It was already past dinner time, and the emperor and empress worried that their son wouldn't be in the mood to eat. The chefs in the imperial kitchen, who were still badly shaken, began to arrange for the dinners for their masters in the Imperial Palace. Tonight, the meals for all palace halls were nearly an hour late, but no one dared to have any complaints.
Chunhong led Yu Xiaocao to the side hall of Jingren Palace, which was the palace hall that she was going to temporarily stay at. The layout of the side hall was simple and elegant. A gold incense burner had smoke curling out of it, emitting a sandalwood fragrance. The hollowed-out, carved lattice window had shadows of swaying flowers passing through it. The tables and chairs were made of red sandalwood with extraordinary and exquisitely carved designs.
In the inner chamber, there was a babu bed with a light green double-sided embroidered sheer curtain sewed with patterns of flora and insects. A brocade quilt embroidered with clouds and flowers covered the bed along with a pillow of the same color. Beside the bed, there was a carved shelf that was as high as the roof. All of the exquisite patterns on the shelf was a work of art. In the room, there were two rows of autumn yellow colored yellow pearwood chairs carved with six horned-dragons and longevity patterns. Beside the chairs, there were fruits and snacks placed on top of the lacquered water chestnut flower shaped high-end table... With one glance, one could tell that this room had been meticulously cleaned up.
Chunhong pointed to the two palace maids behind her, who were wearing pink palace maid outfits. She smiled and said, "These two were sent by the empress to serve you, Miss Yu. The taller one is named Xinyu, and the shorter one is named Sizhu. Miss Yu, are you hungry? Eat some snacks first. Xingyu, go to the imperial kitchen with Sister Xiazi of Jingren Palace to get Miss Yu's meal."
Yu Xiaocao was really hungry. Since morning, she'd only eaten a bowl of fish porridge and a couple of small steamed meat buns. At noon, the emperor and empress didn't mention eating since they were too busy saving the little prince. Who would dare say they were hungry at that time? Now, she was so hungry that her chest was stuck to her back.
When she heard this, she didn't hold herself back. With Sizhu’s help, she cleaned her hands and sat on the carved yellow pearwood chair. She picked up the pastry that was on a blue and white porcelain plate decorated with twining lotuses and began eating it with small bites. It was made by an imperial chef, so of course, the taste of the pastry was very good. It had much smoother and finer mouthfeel than many of the pastries outside.
After eating the snacks and drinking a cup of scented tea, her stomach finally felt better. About an hour later, Xingyu brought back the dinner. It might be because the meal was prepared in a hurry, so there were only several simple dishes in the food box. It tasted so good that Yu Xiaocao accidentally ate until her tummy was bloated!
With a full stomach, she took a petal bath and changed into new white underclothing under the care of Sizhu and Xingyu. At this time, Chunhong came in with a small package in her hands. She smiled and said, "The general's wife sent someone over with a change of clothes for Miss. The underclothing you are wearing was made in a hurry by the Sewing Department. If you aren't used to wearing it, this servant will help you change it."
Yu Xiaocao watched as Xingyu took the package from Chunhong and placed all of the clothes inside into the large cabinet one by one. The maidservants in the palace were indeed well trained. They were better at serving than her maidservants. When she thought of how she had to do everything by herself in Dongshan Village, Yu Xiaocao couldn't help but think, 'It's good to have money and power ah! I can just be a lazy worm who bum meals without doing anything. So happy!"
Yu Xiaocao fell asleep in the soft and fragrant bedding. Xingyu and Sizhu, these two little palace maids, watched her happy sleeping posture and smiled secretly. They helped cover her with the quilt and quietly closed the door as they left.
She slept till dawn. After eating breakfast, Yu Xiaocao was taken to the empress's palace with a happy and glowing complexion.
As soon as the empress saw her, the smile on her face became even brighter. She waved at Yu Xiaocao to come closer and gently held her hand. She said with a smile, "I didn't expect a little girl like you to have such skills. The young prince woke up in the middle of the night and made a racket over being hungry and wanting food. I was afraid that his stomach was still too weak, so I didn’t give him anything but three pieces of the candy you made. This morning, the imperial physician said that he could eat some porridge, and that the young prince seemed to be in good spirits! This was all thanks to you ah!"
Yu Xiaocao was terrified, so she said modestly, "Empress, you’re overpraising me! This is the combined contributions of the imperial physicians. Xiaocao dares not claim credit!"
"Xiaocao, was it? Don't be so humble. I have a clear view of the situation!" The empress had some lingering fears in her heart. If they had followed the detoxification method given by the imperial physicians, she didn't know how much her little prince would have to suffer. When she gave birth to the prince, she had harmed her body and might not be able to have another child in her life. If something happened to Hanwen, she didn't know if she could endure it!
Fortunately, when Chief Steward Su went to invite Imperial Physician Zheng, he also brought along the little lass of the Yu Family. This little girl from the Yu Family was her son's lucky star! The empress immediately rewarded Yu Xiaocao with many precious jewels, jade pendants, and valuable fabrics.
Yu Xiaocao shyly thanked her for her kindness and asked Linglong, who Madam Fang had left behind to serve her, to help her put them away. Yesterday, when Madam Fang left, she was afraid that Xiaocao would be lonely and that the maids serving her wouldn't be useful, so she left Linglong in the palace to accompany her.
"Empress, the little prince has woken up and wants to see you!" Qiubai, the empress's head palace maidservant, came in and said with a smile, as the empress was lovingly holding Yu Xiaocao's hand and talking to her.
The empress took Yu Xiaocao's hand, stood up and said, "Xiaocao, come with me. Hanwen should meet his savior." Upon hearing this, Yu Xiaocao hurriedly said she dared not to consider herself as the young prince’s savior.
The little prince was resting in the side hall beside the empress’s palace hall. Imperial Physician Zheng and the doctors of the Imperial Hospital saw the empress come in and hurriedly kneeled. After the empress said, ‘Rise.’, she asked about the little prince's health in detail.
Imperial Physician Zheng replied, "The young prince is no longer in danger. However, the symptoms of dysentery haven't all been cured yet, so he still needs to take several doses of medicine..."
The empress nodded and said, "I understand the principle of ‘illnesses come quickly and go away slowly’. Just try your best to cure the little prince's illness as soon as possible."
After she said this, the empress walked into the inner room and saw the little prince leaning against a pillow with an unhappy and foul expression.
“My dear son, what’s wrong? Who made you unhappy?” The empress's soft voice was filled with love. She sat down beside the young prince and stroked his soft hair.
With a pale complexion, the little prince appeared somewhat weak. He flung himself into the empress's arms and acted spoiled, "Imperial Mother, can't I just eat candy and not drink those bitter medicines?"
The empress was about to say something, but Zhu Junfan's voice sounded from outside, "Bitter medicines have a better effect. Hanwen, is this how Imperial Father usually teaches you?"
The little prince hurriedly sat up straight and looked serious when he heard his father's voice. His round eyes, however, looked at the empress beggingly.
The empress touched his little face, feeling sorry for him. She turned and looked at the emperor and said, "Your Majesty, our dear son is still sick! He understands these principles, so he will understand if you just tell him calmly."
"A loving mother is more likely to nurture a good-for-nothing son! Feijia, we only have this one son. He's going to take on important tasks in the future, so we can’t let him do whatever he wants!" Zhu Junfan walked over and touched his son's forehead, putting his heart to rest.
"Son will be obedient. I'll drink the medicine on time and won't eat random food anymore. Imperial Father, don't scold Imperial Mother anymore..." The little prince's soft, childish voice and timid expression made him look very soft and adorable.
The empress, who was very moved, hugged her son and said with teary eyes, "Good boy, Hanwen really is Imperial Mother’s darling son!"
Looking at the pair of loving mother and filial son, Zhu Junfan couldn't maintain the stern expression on his face anymore and showed a faint smile.
At noon, when drinking the medicine, the little prince didn’t throw a tantrum and obediently drank the medicine. However, the medicine was too bitter and carried a strong flavor of traditional Chinese medicine. With a miserable expression, the little prince resisted the opposition he had in his heart. He took a deep breath and swallowed it in a couple of mouthfuls. However, after coughing a couple times, he ended up vomiting most of the medicine, which he had swallowed with much difficulty.
The little prince burst into tears, "Imperial Father, Hanwen didn't do it on purpose! The medicine is too hard to drink. Can I not drink it..."
Tears also flowed down the empress’s face. She used her handkerchief to wipe them away, and then she looked at Yu Xiaocao, asking, "Xiaocao, if he doesn’t take the liquid medicine and just eat the candy you made, would it be able to cure the little prince's illness?"
Yu Xiaocao stood up and calmly said, "May this commoner ask the little prince some questions?"
With his obsidian-like bright eyes, the young imperial prince looked curiously at Yu Xiaocao, who was several years older than himself. He couldn't help but ask, "Who are you? Did you make the candy that can cure the illness? You're so young. Are you a doctor, too?"
Yu Xiaocao looked at the little prince, who was almost the same age as Little Doudou, with a gentle and sweet smile. She said in a soft voice, "Your Highness, I'm also the doctor who examined your illness! I'll ask you a few questions. If the answers are satisfactory, then you don’t have to drink the bitter medicine anymore ah!"
As soon as the little prince heard this, he quickly gathered his attention. He nodded his head and said, "Ok, Ok! Quick, please ask!"
Yu Xiaocao gently pointed to his belly and asked, "How many times has your little belly hurt since this morning? How many times have you gone to the bathroom?"
"My belly ached three times, and I went to the bathroom two times... Last night, I used the bathroom more often and it hurt a lot more. It feels better now!" The little prince was a little shy, but he answered Yu Xiaocao's questions seriously.
The little prince's physique was pretty good. Normally, he seldom got sick and his body had no resistance to drugs. Thus, after several doses of drugs from yesterday and over the night, the dysentery bacteria in his body was largely suppressed.
Yu Xiaocao nodded her head satisfactorily and asked, "Did you eat your breakfast like you were supposed to? What did you eat?"
The little prince pouted and answered discontentedly, "I could only have the plain white porridge they prepared. There wasn't any taste in my mouth, so I didn't want to eat. I just ate half a bowl... I'm a little hungry now. Little Doctor, can I eat pastries?"
Yu Xiaocao smiled and said, "Young Imperial Prince, you were unconscious for all of yesterday without consuming even a single grain of rice, so you need to eat plain white porridge to nourish your stomach. You can have some pastries that can be easily digested... As for lunch, you can have some seasoned purslane salad with porridge or some razor clam seafood porridge..."
The little prince’s eyes brightened. He rubbed his belly and asked, “What’s razor clam seafood porridge? Is it good? Imperial Mother, I want to have razor clam seafood porridge for lunch…”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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