Chapter 13: Unexpected Counterattack
“Steward, that little Lingzi fell ill.” A small eunuch told Steward Xu.
Steward Xu was surprised and stood up, frowning, “Fell ill?”
The eunuch nodded, “Yes, this servant just went and took a look. He was lying on the bed half-dead.”
“You’re certain?” Steward Xu raised his eyebrows.
The little eunuch repeatedly nodded, “This servant is sure.”
“You told me to go look and see what was going on, so this servant went. This servant walked to his doorway and called for him, but there wasn’t any answer, so this servant went in without permission. He was just lying there, looking as if he was dying.”
“Steward, should we go and get some medicine for him?” The small eunuch asked.
“No.” Steward rejected his idea immediately and couldn’t help but giggle foolishly, “This really is heaven helping me.”
He cheerfully laughed twice and ordered, “Without my permission, no one is allowed to give Ling Xiao medicine.”
The small eunuch was shocked for a moment and then immediately lowered his head in understanding, answering obediently.
Steward Xu sinisterly narrowed his eyes, “You can go.”
Looking at the small eunuch’s back, Steward Xu leisurely flung back the whisk. Recently, the Emperor had been very trusting of Ling Xiao whom he had long disapproved of. It was just that he didn’t have any information he could use against Ling Xiao. Additionally, the Emperor wasn’t easy to fool, so he did not dare to do anything.
But now, Ling Xiao had fallen ill on his own.
If a person died from illness, then it couldn’t be blamed on anyone.
Steward Xu evilly laughed.
The Emperor felt that these past two days had been quite strange. His clothes were loose, including his belt, and his breakfast tasted wrong. Even practicing with his sword felt wrong.
He frowned and looked around once before he found that he was lacking one of his little eunuchs who previously had always served him considerately.
He slightly frowned and looked at Steward Xu, asking, “Where’s Ling Xiao?”
Steward Xu stared blankly for a moment. In his heart, he had already come up with a solution, and he bowed his head in salute, saying, “Your Majesty, that little Lingzi accidentally caught a cold and it’s been two days already. Your servant was afraid he’d pass it to you and had him rest in his room.”
The Emperor raised an eyebrow, so Steward Xu immediately added, “Your servant already had people boil medicine for him, I’m afraid that he just can’t attend to Your Highness for a while.”
“Is it serious?” The Emperor asked with his lips pursed.
“It is not considered serious, it’s just that it will take some time for him to recover.” Steward Xu saluted.
The Emperor lightly sighed, “Pick a hundred year ginseng for him to use and get an imperial physician to look at him.”
Steward Xu was dismayed and paused for a few seconds. He hadn’t expected the Emperor to regard that little eunuch, Ling Xiao, as important, and the jealousy in his heart increased. However, he still put on a deferential appearance and agreed, “Yes.”
Steward Xu’s slight pause attracted the Emperor’s attention, and the Emperor looked at him, his eyes searching.
At his stare, Steward Xu stiffened.
The Emperor looked and, feeling that something wasn’t right, suddenly said, “We will go with you.”
“No…” Steward Xu reflexively refused. When the Emperor stared at him, Steward Xu immediately bowed and explained, “What this servant means is that Your Majesty is a royal prerogative. How could you go to where your servants live? Moreover, little Lingzi is ill. If he were to infect you, it wouldn’t be good at all.”
The Emperor didn’t say anything, and Steward Xu kneeled in front of him, “Asking Your Majesty to think thrice about your dragon body.”
“Stand up.” The Emperor stared at Steward Xu for a good half day before opening his mouth. Steward Xu stood up trembling with fear as he asked, “Then, should this servant go and get an imperial physician for little Lingzi now?”
“Hm.” The Emperor nodded and Steward Xu bowed as he departed.
The Emperor gazed at his back, his face cold.
So, even the person who looked after him while he was growing up would tell lies. It looked like he really had gotten old.
Leaving the Emperor’s line of sight, Steward Xu took out a hundred year ginseng from the storeroom and stopped his footsteps, his entire face black and wrinkled.
The Emperor unexpectedly would ask about that kid, Ling Xiao! He’d even give him a hundred year ginseng and call the imperial physician to treat him!!!
The more Steward Xu thought about it, the more jealous he became. A single insignificant newcomer could make the Emperor miss him. If he stayed, there would definitely be quite a bit of trouble in the future.
As his thoughts went this way, Steward Xu could no longer sit still!
Carrying the hundred year ginseng, he turned and went to Ling Xiao’s room.
In the room, Steward Xu lift his whisk and stood at Ling Xiao’s bedside.
Ling Xiao was dizzy and what he saw was muddled, but he could still faintly see the shadow of a person. According to the shadow, he could guess that it was the eunuch who was always wearing the red embroidered clouds: Steward Xu. Soon after he recognized him, he didn’t feel like starting the conversation.
It had already been two days. No one came to his room, and no one brought him water or food. Originally he was sick, but now his body was even weaker. Since Ling Xiao still didn’t want to die, in his current weak state, he could only do his best to save his strength bit by bit as he waited for his illness to improve. Then he would be able to go out and get some water. He simply didn’t have the strength to pay any attention to Steward Xu.
However, Steward Xu wasn’t about to let him off.
“Ling Xiao, Little Ling-y, do you know what I have in my hand?”
Steward Xu turned the delicate box in his hands, showing off.
Ling Xiao swallowed his saliva, moistening his dry throat.
“This is the hundred year ginseng bestowed by the Emperor.”
“Although it’s for you,” Steward Xu evilly laughed, “the fact is that it’s mine now.”
“It’s not just these few things, but after you die, I will get even more things since the Emperor will only have me to serve him.”
Ling Xiao frowned, what was Steward Xu saying!
“Ling Xiao, you, a little eunuch, really are clever. If you had been absolutely loyal to me, I also wouldn’t have the heart to take this step, you know.”
Ling Xiao clenched his teeth and said in a hoarse voice, “What do you want to say in the end?!”
“Sigh…” Steward Xu sneered, “You don’t understand? It’s fine even if you don’t, since I will explain it to you.”
“The Emperor sent me to take care of you.”
Ling Xiao was surprised and frowned.
Steward Xu somewhat pointedly said, “In this palace, one or two eunuchs dying from illness isn’t unusual. I have already reported to the Emperor that you are infected with a cold. After this, I will make a report to the Emperor, saying that your body was weak and could not bear the illness. As a result, you will never rise again.
Ling Xiao knew that he had been given the cold shoulder the past two days because Steward Xu wanted to kill him in his heart, but wanted him to perish on his own. However, he did not know how he provoked him to the extent that Steward Xu couldn’t even bear waiting for him to die on his own, but even directly came to kill him!
Killing him, then deceiving the Emperor! Even saying that he died from his illness!
No way, he couldn’t just sit and wait for death like this!
Ling Xiao weakly got up. Just when he was thinking about how he could escape, a group of people suddenly walked in.
Accompanying that was the shout of a eunuch—His Majesty has arrived.
Ling Xiao’s eyes brightened, seeing the black-clothed Emperor taking the lead as he walked in, followed by a group of eunuchs and palace maids.
Seeing this, he did not know why, but Ling Xiao’s heart immediately calmed down.
“Your… Your Majesty…”
Seeing the Emperor, Steward Xu’s legs had already gone soft, and he kneeled in front of the Emperor, paying his respects.
He did not know how many of his words were heard by the Emperor, but his body was trembling nonstop, and he couldn’t even speak anymore.
The Emperor silently looked at him, suddenly asking, “Steward Xu, how many years have you served Us?”
Steward Xu lowered his head, “Your old servant began taking care of Your Majesty when you were five years old.”
“Five years old.” The Emperor said out loud, “Then you should know very well what Our temper is like.”
Steward Xu stared blankly, and the Emperor continued, “We hate being deceived the most.”
Steward Xu was startled, he understood in his heart that everything he said just know was heard by the Emperor, and he couldn’t help but be more frantic in his mind. He had been trembling with fear for so many years and had never deceived the Emperor about anything. It was just this once that he couldn’t be seen through!
Thinking this and that, he hurried said, “Your servant did not deceive Your Majesty, your servant is completely dedicated to Your Majesty!”
The Emperor did not acknowledge him, and Steward Xu clenched his teeth, his sight sweeping to Ling Xiao on the bed. In an attempt to shift the blame, he said, “It was him!”
“Your Majesty, it was him! Ling Xiao was deluding people with lies, deliberately induced this old servant just now to say those words. Your Majesty, this old servant is being wrongly accused!”
Steward Xu pointed at Ling Xiao, who was so dizzy he couldn’t even see silhouettes clearly, as he laid on the bed.
The Emperor wrinkled his eyebrows, his unwavering stare directed at Steward Xu without a single flicker.
After listening to Steward Xu’s quibble silently, he sighed as he closed his eyes in resignation and opened his mouth , “Xu Qishan, old in years, is no longer fit to stay by Our side any longer. Today, he is removed from his position and exiled from the palace. However, We feel that, due to those twenty years of care, this is a special case and permit him to return home in silken robes.”
“Your… Majesty?” Steward Xu was dumbfounded, looking at the Emperor incredulously. He had served the Emperor for so many years only to be dismissed just like this? All his life he’d been an eunuch, there wasn’t any place that was still his hometown….
Steward Xu’s face was gray like death.
The Emperor turned around, no longer looking at Steward Xu, “Take him out.”
“Yes.” Two eunuchs from behind him came forward and dragged out the lifeless Steward Xu.
After Steward Xu was removed, the Emperor went before Ling Xiao. In his mind, Ling Xiao knew that he ought to get up and salute, but with his murky head and weak body, the moment he got up, he fell down. This one fall caused him to completely lose consciousness.
When he woke up again, Ling Xiao felt much better. His throat was no longer as painfully dry, and his stomach no longer felt empty. It looked like when he was unconscious, someone had fed him and given him something to drink. However, the scenery he was looking at right now wasn’t that of his room. He was now in a gorgeous room that was much bigger than the one he stayed in. When he turned over and sat up, two little eunuchs immediately came to Ling Xiao’s side and saluted.
“Steward Ling, how are you?”
Hearing this address, Ling Xiao felt surprised. He blinked and looked at the two small eunuchs in front of him who were acting quite respectful.
“What did you two call me just now?”
The two small eunuchs responded deferentially, “Steward Ling.”
Seeing Ling Xiao’s face filled with confusion, the more clever one among them explained to him, “Gong gong, it’s like this, His Majesty has already given you the position of Eunuch Steward.”
Ling Xiao was shocked, “Then what about Steward Xu?”
“Steward Ling, Steward Xu was removed from his position and driven out of the palace.”
Ling Xiao suddenly realized that he had a little impression of this. That Steward Xu had said a bunch of stuff in front of him and even wanted to kill him. In the end, he had been caught red-handed by the Emperor and everything was revealed.
This gave the Emperor an excuse to dismiss him from his position.
Since the Steward position was vacated, the only one by the Emperor’s side besides Steward Xu was himself, so he had been conveniently picked to replace Steward Xu and jumped to the Eunuch Steward position in a short time. That was also why he had changed rooms.
Ling Xiao looked around at his surroundings. This place really was a lot better than the one he had before. The bed had curtains, the table and chair were made of marble, and the surroundings were decorated with various ornaments. It wasn’t just the room, the table came with a candlestick. He finally doesn’t have to randomly grope around in the dark anymore!!
This is too fúcking lucky!!!
He accidentally settled one of his biggest enemies, got promoted, and even got a house to live in!
“Steward Ling.” Someone called from the doorway. Ling Xiao turned back, clearing his throat before shouting, “Come in.”
Immediately, more than a dozen maids and eunuchs walked through the doorway in succession, all holding cloth, silver, or carrying precious medicinal herbs. All were divided equally among their two rows.
The little eunuch that took the lead came in front of Ling Xiao and saluted, “Steward Ling, these are all bestowed upon you by the Emperor.”
“For me?” Ling Xiao wanted to get out of bed, and the two eunuchs from before immediately squatted down to help him put on his shoes.
Ling Xiao was somewhat unable to react to being served like this; however, when he got out of bed and looked at these cloths, silvers, and precious medicinal herbs, he couldn’t help but be stupefied.
He wasn’t dreaming right?
Why was the Emperor suddenly so good to him?
Ling Xiao patted his face a little. Since it hurt a bit, all of this must be real.
The leading eunuch, looking at Ling Xiao’s stupefied face, secretly smiled, “Steward Ling, don’t be afraid, these are all real.”
“You know what I am thinking?” Ling Xiao looked at that small eunuch, that person’s face was delicate and pretty, his whole face soft and immature. It appeared that he wasn’t all that old.
The little eunuch smiled and said, Steward Ling, everything is written on your face.”
“Is that so?” Ling Xiao dragged out his tone and touched his face a little. The little eunuch, seeing that Ling Xiao was a bit unhappy, quickly shifted the topic, “Steward Ling, these are actually the Emperor’s compensation you.”
“Compensation?” Ling Xiao raised an eyebrow.
The small eunuch nodded and explained, “This servant previously found many of the things His Majesty rewarded you in Steward Xu’s room. When His Majesty saw that and that your house was simple and crude, with barely two sets of clothing, he knew you were wronged and once again rewarded you.”
Ling Xiao lifted his head, finally understanding everything clearly. So that was what happened, he had just explained how the Emperor suddenly become so good to him.
It was because he had endured and gave all his rewards to Steward Xu. In other words, his trick of injuring himself to gain his enemy’s confidence…
Although this bitter plan had not been exposed and still rose to its purpose of taking revenge against Steward Xu, it had still unintentionally been broken and gave him a lot of benefits as a result.
Ling Xiao felt the silver in the plate and evilly smiled, the timing of this illness of his was pretty good.
Seeing that Ling Xiao was no longer saying anything, the little eunuch bowed and said, “Then Steward, this servant will go back to report to the Emperor.”
“Wait.” Ling Xiao stopped him and the little eunuch respectfully stopped in front of Ling Xiao. Ling Xiao looked the young eunuch up and down. Not only was his temperament very clean, he didn’t have that kind of damned eunuch atmosphere, and his smile was very bashful. It wasn’t like the devious kind from the palace, but there was a slight calculating light in his eyes. This person shouldn’t be stupid, Ling Xiao satisfiedly pursed his lips, “What is your name?”
The small eunuch was surprised and obediently replied, “This servant is Xiao Lizi.”
Ling Xiao collected himself, “Xiao Lizi.”
“This servant answers.” Xiao Lizi replied.
Ling Xiao smiled a bit and then asked after thinking, “Where is the Emperor?”
“He is in the Imperial Study handling government affairs.” Xiao Lizi replied.
Ling Xiao stroke his chin and thought, “Wait a bit.”
Saying that, he turned around to put on some clothes before coming out.
“Steward Ling, you…” Xiao Lizi was surprised.
Ling Xiao smiled and said, “I will go with you to see the Emperor.”
When he saw the Emperor, he was criticizing a memorial.
Although he didn’t want to admit it, he really had been saved because the Emperor had come at a good time.
If Ling Xiao had hatred, he would take revenge. If he was given grace, he would repay the grace. The Emperor’s kindness this time, he would remember it.
While he was thinking this, he took the lead and knelt. The Xiao Lizi behind him also followed.
The Emperor raised his head. Seeing Ling Xiao, he felt slightly astonished.
Ling Xiao bowed his head, “I have received Your Majesty’s concern.”
The Emperor pursed his lips and said, “Rise, Xiao Lizi, you can leave first.”
“Yes.” The eunuch behind him bowed his body and departed.
Ling Xiao rose and walked with small quick steps in front of the Emperor, “Your servant will help you grind the ink.”
“Leave it for when you are better.” The Emperor cast Ling Xiao a glance, “How do you feel?”
“Much better already.” Ling Xiao replied, “Your servant’s illness came quickly and will also leave quickly.”
The Emperor said, “I rewarded cloth to you, so go make a few pieces of clothing.”
Ling Xiao was surprised for a moment, this Emperor was concerned about him… he couldn’t help but feel somewhat moved and his heart warmed.
“Many thanks to Your Majesty’s concern.”
The Emperor nodded slightly and dipped his head to concentrate on his own affairs again, slightly ignoring Ling Xiao. When he finished one, seeing that Ling Xiao was still in front of him, he looked at him and asked, “What else is the matter?”
Ling Xiao pursed his lips before kneeling, “Your servant is here to thank Your Majesty for the favor.”
“Thank you Your Majesty for saving this one’s life. Thank you Your Majesty for appreciating this one. Thank you your Majesty for rewarding this one so many items.” Ling Xiao knelt there.
Although the little eunuch’s complexion was pale, his features were lively, especially when he said those words just now. His expression was implicitly gentle and soft, as if he had taken off a shell, making him especially bright in one’s eyes.
The Emperor stared, he couldn’t help but be distracted and placed down the item in his hand as he said, “Stand up, your body isn’t well. There is no need to be over-courteous.”
Ling Xiao heard this and rose as the Emperor said, “Since you have listed Our kindness, then hurry up and get better to help Us work.”
“Yes, your servants will remember.” Ling Xiao replied.
Seeing the tired state of the little eunuch in front of him, he said, “If there are no other matters, you can leave and rest.”
“You servant will withdraw.” Ling Xiao also knew of his body’s circûmstances and did not force himself, bowing his head and waist in a salute before leaving at once.
Return in glory