"Arrest her. You will know later when we interrogate you." Pei Yaran had learned from her past failures. The sooner she arrested Su Xi-er and avoided a verbal confrontation, the better Pei Yaran’s chances were.


The few imperial guards acknowledged Pei Yaran's order and immediately dashed towards Su Xi-er. She successfully dodged them, but couldn’t make any large movements due to the wound on her arm.


It was now that Old Maidservant Liu arrived after hearing the commotion. Upon seeing Pei Yaran, she immediately bowed. "This old servant pays her respects to the Empress Dowager."


The next moment, Old Maidservant Liu looked at Su Xi-er with a puzzled expression before she continued. "Empress Dowager, this woman is a palace maid in the Palace Side Quarters. May this old servant know what crime she had committed to attract your fury?"


Pei Yaran knew that Old Maidservant Liu was an experienced old maidservant in the imperial palace in addition to being the Emperor’s wet nurse. Yet, she still disregarded the latter. "Old Maidservant Liu, don't interfere in this matter; otherwise this Empress Dowager will arrest you as well."


With Pei Yaran being so blatant, Old Maidservant Liu had no choice but to watch as Su Xi-er was about to be taken away.


With the difference in status between the two of them, Su Xi-er knew that nothing good would come of facing Pei Yaran head-on. I can only pretend that I have given in for now. I’ll think of an idea later.


Hence, Su Xi-er parted her lips. "This servant will leave with the Empress Dowager."


Pei Yaran didn't expect Su Xi-er to be so obedient, but she still didn’t let her guard down. The past few times, Su Xi-er had managed to escape because of my carelessness.


"Take her away," Pei Yaran ordered. A few guards approached Su Xi-er, wanting to drag her with them.


"This servant can walk on my own without troubling the imperial guards." Su Xi-er spoke slowly and walked forward. 


Pei Yaran didn't say a word and glared at Old Maidservant Liu sternly before she exited the Palace Side Quarters.


Before Su Xi-er left, she turned her head and silently mouthed two words to Old Maidservant Liu.


Old Maidservant Liu immediately got her message. ‘Eunuch Zhang’! Eunuch Zhang was the main-in-charge at the Imperial Household Department. The masters of each palace didn’t need to report to the Imperial Household Department if they were punishing maidservants under them. However, the Imperial Household Department had to be involved when punishing maidservants under a different palace with no evidence. They would personally handle the interrogation and punishment should the accused be found guilty.


This rule was established by the first Empress of Beimin to stabilise the Imperial Harem, and had prevented a number of wrongful convictions.


Old Maidservant Liu waited until the Empress Dowager had left with her servants before hurrying to the Imperial Household Department to discuss the matter with Eunuch Zhang.


By the time Eunuch Zhang heard of this matter, Su Xi-er had already arrived at a secluded hut in the backyard of the Compassionate Peace Palace.


The icy moonlight shone into the house, revealing various instruments of torture. Name it, and it would be there. The selection was comparable to that of the Imperial Prison.


Pei Yaran ordered the imperial guards, "This Empress Dowager needs two of you to guard the doors, and the rest of you may leave. No matter what you hear, you are not to enter! Also, summon Old Maidservant Zhao."


Su Xi-er paused when she heard the words ‘Old Maidservant Zhao’. It seems like she’s the old maidservant who waits on Pei Yaran. She has the same last name as the late head maidservant of the Palace Side Quarters.


The guards bowed and acknowledged the order. Soon enough, the doors were closed once again.


As there weren’t any windows in the hut, it was currently pitch black.


Pei Yaran lit a candle, lighting the room up, but making the torture instruments even more terrifying.


"Su Xi-er, are you afraid now?" Pei Yaran taunted softly as she walked towards the rows of instruments.


"Empress Dowager, did you bring this servant here to punish me straight away? What crime has this servant committed?" Su Xi-er was composed, as if she was completely detached from the situation.


Pei Yaran cast Su Xi-er a sidelong glance. She is just a 15-year-old lass. This is her first time seeing a room filled with torture instruments, but she isn’t the slightest bit afraid.


"You have committed a grave crime, but you still dare to ask this Empress Dowager what crime you have committed! Nanzhao’s State Banquet is a matter between the two countries, yet you seduced Prince Hao and caused him to become an object of ridicule for bringing a woman with him! And you actually have the nerve to return to Beimin!" Pei Yaran spat with repressed fury.

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Rakumon's Thoughts

Translation: Cosy

TLC: Rakumon

Edit: Lunarlark


Rakumon's Corner: 

Oh manz, I hope SXE comes out safe ><

Haha she told Old Maidservant Liu to look for Eunuch Zhang instead of Prince Hao XD