The kitchen was getting bustling in the noon.
The servants had to take turns to have their meals since everyone got jobs to do. Last time Jin Wang came to the yard and found none of the servants were at theirs posts, so now Yuyan and Yucui were more strict with the servants
Yaoniang came to take her lunch in the kitchen.
The meals for wet nurses were made alone since they needed more nutrition to feed the princess. Although there were no dainties for the wet nurses, the diet was balanced in nutrition. What’s more, many fruits were also provided for them.
Besides that, the chef even prepared trotter soup today which was made to promote lactation. This kind of soup would be prepared occasionally.
The soup was off-white and in which the well-cooked pig hoofs were mixed with yellow beans. The soup was cooked for several hours and it smelt delicious. The smell of the soup stimulated people’s appetite.
“It smells good. Mo Mama, what did you cook today? Let me taste,” said Xiao Man who was a young girl. She was still childish and wanted to taste all the delicious dishes.
She was thin when she started working in this yard but now she grew much fatter. The elder servants often joked with her that she looked like a little roaster. Of course, they were not laughing at her and it was only a joke.
Xiao Man was adorable and diligent, so everybody liked her.
Old lady Mo grinned and shook off Xiao Man’s hands gently. “Xiao Man, stand aside. This is for the wet nurses. You can’t state it.”
Xiao Man was jealous and said, “Their food is much more delicious than us. I hope to eat such food like them someday.”
Old lady Wang was filling the dishes in a big wooden basin. She burst out laughter and said to Xiao Man, “It is easy to achieve your dream. Find a man and have a baby then you could be a wet nurse. It is a good job.”
Old lady Zhao rolled her eyes at Old lady Wang and said, “Xiao Man is still young. Don’t joke with her like this.” She handed some beans flavored with aniseed to Xiao Man as she finished her sentence.
Xiao Man extended her appreciation and ran away with a big smile. The servants who were responsible for the heavy manual labor usually needed to take the last turn for meal.
“You are early today,” said Old lady Mo who looked at Yaoniang walking into the kitchen.
Yaoniang nodded slightly and replied, “The little princess has fallen into sleep, so I come here first. Yuyan would come later.”
The food was filled in the plate already and was put on the table, but the soup still needed to be ladled out. Hesitant, Old lady Mo looked at Yaoniang and asked, “There is pig’s leg soup today. Do you want some to drink?”
Yaoniang disliked eating meat diet, especially the meat soup. But in order to promote lactation, she forced herself to eat some meat. Luckily, Yaoniang got enough milk to nurse the little princess. Old lady Mo knew well about Yaoniang, so she asked for her opinion first.
To her surprise, Yaoniang nodded her head this time.
Although Old lady Mo was shocked, she made no comment, because she knew that people’s appetite changed every day. There was nothing unusual.
Yaoniang went back to the room with her meal.
When she opened the food box, a smell of scent was overflowing in the room immediately. Although the food was not superb cuisine, there was a plenty of food in the plate.
Yaoniang ate slowly and tried her best to eat some meat.
People might get surprised since she seldom ate meat.
It was easy to tell that Yaoniang was forcing herself, but she still struggled. A few minutes later, she finished a bowl of rice and the dishes were almost finished as well.
Her appetite was good today. Although she was full, she drank the soup regardless of its fatness.
When she finally finished the meal, she felt like the food was blocked her throat.
Yaoniang ate so much for a certain reason, because she noticed her milk was getting less these days.
Generally speaking, it shouldn’t happen to Yaoniang, because she had nursed a few kids and she must know how to promote lactation. Yaoniang would squeeze out some milk every day no matter if she had nursed the little princess, because in this way, she could keep enough milk.
But now even if she squeezed out milk every day, it was getting less. And her bosoms were not distensible.
Yaoniang was flurried. She was a wet nurse and how could she to nurse the little baby if she had no enough milk. She might lose her job. Yaoniang was mad at Jin Wang at the beginning and thought it was Jin Wang who pushed her into such a dilemma.
But she was timid and she never complained about Jin Wang in front of him. What she could do was to keep observing and gradually she found it had nothing to do with him at all.
But why would her milk get less?
Yaoniang tried to figure out and finally she thought perhaps it was because she seldom ate meat.
Yaoniang didn’t hang out since she was too full, and instead she took a rest in the room. After the short break, she sent the plate back to the kitchen. After that, she came to Yuyan since it was her turn to have meal.
Time passed quickly. Yaoniang went back to her room when the other two wet nurses, Qian and Wang came to take their turn on duty.
When Yaoniang was about to take a shower, she heard the noises outside.
Yaoniang opened the door and found the noises came from the small house. The little princess was crying and it seemed something happened.
Without any hesitation, Yaoniang rushed to the small house. As soon as she broke into the room, she found Mammy Mu looked so irritated while Qian and Wang were upset and flurried. Yucui held the little princess and was coaxing her while Yuyan was not in the room.
It was in a mess. Lv’e and some other servant girls were anxious.
“What’s up?” asked Yaoniang.
Qian pointed at Yaoniang and said indignantly, “Mammy Mu, I came here with Wang on duty and before we could nurse the little princess, she started crying without stop. I am sure it must be Yaoniang who ate some food she shouldn’t eat. Or the little princess would not cry like this.”
Yaoniang was shocked by what she heard and she explained nothing but walked to Yucui.
The rashes erupted all over the face of the little princess while the little baby’s voice was getting husky. Her face flushed which made the rashes looked even worse.
Mammy Mu turned to Yaoniang with her harsh eyes after hearing this from Qian.
Seeing this, Yaoniang hastily explained, “I ate nothing unusual. Just what the chef cooked for us.”
Qian was unreasonable and kept saying, “But the princess has a rash now. She is still a little baby and she etas nothing but the milk. She would not be suffered from such pain if you didn’t eat the unhealthy food. Yaoniang, you better be frank with us now. Don’t lose time or no one can save you.”
“I promise you I never eat anything else but for the food cooked in the kitchen,” said Yaoniang firmly.
Indeed, Mammy Mu would like to trust her, because Mammy Mu was clear about the relationship between Yaoniang and Jin Wang. However, it was also because she knew this special relationship between them, Mammy Mu started to suspect Yaoniang.
Everyone knew that side consort hu was Jin Wang’s favorite consort, and Mammy Mu was clear that women’s green-eyed monster was horrible.
An elegant woman could do anything horrible because of her jealousy. There were many consorts who had an accident abortion in this imperial palace. And many newly born babies would come to a premature end for no reason. People all knew that it was off normal.
And the reason was related to these beautiful consorts who had a heart as malicious as snakes and scorpions.
Was Yaoniang jealous of side consort Hu so that she decided to take revenge on the little princess? Even if it had nothing to do with Yaoniang’s jealousy, she was the subordinate of Jin Wang Consort. These days Jin Wang Consort was fighting both with open and secret means with the Side Consort Hu and Mammy Mu was not sure if it was Jin Wang Consort asked Yaoniang to do this.
Many ideas flashed in Mammy Mu’s mind and she decided to remain silent to Yaoniang’s explanation.
Obviously, Mammy’s Mu’s suspicious attitude had an influence on others in the room, including Yucui and Lv’e. They all looked hesitant.
Yaoniang felt depressed, because she was always kind to others when she started working here. Others also treated her well and perhaps some of them treated her kindly for certain goals, but Yaoniang believed that Yuyan and Lv’e were innocent girls and they were sincere with her.
They all worked for the little princess and they wanted to spare no effort to serve the princess. They always got along well with each other since they bore the same goal.
But now their intimate friendship was ruined because of the unwarranted charge.
Why didn’t they trust Yaoniang? Why can’t their friendship withstand a single blow?
All of a sudden, Yucui said, “Qian Nai Niang, don’t talk nonsense here. You have no evidence. We all know Yaoniang well. She would not lie to us.”
Yaoniang was moved by Yucui.
She took a glimpse at Yucui gratefully and said to Mammy Mu, “I really ate nothing else besides the food from the kitchen. Please find out the truth for me Mammy Mu.”
“Who knows?” Qian refuted.
Mammy Mu thought for a while and then said, “Don’t quarrel here. Jin Wang will come here to find out the truth later and we will know that if Yao Niang ate something unhealthy.”
As soon as Mammy Mu finished her words, Yuyan led the Doctor Liu in.
Doctor Liu was in his sixties and he was thin with beard. He was a doctor in the imperial palace and he came to Jin Zhou with Jin Wang. He was well-known for his amazing medical skill.
He stepped in with Yuyan and came to the little princess. Doctor Liu asked Yucui to put down the little princess on the bed, took over a siLv'er needle from his little assistant, and put the needle in the princess neck. Soon the princess got quiet and fell into sleep.
“She can’t keep crying like this. Let her take a rest for a while,” said Doctor Liu. He then started to take the princess pulse as he finished his words.
The Side Consort Hu arrived soon while Jin Wang and Jin Wang Consort also came here in a hurry.
They all looked worried and it seemed they came here at once as soon as they received the news.
The side consort Hu started yelling as she walked in.
“Oh, my poor daughter, I am so sorry,” yelled the Side Consort Hu. After that, she began to blame the servants, especially Yuyan.
Jin Wang Consort furrowed her eyebrows and said seriously, “Side Consort Hu, you better watch out your manner. Doctor Liu is treating the little princess. Can you shut up first?”
Indeed, Jin Wang Consort was reluctant to come here because she always took pleasure in Side Consort Hu’s misfortune and she would be happy if the little princess was dead. However, she had to show up since she was the hostess.
Jin Wang sat on the chair as he stepped in while Fucheng stood behind.
He looked solemn and fondled the blue diamond ring in his hand. People who were familiar with him would know that Jin Wang was unable to go down at the critical moment.
The Side Consort Hu didn’t listen to Jin Wang Consort and even refuted her. Seeing this, Jin Wang snorted and soon the room was filled with a sense of suppression.
Everyone remained silent immediately and they even dared not breathe. There was a deathlt stillness in the room.
After a long while, the Doctor Liu heaved a sigh and finally said, “The princess must eat something that didn’t fit her constitution so that she would had the rash.