Chapter 19: Come, come! The Wei Family’s Face (3)

For the rest of the morning after the officials had dispersed, Wei Xuan kneeled in the center of the Imperial Court, facing the golden throne with a blank stare.

The searing numbness in his legs was not the biggest problem…but rather the chatty emperor sitting directly next to him. Relaxing in a lotus chair of sandalwood, the ruler of Great Yong gently fanned himself as he admired his throne.

“Never would I have thought,” the emperor stated with a wistful sigh, “that the throne appeared so domineering from the viewpoint of the officials.”

“Perhaps this emperor should change its design later.”

“…”

“I always wondered, just how do you officials come up with your crazy memorials each day?” the emperor continued, completely ignoring Wei Xuan’s blatant disinterest.

“Always with implementing a dam, or regulating taxes, all you officials come up with are supplementary ideas, only temporarily suppressing the problem, never treating the root of it.”

“Hey, hey, tell me! Why haven’t you, Left Censor Zhang, or Right Censor Luo ever implement a solution to those arbitrary problems that requires a cultivator’s action? From my point of view, a single cultivator would solve those trivial issues without much effort.”

“How has your cultivation been? I sensed that you improved quite a bit since the last time we sparred, did you advance to the Late Core Formation Stage recently?”

“Since we’ve met twenty years ago, you’ve never told me what your <Winding Luo River> technique’s origin was. You even know about the secrets of my <Conflagration> technique and yet refuse to reveal your own, how stingy!”

“How’s your First Madam, that Sheng girl? Is she doing alright? Hey…why aren’t you talking?”

The emperor rambled, tilting his head to discover that Wei Xuan remained staring towards his front like a stone statue. After a few moments, the minister blinked several times .

“Your Imperial Majesty,” he said with a slow voice. “Why are you here?”

“Why can’t I be here?” the emperor retorted with a light smirk. “This is my Great Yong, where on this empire are my feet barred from roaming?”

“Then why hasn’t Your Imperial Majesty visited Her Imperial Highness’s courtyard?” Wei Xuan pointed out.

“The Eastern Willow courtyard seems to require Your Imperial Majesty’s presence.”

“Pei! As if that little tiger would break her word so easily. If she wants to kick me out for the night, then I most likely would have to sleep on the streets. Right, little Wei, why don’t you let me hitch a night in your study? We could recite poetry like we once did in the olden days.”

“…Your Imperial Majesty, there has never been a precedent of an emperor seeking refuge in an official’s residence,” the minister refuted.

“Her Imperial Highness had kindly pointed out Imperial Highness Qin’s courtyard as a place to rest, why doesn’t Your Imperial Majesty rest there for the night?”

“Qin Yingfei?” the emperor snorted, glaring at the minister with flared nostrils.

“Little tiger was surely joking when she said that, for she hates that Qin girl. If I dare sleep in such a courtyard, who knows if I will even live to see tomorrow’s sunrise?”

The emperor began to shiver at the thought of the empress’ angry expression, the handsome countenance draining of blood. Fidgeting nervously, he glared at Wei Xuan, before speaking in a haughty manner.

“Anyways,” the emperor cried,

“You’re lending me your residence tonight, this emperor is handing you an imperial decree! I won’t take any denial!”

“Not possible,” Wei Xuan instantly replied.

“I’m sheltering my daughter in my study. There’s no place for Your Imperial Majesty to sleep, or even this minister.”

“You! This Young Master is commanding you, just stay quiet and listen! Since you dared to call me Young Master at that fateful time, you’ll abide to my words!”

Wei Xuan raised his head to look skywards, only wishing for time to quickly pass and bring forth the Hour of the Goat. As long as he could be freed from the presence of this chatterbox emperor, the minister was more than glad of the prospect of clinging to the empress’ fiery thigh.

“So…Your Imperial Majesty,” Wei Xuan asked once more. “Why are you here?”

Besides, what kind of emperor would be so bored to take his own imperial examination?

Whilst the pitiful Minister of Defense suffered his two-fold punishment, An Fei was currently undergoing a rather painful tribulation. In the form of two young maidens, one older and the other younger, the tribulation seemed rather mighty to overcome.

“Third Sister, why is Fourth Sister not speaking?”

A young girl asked. She was dressed in an autumn dress of gold and green with decorative patterns of clouds and crescent moons, and her hair bundled into a small bun before draping over her right shoulder. Her large eyes blinked as she circled around An Fei, occasionally poking the girl to see her flinch.

Her delicate voice resounded in the study and was rather pleasant to the ears, yet the contents made the servants guarding the door darken their expression.

“Third Young Miss, Fifth Young Miss, the Master did not give anyone permission to enter the study.”

“Yue’er, don’t bully your elder sister. Have some more restraint, will you?”

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A young girl gently spoke, reaching out to pull Wei Yan Yue to a halt. Similar to Wei Yan Yue, the Third Young Miss of the Wei Family was dressed in a silk dress of gold and green, black hair cascading to her waist, free of any adornments.

The hazel irises with the almond-shaped eyes, tantalizing and thin red lips, the Third Young Miss of Wei appeared like a celestial fairy, the image compounded with her elegant and submissive demeanor.

“But she’s simply staring in a daze, not even responding to a single word! Moreover, it’s already been an incense’s time and she still won’t say a word!”

“Yue’er, ah, your sister just recovered. Don’t be so hard on her.”

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Hearing Wei Yan Yue’s protest, the Third Young Miss raised her right arm to gently pinch the girl’s cheek, admonishing her amongst the Fifth Young Miss’ cries of pain.

Only after small tears had pooled in Wei Yan Yue’s lucid orbs did the Third Miss let go, and she strode forward to face An Fei. The beautiful features and dull gaze tugged at her heartstrings just a little too fiercely, and the young maiden couldn’t help but reach over to pet the doll’s head.

“Third Young Miss! You mustn’t!”

“Xiao Wen, the Fourth Miss!”

The maids guarding at the door cried out in panic, rushing to block the Third Young Miss’ outstretched hand. One of the maids rushed to nestle An Fei in a close and protective embrace, glaring fiercely at the Third and Fifth Young Misses of the Wei Family.

“Why can’t Third Sister touch Fourth Sister?” Wei Yan Yue complained.

“Shouting at your masters, isn’t that plain disrespect?”

“The Master was the one who commanded as such,” the head maid, Xiao Ying, stepped forth and bowed to the two maidens.

“He commanded that nobody was to enter the study or approach the Fourth Young Miss without his express permission.”

“Did Father…prohibit us as well?” the Third Young Miss quietly inquired, a faint mist beginning to well in her eyes. The servants quickly fanned out behind Xiao Ying, and one of them courageously stepped forth.

“Master only told us to prevent anyone from entering into the study, and to protect the Fourth Young Miss,” the maid said.

“Master did not state any exceptions, and Xiao Wen has been taking care of the Fourth Young Miss since she woke up. Please do not make it difficult for us!”

“This…”

“Third Sister, let’s go ask Second Madam! Surely then, we will be able to play with Fourth Sister!”

Wei Yan Yue anxiously tugged at the Third Young Miss’ sleeve, pleading in a wheedling voice. The Third Young Miss displayed a faint smile, stroking the young maiden’s head as she nodded in assent.

“Then, we shall be back.”

Under the alert and prudent gaze of the servants, the Third Young Miss of Wei and Wei Yan Yue departed from the study, giggles and peals of laughter once again decorating the tranquil peace of the courtyard.

Seeing that the young misses had truly left, Xiao Ying released a heavy sigh of relief, wiping a sheen of cold sweat from her forehead.

“Fourth Young Miss, everything’s fine now,” she said, joining the other maids in consoling the dazed girl.

“When Master returns, you’ll be able to rest in a more quiet place.”

Her head cradled in Xiao Wen’s embrace, An Fei fluttered her eyelashes in annoyance. After a few moments, however, she decided to think no more of it, sinking into a relaxed doze, using the young maid’s unfortunate chest as a soft pillow.

Before those spiritless eyes closed, a faint but deeply-rooted hatred ran through them, the scarlet irises flashing a barely perceptible golden light before returning to their glassy look.

You had better not act before me.

Especially you, An Yan Yue.

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