Chapter 26: The First Consort
The Emperor raised an eyebrow as he looked at him. Ling Xiao broke out in a cold sweat as he wondered just how much of his foolish manner the Emperor had seen just now.
There were specific etiquette conducts within the Imperial Palace, and his appearance just then in front of his master was unacceptable. If the master didn’t care, he could pretend he didn’t see it. If the master cared, then he could execute him.
Although Ling Xiao did not feel that the Emperor would execute him over such a little thing, he was still very anxious.
Luckily, the Emperor chose to pretend he saw nothing and calmly told Ling Xiao to rise.
Ling Xiao let out a breath and walked forward with small quick steps to the Emperor’s side.
“What caused you to be so happy?” Just when Ling Xiao thought this matter would be forgotten quietly, the Emperor suddenly asked about it.
Ling Xiao stiffened. He didn’t want to talk about it, nor did he had the capability to mention it, so he could only weakly bow his head, “Your Majesty, it is just a trifle matter that’s not worth mentioning.”
“Tell Us about it.” The Emperor was very interested this time.
Ling Xiao wiped his sweat in the bottom of his heart. An excuse flashed through his mind as he hurriedly thought, and he dipped his head as he answered, “Your servant just passed by Chu Xiu Palace and heard a song from back home that reminded him of the pleasures of his hometown.”
“Chu Xiu Palace…” The Emperor looked at Ling Xiao and seemed to have gathered some clues, as his gaze gradually turned cold.
Ling Xiao sensed that something was amiss with the Emperor and hastily added, “Your Majesty, your servant will sing it for you.”
His voice drifted, the clearness of it carrying a unique attractiveness that attracted the Emperor’s attention. Surprised, the Emperor stared attentively at the small eunuch in front of him, examining at his dipped head, the soft light in his gaze, and the slight wrinkling of his eyebrows as he sang. He really was quite full of spirit and vitality.
The Emperor was enjoying it, leaning back in his chair and relaxing as he listened to Ling Xiao’s singing.
Once he finished, the Emperor no longer continued to question him on the previous matter, and Ling Xiao smiled in his mind, knowing that the matter had passed. He couldn’t help but truly relax. Seeing that the face of the Emperor in front of him carried a faint fatigue, Ling Xiao walked over to him and began to massage his shoulders.
The Emperor felt Ling Xiao’s movements, and his gaze turned gentle. He reached out a hand to lead Ling Xiao and Ling Xiao followed the Emperor’s pull, arriving before him.
The Emperor said, “The song isn’t bad, perhaps you can sing for Us more often.”
Ling Xiao saluted, replying with a “Yes”.
“Your hand isn’t healed, so you don’t need to attend Us.” The Emperor lightly stroked Ling Xiao’s bandaged hand.
Upon seeing this, Ling Xiao’s heart warmed and respectfully replied back with his head bowed, “Your servant’s hand is fine, Your Majesty does not need to worry.”
The Emperor stroke Ling Xiao’s hand after he heard that and untied the bandage. Ling Xiao stared blankly and slightly withdrew his hand, confusedly asked, “Your Majesty?”
“Don’t move.” The Emperor warned him with a glance.
Ling Xiao no longer dared to move and trembled with fear as he watched the Emperor personally undid his bandage. His hand was bleeding a bit, perhaps it due to him exerting some pressure just now. With the removal of the bandage, he felt a slight stab of pain.
The Emperor’s movements were very gentle. After he untied the bandage, he turned over Ling Xiao’s hand and carefully looked at it, taking a silver box that was delicate and exquisitely detailed out of his bosom. He opened it, revealing a light green ointment inside.
As the Emperor used a hand to get some of it to smear on Ling Xiao’s injured palm, Ling Xiao was startled and flabbergasted in his heart. He couldn’t help but retreat a step and said in a rather overwhelmed manner, “Your Majesty, your servant can take care of smearing the medicine himself. You are a royal prerogative, how could you apply medicine on a servant?”
The Emperor was somewhat displeased as he heard that and somewhat unyieldingly pulled Ling Xiao’s hand, his lips pursed as he said, “Ling Xiao, We think that you have not clarify the situation yet. Although We had agreed to your request, We cannot take back what We had said before. In Our eyes, you have already become Our First Consort, and therefore our King Consort.”
Ling Xiao went blank as he heard that, his heart surging.
The ointment smeared on his hand was cool to the touch, removing the burning heat of his palm. However, when the Emperor touched him, another type of unusual heat seemed to burn through his entire body.
After the ointment was placed, the Emperor once again personally tied his bandage. Lastly, he placed the ointment in Ling Xiao’s hand.
“This is ointment from Shao Country. It has a wonderful effect against burns, sword injuries, and also decaying flesh due to those causes. If you use this, you also won’t need to worry about scarring.”
Ling Xiao held onto the delicate little box as he hurriedly saluted and thanked him, “Thank you, Your Majesty, for the reward.”
The Emperor lightly replied with a “Mhm”, then said, “Rise.”
As Ling Xiao got up, he felt much more relaxed. The sleeve of his robe flipped a bit and a breeze blew by as he raised his head, the wind carrying a hint of scent that he shouldn’t have.
The Emperor wrinkled his eyebrows and suddenly grabbed Ling Xiao’s wrist. With a yank, he pulled Ling Xiao into his embrace and leaned in close to confirm the scent’s presence.
Ling Xiao cried out in alarm, so frightened he didn’t dare to move. After all, he was now sitting on the Emperor’s thigh as his wrist was being gripped.
In their current position, they were extremely close to one another. Ling Xiao wasn’t sure if it was because he was frightened or if there was some other reason, but his heartbeat was like thunder. When he felt the Emperor’s puff of breath on his neck, his whole body heated up and he couldn’t help but swallow his saliva as he nervously and confusedly called out, “Your… Your Majesty…”
Once the Emperor had confirmed it, he straightened, but his complexion wasn’t good at all. He reached out a hand to pinch Ling Xiao’s chin and asked, “Who did you meet in Chu Xiu Palace?”
Ling Xiao stared blankly. Didn’t he already move past that? Why did the Emperor ask about it again?
Ling Xiao pursed his lips. With his chin held onto right now, he could only face the Emperor. If he lied, the keen Emperor would definitely see through it.
While thinking that, Ling Xiao answered, “It was… It was Palace Woman Mo.”
The Emperor narrowed his eyes, coldness on his face, “And what did you do with her?”
What does that mean? Was the Emperor suspecting him of being with Mo Qi?
When Ling Xiao thought to that point, he probingly said, “Your Majesty, your servant is a eunuch…”
When he heard that, the Emperor’s brows loosen and he took back his hand. Obtaining his freedom, Ling Xiao quickly got off the Emperor’s thigh and knelt in front of him.
“Please forgive this one, Your Majesty. Because your servant and Palace Woman Mo are from the same village, her ballad had caused this servant to be homesick, so this servant had gone to meet her in Chu Xiu Palace. Your servant and her did not do anything.”
The Emperor pursed his lips and looked Ling Xiao up and down after he heard that. His sight was penetrating, as if he was determining whether Ling Xiao was lying or not. Quite a long time had passed when he finally took back his gaze and reminded him, “Mo Qi does not have good intentions, so don’t get in touch with her so much.”
Ling Xiao lowered his head, his face full of astonishment. This Emperor knew what kind of person Mo Qi was?
Then why did he still keep her around?
Ling Xiao was fully aware that it was not the time to ask, but the question in his mind was really too heavy, and he summoned up his courage to ask, “Your Majesty, your servant has never understood one thing. Your servant knows that you are not fond of Palace Woman Mo, so you… why do you still keep Palace Woman Mo?”
The little eunuch was trembling with fear on the ground, he was fully aware that this question was taboo, yet he had still determinedly asked. The figure that was shuddering on the ground looked very weak, attracting people’s pity.
The Emperor wanted to berate him a few lines to let him be clear that he couldn’t speak out of turn, but when he saw this, he couldn’t bear to do it and finally just said one line, “We have our own considerations, you should not ask.”
Ling Xiao controlled his gaze and lowered his head, no longer daring to speak out of turn.
Ling Xiao knew that the Emperor wanted to leave when he stood up and he bowed to send him off.
The Emperor ordered, “We will go back to the Imperial Study. You can come over to attend Us.”
“Yes.” Ling Xiao answered.
The Emperor gave him a glance and warned again, “Change your clothes before you come over, We do not like the smell of cosmetics on you.”
Ling Xiao stared blankly, but the Emperor had already left.