And 67 is done~ 68 should also be done today, I have like 6 pages left. Working hard toward the ending Also have someone helping edit the past 30+ chapters lol. While she was editing it, I finally noticed so many brain dead moments XD
Chapter 67: After Obtaining Love (II)
Ling Xiao looked toward the entrance when he heard her, and as expected, half of a horsetail whisk could be seen.
Ling Xiao got up and walked out.
“King Consort.” The moment he walked to the entrance, Steward Li knelt down to salute to him.
Ling Xiao gave him a glance and said, “Stand up, what do you need me for?”
Xiao Lizi smiled flatteringly, “His Majesty was thinking of you this morning at the court and wanted this servant to come serve you. He also wanted this servant to bring some breakfast for you.”
After he spoke, Xiao Lizi waved his hand behind him. Not long after, two rows of eunuch walked in, each holding an exquisite tray. They saluted to Ling Xiao then respectfully place the tray in Ling Xiao’s palace.
Ling Xiao observed them and then walked over to take a closer look. A table full of delicacies were placed before him.
“This…” Ling Xiao frowned.
Xiao Lizi hurried forward to explain, “King Consort, these were all specifically ordered by the Emperor for us servants to prepare for you, he was worried about you.”
Xiao Lizi took a look at the table after he spoke and fawningly continued, “King Consort, take a look. The Emperor himself has never requested these dishes, but told us servants to prepare them for you. The Emperor really is doing his best for you.”
While Xiao Lizi spoke, his face was full of smugness like he was the one being loved. Ling Xiao gave him a long look and he promptly vanished his proud appearance, softly clearing his throat before approaching Ling Xiao once more, “King Consort, beside this, the Emperor also wanted this servant to give you this.”
Xiao Lizi spread out his palm in front of Ling Xiao who took a look. A key rested in his palm.
Ling Xiao first looked up at Xiao Lizi who promptly explained without further words, This is the key to the imperial palace’s warehouse. It was always safekept by Concubine Xian before, but the Emperor had this servant bring it to you this time. When the Emperor handed it over, he said that anything you want, you can directly take it without his agreement.”
His part spoken, Xiao Lizi handed the warehouse key to Ling Xiao.
Ling Xiao raised an eyebrow in surprise, the Emperor’s imperial kindness was really broad and powerful.
He really just gave the key to him like that?
He could take whatever he wanted out of there?
Ling Xiao’s eyes turned in its sockets, then he raised the key and smiled.
Since the Emperor is so generous, why should he not accept?
Just wait for him to clean out the warehouse! Then let’s see what the Emperor can use to be generous!
Ling Xiao resentfully thought about that with a ‘hating the rich’ attitude. After he ate his meal, he immediately left for the Emperor’s warehouse.
He only knew just how naive he was about trying to clean out the warehouse when he got there.
The valuable items in this warehouse filled five rooms completely, anything you can think of were in there. If he wanted to clean this place out, with just himself, it was completely impossible.
Ling Xiao looked all over and then noticed a block of bright warm jade on a table in one of the rooms. The color of the warm jade was exquisite, and the luster glossy. Even Ling Xiao, this amateur could see that the value was high.
But what made Ling Xiao feel strange about was how this jade was sitting alone on the innermost table, he could see that this jade was very special amongst the piles of treasures.
However, he can’t really say it’s very precious since this jade was just place on the table, it wasn’t locked up nor was it hidden.
It really gave him a strange feeling and he couldn’t help but take a few more looks at it, so he walked over.
Xiao Lizi had received the Emperor’s order and very diligently followed behind Ling Xiao. Watching Ling Xiao touch that jade, his eyes brighten.
He walked up to Ling Xiao and bent his waist while asking, “King Consort, you like this jade?”
“Hm.” Ling Xiao made a sound of agreement while immersed in his thoughts.
Xiao Lizi watched the scene and said in a fawning soft voice, “Then… why don’t you try picking it up?”
“……” Ling Xiao did not speak and just picked up the jade. As he held it, a faint warmth came from it, it was quite comfortable.
From a closer view, he could see that a vivid and lifelike tiger was carved on it, because the jade was white, this tiger really looked like a White Tiger, majestic.
The more he looked at it, the more like liked it. He didn’t want to let go of it as he played with it.
Xiao Lizi once again said as he watched, “If King Consort likes it, then why not hold onto it?”
Ling Xiao turned back to glare at him. With Xiao Lizi talking so much about it, it’s like this thing was his and it made him uncomfortable.
Ling Xiao curled his lips, he knew that in the end, he was already bearing a grudge against Xiao Lizi ever since he stood on the Emperor’s side. So no matter what Xiao Lizi said, he would always feel uncomfortable.
However, Ling Xiao really did like this jade, so he carried it on himself.
After he left the warehouse, Xiao Lizi did not follow Ling Xiao and instead, found a reason for Ling Xiao to leave first before going to Concubine Xian’s palace.
The warehouse key had always been in the hands of Concubine Xian. The things that enter and leave the warehouse were always checked by Concubine Xian.
The account of items were all in her hands. Though the Emperor gave the key of the warehouse to Ling Xiao, the reserve key was still in her hands. Ling Xiao was free to take whatever he wanted from the warehouse, but Xiao Lizi would go to Concubine Xian to tell her what he took and allow her to keep the account of items organized.
The Emperor said that he would not get involved with whatever he took, but as for what he took, if he wanted to know, he only needed to go look at the account of items to know.
When the Emperor had Xiao Lizi carry out his orders, he didn’t say to hide that from Ling Xiao. But Xiao Lizi thought that Ling Xiao would feel uncomfortable so he hid the matter.
But nevertheless, Ling Xiao was a clever individual, with the experience from his past lifetime, he already knew that the account of the warehouse was taken care of by Concubine Xian.
Though the Emperor gave him the key, he did not give the account to him. If he thought about it carefully, then he would immediately know that there was bound to be a spare key.
And what he took more than likely needed to be told to Concubine Xian who was taking account of the items within the warehouse.
Rather than waiting for the Emperor to tell him to go tell Concubine Xian what he took, it was better for him to go tell her now.
With that thought, Ling Xiao started to walk toward Concubine Xian’s palace.
Ling Xiao correctly guessed what the Emperor had in mind, but he did not know that the Emperor had already arranged for Xiao Lizi to save him from the trouble. He also did not know that Xiao Lizi thought he was doing smart by hiding the matter from Ling Xiao because he thought it would make the other feel uncomfortable.
As such, when Xiao Lizi arrived at Concubine Xian’s palace, Ling Xiao also arrived.
Ling Xiao and Xiao Lizi were both led to the palace hall, waiting for Concubine Xian to come out and meet them.
At Concubine Xian’s palace, Ling Xiao saw the respectfully standing Xiao Lizi, whose face suddenly went white beside him. He raised an eyebrow in surprise and immediately understood. The reason this Xiao Lizi used just then to be excused was a lie.
What a nice move Xiao Lizi, although he didn’t groom him himself, he had still been by his side for a good while. Leaving aside how he sided with the Emperor, between him and Concubine Xian, he had actually took her side?
Ling Xiao coldly smiled and Xiao Lizi cowered, hurriedly lowering his head and kneeling on the ground, apologizing first, “King… King Consort, please have mercy. Xiao Lizi didn’t mean to lie to you…it’s…it’s the Emperor who wanted this servant to tell Concubine Xian what you have taken from the warehouse.”
“……” Ling Xiao frowned, “The Emperor had you come here? Are you telling the truth?”
Xiao Lizi had a bitter face as he continued to beg for forgiveness, “How could this servant dare to lie to you?”
“Hmph.” Ling Xiao coldly snorted, “What do you not dare?”
Xiao Lizi was frightened and quickly lowered his head to show his respect, “King Consort, this servant is being accused wrongly.”
“Accused wrongly?” Ling Xiao questioned, “Then hiding the fact you had to come report to Concubine Xian was also ordered by the Emperor?”
How could such a smart man like the Emperor, hide something he would know?
Ling Xiao sneered in his mind and looked down at the kneeling Xiao Lizi who was shivering and did not dare to talk, and his face went colder.
“What is going on?” Suddenly, a soft woman’s voice floated in and he turned his head to look over.
It was Concubine Xian, dressed in yellow formal dress.
She was different from how he had seen her beside the Emperor before, the current her had on a dense layer of makeup, a golden crest laid on her head and her clothes were embroidered with gold flowers.
Her formal dress caused her entire person to be enveloped in a faint light.
Ling Xiao felt it was a bit dazzling and squinted his eyes. He watched as Concubine Xian arrived in front of him while being supported by the arm, her soft, almost boneless like body saluted to him.
“This lady pays her respect to the King Consort.”
Ling Xiao went silent, Mu Country’s “King Consort” was equivalent to “Queen Consort”, the rank was a whole rank higher than Concubine Xian. But with how she manages the harem, she didn’t really have to salute to him.
TL Note: Just Empress is Huang Hou, pretty sure Queen Consort (Huang Fei) is like just a rank lower than that. Not sure which dynasty system this one uses, but it’s usually Empress > Consort > Concubines
Right now, with how ceremonious she was dressed and saluting to him, it was like he was here to criticize her.
“This lady was busy for a while and hasn’t found the time to pay respects to you. For King Consort to personally come to this lady’s place, it really is this lady’s mistake, please forgive this lady.”
“……” Ling Xiao’s lips twitched, his mood a bit complicated.
In his past lifetime, he had often watched Mo Qi and this concubine hovering around each other while he put forward plans ideas for her behind her. And nowadays, with his current identity, it was like he was playing Mo Qi’s role…
Could it be that he must contend with these concubines too?
Just thinking about it was scary and he shook his head. He had to make clear his goodwill, “Stand up, I am not here to blame you.”
While he spoke, Ling Xiao did not want to drag on the talk any longer and directly fished out the jade he had gotten from the warehouse out of his bosom. He looked at her and said rather domineeringly, “I want this jade.”
The implication of his words was that she should go bookkeeping.
However, when she saw the jade, the first thing she expressed was shock before becoming distressed. She wanted to speak several times but nothing ever went out of her mouth, like it was too hard to mention.
Ling Xiao frowned, “What’s wrong?”
“If Concubine Xian wants to say something, just say it.” Ling Xiao said.
Concubine Xian pursed her lips, wavered for a bit before asking, “This… how did King Consort choose this item?”
“Is it too precious? So I can’t take it?” Ling Xiao raised an eyebrow and guessed.
“No.” Concubine Xian shook her head, slightly smiling, “It’s the very opposite.”
While Ling Xiao stared blankly, Concubine continued, “Although this jade is invaluable, it is a ‘taboo’ in this palace. It’s said to have been from the Emperor’s early years, but later on, he ordered this lady to lock it up. Once that order had been made and the jade locked up, no one was allowed to touch it. Violators… were beheaded.”
Ling Xiao’s heart jumped and he looked at her, finally becoming aware that she was secretly taking note of his expression. He slightly calmed and quickly pressed down his panic, assuming a very indifferent appearance to look back at her.
Concubine Xian paused and continued on her explanation, “As such, from then on no one tried to get any ideas about that jade. Because anyone who touched it would be beheaded. Everyone in the palace say the jade is ‘taboo’.”
Concubine Xian sighed sorrowfully as after that, “So many years has passed by, the Emperor probably forgot about this jade. So he likely forgot to warn King Consort this time.”
“……” Ling Xiao looked down at the jade in his hand.
It sat quietly in his hand, a warmth flowing from it, gentle and exquisite. When he held it, he could feel that this jade was often touched by someone before, and as such, was now very smooth.
Ling Xiao truly liked this jade. He clenched his teeth and held it tightly, then raised his head to look at Concubine Xian, “I will take this jade. I will go back and personally speak to the Emperor about this, you just need to record it.”
Concubine Xian stared blankly for a long time before saluted and replying, “Yes.” She lowered her head so that Ling Xiao couldn’t see her expression.
Ling Xiao was also too lazy to think about her thoughts and turned around, planning to leave.
But the moment he turned around, he saw a familiar person.
That person was dressed in a red cotton skirt, her hair neatly combed with a golden hairpin, appearing very charming as she slowly walked forward.
This person was Hong Ye, who once had plotted against him.
Ling Xiao paused and Hong Ye did the same, as she had not expected to see Ling Xiao. Her footsteps stopped and her back immediately bented, giving a beautiful salute to Ling XiO.
“I hope King Consort is well.”
“……” Ling Xiao did not reply as he looked at Hong Ye, his eyes showing a complicated.
The Emperor has always been strict. Though the Emperor had personally said that he had been forgiven many times because there really wasn’t a bottom line when it concerned him.
In that case, how did Hong Ye escape from punishment?
This really bothered him.
Aside from how she was able to escape punish, she also stayed by Concubine Xian’s side. Which was the same as the Emperor allowing Hong Ye to stay in the palace.
Just what was the Emperor thinking?
Ling Xiao pursed his lips.
“Stand up.” Ling Xiao coldly said.
Hong Ye bit her lips and stood up, then stood to the side to give Ling Xiao a route out.
While Ling Xiao was very curious on what the Emperor was thinking, he was also very curious on just what was going on with Hong Ye.
She was not really terrible to him before, he could even say she was worried about him before. Plus, he had taught her his dancing skills. Yet she just went and plotted against him, he really was interested in just how her mind worked.
Ling Xiao stared at her, like he was trying to carefully make out her expression.
Hong Ye kept her head extremely low, like she was hiding from his probing stare.
Ling Xiao thought about asking her, but seeing her act this way, he lost the desire to ask. He gave a deep sigh then said wistfully, “You do your best.”
He turned and left after those words.
“Hong Ye, how was it? Did you send it to His Majesty this morning?”
He didn’t know if it was intentional or not, but he hadn’t left far when Concubine Xian said that, as such, he heard it.
Ling Xiao paused for a slight moment, clenched his fist then continued to walk away.
“King…King Consort…” A weak voice called from behind him, it was clear Xiao Lizi had caught up.
Ling Xiao didn’t want to pay attention to him and walked quickly, with Xiao Lizi jogging to follow closely.
The moment he got back to his palace, Ling Xiao took off the calm appearance he kept up and exposed his irritated expression, pushing open the door roughly then walked in, puffing with anger, his actions were very crude.
Those last words that were said louder than normal, were clearly for him to hear.
There was something Xiao Lizi said before that was really too true.
Although this Concubine Xian acted like she didn’t make things awkward for people, in secret, she disputed against him!
Ling Xiao angrily closed the door, rubbed his face and turned around, only to be scared by a pair of black eyes. Taking a closer look, he noticed that it was the Emperor, sitting at the table.
Ling Xiao hurriedly bent his body to salute, but the Emperor got up and interrupted him, “Don’t bother.”
“Your Majesty… How long have you been back?” He asked rather nervously when he thought back to his previous display.
The Emperor profoundly looked at him and replied, “How long We’ve been here wasn’t important, the important part was that the things you didn’t want Us to see has been completely seen.”
“……” Ling Xiao blushed with shame, his brows unconsciously twitching a bit.
The Emperor walked in front of him and rubbed his brows like he had found a novelty.
Ling Xiao went stiff, but didn’t refuse his touch. With the gentle strokes of his hand, it was a bit itchy and stirred the bottom of heart, causing his body to heat up.
The Emperor observed and suddenly took back his hand. In a moment, his hands were around Ling Xiao’s waist and he led him to the table, quietly asking, “Who made Our King Consort unhappy?”
Ling Xiao paused, he knows that the Emperor was asking about his angry look just a moment ago.
He originally wanted to say what happened with Concubine Xian, yet saw the dishes of fine desserts. The desserts were a bit messy, it looks like it had already been moved. And by the Emperor’s side on the table was a bowl of half eaten congee, it was clear he had just drank from it.
Ling Xiao immediately made a connection with what he heard from Concubine Xian just before he left, and his entire body temperature left him,
He looked at the desserts and swallowed with difficulty, then asked, “Your Majesty, was this your breakfast? Who sent it to you?”
“Concubine Xian had someone send it over. What’s wrong?” He didn’t know if it was intentional or not, but the Emperor did not mention Hong Ye.
Ling Xiao’s heart went cold and he forced a smile, “There’s nothing.”
He said that and slightly threw off the Emperor’s hold, who narrowed his eyes unhappily as he looked at him.
But he could only see Ling Xiao staring at those desserts on the table, like a tiger whose territory was invaded and occupied, and was baring his fangs at them, hating that he couldn’t rip them apart.
The Emperor raised an eyebrow and understood, he felt it was a bit funny and his mouth rose in a curve. Yet he teasingly propped up his face and ate a few more bites of the desserts.
With that action, Ling Xiao was no longer just staring at the desserts and had shifted his gaze to the Emperor. The complaints in those eyes weren’t something the Emperor could ignore even if he wanted to.
Besides, he wasn’t planning to ignore it. He turned his head to look at Ling Xiao, his teasing eyes that were full of love watched the scene that reminded him of a small kitten waving its small claws.
Ling Xiao was a bit surprised. The Emperor’s gaze was too straightforward, causing his heart to jump a bit and for some of his anger to diminish.
Being faced by that gaze, it was not hard to see his gentleness toward him. Those bright eyes were penetrating, after being stared too long, it felt like his heart was cut open and laid bare for him to see. It gave Ling Xiao a feeling of being peeked on, and gave him a faint sense of shame.
Ling Xiao felt that a blush was gradually making its way up on his face, washing away his resentful and angry appearance. When the Emperor saw that, he finally spoke, “We will give you one chance, what do you want Us to do? Tell Us, and we will listen to you.”
Intentional or otherwise, the Emperor’s gaze swept over the desserts on the table. This kind of hinting for someone like Ling Xiao who understood the Emperor, turned his anger to delight in a moment. He grinned and brazenly requested, “Your Majesty, Ling Xiao wants you to return all of these desserts back to Concubine Xian!”
“……” The Emperor raised an eyebrow and did not speak.
Ling Xiao stopped, a bit worried. Could it be he understood the Emperor’s meaning wrong? The Emperor wasn’t hinting for him to deal with the desserts on the table?
Watching Ling Xiao’s eyes dimming again, he reached out to rub Ling Xiao’s soft hair and said rather helplessly, “I’ll listen to you.”
Ling Xiao was very satisfied with that and used the small kitchen in the palace to personally cook.
After the morning meal, Ling Xiao took out that jade from his bosom and placed it in front of the Emperor.
The Emperor took a glance at it, that one look caused his whole face to cool and his brows to wrinkle.
Frightened, Ling Xiao immediately knelt. He was now convinced that what Concubine Xian told him weren’t lies, the Emperor really didn’t like this jade too much.
Although he had been in contact with the Emperor day and night, reducing his fear of the other by a lot, it did not stop him from trembling all over when the Emperor released his pressuring might. He now regretted a bit for taking this jade out, his words and actions also became much more cautious.
“You want this jade?” The Emperor suddenly asked, his gaze lingering on the kneeling Ling Xiao. His serene gaze became estranged, like he was looking at a stranger. With his mind sounding an alarm, Ling Xiao felt a bit upset in his heart. But he did not dare to hide the truth from him and could only nod his head dumbly.
The Emperor moved his sight back to the jade after he saw his confirmation, his gaze deep and complicated. Even for Ling Xiao who understood the Emperor to some extent, he was unable to make out his mood.
But the silence and terrifying aura of the Emperor told Ling Xiao that it was best he did not disturb the other at this time, otherwise, things would become worse.
This jade was as Concubine Xian said, it was like a ‘taboo’ in front of him. As long as it appeared, it was like some kind of button was hit on the Emperor’s body, causing him to become estranged and elusive.
“We had place this into the warehouse and once said that whoever dares to touch it would be beheaded.”
Ling Xiao trembled when he heard that, he clenched his teeth and kept his eyes down, kneeling with complete respect so that the Emperor could see his loyalty and wait for his ruling.
If he were to be beheaded, then he still has the death exemption golden plate… If he was to be beheaded, then he still has the death exemption golden plate…
Ling Xiao had already calculated the worst possible outcome.Ling Xiao had already calculated the worst possible outcome.
“We had not told you before, and it was Our negligence.” the Emperor suddenly switched back, throwing Ling Xiao off as he heard him continue, “But We have promised you that you can take anything you want out of the warehouse.”
The Emperor sighed heavily after that, then said with a rather helpless tone, “Forget it, stand up and hold onto it.”
After he spoke, he seem to be discontented as he once again said another line, like he was complaining, “There are countless treasures in the warehouse, yet out of all the things, you just had to pick that one.”
Ling Xiao stared blankly. Not only was he really amazed at the Emperor complaining in front of his, just what did his words mean?
Ling Xiao got up and really wanted to question the Emperor, but the other had already called for Xiao Lizi to come in.
Ling Xiao was not in the mood for Xiao Lizi and just glanced at him. Xiao Lizi saluted to the Emperor with a pale face.
The Emperor did not look like he was going to probe into the two people, he merely said rather tiredly, “You will return the desserts to Concubine Xian, and have her register what the King Consort took in the book.”
“Yes.” Xiao Lizi was a bit surprised and raised his eyes to look at Ling Xiao. He was a bit incredulous about the matter he had reported to the Emperor because Ling Xiao didn’t hide it from him. But since the Emperor had made the order, then he did not tarry and quickly saluted, carrying the desserts to Concubine Xian’s place.
And after the Emperor made the orders, he did not give Ling Xiao another glance and directly left his palace.
Ling Xiao sat motionlessly on the chair, absentmindedly staring at the jade in his hand.
Ever since then, he never came to Ling Xiao’s palace, but he also did not hear news about him going to other palaces.
Each night was spent in the neighbor palace to Ling Xiao’s, in his own room.
But just based on those two orders the Emperor passed down, leaving aside how Concubine Fei’s desserts were returned, the fact that he gave Ling Xiao the Jade Emperor was enough to make his name famous in the palace.
Causing the whole harem to go abuzz.
That jade, the order the Emperor placed down before still rang in their ears. For that jade, just how many eunuchs and maids had died because they’d accidently touched it?
And the current three members of the harem, Concubine Li, Concubine Ran, and Concubine Xian, just who would dare to touch it?
But Ling Xiao who had just been titled his consort, not only did he touch it, the Emperor even gave it to him. That kind of special privilege made it clear to all just who the Emperor loved the most!
Even if the Emperor had not spent the night at any palaces nor called people to serve him, just that bit served as proof for Ling Xiao’s position in the Emperor’s heart.
In a moment, Ling Xiao became the target which people tried to curry favor with.
Naturally, he also became someone that a portion of the people detested, and wanted to get rid of quickly…
On this day, Ling Xiao woke up early. Just as he was sighing about just how long the Emperor hadn’t come to see him, his palace just met a very special visitor.