Chapter 60: Goodbye, Lan Wei
“If he could be convinced and have Shao Country become Mu Country’s vassal state, then I could spare him.” The Emperor had agreed to Ling Xiao’s request without any hesitation.
Ling Xiao stared blankly at the Emperor, a bit stunned.
Not wanting to discuss the matter any further, the Emperor had already stood up. He walked to his table and picked up his brush, starting to go through his documents, leaving Ling Xiao at the dining table.
Ling Xiao understood what the Emperor implied and did not dare to speak anymore. He merely ate a few more bites, without being able to tell the taste of the food, then he called out for someone to clean up and walked to the Emperor’s side.
Refusing to take notice of Ling Xiao’s presence, the Emperor concentrated on the documents on the table.
Ling Xiao was a bit nervous at heart. Although the Emperor did not show it on his face, the fact that he did not want to talk about it anymore was already a sign that he was unhappy.
As he did not dare to force it, Ling Xiao decided to try and curry favor instead. He quietly walked behind the Emperor and lightly pressed his shoulders.
Tacitly agreeing to Ling Xiao’s action, the Emperor paused. He then put down his brush and leaned back comfortably on the chair, allowing Ling Xiao an easier access to work.
Ling Xiao carefully served him. He used the Emperor’s preferred massage technique and strength, and the other sighed in comfort, slowly closing his eyes.
“After you left, there really was no one who can serve Us as well as you.” The Emperor seem to sigh as he said so.
Ling Xiao felt a bit pleased, he steadied his mind and quietly said, “As long as Your Majesty likes it.”
“Like it, We like it a lot.” The Emperor spoke and reached out to pull Ling Xiao into his embrace, having him sit on his thigh as his gentle gaze stared at him, “We like you from top to bottom, the only one for Us is you.”
The Emperor’s tone suddenly became strong and he grasped Ling Xiao’s chin, unyieldingly making Ling Xiao lean closer to him, “You must never forget who your man is, understood?”
With his narrowed eyes staring at Ling Xiao, a terrifying and dignified aura emitted from the Emperor’s eyes, pressuring Ling Xiao to the point he was unable to breath. In a panic, he nodded his head.
Seeing Ling Xiao’s agreement, the Emperor slightly curbed his aura and let go of him.
Ling Xiao hurriedly got out of the Emperor’s embrace and knelt in front of him.
The Emperor stood up, “Stand up, We do not like it when you are always kneeling. From hereafter, you don’t need to kneel as such in front of Us.”
With that spoken, the Emperor passed by Ling Xiao and headed out, but paused at the entrance. He seemed to have remembered something as he stopped, his back facing Ling Xiao and he said, “Ling Xiao, you are an intelligent man, don’t try to touch my bottom line again.”
As if he was afraid the threat in those words wasn’t enough, the Emperor paused and continued, “As long as you’re obedient, We can make you the happiest man in the world.”
Saying so, he left without even looking back.
Ling Xiao relaxed and exhaled. Holding his jumping heart, he got up from the ground. He watched the Emperor’s departing figure and lowered his head, pondering.
The Emperor’s last words were probably what his bottom line for Ling Xiao was nowadays.
It really did get lower a lot. Ling Xiao sighed ruefully.
“Young Master.” A call for him suddenly came from the entrance.
Ling Xiao raised his head to find a sturdily dressed maid waiting at the door, causing him to raise an eyebrow.
The maid walked in and saluted to him, “Young Master, His Majesty had told me to lead you to the prison where the Shao Country’s Second Prince has being imprisoned, for a visit. Would you like to go?”
He was astounded. The Emperor allowed him to go visit Fu Yujun? And even have the maid take him there?
Ling Xiao looked at the maid suspiciously, asking in a disbelieving way, “The Emperor had you lead me to where Fu Yujun is?”
The maid smiled and nodded, but restrained herself from rolling her eyes when she saw that Ling Xiao still did not look convinced, “Was it not what you wished for, Young Master?”
Ling Xiao went silent. He did not really want to go visit Fu Yujun, he just wished the latter could live. After all, he had some friendship with Fu Yujun. Plus, that man was also talented, it would be a pity if he were to die.
Since the Emperor gave his permission, then he should go visit Fu Yujun and speak some words with him.
Thinking of those things, Ling Xiao pursed his lips and waved his hand, “Lead the way.”
The maid saluted, turned and walked ahead of Ling Xiao, with him following behind her.
Fu Yujun was held in Shao Country’s prison, while right now, Ling Xiao stayed at the Shao Country’s Hopeful Spring Tavern. If he wanted to go to the prison, he would have to travel by a carriage there.
And the maid had already prepared the carriage in front of the entrance, waiting for Ling Xiao to come out.
Walking out, the first thing Ling Xiao noticed wasn’t the gorgeous carriage the Emperor often used and which was prepared by the maid, but the person kneeling at the entrance. It was someone he couldn’t be more familiar with—Hong Ye.
Hong Ye lonelily knelt in front of Hopeful Spring Tavern, her face without a trace of color. Her expression of utter despair and loss, as well as her tottering body, showed that she clearly didn’t have the physical ability to continue enduring.
Ling Xiao frown at the sight, wearing confusion on his face. Earlier, it was Hong Ye who grabbed him and brought him to the Emperor. Her service should have been an outstanding one, yet here she was, kneeling like she had done wrong.
Ling Xiao really didn’t understand.
He wanted to walk closer and ask, but the maid by his side saw it and quickly got between them. She respectfully saluted to him and said, “Young Master, if you don’t go to the prison now, it will be dark soon. Please get on the carriage.”
“No rush.” Ling Xiao looked up at the sky then shook his head, wanting to walk pass the maid toward Hong Ye.
The maid saw it and blocked him again, saluting, “Young Master, please get on the carriage.”
The maid’s voice carried a trace of firmness, surprising Ling Xiao. He looked at her and noticed that this woman’s appearance had a lot of heroic spirit. Her face carried a coldness that he could not refuse.
Raising an eyebrow, Ling Xiao only then understood that it must have been an order by the Emperor to not allow him near Hong Ye. He continued on as if nothing had happened and obediently climbed onto the carriage.
Surprised, the maid stared for a moment before she sighed in relief. She looked back at Hong Ye’s white complexion, shook her head and followed Ling Xiao onto the carriage.
The maid’s movement did not escape Ling Xiao’s eyes. He observed her and guessed that this maid was familiar with Hong Ye and thus, he laid a plan in his mind.
He let the maid in with him on the carriage, then approached in front of her and acted friendly, “Looking at your dress, you don’t look like a normal maid?”
The maid paused for a moment then answered with her head lowered, “Young Master, this subordinate is Master’s secret guard.”
“Secret guard?” Ling Xiao never heard about the Emperor having secret guards in his past lifetime so he was amazed.
He stared at the maid like he was staring at something rare. The maid felt uneasy all over from all the staring and shifted a bit, “Young Master, why are you looking at this subordinate so intensely?”
“No, it is just that I never thought there would be female secret guards too.” Ling Xiao randomly pulled out an excuse.
The maid appeared a bit unhappy as she heard it and replied, “The Master once said that men and women were the same. What a man can do, a woman can do as well.”
Ling Xiao was speechless, this maid misunderstood him for scorning women. He hurriedly explained, “That is not what I meant, I meant…”
“Alright, Young Master, you do not need to explain to this subordinate. You are Master’s man and therefore this subordinate’s Master as well. If you have questions please ask.”
As expected of one who served the Emperor. Her insight was really keen and her individuality is refreshing enough.
Ling Xiao secretly approved of her in his heart and stopped beating around the bush, frankly asking, “Is Hong Ye a secret guard too?”
“Hong Ye?” The maid paused and then answered, “She… is a secret guard, different from this subordinate.”
Ling Xiao was flabbergasted and continued to ask, “How different?”
The maid heard it and said a bit awkwardly, “Young Master, isn’t it better to ask Master about that?”
“……” Ling Xiao was even more flabbergasted, staring at the maid questioningly, “You can’t say?”
The maid lowered her head at Ling Xiao, saluting, “Please forgive this one Young Master.”
Ling Xiao pursed his lips unhappily at the answer and asked using another approach, “What kind of relationship do you have with Hong Ye? Are you two familiar with each other?”
The maid shook her head, “We only met a few times when we had gone out on the same mission.”
“This subordinate is in charged of secret matters, while Hong Ye had been placed by Master in Shao Country to obtain information. We are not very familiar with each other.”
“Is that so…” Ling Xiao raise an eyebrow. Then, why was this maid staring at Hong Ye with an expression full of regret just a moment ago?
Pondering on that, Ling Xiao asked another question, “Then why is Hong Ye kneeling?”
The maid was at loss and asked in surprised, “Young Master, you don’t know?”
“……” Ling Xiao went silent. Was he supposed to know?
The maid couldn’t help but laugh in spite of herself. Noticing immediately she was forgetting her manners, she turned her head to the side and replied, “Hong Ye disobeyed Master’s order.”
“Disobeyed?” Ling Xiao was puzzled.
The maid explained, “Master had given Hong Ye her order; to bring back Young Master before the start of the war.”
As if she was afraid of Ling Xiao misunderstanding her, she hastily added, “This order was for Young Master’s own good. When there is war, there are accidents and injuries. The reason why Master wanted Hong Ye to bring you back first was to protect you, but…”
The maid paused and very seriously said, “Yet, Hong Ye ignored Master’s order and instead let Young Master roam as he pleased, causing Young Master to encounter trouble several times… However, it seems as if she wasn’t aware Young Master had such talents. Not only did letting Young Master do as you please not caused you injury, but it also allowed Young Master to succeed… in sa… saving Shao Country’s Prince. So Master’s first plan failed.”
“Wait…” Ling Xiao frowned, “You said she ignored it?”
The maid replied, “…Hong Ye had actually undone her acupoint a long time ago. Moreover, such rope would not threaten her at all. If she so wished, she could have long brought Young Master back.”
The maid’s statement caused Ling Xiao’s eyes to widen in shock.
“So she let me mix with the army on purpose? Just so I could get injured and even… die?” Ling Xiao asked, finally becoming aware of the severity of the matter.
The maid went silent, thinking for a while before answering, “Young Master, it would be best if you keep some distance from Hong Ye. She is harboring unknown motives towards you. Without your intelligent, I believe you too would have been lying among those dead bodies.
Ling Xiao was hit by a strong chill.
He could still not fully believe her words. After all, Hong Ye actually treated him nicely when he was by Fu Yujun’s side.
Often times, she would be very sincere about his worries.
Why would she want him dead? Did he have any dispute or hate with her?
Ling Xiao wanted to ask some more, when the carriage had suddenly stopped. The maid seemed to see through his thoughts and quickly escaped by getting off the carriage. “Young Master, we have arrived to the prison.”
Ling Xiao was helpless, and could only get off the carriage.
Waiting behind the carriage was not only a maid, but also a young man dressed in casual blue clothing in high spirits—Lan Wei.