When Hong Li and Ruo Yan were told that they would be going to the Beauty Palace, the two wore stupefied expressions.
They had never expected that they would go to the Beauty Palace in this life. That’s not right either. We have never thought that we would even leave the imperial palace! Even if it was temporary, they could at least venture into the outside world to enrich their experience and ehck out the current situation outside the palace.
They immediately packed their own cloth bundles before they followed Su Xi-er and Old Maidservant Liu to the side gate of the imperial palace.
Still speechless, the two of them only regained their compose once they were seated in the horse carriage at the side gate.
Hong Li looked at Su Xi-er. Her expression was tranquil and calm, with not a sliver of discernable emotion. Ruo Yuan, on the other hand, had her lips pursed while her hands tugged on the hem of her clothes.
Su Xi-er detected Ruo Yuan’s anxiety and smiled. “We’re just going there to stay for a short period of time. You don’t need to be nervous. When time is up, we will have to go back to the palace.”
Ruo Yuan nodded. “I would very much like to leave the palace to take a look at the outside world, but just the thought of heading to the Beauty Palace handled by Prince Hao is a little frightening. That kind of place is not suitable for people like us.”
“Ruo Yuan, there’s nothing to be afraid of with Su Xi-er around. I thought that it would already be amazing if we can even leave the Palace Side Quarters, but I didn’t expect that we would be able to leave the imperial palace so quickly. With Prince Hao gone, we can even use this opportunity to slip out and enjoy the sight in the capital. I remember that the night market was very lively before I entered the palace!”
The night market that Hong Li mentioned attracted Ruo Yuan’s interest. She had been born to a humble family and entered the palace when she was very young. Not even mentioning the bustle of a night market, Ruo Yuan had only known starvation and freezing as a child.
Reminiscing about her childhood, a flicker of yearning appeared in Ruo Yuan’s eyes, and it didn’t escape Su Xi-er.
“Then let’s find a night for us to go out.” Su Xi-er slowly suggested as she looked at them.
Ruo Yuan and Hong Li’s faces were filled with delight. Their anxiety from a moment ago had completely vanished, replaced with the words ‘capital’s night market’.
The horse carriage travelled along slowly before finally stopping about 45 minutes later.
Su Xi-er lifted open the carriage curtains and the words ‘Beauty Palace’ entered her eyes. The gate was wide and the front of the entrance was swept until it was spick and span. Two imperial guards stood ramrod straight with a solemn expression.
If it weren’t for the words ‘Beauty Palace’, she would have thought that it was the official residence of an eminent and wealthy family. Yet, this is the place where Pei Qianhao keeps women.
“Miss Su, you may disembark. The Empress Dowager’s verbal edict has long been conveyed to the Beauty Palace. There will be someone receiving you all.”
Su Xi-er muttered a reply before she stepped off the carriage with Hong Li and Ruo Yuan following closely behind.
The imperial guards at the entrance were aware of who had come. With Prince Hao away from the capital, the Empress Dowager’s decree was law.
The two copper gates were opened and immediately closed as soon as Su Xi-er’s group of three entered the Beauty Palace. It felt as if the place was completely isolated from the rest of the world, reminding them that no matter how beautiful it may be, it was ultimately little more than an ornate cage.
There were many plants in the Beauty Palace. Following an extremely spacious path, they found it lined with tall and luxurious trees as far as they could see.
Upon reaching the end of the path, they were met with a large hall adorned with a massive signboard reading, ‘Beauty Hall’. The furnishings in the hall, while not of the absolute highest quality, were still exquisite.
A eunuch with grizzled hair stood in the Beauty Hall. When he spotted Su Xi-er, he bowed and paid his greetings. “The Empress Dowager’s verbal edict has been conveyed. This lady should be Miss Su, right?”
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Hoho, they're finally at the Beauty Palace ><