Outside the gate of Anfu, the sounds of finding one’s relatives and the sounds of weeping sounded together.
Throughout the whole spring, the area around the country’s province, Henan went through a sporadic rain which did not even wet the ground. The stone beasts of the town river in the moat were all exposed, showing their heads above the river, it was obvious that the drought would become a disaster to them soon.
The current emperor was kind. First, he exempted the spring tax, and let the bureaucracies interrogate and record the prisoner's guilt so they could make fair adjudications. At the same time, the palace reduced the amount of food intake and released a batch of older palace maids.
The edict of releasing palace maids had long been posted, any family who still cared about them came to pick them up. Who knew whether their sisters or daughters would be in that batch of palace maids?
While others were busy finding their relatives, Shen Shaoguang coveted the street scenery. So this is Chang’an City. The streets were wide and flat and the roadside trees were tall. Some pedestrians riding donkeys were in a hurry while some were just leisurely passing, even the chirping of the birds on the trees seemed lively, how nice…
Shen Shaoguang re-carried the baggage on her shoulders and walked forward.
“Those who have a long way to go can wait for us by the carriage, we’ll send you home afterwards.” Two corvettes stopped her.
Their clothing did not resemble the royal guards, so it seemed like the follow-up matters of dismissing the palace maids were now under Jingzhao fu.
Shen Shaoguang walked up and gave a slight bow. She changed her usual, and normally-used dialect into Chang'an dialect and smiled as she spoke, “My home is not far from here, it’s fine if I go back on my own.”
With the crying sounds around them, the corvettes’ eyes were nearly dazzled by her bright smile. As they heard the familiar Chang’an dialect, they made a short eye contact and decided to let her move on—They were only given orders that those who got picked up by their relatives can leave with them, while the remaining few who lived far away would be sent to pavilion temporarily, and could return to their hometowns with the tribute to the capital. There was nothing about not allowing one walk their way home.
“What’s wrong?” A green-robed official with a scarlet-robed senior official by his side came over for inspection.
The corvee saluted and said: “This young lady’s house is close by, she wants to go back on her own as she has no family members to pick her up.”
Shen Shaoguang smiled ingratiatingly at the officials, her bright apricot eyes curved with a sense of obedience within.
The green-robed official’s expression was amiable, he looked at the young superior beside him, silently asking: Just let her leave?
Yet perhaps the scarlet-robed senior official had not yet reached the age of being amiable, his handsome and elegant face was expressionless, “Please show your document issued by the palace.”
Shen Shaoguang had a bad feeling when she saw them, now she even sighed in silence for her bad luck. She took the document out of her baggage and gave it to the corvee next to her, the corvee then passed it to the scarlet-robed senior official.
The scarlet-robed senior official raised his eyes and looked at Shen Shaoguang, his gaze sharp as the document had ‘Native of Luoyang’ written on the first line.
Shen Shaoyun showed an innocent face, I did not say I’m a Chang’an native, as for the near and far issue—that was a subjective concept.
The corner of the scarlet-robed senior official’s mouth pursed, then he continued reading the rest of the document.
Her age and lineage was shown next.
Shen Shaoyang knew her background had been exposed thoroughly, so there was nothing to be afraid of now. The worst scenario would end up sending her to some Uncle’s family in Luoyang and become a foster girl. There was no way they would shove her back into the palace, right?
Though that uncle’s family would be very unlucky, they would be forced to take in a female slave released from a palace where rain does not fall that easily, and this slave was also the daughter of a sinner who had no father and brother left. She was not only useless but also troublesome!
“Young lady, you’re just around the age of 20, why are you released from the palace?” The scarlet-robed senior official closed the document and asked slowly.
Though one could not blame him for asking. If they just looked around, they would find other palace maids a lot older than Shen Shaoguang, there were even maids with grayish-white hair. Shen Shaoguang stood out among them for sure.
Shen Shaoguang narrowed her eyes and faked a smile: “I left the palace due to fatigue and illness.”
This time not to mention the officials, even the two corvettes also found something wrong about it. This girl was tall with a well-proportioned figure, her skin fairly white with pinkish red within, there was nothing about being sickly…yeah…sickly!
However, just as Shen Shaoguang thought, even if they knew there was something fishy behind this, they would not shove her back into the palace as it might involve some royal privacy. Even if it was not related to any royal privacy issue, just involving the internal surveillance would be troublesome enough for them to take any action.
The scarlet-robed senior official gave Shen Shaoguang a deep look, handed the document to the corvee and left with his hand crossed behind his back. The green-robed official quickly followed.
The two corvettes were stunned, what does this mean?
Shen Shaoguang smiled as she talked to them: “Then, I’ll take my leave now.”
When the corvettes got back to their senses, they exchanged a glance, then gave Shen Shaoguang back her document and let her leave.
In fact, Shen Shaoguang was a little bit surprised too, she thought she had to go to Luoyang as a weak and useless beauty! Could it be that the one wearing the scarlet robe thought that she could be released because there was something really fishy behind it and brainstormed eighty episodes of a court battle drama? People who loved to make things up were cute!
The green-robed official and Shen Shaoguang thought alike, he also thought that although this new Lin Shaoyin was a little cold, and still at a little too young, he understood things clearly and knew the depths of them.
Judging from his own experience of surviving through his job when more than a dozen of Jingzhao Yin and Shaoyin left, the most important thing of being an official in Jingzhao Fu was to be prudent. Just what kind of place is Chang’an City? It’s somewhere where you would hit three people from high-society when you threw one tile. The man who sold *Hubings on the street might have a sister, em, or a brother who was a favored concubine in the royal family. How can one not be prudent?
*Hubing, a baked cake of wheat flour usually topped with sesame.
Shen Shaoguang walked south along the main road. The houses in the south of the city were cheap. First, she had to find a place to stay.
Regarding her future livelihood, Shen Shaoguang had long planned—to engage in the catering industry.
She was an editor of a delicacy magazine in her past life. She was a professional in writing all about food and beverages.In this life she also worked in the imperial kitchen for a while, although her practical skills about cooking was limited, her theoretical knowledge passed. Shen Shaoguang thought there should not be a problem for her to support her living.
Speaking of supporting a living, she would think of money, and with that thought, she still felt pain about it. She used about 80% of her years of savings just to get a quota out of the palace. That eunuch responsible for swapping the list of palace maids was really ruthless!
Not far away, as Shen Shaoguang walked past Chongxian Square, her footsteps stopped. The original owner of this body’s family had a house right here. She remembered that there was a grove of bamboo in the front garden—her memory was so vivid because a small green snake had burst out of the bamboo forest and scared the original owner of this body into tears before. Shen Shaoguang's mind flashed back to the scene of this body’s father drinking wine and writing poetry to the bamboo under the moon.
Now she did not know what kind of person would be chanting at the bamboo anymore, Shen Shaoguang felt a little emotional.
The location of Chongxian Square was good. It was located in the mid-south of the city, across this square was Guangde Square—the place where Jingzhao’s Fu was located. And near Guangde was the famous Chang'an West City, according to the saying in her previous life, Chongxian Square could be counted as within the *third ring.
*The second ring is the nearest to the middle of the city (there’s no first ring, it starts with the second), while the third is next and then fourth and so on.
She found the Shen family’s old residence according to her memories. A high-walled courtyard with a large door, the doorsteps were very clean and she saw slaves walking in and out from the corner door. From the outside, she could see the courtyard's heavy eaves and a shadow of bamboo, which made her wonder if those bamboo were the ones in her memories.
Originally, she thought of taking a look since she would pass by and then continue towards the south, but after examining the current situation of the catering industry in the square and seeing the Light Convent, Shen Shaoguang changed her mind.
The convent was diagonally opposite to the back door of the Shen family's old main residence, and from her memory, there was no convent located there back then. Perhaps someone donated a part of the Shen family’s old residence and made it a convent—this was a common thing among the nobles of Chang’an.
The Buddhist nun who was in charge of the guests' reception had eyebrows like the word eight and triangular eyes with thin lips. She looked like someone who was not easy to get along with.
With that, Shen Shaoguang was actually slightly relieved. If she was a beautiful young girl, she dared not say she wanted to stay there. After all, it had the possibility where this Taoist Convent was not about Buddha but a place of brothels. She thought of Yu Xuanji and also thought of the Steamed-bread Convent in “Dream of the Red Chamber”...
The eyes of the Buddhist nun swept over Shen Shaoguang's half-used cotton clothing and the only two silver hairpins on her bun. Then she speculated about her small baggage, which made Shen Shaoguang suddenly remember the experience of shopping in luxury stores in her previous life.
Hello, this is Milky. This is a very slow-burn romance that focuses more on the female lead’s business and daily life; you can stop reading if that is not your cup of tea. Thank you for reading!
Chang’an - Now called Shanxi (Chang’an city is actually in Jingzhao)
Jingzhao - Capital of Chang’an (Jingzhao Fu is the place where Yin and Shaoyin work)
Shaoyin - An official title of the vice lord mayor in ancient times (Where Yin is the lord mayor)
Henan- Still called Henan now
Luoyang - An area in Henan
Yu Xuanji - A poet of the late Tang Dynasty, in short, after Being abandoned by Li Yi, she was settled in a Taoist temple, Li Yi was a jerk and never came back even if he promised. This incident caused Yu Xuanji to start losing faith in men and in love so she turned the Taoist temple into a veritable brothel.
Extra note - For Chang’an dialect, they will call ‘I’ and ‘me’ as Er (儿), but I chose to not translate it into Er as there were uncertainties such as how to translate the phrases ‘my’ and ‘myself’