Posted in Didn’t Love You Enough

Didn’t Love You Enough 18

T/N: Busy day tomorrow, so I’m posting this chapter a day early in case I get overwhelmed tomorrow. Happy reading!

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Chapter 18 – Presage

Half a month later, in a clearing of the Lin Jia Village, Li Zheng* was making an announcement of the notice from the county seat, it was good news, telling families that they could go to the capital to reunite with those family members who were working in the palace during the mid-autumn festival.

[*T/N: This is my first time coming across this name in the raws. I think he’s the county head.]

When the villagers heard the news they were all abuzz with chatter.

“Da Zhuang, there is a letter for your family at the post. I brought it back for you.” Li Zheng called to the party of Lin Da Zhuang’s family. “Jia Wen, come and take a look. It’s your family’s ger who sent it. What a big package.”

Li Zheng has become affectionate towards Lin Da Zhuang’s family. This year, Lin Jia Wen passed the county level imperial exam*, and he was now a person with scholarly honor and glory. He didn’t have to kneel anymore in front of the county district magistrate**.

[*T/N: Previously, he was a 童生 tong sheng, which meant that he was only a candidate for the exam, and now he is a 秀才 xiu cai, which means he has actually passed the county level imperial exam.]

[**T/N: 县太爷 xian tai ye, doesn’t seem to be an actual title of a government post, but “county district magistrate” is my best approximation in English. 县 xian = “county,” and 太爷 tai ye = “(respectful term of address for) one’s grandfather / somebody’s father / older people / the head of the house (used by servants) / a district magistrate”]

Lin Jia Wen ignored Li Zheng’s fawning attitude. He received the proffered bundle and half-heartedly exchanged a few words.

Everyone in the village heard Li Zheng’s words and was curious about that package. Several people started to coax and said, “Lin xiu cai open it and let everyone see, ah. What good things did your family’s ger send back, ah?”

Of the ten people who had entered the palace, only the Lin* family’s unwed daughter, Lin Jiao Jiao, had sent something back. Lin Jiao Jiao’s mother was so pleased with herself. Every time she met someone she would say how good her family’s Jiao Jiao was, how she was working at some high-ranking niang niang’s* palace, how appreciated she was over there, and how she sent back quite a sum of money.

[*T/N: Presumably a different Lin family, not Lin Jia Bao’s family.]

[**T/N: 娘娘 niang niang – a respectful suffix or term of address for the empress or an imperial concubine]

The bundle that Lin Jia Bao sent back this time was so big. All the villagers were staring hard at it and guessing how much money he had sent back.

Lin Jia Wen ignored their coaxing and hurried back home with his father.

Zhang Hui Niang supported her daughter-in-law who was more than six months pregnant. “Is there some good news?”

Lin Jia Wen transmitted the news that Li Zheng had announced. Then very excitedly, he said, “Jia Bao sent something back!”

The whole family was excited when they heard, and hurriedly urged, “Quickly open it and see…”

Ever since Lin Jiao Jiao had sent something back to the village, they have all been hoping that Jia Bao could also send a letter to them. It’s been more than one year, nearly two years, since Jia Bao has entered the palace. They were worried all the time. Even an oral message would be enough to ease their minds.

The family could not wait to open the package. Inside was a stack of thick letters, an exquisite embroidered pouch, and there was also a bundle wrapped in a kerchief, which should be money.

Lin Jia Wen first unwrapped the stationery. He looked over it. Lin Jia Bao’s handwriting was relatively large. Then he began to read it out loud to everyone:

Dad, Mom, I am Jia Bao.

My days in the palace are very good. Currently, I am working at the Royal Snack Kitchen inside the empress’s palace, specializing in making snacks for the empress.

Lin momo, who is in charge of the Royal Snack Kitchen, is very kind to me. She taught me how to make snacks. Now, I can make several different types of desserts and pastries on my own, and they all taste pretty good. It’s a pity that you can’t eat them. But after I leave the palace, I can make it for you all to eat every day.

Every month I get one silver tael as salary, and there would often be rewards. When I leave the palace, I can open a dessert shop inside the county. In the future I will definitely be able to make a lot, a lot of money, and then I will buy a big house in the county. Our whole family will live together!

Dad, Mom, Big Sister, Big Brother-in-Law, Big Brother, Big Sister-in-Law, Second Sister, Little Brother, Little Sister, I really miss you all!

The empress is bestowing a favor this time. You must come see me during the mid-autumn festival. I was afraid that you would not have enough money for the journey, so I sent all the money and rewards that I collected. There’s also the money that you gave me when I entered the palace. I didn’t use it, and there are no expenses in the palace.

You definitely have to come see me. Jia Bao misses you all!

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Posted in Didn’t Love You Enough

Didn’t Love You Enough 17

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Chapter 17 – One Year

For a time this good news spread in the palace, and the palace servants rushed to tell each other. They were grateful to the emperor, the empress, and the crown prince’s benevolence.

In this way, rumors about His Royal Highness gradually disappeared. Afterwards, gossip about the Xue family’s younger generation’s love affairs was spread around, and the people’s attention was diverted.

Lin Jia Bao has been in a state of excitement since he got the good news. At night, he would toss and turn in bed, thinking of this and that.

He didn’t know if Lin Jia Village would receive the news, and whether they would visit him or not. The road from Lin Jia Village to the imperial capital took more than half a month of travel. What about the long road? More than half a month’s journey, would there be a lot of problems? Was there enough money at home?

The more Lin Jia Bao thought, the more he could not sleep. He got up, walked out of his room, and arrived in front of Lin momo’s door. He knocked on the door. “Lin momo, are you asleep yet?”

“An Zhu, what is it, you haven’t slept yet?” Lin momo opened the door and saw Lin An Zhu. “Come in.”

“What’s the matter? Talk to momo.” Lin momo looked at Lin Jia Bao’s frowning face and asked with concern.

In the past two years in the palace, Lin Jia Bao has long regarded Lin momo as his elder. He told Lin momo all of the troubles in his head. “Momo, what do you think I should do?”

“Don’t worry, let momo think about it for you.” Lin momo’s family was a child of the empress’s maternal family, their home was right in the capital, so she didn’t have the same worries as Lin Jia Bao.

Lin momo thought about it and said. “How about this? You can write a letter home, and send some money back. Momo is acquainted with a gong gong in the imperial kitchen. I can have that gong gong help out, and send your letter to the relay station for post horses.”

“That’s great, momo, can you really help me send a letter back to my family?” Lin Jia Bao was a little worried.

“It’ll be fine. All the palace servants ask cai ban* for help. As long as you don’t take anything out of the palace that should not be taken out, otherwise you will be found out at the palace’s gate, and everyone will suffer. That’s why, normally cai ban only helps those who they’re familiar with.”

[*T/N: 采办 cai ban – I don’t know what this is supposed to be. Based on context clues it feels like this should be a noun or a job title, but all the dictionary gave me were verbs such as: “to buy on a considerable scale / to purchase / to procure / to stock up”]

“Then, thank you so much, momo. I’ll go and write the letter right now.” Lin Jia Bao went back quickly.

Back in his room, Lin Jia Bao spent most of the night writing away. He put his monthly salary and reward money into a purse that Yu Shuang jie jie embroidered for him. He thought about it, and then also put the money that his family had given him when he first left for the palace into the purse. There weren’t many places to use money within the palace, and his family definitely needed it more.

Early the next morning, Lin Jia Bao gave the prepared bundle wrapped in cloth to Lin momo, and also asked about some words that he didn’t know how to write. He had momo help him fill in the blanks.

After finishing these, Lin Jia Bao finally set down the stone in his heart, and began to count the days, waiting for the arrival of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Lin momo did not give these things to the cai ban, but to the crown prince’s shadow guard.

That very night, Lin Jia Bao’s bundle was already placed on Xuan Yuan Han Cheng’s desk.

Xuan Yuan Han Cheng looked at the letter and smiled. The first piece of paper was meant to be a written letter, but it looked more like a drawn picture.

On the paper, there was a small person who was making pastries. Jia Bao painted very carefully; even the patterns on the pastries were painted exactly the same. In the blanks spaces were the words: father, mother, big sister, big brother-in-law, big brother, big sister-in-law, second sister, little brother, little sister, I miss you all!

The second sheet of paper had more words, some of which were written by Lin momo. Xuan Yuan Han Cheng was thinking how he would have his treasure learn the characters well in the future. It seems that his treasure also had a natural gift in painting. In the future, he would have him learn that well too.

The general meaning of Lin Jia Bao’s letter was that his time in the palace was very good, now he was making snacks in the Royal Snack Kitchen of the empress’s palace, the momo in the palace was very kind to him, and the sisters in the palace took good care of him.

He told his family members to rest assured, that he was all right, and that he just missed his family. Now that he has learned how to make a lot of different snacks, he wanted to open a snack shop in the future and be self-sufficient. At the end, he also asked his family to visit him on the Mid-Autumn Festival.

After reading the letter, Xuan Yuan Han Cheng’s face turned black. His baby has already planned out his life after leaving the palace… this was not good!

Xuan Yuan Han Cheng thought that Lin Jia Bao was now fourteen, still a bit too small to eat. But if he kept him by his side and raised him for a year or two, then he could probably eat him, right? He already couldn’t wait…

Xuan Yuan Han Cheng instructed his shadow guard to send Lin Jia Bao’s family letter to the Pei County relay station as soon as possible. Secretly he began to make plans…

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Posted in Didn’t Love You Enough

Didn’t Love You Enough 16

T/N: Couldn’t get this one out yesterday like I had wanted (ended up having to work overtime, ugh 😫). But it’s out today, so Happy Kwanzaa and Happy Boxing Day! Enjoy. ❤️

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Chapter 16 – One Year

Rumors such as: the crown prince ordered hundreds of thousands of prisoners of war to be buried alive, the crown prince liked to sadistically kill children, and even, the crown prince liked to eat human flesh, etc, circulated around and continued to spread despite prohibition.

The common people’s ability to differentiate between truth and lies was poor. They tended to listen and believe just like that. When it came to stories about the royalty, they discussed even more enthusiastically. The more a story was prohibited from spreading, the more curious they became.

In Yong Shou Palace, the empress had just gotten Zhou momo to handle several eunuchs who were spreading rumors.

“Don’t be angry, Imperial Mother. It’s not worth it if your anger affects your health.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng said to her consolingly from her side. “Originally, the incident this time was not so serious, it’s because the Xue family is adding fuel to the fire, and that’s why it blew up like this.”

Translations are by vmnovels [dot] com, if you’re reading this anywhere else, then it was stolen.

“It’s that Xue family again, but your imperial father said that they won’t be able to hop around for long.” The empress thought of the crown princess and was able to let loose a knot of angry air. To the outside world, the crown princess was confined to bed due to illness, but the truth was that she had already “died from illness.”

[T/N: “died from illness” – she really is dead, but it’s in quotation marks, because the so-called illness was manufactured and not natural]

Er’chen would also like to thank Imperial Mother. This time, while I was away on campaign, you helped to clean up my palace. It’s been exhausting for Imperial Mother, I* have troubled you.”

[*T/N: There is no pronoun in the raws, but I add them occasionally to make the sentence smoother in English.]

Xuan Yuan Han Cheng did not bring Yuan Fu on this expedition, but instead, left him at the palace to coordinate with his imperial mother to clean up the crown prince’s East Palace.

While he was not in the palace, many saboteurs had eased up their vigilance. Now these people have been cleaned up, and the crown princess’s people have been secretly taken down. After obtaining the method for how they contacted the li wang, these people were all exterminated. Now the ones in contact with li wang were all Xuan Yuan Han Cheng’s shadow guards, and they did not let li wang find out that there was anything unusual.

“There’s no need for thanks between us.” The empress patted the crown prince’s shoulder.

He said he was not worried, but the empress still could not help worrying when she thought of the impact these rumors would have on the crown prince’s reputation.

At night, the emperor came to Yong Shou Palace to sleep and saw the empress sitting on the bed frowning.

“Your Majesty, look at how cacophonous these rumors have gotten. Originally, I was going to wait for Cheng Er* to come back and help him get a side concubine. Now the rumors are flying everywhere. I’m afraid the ministers will have ulterior motives. This candidate is not easy to decide.” The empress complained to the emperor.

[*T/N: Nickname for Xuan Yuan Han Cheng]

“Don’t worry about it, zhen* is already working on it. In fact, rumors come and go quickly. As long as there is new news, people will slowly forget the old ones. Cheng Er’s body still needs to be conditioned. There is no hurry.”

[*T/N: 朕 zhen – pronoun for the emperor]

“But Cheng Er’s reputation still needs to be mended.” The empress thought about it and suddenly a light bulb flashed in her head. “Your Majesty, you see, in three months it will be the Mid-Autumn Festival. How about having the next imperial decree be reuniting the palace servants with their families on Mid-Autumn Festival. This is an unprecedented grace, which could also help Cheng Er amass some good fortune.”

“This is a good idea. We need to be more attentive to the regulations. We have to properly arrange the time and place for the palace servants and their families to reunite. When the palace servants leave the palace, they must go through a body search, and there needs to be more guards. We can’t let anyone take advantage of loopholes.” The emperor thought more. “Okay, tomorrow zhen will have people arrange it. You don’t have to think about it anymore. Let’s go to sleep earlier.”

In the Royal Snack Kitchen, Lin Jia Bao was kneading the dough while listening to Yu Ling and Yu Long chat. “I heard that His Royal Highness was reincarnated under a murderous star, that’s why his anger is so difficult to deal with.”

Yu Ling, do you want to die! His Royal Highness is a brilliant general and a great hero.” Yu Long heard Yu Ling talking about the crown prince like this and angrily rebutted.

“Please don’t talk anymore, big sisters. If Lin momo came over and heard you, it would not be good.” Lin Jia Bao advised.

“Humph!” Yu Long sneered coldly.

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Lin momo came back with a smile on her face, and Yu Shuang, who came back together with her, could not conceal her excitement. “There is good news, wonderfully good news!”

Yu Ling was the most energetic. She circled around her and asked, “What good news? What good news?”

Lin momo announced with a smile. “This year, the crown prince led troops and won decisively against the barbarians. To celebrate, the empress passed a decree, during the Mid-Autumn Festival this year, the palace servants can reunite with their families!”

“Really? Truly? Everyone can be reunited with their families? Even me?”

“Everyone can. At that time, the palace will arrange everyone into batches. Everyone will have two hours to meet with their families. The notices are posted.”

“This is great! The empress is so kind, ah!” Everyone was very excited and happy. After years of leaving home, there was no better news than reunion with their families.

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Posted in Didn’t Love You Enough

Didn’t Love You Enough 15

T/N 1: Thank you to the anonymous Ko-fi Supporter! ☕🍰
(I’ve updated the coffee counter on the support page.)

T/N 2: Click here for a general announcement on “Delayed Updates?”

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Chapter 15 – One Year

In May of the fifth year of Yun Tai, the Xuan Yuan Empire won the final victory against the northern barbarians. Xuan Yuan Han Cheng sat inside the main tent of the barbarians’ leader, his heart filled with a myriad of emotions.

He was baptized by war over a period of more than nine months, and his character became more reserved, making it hard for people to guess his thoughts.

The expedition was not smooth at the beginning. When Xuan Yuan Han Cheng took the army to the border city, it was already winter.

The climate in the north was extremely cold and the soldiers from the capital could not adapt and fell ill. Fortunate, there were enough herbs in the army to prevent casualties.

The barbarians knew that the army of the Xuan Yuan Empire came and also knew that the difference in strength between the two sides was great. The barbarians did not dare to respond head on. Instead, they would often ambush the army during their march or raid them at night. Although they were scattered, they still caused a lot of casualties, which gave the soldiers plenty of headache.

Translations are by vmnovels [dot] com, if you’re reading this anywhere else, then it was stolen.

The battle continued until the spring. Xuan Yuan Han Cheng calculated how to lure a part of the enemy’s main force into a trap and ambushed them, causing a great injury to the barbarians’ battle spirit.

Xuan Yuan Han Cheng followed up the victory and pressed his offense, and after several battles, he hit upon the barbarians’ ruling city.

With his maternal uncle, Zheng Yuan Hou, keeping watch in the back, army provisions and supplies kept up. After another two huge battles, Xuan Yuan Han Cheng’s army successfully broke through the barbarian’s royal city.

“Your Royal Highness, Zheng Yuan Hou asks for an audience.” The imperial bodyguard outside the ten came in to report.

“Have Zheng Yuan Hou come in.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng just finished talking when he saw a middle-aged man wearing strong armor walk in.

“Your Royal Highness, you just passed down a command, to exterminate the barbarians, this… perhaps you should deliberate a bit more, wait for the emperor’s reply.” Zheng Yuan Hou was the blood-related older brother of the empress from the first wife. In this war, he also admired the crown prince’s excellent ability to make wise decisions, however, differences in opinion have arisen in dealing with the issue of prisoners of war.

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“No need, I have already sent reports to Imperial Father.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng understood Zheng Yuan Hou’s thoughts. After all, his imperial father and his younger brother did not die because of the barbarians in this life, so his decision to exterminate the barbarians would seem cruel.

“But, Your Royal Highness, this is not good for your reputation! To execute all the men, women, elderly, and children of the barbarians… or how about, just execute their royal family, and the rest will be slaves.”

“Uncle, don’t try to persuade me anymore. I have decided. The barbarians have always been a cunning and tenacious bunch. If you don’t pull them out by the roots, even if you make them slaves, they are not of our nationality. There will definitely be differences at the core. Must put to death! When it comes to cruelty, which of the villages they slaughtered did not have old people, women, and children. Be cruel this time to relieve us of hidden dangers in the future and to deter other small tribes. This is the best decision. I don’t care about my reputation or anything. I think Imperial Father will agree with me,” Xuan Yun Han Cheng said.

“Without any better options, then so be it.” Zheng Yuan Hou also knew that the crown prince’s analysis was correct. Alas! But in this way, he was afraid the crown prince would have to bear the notoriety of cruelty.

In May of the fifth year of Yun Tai, the crown prince ordered the extermination of the royal city, regardless of age or gender: men, women, old, and young. The whole city was awash in blood, and more than twenty thousand were wiped clean off the face of the earth. There were no more barbarians in the world.

By the time the emperor received the news, Xuan Yuan Han Cheng was already leading the army and on their way back.

The crown prince’s command to annihilate the barbarians caused a big wave in the empire.

One after another, the imperial historians wrote and claimed that His Royal Highness’s means were too cruel, which was detrimental to the benevolence of the Xuan Yuan Dynasty.

Some people even said that His Royal Highness went over the son of heaven’s head and gave this order without the permission of the emperor. This was contempt for the emperor and should be severely punished.

But the emperor suppressed such words. Alas! The crown prince was only nineteen years old. In the end, he was in the prime of his youth, and was unlikely to consider his decisions at length. This method of handling the matter was simplistic and cruel. As a result, it was too excessive.

Under the pressure of the imperial court, the emperor had no choice but to cancel the ceremony of going outside the city walls to personally welcome the crown prince back, and after the prince returned to the palace, had to have him reflect on his errors for half a month, prevented from attending morning court, as a warning.

Translations by Vanilla Muse.

In the Imperial Study Room, Emperor Xuan Yuan Zhao Shen was right in the middle of instructing the crown prince.

“In this half a month, you have a good rest. Next time, you are not allowed to do things like this. You are the future heir apparent to the throne. A prince with a brutal reputation. What the courtiers think of you. Ugh! Forget it, you are still young, go back and think about it. You must consider what is appropriate behavior in many things. Going too far is as bad as not doing enough.”

The emperor always thought that the second son was more impulsive, but he did not expect the elder son to be the same. Ugh! No hurry, his body was still robust, he could teach for a few more years. The crown prince was already doing quite well as it were.

“Yes. Er’chen understands.”

Over the following period of time, news about the cruelty of His Royal Highness spread throughout the Xuan Yuan Empire. When people with ulterior motives propagated the news, the contents became more and more severe.

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Posted in Didn’t Love You Enough

Didn’t Love You Enough 14

T/N: Warning for slight shotacon.

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Chapter 14 – One Year

In mid-September of Yun Tai’s fourth year, the northern barbarians went south and slaughtered a small town near the borders. When the news came, there was uproar in the court.

One after another, the imperial censors wrote a petition, saying that the northern barbarians violated their agreement, which was a provocation towards the Xuan Yuan Dynasty, therefore, they should return fire to show the might of their dynasty.

Before the witness of the court, Emperor Xuan Yuan Zhao Shen bestowed upon the crown prince the title of Generalissimo Zheng Bei*. He was to command the fifty thousand elite troops of the capital to go into battle. And he ordered the northern defense’s Zheng Yuan Hou and main army to cooperate and fight against the barbarians.

[*T/N: 征北大将军 zheng bei da jiang jun – 征北 zheng bei means “expedition north,” and 大将军 da jian jun is an “important general” or “generalissimo” which is above a regular 将军 jian jun “general”]

After morning court, in the Imperial Study Room, the emperor had some final words with the crown prince. “When you arrive at the north, don’t attack immediately. You need to scout out the real situation. The barbarians are cunning by nature, so be careful. Your maternal uncle will also support you. In this expedition, the military strength of the Xuan Yuan Dynasty prevails, but remember that you cannot underestimate the enemy.”

Translations are by vmnovels [dot] com, if you’re reading this anywhere else, then it was stolen.

“Yes, er’chen* will bear this in mind.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng replied.

[*T/N: 儿臣 er’chen – er is “child” and chen is a “state official or subject in dynastic China.” My closest English approximation would be “I, your child, this state official,” which is a mouthful, so I’m keeping it simple as “er’chen.” This is how XYHC addresses himself in front of his imperial father.]

“Have you made plans for the accompanying imperial physician yet? You should pay attention to your body, even if you’re going out to battle, you mustn’t disregard your health.” The emperor was still very concerned about the crown prince’s body.

“Please rest assured. Everything has been properly arranged. I also ask that Imperial Father take care of his own health. Er’chen is really not filial, always making Imperial Father worry.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng knelt and bowed to his imperial father.

“All right now, get up, ba. Say goodbye to your imperial mother, she is also very worried about you.” The emperor helped the crown prince up.

“Yes. Excuse er’chen.”

Eleven p.m. Several figures flashed into the courtyard of the Royal Snack Kitchen. Xuan Yuan Han Cheng came to the door of Lin Jia Bao’s room. He gently opened the door and entered, leaving several secret guards in the courtyard.

His treasure was sleeping in the bed. The moonlight spilled in from outside the window. Looking at Lin Jia Bao bathed in the moonlight; his sleeping face so innocent and lovely, every time he saw it, the exhaustion and worries of the entire day would disappear.

Lin Jia Bao slept very deeply. His small mouth was pursed and the corner of it was tilted up slightly, as if he was having a sweet dream.

Xuan Yuan Han Cheng bent down and kissed the spot between Lin Jia Bao’s eyebrows. He peppered a few light kisses on the small face. He kissed from the small dimples to the lips. Xuan Yuan Han Cheng was afraid to wake him up and dared not go deep. He could only use his lips and tongue to lightly lap at his treasure’s lips.

“Wu…” Lin Jia Bao seemed to feel the disturbance on his lips and turned his head to the side to continue his dream.

Xuan Yuan Han Cheng looked at Lin Jia Bao’s exposed neck. Against the background of the moonlight, it looked a bit pale, but it was so tempting.

Xuan Yuan Han Cheng couldn’t restrain himself and nibbled gently back and forth on the delicate neck.

Suddenly, a subtle sound came from the door. Xuan Yuan Han Cheng tucked the quilt snug against Lin Jia Bao and walked out on light feet.

“Lin momo, it’s you, ah…” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng looked towards Lin Jia Bao’s room door, and motioned for Lin momo to go with him to the courtyard.

“Your Royal Highness, An Zhu, he is still young, just over thirteen years old, you…” Lin momo returned late and saw that next to her room, the door to Lin Jia Bao’s room was slightly ajar, and she also saw the scene of the crown prince kissing An Zhu.

It was not the first time that she saw His Royal Highness in the courtyard late at night. From the start, when she was shocked, to now, when she got used to it, she could be considered to be quite calm and collected.

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Lin momo knew that His Royal highness had different designs on Lin An Zhu, although she didn’t know why he was so interested in such a small ger. But after interacting with Lin An Zhu for the past six months, she also fell in love with this hardworking and well-behaved child, so she couldn’t help reminding the crown prince of An Zhu’s young age.

Xuan Yuan Han Cheng heard Lin momo’s protectiveness towards Lin Jia Bao, and said with satisfaction, “Lin momo, tomorrow I will going on campaign. I hope you will take good care of An Zhu.”

“Yes. Please rest assured, Your Royal Highness. There will be no mishaps.” Lin momo promised.

The next day, before the witness of all, Xuan Yuan Han Cheng rode his mount and led the fifty thousand troops out of the imperial capital.

When the army left the capital, Xuan Yuan Han Cheng took a deep look in the direction of the palace.

Therein lied his family, his treasure, and his responsibilities. In this battle, only victory was allowed, no defeat!

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Posted in Didn’t Love You Enough

Didn’t Love You Enough 13

T/N: Whew, cutting it close, but I made it with 8 minutes to spare. XD
It’s been a long work day, and then I had a list of chores that’s been piling up. Anyways, enjoy~!

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Chapter 13 – Royal Snack Kitchen

“Second Imperial Brother, don’t be so reckless next time. That General Li is someone who has been on the battlefield before. The gap between the two of you is too big. It’s better for you to practice basic skills first. What will you do if you got injured while rashly competing?”

“Heehee, I just want to compare my skills against his, besides, he will go easy on me,” Xuan Yuan Huan Qi said without a care.

“What’s the point of throwing the match like this? The enemies will make a fool out of you when you’re on the battlefield.” His second imperial younger brother’s character was really too much, thinking of what happened in the previous life…

“I also want to go to the battlefield, let me go with you this time. I’m fifteen already. When Imperial Brother was my age, he had already gone to the battlefield.” Xuan Yuan Han Qi pleaded his case.

Xuan Yuan Han Cheng refused. “No! In the future, you will have the opportunity to build a career. This time, it’s still better for you to stay in the palace, and accompany Imperial Father and Imperial Mother. Imperial Father said starting from next month you would also attend morning court. You can learn how to assist Imperial Father a bit more, and next year you should look into getting marry.”

Translations are by vmnovels [dot] com, if you’re reading this anywhere else, then it was stolen.

According to the spy from the border town, the barbarians were already getting ready to make a move, and were likely to go south. He was also preparing for the expedition recently. He was quite sure that he could wipe out the barbarians, but this time he would not take his second imperial brother with him. The death of Xuan Yuan Han Qi in the previous life had hit him, his imperial father, and his imperial mother too hard. This time, there must be no risk.

“Your elder brother is right. The battlefield is not a good place. You’re not young anymore; help your imperial father lighten some of his burden.” The empress agreed with the crown prince.

“Fine, fine. Are there any more snacks? It’s really delicious.” Xuan Yuan Han Qi thought of those headaches and quickly changed the subject.

“It would be good when Imperial Mother makes a match for Second Imperial Brother, maybe then it would rein him in a bit.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng said to his imperial mother. In the previous life, his second imperial brother died young, and didn’t have any heirs. This time, he hoped that his younger brother could get marry and have children earlier, and change the fate of his previous life.

“It’s still early. I just looked at a few. Let’s wait for your imperial father to make the decision.” The empress selfishly wanted her second son to get marry later. After all, the eldest son was poisoned now and needed some time to condition his body. It would be bad if the second prince gave birth to a son before the crown prince. She didn’t want there to be any misunderstandings between the two brothers.

At this time, the empress’s Zhou momo led Lin momo, Lin Jia Bao, and Yu Shuang into the main hall, bearing desserts.

As soon as Lin Jia Bao stepped within view, Xuan Yuan Han Cheng kept staring at him, his gaze stuck to his person like glue. Lin Jia Bao kept his head down and did not notice the crown prince’s gaze.

Afraid that someone might see his peculiarity, Xuan Yuan Han Cheng plucked a dessert off the plate that Lin Jia Bao was carrying and put it into his mouth. “Imperial Mother’s palace’s Lin momo really is a gem. Whether it’s pastries or other snacks, they’re all pleasing to the palate. I will miss it if I don’t eat it for a few days!”

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“If you like it, then come to mother’s place more often. It’s not some big deal. Or you could also send Yuan Fu to Lin momo.” The empress was also very satisfied with Lin momo. “Go to Zhou momo for a reward later.”

“Imperial Mother has given a reward, I also can’t be stingy. Yuan Fu…” Yuan Fu responded and went forward to give Lin momo a reward.

Lin momo led Lin Jia Bao and Yu Shuang forward to express thanks.

After, Lin momo, Yu Shuang, and Lin Jia Bao returned to the Royal Snack Kitchen.

“There are rewards today, too. Both the empress and the crown prince gave out rewards.” Lin Jia Bao happily reported the good news.

“Really, so happy, ah! An Zhu, ah, every time you go with Lin momo, there would be a lot of reward! Really lucky.” Yu Ling laughed as she spoke.

“Heehee, not at all. It’s all thanks to Lin momo’s good fortune. His Royal Highness also praised Lin momo today.” Lin Jia Bao was embarrassed by Yu Ling’s words.

Lin momo divided the rewards that she got. The empress had bestowed silver fruits*. Everyone got two. The crown prince had given gold melon seeds*, and everyone got one.

[*T/N: 银果子 yin guo zi and 金瓜子 jin gua zi – literally translates to “silver fruit” and “gold melon seed.” Also, without a number marker, it’s hard to tell if something in Chinese is meant to be singular or plural, so I usually try to guess from context clues.]

The little gold melon seed was made very meticulously. Cradling it in his palm, Lin Jia Bao liked it more and more. This was the third gold melon seed he has received. The past six months have been very fruitful, and his small purse almost could not fit everything.

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Posted in Didn’t Love You Enough

Didn’t Love You Enough 12

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Chapter 12 – Royal Snack Kitchen

Lin momo was making milk cake, and Yu Ling was assisting her. On the side, Lin Jia Bao was observing carefully, seriously recording every step of the process with his memory.

First, separate the egg yolk from the egg white, and then pour in the sugar. Whip the milk without granulated sugar. Then add the milk to the egg yolk and mix well. After whipping egg whites with salt for a while, add sugar in two batches until it foams. Add the egg white into the egg yolk in two portions, and stir quickly and evenly. Brush the buttermilk petal-shaped molds with butter, then pat granulated sugar all around. Pour the custard into the mold until it was eighty percent full. Wipe off the edge of the mold with your thumb. Finally, steam in the steamer for fifteen minutes.

“Do you understand? It’s not difficult; just make it a few more times. This is one of the empress’s favorite snacks, so it’s made often.” Lin momo said to An Zhu.

“En, I remembered everything.” Lin Jia Bao nodded.

Translations are by vmnovels [dot] com, if you’re reading this anywhere else, then it was stolen.

The air of the kitchen was filled with the milky flavor from the milk cake. Very soon, it was done steaming.

Yu Ling took it out and put it on the table to cool. Then she carefully took it out of the mold.

“Be careful when you’re taking it out of the mold. You can’t break it. Something like this, if it’s missing even a petal, it can’t be served on the empress’s table. The shape must be complete and beautiful.” Yu Ling showed him one with a missing petal. “Something that doesn’t look good, like this one, we can only eat it ourselves, haha. Isn’t it great here!” As she spoke, she stuffed the dessert into An Zhu’s mouth.

“Don’t listen to Yu Ling’s nonsense. These ingredients have a quota. If we make too many bad ones, that’s no good.” Lin momo corrected with a smile.

“It so fragrant, so soft, so delicious.” Lin Jia Bao fell in love with this rich milk-scented snack. His eyes curved into happy lines.

Lin Jia Bao was thinking that once he learned the recipe, after leaving the palace, he could make it for his family, and they would love it.

In this way, Lin Jia Bao gradually adapted to life in the palace. He was fortunate to be in the Royal Snack Kitchen. The momo was very kind to him, and the older sister palace maids took good care of him.

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Without realizing it, it has been more than half a year in the palace. In this half a year, he has learned how to make several kinds of snacks.

Lin momo often took him along to deliver snacks to the empress, and on several occasions they received a reward. Sometimes they would even encounter the crown prince and the second prince. His Royal Highness was particularly fond of snacks and he was generous with rewards every time. Lin Jia Bao saved up his rewards and put them in the purse embroidered by his second sister. Every month, he also got one silver piece as the monthly salary. Lin Jia Bao was sure that when he got out of the palace, he would have saved up a lot of money. Then he would go back and build a big house for his family and they would all live together. Just thinking about it made him happy.

“An Zhu, is everything packed yet? Time to go.” Lin momo said.

Lin momo was very satisfied with An Zhu’s well-behaved performance over the past six months. After receiving a tip from that person*, now every time she went to deliver snacks, she would bring An Zhu.

[*T/N: Yuan Fu]

“It’s done, momo.” Lin Jia Bao brought the food box over.

“Good. Yu Shuang will come together with us. Yu Long and Yu Ling stay here.”

Lin momo left a command and then she took Yu Shuang and An Zhu away.

Momo is getting more and more bias now. She takes An Zhu with her to the empress’s place all the time.” Yu Long said jealously. She heard that they would often encounter His Royal Highness and the second prince.

“In any case, it’s good enough that we get a share every time there’s a reward!” Yu Ling thought indifferently. Admittedly, it’s true that she could show her face if she went to the empress, but every time she went she would be trembling with fear and trepidation. It was perfectly good not to go.

Yu Long looked at Yu Ling’s unpromising* attitude and was too lazy to talk to her anymore.

[*T/N: 没出息 mei chu xi – no future prospects, as in, she has no ambitions and therefore won’t ever stand out]

In the main hall of Yong Shou Palace, the empress was talking to her two sons. The empress looked at her two sons, her heart filled with pride.

Translations by Vanilla Muse.

The first prince, Xuan Yuan Han Cheng, as the crown prince, the way he handled affairs was steady and experienced, and the emperor often praised him as a student that surpassed the teacher. The second prince, Xuan Yuan Han Qi, was brave and determined, and was also deeply loved by the emperor. Because of them, her position in the palace was very strong and could not be shaken.

The two brothers were also affection bothers, and Xuan Yuan Han Qi even worshipped his imperial brother.

“Today was so tiring. I’m starving to death. The snacks in imperial mother’s palace are really delicious.” Xuan Yuan Han Qi was straightforward, and he ate the snacks with large bites.

“Look at this child. Eat slower. There are lots. I will have the Royal Snack Kitchen make more.” The empress looked at the second prince lovingly.

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Didn’t Love You Enough 11

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Chapter 11 – Royal Snack Kitchen

After leaving Xi Li Palace Hall, Lin momo carefully looked at Lin An Zhu who followed her. “An Zhu, what is your real name? Where are you from? Where is your family?”

“Replying to momo’s words, this slave’s original name is Lin Jia Bao. I am from Lin Jia Village, which is not far from Pei County.” Lin Jia Bao was now called Lin An Zhu, but he still liked the name that his father and mother gave him. However, Xi momo said that the name An Zhu was elegant and pleasant to the ears.

“Jia Bao, ah. It’s a good name. However, the palace has its own rules, so from now on you can only be called An Zhu.” Lin momo verified the information and confirmed that she didn’t pick the wrong person.

“An Zhu understands,” An Zhu nodded obediently.

“So good and obedient! You don’t have to be afraid. You see, we both have the surname Lin, so it counts as a type of fate. We are now going to the Royal Snack Kitchen in Yong Shou Palace. It’s a place dedicated to making desserts for the empress. The daily work is not much. There are also three palace maids who will work with you there. They are all easy to get along with.”

Translations are by vmnovels [dot] com, if you’re reading this anywhere else, then it was stolen.

Momo, I will study hard and do things seriously.” Lin Jia Bao looked up with his small face.

“En, good child.” Lin momo touched the top of his head.

Lin momo led Lin Jia Bao along the long palace road, and they arrived at the kitchen area of the Royal Snack Kitchen.

“Lin momo, you’re back.” Yu Long stepped forward and looked at Lin Jia Bao, who was behind Lin momo.

Momo, momo, is this a newcomer?” Yu Ling asked curiously.

“Yes, this is palace attendant, An Zhu, a new addition to our Royal Snack Kitchen.” Lin momo introduced Lin Jia Bao. “This is Yu Shuang, Yu Long, and Yu Ling.”

“Nice to meet you, Yu Shuang jie jie. Nice to meet you, Yu Long jie jie. Nice to meet you, Yu Ling jie jie.” Lin Jia Bao greeted them one by one.

[*T/N: jie jie means “older sister,” doesn’t have to be blood related, can be used as a courtesy towards any older female]

“Haha, I’m finally not the youngest anymore. An Zhu, how old are you, ah?” Yu Ling asked.

“Twelve years old.” Lin Jia Bao looked at Yu Ling with his big eyes.

“Twelve years old, ah. You’re so small and cute, ah! Ya, you also have dimples,” Yu Ling said and pinched the small face.

“All right now, don’t bully the newcomer, go and do work, ba. Yu Shuang, you first take An Zhu to his room to put his things down and get settle in,” Lin momo said to Yu Shuang.


Yu Shuang took Lin Jia Bao out of the kitchen and came to the residences in the back. He was taken to a single room. “This will be your room from now on. Put your things away first. Then take a look to see if there’s anything missing and let me know, okay?”

Lin Jia Bao looked at his new room. The room was not big, but it was clean. There was a small bed and a wardrobe in the room. Near the window, there was a table and a chair. There were beautiful patterns on these furniture, everything was complete, and the bedding was also new.

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Lin Jia Bao looked and said happily, “The room is very good, there is nothing missing.”

“Then put your thing away and I will take you around to get familiar with the environment,” Yu Shuang said. She also liked how cute and obedient An Zhu was.

After getting familiar with the new surroundings, Lin Jia Bao took lunch with Lin momo and the others. The lunch here was very sumptuous, there was one non-vegetarian dish and three vegetarian dishes, and the flavor was also very good.

“We have a kitchen here. We go to the big kitchen to pick up the ingredients and come back here to cook it. Unlike some palaces, where their dishes are all cold by the time they get them.” Yu Ling said proudly.

“An Zhu, eat some more, ah.” Yu Shuang picked up some meat slices and gave them to An Zhu.

“En en, thank you, Yu Shuang jie jie.” Lin Jia Bao expressed his thanks with bulging cheeks.

Everyone saw this cute appearance of his and smiled.

In the afternoon, Lin Jia Bao entered the Royal Snack Kitchen. After washing his hands clean, he stayed on the side watching Lin momo make snacks.

Lin momo had him watch first. She explained to him what she was doing while she worked.

Yu Long pulled Yu Shuang off to one side. “Look, it’s only An Zhu’s first day here and you’re already below him in comparison.”

Yu Long was already jealous of Yu Shuang who received Lin momo’s hands-on teaching to learn how to make snacks, but what could she do, Yu Shuang’s talent for making snacks was better than her, so in the end she was respectful.

Translations by Vanilla Muse.

But why did this ger child get everyone’s fondness on his first day here? Lin momo also attached great importance to him. An Zhu’s face was becoming offensive to her eyes.

Yu Shuang knew of Yu Long’s competitive nature and ignored her attempt at provocation. She just concentrated on doing her own thing.

Seeing Yu Shuang ignore her, Yu Long harrumphed.

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Didn’t Love You Enough 10

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Chapter 10 – Royal Snack Kitchen

Early the next morning, Lin momo got up. Xi Li Palace Hall was far away from here, so she had to manage her time well.

“Lin momo, you got up so early today!” Yu Shuang had woken up earlier, and seeing Lin momo she went over to salute her.

“Yeah. Today the palace is appointing the newcomers to their new positions. I’m going to bring one back. My legs are slow, so it’s better to go early,” Lin momo said. She received such a large sum of money yesterday. If something went wrong, she wouldn’t know how to explain to that person.

“Newcomer? Didn’t you say you weren’t planning to recruit anyone this year?” Yu Shuang asked.

Lin momo thought about it, and in the end she decided to tell Yu Shuang. “You saw yesterday, Yuan Fu gong gong came to see me. In fact, he asked me to help him take care of his distant relative. He wanted the boy to come here. Yuan Fu is the crown prince’s favorite; it’s not good for me to refuse him. This matter, it’s enough that you alone know it, don’t tell anyone else, and help this momo take care of the child.”

“Got it, momo, I won’t blab.” Yu Shuang also knew that Lin momo trusted her. “Momo, did you have breakfast yet?”

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“There’s not enough time. Let’s talk about it when I come back. Yu Shuang, help me sort out the single room next to my room, and replace all the bedding with new ones. This time it’s a ger palace attendant, so it’s not convenient for him to live with you girls.” Yu Shuang, Yu Long, and Yu Ling all lived in the same room. Their room still had one more bed space, but it was obviously not suitable for them to live together.

“Yes. Then, momo, go quickly, ba. I’ll get everything in order.”

It was just past seven a.m. when Lin momo got to Xi Li Palace Hall. Along the way, she didn’t dare to stop.

“Lin momo, why did you come over?” Xi momo stepped forward to support her. She recognized Lin momo.

“I, ah, knew that the people here were instructed by Xi momo, so I came to select one to bring back with me. It’s gotten a bit busy over there and we can’t handle the workload. The newcomers instructed by you are sure to be good.” Lin momo praised Xi momo.

“Haha, who doesn’t know about you Lin momo. You could’ve sent someone over with the message and I would directly send the new person over. There was no need for you to make the trip.” Xi momo knew that Lin momo worked in the empress’s palace. She did not dare to offend her, and quickly laughed with her. “We haven’t started to distribute people yet. How about you pick first, Lin momo?”

“Sorry for the inconvenience, haha.” Lin momo was also polite. She looked at the three lines of palace attendants behind Xi momo.

Lin Jia Bao was small, so he was in the first row. Those big watery eyes and pair of dimples were easy to recognize.

Translations are by vmnovels [dot] com, if you’re reading this anywhere else, then it was stolen.

Xi momo saw that Lin momo kept looking at Lin Jia Bao. “Lin momo’s place is a good destination. It’s a blessing to be selected.”

Lin momo pointed at Lin Jia Bao’s row. “You children, state your name and age.”

“An Ping, let’s start with you,” Xi momo said to the first child in that row.

It was Lin Jia Bao’s turn very soon. “This slave is Lin An Zhu, twelve years old this year.” Lin Jia Bao was now renamed Lin An Zhu. Their group were all renamed with “An” in their names.

“Also surnamed Lin, what a coincidence! Can you cook?” Lin momo asked.

“Replying to momo, I know a little.” Lin Jia Bao answered.

“Haha, then this one, ba. Let’s not take any longer to choose, I have already delayed you for so long, Xi momo. Why don’t you continue assigning their posts?” Lin momo waved her hand for Lin Jia Bao to come over.

“No problem, no delay at all. Does Lin momo want to pick another one?” Xi momo asked with good intentions.

“No need. I still have things to do at my place, so I will go back now. You are busy, thank you.” Lin momo waved her hand.

“Lin momo please walk slowly*.” Xi momo recorded Lin An Zhu’s destination and then had him follow Lin momo away.

[*T/N: “please walk slowly” – a polite phrase to say to someone departing; not literally telling them to walk slowly]

The remaining palace attendants watched them leave with envy and jealousy.

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Posted in Didn’t Love You Enough

Didn’t Love You Enough 9

T/N: I honestly did not realize how “Royal Snack Kitchen” might sound when I was translating. Lol. I got a good suggestion, which was “Royal Delicacies Kitchen.” Now if that doesn’t sound fancy, then I don’t know what does, but more of you seem to enjoy the name “Royal Snack Kitchen,” because it’s funny (?), so I’m going to stick to that going forward. >∀<

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Chapter 9 – Entering the Palace

“Then I will take it as you agreeing! Haha, Lin momo, you really helped me out a lot this time.” Yuan Fu excitedly told Lin momo about Lin Jia Bao’s situation.

“My relative is very obedient and sensible. From now on, I will have to trouble Lin momo to look after him more,” Yuan Fu said, drawing a brocade box from his chest and handing it to Lin momo. “I heard that Lin momo’s birthday is next month. This is just my small regard. Don’t reject it, momo.”

Translations by Vanilla Muse.

“Aiyo, gong gong, you are really too polite. Rest assured, I will take good care of him.” Lin momo accepted the gift with a smile.

The two spoke for a bit more. Then Lin momo and Yuan Fu returned to the kitchen.

“Lin momo, the kidney bean cake is ready, please take a look.” The oldest subordinate under Lin momo, Yu Shuang, handed the cake over to Lin momo for inspection.

Lin momo looked at the shape and took a taste. She nodded. “Well done.” Then she gave Yuan Fu a few bites to try out.

“It is precisely this flavor. It’s so delicious. Lin momo teaches well. It’s really a blessing to work under you,” Yuan Fu praised strongly.

Lin momo was also very proud. Yu Shuang was her capable assistant, and has learned about seventy to eighty percent of her skills.

After that, Yuan Fu packed the snacks in a food box, and went back to report on his task.

As soon as Yuan Fu left, the other two palace maids also gathered around. “Momo is so awesome. Even His Royal Highness remembers the desserts from our Royal Snack Kitchen!” said the youngest and liveliest maid, Yu Ling.

“That’s right! We are blessed to follow Lin momo and learn how to make desserts,” the somewhat older, Yu Long, also flattered.

Naturally, Lin momo was happy to hear this. “All right, you. I say your mouths are the sweetest. Quickly go and do work, ba.”

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At night, Lin momo returned to her room and opened the brocade box. Inside the box was a jade pendant. The jade was good quality, and carved on it were the words qing song and shou*. The craftsmanship was very delicate. Lin momo played with the jade pendant in her hands. She liked it so much that she didn’t want to put it down.

[*T/N: 青松 qing song = pine tree; 寿 shou = longevity]

Beneath the jade pendant was a folded square of banknote. Lin momo thought that this Yuan Fu was really thoughtful.

When she unfolded the banknote, her eyes widened into saucers. Unexpectedly, the denomination of the banknote was ten thousand silvers. This really gave her a fright.

So much money, ah!

Lin momo thought that this wasn’t so simple as taking care of Yuan Fu’s distant relative… thinking of who was behind Yuan Fu… oh dear! She already agreed, so she could only comply accordingly.

Lin momo carefully put the money away and went to sleep early. She planned to go early next morning to Xi Li Palace Hall to receive the person. She dared not tarry.

Inside Xi Li Palace Hall, in the room that Lin Jia Bao was staying at, everyone was discussing where they would be assigned tomorrow.

“I say, if we were assigned to the palace of some favored lady, then our lives would be a bit better,” a ger child said.

“How can there be such a good thing? I heard that many places don’t want ger palace attendants to serve them. Moreover, the emperor loves the empress, in that case, it wouldn’t be good to enter Yong Shou Palace,” another ger child retorted.

Translations are by vmnovels [dot] com, if you’re reading this anywhere else, then it was stolen.

“Yeah, I inquired from the gong gong in charge, we are most likely to go to the Labor Bureau, the Carpentry Bureau, and the Imperial Kitchen.”

“If I can go work at the crown prince’s East Palace, then that would be great,” said a delicate looking ger. “I stole a glance that time, His Royal Highness was handsome, and his voice was gentle.”

“His Royal Highness, ah…” A ger child lowered his voice in a mysterious manner. “I heard Xi momo chatting with a few gong gongs, and they said a palace maid accidentally bumped into His Royal Highness, and was immediately beaten to death.”

[T/N: They’re talking about Bi Zhu. XP]

“Really? So frightful.” Everyone present unconsciously thought of the bloody scene they had witnessed on the first day they entered the palace. “Really frightful…”

“I say, it’s better to go to the Imperial Kitchen, there are a lot of delicious things,” another ger said.

“Haha, you only know how to eat…” Everyone laughed, and their worries and fears about the next day dissipated a lot.

Lin Jia Bao thought silently before going to bed, hoping that God would bless him. No matter what, please don’t assign him to His Royal Highness’s palace.

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