Su Xi-er wore the white pearl around her neck while looking at Grand Tutor Kong, softly calling out, “Godfather.”


Grand Tutor Kong nodded, and his expression became serious. “You should still call me ‘Grand Tutor’ in front of others. We should still respect the palace rules, understand?”


“Of course I do. Don’t worry, Godfather.”


Grand Tutor Kong waved his hand. “From now onwards, not only are you a court lady in the Imperial Library, you are also this old man’s goddaughter. I have already reported this to the Imperial Household Department and Ministry of Revenue; you will no longer be considered a lowly palace maid. There is nothing else; you may continue your work.”


Su Xi-er nodded and walked out of the main hall. Grand Tutor Kong disappeared for quite some time after obtaining my birth information. So it turns out that he had to leave to take care of the logistical matters concerning my new status.


Chao Mu had been waiting for her in the courtyard. She immediately came forward to question Su Xi-er when she saw her. “What did Grand Tutor Kong want?”


“Nothing much. Grand Tutor Kong had heard about what happened in the Imperial Garden yesterday, so he advised me to endure, and not to make a fuss.” Su Xi-er kept the truth from her.


She then looked at Tan Ge, whose gaze was also set on her. The two of them exchanged a smile, but said nothing.


“That’s it?! Why did he need to do such a thing?!” Chao Mu harrumphed before noticing the red string around Su Xi-er’s neck. The pearl that hung on it was covered by her clothes.


“Su Xi-er, why are you wearing a red string?”


Su Xi-er smiled. “I’m 15 this year, when a woman finally comes of age. I recently read a book which stated that we should wear something red when we come of age so that it’ll be auspicious.”


“I see. I also want to wear a red string when I turn 15.” Chao Mu heartily laughed. However, she didn’t know that such a day would never arrive.


“Come on, the three of us will be going to the Imperial Kitchen to carry water and chop firewood today.” Although they were assigned to do manual labour, Chao Mu was still in high spirits.


Beimin will be bustling with activity during the important Winter Solstice palace banquet. It will be held in the Imperial Garden from lunch until dinner. During that time, even palace maids can go to the Imperial Garden to view the opera performances, albeit from afar.


Chao Mu held onto Su Xi-er with her left hand, and Tan Ge with her right, happening to pull her left hand.


When they had just left the Imperial Library, Chao Mu noticed Tan Ge’s slightly furrowed brows.


“What’s wrong? Are you feeling uncomfortable?” Chao Mu asked worriedly.


Tan Ge shook her head. “I didn’t sleep well last night. I’m fine, let’s go.”


“Remember to get ample rest.” Su Xi-er replied in concern.


Tan Ge could hear the concern in their voices, causing her heart to twinge in pain. She followed Chao Mu as they walked forward, but no longer uttered a single word until they reached the Imperial Kitchen.


Upon arriving, Su Xi-er saw that many palace maids were busying themselves with various tasks: washing vegetables and dishes, sweeping the floors, chopping firewood, and drawing well water..


A plump female cook came out to continue assigning people jobs before she caught sight of Su Xi-er’s group. “You three lasses look lively. What are your names? Let me look at yesterday’s duty roster.” The roles of each palace maid had already been decided the other day.


After Su Xi-er’s group gave their names, the female cook gave them each a task, with Su Xi-er being given the role of drawing well water, Chao Mu washing the vegetables, and Tan Ge washing the dishes.


“Get on with your own job.” The female cook then hastily left due to the Imperial Kitchen being especially busy today.


Chao Mu and Tan Ge left in one direction while Su Xi-er headed for the well.


The well was situated in the backyard of the Imperial Kitchen. It’s opening was extremely large, with buckets to match.


Just as Su Xi-er bent down to pick up a well bucket, she heard people quietly gossiping behind her.

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Rakumon's Thoughts

Translation: Rakumon

Edit: Lunarlark


Rakumon's Corner: 

Oh no, the foreshadowing again... ;_;