Chapter 46 – Meeting
The head of the guards then looked at the roster again, “The people from Yong Shou Palace have all been released, what is the name of your younger brother?”
“My younger brother’s name in the palace is Lin An Zhu. May I trouble sir guard to help us check again?” Lin Jia Wen asked.
“Lin An Zhu… there is no such name in the Yong Shou Palace roster. Could you have remembered incorrectly?” The head of the guards showed them the page with the list of names from Yong Shou Palace.
Lin Jia Wen scanned the page quickly, and indeed his brother’s name was not there. He felt very anxious. How could they not have his younger brother’s name? Lin Jia Bao clearly wrote in the letter that he was a servant working in the Yong Shou Palace of the empress.
The head of the guards thought for a while and said to them, “Maybe he was transferred to another palace again. Wait a bit more. In a moment there will be more servants from the palace coming out.” He hasn’t heard of any palace servants being punished lately, but the name Lin An Zhu was somewhat familiar, as if he had heard it from somewhere.
Lin Da Zhuang and the other two could only thank him and wait to the side when they heard this. The three of them felt a little uneasy.
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After a while, they saw a little eunuch run to the gate of the palace and show a palace token to the head of the guards. After that, he said a few more words, and then the head of the guards pointed towards the place where Lin Da Zhuang and them were standing. Then they saw the little eunuch running towards them.
“Are you three Lin An Zhu’s family members?” Yuan Qing asked them, still panting for air.
“We are Lin An Zhu’s family. May I ask if something has happened to delay my younger brother?” Lin Jia Wen asked Yuan Qing.
“Yes, yes, the three of you please come with me. This isn’t the right place to talk.” Yuan Qing said vaguely. He motioned for Lin Da Zhuang and the other two to follow him.
Lin Da Zhuang’s group had some doubts in their hearts, so they followed Yuan Qing. After that, Yuan Qing took them to a large restaurant. Yuan Qing showed a small token* to the shopkeeper, and then the shopkeeper greeted them and took them to Heaven Room No. 1.
[*T/N: 令牌 ling pai – a wooden or metal token of authority in ancient times]
Heaven Room No. 1 was very large, and it comprised of an inner and outer room. In the outer room there was a large round table that could seat ten people. The inner room was for meeting guests. The decoration was exquisite and elegant, and the furnishing was beautiful. At a glance, one could tell that famous artists drew the paintings and calligraphy hanging on the wall.
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After Yuan Qing invited the three of them to take a seat, Lin Jia Wen couldn’t hold it in anymore and asked again: “This gonggong, why did you bring us here?”
“This little one is Yuan Qing from the crown prince’s East Palace. Please don’t worry, you will see Lin-xiaozhu very soon.” Yuan Qing said gently and politely.
“Lin-xiaozhu?” Lin Da Zhuang, Lin Jia Wen, and Qin Kai Xing were all so shocked when they heard this that they couldn’t help exclaiming.
“The three of you must not know yet, on the fifth day of the last month, Her Majesty bestowed Lin An Zhu, Lin-xiaozhu, as a xiaoshi to His Royal Highness. Lin-xiaozhu has ascended into the royal family, so isn’t he a xiaozhu (little master) now? Pei County of Xu Province is far away, so the news has been delayed. I am afraid that side has not been notified of the news yet.” Yuan Qing explained.
Lin Da Zhuang and the other two were so shocked when they heard this news from Yuan Qing.
“How come? How could this happen? Jia Bao is too young! This…” Lin Da Zhuang stood up out of control. His darling ger actually became the crown prince’s xiaoshi. Lin Da Zhuang didn’t feel happy about it, instead he was very sad. It could be said that the crown prince could not compare to normal people, but the xiaoshi was actually equivalent to a tongfang* in a wealthy household.
[*T/N: 通房 tong fang – a maidservant that sleeps with the master of the house. Her room is often close to the master’s to facilitate serving him at night. She might be considered the most favored maid due to the location of her room, but she has no status and is not even considered a concubine.]
Alas… the crown prince was the future emperor, who would have a harem of three thousand women, how could Jia Bao’s life be good in the future… why was Jia Bao’s life so bitter…
Translations by Vanilla Muse.
Both Lin Jia Wen and Qin Kai Xing’s hearts were also in turmoil. Lin Jia Wen recalled what Qian Qing Kun had told him about the crown prince, but he had laughed it off at that time and didn’t take it to heart. Unexpectedly, that xiaoshi was his younger brother. His younger brother just passed fourteen years old and he was so young. He looked lovely and cute, but it was certainly not the kind that stood out compared to all the different kinds of beauties in the palace.
His younger brother has always been naïve and kindhearted. He also didn’t know how to scheme. Even in common families, wives and concubines would fight endlessly for favor, so there was no need to talk about the imperial family who was at the top of the power pyramid. How could he adapt to a life of palace intrigue in the future? Lin Jia Wen was deeply worried about this.
Qin Kai Xing was also shocked. He didn’t think that his ger brother-in-law would have such good luck, to gain the attention of the empress and the crown prince. But when he thought of Lin Jia Bao’s temperament, he was also very worried.