Hui Xue brought her into a room. This room was one in which three people slept into together. The arrangement was extremely simple. It was far far worse than the little room she had as a siqin. But, she was actually very pleased. She placed her thin blanket on the bed. When she looked back, she saw that Hui Xue was still standing by the door.
“Look. You are also a smart person, so why are always so stubborn; always offending his highness? This place is not comparable to doing things in his highness’s qin manor. You will probably have a lot of hardships here. If there is anything, you can have someone find me. If I can, I will help you!” When Hui Xue finished speaking, she turned and left.
“Newcomer, why are you not starting to work yet!” Someone in the courtyard yelled loudly.
When Hua Zhu Yu heard, she stood up and walked into the courtyard to wash clothes. Hua Zhu Yu had actually had a lot of harships before, and so she didn’t feel very affected by rough labor. However, she didn’t think that they would have to wash all the way until morning. She hadn’t rested in the room very much before new work came.
This type of having to wash clothes day and night was indeed very hard to bear. No matter how tiring the labor is people should still be allowed to sleep. However, even if she was tired, Hua Zhu Yu felt that this better than having to serve Xiao Yin. Additionally, she had already planned out her escape. She had heard from the other clothes washers that in a couple of days, Xiao Yin’s wet nurse, Bai Ma furen,‘s birthday was coming up.
It is rumored that Xiao Yin’s mother had died very early. At that time, Xiao Yin’s father was busy fighting and had no time to take care of him. Starting from when he was seven, Bai Ma furen had took care of him. And so, Xiao Yin respected her a lot. Every year when Bai Ma furen‘s birthday came, Xiao Yin would always prepare a great feast for her to celebrate.
Hua Zhu Yu wanted to use the opportunity when there was a lot of guests to escape. This time was not as good at the army camp – there was no place to hide. However, once she left the Taizi residence, she would first find a place to hide. In a place as a big as the capital, it wouldn’t be easy for Xiao Yin to find her.
The days passed by very quickly. On this very day, the residence was filled with colors and decorations. However, the day was already getting late. By dusk, the vast and dark clouds covered the sky and prevented the light of sunset from getting through.
This day was coincidentally also the day in which Hua Zhu Yu had to send the clothes to the other courtyards. For Hua Zhu Yu, this was a great opportunity. She could use the moment in which she was sending the clothes to leave.
However, although Hua Zhu Yu had planned her escape well, other people had also planned for her to fall into a trap.
In the early morning, Hua Zhu Yu had originally decided that when she finished sending the clothes, when it was still quite dark, to leave. However, when she she had pushed the clothes cart to Mei Courtyard, one of the wheels of the cart had rolled out. The whole cart fell on the ground as a couple clothes were scattered over the ground. There was also a light red Yunjin Palace uniform that got torn apart. It was obvious that someone had purposefully did something to the cart to make it fall over. It seemed that even if she was a little clothes washer, there was still people who didn’t want to forgive her.
The one who lived in Mei Courtyard was Mei Na. When the couple of servant girls at the doorway had seen the events, they immediately went inside to report. Mei Na came out and when she saw Hua Zhu Yu, her lips broke into a cold smile.
“Aiya! Furen, your clothes…are ripped!” One of the servant girls said as they picked up the light red Yunjin Palace uniform.
Mei Na’s face was filled with happiness as she walked in front of Hua Zhu Yu and reached out her delicate jade-like hand and pointed at Hua Zhu Yu, saying: “In the couple days that I have not seen you, your hands had become this rough. Working in the washing room is hard, right?”
“That matter, is it you who did it?” Hua Zhu Yu had originally not been sure whether it was Mei Na or Xue Ji who had framed her, however after hearing Mei Na’s tone of voice today, she was sure that it was Mei Na.
The corners of Mei Na’s lips lifted slightly as she proudly said: “So what if it is me? You can’t do anything to me.” Her eyes then landed on the ripped robe, “However the event today was just something lucky. How did you specifically rip apart benfuren‘s robe? I had originally decided to wear this when benfuren was going to go to his highness’s room. His highness had specifically made then for benfuren and it is impossible to find a second. You vile servant! Even as a small clothes washer, you had done an ignoble act and had harmed benfuren. Without this Yunjin robe, what does benfuren wear tonight? Lairen, take this vile servant to the firewood room, and viciously hit her 20 times with big boards!”
Her anger was not faked. It was obvious that she looked highly upon this robe. The event today was something that she had not done.
“Stop!” Hua Zhu yu coldly said, “Mei Na furen, this robe had obviously been tinkered with. Someone wants to frame this servant. Mei Na furen, don’t be used by someone else.”
Mei Na’s expression changed, she grit her teeth as she said: “Fine, I’ll let you off for now. Bring her to the firewood room and watch ever here. When benfuren has already reported this to his highness, then you may punish her!”
A couple guards instantly pulled Hua Zhu Yu into the firewood room.。
She was currently only a little servant girl and so anyone could punish her. No wonder Hui Xue had told her that working in the washing room was not as good as in Xiao Yin’s qin manor.
The firewood room was cold yet also humid. The inside was piled with firewood and also old and broken chairs. There was only one window yet it had already been nailed closed by wooden planks. Strangely shaped instruments of torture were hanging on the walls of the firewood room. It seemed like this was where they always punished servants who made mistakes – like a little torture room.
She didn’t know whether or not she could escape.
Hua Zhu Yu stood up, moved a worn-out chair next to the windowsill, and then stood on the chair and pushed the window. It was nailed very tightly and didn’t moved at all. She immediately felt quite depressed. The chair beneath her suddenly tilted and collapsed. Hua Zhu Yu fell heavily onto the ground, bringing up a layer of dust.
Just at this time, she heard the lock on the door sound and then the door opened. As she looked out she could see that the sky wasn’t dark, yet the sky carried numerous clouds as though it was going to rain very soon. Two guards quickly walked over and coldly said: “His highness ordered that as you ripped Mei Na furen‘s robe you would be punished heavily. However, today is Bai Ma furen‘s birthday and doesn’t want to see blood. And so, you will be punished with three days without food. After three days, you will then be punished.” When they finished speaking, they locked the door and left.
In the quiet night, the melodious sound of sizhu distantly sounded. She leaned on the wall and only felt herself begin to become hungry. She probably couldn’t last three days. She needed to find a way to escape.
She held her breath to listen to the conversation of the guards outside.
“I heard that the South Kingdom’s Hua Mu had an accident. Did you know?” One of the guards quietly asked.
“How would I not know? If it is him, we will most definitely win in the next battle with the South Kingdom. Now that he has been punished with the death of his whole family, South Kingdom has lost a general, which to our North Kingdom is delightful event.” The other guard cheerfully said.
Along with their conversation, a flash of lightning tore open the dense dark clouds. The sound of thunder and the rhythm of rain soon followed after.
The arid North Kingdom had actually rained in early spring.