Zhong Hua Hall was bright, like it was in the middle of broad daylight, I paced in front of the door four to five times. I peeked inside the hall, Feng Zhao Wen was busy criticizing memorials. Not far from where he sat, a round table full of four dishes and one soup laid cold.
I was staring at the dishes, secretly salivating when Feng Zhao Wen spoke, “Come in.”
I looked around; the guards guarding the door were like wooden statues, they didn’t move at all.
“Come in.” He was starting to sound impatient.
I poked one of the guards near me and whispered, “Hurry and get in! His Majesty is calling for you!”
A heavy voice came from the hall, “An Yi, roll over here now!”
(TN: The ‘roll’ here is equivalent to get your ass in here now!)
I scratched my head and took my sweet time as I stepped into the hall. Then, I knelt, “Your Majesty, this criminal does not know how to roll.”
Feng Zhao Wen stopped writing, an ill-intent smile flashing in his eyes, “You don’t know how to roll, but you sure are good at kicking people.”
I kowtowed, “Your Majesty is brilliant and outstanding, this criminal really does not know how to roll. Why don’t you teach this criminal how to roll, this criminal will then roll for you to see!”
The laughing sound of ‘Pft’ could be heard and Tian Bing Qing who was standing behind the emperor clutched his own mouth. He quaveringly turned his body around, hunching over, looking as though he was in great pain.
Feng Zhao Wen kicked his leg, “If you want to laugh, go out and laugh!”
Tian Bing Qing walked out while limping a little.
Feng Zhao Wen gave me a diabolical look, “An Yi, you must be tired after going out.”
His voice was warm as hell, had it been accompanied by a soulful face, I would have been touched. I copied Qin Yu Zheng’s feminine voice to answer him, “Thanking Your Majesty for your consideration, this criminal is not tired.” No matter how touched one was, under Feng Zhao Wen’s diabolical laughter, all of it disappeared.
I alertly took a step back, stammering, “N—Not tired! Not tired at all!”
“But you look so tired.” He smiled at me warmly. “I am just a little hungry…” He ignored my little reply and opened his mouth, “Somebody come! Send Miss to bath.”
Four sturdy palace maids suddenly came in from outside, they looked so powerful and strong. They lifted the screaming and struggling me until we reached the bathhouse. After that, they crudely flung me into the pond, causing water to splash all over. I ended up submerging on the pool twice before leaning against the pool wall. I carefully gave them a fawning smile, “All four Jiejies, An Yi is used to bathing on her own. All of you should just let An Yi bath on her own.”
The four sturdy maids flocked around me; they stripped my clothes off of me and took out the Huan Xi Palace’s layered cloth and rubbed them against my entire body.
After that bathing session that took around 2 hours, they lifted me back to Zhong Hua Palace. By then I was already famished.
“Your Majesty ah! Where did you get those four jiejies? They are so strong! This criminal almost loses a couple of layers of skin!”
Feng Zhao Wen was unruffled in the middle of other’s chaotic time, he was reclining on the bed while reading a book. I was flung over to the pond and was cleaned until my skin and flesh were almost scrubbed off; and then I was placed on a long couch next to the pool by a couple of pretty maids. They rubbed some fragrant cream on my entire body and then trimmed my toes. I complained about all those things to him, but it fell on deaf eyes. He simple said, “They are all Za Yi Palace’s maids that are in charge of cleaning toilets. Perhaps they had grown used to rinsing toilets and could not control their strengths….”
I wept tearlessly and glared at him in anger.
————- I needed to teach this animal a lesson! My feet were suddenly itching again!
The book covered half of his face, I could only see his dark eyes peering over to me. His voice was really warm and considerate as he said, “You had been living outside for three years, it is normal for you to be unfamiliar to being served in bath. From now on, these four servants are your people, they will especially serve you in bath!”
I painfully turned my head to look at those four pagoda-like ladies, their faces too appeared aggrieved. They should be grateful I could get over the fact that they treated me like a toilet, but judging from their expressions, how dare they preferred rinsing toilets over me! Unacceptable!
Tian Bing Qing’s entire face reddened, he bit his lips and in the end managed to stop himself from laughing.
Feng Zhao Wen waved his hand, “All of you retreat.”
Those four big palace maids retreated out of Zhong Hua Hall with their heads bowed down.
Feng Zhao Wen pointed at the table-ful of dishes, “Aren’t you hungry yet?”
……… I was originally hungry, but after hearing that terrible news, my appetites was gone. It was going to be summer soon, if the weather was hot, I would most likely bath three times a day. Such a painful existence ah! Could I live in the prison? I heard it was cool over there throughout all seasons, I think I could even forego bathing if I live over there.
Feng Zhao Wen put down his book, his two pair of eyes glittering. Perhaps he was in a good mood now that he had repaid me for that one kick. He gave me a brilliant smile, “Seems like An Yi is not hungry. Tian Bing Qing, take the meals away…..”
I rushed forward and salvaged my last dinner. I did not even bother pondering why the table only had one pair of chopstick and two bowls. One of the bowls was empty.
Ignoring my grief, I ate until I was 4/5 full. Feng Zhao Wen simple turns a page while saying, “An Yi, you are using the pair of chopstick zhen just used.”
‘Clang’ The clanking sound of the silver chopstick as it fell to the ground could be heard.
My face heated up…… He did this on purpose…. He must have!
I shamefully and indignantly turned my head around. One of the palace maids behind me was holding a pair of silver chopstick. She pitifully looked at me, looking like she was about to burst out in tears.
My child, I wanted to cry even more than you did……
I thought he was over it.
Animals were indeed animals. You could not ponder over their actions using human’s rationality. You could not measure their mentality using human’s standard.
After eating my fullest and rinsing my mouth, I climbed over the bed like I was going to war, expertly crossing over the enemy’s long legs. I secretly looked over to him, he was immersed in the book. Even his eyelashes didn’t move, he clearly did not mind my action. I finally reached my side of the bed after such a hard work. I shrank my body into a little ball and faced the wall, getting ready to sleep.
The person behind me didn’t turn the page after a long time. I was holding my breath under the quilt in suspicion when the quilt was suddenly pulled off of me.
A pair of iron-like hands lifted me up and pressed me on top of a very broad chest. I could hear his steady heartbeat from my ears. I secretly stole a glance but ended up locking gaze with Feng Zhao Wen’s pair of appraising eyes. I could faintly hear him said, “I heard you asked for abortion tonic from the maids this morning.”
His tone didn’t sound very good. I tried to understand what he was trying to say but could not bring myself to. I earnestly asked him, “Your Majesty, are you asking this criminal or praising this criminal?”
He caressed my head twice but his voice was hair-raisingly cold as he said, “You are still a criminal aren’t you?”
I withdrew my head and grievingly nodded. This guy just poked into my wound.
“Do you ever wish you can get rid of that criminal status?”
My eyes sparkled and I quickly looked up at him.
He continued caressing my head with his palm, his coarse finger lightly tracing the area between my brows. He casually decreed, “As long as you try your best to conceive the Great Qi’s imperial line, zhen will allow you to shrug off that ‘criminal’ title’.”
I stared at him in rage, “You….. You……”
Imperial line? Wasn’t he basically talking about children?
Ever since I met Feng Zhao Wen, I always got speechlessly angry. I lost my ability to speak and my wisdom dropped. Even my ability to land a blow gradually became weaker.
Telling me I didn’t hear wrong, he nodded with a light smile. “You guessed right. You really deserves a praise.” He leaned down and gave my lips a heavy kiss. “Correct, give zhen a child and zhen will set you free off all offences!”
I was rendered speechless.
———- Had all the concubines in the Great Qi’s harem turned infertile?
I finally could no longer endure it and gave him a violent outburst, “Why should I?”
Feng Zhao Wen gave me a dazzling smile. “Because of your status as a criminal who is waiting for the big blow.”
I hatefully glared at him. He lifted his sword-like eyebrows, “Don’t tell zhen you are willing to die from lingchi.”
(TN: lingchi = Death of a thousand cuts)
I could not help but shiver as I laid on top of him. To die so pitifully like that wasn’t my purpose in life ah! Father used to tell me that you could not take life and death lightly; you must assess the situation and seize the chance to live on.
I must cherish this little life of mine. If not, once I go to the nine springs as white skeletons, even Father will not be able to recognize me!
He laughed proudly upon seeing me no longer having the urge to resist, “So, from now on, don’t ever bring up the abortion tonic ever again.”
A hungry tiger pounced on the little lamb, he turned us around and made me lie below him on the bed. No matter how hard I struggled, I could not escape his imprisonment.
The next day, when I woke up, my chest was covered with blue and purple marks. A little palace maid that served me looked shy, as though she was the one on the dragon bed last night. I thought I was getting more and more thick-skinned.
She was thin and weak, helping me change clothes was a little hard for her. She pondered for a while before saying, “Miss, why don’t you call those four jiejies to help you change? Those four jiejies are now your maids, His Majesty said so himself.”
Remembering those strong and sturdy maids, my head suddenly ached. Even though I was not in the position to be able to pick my servant, I thought we should all just stick to our original duties.
I shook my head and humbly rejected her suggestion, “I have always taken care of myself all these years, I don’t really need anyone to serve me. They must be really busy in Za Yi Palace, just ask them to return there.”
The maid stared at me with bulging eyes and hesitantly said, “Those four jiejies are actually proficient in martial arts, they are not Za Yi Palace’s maids. They are all female officials who were instructed to protect the empress dowagers and the rest of the concubines during war. Even though their ranks are not that high, they usually will not bother with something like serving a concubine as personal maids. His Majesty ordering them to serve Miss is a privilege that even the rest of the concubines have not enjoyed before.”
…… Feng Zhao Wen said they were palace maids from Za Yi Palace. He said their job was to clean toilets…….
Just how much did he hates me?
I think Feng Zhao Wen was the biggest obstacle in my life. I could not run from him nor can I shake him off of my trails. I could not beat him and I could not be upset for not being able to beat him. Even if I personally bowed to him, he may not necessarily be satisfied.
How should I go through these days?