Chapter 118: A large rat hiding by the old man Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“Father, just what kind of people were locked in that basement?” Xie Anshi asked. His father had taken great pains to kill and disfigure the people with poison smoke, while Lou Zigui had made a grand fuss of searching the courtyard. Even if Xie Anshi was an idiot, he could tell something was up.
Grand Preceptor Xie waved a hand as he leaned back into his chair with eyes closed.
“Who was it that injured you, father?” Xie Anshi asked next.
Grand Preceptor Xie had only witnessed strength enough to tear apart a wall in His Majesty’s hands. But it didn’t matter whether the culprit was Ning Yu or not. Why should he care about the fate of a person soon marked for death?
“There are spies in the estate,” Grand Preceptor Xie spoke with his eyes shut. “I still haven’t found out who they are.” If that was the case, Third Young Master Xie would have even less luck.
“Will we have to change all the people in the estate?” Grand Preceptor Xie murmured to himself. Xie Anshi was a cold-blooded man, but his hairs stood on end at his father’s words. By exchanging the old for the new, his father could only mean killing off their current staff, which numbered in the thousands. Were they all supposed to die?
And yet, Grand Preceptor Xie soon shook his head at the words. That was an impossible idea. Over half of the Xie Clan servants had been born in the estate. They counted as members of the Xie Clan too, so how was he supposed to kill and replace them?
“Father,” Xie Anshi stood blankly for a while before he asked timidly, “Now that Yan Hong’s fallen into Lou Zigui’s hands, will she…” He trailed off as the Grand Preceptor’s eyes flew open to fix him with a cold stare, his words dying in his throat.
“Yan Hong,” Grand Preceptor Xie repeated the name to himself. Xie Anshi prepared to explain himself once more that he didn’t fancy the woman, but his father simply shut his eyes again and fell silent.
In the dark and stormy streets, the imperial guard who had placed Yan Hong across the saddle of his horse suddenly let out a wretched cry. Lou Zigui stopped his horse. Ning Xiaoyao looked back in time to see Yan Hong bending back at an impossible angle, like a snake, to entwine herself around the imperial guard’s waist.
“A femme fatale?” Ning Xiaoyao said, utterly floored.
“Be careful!” Shadowgale shouted. Lou Zigui unsheathed his sword, and Ning Xiaoyao heard the clatter of metal against metal as his blade blocked a few dark blue needles flying their way. They fell to the ground.
“Damn her,” Fang Tang cursed as he spurred his horse towards Yan Hong. But before young General Fang could pull out his weapon, Yan Hong released a cloud of thick, disorienting smoke.
“It’s poison!” one of the guards shouted. Fang Tang immediately covered his mouth and nose. Yan Hong took the chance to slip away from her guard hostage. Once she landed on the ground, she fled in the direction of Fragrant Gauze Alley. Lou Zigui was about to shout out orders when he felt something empty in front of him. By the time he glanced down, Ning Xiaoyao was already running to the imperial guard who had tumbled off his horse.
“There’s poison!” Shadowgale nearly went crazy when he saw His Majesty rush into the poison smoke.
“No problem,” Ning Xiaoyao shouted as he grabbed the imperial guard by the hand. “I’m immune to hundreds of them.”
“………” said everyone else.
In the midst of escaping, Yan Hong felt a sudden pain penetrate through her body before an arrow buried itself in a wooden peg before her. She staggered before falling into a waterlogged depression by the side of the road.
Lou Zigui lowered the bow in his hands.
“Don’t give chase,” Ning Xiaoyao shouted. “She knows how to use poisons. What if you all get poisoned on the way?”
The imperial guard that Yan Hong had bitten on the left shoulder was now sporting blackish purple skin around her teeth marks. Despite this, Ning Xiaoyao had to take care of his swollen throat first. Yan Hong’s second round of poison had swelled his throat up alarmingly. If she had come a second later, the young man would have died from asphyxiation.
“Bastard woman, you think you’re so great just because you use poisons?” Ning Xiaoyao cursed at Yan Hong. “See if your Xie Laibao wants you anymore after Xie Anshi hugged you! You’re still trying to run away? So you can run back and eat your medicine? Blockhead!”
“………” said everyone else. She’d be a fool if she didn’t run away, right?
Yan Hong crawled up from the ground, a hand pressed over her wound as she kept running.
“Just you wait,” Ning Xiaoyao shouted. “I’m going to come over and beat you to death!” Someone who could poison others with a single bite must be full of poison inside her body. How could a person like that be allowed to exist?!
Yan Hong’s figure disappeared at the end of the street. The guard with the swollen throat regained his ability to breathe and gulped down lungfuls of air with his mouth. Ning Xiaoyao pressed her hand against his arm. Slowly, the blackish purple skin receded to a normal hue. Lou Zigui walked to Ning Xiaoyao and the guard.
“He’s all right now,” Ning Xiaoyao removed her hand. Reality proved once again that she was a miraculous existence in this world. Feeling much better, Ning Xiaoyao patted the imperial guard’s face in front of Lou Zigui and asked, “Do you need me to pull you up?”
Before the imperial guard could answer, Lou Zigui picked up Ning Xiaoyao by the collar. She looked up at him and asked, “What happened?” Just then, she’d sensed some acute killing intent from this man. What was going on?
Everyone else averted their gazes. Since His Majesty hadn’t lost his temper from being picked up like a kid, they’d just pretend they didn’t see a thing. Supreme Commander Lou didn’t want to talk to this girl anymore. Patting a man on the face? He really felt weary of it all. Meanwhile, Fang Tang had started coughing as he suddenly found breathing difficult. Ning Xiaoyao ran to his side and patted his chest. It seemed like he wasn’t seriously poisoned, so she sent a tiny ball of pale green light into his body.
Fang Tang rubbed his throat as it stopped hurting and his breathing turned normal once again. He was beginning to doubt whether his recent discomfort only came from his imagination. Ning Xiaoyao then patted the shoulders of all the imperial guards who’d been near Yan Hong just then. After using her powers, she felt hungry once more.
“Are they alright now?” Lou Zigui waited until Ning Xiaoyao stopped moving to ask.
Ning Xiaoyao returned to his side and said, “They’re all fine. Are we going back to capture Yan Hong? And beat her up again?”
Lou Zigui took Ning Xiaoyao’s hand and led her towards Little Red, his voice low. “That woman won’t live much longer. We don’t need to worry about her.”
“She’s poisoned herself too?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“Wouldn’t she have an antidote for her own poisons?” Lou Zigui helped Ning Xiaoyao onto the horse before climbing on himself to reply.
“That makes sense,” Ning Xiaoyao scratched her head. “Then Supreme Commander, did your arrow just then contain poison?”
“Drunken Flower Fragrance,” Lou Zigui replied. “That woman’s part of the poison sect.”
“A faction of the jianghu not worth mentioning,” Lou Zigui said flatly.
“Oh, so it’s like that,” Ning Xiaoyao nodded. If it wasn’t worth mentioning, then she didn’t need to worry about it. Everyone else was speechless. The poison sect! Grand Preceptor Xie’s efforts in the jianghu had nearly succeeded in uniting all the factions until his rule. Supreme Commander, don’t speak of it as something as harmless as your Lou Clan’s front door!
“That’s right,” Ning Xiaoyao leaned against Lou Zigui as she suddenly recalled something else. “What’s Drunken Flower Fragrance?”
“The scent from just then,” Lou Zigui said.
“Oh, that fragrance made from chemistry? It makes flowers drunk too?” Ning Xiaoyao ridiculed. Never trust in man made perfumes. Even a shower in perfume wouldn’t rid the stench of a single zombie fight! (Author: Wake up already, you. That was poison, not perfume, ah geez!)
Lou Zigui asked, “What’s chemistry?”
“Urk,” Ning Xiaoyao replied, “It’s a branch of science, it…”
“Alright, don’t say anymore,” Supreme Commander Lou said. He didn’t know what science was, either.
“Then let’s go home,” Ning Xiaoyao wasn’t that great of a teacher herself, and quickly changed the subject. “I’m hungry.”
Fang Tang and quite a few Dragon Guards nearly fell off their horses. His Majesty is hungry again!
When Yan Hong got home, she didn’t use the front doors, but climbed over the walls to enter a courtyard and went straight to the study. Xie Anshi’s eyeballs nearly popped out of his sockets at the sight of her by the door. “You,” Third Young Master Xie pointed at her and stammered, “How did you escape?”
“Let her in,” Grand Preceptor Xie said from behind the study desk.
Yan Hong entered the room.
“You’ve been injured,” Xie Anshi noted the blood on her when she drew closer.
Yan Hong shook her head with a smile. “This servant thanks Third Young Master Xie for your concern. An injury like this won’t cost this servant’s life.”
Xie Anshi’s mouth twitched. He wanted to say that he didn’t care about her at all, but he ultimately decided to keep quiet. His relationship with this woman was already muddled beyond belief.
Grand Preceptor Xie glanced at Yan Hong before gesturing to the empty chair on his right. “Lou Zigui was that careless?”
Yan Hong sat down before expelling a long breath. “Did Grand Preceptor forget about this servant’s poison skills? Not only is Supreme Commander Lou and his man incapable of capturing this servant, they’ll soon come begging me to save them instead.”
Grand Preceptor Xie nodded and told Xie Anshi, “Go call the doctor.”
A person like Yan Hong needed a young master of the Xie Clan to summon her doctor? Filled with resentment, Xie Anshi went to do as he was told. In the end, he still didn’t dare to defy his father’s words.
“Did you see the bodies that Lou Zigui took away?” Grand Preceptor Xie asked her after Xie Anshi had left.
“Yes, and this servant’s counted them too. There were 21 bodies in total,” Yan Hong said.
“21 bodies?” Grand Preceptor Xie raised his eyebrows. “Aren’t there supposed to be 23 bodies?”
Yan Hong curved her lips into a grin. “The two youths who died were eaten by that big snake in the pond.” (Author: Hey, your subordinates only managed to throw one body away, you know. ╮(╯▽╰)╭)
Grand Preceptor Xie asked, “You saw it with your own eyes?”
Yan Hong’s smile froze on her face, before she chuckled again. “There’s still a half-eaten corpse in the flower gardens now. If Grand Preceptor doesn’t believe me, you can see for yourself.”
Grand Preceptor Xie said, “Why wouldn’t this old man believe you? However, now that there are rats hiding by this old man’s side, I can’t help but be cautious.”
“This servant understands,” Yan Hong replied hastily.
“When will Lou Zigui and his men arrive?” Grand Preceptor Xie asked.
“Very soon,” Yan Hong said confidently. “This servant used Drunken Flower Fragrance. Lou Zigui might not care for the lives of the Dragon Guards and imperial guards, but he’d definitely mind the lives of his own generals, right?”
Grand Preceptor Xie nodded and smiled. “You did well.”
Yan Hong kept her hand pressed against her wound. Whoever hurt me will have to pay the price, but it isn’t certain whether that Cuckoo Lou could afford to pay it.