Chapter 334 - The Beauty Standard

Yu Xiaocao knew that when children were young, they perceived the world through their senses like animals. Little Linlin must’ve been attracted by the residual of spiritual power left behind by the little divine stone, and thus he unconsciously tried to get closer to her. 

Little Linlin was almost one year old and was still drinking milk; however, they gave him some complementary food in addition to the milk. He had caught a cold in the past two days, so he began coughing. The best pediatrics doctor in the capital had visited them and prescribed some medicine for him. But the medicine was too bitter. Whenever he saw the dark substance in the bowl, he would start crying and refuse to cooperate. Even if they forced the medicine, he would cry, cough, and spit the medicine out. Therefore, he had been coughing for more than half a month, yet he still hadn’t recovered yet. 

When Yu Xiaocao witnessed the tragic scene of Little Linlin being forced to drink medicine, she hugged him distressfully. She asked the little divine stone to release some spiritual power in the sugar water and fed it to the little guy. The wet nurse standing by the side wanted to stop her, “The doctor said not to give the young master too many sweet things…” 

Lady Fang shook her head at her and said, “Cao’er has also learned some medical skills. Last time when Lin’er was coughing, it was his sister who had someone deliver the medicine over. The remaining half bottle of medicine was taken by the empress and given to the little prince…” 

The wet nurse’s eyes brightened. She looked at Yu Xiaocao and said, “Young Miss, you should prescribe some medicine for the young master again. The medicine you prescribed is sweet, so the young master doesn’t reject it at all!” 

Yu Xiaocao asked to look at the prescription the doctor had prescribed for Little Linlin, confirming that the medicine was for fever, cough, and asthma. After thinking about it, she wrote down a prescription and asked a servant to get all the medicinal herbs in the prescription. Lady Fang took the prescription and looked at it: five catties of fresh loquat leaves, five ounces of bulbus fritillariae cirrhosae, ten ounces of lotus plumule, ten ounces of dwarf lilyturf, ten ounces of jujubes, five ounces of Chinese asparagus, ten ounces of Rehmannia glutinosa, ten ounces of Ningbo figwort, and two catties of refined honey. Most of the medicinal herbs used in this prescription were present in the doctor’s prescription, so she allowed the servant to get the medicinal herbs. 

Before dinner, Fang Zizhen rushed over. In the reception hall, they set up a table of a feast to entertain the father and daughter pair. Yu Xiaocao personally made a bowl of soft, tender, and smooth egg soup for Little Linlin. She added some mystic stone water, so Little Linlin happily ate it. The bowl of egg soup was quickly finished, and Little Linlin let out an ‘ahhh’ sound, indicating that he wanted more. 

The wet nurse, who stood on the side, smiled as she wiped her tears and said, “Young Miss is indeed skilled in cooking. The young master has a bad appetite these days because we’ve been force-feeding him his medicine. He doesn’t even want to drink milk. This servant’s heart pained for the young master after seeing how much weight he has lost! This is the first time the young master has eaten so happily in more than half a month!” 

After dinner, all the medicinal herbs had already been bought. Yu Xiaocao had the servants soak the medicinal herbs for two hours, and then boiled the herbs in a copper medicine pot. After that, it would be brewed on low heat while maintaining its boiling state. The medicine needed to be stirred from time to time and the floating suds would be removed. After boiling it for two hours, the liquid would be filtered out from the herbs, and then cold water would be poured into the medicinal dregs, so it could be reboiled. After boiling it in this manner for three times, the liquid medicine was poured all together and left to settle. Then the liquid medicine needed to be filtered three more times with four layers of gauze. 

These steps were done by the maidservants who were in charge of brewing medicine. They took turns to brew the medication for the entire night and finally completed it. Early the next morning, after Yu Xiaocao got up, she began condensing the liquid medicine without eating breakfast first. As it turned into a paste, she added honey and rock sugar into it. She boiled the paste on low heat and continuously stirred it with chopsticks until it became sticky. Finally, the final product was packed in small porcelain bottles, which could be stored and eaten after it completely cooled down. 

When Little Linlin woke up, Lady Fang had made a bowl of bulbus fritillariae cirrhosae and loquat leaf cough syrup for him to drink. Little Linlin was about to cry when he saw the reddish-brown liquid medicine, so Yu Xiaocao dipped the chopsticks in the medicine and placed it in his mouth. The little guy smacked his mouth and realized that it was sweet! The tears that had gathered in the corners of his eyes were gone as he looked at the liquid medicine with a hesitant expression. 

Yu Xiaocao took the little guy and allowed him to sit comfortably in her embrace. She whispered softly, “Little Linlin, this is sweet sugar water. Do you want to drink it?” 

Little Linlin still had a hesitant expression on his face. He wanted to drink it, but he was afraid that he would be deceived again. After he fell ill, he had been deceived so many times that he had become doubtful. What should he do if this bowl was also bitter medicine? 

“Have a taste first. If it’s bitter, you can just spit it out!” Yu Xiaocao scooped a spoonful of medicine with a spoon and blew on it, then she delivered it right in front of the little guy’s mouth. 

The little guy hesitated for a moment, before putting on a courageous front like he was heading to an execution ground; he opened his mouth and let the spoon enter his mouth. Yu Xiaocao titled the spoon and poured the liquid into Little Linlin’s mouth. 

The little guy wrinkled his face and kept the medicine in his mouth without swallowing. However, he soon realized that the medicine wasn’t as bitter and unappetizing as before. Instead, it was sweet and delicious, so he gulped it down. Lady Fang usually didn’t spoil him and rarely gave him sweets. The sweet liquid medicine tasted pretty good. Little Linlin stared at the medicine bowl in his mother’s hands. 

Yu Xiaocao scooped another spoonful of medicine from the bowl in her godmother’s hands. The little guy waited with his mouth wide open even before she put the medicine in his mouth. Just like this, spoonful after spoonful, the bowl of liquid medicine was almost finished. Little Linlin unexpectedly appeared to want more. 

Yu Xiaocao wiped his mouth and smiled, “Let’s leave some room for later. Older Sister will make you a bowl of vegetables and ground meat porridge later!” 

In the Fang Family’s glass greenhouse, besides precious flowers and plants, there were also lots of vegetables. Lady Fang specifically ordered the gardener to plant them after she returned from Dongshan Village. The gardener felt very helpless about this. He was very good at handling precious flowers and plants, and he even had a reputation for it in the capital. Yet he was unexpectedly sent here to waste his talents by planting vegetables! Fortunately, the few beautiful and hard to plant orchids in the greenhouse allowed him to clear his head and realize his value. 

It wasn’t necessarily bad to grow some vegetables in the greenhouse. At least, he and his masters would not lack vegetables to eat this winter. Being able to freeload some offseason vegetables was the only advantage of growing vegetables. 

The ingredients that Yu Xiaocao used to make the vegetables and ground meat porridge were chicken and cabbage core. Chickens were rich in protein; it could strengthen the baby’s physique and protect him from diseases. Cabbage cores were rich in vitamin C, which could effectively prevent young children from catching a cold. Of course, there was also mystic-stone water added in, which could strengthen the body and enhance the taste of the dish. 

Everyone had a bowl of vegetables and ground meat porridge at the dining table. Not only did Little Linlin eat with relish, but his small bowl of porridge also wasn’t enough for him. Lady Fang was also full of praise for the ground meat porridge, and everyone commended Yu Xiaocao’s cooking skill. 

After breakfast, the steward in charge of the outer courtyard came to report that Royal Prince Yang had come to visit. Yu Hai and his daughter knew that he had come to take them to Imperial Plantation. Yu Xiaocao carried an enormous earthen jar from her room, claiming that she had made this medicine that could protect against insects and diseases last night.

Linglong brought along a maidservant named Yingtao. Yingtao was one of the four maidservants chosen by Yu Xiaocao. She appeared to be around 14-15 years old and was very nimble. When she saw her young miss carrying the earthen jar from the room, she took the jar over and held it carefully. 

It was the same carriage as before. Yu Xiaocao stepped on the small wooden stool that the servants had placed in front of the carriage and climbed up the carriage. Seeing that it wouldn’t be easy for Yingtao to get on the carriage with the earthen jar, she reached out and helped her up. Yingtao was originally somewhat nervous, but she had now calmed down completely. Her master appeared to be someone with a good temper, so as long as she didn’t make any mistakes, she probably wouldn’t get punished. 

The maidservants, who used to serve Miss Xia, used to privately say that Miss Xia appeared obedient and smart in front of the madam but she had a really bad temper when the madam wasn't around. If she didn’t get what she wanted, she would beat and scold the servants. A maidservant had been marred by scars from her beating. Therefore, when she and the other maidservants were selected by Yu Xiaocao, they felt somewhat uneasy, for fear that they had to serve a difficult master. 

Along the way, Yu Xiaocao noticed that the young prince was somewhat silent today and his complexion wasn’t looking too well. Could it be that something happened when he returned to Prince Jing’s Estate yesterday? Suddenly, she thought of the girl clothed in red that she had met yesterday. The desire to gossip was ignited within Yu Xiaocao’s heart. 

“Young Royal Prince, did the beauty chase you all the way to your house yesterday?” Had it been anyone else, even if they were beaten to death, they still wouldn’t dare to converse with the young prince when he had such a dark expression on his face, let alone joke with him. ‘Miss Yu is so foolishly brave.’ Head Steward Liu glanced at her and ridiculed in his heart. 

Zhu Junyang’s face became even darker. When he returned home yesterday, he first took a bath and changed his clothes. After that, he went to greet his lady mother but discovered that Jiang Zixian, that disgusting person, was also there. He didn’t know what ideas she had, but she convinced his mother to let her stay as a guest. Wasn’t this forcing him to stay outside? 

However, how could Jiang Zixian’s thoughts escape Princess Consort Jing’s eyes? But she still liked this little niece of hers; her appearance wasn’t bad and her personality was somewhat similar to Yu Xiaocao. Moreover, she wasn’t afraid of her son’s ice-cold face. Could it be that her young son liked this type of girl? 

Although Yu Xiaocao was good, she was very young. So it would take years for her to grow up. Jiang Zixian was about the same age as her youngest son. If it could work out between the two of them, Princess Consort Jing would be glad to see it happen. 

Therefore, during dinner, Princess Consort Jing intentionally arranged Jiang Zixian’s seat to be beside Zhu Junyang. 

Jiang Zixian rarely had the opportunity to eat at the same table as Zhu Junyang, so she was eagerly and constantly adding more food to his bowl. She completely ignored the dark expression on Zhu Junyang’s face from the beginning to the end. 

This was a welcoming feast for Zhu Junyang, but Zhu Junyang left the table with anger. Due to a certain person’s presence at this meal, the meal tasted like he was chewing wax. He just picked out the food that a certain person had placed in his bowl and didn’t take a single bite of it. ‘Jiang Zixian, are you sure you’re not messing with this prince?’ All the food she picked for him was food that he didn’t like to eat!! Even if there were some that he liked to eat, he decided that he wouldn’t like them in the future!!

Seeing how her youngest son was forcing himself to be patient, Princess Consort Jing wondered if she had unintentionally done something bad while bearing good intentions? It didn’t seem wise to let Jiang Zixian stay as a guest. Would her son come up with all kinds of excuses to not come home because she was here? Based on Princess Consort Jing’s understanding of her son, he was very likely to do such a thing! 

He didn’t have a good dinner last night, and he used work as an excuse to skip breakfast. Because he was hungry, it directly affected his mood. It would’ve been strange if Zhu Junyang’s complexion had been good! 

When Yu Xiaocao asked this, Zhu Junyang felt even more gloomy and he coldly snorted, “Are you blind? She’s considered to be a beauty? If all the beauties look like her, even a pig will be considered more attractive than Diao Chan [1]!!” 

Wow! She didn’t expect the young prince’s poisonous tongue to be quite effective. It seemed like he was normally quite merciful to her. Yu Xiaocao noisily asked, “May I ask you, Young Royal Prince, what is your beauty standard then?” 

Zhu Junyang seemed to have never thought about this question. He frowned for a long time before he threw out a word: “Clean!”


[1] Diao Chan (貂蝉) - one of the Four Beauties in ancient China; character in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms

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