Back in the Eastern Palace, Pei Yan went directly to his Zixia Hall, while Tao Ti went back to her Yaoguang Hall.
After lunch, Linglong waited upon Tao Ti as she headed to her bedchamber for a nap.
When she woke again, there was already a crowd of people waiting outside in the main hall.
Tao Ti sat on the bed with a confused expression, “They are…”
Linglong folded her hands in front of her body and replied respectfully, “Crown Princess, the people outside are the supervisors of the three courts and five bureaus of the Eastern Palace.
They are here to pay their respects to Crown Princess, and to hand over the palace affairs of the Eastern Palace at the same time.”
Palace affairs Tao Ti’s brows creased slightly.
After a moment of contemplation, she got up and said, “First, help me get dressed, and tell me what the three courts and five bureaus are all about while you do so.”
Linglong agreed respectfully and hurried to help her down the bed.
Around thirty minutes later, Tao Ti lifted the curtain and walked into the main hall, only to see a group of inner officials dressed in light cyan, dark cyan, navy, light red, brownish red, and dark red standing in a neat arrangement according to their ranks.
Seeing the crown princess’s appearance, all the inner officials said in unison, “Us ministers pay our respects to the crown princess, a thousand blessings and everlasting peace upon Your Highness.”
Tao Ti walked slowly towards the main seat on the platform and sat down calmly.
“You may rise.”
Only then did all of them get up.
Tao Ti swept a glance over them.
There were both men and women; the eunuchs wore different shades of blue, while the female officials were in different shades of red.
After a moment’s thought, she said, “First, introduce yourselves.”
The people before the platform exchanged looks, then complied with the instruction and introduced themselves in turn——
“I am the supervisor of the Food Services Bureau, Yuan Lichun, in charge of the provision and tasting of the meals in the Eastern Palace.”
“I am the supervisor of the Medicine Services Bureau, Sun Wenmei, in charge of medicine and medical services in the Eastern Palace.”
“I am the supervisor of the Household Services Bureau, Hu Dezhong, in charge of the imperial seal, clothing, umbrellas and fans, desks, brushes and inkstone, courtyard walls, overseeing the Department of Wardrobe, Department of Umbrellas and Fans, Department of Official Documents and Correspondence, and so on.”
By the time all sixteen people in the audience had finished their introductions one by one, thirty minutes had passed.
Tao Ti had a good memory.
After seeing this once, she already had a general idea of things.
She straightened her small waist, sitting upright.
With a calm and gentle smile on her face, she said softly, “I have just arrived at the Eastern Palace, there are many things I do not yet understand and have to learn about slowly.
In the days to come, please give me your advice and aid me in the management of the Eastern Palace’s affairs.”
Then, she said to Linglong, “Go and bring the tray of silver that was brought back today.”
Linglong was a little surprised, but she didn’t dare to ask too much, and hurried back to the room to fetch it.
The entire tray, neatly arranged with silver ingots, gleamed in the afternoon sun.
This was bestowed by Emperor Zhaokang that morning; Tao Ti wasn’t too attached to them.
She did some mental calculations to confirm that the amount was just about right, then gave each of the supervisors and deputy supervisors a silver ingot.
As for the remaining sixteen ingots, she distributed two each to every department for them to exchange for smaller silver pieces to be rewarded to the attendants in their service.
This generous gesture stunned all the inner officials of the three courts and five bureaus.
Carrying the heavy silver ingots, they all thanked the crown princess in unison.
As the old saying goes, if one accepts another’s favour, one would have to repay in kind with one’s words and deeds.
If they still has some disdain for this crown princess when they arrived at Yaoguang Hall, they only felt now that the crown princess was modest, tolerant, and treated her subordinates warmly.
She wasn’t as eccentric and bitter as the rumours made her out to be.
After some cordial and friendly conversation, Tao Ti also gained a general understanding of the Eastern Palace’s affairs.
She was equivalent to a boss, and only had to check the work of each department every few days; it wasn’t anything troublesome.
Before she knew it, an afternoon had passed.
After inner officials took their leave, Linglong brought six more people to Tao Ti.
Tao Ti swept a glance over them, and the memories in her mind told her that they were her dowry maids and nanny.
“Crown Princess, His Highness is worried that you are not used to the Eastern Palace’s attendants, and let them return to serve you,” said Linglong.
“His Highness is too kind.” Pei Yan was truly a sweet little angel; she had only mentioned it casually that morning, and he actually remembered it.
The group of six was made up of girls and grannies; Taoti exhorted them to pay attention to the palace rules, then asked Linglong to help them settle down.
Tao Ti did not stay idle either.
When she returned to her room, she began looking through the Eastern Palace’s ledgers, as well as her dowry booklet.
To be fair, for a marquis’s legitimate daughter, the dowry was indeed grand.
Recorded in her dowry booklet, the number of fertile farmland and top-grade shops, jewellery, gold and silver, calligraphy and paintings, and so on, filled up more than five pages.
Tao Ti propped her chin in her hand and thought, if Pei Yan really did not live past twenty-three, this dowry would also ensure that she would have no worries about food and clothing for the rest of her life after their marriage was annulled.
Just as she was imagining her future life as a little rich lady, a servant girl came in with a cup of tea.
When she saw that there was no one else around, the servant girl immediately became tearful, “My lady, you’ve had to suffer so.
Did the crown prince bully you yesterday”
“His Highness didn’t bully me at all,” blurted Tao Ti.
She grew to realise that this servant girl was called Zishuang, and she was the original owner’s close confidant.
“His Highness didn’t blame you for what happened yesterday” Zishuang looked surprised.
“My lady, you mustn’t hide it from this servant.”
Tao Ti gave her a strange look, “Why would I hide it from you.”
Zishuang was momentarily rendered silent, as if trying to find a hint from Tao Ti’s expression, only to find that her brows were relaxed, looking happy and content, as if she really hadn’t been bullied