FDFH Chapter 27

[Previous Chapter] [Table of Contents] [Next Chapter]


Chapter 27: Entering the Palace

Someone knocked lightly against the door.

I hurriedly turned away, rubbing my face with my sleeves.

Nongyu leaned against the doorframe outside, looking at me. His tone was flippant. “The carriage is already outside with the crown prince waiting in it. When will the beautiful person join him?”

Fang Hua wasn’t angry, but swept over him with a light gaze. “Everything’s been packed up. I’ll go now.”

“Yifu…” I tugged at his sleeve, extremely reluctant.

He released himself to scoop up the bundle on the table and gently stepped outside.

From within the carriage, Han Zichuan was just raising the screen when he spotted me. He gave me a long gaze, his eyes filled with a reluctance to part and another indescribable, indistinct emotion.

“You have to take care of m-my yifu, you hear me?” I gave him a ferocious stare.

He only smiled at me.

My eyes swept over, and settled on Fang Hua again with a tangled expression. He seemed to pause, eyes reluctantly looking over the residence as if he didn’t want to leave. Yet he entered the carriage without glancing my way.

“We’ll be taking our leave,” Nongyu sat astride his horse, looking at me thoughtfully. Then he whipped the animal and galloped off in a cloud of dust.

I forced back the tears threatening to leak from my eyes. I wanted to ask yifu to stay behind, but I could only watch helplessly as the carriage vanished into the distance.

From start to finish…

Fang Hua hadn’t spared me a single look.

Neither did he leave me any silver.

I took a long breath, covered in dust as I returned to the house. Plopping on a chair, I scooped up a cup from the table I poured myself some water that I downed it in one gulp. My heart was filled with frustration.

But at the same time, I wanted to laugh.

It was fine if I didn’t have silver. Fortunately, I’d buried a sizable secret stash of money that could finally come in handy.

All reproductions of this work not on volaretranslations are stolen copies.

This Fang Hua.

He thought I’d meekly listen to his words?

What a joke…

The greatest joke in the Heavens! I stuck a hand on my waist and laughed out loud, laughing until I felt a bitter pain.

Fang Hua definitely foresaw that I’d secretly follow after them if he left me any silver. Han Zichuan must have used some way to convince him to go to the palace so obediently.

He was already a handful to deal with here here. How could he follow Han Zichuan so willingly to court?

Even though I had no idea what the palace was like, I’d heard enough from the storytellers on my trips to the marketplace. The current old man emperor was immoderately licentious, frequently raising taxes that forced the people into poverty. This I knew very well. I remember when I was a beggar, it was even common to see people eating other people.

I poured myself more water while thinking things over.

One hand rested on my forehead, my eyebrows knitted, fingers poking my skin…

Truthfully speaking, the emperor rarely came to court in recent years. The affairs of the country were in the hands of the ministers, and the lives of the common people had improved day by day. If I hadn’t met Nongyu last time, I wouldn’t have known that someone had poisoned the emperor, even though this was just a conclusion drawn from a few isolated words and phrases. But I think…it was about eight or nine-tenths of the truth.

From my perspective, it’d be better if this stupid emperor died. Even if he didn’t, there’d be people who wanted him dead. Otherwise, where would we get people braving the dangers of Jiuzu[1] to harm him with poison?

Since this palace had someone poison the emperor with none the wiser, it had to be a person with extraordinary abilities. Now that Fang Hua was going to save him, things would bode ill for him[2]. Moreover, the imperial harem was filled with so many beautiful women living by themselves.

Who knew how much chaos he would incite as soon as he entered the palace? What would the imperial concubines think of him?

Hnn.

You don’t want me to go?

Not possible!

Old geezer, I’ve got plenty of money.

I suppress a stomach full of anger as I started digging in the dirt…piling up layers and layers of paper money and shiny gold leaves, and grinned from the corners of my mouth.

In these days, everything was easier if you had money.

But…

I soon discovered I was mistaken.

It took around a dozen days of thoughtful effort to make it to the palace gates.

I changed into a set of clean robes and assumed the air of a clever, lovely girl to hand over my silver. Originally I planned to behave myself and get a job as a servant girl. But the eunuch in charge practically salivated with greed. His oily hands ran over and over my gold leaves, feeling especially pleased. In the end, he fixed his eyes to stare at me, before circling around a few times to inspect me up and down. His eyes rolled around in circles before he spoke in a shrill and piercing voice.

“Girl, why don’t you wait a few more days. They’re selecting court ladies then, and you have the makings of an imperial concubine.”

All reproductions of this work not on volaretranslations are stolen copies.

The old man emperor was already confined to bed, who said he’s gonna pick any court ladies. If I entered the palace as a court lady and the emperor died, wouldn’t I be forced into seclusion as a widowed nun?

Pah!

That old lecher sure had a well-deserved reputation with officials like these…even a castrated eunuch was still so obscene.

And thus.

I looked at the aging face leaning my way, and knocked him senseless with a wave of my sleeve. Then I forcefully wrested away the gold leaves in his hands and snatched back the paper money from his robes.

I returned to my inn and gave a small sigh to the reflection in the mirror.

There was something about beautiful women suffering unhappy fates. My eyebrows looked like eyebrows, my eyes looked like eyes…but both were extremely attractive. Who knew what kind of trouble I’d have if I entered the palace like this. It’d be better to ruin my looks.

Thus, I pinched some medicinal powder and casually smeared it over myself. It itched and burned and made my skin feel numb.

I lied on the bed, tossing and turning before I fell asleep. The next day, my face had turned swollen.

I went back to the palace gates again. Before I could see the eunuch in charge…I was laughed away by the guards…

All of them kept saying, if you look like this, we’re afraid you’ll scare the emperor!

All reproductions of this work not on volaretranslations are stolen copies.

So I can’t be beautiful or ugly.

What do you want me to do?

In a fit of rage, I poisoned them all again. Originally, I wanted to walk off with their money as well. But I happened to see the open palace gates in the distance…and the group of guards patrolling the entrance.

I held myself back, and returned to the inn. In my room I paced back and forth, extremely anxious.

To tell you the truth, it was easy for me to poison people, and I knew a bit about saving them too…but I’d never learned the art of changing my appearance. Disheartened, I sat down and stared at my reflection in the mirror, thinking long and hard for over half the day.

Suddenly, I gave a start, blinking.

From the depths of my robes I took out a few bottles, shaking out a few samples of medicinal powders. After applying them for three days, there was finally some effect.

At last, my face looked a little more ordinary.

It was just that…

The powders I’d dissolved in water to form my mask looked a little unnatural on my face. It always felt a little stiff when I tried to talk or smile…

But these looks finally got me into the imperial palace.

Honestly speaking, the people in the imperial court had really seen much of the world. They didn’t budge at small change, but demanded piles and piles of paper money instead.

This was all to get a few connections up and down the chain of hierarchy… In this way I spent all the money I’d grubbed from Nongyu.

I hid a bitter heart as I gazed at the eunuch in charge, making marks with his brush as he flipped through a record book. He suddenly raised his head and looked back, smiling as he muttered, “You said you know a bit about medicine?”

I lowered my head and obediently replied. “Yes.”

“Perfect. These few days a person of indeterminate position has been arranged to cure His Majesty’s illness. The imperial physicians just happen to be extremely short of hands. How about you go with them?”

Ah…

Hey, a chance! 

-o-All reproductions of this work not on volaretranslations are stolen copies.

[1] Jiuzu (??) ?”nine degrees of kindred”, or the “nine generations,” shorthand for a punishment in which one’s great-great-great grandfather to one’s great-great-great grandson, or 4 generations of one’s paternal relations + 3 generations of one’s maternal relations + 2 generations of one’s wife’s relations…were all executed as punishment for a crime. Considering how much ancient Chinese valued family ties/names/ancestors, this was a fearful punishment, usually reserved for the most serious crimes (especially those against the imperial family)!

[2] bode ill for him (????) ? xiongduo jishao, or “be fraught with grim possibilities”, have “more inauspicious/ominous” things and “less auspicious/lucky” things


[Previous Chapter] [Table of Contents] [Next Chapter]

  • Wow. She’s very determined!
    Thanks for the chapter~