“Where is Xiang’er?” Shang Wuxin asked while looking at the kneeling servants.
Unfortunately, no one replied. Xiang’er was the crown prince’s personal maid, but she always acted rampant within the residence. As far as the servants were concerned, Xiang’er was much more fearsome than the crown prince. After all, the crown prince was stuck sick in bed day in and day out. Ha, they basically had nothing to fear. They had also never seen him punish anyone.
Good, excellent! Hearing the silence before her, Shang Wuxin didn’t get angry, and smiled instead. Apparently, the crown prince was just a good for nothing waste in their eyes. Why else would they ignore her words?
“Shameless!” Chief Hai kicked a nearby servant boy and glowered at everyone. “Didn’t you hear the Crown Prince speak? You’re tired of living!” Even if his voice was shrill, his status was above the other servants and his oppressive aura wasn’t at all easy to deal with. Moreover, everyone within the residence was afraid of Chief Hai.
His manner in front of the crown prince might have been like a dog, but behind the scenes, Chief Hai was merciless toward the people who disobeyed the crown prince. However, Xiang’er was a favored maid and the crown prince would definitely not be able to bear scolding her. The servant boy, who was kicked earlier, immediately ran out to find Xiang’er.
Looking at the crown prince who was acting different from usual, Chief Hai wondered what he intended to do. Normally, Xiang’er used the crown prince’s kindness to run rampant and harass others within the residence. Previously, he had wanted to deal with her in private, but that would’ve saddened the crown prince. Since then, he turned a blind eye when it came to Xiang’er. But why was the crown prince looking for her today? Hopefully it wasn’t in order to comfort Xiang’er. The crown prince was too kind-hearted and couldn’t understand that Xiang’er didn’t know her place.
After waiting for a long time, the servant boy brought Xiang’er back to the courtyard right outside the sleeping quarters. Looking at the crown prince standing there, Xiang’er felt shocked at heart. Was this really the crown prince? It was obviously the same face, yet why did it feel different? Previously, though the crown prince’s position was noble, she still looked down on him. He was easily deceived by her time and time again. But now, though the crown prince was simply standing over there and not even looking her way, Xiang’er felt her heart shiver.
Shang Wuxin looked down at Xiang’er, who was also the main culprit behind the previous owner’s untimely death. Her appearance wasn’t particularly pretty, but she had, to an extent, some elegance. More importantly, while the crown prince was missing, this maid who served in his residence was actually dressed up lavishly. She had placed an expensive pearl hairpin on her head, and was adorned in a fine pink dress that seemed out of place. The maids in the crown prince’s residence were supposed to wear clothes suitable for maids, yet she was dressed so differently. Seeing her pair of misty eyes, Shang Wuxin could tell at a glance that she had been with a man just recently. Very good, truly very good!
“Xiang’er, do you know what you did wrong?” Shang Wuxin asked while looking at the clouds in the sky. Her voice was dignified, yet indifferent.
Xiang’er straightened her waist and spoke, feigning calmness. “I’m not sure what the Crown Prince means. I haven’t done anything. I was sick with worry when I found out the Crown Prince had met with mishap, daily hoping for the Crown Prince’s safe return. Sure enough, the Heavens noticed my sincerity and the Crown Prince returned safe and sound!” Xiang’er wailed, but her eyes didn’t even have fake tears. It was hard to believe that the former crown prince wasn’t ever able to see through her act.
“Slap her mouth.” Shang Wuxin ordered coldly.
Everyone thought they’d misheard. The crown prince was actually able to heartlessly order his favored maid to be punished. No one dared to move. The one who got his composure back first, was Chief Hai. Now, he concluded that the crown prince really had changed, but this kind of change was a good thing. Now he would be able to clearly see the true faces of these crude people.
Chief Hai immediately stepped forward and slapped Xiang’er in the face. He might have been a palace eunuch, but he knew martial arts. Some of the former crown prince’s martial arts had been personally taught by him. Unfortunately, while the original’s martial arts was outstanding, she wasn’t able to utilize it.
“You!” Xiang’er stuttered, pointing at Chief Hai indignantly. She had always been a little afraid of him, but because the crown prince had always protected her, Chief Hai had always left her alone. Ever since she had started serving the crown prince, she hadn’t been hit by anyone.
“Keep slapping.” Shang Wuxin was still observing the clouds in the sky, but her voice was even colder than before.
Chief Hai smiled happily and directly gave Xiang’er a few more ruthless slaps, turning her carefully made-up face into an unrecognizable shape. She wouldn’t even be able to speak clearly. What was more terrible, Chief Hai had knocked out several of her teeth. It could be easily inferred just how much strength he had used.
At this moment, Xiang’er looked with some fear towards the crown prince, who was standing peacefully as if he hadn’t heard a thing. She was afraid, but more than that, she was puzzled.
Shang Wuxin’s voice leisurely sounded out, “Are you wondering why This Prince wanted to punish you?”
Xiang’er nodded. She really didn’t know why the crown prince did that. The kneeling maids and servant boys were also bewildered. His behavior scared them. Now, they had finally realized that the crown prince was truly not the same.
“A lowly servant dares to call herself I* to This Prince’s face, not even saluting when you saw This Prince. This Prince has barely started questioning you, and you spoke out without permission. You tell me, should you, or should you not get slapped?” Shang Wuxin’s voice was pleasant, neither angry, nor happy. It seemed that in his eyes, Xiang’er wasn’t worthy of his emotions.
Xiang’er definitely didn’t expect this explanation. She had stayed by the crown prince’s side for several years already. Starting out secretly and ending up openly rampant, she’d gradually forgotten her own servant’s identity. But the crown prince had been indulging her first, so why did he treat her like this in the end?
“Xiang’er, do you know what you did wrong?” Shang Wuxin lowered her head to look at the kneeling Xiang’er with a disinterested expression.
Xiang’er was speechless, but she nodded desperately. She now knew that the crown prince shouldn’t be provoked, so she didn’t dare irritate him.
“How obedient!” Shang Wuxin chuckled. That smile made her peerless face even more dazzling, causing the maids, who were peeking secretly, to blush. The Crown Prince was too beautiful!
“Since you already know what you did wrong, you will accept the punishment. You, come over here.” Shang Wuxin pointed at one of the kneeling maids. That maid was wearing a very common servant dress. She had a long scar on her face, but her expression was composed. More importantly, the maid resembled her former subordinate Wu Wei very much. Even her dignified manner was similar. Though she was only an ordinary maid, Shang Wuxin was sure that under the right circumstances, she could turn into a princess-like existence.
The woman walked toward Shang Wuxin, then knelt down before her. Her voice was cold, but not impolite. It seemed it was naturally like that. “This servant greets the Crown Prince.”
Shang Wuxin looked at her with satisfaction, then stated: “You’ll be called Wu Wei (*fearless) from now on. You’ll attend to This Prince. Are you willing?”
The woman looked up in disbelief, but she found the crown prince’s eyes were bright and clear. He had a commanding presence resembling a phoenix, compelling people to revere him. His eyes didn’t hold any contempt toward her appearance, but a sort of respect. She felt she could spend her life following this young man.
“This servant is willing! Thank you, Crown Prince, for granting a name.” Wu Wei respectfully kowtowed. This crown prince was a hidden dragon that would soar in the skies one day. He had granted her a name and asked for her opinion. Since she pledged her loyalty, she would no longer just be some disfigured person among the common folk. She would be the crown prince’s personal maid, Wu Wei.
Shang Wuxin nodded her head appreciatively, then surveyed the kneeling servants again as she said, “Each of you will slap Xiang’er. You’re not allowed to stop until she stops breathing. If This Prince finds out anyone is being lenient, there won’t be a need for you to keep living.”
As soon as she was done speaking, Shang Wuxin entered her sleeping quarters, while Chief Hai looked at everyone with a smile. The crown prince had finally seen the true colors of these deceptive people. If the late Empress knew about it, she would have definitely been gratified.
Though Xiang’er wanted to flee, she was blocked by Chief Hai. Since he was around, no one dared to rebel. They had no other choice but to slap her face one by one, each one of them an executioner. Xiang’er finally ceased breathing. But a dreadful shadow had been cast over their hearts.
Notes: Edited by Lili~
*When servants talk to their master, they never say “I/me/etc”. They usually say nubi/nucai, which gets translated as ‘this servant’. It’s disrespectful to address them as equals. Of course, MC wasn’t really hung up on that, but used it as an excuse to get rid of this spy maid. She couldn’t be bothered to prove her actual crime, lol.
*Wu Wei was the name of the MC’s subordinate from her previous life. It literally means ‘without fear’.