Chapter 14: To Reach The Top of The Small Summit
It took five days of rest before Ling Xiao’s sickness got better. In those five days, Ling Xiao had completely handed over the Emperor’s care to Xiao Lizi.
He even told a portion of the Emperor’s likes to Xiao Lizi: how much he could remember and understand was all up to his comprehension.
However, since he hadn’t heard any bad news from the Emperor, the Emperor should be somewhat satisfied with Xiao Lizi.
Ling Xiao was the Eunuch Steward now, so the matters he had to take care of increased as well. From top to bottom, all the eunuchs in the harem were under his management now. It was to the point that even the concubine plate for the night was chosen by him to give to the Emperor.
In other words, he could brush past Mo Qi’s plate forever.
However, the Emperor was an individual with self-restraint. The Steward Xu before him was told not to choose a plate if he wasn’t ordered to, so unless the Emperor specifically told him to, Ling Xiao also did not dare to choose a plate for the Emperor.
Five days later, Ling Xiao took up his post as usual and put on the clothing that belonged exclusively to the Eunuch Steward. The clothing had the exact same pattern as the previous Steward Xu: a red robe with clouds embroidered with golden silk.
Ling Xiao had even melodramatically taken the horsetail whisk before he went to show his respects to the Emperor.
When the Emperor saw him, he sized him up a bit before asking, “How is your body?”
Ling Xiao saluted, bowing his head, “Thank you for Your Majesty’s concerns, your servant is completely fine now.”
The Emperor nodded in satisfaction and spread his hands, “Help Us change clothes.”
Ling Xiao accepted the order and smiled as he walked in front of the Emperor.
The Emperor looked at his movements: this small eunuch’s complexion was finally rosy, and his spirit also appeared much better. The new clothes he wore fit quite well. Even though they were still eunuch clothes, when he wore them, there was a special unique flavor. Perhaps casual dress would be even more fitting on him.
While the Emperor was thinking of that, he withdrew his gaze.
Ling Xiao had already finished helping the Emperor put on his clothes and stood to the side respectfully.
The Emperor swung his sleeve a little and placed both hands behind his back as he walked out. Ling Xiao, bringing a group of people, went to catch up to him.
The Imperial Garden where the Emperor went to practice his swordplay was already prepared. Of the eunuchs and maids that Ling Xiao found, many of them were from the day he had been rewarded and were the ones who brought the reward to him.
These people, in his impression, were all habitually silent and very hard working.
Ling Xiao was not like the Steward Xu, unwilling to cultivate a trusted aide in order to preserve himself. He would choose a few suitable people, show them how to attend to the Emperor and make sure they attended to the Emperor properly.
Letting them help him do some of his work.
If, within these people, there really were some that wanted to curry favor with the Emperor and claim credit for themselves, then Ling Xiao wanted to see if they had such an ability. Or, perhaps he could see if becoming the Emperor’s trusted aide was really that easy.
Unlike in the past, Ling Xiao would get someone to prepare some ice water before the Emperor started his practice. This way, when the Emperor finished, he could use ice water to wash his face and wipe the sweat on his neck.
After the Emperor finished wiping himself off, he comfortably released a hushed breath, looking meaningfully at Ling Xiao. Ling Xiao smiled slightly, bowing his head courteously.
The Emperor lightly laughed once and went back to his bedroom to change into the dragon robe.
The only thing Ling Xiao acknowledged was different was that in this time, before the morning court, there was a eunuch waiting on them. This eunuch was appointed by the Emperor himself and was responsible for taking care of the first court assembly. This way, Ling Xiao did not have to worry about it.
As a result, when the Emperor went to the court assemble, Ling Xiao only needed to prepare the morning meal and wait for the Emperor to return.
The Emperor’s morning meal used to be some expensive congee and delicate pastries.
However, this time, Ling Xiao prepared him some plain tea and simple food—century egg and lean meat congee, with a side of egg cake.
When the Emperor returned and saw the table that was once full of food turn into two plates of distinct things, he stopped and looked at Ling Xiao.
Ling Xiao lowered his head and took the initiative to open his mouth, explaining, “Your Majesty, occasionally experiencing the food that the common people eat is actually pretty nice.”
“Furthermore, these were personally made by your servant. They are absolutely in line with Your Majesty’s preferences.”
The Emperor’s lipped pulled into something like a sneer, “If We are dissatisfied, then your steward position needs someone else to take over.”
Ling Xiao was slightly startled and then steadied himself, “Your servant understands.”
The Emperor raised an eyebrow. The small eunuch’s complexion was steady and full of confidence. Upon seeing this, the Emperor re-examined the simple breakfast.
In the end, he lifted his chopsticks, picked up the egg cake, and tasted it.
Unexpectedly, the taste was pretty good. The egg cake was somewhat spicy and truly matched his tastes. The congee was comparably light, not greasy like the swallow’s nest congee, and was quite fresh and tasty.
The Emperor looked at Ling Xiao, only then becoming aware that the small eunuch had been stealthily glancing at him. Apparently, he wasn’t completely confident in himself either.
He put down his chopsticks, unable to bear worrying him anymore, and said, “The common people’s way of eating is indeed pretty good. From hereafter, Our food shall be taken care of by you.”
Ling Xiao’s eyes brightened and he smiled as he saluted, “Your servant shall do as you bid.”
The Emperor lightly laughed, thinking of how the small eunuch’s body had only just gotten well, he gave a way to free the small eunuch, “Today, We have an official business to discuss with the Chancellor. You don’t need to follow us constantly, so return first to rest.”
Ling Xiao was slightly surprised, but he did not refuse. Respectfully seeing off the Emperor, he made sure Xiao Lizi would take good care of him.
However, Ling Xiao, this person, had gotten accustomed to being busy. Now that he was idle, his mind began to become lively after a short time.
What he first thought was that his hatred was really only directed at Mo Qi.
It was quite unlike Mo Qi to be quiet for so long.
Based on her character, she would absolutely not be so silent. It was almost completely certain that she was being guided by someone.
As for the one guiding Mo Qi, the only people Ling Xiao could think of were Lan Wei or the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister was still in the middle of his “vacation” period, so he probably wouldn’t act blindly without thinking.
That left only one possibility—Lan Wei.
He didn’t expect that even after being warned by the Emperor, Lan Wei was still daring and sent Mo Qi a letter. Apparently, Mo Qi’s Mary Sue halo was still going strong, making Lan Wei risk everything.
But who delivered the letter for them?
The very first few eunuchs that were bribed by Lan Wei were already disposed of.
In that case, who was the newly bribed eunuch that was sending letters for them?
Ling Xiao contemplated it. He knew all of Lan Wei’s informers in his past lifetime; however, that was in the last life, when Mo Qi left Chu Xiu Palace and encountered eunuchs from the other palaces. In this lifetime, Mo Qi was still in Chu Xiu Palace, so Ling Xiao did not know if Lan Wei had bribed the eunuch from the other palace like his last lifetime, or if it was a eunuch from Chu Xiu Palace.
Ling Xiao was at loss and rubbed his chin, suddenly he had an idea.
Swinging the whisk in his hand, he smiled evilly and headed out.
Eunuchs who had been bribed could change, but the place where the letters were exchanged probably wouldn’t.
Luckily, in his past lifetime, Ling Xiao had been responsible for sending many letters. As a result, he was very clear about the location.
Ling Xiao lifted the whisk and walked to the East Palace Gate. This place was the entrance for the eunuch that was responsible for storage.
At first, in order to go undercover, the letter was personally taken out the palace doors by Ling Xiao. It was from here—the East Palace Gate—that he sent it to Lan Wei.
Using the reason of sending fresh vegetables to see Mo Qi, he would deliver the letter to his partner and this partner was one of Lan Wei’s people.
If Lan Wei had a letter to send in, it was also brought in by him and he’d find a certain bribed little eunuch of the storage area to send the letter in.
As long as Ling Xiao did not beat the grass to scare the snake, he would find out who had been bribed.
It was just like his past lifetime.
There was a middle-aged eunuch who was called Qi Lin. He was a greedy man that worked in the storage area.
The one meeting him was Xiao Zhuozi from the imperial kitchen.
Since it was exactly the same as before, it was much simpler. Ling Xiao stroke the whisk in his hand and turned around to walk back to his own base.
Next, he called all the people he could remember over.
Xiao Zhuozi and Xiao Guizi from the Imperial Kitchen.
The storage area’s Qi Lin.
Xiao Dezi and Xiao Dengzi from Chu Xiu Palace.
There were some other eunuchs in his memories that were scattered in the other concubine’s palace, but Ling Xiao didn’t feel like Lan Wei was that fast, so he didn’t call them over.
The ones he called were just the most recent ones who had passed on letters and were unable to break from the responsibility as a result.
Ling Xiao sat on the most important chair, overlooking the group of people kneeling before him.
Some of the bold ones were the same as usual, while some of the more timid ones were already panicking in their hearts with their hands and feet going soft as they kneeled.
Ling Xiao was also not anxious and sized them up one by one, waiting for them to confess on their own.
Finally someone couldn’t take it anymore and asked, “Steward Ling, for what did you call us servants?”
Ling Xiao nefariously laughed once, but did not answer. Instead, he stood up and walked around them once. Finally, he stopped in front of Xiao Dengzi from Chu Xiu Palace and squatted down.
Compared to the others, Xiao Dengzi seemed even more nervous, his whole body trembling incessantly as Ling Xiao looked at him. Ling Xiao’s sight slowly drifted down to stare at his chest.
Xiao Dengzi moved slightly to the side, as if he was trying to hide something, and Ling Xiao’s eyes flashed as he suddenly reached out a hand to pull aside Xiao Dengzi’s clothes and take out a letter from within them.
Holding the letter in one hand with the other behind his back, Ling Xiao evilly laughed and opened the letter.
It really was a letter written from Lan Wei to Mo Qi. Most of it was comforting Mo Qi, while the final bit was reminding her to not act rashly, telling her to wait patiently for the Prime Minister to think of something.
Seeing this letter, Ling Xiao could imagine just how Mo Qi had cried and complained to Lan Wei.
The five eunuch paled when they saw Ling Xiao obtain the letter.
Ling Xiao raised an eyebrow and looked at them, his smile was crafty and his narrowed eyes just like a fox’s.
Everyone finally knew why Ling Xiao called them here, it was because of this letter. They had originally thought that sending a letter for the Palace Woman, Mo Qi, would be fine since she wasn’t favored. Even so, this Eunuch Steward had found out about it. This was a deadly serious matter!
Them passing on a letter could be either both a big or a small thing.
If it was small, then they would be suppressed by Ling Xiao, but would be able to keep their life. If big, then it would go through to the Emperor and they would be beheaded.
As such, their fate was all of a sudden tied to Ling Xiao.
The few that were timid were already kneeling and crawling by Ling Xiao’s leg, sticking to his legs and weeping bitter tears as they begged for forgiveness.
As for the bold ones: even though their faces were pale, they were unable to say anything.
Ling Xiao coldly smiled as he looked at these five people, standing up and kicking away the two who were sticking to his legs.
Idiom for: to inadvertently alert an enemy