Chapter 16: A Small Punishment To Show Might
The little eunuch had an expression as if he wasn’t afraid to die on his face, appearing like he wasn’t completely clueless on just how rude this request was. Even though he knew how rude it was to ask, this small eunuch had still raised this request. This made the Emperor somewhat curious.
As Ling Xiao had been stealthily taking note of the Emperor’s expression, he saw that there was a flash of curiosity on the Emperor’s face and knew in his heart that there was some hope for his request. Because of this, he decided to take the initiative and opened his mouth to explain, “Your Majesty, there are thousands of eunuchs in this palace. After killing these five, there would be more of these kinds of servants who are unable to tell good from bad in a short while. Your servant is worried since these kinds of situations often arise in the palace…”
The Emperor’s gaze was pensive, but when Ling Xiao paused, the Emperor raised an eyebrow, saying, “Continue.”
By now, Ling Xiao no longer had a way out, so he could only throw caution to the wind as he said, “Your servant is worried that Young Master Lan Wei would bribe some other people within the next few days after losing these servants.”
The Emperor narrowed his eyes, his face cold as he thought that this little eunuch really had the guts to say it!
Even with the distance between them, Ling Xiao could sense the cold air emitted by the Emperor. The cold made him tremble, and he clenched his teeth as he said, “Your Majesty, while Young Master Lan Wei is admittedly brazen, the problem isn’t just him, but also the servants of this palace.”
After Ling Xiao finished speaking, he looked carefully at the Emperor’s expression. His expression was deep and mysterious, his gaze distinctly cold, rendering Ling Xiao completely unable to guess at his thoughts. As a result, he could only brace himself and say, “The servants in the palace are very easy to bribe. Many of them will see a chance for profit and just go for it. Countless eunuchs in this palace have been bribed by someone. These five were caught by this servant, but the others are all hidden in every nook and cranny of the palace.”
The Emperor’s expression still didn’t reveal anything and still seemed to be listening attentively. Seeing this, Ling Xiao’s mind was a mess without a solution, but he also had no choice but to continue speaking, “True, these five eunuchs should die for trying to seek glory behind the back of their master; however, if Your Majesty forgives them this once, they will be useful later on.”
“They can become Your Majesty’s informers and monitor the other informers within the harem. Like this, those who dared to seek glory behind their master and concealed themselves will be found out one by one.” Ling Xiao clenched his teeth as he finished it all in one breath and silently waited for the Emperor’s reaction.
The Emperor listened with both hands clenched, then asked a question Ling Xiao neglected to answer.
“Where are those five eunuchs right now?”
Ling Xiao went blank and his heart began to feel weak. He had already acted on his own initiative and released those five. The Emperor, seeing him act this way, understood without him saying anything.
He sneered once.
He had doted on this little eunuch a little too much. He was already starting to lose his senses.
Ling Xiao frowned, he knew in his heart that it would be hard to obtain the Emperor’s forgiveness this time, but he couldn’t help but attempt one last save,“This servant regards the debt to Your Majesty very highly. For this servant to have the Eunuch Steward position, everything is so this servant can help share Your Majesty’s worries and difficulties.
The Emperor looked at Ling Xiao with freezing cold eyes.
“Then, so to speak, everything you are doing is for Us.”
Startled, only then did Ling Xiao realize that what he had just said was what the Emperor hated to hear the most. He couldn’t help but bow his head in salute and humbly apologize, but he didn’t dare to open his mouth again as he was afraid of saying the wrong things again.
The Emperor pursed his lips, “You certainly learned how to be a good Steward. In such a short time you’ve already gone behind your master’s back to seek glory. Our heart is very soothed.”
Saying this, the Emperor raised his heart and gazed at Ling Xiao, his gaze without a trace of warmth, “At this moment, We put you in charge of thoroughly investigating this matter with all your strength. Find all of the servants in the palace who dared to commit this crime. Those five people will also be handled by you.”
Ling Xiao was stunned, what did this Emperor mean?
He obviously felt his anger, yet he was still willing to agree to his request, what meaning did this have?
In the next second, the Emperor’s words answered Ling Xiao’s question.
Standing up, the Emperor walked in front of Ling Xiao, looking down on him disdainfully.
“Since you need to thoroughly investigate everything with all of your power, then before you have clearly investigated, you do not need to serve Us.”
Ling Xiao stared blankly and dipped his head low. This Emperor really was angry, wasn’t this an unconventional way of giving him the cold shoulder?
A Eunuch Steward that couldn’t attend to the Emperor?
He probably was the first. Ling Xiao could only force a smile and accept the order as he respectfully retreated.
The Emperor had agreed his request this time, but while on the surface it looked like the Emperor gave him a sweet date; in reality, he was ruthlessly given the whip.
Ling Xiao sighed and wiped the sweat on his forehead. The Emperor was the Emperor, after all. How could he allow someone to “act first and report later”? Ling Xiao resolutely slapped his head. He really did look at himself too highly.
That bit of favorable impression he had accûmulated bit by bit before the Emperor had been erased just like this.
However, it wasn’t too bad. His honesty in front of the Emperor gave him points. Although the Emperor was giving him the cold shoulder, he didn’t remove him from his position. If he had dared to hide it, he most likely would have ended up like Steward Xu.
On top of that, since the Emperor wanted him to deal with this matter, it was proof that he agreed with his point of view. It meant that the Emperor also wanted to grab out the informers within the imperial palace.
As such, even if the Emperor’s impression of him wasn’t good right now and he also didn’t want Ling Xiao to appear in front of him, as long as this matter was dealt with well, returning to how things were like before wasn’t impossible.
Ling Xiao planned out what he’d do, not bothering to urgently explain himself before the Emperor anymore. As the Emperor was rather fond of Xiao Lizi, he’d also take this opportunity to test him.
He wanted to take a look and see if Xiao Lizi was sensitive enough to be cultivated into his trusted aide.
Since the people in charge of passing on letters for Lan Wei and Mo Qi were caught, their communication was once again broken.
With this break, Ling Xiao was certain Mo Qi would come to try to find him again. In the end, it was unexpectedly Lan Wei who sought him out.
Ling Xiao lifted the slip of paper that had been delivered to him and sneered. Walking over to the candlestick, he burned it and silently returned to sitting in his seat.
Puzzled, Qi Lin dipped his head deferentially and walked before of Ling Xiao to ask, “Steward, are you not going to see him?”
Ling Xiao glanced at Qi Lin, his face full of disdain, and ignored him. He didn’t feel like replying.
Qi Lin failed to keep his mouth shut and invited people to embarrass himself as he asked, “Then Steward, this servant will go to refuse him.”
Saying this, he bowed, ready to leave.
“Hold it.” Ling Xiao shouted, surprising Qi Lin who deferentially turned back around.
Ling Xiao circled him twice and suddenly reached out his hand to feel around his waist. Qi Lin seemed to be ticklish and tried to dodge it twice; however, he still couldn’t get away from Ling Xiao’s hands.
Ling Xiao felt him twice and found two hard lumps. He lifted his eyes to glance at Qi Lin once, and Qi Lin’s gaze drifted away, seeming to have a guilty conscience. Ling Xiao coldly smiled once and brought out the two lumps.
They were two heavy ingots of silver.
Ling Xiao weighted the two ingots in his hands and sneered. Qi Lin’s hands and feet went weak, and he promptly kneeled in front of Ling Xiao.
Ling Xiao glanced at him, “Lan Wei only used this much to bribe you into delivering the letter?”
“Looks like you think your life is only worth these two ingots of silver.” Ling Xiao said disdainfully.
Qi Lin was greatly frightened and begged for forgiveness in his kneeling position, “Steward, your servant was wrong! Your servant won’t dare to anymore! Steward, please forgive this servant once more, just once more! This servant saw that this letter was being sent to you and so didn’t refuse it. However, this servant absolutely hasn’t sent any letters to Xiu Girl Mo! Steward!”
Ling Xiao used one foot to kick him away, “You still wanted to send a letter to Xiu Girl Mo?”
“This servant doesn’t dare!” Qi Lin answered.
Ling Xiao coldly looked at him, “You don’t dare? I see that you’re a dog that can’t stop himself from eating sh*t!”
“Servants.” Ling Xiao flung his sleeve and shouted outside once.
Two small eunuchs came in from outside. Ling Xiao turned the two ingots around in his hand and looked at Qi Lin, “You two slap his mouth. If you slap him well, these two ingots of silver are yours.”
The small eunuchs sneakily took a glance at the silver in Ling Xiao’s hand and their face light up with delight as they accepted the order, “Yes.”
For a moment, there was only the sound of Qi Lin’s screams and slapping in the room.
Listening for a while, Ling Xiao felt that it was too noisy and had the two drag Qi Lin to some solitary area to continue beating him. Telling them to beat him until he lost consciousness, he handed over the silver to the two of them.
Greed was second nature to this Qi Lin. Last time, Ling Xiao had merely threatened him and originally thought he would behave for a period of time. He didn’t expect that without substantial punishment, Qi Lin would believe that Ling Xiao was a pushover. The cheeky bástãrd, he had the impertinence to swear an oath, then take Lan Wei’s money.
It just so happened he could use this one. Ling Xiao would teach Qi Lin a ruthless lesson which also serves as a reminder to the other four.
“Steward.” A clear bright voice passed through the door from outside.
Ling Xiao slightly inclined his head to take a look outside and saw that it was Xiao Lizi who was currently serving the Emperor.
What was he doing coming to him instead of being by the Emperor’s side?
Ling Xiao blinked, smoothing his clothes, and cleared his throat, “Come in.”
Bad habits are hard to change