Chapter 83: Getting Along
She saw him rushing to put the jade pendant back to his pocket, as if afraid to let anyone see it and when he looked up, that sullen look in his eyes startled Fu Ling speechless for a moment.
That pendant was this important?
Two of them remained silent, one was enduring his anger silently, the other was deeply puzzled. At this time, there was a sound of a baby crying that broke the deadlock. Fu Ling recovered and did not look at Ming Ze when she turned and hurried into the house.
She looked across the screen and saw Mistress carrying the child up and Fu Ling carried the candlestick and walked into the room before softly speaking, “The Little Prince is awake? This servant will call Shen Yao over.”
“Don’t go.” Qing Feng cajoled the child as she stopped her, “He drank milk before bedtime and not even a Shichen (1 shichen = 2 hours) has passed since. He should not be hungry. Today the Empress Dowager came and Shen Yao had taken care of him the entire night, so she should presumably be tired.”
Fu Ling nodded her head and place candlestick on the short stool in front of the window and lit two more candles so that the room would be bright. Qing Feng saw her tidy attire which did not seem like she was awaken by the child and rushed over. She curiously asked, “Why are you on night vigil tonight?” Qing Feng Hall’s regulation was to let the lower ranked eunuchs to be on night vigil. If there was an issue then wake the rest up.
It was already winter and the nights are cold. Qing Feng wrapped the child securely but she herself only wore an unlined piece. Fu Ling took the cloak by the bed to cover her before replying, “Ru Yi have been accompanying you these few days and must definitely be tired. It would be better for this servant to take up night vigil since you just came back.”
As the cloak was placed, there was a warmth cosy feeling. That warmth went straight to her heard and Qing Feng held Fu Ling’s hand and exclaimed, “Thank you Fu Ling.”
Fu Ling blushed and quickly said, “Mistress mustn’t say it like this…” Actually it wasn’t all because of Mistress that she was taking the night vigil tonight. She had a selfish reason…
Qing Feng saw her lowering her head with her face blushed and thought that she was embarrassed by it, so she did not continue speaking. She would remember in her heart of how Fu Ling treated her well.
The child still cried nonstop and Qing Feng frowned. Placing him on the bed, she told the still feeling guilty Fu Ling standing her, “It is possible that he has wet himself. Go and bring a soft cloth over.”
When Fu Ling brought the soft cloth over, Qing Feng had already undone the swaddling cloth and it was indeed wet. After she removed the wet cloth from him, he immediately stopped crying. Fu Ling smiled, “It was indeed wet. Mistress you are now faster and better than those mama already.”
“You better not praise me. I learnt from Shen Yao for a few days at the other residence.” Initially when she started out she was also flustered and when the baby cry, she would immediately panic.
Fu Ling handed the soft cloth to Qing Feng and saw her changing the baby’s diapers smoothly and wrapped the swaddling cloth skilfully before gently holding him in her arms and softly coax him to sleep. Seeing that soft cajoling and smile with that gentle actions, Fu Ling thought of her during the initial meeting and could not help but laugh.
After Qing Feng tidied up the child and looked up, Qing Feng saw Fu Ling laughing at her and she was unable to make head or tail of it and thus asked, “Why are you laughing?”
“Nothing. Previously heard that when a female becomes a mother, she would be different. Indeed it is true.” It was only ten over days but she had a total warm motherly look on her now. No longer had that sharp and arrogant image like previous.
Qing Feng rolled her eyes and did not bother her loquacious words. Instead she softly said, “Since the Little Prince is born, red eggs should be given to the different palaces within these few days to accompany the good news. Go personally and use this excuse to also take a look at Chen Zhen and child.” After she had a child, she could understand Chen Zhen more but because of her current position, it was not convenient for her to go and visit personally. As she glance at the round table outside the screen, it was filled with all the different types of precious tonics that the Empress Dowager send over. Qing Feng also said, “The tonics that the Emperor and Empress Dowager sent over would definitely not be finish by myself. Go and choose the better ones and easy to consume for her too.”
Fu Ling smiled and nodded, “Yes.”
After placing the child back on the bed, Qing Feng laid on her side and lightly patted while softly whispering to Fu Ling who was waiting in front of the bed, “He went back to sleep. You should also go and rest.”
Fu Ling blew out the lit candles and took the candlestick out to the living room.
Until the candlelight in the house was extinguished, Ming Ze then recovered his sight from the window. This was the feeling of between a mother and child. Even though it was just a shadow, he could almost the tenderness she had for the child. Qing Feng… Previous it was her Elder Sister, now it was this child. It should be a form of good fortune to be able to have her love. It was only when he looked down did Ming Ze found that he was still holding the food container that Fu Ling had forced upon him and that brows started to frown tightly again.
Fu Ling sat at the living room for a while until both person inside were fast asleep before quietly exiting the house.
In the silence of the courtyard, there was no longer Ming Ze’s figure but only the food container at the stone table by the large tree. Looking at the ajar doors, it would seemed that he had already gone outside to guard. Fu Ling laughed bitterly, initially she wanted to prepare to let him eat but now she actually chased him out. Walking to the side of the stone table, Fu Ling gently opened the food container and indeed there was no pastry missing at all. Didn’t she expected this earlier on? Why would she still felt this disappointment.
That person, was so hard to get along with.
Fu Ling had send the red eggs to the Empress Dowager’s and Empress’s palaces and thus the other concubines had heard that the female officer of Imperial Concubine Qing had been personally gifting red eggs, and did not dare to wait for her to go to their palace to gift. They had sent over people to take and before noon came, Fu Ling’s basket of red eggs was almost gone.
Fu Ling came to the doors of the Cold Palace and since no one come here at all, the usually not tied doors were now tightly closed and the heavy doors were blocking her line of sight. Fu Ling gently knocked the door but there was no reply. After tapping the doors heavier, she could then hear some footsteps and the doors were gently pushed open.
“Fu Ling?” When Wu-er saw that it was her, she quickly opened the door and pulled her in as she urgently said, “Come in to speak.”
Fu Ling followed Wu-er to the courtyard and there was no difference in the courtyard when she last came. It was just that there was a thin blue curtain that was hung in front of the door and windows, so that the sun could still shine into the house but one would not be able to see inside from the outside.
In order to protect this hidden Little Prince, Imperial Concubine Hui had gone through great pains. Wu-er parted the curtains and Fu Ling walked into the house. The huge room was rather empty and there was only a simple wooden bed, cushioned by a thin layer of blanket. A thick quilt was placed at the most innermost of the bed and should be where the child slept.
A plainly clothed Chen Zhen carried the child and sat on the bed. When she saw her come in, she was first surprise before nodding and smiling at her. After a month, she had gotten thinner but the smiles on her face was significantly more.
Fu Ling stepped forward to greet, “Fu Ling greets Imperial Concubine Hui.”
Chen Zhen smiled, “Sit down, I am no longer Imperial Concubine Hui, just call me Chen Zhen. For you to personally come down, did something happened?”
Chen Zhen became a little anxious and Fu Ling quickly explained, “Nothing happened. This servant is here today to give out red eggs, so even if others see, it would be alright.” Finishing, Fu Ling took the red eggs from the basket and place it on the wooden table in front of the bed.
“Red eggs? Qing Feng gave birth?” The number of days were not correct. Could it be… A premature birth? “Is she and the child alright?”
“There was a some mishap but fortunately both mother and child is safe, you need not worry.”
Mishap? Chen Zhen gently shook her head and her heart sighed but she did not continue asking. Glancing at the five eggs on the table, since odd was for male and even was for female, Qing Feng gave birth to a son.
“Yes, these are what Mistress made this servant bring over to enrich your health. It is also convenient to consume it. Just add water and drink it.” Finishing, Fu Ling removed part of the cloth under the eggs and place the tonics inside to Wu-er’s hands.
“Thank her for me.” With only a glance, Chen Zhen already saw a number of expensive medicine to replenish blood and energy. With regards to Qing Feng, she was grateful and other than thanks, she really didn’t know what else to say.
“Can this servant see the Little Prince?” This was something Mistress stressed her to do this morning when she left.
“Of course.” When talking about the child, Chen Zhen’s smile got wider and carried the baby higher so that Fu Ling could see clearer.
Even though the child was born a month earlier, but perhaps because Imperial Concubine Hui was the only one feeding him and her food was not very good, the child was about the same as her own premature Little Master, thin and small. Fu Ling hesitated for a moment but still asked, “Is a name given yet?” When the princes reaches their full month, the Emperor will bestow a name. This child…
There was a trace of melancholy across Chen Zhen’s eyes but fortunately it dissipate quickly and she replied with a smile, “There is no formal name yet. His nickname is Han-er.”
Perhaps he heard someone calling his name, or perhaps he felt that someone had been watching him, the little guy in Chen Zhen’s arms stretched out his little neck and his little eyes were widely open staring at Fu Ling. Being looked so purely by this pair of clear black eyes, Fu Ling felt that her heart soften and smiled, “So adorable.”
It was almost approaching lunch time so Fu Ling picked up the empty basket and said, “The time is no longer early so this servant will take her leave.” Fu Ling walked to the door when she suddenly heard Chen Zhen soft shout, “Fu Ling, wait.”
When Fu Ling turned around, she only saw Chen Zhen passing the child to Wu-er and crouch beside the bed and flip open the thin quilt to rummage for something under the pillow. After a moment, she found a thing and grip it in her hands.
Chen Zhen walked to Fu Ling and took a moment before handing over something, “This… Is something for the child.”
Fu Ling looked down and saw that it was half a palm-sized bag. The cloth that was used on the bag was not considered good but the embroidery work was considered the best grade. The fire red Qilin seemed to be jumping out of from the cloth and even the small white teeth can be counted on the embroidery. Fu Ling took the little bag and replied, “Rest assure that this servant will definitely hand this over to Mistress.”
That small little bag was not considered any precious gift but Fu Ling was this solemn and serious which made Chen Zhen embarrassed, “En. You should quickly go back.”
Fu Ling bowed and Wu-er send her out the door.
Walking on the quiet palace road in front of the Cold Palace, Fu Ling’s pace slowed down. Seeing the small bag lying on the basket, she could not help but feel moved. If Imperial Concubine Hui was not banished to the Cold Palace or if Mistress did not come over that night to the Cold Palace, perhaps they would have been foes. But now, both of them could get along calmly. Sometime the way people get along was incredulous. Talking about getting along, Fu Ling could not help but to think about that cold person…