The Tyrant’s Cannon Fodder Male Empress Chapter 28

Chapter 28

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The Fourth Prince appeared somewhat bewildered. He felt that the boy in front of him was different from the A’Yao by Third Prince’s side in his memory.

Because he often played with the Third Prince, the Fourth Prince was quite familiar with several attendants of the Third Prince.

Previously, this boy named Xue Yao had a rather simple and obedient personality, always following the Third Prince’s orders, straightforwardly trying to please and even taking the lead in causing trouble for the Seventh Prince.

While he also tried to please the Third Prince, the Fourth Prince looked down on Xue Yao’s brainless and unthinking attempts to gain favor.

Originally, he thought this kid would sooner or later be dealt with Consort Xi as an example, but unexpectedly, Xue Yao not only became the Seventh Prince’s reader-in-waiting but also returned to the palace hand in hand with Old Seventh…

Old Seventh seemed to genuinely trust him.

The Fourth Prince felt a mix of emotions. He had been trying his best to please the Third Prince without offending others.

Surprisingly, the litte reader-in-waiting he used to secretly mock managed to navigate through various circles successfully.

Could it be that this formerly simple reader-in-waiting was putting on an act?

Thinking so, the Fourth Prince’s gaze upon Xue Yao was almost admiring.

Xue Yao found himself inexplicably under the Fourth Prince’s scrutiny. “On such a hot day, would Your Highness like to come in to escape the heat?”

The Fourth Prince snapped back to reality. He waved his hand and smilingly said, “Today, a batch of tributes arrived at the Eastern Palace, and we were told they’re sweet delicacies. Thinking that Old Seventh might like them, I brought them along on my way here. I have other matters to attend to, so I shall take my leave.”

With a turn, the Fourth Prince made his way to the Noble Lady Yi’s quarters.

At the sight of her son, Noble Lady Yi’s wandering heart finally found solace. She promptly dismissed the palace maids, pulled the Fourth Prince into the inner chamber, and discreetly shared the Emperor’s request for her to accompany him on a trip.

She didn’t disclose her plan to use the secret of Consort Tong’s spy to win favor with Consort Xi, but the Fourth Prince immediately grew suspicious upon hearing the story.

“Why were you going to Consort Xi?” 

“Oh, I’ve been embroidering a little pouch these past few days, and I thought…”

The Fourth Prince cut her off, piercing through with no mercy. “You didn’t intend to reveal Consort Tong’s spy to Consort Xi, did you? I’ve been ingratiating myself shamelessly with Third Brother for so many years, and he finally sees me as one of his own. If you’re trying to play both sides like this, I’m afraid my efforts will go up in smoke.”

Noble Lady Yi blushed. “What good would it do if you serve the Third Prince well? In the end, it’s my lack of favor that has left you feeling wronged.”

“Hmph!” The Fourth Prince furrowed his brow, waved his hand, and sat down by the tea table. He maintained a tough facade. “What could possibly trouble me?”

Noble Lady Yi, tears in her eyes, said, “Those servants dare to gossip in my courtyard, saying you’re a lowly servant girl’s offspring. I know full well the kind of life you’ve led in the Eastern Palace. You weren’t even thirteen when you had to constantly do things for others, earning some extra benefits to support your useless mother. My heart has grown heavier with each passing day… I wish I could close my eyes forever and not be a burden to you…”

“Mother! Please don’t have such wild thoughts!” The Fourth Prince sprang to his feet, a mixture of urgency and anger, as he wiped away Noble Lady Yi’s tears. He consoled her, “Who said such things? Why didn’t you tell me? I’ll report it to Father Emperor, demand their heads, and exile their whole family!”

Noble Lady Yi used her handkerchief to cover her eyes, urging him to keep his voice down.

The Fourth Prince embraced Noble Lady Yi. “Please don’t be sad. Your son will definitely make a name for himself in the future. These hard times are only temporary. When I leave the palace and establish my own household, I’ll accumulate wealth through my own abilities, and provide you with endless luxury and prosperity. See if the other consorts won’t be seeking your favor!”

“I believe in your abilities, but no matter how great your accomplishments are, you need capital. I can’t just sit idly by, watching you toil outside. I’m not willing to accept this fate. The Emperor is busy with state affairs, but if I seize an opportunity, I might be able to turn the tables. The Emperor is eager to be with Consort Xi every day, and if Consort Xi is willing to mentor me, perhaps the Emperor will visit me! Even if it’s just once every two or three months, my son and I won’t have to endure the cruelty of the servants, and you won’t have to feed your hard-earned money to these dogs!”

The Fourth Prince opened his mouth but couldn’t bring himself to pour cold water on Noble Lady Yi.

Noble Lady Yi sensed his thoughts and hurriedly pointed to the scented pouch hanging from her waist. “Today, I happened to run into the Emperor. I dropped my pouch in fright, and he stared at me for a long while. He personally bent down to pick up the pouch and even tied it back for me. He asked me with great solemnity if I wanted to accompany him!”

She thought about the scenes from earlier in the day and grew so emotional that she trembled, her voice quivering. “His Majesty must have remembered me, remembered the promise he made to me that night. He intends to compensate for the years of neglect!”

She thought too highly of the Emperor’s memory, even taking his sweet words before bed seriously.

The Emperor, who had been neglecting her for over a decade, merely picked up a scented pouch for her as an afterthought, and she forgave the fickle-hearted man from the depths of her heart. She believed the sun was about to rise anew over her head.

The Fourth Prince, though more mature than his peers, still didn’t fully grasp matters of love. Upon hearing Noble Lady Yi’s words, he found the Emperor’s actions genuinely heartwarming and couldn’t help but harbor a glimmer of hope. “Father Emperor wants you to convey your decision to Consort Xi? How did he phrase it exactly?”

Noble Lady Yi immediately imitated the Emperor’s manner and recounted the conversation word for word in front of the Fourth Prince.

The Fourth Prince stroked his chin, pondered for a moment, and mumbled, “It was already late in the afternoon. Why didn’t Father Emperor stay in the Qingqiong Hall? He only had eunuchs with him, and he didn’t even summon a carriage. I suspect Father Emperor likely made a sudden decision to return to Yangxin Hall. If it was indeed an abrupt matter, Father Emperor wouldn’t have stopped to pick up something for you and engage in a brief chat…”

The deeper the furrow in the Fourth Prince’s brow, the more profound his concern. He turned to look at Noble Lady Yi and said, “It might not be that simple. Father Emperor probably left Qingqiong Hall suddenly for some specific reason, perhaps to provoke Consort Xi. So, he happened to encounter you. Asking you to relay this message to Consort Xi might be a way to annoy her without directly confronting her.”

As her son analyzed the situation, Noble Lady Yi felt as if a bucket of cold water had been poured over her head.

Upon careful reflection, it was likely as her son had deduced.

Despite feeling somewhat disappointed, she wasn’t disheartened. “Even if it’s to annoy Consort Xi, the Emperor’s words have been spoken. As long as I agree, he’ll definitely allow me to accompany him on the tour. Spending all this time together during the journey will provide ample opportunity for the Emperor to remember my merits. I can’t let this chance slip away!”

After thinking it over for a while, the Fourth Prince considered it a stroke of luck. He joyfully reminded Noble Lady Yi, “Consort Xi might still be upset now. You should pay her another visit tomorrow.”

With her son’s approval, Noble Lady Yi’s heart felt lighter. “If Consort Xi takes offense at my attempt to gain favor, I think… it’s best to inform her about the spy. Let her consider me as an ally! If accompanying the Emperor succeeds, we won’t need to ingratiate ourselves with anyone in the future!”


It was the day for the monthly inspection of the little princes’ studies.

The little princes, accompanied by their readers-in-waiting, waited in the side hall early in the morning for Father Emperor to review their studies.

Xue Yao watched in amazement as the Fifth Prince attacked his studies like a beeper, bombarding the Seventh Prince with questions for the entire morning.

“Absolutely no interruptions, understand?” The Fifth Prince was almost ready to kneel before the cub. “If Third Brother can’t answer later, you must not answer for him, no matter how many times Father Emperor repeats the question. You must not answer for him, got it?”

The Seventh Prince looked up in puzzlement.

On this monthly occasion, before leaving Qingqiong Hall, Consort Xi repeatedly admonished the Seventh Prince, “When your Father Emperor asks questions, you must respond immediately. No daydreaming, no playing with toys, and no silly grins. Answer whatever your Father Emperor asks. If you misbehave, there will be no bedtime snacks.”

However, as soon as they arrived in the Yangxin Hall’s side chamber, the Fifth Prince fervently urged him not to answer Father Emperor’s questions.

The Seventh Prince was truly perplexed about how to fulfill both of their requests simultaneously.

When the Emperor conducted examinations on their studies, the young princes stood in the Yangxin Hall.

Usually, the Third Prince, who resorted to last-minute cramming, would always cause some disturbances, not being able to recite certain texts.

The Emperor would repeat his questions several times, sternly demanding an immediate response from Old Third.

Under pressure, Old Third’s memory only grew more unreliable.

The ensuing extended moments of silence easily triggered the Seventh Prince’s tape recorder memory skills.

The Seventh Prince’s thought process was as follows: Mother Consort said that Father Emperor’s questions must be answered. Previous questions for his brothers had all been answered, but only Third Brother remained silent. Father Emperor asked again, and still Third Brother didn’t reply. Mother Consort said, Father Emperor’s questions must be answered, absolutely must be answered…

And so, tragedy unfolded.

The content that the Third Prince couldn’t recite was fluently and perfectly answered by the three-year-old Seventh Prince.

The phrase “too embarrassed to show one’s face” was hurled at the Third Prince.

With Father Emperor conducting these monthly assessments, the animosity between the siblings only multiplied. If he didn’t torment Old Seventh, who would he torment?

“When His Majesty asks you, then you may answer,” Xue Yao, understanding the severity of the situation, joined the effort to save the cub, “When it’s your turn to respond, you’re free to answer His Majesty’s questions. At other times, you mustn’t answer questions. Your Highness, do you understand?”

“I’m very tired.” The Seventh Prince found these people quite strange. He lowered his head to fiddle with his small pinwheel.

Before long, a palace maid’s announcement came from outside the door.

Hearing that it was the Third Prince who had arrived, the little princes immediately stood up straight, slowly retreating to a corner of the side chamber.

The Third Prince entered the side chamber with hands behind his back, glanced around, and fixed his eyes directly on the Seventh Prince. “Old Seventh, you’ve come quite early. Are you well-prepared? Third Brother is looking forward to your guidance later.”

The Fifth Prince hung his head in despair and closed his eyes.

The Third Prince approached with a formidable air, causing the Seventh Prince to immediately hide behind the Sixth Prince.

“Why are you hiding? You’re so confident in front of Father Emperor, aren’t you?” The Third Prince lifted the Seventh Prince like a little chicken and sneered, “How about we make your other brothers stay quiet and let you take the limelight?”

“His other brothers can’t even recite the basics of the Four Books and Five Classics. It’s not his turn to take the limelight.” Suddenly, a clear and steady voice of a young man was heard from outside the hall.

Xue Yao stole a glance and saw a tall and elegant youth with a slender and upright figure, striding through the door with long legs.

The youth was dressed in a red and black imperial prince’s attire, broad-shouldered, slim-waisted, and adorned with an imperial crown. Backlit by the light, his features appeared even more profound, a combination of handsome and youthful charm, perhaps a sixteen or seventeen-year-old young lord.

“Eldest Brother!” The Sixth Prince, as if finding a savior, skipped and hopped toward the youth, embracing his arm.

As soon as the Third Prince heard that voice, he immediately restrained his hostility and turned to greet, “Eldest Brother.”

“How well have you prepared for your studies?” The Eldest Prince, though a youth, exuded an air of an older brother acting like a father when dealing with the Third Prince.

The Third Prince chuckled awkwardly and said, “It’s just that, Big Brother, you know I…”

Before he could finish his sentence, the Eldest Prince raised his hand and delivered a resounding smack to the back of Third Prince’s head. “Just what? Speak up!” The Eldest Prince’s eyes widened as he raised his hand to strike the Third Prince again. “I’m even more embarrassed on your behalf!” 

The Third Prince covered his head, attempting to evade, but the Eldest Prince reached out, grabbed his arm, pulled him closer, and continued to deliver smacks to the back of his head!

The Eldest Prince uttered a few words and then smacked the back of the Third Prince’s head with rhythmic precision in a dynamic education. “You still! Dare! To blame Old Seventh! For helping you with your study!”

The Third Prince scurried around, trying to avoid the blows, on the verge of tears from his big brother’s scolding!

Xue Yao: “……”

Indeed, as the Empress’ son, his confidence was on another level!

It was no wonder why the Eldest Prince in the novel could get into heated conflicts with the Emperor for the sake of reform. His character… It was quite impressive!

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