Chapter 11: The Grand Preceptor said, there’s poison on the blade Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
As the Grand Preceptor’s carriage sped away, Empress Dowager Xie lifted the pearl-decorated curtains of her own imperial carriage parked by the streets. She watched the other carriage flash past her own, fury dancing in her eyes. Her hand withdrew, and the beaded curtain suddenly dropped down in a cascade of clacking.
Soon afterwards, the crowd dispersed from the execution grounds and trailed past her carriage in groups of twos and threes. All of them were talking about how His Majesty had suddenly appeared to take away the traitor Lou Zigui. Whether it was Lou Zigui’s guilt that was questionable, or His Majesty’s wish to save him, both implied secrets that were worth much debate. Despite arguing until their ears turned red, none of these people could come to a satisfactory conclusion.
When the crowd finally left, Grand Preceptor Xie was standing in front of the carriage. With a low voice, he said, “Imperial Concubine.”
The door was opened from the inside as a mama 1 of the palace descended from the carriage to bow and invite him in. As soon as Grand Preceptor Xie entered the carriage, he heard a woman ask him, “What exactly happened?!”
Grand Preceptor Xie glanced at the empress dowager, whose face was currently filled with wrath.
“Ning Yu, she, how could she dare…” Empress Dowager Xie abruptly clenched her hand, refusing to lose control of her temper.
“Imperial Concubine, please calm your anger,” Grand Preceptor Xie said.
“Does she know that Lou Zigui will make sure to get revenge for the crown prince?” Empress Dowager Xie asked. “Has she met with Lou Zigui before?”
“That’s impossible,” the Grand Preceptor shook his head and rejected the very idea. Ning Yu had spent her days at the Grand Preceptor’s estate basically isolated from the world. Aside from one wet nurse, she didn’t even have anyone else to talk to. How could she have met Lou Zigui?
Empress Dowager Xie sat in low spirits before suddenly asking, “Why did father acknowledge her at the execution grounds?”
Grand Preceptor Xie understood his eldest daughter’s meaning. If he hadn’t acknowledged Ning Yu’s identity back then, then it would have been impossible for her to save Lou Zigui.
“If you hadn’t acknowledged her, we could’ve found someone to play the part of Ning Yu just as well!” Empress Dowager Xie said in a low voice. She sat in the shadows of her carriage, her entire person sunk into the darkness.
“Imperial Concubine, she’s your own daughter,” Grand Preceptor Xie reminded her.
“What do I want with a daughter who disobeys me?” Empress Dowager Xie rebutted.
Grand Preceptor Xie fell silent before lifting his head to look at her. “Imperial Concubine, now that things are like this, it’s no use getting angry. However,” he paused here, before continuing. “However, Lou Zigui won’t live.”
Empress Dowager Xie’s eyes flickered. At the same time, a kitten that was all skin and bones ran across the street, bent down its body, and hid beneath the carriage.
“There was poison on the knives used by the executioner. It’s enough to cause Lou Zigui excruciating pain without killing him, but the toxin will definitely take his life in three days,” Grand Preceptor Xie said.
Hearing this, Empress Dowager Xie released a breath before her expression shifted again. “Why didn’t father say so earlier?” As the empress dowager, she had no intentions to share power and authority with her father.
Grand Preceptor Xie smiled. “He’s the chief commanding general of the Night Crow Pass cavalry, as well as supreme commander of the six prefectures in Anyuan. Your subject was thinking that he’d have no way to stop the soldiers if they came to cause trouble. But putting poison on the knife would ensure Lou Zigui’s death regardless. Under such serious circumstances, your subject chose to keep silent first to avoid exposing the plot. Moreover, poisoning anyone to death isn’t a topic fit for public discourse.”
“How long are you planning to keep around the Lou Clan’s old cohorts in the palace?” Empress Dowager Xie asked coldly.
“Imperial Concubine, there’s no need for anxiety,” the Grand Preceptor replied. “Once Lou Zigui dies, there’ll be no one left from the Lou Clan besides that one sickly child. What’s there to fear then? As for that house of dragons, we can take care of them slowly once they’ve lost their head. Even if His Majesty insists on reversing Lou Zigui’s guilty verdict, it wouldn’t make much difference once the person is dead, right?”
Empress Dowager Xie’s expression recovered. It seemed she’d taken the Grand Preceptor’s words to heart.
“I hope that Imperial Concubine can look into His Majesty’s thoughts.” Compared to the Lou Zigui at death’s door, Grand Preceptor Xie was more concerned with Ning Xiaoyao’s affairs. Quietly, he asked, “Did anyone incite her? How did she know about Lou Zigui’s affairs? Was it Fang Tang?”
The empress dowager shook her head. “Before Fang Tang could finish speaking, His Majesty fainted. It couldn’t have been him.”
“Then was it someone serving by His Majesty’s side?”
“Those people were all arranged by This Dowager. There’s no way they’d be problematic.”
“Then what’s all this?” Grand Preceptor Xie was anxious.
Empress Dowager Xie’s face sank again. “We have to find this person!”
(Author: Three fat cats spilled the beans, would you two believe it?)
Original Chapter Teaser:
Ning Xiaoyao: *smiles shyly* Heheh, did I do good?