Chapter 8: Unfolding a Plan (I)
“Ling Xiao.” The Emperor called.
Ling Xiao lowered his head, “Your Servant answers.”
“What do you think of their words?” The Emperor asked him.
Ling Xiao clenched his teeth. According to what he knew in his past life, not only did the Emperor detest lies, he was also highly intelligent. Since he summoned the Prime Minister, he was bound to already know the truth. However, he did not lay bare the Prime Minister’s lies and only gave him a small punishment. This proved that the Emperor didn’t want to make this matter a big thing, and he even promised the Prime Minister that he would keep Mo Qi. Naturally, there should be other plans in his mind.
Since he was asking him right now, Ling Xiao believed that the Emperor was merely testing his loyalty to see if he would follow the words of the Prime Minister and emphasize their innocence…
When the Prime Minister saw him by the Emperor’s side, he had already thrown their relationship out by saying Ling Xiao had disappeared after Mo Qi entered the palace. Wasn’t this because he was afraid that if Ling Xiao’s identity as a male was exposed, it would involve his whole family? He supposed that all the people who knew the actual situation were all dead and that all of the Prime Minister’s people had been changed. That Lan Wei had only bitterly allowed Mo Qi’s request to bring him along to the palace wasn’t known by the Prime Minister. It was only after he entered the palace that he had woken up without undergoing purification and stirred up trouble. The Prime Minister hadn’t even called out Elder Lin to help handle the matter until then, so the Prime Minister’s decision was clearly to ignore him and let him perish on his own.
Thinking to this point, Ling Xiao lowered his head and said, “What the two were saying isn’t the truth.”
The Emperor raised an eyebrow and gazed at Ling Xiao, “Then tell Us what the truth is.”
Ling Xiao only had one last choice now.
“Mo Qi and Young Master Lan Wei’s friendship is unusual.” He said.
The Emperor pursed his lip and Ling Xiao looked up, saying, “When your servant was at the Prime Minister’s household, Young Master Lan Wei was deeply attached to Mo Qi. It was very well-known in the household, but the Prime Minister did not approve of it. That jade pendant was very precious. The only reason why it was in this servant’s hands is because it was originally given to Palace Woman Mo by Lan Wei. I was only able to obtain the jade pendant because I followed Palace Woman Mo.”
The Emperor nodded slightly, and Ling Xiao continued, “Even though Mo Qi entered the palace, Young Master Lan Wei still thought of her, so he ordered this servant to look after Palace Woman Mo well in the palace…”
Speaking to this point, Ling Xiao carefully glanced at the Emperor’s expression. Seeing that his expression was still mysterious, he was immediately more cautious.
“However, your servant knew that it shouldn’t be this way and didn’t want to be involved. It’s just that last time, I happened to find that small Li Zi sending a letter and ran into Your Majesty. Ever since then, this servant did not dare to have any contact with Young Master Lan Wei, which is why Young Master was so surprised when he saw me just now.”
The Emperor’s state of mind was frozen. This small eunuch’s nervous look as if he was afraid he wouldn’t explain clearly was funny, but when he thought back to the love affair between Mo Qi and Lan Wei, he immediately coldly snorted in his heart.
When power is great, desires would also become great.
Ling Xiao racked his brains as he did his best to explain the details one by one, “Since Your Majesty found out about this matter, the Lord Prime Minister was anxious to distance himself from me. As a result, he said that your servant had disappeared right after Palace Woman Mo entered the palace. The Lord Prime Minister allowed Palace Woman Mo enter the palace wasn’t as simple as wanting to offer her to Your Majesty, he was also after Your Majesty’s imperial concubine position in the harem.”
It was only after he spoke to this point that he discovered the Emperor’s serene and deep eyes were on his body, making Ling Xiao’s entire body break out into a cold sweat.
Ling Xiao clenched his teeth and bowed with his head low, “This is the truth Your Majesty wanted your servant to say.”
The Emperor’s eyes carried a smile as he got up to walk in front of him unhurriedly, “It was indeed Us who allowed you to speak the truth, but you are Palace Woman Mo’s manservant. Despite this, through your own words, you are letting your master die without a burial site?”
Listening to these words, Ling Xiao rolled his eyes in his mind. If he hadn’t said those words, then would he even still be alive?
Wasn’t the reason why the Emperor wanted him to speak the truth to make it clear what his position was? He even brought out Mo Qi’s ‘Master and Servant Relationship’ now to tie him!
Although he thought like this, Ling Xiao didn’t dare not to answer, respectfully bowing as he replied, “After your servant entered this palace, the only one who was this one’s master is Your Majesty.”
The Emperor raised an eyebrow, “You know how to recognize clearly.”
Ling Xiao saluted, saying to show his loyalty, “Since your servant has already entered the palace, this one is naturally the Emperor’s servant and will think about Your Majesty.”
The Emperor heard what he said and dipped his head to look down at Ling Xiao who was kneeling in front of him. The Emperor’s eyes held back laughter as he watched him from his angle, not saying a word. Suddenly interested, the corners of the Emperor’s mouth twitched, and he turned around to go back and sit in his seat, “Is that so, then help Us grind some ink.”
Ling Xiao went blank, having some difficulty reacting to the Emperor’s sudden command. Did those words mean he wouldn’t investigate it anymore?
Ling Xiao quickly got up and walked in front of the table with small quick steps. As he settled into the task of grinding ink, his heart heaved a sigh of relief. It was like he had suddenly managed to save his own life. Being honest really did seem to be the right path to take.
The Emperor had already known about Mo Qi and Lan Wei’s matter and was merely testing to see if he was in the same group as the Prime Minister.
Fortunately, the Emperor only had Mo Qi and Lan Wei’s matter in the front of his mind and didn’t pursue his origins. It seemed like he was convinced that Ling Xiao was merely Mo Qi’s manservant.
Thankfully he was always docile and obedient around Mo Qi in the Prime Minister’s household, so even the Prime Minister’s father and son pair had mistaken him as Mo Qi’s manservant. Only that allowed this misunderstanding to smoothly change into a “fact”.
The Emperor began to read through and evaluate the memorials. Meanwhile, Steward Xu who had gone out for a period of time, returned. Although the Emperor had him go out and wait on him, he had Ling Xiao stay behind.
The reading lasted until late in the night, and Ling Xiao had already refilled the tea for the Emperor several times. He was standing behind the Emperor drowsily when he finally stood up.
Ling Xiao immediately forced his consciousness back up to one hundred percent. Even so, his drowsy eyes refused to open, and he could only look at the Emperor with half squinted eyes and a somewhat bewildered face. Seeing him like this, the Emperor lightly laughed out loud.
“We can finally tell that you are a new eunuch, now.”
Ling Xiao’s mind was somewhat muddled and as he could not remember how to reply, he only used his instincts and followed the Emperor with his eyes. The Emperor shook his head, “All right, since you’re tired, you can go and rest.”
“…Many thanks to Your Majesty!” The second he heard rest, it was like Ling Xiao had been pardoned and his spirits immediately rose. Openly smiling as he saluted to the Emperor, he turned around and ran out like he was flying.
The Emperor gazed at his back figure thoughtfully.
After he returned to Chu Xiu Palace, Ling Xiao spent several days in comfort, while Mo Qi offended Elder Lin and so was frequently caught by Elder Lin and taken away to learn Palace Etiquette recently. It was natural that since she had very little time to misbehave, she also had little contact with Ling Xiao.
Ling Xiao was also unhurried, letting Mo Qi follow Elder Lin for a few days in order to taste some hardship. This way she wouldn’t be wasting any of the calculations he had made.
When he saw Mo Qi again, it was almost the day of choosing. At least Elder Lin was still aware that she wanted to be chosen, so she had given her one day to prepare.
However, since the Emperor already knew about the matter between Mo Qi and Lan Wei, Ling Xiao was uncertain if the Emperor would actually choose Mo Qi or not.
More accurately, Ling Xiao had no idea what the Emperor was planning to do.
In his past life, it was when the selection began that Mo Qi was noticed by the Emperor. From then on, she had ascended in rank because of him. However, this time, Mo Qi had not even met the Emperor yet, but her image had already been ruined in the Emperor’s mind. Although the Emperor kept Mo Qi, Ling Xiao felt that it was impossible for the Emperor to disregard that matter.
Just as he was thinking this, he saw Mo Qi rushing over to him excitedly, “Ling Xiao!”
Rubbing his pained ears, he looked at her.
Mo Qi angrily said, “Did you send me to go bribe Elder Lin on purpose? Didn’t you know that that thing was simply unable to enter Elder Lin’s eyes? You messed with me on purpose!”
Ling Xiao sneered while Mo Qi continued, “Why are you like this to me!”
Saying that, Mo Qi suspiciously asked, “Are you holding a grudge against me?”
Ling Xiao laughed, this woman had finally realized it!
“No, impossible…” Mo Qi started to self-denial again, “It’s impossible for you to bear a grudge against me. To me, you…”
As if she had realized something, Mo Qi suddenly stopped running her mouth.
Ling Xiao’s face went dark.
“To you? To you what?” He asked.
Mo Qi dipped her head as her pearly white teeth bit her lower lip, “You have always been extremely good to me these past ten years and loved me so much. It’s impossible for that to have been fake. You would pardon me no matter what, so you are not bearing a grudge against me because of that.”
Mo Qi’s eyes were filled with resolution as Ling Xiao coldly laughed once.
“So you do know how good I am to you.” Ling Xiao meaningfully said, as his mind thought back to that scene where she poisoned him to death.
No wonder she thought it was impossible for him to bear a grudge against her. His ten years of care weren’t fake, tolerating her wasn’t fake. If he hadn’t gotten another chance at life, if she hadn’t poisoned him, then he really wouldn’t have been able to bear a grudge against her. However, those were merely ifs.
Hearing his meaningful words, Mo Qi put on a sad face, quickly changing her attitude as she looked at Ling Xiao with glistening tears, “Ling Xiao, I know you are good to me, I know your feelings.”
Ling Xiao frowned, unsure what kind of trick Mo Qi was trying to play, so he adopted a wait and see attitude.
“I’ve always known of your feelings towards me, Ling Xiao. Actually… I feel the same as you.”
Ling Xiao was shocked as Mo Qi continued, “However, now we are in the palace against our will.”
“Ling Xiao, I don’t really want to stay in this palace for my whole life, I just wanted to do something new. Once this feeling of freshness leaves, I’ll follow you away from here. So please, don’t be so cold to me anymore, all right? I’m scared.”
Mo Qi said with a grieving appearance, “Help me a little, help me a little in this palace. Then, when I’m tired of looking at this scenery, we can leave this place. I’ll follow you to the ends of the earth.”
To the ends of the earth?
Ling Xiao’s heart felt extremely cold. This person had even gone so far as to exploit his feelings like this!
He was suddenly very angry. Even though he had known for a while that Mo Qi was exploiting him, back then he had been more than willing to do things for her on his own. He had even helped her fix all her problems before she had any standing, but in this lifetime, just because he didn’t help her, this woman first tried to subtly seduce him and then tried using his feelings to make him help her.
Ling Xiao was thoroughly disappointed with Mo Qi.
Seeing Ling Xiao’s attitude becoming more and more cold, Mo Qi clenched her teeth, unable to help feeling a little resentful. After all, she had repeatedly asked for this man’s help. As she had already been spoiled by Ling Xiao, she thought it was natural that Ling Xiao would protect and follow her. Before, whenever she caused trouble, she just had to act more gentle, and Ling Xiao would forgive her.
However, this time, her repeated use of her gentle act didn’t get Ling Xiao’s forgiveness, so Mo Qi also felt angry.
“Ling Xiao, I will tell you right now, you and I are both grasshoppers on a boat. If I don’t get what I want, then don’t think you can live peacefully either. You need to know, your existence is dangerous right now since you didn’t undergo pur…”
Ling Xiao covered her mouth, “Are you crazy?! Saying that so loudly, are you not afraid that someone will find out about this matter!”
Mo Qi struggled and threw him off, “I, Mo Qi, could be bullied by anyone in this palace, what else can I be afraid of!”
“At worst, we can just die together! You have a man’s body, I think that the Emperor will behead you first.”
“Mo Qi!” Ling Xiao glared at her, while Mo Qi’s face filled with arrogance.
Ling Xiao laughed in anger, “Fine, say it, what do you want?”