Consort of a Thousand Faces

CHAPTER 24 (1): VERY INTERESTED
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CHAPTER 24 (1): VERY INTERESTED

The head imperial guard was a robust man. The expression in his eyes carried disdain as he scanned through the crowd palace maids. In a rough voice, he announced, “The previous Old-Maidservant-In-Charge of the Palace Side Quarters disregarded the palace rules and meted out private punishment. She was unable to endure thirty planks and has just recently stopped breathing. After repeated considerations, the Imperial Household Department[1] has decided to send Old Maidservant Liu to manage the Palace Side Quarters.”

Old Maidservant Liu? The expression in the palace maids’ eyes was inscrutable. Which Old Maidservant Liu? There are many old maidservants with the surname ‘Liu’ in the palace.

Su Xi-er remained unruffled and silently observed the reactions of the palace maids around her.

“Among the old maidservants, Old Maidservant Liu is the most senior. She is the reigning emperor’s wet nurse,” the imperial guard informed them loudly.

Su Xi-er found this matter to be unfathomable. A veteran old maidservant won’t be assigned to the Palace Side Quarters. Besides, Old Maidservant Liu is even His Majesty’s wet nurse.

Even if His Majesty’s biological mother isn’t the Empress Dowager, he still has to nominally call her ‘Mother Empress’. Regardless of how small His Majesty’s power is, he can still protect his wet nurse, right?

“Old Maidservant Liu will come later. All of you better stand deferentially!” The imperial guard’s tone turned stern as he spoke forcefully.

The palace maids trembled in fear. After all, it is His Majesty’s wet nurse!

Everyone lowered their heads and stood in the middle of the courtyard as they waited silently. It wasn’t long before an hour had already passed, with many of the palace maids losing strength in their legs.

When the imperial guard wasn’t paying attention, Su Xi-er took the opportunity to look at the palace gate. She immediately spotted someone wearing a dark purple old maidservant’s palace attire.

The old maidservants in the Palace Side Quarters were required to wear a dark yellow old maidservant’s attire but Old Maidservant Liu came donned in a purple palace attire.

As Old Maidservant Liu slowly approached, Su Xi-er saw her face clearly.

She wasn’t as tall as Old Maidservant Zhao, and her chin was sharp. She didn’t have a stern demeanour, and her whole body was exuding with benevolence.

Although Old Maidservant Liu’s was hobbling with a bad leg, there were no palace maids beside her to support her.

“Audacious palace maid! You dare to look straight at Old Maidservant Liu!” The imperial guard immediately walked to Su Xi-er and lambasted her loudly. He raised his hand and was about to deliver a slap when a gentle voice sounded out.

“Hold on.” There was a smile at the corner of Old Maidservant Liu’s mouth. “It’s just a palace maid. There’s no need to hit her. Furthermore, it’s normal for her to be curious about the newly-appointed old maidservant.”

The imperial guard glared at Su Xi-er fiercely before he paid his greetings to Old Maidservant Liu respectfully. “Old Maidservant Liu, in the future, we will have to request you to supervise the Palace Side Quarters.”

“Eunuch Zhang from the Imperial Household Department has instructed me with the task. I will definitely do my utmost.”

“That would be great then. This subordinate will go back and report to Eunuch Zhang.” Right afterwards, the imperial guard left with his few subordinates.

Su Xi-er raised her head again to glance at Old Maidservant Liu. As it turned out, Old Maidservant Liu was also looking at her.

“You are...?” Old Maidservant Liu stopped in front of her and asked gently.

“This servant is Su Xi-er.”

“So you are Su Xi-er. What do you do in the Palace Side Quarters?” Old Maidservant Liu didn’t put on the airs of an old-maidservant-in-charge at all.

Su Xi-er furrowed her brow slightly before her expression immediately turned back to normal. Since she knows my name, she should also know what I do in the Palace Side Quarters. Why is she still asking me?

Standing beside Su Xi-er was Hong Li. She felt that Old Maidservant Liu was someone who was very easy to get along. Thus, she raised her head boldly and answered on Su Xi-er’s behalf.

“Reporting to Old Maidservant, she scrubs the chamber pots.”

“Oh?” Old Maidservant Liu raised her eyebrow and laughed. “To have such a beautiful woman scrubbing the chamber pots all day is a pity.”

Afterwards, she reached out her hand and raised Su Xi-er’s chin, sizing her up meticulously, “Future beauty, how old are you?”

Her question had inadvertently jabbed Su Xi-er’s weakness. I don’t know the real age of this body.

1. It basically manages the internal affairs within the palace.

A short Wikipedia page if you are interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_Household_Department

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