Hall of Mental Cultivation, East Wing, Emperor's bedchamber
"Are you really intending to follow the strenuous schedule?" Gao Ling asked with a hint of laughter. His hand lifted the white gauze curtain revealing masculine back obscured by the jet black hair of the distinguished figure immersed in the jade pool. White mist rose slightly hiding the man's features.
"Are you so idle to meddle in Zhen's private affairs?" The deep magnetic voice of the man resounded with slight inquiry.
"This one dares not, however those old fogeys from the Imperial Dispensary will start to pester me in making boosting tonics." A weary sigh escaped Gao Ling's lips as he started to think of his future predicament.
The man on the pool stayed silent for a while before replying with a resolute tone, "Since the courtiers wanted Zhen to show filial piety, Zhen will naturally follow Grandmother's arrangements."
"What if the trees bear fruits after ploughing?" Gao Ling asked playfully causing the man to turn around and looked at him.
Raven black hair combed neatly, a prominent sharp jaw and cheekbone, high-bridged nose and two eyes filled with depth and blazing ambition veiled by long eyelashes, well-endowed dark and lush eyebrows sloped downwards in a serious expression, accentuated in perfect harmony. A face that sculpted from jade by the gods making everyone bursting with jealousy belonged to the current Emperor Qin Jinlong, the golden dragon ruler.
Jinlong only raised his refined eyebrows at Gao Ling.
Gao Ling, after a couple of seconds laughed at his stoic reactions, it was always entertaining to witness the Emperor's expression whenever he dealt with matters of the back palace. "Sometimes this one wonders if the gods were blind to give you that face. What a waste, if it were given to me, this one would be like Pan An and parade the streets."
"Asleep?" Jinlong stood and his slightly muscled arms reached for the robes prepared by the head eunuch on the tray. Every move done was compelling. Even Gao Ling couldn't help but be awe at how the Emperor exuded such grace intentionally or not.
Gao Ling nodded and parted the curtains making may for Jinlong. The white inner robe couldn't hide his outstanding physique. His every move carried commanding force, bold and filled with power.
Jinlong began to stride towards his inner quarters where a Kang bed made from sandalwood decorated with black gauze sewed with gold lines, the four pillar was carved with majestic dragon heads, its long body circling the poles, its tails perfectly matched with the clouds. At the center of the room was an incense burner, its golden lid was embellished with two dragons, their mouths had holes and was currently producing thin white mists that travelled across the room.
Jinlong stopped in his tracks and covered his nose after sensing the scent of rouge. The smell was barely detectable that even Gao Ling who was sensitive towards medicinal plants and herbs failed to discern what bothered the Emperor.
"Chief Eunuch!" He spoke albeit filled with domineering tone not allowing any negation.
Gao Ling who was following behind him also halted with a frown. Whenever the Emperor would address his confidants with their positions and titles, he was displeased or had been offended.
As expected, the chief eunuch who was nearing in his sixties walked fast despite his old limbs. He trembled under the Emperor's fierce eyes and immediately shrunk his shoulders wanting to lessen his presence.
"Yes, Your Majesty. Your servant is here." He kneeled with difficulty and lowered his head. His aching back was protesting but he didn't dare to complain.
"Why is that unclean thing still here?" Jinlong spoke riddled with disgusts as he pointed his Kang bed. The rustling of the curtains indicated that there was movement inside. Jinlong furrowed his brows.
Gao Ling also noticed the slight movements and immediately understood the Emperor's sudden flare in emotion. It seemed that the Chief Eunuch forgotten to dump the lady to the west wing after she was induced with the effects of the incense.
"Your Majesty. This old servant can't transfer Concubine Ou to the west wing as of the moment." The old servant silently cried inside.
Jinlong stared at him for a second before realizing the situation, "She sent someone over?"
Gao Ling at the side listened to their conversation and had some inkling of what was happening. The Emperor's anger dissipated a bit, and judging from it, only the old woman residing at the Loving Piety Palace could elicit some concessions from the stern man. He eventually smiled and spun his sight at the vague outline of the woman doing some ambiguous things in the Kang bed.
"No. Your Majesty." The old man shook his head. Then he regulated his voice that only the three of them could hear, "Your Majesty, the Empress Dowager is resting in the west wing. She also stationed some of her confidants at the doors of every rear hall."
Jinlong held his forehead as creases appeared. "Is she going to stay for the night?" It was obvious that he was very stress accepting the news of the Empress Dowager's presence in the Hall of Mental Cultivation. If it was any other day, he would likely appreciate her visit, but to stay in the west hall in the middle of the night, one would feel that the Empress Dowager came with intention.
The Chief Eunuch recalled the Empress Dowager's instructions and nodded immediately. "She brought her sutra, Buddhist beads and incense sticks in the west wing and have the servants cleaned the place."
Gao Ling perked his ears at the old eunuch's words and held his mouth from laughing at the Emperor's misfortune. Without even analysing, he could already tell the old woman's intention.
Jinlong caught his movements from the corner of his eyes and gave the physician a deep look seemingly trying to plan a solution. Two deep pools contained complexities that one would want to delve deeper.
Gao Ling stiffened sensing the Emperor's eyes on him. He knew that look, that look that the Emperor would give after calculating and formulating his plans. He took a step back and raised his palm expressing his rejection of the Emperor's unspeakable schemes. Gao Ling had a bad premonition that he would be roasted tonight.
"Don't involve me in your private affairs!" he slightly raised his voice and mustered his courage to refuse whatever the Emperor is planning.
Jinlong's expression didn't change much as if he was deaf, "Aren't you that idle, settle it." His firm voice stroke Gao Ling's mind into petrification. That pretty much sealed his fate.
"This is unfair." Gao Ling retorted.
"Your medicine." Jinlong raised his eyebrows making Gao Ling swallowed his bellyful curses.
Right, it's my medicine, but who ask for help?
Gao Ling pursed his lips and shot the vague figure in the Kang bed a blaming look. He somehow regretted the doses of hallucination in the incense he made.
Jinlong brushed his sleeves without waiting for a reply; his steps never showed hesitation as if Gao Ling wasn't his close confidant. A door emerged from the wall when the Emperor twisted the head of the dragon. Inside, an interior similar to the imperial study was revealed. He went inside and closed the mechanism not before saying, "You can start now."
Gao Ling watched the Emperor left without an ounce of concern and only left three words, and then he look at his physician robe that signified his role with irony.
"Official Gao, This servant believes in you. All the best!" The chief eunuch also gave his cheers for him before he excused himself.
Gao Ling suddenly felt so miserable.
Deep in the night.
Sounds of gasps and moans and the creaking of the bed were coming from inside the Emperor's bedchambers. The guarding eunuch who is under the orders of the Empress Dowager quickly reported this to the Tang Mama.
Meanwhile, Gao Ling gulped his saliva to moisten his throat which is too sore from shouting. It's already more than three hours, why is Concubine Ou still so active? Did I really miscalculate the dose? Gao Ling thought and resumed another round of imitating a spring scene.
Gao Ling tortured his self for another hour before fainting. Who told fate to make me a loyal courtier? He dearly felt like stabbing someone.