Before this slave entered the palace, I knew an artist. His hundred-longevity drawing had one hundred ways of writing it. Your Highness can send someone outside the palace to look for that artist’s drawing and then use it as a reference to copy.”
Mu Huai’s lips slightly twitched. Feeling that Rong Xi did not know how to read, he joked, “Since you mentioned this hundred-longevity drawing, you must write a few different longevity characters for me. Otherwise, you’re swindling me.”
Finished, he handed the sandalwood wolf-hair brush to Rong Xi.
Rong Xi hesitated for a moment, then respectfully accepted the brush with both hands. Spreading out the gold-flecked paper, under Mu Huai’s watch her beautiful and delicate hands to eloquently write the word longevity.
As she wrote, she spoke to Mu Huai, “This slave…this slave only remembers this many longevity words. If Your Highness really wants to make a hundred-longevity drawing, I’m afraid you will have to send someone outside fo the palace to search for that artist.”
Her body had not yet fully recovered so her voice was a little nasally and heavy. But since her voice had always been soft and sticky, this ordinary reply became a little delicate and tender.
Mu Huai felt his forehead go numb when he heard this movement and lowered his eyes to glance at Rong Xi’s writing.
Only to see the handwriting was graceful and refreshing, quite interesting.
This kind of good handwriting required many years of practice.
Shun Fu had investigated Rong Xi’s background before. Mu Huai knew that before she entered the palace, she was a maidservant for several years at one of the Ministry of Revenue’s personnel’s external family. Exactly when did she have the time to practice her calligraphy, it was a puzzling question.
When he looked at Rong Xi again, he saw that her small face had turned red and her hand was also covering her throat. That pitiful appearance looked like she was out of breath.
Mu Huai asked coldly, “What’s wrong?”
Rong Xi forcibly suppressed the desire to cough and shook her head.
Mu Huai’s voice sank, “Asked you a question, so hurry up and answer.”
Listening to his stern urging, Rong Xi finally replied, “This slave…this slave wants to cough but was afraid of disturbing Your Highness…”
Mu Huai narrowed his eyes. Seeing that she was so frightened of him that she didn’t even dare to cough, he couldn’t describe what he was feeling.
It wasn’t a good feeling anyhow.
The servants were all afraid of him, he should’ve felt that was the natural order.
But seeing Rong Xi frightened so, he felt extremely irritable for some reason.
He snapped at the little girl in front of him, “Tomorrow and the day after I will be going to Hanlin Academy and the palace banquet, you are not allowed to follow to either. Obediently stay in your room and recuperate. If two days later, you are still sick, I will drive you out.”
Author wants to say something: The next chapter will be what you have been looking forward to.
Rong Rong currently treats Dog Mu as a difficult boss to serve and wants to be a good employee that receives her salary and then leaves. But she also feels that he is a little pitiful and wants to take good care of him during these years she is his employee.
But later she will realize that Dog Mu is not pitiful at all, and he wants to eat her every day
Translator’s comments: This tsundere Mu, heh… Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas to you and stay cozy ❤️
P.S. There is a chance I won’t be able to update like usual on Saturday, so if I can’t, I will make it up with a bonus chapter! Also, I have opened donations for ramen (aka chapters), so if you would like faster updates or a more frequent posting schedule, please consider making a donation ☺️ Thank you for your support!
- All male sons of the Emperor are called princes, but typically when they come of age, they will get a title and (usually) their own fief/territory as well. Think of it as the equivalent of Prince William of England also being titled Duke of Cambridge.
- Except for the Crown Prince, all other titled princes must establish their residences outside the palace once they become of age.
- Another way to refer to the Emperor
- Princes were referred to as wangye (王爷), and one of the shortened forms they can use to refer to themselves is ye, which literally means grandpa.
- It’s an old way of being able to tell time. You can search up ‘water clock’ for more information.
- When I googled this (翟衣), Wiki told me it was a formal attire usually worn by the Empress and other noblewomen
- You can search on Google Images ‘Chinese nail guard’ for pictures. Basically, it was worn to protect the long pinky nails of noblewomen, and they were often made out of gold and encrusted with jewels.
- It’s a common thing to tack -er on at the end of someone’s name to use as a nickname or sign of affection.
- A term used to call the Empress or other royal concubines
- In this sense, she is not actually referring to people who are old in age, but people who have been in the palace for a long time
- Traditionally, the Eastern Palace is the residence of the Crown Prince