Ah Jin was sitting in a rocking chair, feasting on grapes and feeling good. The Crown Prince on the sidelines watched her with a book and helplessly shook his head
"There's a search for you everywhere outside, yet you're hiding in my place eating grapes. If Mother found out I'd be in trouble too."
The Crown Prince was the first brother of the original owner, several years older than her. After being made Crown Prince, he lived in the East Palace and was raised by the Emperor and the Imperial Tutor. The Empress didn't have much contact with him, so he wasn't raised crooked like the original owner.
The Crown Prince sent the little eunuch next to him as a message to the Empress, reassuring her that she didn't need to look for anymore.
Ah Jin started to whine to the Crown Prince, "Big brother, I wonder what Mother thinks. I am the First Princess, and my brother is the Crown Prince. Whoever sees me in the palace is forced to bow to me, but Mother insisted that I learn the rules and be the most graceful princess. No one would dare to challenge me, even if I were willful. I'm a good girl, right?"
The Crown Prince looked at his eager sister, but there was nothing he could say to teach her a lesson, so he could only say, "Yes, yes, sister is the best. No one can bully you. If you don't want to learn, fine. Learn it when you're older."
Ah Jin considered this brother highly sensible. She showed her heart by gracing him with dinner.
The following day, Ah Jin paid respects to the Empress, her small face was indifferent. The Empress was extremely unhappy last night because of what happened to Ah Jin. His Majesty also mentioned it after dinner. The idea was that the child was young and there was no need to rush things. He would get a new Mama for Ah Jin.
The Empress had a hard time pacifying the Emperor and confessing her sins to him. She repeatedly stressed that she would find a good Mama and would not bother the Emperor, and only then did the Emperor relent.
She was even more furious this morning when she saw Ah Jin's face, her hatred increasing.
"Stop putting on that face. I promised the Emperor last night that I would give you a new Mama, are you still not satisfied?"
As soon as Ah Jin heard this, she jumped into the Empress's arms smiling and playfully said, "I knew Mother was the best. Mother definitely likes me the best."
The Empress laughed at her naughty look. "You naughty girl. I'll tell you what, if the new Mama comes back with a complaint, I will immediately change you back to Zhang Mama."
Ah Jin said she was sure to be obedient and learn the rules well. It was not known as to how much truth there was in it. Just kidding, given such a great background, what the heck were you waiting for if you didn't play? The original owner's life had to be fulfilled.
San Qi asked her, "What do you want to do?"
Ah Jin laughed inwardly like a hooligan, "What am I going to do? Of course to be freshly clothed, to roam the hills, to eat, to drink, to fool around, to provoke the young men of the imperial capital."
"The original owner told you to live your life, not to be a hedonistic princess!"
"What do you know, the original owner didn't even experience any of this. She will know what it means to be herself when I let her experience it all!"
'Little brother, wait for me. I'm coming.'
The following days, Ah Jin was indeed well behaved and obedient. She learned the rules very well. The two little maids brought back, one named Hong Ying and the other named Lu Liu, and the other two big maids, one named Huan Huan and the other named Lan Yu. She was accompanied by four of them to learn the rules.
In this era, a year of womanhood would be sixteen years old and eligible for a marriage contract.
Ah Jin remained at the palace until she was twelve. She then asked the Emperor to leave the palace to establish a residence. Naturally, the Emperor did not approve. It was only possible to go out of the palace and establish a residence after one had reached the age of 15.
Ah Jin complained that there was nothing to do in the palace so she wanted to get out and see. The Emperor demanded Ah Jin's promise before agreeing to let her go. First, no more than three outings per month. Second, unless there were special circumstances, no overnight stays were permitted. Third, no trouble whatsoever should be caused to tarnish the royal reputation.
Ah Jin agreed to all of them. If it weren't for the Emperor's many sons, Ah Jin would have thought him to be a daughter-controller. The result of a royal princess was either a political marriage or a marriage arranged among the relatives. Therefore, before reaching maturity, the emperor was willing to spoil the princesses as long as they didn't go overboard.
Ah Jin took Hong Ying and Huan Huan out of the palace, the other two stayed behind to watch over the house. The other two would change and be taken out at the next opportunity. Ah Jin replaced her complicated palace clothes into a noblewoman's dress, which, too, had limited mobility, but was much better than palace clothes.
She was wearing a white embroidered robe, a pleated butterfly skirt, a jade pinned at her waist to symbolize her identity, a light-colored gauze coat, a simple Flying Fairy bun, a few flower pins with carved hollow hairpins, and a butterfly dangling from her ear.
Ah Jin felt very satisfied, so she took up a fan and left the palace with her maidservants. The first stop, Ah Jin went to the Second Prince's house, son of Concubine Li. He recently turned eighteen this year and played well with Ah Jin in the palace.
The Second Prince had already received the news and came out to greet Ah Jin himself, "Fourth sister, you've finally come." There was another eldest princess above Zhu Jinxiu, she was the second princess, the fourth in line overall. The eldest princess was two years younger than the Crown Prince, she married outside the family three years ago.
Ah Jin shook her fan, "Third brother, this carriage is extremely slow, I'm dying of anxiety."
The Second Prince laughed, "I think you're just too eager to spread your wings and fly away."
Ah Jin didn't argue with him and urged, "Come on, where are we going to play?"
The Second Prince brought her to the most famous restaurant in the imperial capital, the Guest House.
"Fourth sister, the food here isn't any worse than in the palace, I tell you. Plus, there's a lot of different kinds, so you have to try some. Besides, this is where all the rich families gather, so you can meet some noblewomen and have someone to play with later."
"Third brother, are you sick of me and want me to get to know noblewomen to leave you alone?"
Ah Jin lightly hit the Second Prince's shoulder with the fan. "You don't have someone in mind, do you?"
The Second Prince's face reddened, "Don't you dare talk nonsense. A young unmarried girl, aren't you ashamed?"
Ah Jin saw that he wasn't going to fight, and knew for certain that she was right. "Don't be shy, third brother. Which girl, I'll check it out for you ah."
The Second Prince blushed even more and stammered, "You, you, don't, nonsense. If you, next time, again, again like this, I won't take you out to play."
Ah Jin laughed, "I'm just not going to say it. Don't be so mean."
The carriage stopped and the voice of the coachman sounded, "Master, Miss, the Guest House is here."
The Second Prince breathed a sigh of relief, "Get off quickly, aren't you going to come out to play?" He jumped off neatly after saying that.
With the support of her maidservant, Ah Jin got off the carriage. She also wanted to jump off, but her clothes wouldn't allow it. Ah Jin thought to herself that she must get a set of men's clothes to wear, as women's clothes would be too hard.