Vanilla Muse: I waffled back and forth and in the end decided to stick with the familiar term: ger. Thanks to everyone who chimed in with their opinions, and for all the sweet comments you left. (^ω^)
Chapter 7 – Entering the Palace
Yuan Fu finds that His Royal Highness has been really strange these days, especially today.
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After morning court, His Royal Highness did not deal with government affairs, but instead sat in the inner study room lost in thought for half a day*. His expression looked so… joyful. So… excited.
[*T/N: Not literally half a day. It’s an expression that means for “a long time,” although that could potentially be half a day… lol.]
His Royal Highness was even stranger in the afternoon. He did not go to the northern barracks. Instead, he took Yuan Fu around with him and went all over the Palace.
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And the more they went around the palace, the more remote the trails became.
The sky gradually got dark. “Your Royal Highness, where is it that you want to go?” If they kept going like this, they would end up all the way at Wai Wu Gong*.
[*T/N: Based on the names I think Wai Wu Suo 外五所 might be a department within Wai Wu Gong 外五宫, and Wai Wu Suo is the place where the newcomers got screened when they first entered the palace.]
At this time, a group of people wearing blue robes was walking towards their direction. Xuan Yuan Han Cheng saw the color of the robes and happiness sparked in his heart.
Xuan Yuan Han Cheng stepped forward quickly, and Yuan Fu hastened to follow.
Xi mo mo was leading a group of palace attendants and walking along the road to the palace. From a distance, she saw two people coming towards them.
The one in the lead was wearing a purple robe with gold stitched plackets*. There was a eunuch following behind. On a closer look, wasn’t that the crown prince’s eunuch, Yuan Fu, from the East Palace?
[*T/N: The official description of his clothes is 襟口缀着金边的绛紫色常服 but I couldn’t be 100% certain of anything except for the color portion ORZ ]
Then the person in the lead must be… “Greetings to His Royal Highness!” Xi mo mo stepped forward and knelt down in salute.
As Xi mo mo knelt down, Lin Jia Bao and the others behind him also hurried to kneel.
“You are…? Where are you getting ready to go to?” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng asked Xi mo mo, but his eyes were searching for something behind her.
Very soon Xuan Yuan Han Cheng found the person that he was yearning for day and night. Lin Jia Bao was wearing a blue palace attendant uniform, just kneeling over there. Xuan Yuan Han Cheng clenched his fists and restrained himself from stepping forward.
Translations by Vanilla Muse.
Lin Jia Bao was only twelve years old, and his face was still childish. Wearing the large palace attendant uniform, he looked extraordinarily petite. His treasure’s complexion was not good, and he had his head lowered. From his angle, Xuan Yuan Han Cheng could vaguely make out two very small dimples on Lin Jia Bao’s face. Truly adorable!
[T/N: XYHC often refers to LJB as 宝贝 bao bei, which can be translated as “baby” or “treasure.” Both translation works, so I will be using them interchangeably.]
“Replying to His Royal Highness, this old slave is Xi mo mo from Wai Wu Gong. Today is the day that new palace servants enter the palace. The people behind me are the palace attendants that entered the palace this time. The number of people entering the palace this time is comparatively large. They don’t fit in Wai Wu Gong. This old slave is preparing to bring them to Xi Li Palace Hall to get them settled.”
“All rise, ba*.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng’s eyes were fixed on Lin Jia Bao. “Quickly take them to go get settled, ba.”
[*T/N: 吧 ba – it looks silly in English, but it holds nuance in Chinese that is hard to translate. It’s placed at the end of a sentence to indicate suggestion or surmise, which softens the overall sentence. So a sentence that looks like an order or a command at first actually has a slight undertone of suggestion to it. It can roughly be translated as “…right? / …okay? / …I presume.” I try to use the English variations whenever possible, but sometimes it just doesn’t fit, so I leave it as “ba.”]
Xuan Yuan Han Cheng took another glance, reluctant to part, and then left quickly. If he didn’t leave right away, he was afraid that he would really hug Lin Jia Bao excitedly. He didn’t want to scare him.
“Xi Li Palace Hall, ah…” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng whispered happily.
Yuan Fu was really puzzled by His Royal Highness’s expression. Just now, His Royal Highness’s eyes were fixedly staring at that group of palace attendants. Could it be that he took a liking to someone?
Yuan Fu thought about it and then shook his head. He didn’t see anyone that was particularly beautiful just now, and these palace attendants were very young and haven’t grown up yet. He must be thinking too much.
Lin Jia Bao and the other palace attendants followed Xi mo mo and memorized the rules of the palace every morning. In the afternoon, they learned behaviors and manners.
Almost all the people who came to the palace were illiterate. They could only depend on their memory to note down the rules of the palace. And they also had to remember the paths within the palace, such as how to get to the Clothing Bureau, how to get to the Imperial Kitchen, and other such places. These were all things that they must remember. In addition to that, they also needed to know which places prohibited entry, and other such taboos within the palace.
This was not difficult for Lin Jia Bao. His big brother taught him some words. As long as he was diligent, he could learn these things by heart. When reciting the rules, he was a bit faster than the others.
Etiquette and behavior were more difficult for them. They had to walk with bowed heads, tucked in chests, and lowered eyes, and be silent. They also had to pay attention to making salutes and kowtows.
When speaking, they had to speak clearly and concisely. The volume could not be too high or too low. The speed of speech should be steady, not fast or slow.
They also had to learn how to make tea, practicing how to brew tea and how to deliver water. Their movements must be swift and efficient, but they must also be light. When putting the cup on the plate, they must not make a sound, and the tea could not be spilled.
Lin Jia Bao learned all this very conscientiously, and practiced hundreds of times a day.