Although we were in a privately owned shop, we didn’t know if any customers here were actually working for the Royal family, so everyone chided her. They feared they would be branded as traitors in the country, so they quickly clamped down on her mouth.
I honestly thought they didn’t have to go through such lengths to silence her. I wanted to hear what she had to say, so I thought up another way.
“Why don’t you just replace their names with aliases?” I suggested. “In that way, those who would happen to eavesdrop won’t know. Talk in a way where you don’t implicate the royal family.”
“That’s a good idea.” Everyone agreed.
So we made this:
Emperor – Boy 1
Empress – Girl 1
Crown prince – Boy 2
Imperial concubine – Girl 2
Second prince (son of Imperial concubine) – Boy 3
I lamented on our lack of creativity. (Author: just imagine the following conversations as using the designated aliases. I’m using their original names to avoid confusion).
“I honestly don’t know where all our money goes to! Do we pay taxes just so it lines the pockets of the second prince?” Lin whispered roughly. She was always the first one to speak her mind in any matters, and she was also the founder of The Merry Wives. After seeing me in the marketplace eleven years ago when I had trouble with the wailing Jin in my arms, she decided to befriend me the next day.
“Why? What about the second prince?” I asked.
“He’s a cavorting dandy! He goes out almost every night, and no one knows where he goes to!” Luli exclaimed, clenching her white fists. Luli was a petite mother of two, yet her innocent face belied the raging dragon beneath.
“I heard he’s an accomplished master of the realms?” Dandan said. She had always been the gentle woman in the group, and would always insert a nice comment here and there, despite the flames of opposition.
“Is he really?” Meifen scoffed as she bit into her read bean bun. “They say he’s in the Xian profound realm, but I bet he’s still at Nascent realm!”
“And you? What are you? A practitioner?” Luli teased. Although some commoners had the innate talent to become practitioners, almost all practitioners in the country were from the nobility. Only the children of the nobility had access to cultivation methods, and it was rare to find a commoner child breaking through even the first stage without someone with cultivating knowledge helping them.
The amount of opened meridians in the body also affected the pace of ones ease in sensing spiritual energy. Among the 12 meridians, 11 opened meridians were the highest one person had achieved in the Capital. Offsprings from noble clans had opened meridians ranging from 5-11, and commoners mostly had 1-4 meridians opened. It was unfortunate that people of high birth discriminated the commoners due to this fact.
Since commoners were well-known to have trash meridians, they were constantly looked down upon by the clans. I didn’t know why no one ever thought of a method to forcefully open locked meridians. It was quite easy to circulate your own energy and find the spots. It was either the nobles didn’t want their power to be overtaken, or that they were stupid. Or perhaps it was both.
“My friend who works at the palace actually confirmed he was at the middle Xian profound realm,” Dandan added shyly.
No one refuted what she said, and they latched on to another subject: the Imperial concubine.
Ting arrived at our table with two boxes of black bean buns. She was a mother who loved eating during her spare time, and she always bought two to five boxes of assorted buns every time we held our meetings.
“Sorry I’m late!” Her round face flushed as she sat down abruptly, her stomach jiggling. “I had to wait for my kids to sleep before coming here. You know how they are.” All the mothers nodded in sympathy. The remaining four members were also preoccupied with housework, so they could not join today’s meeting.
“Anyway, don’t you think the Imperial concubine is very beautiful?” Meifen said with a jealous face. “It’s no wonder the Emperor dotes on her so! Even to the point of disregarding the Empress! How cruel!”
After we filled Ting in with the aliases, she became interested in today’s topic. She started stuffing her face with buns and her eyes turned round when she heard what Meifen had said.
“The imperial concubine doesn’t look ordinary that’s why!” Ting licked the crumbs off her lips. “I saw her with the Emperor a year ago at the Flying Lotus competition, and she looked like the sun goddess!”
“Me too! I saw her that day too! Her hair was so long and looked like it was made of gold!” Lin could not help but gush.
“I heard she was from a country in the West,” Meifen added. “Many people from that country have extraordinary hair and eye color.”
After hearing that, I thought it felt vaguely familiar, but I just could not make out why. After thinking it through, the realization hit me like a gust of cold wind.
“Does the imperial concubine’s son have golden hair as well?” I articulated slowly. “And does he perhaps have green eyes?”
They all nodded their heads, and I wouldn’t be more surprised if someone slapped me in the face with tofu.
“Is that so…” I said faintly.
“Too bad that son of hers is a good for nothing! Always going to the gambling den at night or somewhere who knows where,” Lin grumbled. She really wasn’t going to let go of that opinion, it seemed.
After a few minutes of intense debate, the women decided to change to a topic that wouldn’t stress them out.
“Juju dear, I just noticed now but,” Luli looked at my face intensely, “how do you still look so young after these 11 years?”
I paled. Now I was the one stressed out!
“What’s your secret?” Ting looked at me with sparkles in her eyes.
My secret was being a deity? Hehe?
“Secret?” I smiled secretively, and starting chewing on my bun slowly to stall for time. I was actually panicking inside.
“Tell us!” Meifen said fervently as her chopsticks waved in the air. Please don’t attack me with those.
“Um.” I drank my tea to stall for more time.
“Stop stalling! Spit it out now!” Lin said. I hope she didn’t mean the tea.
“Well…if I say it, don’t spread it okay?” The corner of my smile twitched as I thought of a way to get out of this. My mind started to work quickly.
“We won’t!” They said in unison.
“Remember the goats milk I bought for Jin way back when he was a baby?” I cleared my throat. “Well, he accidentally spilled it on my face one night. No I mean, every night. Then I realized,” I raised my eyebrows to act my surprise, “my skin was so smooth and white!”
My audience sat on their seats with rapt attention. I had to pat myself on the back for being such a good storyteller of fiction.
“Then I used it every night since then,” I touched my soft cheeks, “and now look! No wrinkles, no pores! I stay looking like I’m twenty forever!”
They clapped their hands in awe. Thank you, thank you. You needn’t look at me so reverently, it was nothing really. Just a stroke of my bountiful imagination. Then I thought, if my beauty regimen didn’t work for them, at least no one else would blame me right?
I thought they wouldn’t tell anyone else of my beauty tip, but as I visited the market a few days later, I saw a gathering of other housewives as they made a commotion in front of the goat milk stall.
“I’ll buy 5 bottles!”
“I’ll take 6!”
“I got here first, bitch!”
“You’re not a virgin!”
“So are you!”
I closed my ears off to this obscene banter.
Well, the old vendor looked extremely happy by her sudden popularity though?
The Merry Wives held another meeting the following week, and they all looked like they glowed. They couldn’t help but flaunt their glistening faces in front of me as they started staring at me in various angles. It was unnerving.
Everyone could tell the sudden change in skin texture and color, and soon goats milk changed from being common milk to a popular merchandise for beauty. Different stores had goats milk in their ingredients, and the sales skyrocketed in just a matter of days.
Um, you’re welcome?
- The Bishie's Queen
First and foremost, I am a neko who loves to write. I'm a cat lady~ and also a medical student in the throes of insanity lol. I'll probably only write one story on here before I completely vanish into thin air, so all I can say is:
Thank you very much for reading! *bows*