Consort of a Thousand Faces

CHAPTER 9: HAIR RAISING
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CHAPTER 9: HAIR RAISING

Everyone laughed at what she said. Even if He Xiangyu gets beaten to death, this life of hers has been worth it.

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Su Xi-er placed her bowl and chopsticks down and looked at the surrounding palace maids who were giggling. The grass at the top of the wall can sway either way. She had seen many of this type of people who were easily swayed.

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“Su Xi-er, don’t be so impatient to leave. Don’t tell me that you have an urgent matter?”

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These palace maids are really worried about me. Su Xi-er sneered inwardly. Yet, when she turned her head around, her face was wreathed in smiles. “I’m going to scrub the chamber pots. Does it count as an urgent matter? Do you want to do it with me?”

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“Do this kind of thing yourself. Don’t drag us down with you.” The palace maid had a face of contempt. She remembered Mu Tao’s lesson. The chamber pots are so smelly. I don’t want to touch them at all.

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Su Xi-er didn’t respond but directly walked out instead. She needed to return and gather her strength.

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She had just taken a few steps when she saw a group of imperial guards arriving. The guard in the lead had a tall figure and an extremely solemn countenance.

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What exactly did imperial guards with swords come to the Palace Side Quarters for?

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“Lord, to what do I owe this pleasure?” When Old Maidservant saw the head imperial bodyguard, her legs were trembling. Everyone recognised the stern-faced imperial bodyguard. This person is Prince Hao’s close and trusted imperial guard!

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“Palace maids, assemble.” Wu Ling’s ice-cold tone startled Old Maidservant Zhao. When she was able to react, her hands were trembling.

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It was the first time Su Xi-er saw Old Maidservant Zhao being so flustered. This imperial guard must be some personage’s subordinate.

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“Yesterday night, an audacious palace maid mounted a sneak attack on Prince Hao…” At this point, Wu Ling stopped and swept his gaze over the palace maids arranged in two lines.

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If a palace maid from the Palace Side Quarters had offended Prince Hao, the whole Palace Side Quarters would be out of luck too. Old Maidservant Zhao wasn’t able to assume such responsibility. Although I want to see something exciting, even I wouldn’t purposefully bring disaster upon myself by getting myself implicated.

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Thump! Old Maidservant Zhao knelt down and spoke in a quivering voice, “Lord, the palace maids can’t leave the Palace Side Quarters without a command. Could it be that Prince Hao came to the Palace Side Quarters yesterday?”

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“Prince Hao naturally wouldn’t come to the Palace Side Quarters. He simply drank a little wine yesterday and entered the woods beside the Palace Side Quarters.

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Wu Ling’s ice-cold words were like a needle that pierced into Su Xi-er’s ears. Drank wine last night. The woods beside the Palace Side Quarters...The wastrel from last night was actually Prince Hao!

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Beauty Palace. 72 concubines. When he sees a beauty, he likes to obtain them. A callous and devilish mien, coupled with an extremely lofty status.

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All these characteristics match with that man last night.

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Su Xi-er clutched her sleeves tightly. He drank quite a lot of wine last night. He probably won’t remember my looks when he wakes up today.

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“Lord, no palace maid left the Palace Side Quarters yesterday night! Please investigate thoroughly!” Old Maidservant Zhao forced herself to calm down. It mustn’t be a palace maid from the Palace Side Quarters. If she launched a sneak attack on Prince Hao, regardless of whether she was intentionally approaching him or unintentionally attacked him, there’s only death awaiting.

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“Old Maidservant Zhao, you don’t have to explain. We’ll find out after we investigate thoroughly. Since he was attacked in the woods beside the Palace Side Quarters, the first to be investigated ought to be the Palace Side Quarters.” Then, Wu Ling walked towards the palace maids. His eyes were as sharp as an eagle, causing every palace maid to involuntarily become tensed.

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Old Maidservant Zhao didn’t dare to speak. Prince Hao is so formidable. How could he have been attacked by a palace maid? Although she was completely bewildered, she wouldn’t dare to voice her questions even if she had ten times the courage.

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“Hold out both of your wrists,” Wu Ling coldly commanded.

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Hold out both of our wrists. That means that Prince Hao remembers that he had dislocated my wrist yesterday. Su Xi-er pursed her lips tightly. There are traces of medicinal herbs on my wrist. If this imperial bodyguard finds out...

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The most excited one right now was Mu Tao. Only she knew someone had left the Palace Side Quarters yesterday. Hmph! Su Xi-er, your time of demise is here!

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Su Xi-er was lined up at the extreme end. Before she showed her wrists, she glanced at the other palace maids. Some of the palace maids also had red marks on their wrists; others even had bluish-purple bruises. They were results of toiling in hard labour.

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As long as it’s not someone who has medicinal knowledge, they won’t be able to discern anything just by pinching and looking at my wrists.

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Thus, she was at ease as she revealed her wrists.

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Wu Ling inched closer and closer until finally, he stood firm in front of her and carefully inspected her wrists.

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“Why is there a strange odour from your hands?”

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Old Maidservant Zhao replied on her behalf, “Lord, this palace maid is in charge of scrubbing the chamber pots. She scrubbed for the whole night yesterday.”

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Wu Ling’s responding frown frightened Old Maidservant Zhao to the point that she didn’t dare to speak.

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“The smell I was talking about wasn’t referring to the smell of the chamber pots. There’s the smell of medicinal herbs coming from your wrist.”

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Su Xi-er lowered her head and pretended to be flustered as she replied, “Lord, last night... this servant accidentally fell down and my wrist happened to rub against the grass beside the well. Is the smell of medicinal herb you were talking about referring to the smell of regular grass?”

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“If it’s the smell of regular grass, would I have asked you? Guards, take her away.” Wu Ling took a step aside. Then, two imperial guards walked towards Su Xi-er.

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The corners of Mu Tao’s mouth were slightly raised. Imperial Bodyguard Wu indeed has a good eye. I hadn’t even mentioned Su Xi-er leaving the Palace Side Quarters!

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“Lord, this servant had started to sweep the courtyards yesterday afternoon and scrubbed the chamber pots at night. How would I have the time to ambush Prince Hao?” Su Xi-er looked at Wu Ling and fiercely pinched her wrist under her sleeve. In an instant, her eyes were brimming with tears.

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When Wu Ling saw her crying, he was taken aback.

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He had listened to Prince Hao’s instructions to start investigating from the Palace Side Quarters. To have dared to injure Prince Hao, the palace maid responsible definitely has plenty of courage.

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The palace maid before me has an endless stream of tears. She really can’t fit the bill in terms of courage.

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However, her wrists are very suspicious. Prince Hao also couldn’t remember the palace maid’s appearance clearly with how drunk he was last night.

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When Mu Tao saw Wu Ling hesitating, she immediately stepped out of the line. “Lord, this servant saw her leave the Palace Side Quarters and come back in a panic last night!” She pointed at Su Xi-er with her right hand.

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Old Maidservant Zhao’s heart had risen to her throat. This worrying trouble-maker! She actually left the Palace Side Quarters! What Miss He said is right. I must quickly deal with this palace maid who doesn’t know her place.

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I was harbouring intentions of enjoying the show and didn’t take care of her but I must sort her out now. Inviting disaster to myself just to watch some fun isn’t worth it.

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“Mu Tao, you didn’t sleep in the middle of the night but concerned about me scrubbing the chamber pots instead? Are you planning to frame me? Could it be that you were the one who carried out a sneak attack on Prince Hao?” Su Xi-er changed the topic and pointed it at Mu Tao.

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Mu Tao was frightened and directly knelt on the ground. “Lord, please investigate carefully. It wasn’t this servant! The one who ambushed Prince Hao is definitely Su Xi-er!”

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Wu Ling looked at Mu Tao coldly. Even the palace maids in the Palace Side Quarters fight like this. I’ll leave the one called Mu Tao for now. As for the one called Su Xi-er, I must take her away.

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“Imperial Bodyguard Wu.” At the crucial moment, a woman’s clear voice could be heard.

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Su Xi-er looked in the direction of the voice. It’s Miss He.

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“Announcing the Empress Dowager’s imperial decree, Imperial Bodyguard Wu is summoned to the Compassionate Peace Palace.” Although He Ying was full of smiles, her tone was filled with solemnness.

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Wu Ling replied in a composed manner, “This subordinate will go there after I am done with handling my matters.”

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“It’s the Empress Dowager’s imperial decree. You don’t have to handle this matter anymore.”

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With the Empress Dowager brought up, Wu Ling would no longer be able to capture anyone.

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That said, He Ying’s gaze had landed on Su Xi-er with a meaningful look.

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Old Maidservant Zhao understood that look and lowered her eyes slightly. Su Xi-er really can’t be kept anymore.

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“This subject obeys the Empress Dowager’s imperial decree.” Wu Ling bowed deferentially before striding away.

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Su Xi-er heaved a sigh of relief. This matter is over for now.

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However, she didn’t know that a man standing in a corner had observed all her expressions.

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Pei Qianhao raised the corners of his mouth slightly. This Su Xi-er person is actually interesting.

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