Chapter 9: Unfolding a Plan (II)
Mo Qi complacently looked at Ling Xiao, “Wouldn’t it have been better if you were like this before! You shouldn’t force me, how could I forget you if I flourished? You and I are are fellow townsman, we come from the same place.”
Ling Xiao turned his hands, impatiently saying, “Enough, just say it. What do you want?”
Mo Qi was asking to be embarrassed when she said, “Tomorrow is the day of the Emperor’s selection. Since you are the smartest, help me come up with some ideas. How do I attract the Emperor’s attention? Do I need to dress a bit prettier? Or maybe, dress modernly? Perhaps that’d be more eye-catching.”
Ling Xiao sneered, “You want someone from ancient times to appreciate modern aesthetics?”
Mo Qi became gloomy, “Then you tell me how.”
Ling Xiao rubbed his palm. In his past lifetime, Mo Qi had also come to find and consult him. In order for Mo Qi to stand out more, he had mixed among the eunuchs by the Emperor’s side and found out that the Emperor liked women who didn’t wear makeup.
As a result, he had Mo Qi go into battle without makeup and even had her be more casual. Mo Qi was beautiful in the first place, so even with makeup, she wouldn’t lose to the other Xiu girls. Add on her casual behavior, and in a group of upright and well-behaved Xiu girls, she indeed stood out, attracting the attention of the Emperor.
But this time… how could Ling Xiao allow her to do so?
He restrained his gaze and thought a little, before curving his lips and saying, “The Emperor likes women with heavy makeup and gaudy dress. You can just do however they do heavy makeup. Oh, right, he also likes women who are more quiet. Don’t talk too much tomorrow, just be gentle and quiet.”
Mo Qi frowned, “Just… just like that is enough?”
Ling Xiao shrugged his shoulders, “Whether you believe it or not is up to you.”
Mo Qi clenched her teeth, “Ling Xiao, I believe that you aren’t foolish enough to lie to me. If I do not get chosen this time, don’t think you will have an easy time either.”
Laying down her fierce words, Mo Qi turned around and departed. Ling Xiao sneered, he really wanted to see just how she would make his life hard.
The strongest backer in this palace was, naturally, only one person.
In his past lifetime, wasn’t it because Mo Qi depended on the Emperor that she rose to the peak? Then, this lifetime, why shouldn’t he try to do the same?
He couldn’t be reborn in vain.
The Emperor should have a favorable impression of him from a few days ago. Even if it wasn’t a favorable impression, his interest in him shouldn’t be low. Otherwise, the Emperor would had killed him when he first found the letter in order to silence him.
Furthermore, he was very confident that he could gain the Emperor’s favor.
In his past life, Mo Qi had liked the Emperor, so in order for Mo Qi to obtain the Emperor’s favor, Ling Xiao gathered information on everything the Emperor liked. What he liked to eat, what kind of weather he liked, what he liked to do, what time he got up, what time he worked, everything he was extremely certain about. He had used all of this on Mo Qi, allowing her to become a woman who completely understood the Emperor.
It could be said that the reason why Mo Qi was so favored by the Emperor was largely because of Ling Xiao.
This lifetime, Ling Xiao would instead go to battle on his own to become the small eunuch that is by the Emperor’s side.
He believed that it shouldn’t be hard at all.
Although if possible, Ling Xiao didn’t want to rely on the Emperor, but in the palace, he had no authority or influence, so he had to find himself a supporter. Most importantly, he couldn’t be a eunuch forever. He needed to think of an escape route.
In his past life, he and the Emperor did not have much contact. The Emperor could be regarded as the one who bullied and humiliated him the least in his past life. It was just that he would occasionally lack manners and would be berated by the Steward Xu for a few sentences, or he’d do something wrong and be canned a few times.
Compared to the people who humiliated him, the Emperor was much better.
He actually was bitter about those times that he was canned, but that was something he could take care of later.
What was most important right now was to deal with Mo Qi.
Someone stupid like her, Ling Xiao felt that she could definitely do anything. On top of that, she was holding his handle.
But how could he allow her to do what she wanted?
Once he was by the Emperor’s side and she was isolated, Ling Xiao did not believe she would still try to expose him. Even if she could, the Prime Minister’s Household would also not allow her to be so rude.
She was tied the Prime Minister’s Household’s fate right now, after all.
Making up his mind, Ling Xiao began to think of how he could get closer to the Emperor.
In a flash, the next day quietly arrived.
Mo Qi really did listen to Ling Xiao’s words, turning into a delicate and gaudily dressed girl with heavy makeup. She was dressed completely in a red that was such a deep color that, when combined with her fresh and pure figure, became somewhat seductive.
As she walked out, she glanced at the other Xiu girls who walked out with her disdainfully from the corner of her eyes. On her face, she wore extreme confidence in her own appearance.
It was impossible to find someone else who was more beautiful than her in this world. She was completely determined to win this selection.
Ling Xiao indifferently watched as he followed the numerous eunuchs and escorted this group of Xiu girls until they reached the middle of the garden’s level ground, following a small eunuch to stand behind the Xiu girls, ready at all times.
When it was around 3-5 PM, a yellow shadow finally appeared from the distance and, following that, the sharp voice of a eunuch rang out.
“His Majesty has arrived.”
At this, everyone kowtowed in succession.
After they got up, the Emperor randomly swept his gaze among the numerous Xiu girls until finally, his gaze settled on Ling Xiao for a few seconds. Then, he reached out and quickly flipped over a few signs. Steward Xu understood, calling the names on the signs that were turned over one by one.
What caused people to be surprised was that one of the names among them was Mo Qi!!!
Ling Xiao only rolled his eyes. It looked like Mo Qi’s halo really was strong enough.
Just when Ling Xiao was sighing with sorrow, all of the ones who were called were conferred a title!
Ling Xiao was stunned! In his past life, it had taken two or three days until the imperial edict arrived! In this life, they were unexpectedly conferred a title on the spot!
He remembered that in his past life, there were nine chosen. Without a doubt, right now, Mo Qi was conferred the Eleventh Rank Talented Lady title, and the Xiu Girl He, who had fought with Mo Qi, was conferred the Thirteenth Rank Lady Who Could Comfort a Multitude.
The others were all either conferred Talented Lady or Lady Who Could Comfort a Multitude. In that time, Mo Qi could be regarded as the one who was promoted the highest.
This time, Ling Xiao finished listening to Steward Xu granting titles.
The other Xiu girls who were chosen were identical to those his past life, it was just that Mo Qi was not conferred the title of…
The Emperor flipped over Mo Qi’s sign, yet did not confer her a concubine title? Was this intended?
Just as Ling Xiao was puzzling over this, the Emperor had already taken his crowd of eunuch and departed.
He was just about to catch up and offer his services, when Steward Xu appeared in front of him, frightening him.
He looked at Steward Xu in a panicked state and saluted him, “Hope Steward Xu is well.”
Steward Xu put on a fake smile as he stared at Ling Xiao. Ling Xiao felt all his hair stand up as he stared.
Steward Xu tittered as he said, “That is indeed a good appearance, just looking at it makes one feel comfortable. No wonder His Majesty saw and liked you.”
Ling Xiao felt that those words were filled with a sour taste and couldn’t help but twitch his mouth.
Steward Xu coldly laughed twice before his purpose for coming, “His Majesty called for you, followed me.”’
Following Steward Xu as he swerved left and right the whole way, the place they arrived at was the same Imperial Study where he had ground ink for the Emperor.
While Ling Xiao was surprised for a moment, Steward Xu had already pushed open the door, knelt, and saluted the Emperor who was sitting in front, so Ling Xiao followed him and also knelt.
Steward Xu said, “Your Majesty, he has been brought over.”
Emperor heard him, raising his head before lowering it again and returning to his work, “Then you can go. Ling Xiao, ground the ink.”
Ling Xiao was surprised for a moment before he smiled in understanding. Apparently, this Emperor had taken a liking to his grinding skills.
Ling Xiao thought that and got up to walk behind the Emperor and reach out with a hand for the ink stick. He was just about to start grinding it, when he discovered the Emperor had already stopped taking care of the affair in his hand at some point. With his serene and deep eyes staring steadily at his hand, he immediately stopped, set down the ink stick. Just as he was about to bow and beg for forgiveness, the Emperor stopped him, “You can continue, We want to watch.”
Ling Xiao could only stiffly take the ink stick again and grind it in a circle, his heart somewhat nervous.
The Emperor watched him and couldn’t help but laugh, “You are very afraid of Us?”
Ling Xiao went blank as he pursed his lip, thinking a bit before asking, “Your Majesty, would you like to hear the truth or a lie?”
The Emperor raised an eyebrow as he leaned back into his chair, his hands folded, his face unclear.
Ling Xiao sneakily looked at him, seeing that his expression wasn’t clear, he also didn’t dare to keep him in suspense and started to speak, “Your servant is reverent, not scared of Your Majesty. Your Majesty is a royal prerogative, your identity is noble, wise and brave, naturally, you are an existence your servant looks up to…”
“The truth.” The Emperor suddenly opened his mouth and interrupted Ling Xiao.
Ling Xiao embarrassedly rubbed his nose, “Scared, very scared… Your Majesty holds your servant’s life!”
The Emperor looked at Ling Xiao in astonishment, this small eunuch’s cautious appearance and nervous expression, how he was always stealing glances at him as if he was pondering over his mood at the moment; it really was the appearance of being timid and scared.
On the contrary, this timid natured eunuch even dared to speak the truth in front of him.
The Emperor felt it was amusing and shook his head.
Ling Xiao was relieved, it seemed like the Emperor did not mind his honesty.
Although he knew what the Emperor liked, this was also the first time he had had a close interaction with the Emperor. He would inevitably be cautious toward him and, like last time, as long as he was clear-headed, he would be on guard and nervous the entire time. The Emperor could see his nervousness and also didn’t chat with him anymore, he only wanted him to grind the ink.
After waiting and waiting, Steward Xu finally entered the room to ask the Emperor to eat when it was almost dusk again.
As the Emperor dines in his Imperial Study, the one to test the dish became Ling Xiao.
Ling Xiao was actually quite satisfied with this job. He could try all of the Emperor’s dishes and by the time he tasted all of them, he would be full as well. The dishes placed in front of the Emperor covered the whole table.
But after Ling Xiao gave a rough look at it, the food that the Emperor loved to eat were few.
The Emperor preferred sour, spicy, and cold, those kinds of intense flavors. However, in the palace, the dishes besides oil were still oil. That or they would be light and tasteless.
There were dishes of chicken, duck, goose and fish on the table, but the chicken was white cut chicken, the duck was sesame oil duck, the goose was honey juice goose, and the fish was steamed fish. Additionally, that swallow’s nest was so sweet that it was the tonic of someone who was tired of death. Ling Xiao felt that it was already pretty good if the Emperor could eat even one-tenth of the entire table.
Sure enough, the Emperor only ate two mouthfuls before putting down his chopsticks and calling for people to remove the food. Seeing this, Ling Xiao sighed. It was summertime right now, yet no one was preparing a bowl of mung bean congee or pickled plum soup to remove the heat.
Ling Xiao suddenly understood why, in his past life, the Emperor would always walk to Mo Qi’s palace in the evening. Even if he wasn’t going to stay the night, he would still go to Mo Qi’s place and not the others. It was because Ling Xiao would often prepare pickled plum soup in Mo Qi’s palace in the summer.
Thinking this, Ling Xiao took advantage of when the Emperor wasn’t paying attention to follow the palace maids who were taking away the food to the imperial kitchen.
Information that can be used against him; blackmail
Ancient times used a system of two-hour subdivisions, it’s called Shen time
Their rankings aren’t quite imperial concubines yet, it’s below that
Talented Lady, people have probably seen this in other history novels as Cairen (Jin Dynasty). Lady who Could Comfort a Multitude, is Baolin (Han Dynasty)