Chapter 342 - Unable to Complain

The imperial physicians were also quite skilled as the little prince's conditions quickly stabilized. However, the empress was still worried and decided to make Yu Xiaocao stay in Jingyang Palace for a few days until the little prince recovered from his illness. In her heart, although Yu Xiaocao was young, she was still experienced in certain complex and difficult illnesses. 

Take this case for example: it seemed like it was poisoning, but even with the involvement of all of the imperial physicians, they still could not identify the disease. When Yu Xiaocao came, she knew with only one look that it was not a case of poisoning, but instead was pediatric dysentery. Even in surgery there were specialized departments—perhaps she was more knowledgeable in aspects to pediatric conditions. 

The imperial kitchen was falsely alarmed, and the concubines that had been suspected by the empress all let out a sigh of relief. If anything went wrong with the little prince, they would have to suffer the consequences! Although their conscience was clear, they still would not be able to pass their days peacefully if the empress hated them. 

Once his son's condition stabilized, Zhu Junfan immediately began investigating into the cause of his illness. The little girl of the Yu Family had already said that the digestive tract symptoms only showed after 24 hours. If he thought back a day…his son seemed to have left the imperial palace for the maternal home of the empress—the Meng Residence. 

He called over the people of the Meng Residence to be questioned and found out that when the little prince was there, the direct nephew of the empress, Meng Shuhuan, had brought him to visit the temple fair and they ate quite a lot of street food. Meng Shuhuan often practiced martial arts with the master at home, so his body was healthier and stronger. He was fine after he ran to the toilet twice after going home, but the little prince was brought up too carefully, so he immediately fell ill after returning. 

As it was her own nephew's fault, even though the empress's heart ached for her son, she didn't punish the Meng Family. However, the empress's older brother, Meng Shuhuan's father, did. He beat him up and locked him in the ancestral hall to starve for 2 days. In the end, the matter was allowed to pass because the old madam pitied her grandson and pleaded for his pardon. 

Since then, every time the little prince visited the Meng Residence, everyone would serve him with extreme care, especially in aspects to the food that he ate—it must be tested and tested again before they dared to serve it to the little prince. 

Zhu Junfan felt that his son was too protected even though he was already 5 years old because he was brought up at the empress’s side. As the future emperor, he should not be brought up by a woman alone, so when the little prince recovered, he was moved into Zhongcui Palace, which was next door. Two bodyguards skilled in martial arts were also placed by his side to teach him the ways to strengthen his own body. In order to cultivate the little prince’s interest in martial arts, Zhu Junfan also got him a few companions of the same age to practice with. But this was all afterwards.  

Back to Yu Xiaocao, who had been made to remain in the imperial palace. After she had bid her godmother farewell, she followed tiredly behind Chunhong, the maidservant that had been assigned by the empress to serve her. Zhu Junyang thought that she might be unfamiliar with the environment of the imperial palace, so he hurriedly said, “Don’t worry! You’re the honored guest of the empress, if the servants dare to neglect you, just tell me. I’ll seek justice for you from the emperor!” 

Chunhong, the maidservant, looked oddly at Royal Prince Yang. This well-known cold-faced royal prince of the capital even had such a considerate side to him. She then looked at the small Yu Xiaocao beside her who held a childish aura and thought, ‘So Royal Prince Yang favors this type...isn’t she a bit too young?’ 

Yu Xiaocao’s gaze was filled with gratitude as she nodded, “Many thanks to the young royal prince! The little imperial prince’s condition has already stabilized, so he should be able to wake up tomorrow! I can then leave the imperial palace when he’s about recovered...Older Sister Chunhong, would you happen to know an abandoned courtyard in the imperial palace that’s full of weeds?” 

Chunhong stopped in her steps and looked at her weirdly, asking, “Miss Yu, whatever for do you ask for this place? This servant will daringly advise you, it’s better to be ignorant of the matters of the imperial palace’s inner court.” 

Royal Prince Yang was also puzzled, “Xiaocao, what do you want to do with a courtyard full of weeds?” 

Yu Xiaocao smiled, “I remember there’s a prescription that helps in treating pediatric dysentery, and one of the ingredients is a kind of common wild herb. There’s a high possibility that I can find this type of wild herb in a courtyard full of weeds, that’s why I asked.” 

Chunhong was one of the empress’s most competent maidservants. Once she heard it was to find an ingredient that could aid in the treatment of the little prince’s illness, she naturally did not dare to delay, “Miss Yu, this servant will go and inform the empress. I will bring you there once I get the entry plate!” 

As long as it was beneficial towards the little prince’s condition, there was nothing the empress would not agree to. Chunhong obtained the entry plate and led Yu Xiaocao in the north-west direction. The further they went, the more remote and desolate the surroundings became. Since the founding of the nation, there had been successive years of war which had emptied the treasury, so how could there be money for the renovations of the palaces? The imperial palace of the Great Ming Dynasty was still the same one as the previous dynasty, and as the concubines in the imperial harem were only so few, there were still a lot of palaces that were empty, even though some eunuchs and maidservants were left to take care of the cleanliness. But as they proceeded further north, they saw fewer people, until eventually there was almost no one around. 

“Older Sister Chunhong, where are we going?” Yu Xiaocao saw that more and more weeds grew in the cracks between the bricks under her feet, and the nearby courtyards seemed more and more dilapidated. Even the imperial palace had such a run down side! 

Zhu Junyang whispered, “The cold palace of the previous dynasty is in front. The emperor emeritus and the emperor have been merciful, so it has always been empty…” 

Chunhong found the old eunuch, who looked after the cold palace, to open the rusted, copper padlock. Once they pushed open the door, their view was immediately filled with overgrown, waist-high grass. Half of the house had already collapsed while the other side was crumbling. It looked as though they had arrived at a ruin! 

Zhu Junyang pulled out a sturdy stalk of grass and swept it about in the weeds to chase away all creepy-crawlies. Yu Xiaocao followed behind him arduously, trying to identify the wild herb amongst the weeds. Chunhong was filled with fear seeing the cold palace in such a state of disrepair, so she only led Yu Xiaocao to the doors of the cold palace before she stopped in her tracks. 

The good thing was, the purslane that Yu Xiaocao was looking for was pretty common. Very soon, she found purslane among the weeds and speedily harvested it. The sky was beginning to darken, and the cold palace was not a good place to hang around, especially when there were rumors about the many imperial concubines who had died unjustly here... 

With Zhu Junyang’s help, Yu Xiaocao managed to harvest enough purslane within half an hour. Once they returned to Jingyang Palace, she also asked the empress for some cane sugar, saying it was important for the medicine. Since it was to be fed to the little prince, without a doubt it needed to be checked by the imperial physicians. The ingredients that Yu Xiaocao required to make purslane candy was simple. It only required purslane and cane sugar. 

Aside from being a common wild herb, purslane was also used to reduce swelling, cool and detoxify the body. In her previous life, the child of her neighbor also took purslane candy along with the medicine they got from the hospital. It was said that purslane also had antibacterial properties, so it was quite useful to suppress the Shigella bacteria. 

Purslane and cane sugar could not kill anyone anyway, so she might as well give it a try! With some mystic-stone water, the effect would definitely be enhanced! 

Yu Xiaocao followed a 5:1:1 ratio by first pounding the purslane to juice and boiling it with mystic-stone water. She then added cane sugar to the mixture, made it into a candy bar, and cut the candy bar into smaller pieces each weighing about 3 grams. 

When the purslane candy was brought to the empress, she saw that it did not look pleasing and asked doubtfully, “This candy can really treat my son’s illness?”  

Yu Xiaocao smiled, “Rest assured, Your Imperial Majesty! This candy is extremely helpful for the little prince’s illness. Moreover the taste is sweet and will be easily accepted by the little prince. If you feel uncertain about this, it can be taken along with the medicine prescribed by the imperial physicians. There are no side effects!” 

The imperial physician added, “Your Majesty, purslane is indeed beneficial towards alimentary diseases, especially dysentery. The common folk often consume purslane as a wild vegetable!” 

Since the commoners could eat purslane as a wild vegetable, then it was definitely not poisonous. The empress then put down her worries and carefully asked about the dosage of the candy. 

Yu Xiaocao thought about it for a moment after inquiring about the little prince’s age, then said, “3 pieces per dose, and 3 doses a day. The little prince should recover after 7 days.” 

At this moment, a booming voice resounded from outside the palace door, “How is Little Hanwen? My good great-grandson, your great-grandfather has come to see you! What have his servants been doing, to let my good great-grandchild suffer so terribly!” 

Hearing this voice, the empress hurriedly stood and went up to plead guilty, “Imperial Grandfather, it is I who had been unthorough and caused Hanwen to suffer. Please lay down your punishment, Imperial Grandfather!” 

Seeing the empress’s tired complexion, the emperor emeritus, Zhu Huaiyong sighed, “Rise up. Although the illness is on the child, the pain is on the mother’s heart—it’s been hard on you these past few days. Has Little Hanwen’s condition improved? What do the imperial physicians say?” 

The empress explained in detail to the emperor emeritus about the little prince’s illness and the treatments. Zhu Huaiyong’s worried heart finally settled down after he knew that the little prince was out of danger. 

“Eh? This little girl...Isn’t this the daughter of the Yu Family in Dongshan Village? You’re finally willing to come to the capital? What good food did you make today? Let me taste…” As he said this, the emperor emeritus snatched a piece of candy off the plate that Yu Xiaocao was holding and popped it into his mouth. 

“Mm...it’s quite sweet, although it’s still somewhat lacking in comparison to the desserts served in the palace. Empress, the reason you called her into the imperial palace couldn’t possibly be to make these few pieces of candy, right?” While he was talking, the emperor emeritus picked up another piece of candy again and chewed on it. 

The empress helplessly reminded him after a moment of hesitation, “Imperial Grandfather, that is the medicinal candy that Miss Yu had made for Hanwen. It can cure pediatric dysentery…” 

The emperor emeritus felt embarrassed once he heard this. He actually took the medicine for his great-grandson as candy! He coughed a few times and glared at the silent Yu Xiaocao, “You little girl, why didn’t you tell me?” 

Seeing the emperor emeritus’s true identity, Yu Xiaocao couldn’t complain at this point. Why did these imperial personages all like to travel to Tanggu Town? First, it was the ‘heir of Prince Jing’ who had turned into the emperor, now it was Fifth Lord who revealed himself as the emperor emeritus. 

Yu Xiaocao felt wrongly accused at the emperor emeritus’s words. ‘Your old hand is too fast, alright? You’ve already swallowed the candy even before anyone could remind you. You have quite a sweet tooth, even though you’re so old!’

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Myst's Thoughts

oh the old foodie is back xD

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Translator: Vera