The Tyrant’s Cannon Fodder Male Empress Chapter 12

Chapter 12

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Beneath the encouraging eyes of Xue Yao…

After a short moment of surprise, the Seventh Prince simply continued to bow his head and tinker with his small toy, paying no mind to courtesy.

“Your Highness?” urged Xue Yao, “Shall we share a story, please?”

The Seventh Prince kept his head down, responding calmly, “It’s Sixth Brother’s turn to tell stories.”

“The Seventh Prince can tell stories too, can’t he?” 

“No.” The Seventh Prince placed the toy rabbit on the desk, giving it a slight bounce.

“Why not? You have a good memory, you must be good at storytelling.”

The Seventh Prince glanced sideways, suddenly grinning mischievously. “You asked for it.”

“Huh?” Xue Yao couldn’t quite grasp the cub’s thoughts.

The Seventh Prince proudly raised his little head and mischievously began to recite, “In ancient times, there was a mighty warrior named Kuafu, with a strong and robust physique…”

Xue Yao was puzzled. “That’s the story the Sixth Prince just told, right? Your Highness, could you share a story you enjoy?”

To help children with emotional communication difficulties, the first step is to make them have a deeper understanding of the concept of “personal preferences” so they can freely express their own needs.

However, the Seventh Prince leaned back in his chair and said indifferently, “Your Highness doesn’t like telling stories.”

“I don’t believe that.” Xue Yao refused to give in and decided to use a daring tactic on the Long Aotian cub. “Your Highness, haven’t you heard other stories? Is that why you want to tell the interesting story told by the Sixth Prince?”

The Seventh Prince chuckled sarcastically and unexpectedly retorted, “Interesting?”

Xue Yao: “……”

You’re just a three-year-old munchkin, don’t go around mocking others!

Stories like Kuafu Chasing the Sun are supposed to be enjoyed by kids like you!

What’s not interesting about them!

And wait until you’re grown up before displaying that kingly aura!

What’s with the sudden attitude? You’re still just a chubby little dumpling!

In Long Aotian’s novel, only the handsome ones with legs over six feet can have such an aura, you know!

Xue Yao took a deep breath and calmed down.

No one understood the male protagonist’s personality better than this devoted Prince Ning fan.

Using provocation was definitely the right approach because this grudge-bearing Emperor’s greatest hobby was to prove others wrong.

“I find the Sixth Prince’s stories very interesting,” Xue Yao continued with his plan, “Your Highness, you surely can’t tell a more interesting story than Kuafu Chasing the Sun, can you?”

The Seventh Prince’s little hand, which had been playing with the rabbit, stopped. He turned his head, looked at Xue Yao with a serious expression, and said, “Yaoyao.”

Xue Yao was taken aback, hearing the cub call his name for the first time and felt a bit uncomfortable. He flushed slightly and responded, “Yes?”

“Just wait,” came the Seventh Prince confident declaration.

Xue Yao thought the Seventh Prince was about to start a big story, like the tale of “Jingwei Filling the Sea,” to prove him wrong.

However, even after school, the Seventh Prince hadn’t started telling a story.

It seemed that the Seventh Prince was preparing for something grand in the palace!

When Xue Yao returned home, his personal maid informed him, “The Old Madam sent a bowl of snow swallow and lotus seed soup with rock sugar to help you beat the heat, but Madam stopped the food box in the hall. You should come out and have a taste before Qiong’er comes back, or there won’t be any left for you.”

Xue Yao was feeling quite hot at the moment. Unlike the palace, the Xue residence didn’t have ice mirrors for cooling. Only the sugar soup for beating the heat in the Old Madam’s chamber was kept cool with ice.

When he entered the hall, the food box was already open, and his older brother, Xue Qiong, was holding a bowl, slurping the lotus seed soup.

Madam Chen was by the side, fanning Xue Qiong.

Xue Yao’s expression darkened for a moment but quickly returned to normal.

He had grown used to such situations. If the Old Madam called him to the main hall to have a special treat, he could enjoy it. However, if it was something sent to the third courtyard meant for him, it would surely be taken over by Madam Chen for her son.

Xue Yao was currently serving as the Seventh Prince’s reader-in-waiting, so he couldn’t challenge Xue Qiong’s position. He didn’t want to argue over such matters that wouldn’t gain him any favor.

But this time, perhaps due to the heat, he couldn’t avoid it. He approached with a smile, sat down beside Xue Qiong, and instructed the maids, “It’s so hot, thank goodness the Old Madam remembered me. Quick, serve me a bowl of the sugar soup.”

He knew very well that all the sugar soup was already in Xue Qiong’s bowl. He said this to tease them.

Taking something that the Old Madam specifically gave him was one thing, but not leaving him a single bite was simply domineering.

“Oh, Yao’er is back too?” Madam Chen spoke calmly, “Mother thought you hadn’t returned. On such a hot day, this cold soup doesn’t last long. So I had your brother finish it to make sure the Old Madam’s intentions aren’t wasted.”

“I came back early.” Xue Yao smiled. “From now on, just have the maids bring it directly to my room. Keeping it in the hall does lead to issues.”

Xue Qiong immediately set down his bowl and exclaimed, “Why should they deliver it directly to your room? Do you want to hog it all for yourself?”

“Why would I?” Xue Yao laughed. “Which dish hasn’t always been devoured by Big Brother first? The Old Madam always insists that I taste them, but I can never manage to have a single bite. When someone asks about the taste, I’ll have to ask the Old Madam to inquire with Big Brother.”

At the mere mention of the Old Madam, Xue Qiong backed down quickly and said, “Just tell the Old Madam it’s delicious!”

“Oh,” Xue Yao said, “I got it. If the Old Madam asks, I’ll say Big Brother finds it delicious.”

“How audacious!” Madam Chen detected his intention to complain to the Old Madam and immediately scolded him, “You wicked beast. In the palace, you didn’t learn to strive. Now you’re behaving like a tyrant here! It’s you who came home late, but you’re resenting Qiong’er for taking one sip before you? Do you still not understand the proper etiquette of seniority?”

Xue Yao hurriedly nodded and “admitted” his mistake, “Madam, you’re absolutely right. I’ll make sure to remind the Old Madam about proper etiquette, first rewarding Big Brother, and then me.”

It was truly ridiculous. If the Old Madam wanted to reward both of them, it would be fine to follow the etiquette of seniority. But it was specially given to Xue Yao, and it was snatched away by Xue Qiong. How dared she say that it was a matter of seniority!

Madam Chen was so furious that her words got all tangled up. She slammed her hand on the table and stood up but couldn’t find a retort.

Xue Yao shifted her blame onto the Old Madam. She didn’t dare say anything wrong and could only scold the maids angrily, “Summon Concubine Zhou! I want to ask her how she raised such an wicked child!”

Concubine Zhou arrived. Upon hearing the situation, cast a resentful glance at the empty bowl in front of Xue Qiong. She turned to Xue Yao and said, “The Old Madam’s kindness must never be squandered. If you’re granted a reward next time, make sure to come and accept it immediately. If you delay like this and miss the favor, the Old Madam won’t forgive you.”

Madam Chen, upon hearing this, turned livid with anger. “You… you wretched maidservant! Relying on the Old Madam’s favor, you think you can trample over me and my son, Qiong’er! Just you wait!”

It was in the evening when Master Xue returned to the residence.

Madam Chen cried as if her tears were endless.

“Yao’er came back late. I was afraid the sugar soup meant to beat the heat would be spoiled, so I let Qiong’er have some while it was still cool. It was a moment of impatience, and I didn’t consider it thoroughly, which is why I didn’t leave any for Yao’er. When Yao’er returned and got angry at me, threatening to complain to the Old Madam, I panicked and asked Concubine Zhou to intervene. But, I never expected that Concubine Zhou would add fuel to the fire in front of Yao’er!”

Hearing Madam Chen’s account, Master Xue was incensed and immediately ordered for Xue Yao to be brought in for reprimand. He also had the entrance to the third courtyard sealed off to prevent Yao’er from going to the main hall and involving the Old Madam.

Xue Yao was on his way when Concubine Zhou received the news and, fearing for her son, hastily followed to the main hall.

Upon seeing Concubine Zhou’s pitiful and delicate appearance, Master Xue’s heart softened a bit. “I called for Yao’er to question him, why did you come?”

Master Xue favored Concubine Zhou greatly, so Madam Chen didn’t dare mistreat her too openly. She asked politely for Concubine Zhou to withdraw.

However, this time, Concubine Zhou stood her ground and refused to leave. Her eyes, filled with sorrow, gazed directly at Master Xue. “I understand why you called for Yao’er. The Old Madam often rewards him with treats, but they’ve all been intercepted in the main hall. Yao’er has yet to taste a single reward, as Qiong’er always claims them on his behalf. Today, Yao’er made a self-deprecating joke, and Qiong’er thought he held a grudge. They are brothers, and occasional disagreements are natural. Tomorrow, they will still be close. I hope you won’t be too hard on them over this.”

Master Xue, upon hearing this, cast a suspicious glance at Madam Chen, wondering if she was distorting the truth and intentionally causing discord.

Even though Xue Yao currently had no utilitarian value, he still had the Old Madam’s favor.

Master Xue hoped that the Old Master’s influence would secure his transfer to another position, so he naturally wouldn’t deliberately trouble Yao’er.

Madam Chen sneered at Concubine Zhou, “I’ve always considered you like a sister, but now that Qiong’er had a bowl of soup, you’re throwing mud at me with all your might. I’ve heard that the women in Suzhou may seem gentle on the surface but are malicious at heart. Today, I’ve finally witnessed it! However, don’t think too highly of yourself. No matter how much you slander me in front of Master Xue, even if you force me to my death, he will never marry you, a fallen daughter of a traitor!”

Master Xue furrowed his brow and comforted his wife, “What nonsense is this? You go back to your room and rest. I’ll handle this matter. We’ve been a couple for many years. Would I let a lowly concubine disgrace you?”

He said this to divert his wife’s attention, so the wife and concubine wouldn’t quarrel.

Concubine Zhou’s face turned pale in an instant, tears welling up in her eyes. She stared at Xue Cheng with despair and choked out in a low, hoarse voice, “Master is correct. I am lowly. Since my father’s disgrace, my elder brothers were all exiled to remote places, and our home was confiscated. But if I had stayed in Suzhou, I wouldn’t have been reduced to becoming someone’s concubine.”

A tear fell from her cheek as she continued, “When Master was ordered to confiscate our home back then, I met him for the first time. He kindly comforted me and mentioned how my father had once helped him. He couldn’t bear to see me in such a destitute state and, out of humility, repeatedly invited me to come to the capital city…”

Master Xue’s face blushed slightly, and he was tongue-tied, not knowing how to stop her.

“My father always loved me, and I believed in the people he valued.” Concubine Zhou’s tear-filled eyes suddenly turned fierce and resolute, disregarding decorum as she exclaimed loudly, “If my father knew how you treated me, he’d regret ever promoting you!”

Master Xue’s face turned crimson. He wished he could find a place to hide!

Zhou Rui was the daughter of the former Minister of Personnel and the Deputy Prime Minister of the Imperial Cabinet, Zhou Chong.

Many years ago, Zhou Chong was accused and banished due to a proposal for river channel construction.

Xue Cheng accompanied an imperial censor to confiscate Zhou Chong’s family property in his hometown of Suzhou and encountered the fifteen-year-old, ethereal beauty Zhou Rui.

Enamored and head over heels, Xue Cheng employed all means to persuade Zhou Rui to come to the capital, keeping her in his household, and trying to win her favor.

Zhou Rui, unworldly and of a simple disposition, found herself penniless and with nothing to repay her benefactor. In a tearful moment, she gave herself to Xue Cheng during his advances, eventually bearing his child, Xue Yao.

From the disputes and arguments around him, Xue Yao pieced together a rough understanding.

His biological mother was actually the daughter of Zhou Chong!

According to the novel’s plot, in another two or three years, the Prime Minister of the Imperial Cabinet would submit a memorial to exonerate Zhou Chong.

Upon reflection, Xue Yao realized he would have a grandfather who held the positions of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Personnel in the future.

A/N: The Seventh Prince’s name is Lu Qian. Some readers say they can’t remember his name. For now, we’ll just use the nickname “chubby cub” (Chubby Seventh: No. Your grandpa doesn’t agree).

If you enjoy this novel, support the Translator ginevre on her ko-fi account :))

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