Su Xi-er soaked the robe in Chinese honey locust water thrice, washed it thrice, and rinsed it with water five times.
Despite the clothes being fairly clean, she was required to go through this procedure for noble clothes such as these. Even the bamboo pole used for drying the clothing was encased in gold.
By the time she had handled everything appropriately, the other palace maids were still washing their clothes.
Su Xi-er planned to remain behind and help them. Initially, she was only focused on transferring Ruo Yuan back. These palace maids were like the fish in the river outside the city. Once a fire breaks out in the city, it would bring disaster to the fish in the moat.
Just as she headed towards them, Lian Qiao spoke up, “If you are done washing, go to eat and take a rest. You don’t have to help us. They’re orders from above, and they can’t be disobeyed.” She then continued to be engrossed in washing.
The other palace maids also nodded one after another. Seeing their assent, Su Xi-er didn’t stay longer and nodded before she turned to leave.
After Su Xi-er left, Lian Qiao raised her head to look at the black robes with snake designs hung far away from her. Although it looked like Imperial Bodyguard Wu had randomly appointed someone to wash the robes, he had in fact already decided on Su Xi-er long ago.
The Laundry Service Bureau’s dinner was prepared by the palace maids in the Imperial Household Department. Su Xi-er returned to her room after eating.
I can’t return to the Palace Side Quarters right now. That means I can’t help Ruo Yuan to apply the medicinal powder. Despite that, one application should be sufficient as long as there are no complications in Ruo Yuan’s recovery.
Arriving in her room, Su Xi-er only took a glance at her bed before seeing something bright red beside the grey cloth bundle. Her eye twitched upon seeing the color, recalling that Wu Ling had told her that Prince Hao had sent something to her.
It can’t be a Chinese bodice, right?
She gradually approached it. It really is a Chinese bodice!
She picked up the Chinese bodice and examined it carefully. This is the one I mended. Why did he send me this thing again? The palace maids’ Chinese bodices are either grey or yellowish brown. They wouldn’t need a red one.
Therefore, Su Xi-er tossed the Chinese bodice onto the bed and stopped looking at it. She then turned her attention to the grey cloth bundle that had been packed by Old Maidservant Liu. Inside, she found her clothes, some medicinal herbs, and the two bottles of medicinal powder.
With how much experience Old Maidservant Liu had, it was likely that she had already inferred who the medicinal powder had come from.
She glanced at the medicinal powder before she began to tidy up her things. Fortunately, there wasn’t much, and she managed to tidy up very quickly.
However, Su Xi-er inadvertently saw the red Chinese bodice she had tossed onto the bed. After staring at it for a while, she folded the Chinese bodice properly and placed right at the bottom of the wardrobe.
Since he has just sent me something, would he come at night? Although I can’t understand his thoughts, it’s better for me to be careful.
Afterwards, Su Xi-er laid down on the bed to rest.
While she rested, she could hear footsteps outside of the room, even catching hints of people’s voices from time to time.
At 11pm, she heard Old Maidservant Li’s voice. “My body finally doesn’t itch anymore. Many thanks, Imperial Physician Zhao. The other palace maids also feel much better.”
Imperial Physician Zhao’s voice followed shortly after. “It looks like the person who added the medicinal powder didn’t use a large amount, and wasn’t deliberately targeting the palace maids in the Laundry Service Bureau. I will report this matter to the Empress Dowager and Prince Hao later.”
Old Maidservant Li smiled. “Many thanks, Imperial Physician Zhao!”
“I heard that someone called Su Xi-er from the Palace Side Quarters has come to the Laundry Service Bureau?”
Inside the room, Su Xi-er’s eyes widened when Imperial Physician Zhao suddenly mentioned her.
1. It is based on an actual Chinese proverb which translates literally to something like ‘The city gate catching fire brings disaster to the fish in the moat’. The citizens would try to extinguish the fire by getting water from the pond and as the water gets used up, the fish would be implicated due to the lack of water.
Uh oh, Imperial Physician Zhao is here??!