Chapter 17: Secret of the sweet soup Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Ning Xiaoyao had told the court lady to find a quiet place. The court lady weighed in her hand the small bag that Empress Zhou had stuffed in her hands, then the plate of food that the empress had brought over as well. After calling someone over to try the food for poison, she had them bring it to one of the emperor’s side halls. There was a bed inside this room as well, which was divided into the inner and outer chambers. Right now, everyone in the palace knew that His Majesty didn’t favor Empress Zhou, so it was up to her own skills to charm him. As for a quiet place, which part of the palace wasn’t quiet? Who dared to shout and scream in the Imperial Palace?
When Ning Xiaoyao walked into the side hall, she heard meowing and looked out the window. Big Boss Black and his groupies were currently sitting in the flower bed outside, while above them was a wutong tree with two magpies in a nest. All of them were looking inside the room. Ning Xiaoyao felt her forehead and wondered whether any humans had said any secrets in front of these little animals.
“Your consort1 calls on Your Majesty. May the emperor live on for tens of thousands of years.” Empress Zhou rose from the chair as soon as Ning Xiaoyao entered the room and knelt down to pay her respects.
Ning Xiaoyao stepped to one side to avoid the bow and examined Empress Zhou with a glance. This girl was at most seventeen years old, her figure a bit chubby but with skin as white as snow. Her curvy eyebrows matched a pair of phoenix eyes that slanted upwards. She was a rather pretty girl.
“There’s no need to pay respects, rise.” Ning Xiaoyao stepped forward and extended a hand to help her up.
Her movement startled Empress Zhou. His Majesty didn’t like her, so after they got married, he had not only never touched her, but rarely even saw her in person. Empress Zhou never thought there’d be a day when he had personally helped her up.
“What is it?” Ning Xiaoyao glanced at Empress Zhou’s dazed expression.
Empress Zhou placed her hand in Ning Xiaoyao’s own and said softly, “Your consort thanks Your Majesty.”
As soon as Ning Xiaoyao felt Empress Zhou’s hand, the smile on her face turned stiff. No good, this can’t be right. Why is the empress pregnant? Who did it? The little person in Ning Xiaoyao’s heart was yelling out loud. Which man touched my empress ahhhhhhhhh….
“Your consort heard about the events at the execution platform,” Empress Zhou had her head lowered as she spoke in a low voice, completely missing Ning Xiaoyao’s frozen expression.
“Hehe,” Ning Xiaoyao replied. Everyone said that entering the palace was like going into the deep sea. It was a completely different world beyond the walls, but why did she feel that this palace was like a brook? The news from outside travelled lightning quick here, as if the palace walls didn’t even exist.
“Your Majesty must be tired from taking a journey outside,” Empress Zhou said. “Your consort personally made Your Majesty some sweet ginseng lily soup and asks that Your Majesty have a taste.”
Ning Xiaoyao looked at the tea table behind Empress Zhou, where there was a food box sitting. Finally, she’d found some food!
“Your Majesty,” Empress Zhou raised her head to meet Ning Xiaoyao’s eyes, repeating her words from before. “Your Majesty must be tired after taking a trip outside, right?”
She was tired, both physically and emotionally. Ning Xiaoyao walked to the tea table. Outside, the magpies on the wutong tree saw Ning Xiaoyao lift the lid off the food box and started chirping. Behind Ning Xiaoyao, Empress Zhou smiled and said, “The magpies are singing, so perhaps good tidings are on the way?”
“Whisper, whisper, this ninny’s going to be tidied up by the empress today,” the magpie couple said. “There’s an aphrodisiac in one of the soup bowls! Whisper, whisper, today the empress is determined to get the ninny in bed!”
“Forget about that,” Big Boss Black looked up at the magpies. “Ning Yu’s a female. Once she’s on the bed, how is she supposed to give the empress a baby?”
“Once the empress knows that secret, she can use it to threaten the ninny!” Wifey Magpie looked disdainfully at Big Black Boss and flapped her wings. “The empress and General Xu are in true love!”
Big Boss Black disdained the magpie couple as well and waved his paw. “You’re talking as though those bad guys, the Grand Preceptor and empress dowager, won’t kill the empress instead! Just wait, the empress will definitely die after finding out the ninny’s secret, miaow!”
“She won’t!” Wifey Magpie cried.
“She will!” Big Boss Black shouted.
The cats and magpies started arguing. Ning Xiaoyao felt unwell all over. So the empress had come today to drug her so they could roll around in the sheets together, thus covering up her adulterous affair with that General Xu. Meanwhile, she’d make her the father of that baby? Did she really have to treat her so ruthlessly? (TOT)
- chenqie (臣妾) – I, your servant/consort, a self-appellation of a lower-ranked female. ↩