The little cub still laid on the table, squinting its eyes and idly swishing about with its tail.
This tender, young and harmless little thing caused one to be unable to help but feel affection for it. It didn’t know that the person beside it had already cruelly decided its fate with a mere few sentences.
Ling Miaomiao felt her heart move with compassion and breathed on its soft fur around its neck. Having been disturbed, the cub turned its head around and softly nipped the back of her hand, like it was acting cute.
Miaomiao deftly dodged it.
The eunuch was still somewhat unresigned, and accompanied by a smile: “Look at how obedient it is—-The palace has a forest park inside. Actually, when it grows up, it won’t necessarily have to die, there’ll be specialists to raise and train it…”
Mu Sheng suddenly interrupted him with a smile: “When a tiger is young, it’s like a cat. Although it may be unique and special to everyone, they won’t actually raise it like a cat. I also don’t like it, looks like Gonggong has made another trip in vain.”
“Then… how unfortunate.” The old eunuch’s smile was somewhat hesitant but he very quickly found some footing again, “Her highness the Dowager Consort had instructed me before, that if you don’t want it, I should send it over to Princess Duanyang.”
“Many thanks, Gonggong.”
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Dw Qsdttsdt zlv swv yd lmvalxlzu yxkyczl pxkzl yde rknjle wr vbl zkvvzl ossz cwdezl sd vbl vyczl vbyv pllxle vs oydv vs pzllr vkzz kv oyp eyaj. Tl piwkdvle yv vbl vos yde dseele vs kdeknyvl vbyv bl oyp zlyhkdt. Myjkdt ayrke, pxyzz pvlrp, bl iwknjzu zlqv.
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Gqvla y zsdt vkxl, bl vwadle yaswde vs alvwad vs vbl cle: “Zsw’al dsv psqv-blyavle yv yzz.”
Nkdt Ykysxkys oyp wdnsdnladle: “Ps usw vbkdj vbyv vbl kxrlakyz nsdnwckdl vbyv pyhle kv kp psqv-blyavle? Ikzzkdt vbl xsvbla yde pdyvnbkdt yoyu vbl nbkze, bso kp vbyv nsxryppksd yv yzz? Rv’p xlankzlpp nawlzvu.”
Yw Fbldt’p pvlrp pweeldzu takdele vs y byzv yp bl qlzv yp kq bkp vlxrzlp pweeldzu lmrzsele. G oyhl sq oyarle rykd yppywzvle bkp blye. Tsolhla, kv sdzu zypvle y xsxldv, clqsal bl nswze lhld qktwal swv kvp saktkd, kv bye yzalyeu alvalyvle zkjl vbl vkel.
Tl pzsozu pwrrsavle bkxplzq sdvs vbl cle yde rwzzle ypkel vbl nshlap vs zyu esod. Mwadkdt bkp blye, bl pvyale yv Nkdt Ykysxkys’p pkel qynl vbyv pvkzz bye qkdl pvaydep sq qwa sd kv.
Fbl oyp yp kddsnldv yde vyoeau yp yzz vbl svbla tkazp kd vbl osaze. Fxyzz yde olyj. Jwv, yv vbl pyxl vkxl, pbl oypd’v iwkvl vbl pyxl. Oynb yde lhlau ynvksd sq blap pllxle vs pvwccsadzu qszzso psxl psav sq awzlcssj.
Fbl nswze nsdvkdwswpzu nbydtl bla yvvkvwel yde nsdvkdwswpzu nsxrasxkpl swv sq talle qsa zkql, cwv bl nswze qykdvzu qllz vbyv vbspl ‘nsxrasxkplp’ sq blap olal xlal kelyp; Fbl’e dlhla qsapyjl bla ryvb.
Ling Miaomiao was like a mollusk, dead but not showing any signs of death. Not at all like him.
“What difference is there between cats and tigers? Isn’t it fine as long as it can earn the favor of humans?”
Where her confidence came from, he wanted to explore.
The weather was blistering and the story was moving along slowly. Ling Miaomiao had to constantly suppress her rising irritability: The black lotus always looked for so many different methods to test and investigate her, he often even used riddles and cryptic methods.
She carefully thought the question over before answering: “The easiest thing in the world to fulfill is ‘like’, but true, sincere ‘like’ isn’t that easy to obtain. You truly, sincerely like cats because you like picking them up and hugging them in your embrace, and at the same time, you like their personalities that don’t like to stick to people. Thus, you spoil and pamper it because you’re willing to do so. If what you like is a tiger, then what you like is its ruthlessness and wild nature. Even if you were to be completely swallowed into its stomach, you still wouldn’t have any complaints.”
”If you were to raise that little tiger cub, you’d just be watching it without any claws or fangs. Without any ability to resist. Possessing it. Dominating it. Even while watching it become a joke of a cat, you’d still have this lingering fear in your heart that someday it will bite you in a counterattack. So, you guard against it, fearful of it… this is what you call pretending to care for something while actually fearing it.”
She lowered her head to look at Mu Sheng’s half-closed eyes and felt a sense of defeat within.
She spoke until she made him fall asleep…
She pulled out the circular fan beneath the covers and lightly fanned his face. The corner of her mouth jumped up unconsciously as she spoke to herself: “I spoke so well, so amazing. Should’ve written it down.”
But who would’ve thought that Mu Sheng would suddenly open his eyes and grab onto the fan in her hands. His moist black pupils were framed by his long lashes: “Then do you like tigers or cats?”
Ling Miaomiao struggled for a moment, scared: “Cats.”
A mocking sneer slowly surfaced onto his face: “As much as I’d expected. Fluffy, harmless, cute…”
”Your words are wrong.” Miaomiao pursed her lips. Her voice was as soft as lovers whispering sweet nothings to one another, a gleaming sparkle of a smile appearing from her eyes: “I choose cats not because they’re soft and easy to control. I choose them because I haven’t met a tiger sweet enough to want to let myself get eaten by it.”
A white figure suddenly stood, acting like a drunkard unsteadily supporting themselves on their feet, teetering and tottering about crashing into the walls.
The shrill scream pierced through the entire Fengyang Hall, all the maids taking their afternoon naps felt their foreheads grow numb. They rolled out of their beds and crawled and scrambled their way into the inner hall. Only to see Duanyang acting like she had gone insane, covering both ears as she stumbled about in escape, all the while letting out terrifying screams.
Peiyu closely chased behind her, face pale from fright: “Princess, Princess please wake up!”
Duanyang had screamed until her voice had gone hoarse. She suddenly lost her strength and Peiyu managed to fly into her head on. The little maid used her whole body to wrap around the trembling princess, the two slowly sliding into a sitting position in the corner of the room.
“Goddess, goddess…” Duanyang’s lips were pale as she trembled uncontrollably, incoherent and random words drifting out from between her teeth.
“Your highness, what are you saying?” All of the people in Fengyang Palace kneeled as one beside Duanyang’s body. Their skirts were splayed out on the ground in layers, like a group of shivering white rabbits, as they tried their best to listen to her rather vague words.
”It’s here again…”Duanyang suddenly raised her head, tears continuously spilling out of her eyelids. She collapsed as she started to cry loudly, “You all tell me now, tell me that I’m not! I’m not!”
The slightly yellow gauze softly wrapped around Duanyang’s ears. The old imperial physician was over 70 years of age, his two arms looked like dried up trees covered by a smattering of spots. They shook as he spoke: “The princess was only overly terrified, there’s no other serious effects.”
Dowager Consort Zhao’s heart was up in her throat, and it wasn’t until this moment that she felt it come down as she muttered: “That’s good, that’s good…”
Dowager Consort Zhao wore a golden dangling ornament on her head, fine tassels dropping down by the corners of her eyes. The thick powder did little to cover up the wrinkles and crow’s feet adorning her face, neither did it manage to cover the great puffiness of the skin below her eyes. The brocade clothes she wore were unable to conceal the exhaustion she felt from within.
In just a few days, this woman who put great care into maintaining and keeping herself healthy and beautiful, suddenly had a listless expression suffuse her face, making her feel all the more elderly.
Having escaped her nightmare, Princess Duanyang was completely expressionless. She was just like a consciousness wooden puppet sitting on an imperial concubine’s sofa. By her side, maids from Fengyang Palace knelt around her in all directions.
Peiyu knelt straight on the ground as she lightly shook Duanyang’s arm, tears streaming down her face: “Princess, Princess please say something…”
“The current situation, you’ve all seen as well.” Dowager Consort Zhao took back her gaze from her daughter. The moment she turned around, she seemed to have made some decision as a ruthless, cutting off one’s own path of retreat, kind of gaze filled her eyes.
”That day in Xingshan Temple, Young Noble Mu said that the Princess’s nightmares were caused by the sandalwood incense. Imperial Physician Chen also confirmed this.” Her gaze contained no emotions as it slid over Mu Sheng’s face, however he lightly dodged it. “Currently, for one, the princess didn’t go to Xingshan Temple and two, she didn’t come into contact with any sandalwood incense; So why does she still have these nightmares?”
The last syllable she uttered suddenly sunk down, carrying a thick criticizing oppression. Even though her words were pointed towards Mu Sheng, her temper was actually being sprinkled on Liu Fuyi and Mu Yao. As such, Ling Miaomiao misconceived the situation, thinking that she had some restrained fear of Mu Sheng.
Mu Sheng still maintained his polite wisp of a smile. His face didn’t change at all. Liu Fuyi indifferently spoke up: “The last few days, I exhorted the princess to change out all the clothes she wore to the temple that day, I wonder if…”
The servant girl kneeling by the side spoke up: “The servants followed Exorcist Liu’s words and cut the clothes into pieces then incinerated them. The clothes the princess is currently wearing is completely, in and out, brand new.”
Liu Fuyi nodded, not saying anything to her.
“Exorcist Liu.” Dowager Consort seemed to be somewhat nervous as her nail guard rung out against the table twice, “It’s been more than ten days. The noble daughter of heaven has been wrapped around by something, put into a state that’s not quite living nor death. Is there still nothing gained from investigating?”
Ling Miaomiao coldly looked at Dowager Consort Zhao’s half-probing half-real anger and thought to herself: This woman lives such a tiring life.
Mu Yao was someone who saw things in black and white. She was about to speak up when she was stopped by Liu Fuyi. He calmly looked at Dowager Consort Zhao’s face: “After many days of investigation, we have a conjecture but we need some evidence from your highness.”
Dowager Consort Zhao raised her hand and ran her hand through her hair without batting an eyelid. Her hand was slightly shaking, “Speak then.”
“Wait a second.” The sharp voice of a young girl.
“Wait a second.” Mu Sheng’s voice also appeared at the same time.
Everyone turned their heads around to see Mu Sheng with an innocent smile on his face. He pointed at Peiyu kneeling on the ground: “From what I can see, this young lady seems like she has something to say.”
Dowager Consort was somewhat astonished: “Peiyu, what did you want to say?”
Peiyu crawled forward on her knees and hugged Dowager Consort Zhao’s feet: “Your highness, your highness, please get justice for the princess, the princess was schemed against by someone!”
Dowager Consort Zhao’s face turned extremely ruthless in a split second and she strongly grabbed Peiyu’s delicate, thin arm: “Who?”
Peiyu wiped off her tears, “Even though the princess didn’t come into contact with sandalwood incense, some soothing incense was burnt inside her room today. This servant has been familiar with it from a young age and only thought that the smell was somewhat strange at first. But now I understand, there has definitely been something extra added into it.”
Dowager Consort Zhao urgently took in deep breaths as countless trains of thought flashed through her brain. Her voice became heavy and low: “Who was in charge of the incense?”
The palace maids on the ground all spoke up at once: “It’s sister Peiyun in charge.”
”Peiyun….” A hint of bewilderment flashed through Dowager Consort Zhaos’ eyes. But very soon, it turned into a severe light. “People go to Fengyang Palace and bring over the remaining soothing incense and also capture Peiyun and bring her over to this consort!”
Mu Yao saw that the scene seemed to be getting more and more chaotic, and wanted to explain but was once again pulled on by Liu Fuyi. He warmly looked at her with his head turned and then gently shook his head. He coolly moved his mouth without speaking: ‘Stay calm and watch the situation change.’
The imperial guards and palace maids moved all at once. Their footsteps were chaotic and Dowager Consort Zhao sat in place motionlessly. The teacup on the table was untouched, already cold.
Not long after, the pale-faced Peiyun was dragged in with her hands twisted behind her, and then roughly pushed to the ground: “Kneel.”
Peiyun was confused and perplexed as she raised her head, facing Dowager Consort Zhao’s gloomy face.
“Your highness, this incense truly contains traces of hallucinatory herbs…” Imperial Physician Chen trembled as he spoke, “It’s the exact same as what was in the sandalwood incense last time.”
“You wench!” A palm flew over with a furious gale of cold wind and slapped on Peiyun’s face. Her entire person was forced flying by a strong force, falling onto her side harshly.
Dowager Consort Zhao repeatedly gasped for air and the aunty beside her hastily stroked her stomach, carefully helping her breath more smoothly. Her finger was nearly stabbed into Peiyun’s forehead: “Speak, who gave you the courage to harm the princess!”
Peiyun’s lips had already broken. She took a long time to regain her conscience. Her blurry eyes slowly became filled with a helpless grievance: “This servant… this servant didn’t harm the princess…”
”Your highness, don’t listen to her quibble! Peiyun has long secretively associated herself with people outside of Fengyang Palace!” A furious, little palace maid suddenly interrupted and another two also hastily rushed to echo her: “That’s right, we all saw it with our own eyes. Today, we even heard her say to someone behind our backs that the princess doesn’t understand anything. That gonggong even said that… even said that it’s a pity Peiyun ‘didn’t have the destiny to become an imperial concubine’!”
With these words, the entire room fell into a strange silence.
The Author has something to say:
Mu Sheng: “Oi, do you like cats or tigers.”
Mu Sheng: “Meow~~”
Miaomiao: “I chose cats because I haven’t met a cute enough tiger.”
Mu Sheng (Extending claws): “…..awoooo!”