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…