Chapter 121: Who’s guilty of throwing the rock? Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Qin Xuan shook his head, trying to clear his mind after being led in confusing circles by Ning Xiaoyao. Then he knelt in front of her and said, “This subject accepts the decree.” Forget about money, I’ll even give him my life right now if he wants it.
Ning Xiaoyao helped him up and said, “Accepts the decree? You’re agreeing to lend me money?”
Qin Xuan replied, “It’s not lending, Your Majesty. Even this subject’s life belongs to Your Majesty.”
“You can’t say things like that,” Ning Xiaoyao hastily shook her head. “It can’t all go to me. You still have to live a good life with Miss Qin. Don’t you need money to raise a wife and kids? General Qin, you need to learn how to save money, understand?”
Qin Xuan was deeply moved by such words, but he didn’t want to talk any more. Just who brought up the topic of money in the first place? Here I am expressing my loyalty while the emperor is telling me how to save up. Regional Commander Qin felt that he was getting a figurative face slap.
Lou Zigui grabbed Ning Xiaoyao and pulled her over to his side. “Enough already,” he murmured to her. “You did very well with your first words, but did you have to mention the second half?”
Ning Xiaoyao thought back. What did I say in the second half?
Qin Xuan told Ning Xiaoyao, “Your Majesty, if everything goes well, this subject guarantees that I’ll be able to get silver out of those mines within six months.”
Ning Xiaoyao said, “So you’ll need half a year before producing silver?”
Qin Xuan felt awkward. “What is Your Majesty’s meaning?”
“Then half a year it’ll be. You have to pay attention to safety when opening up a mine. Don’t throw your lives away just for the sake of the silver,” Ning Xiaoyao said. Though she wished they could get silver the very next day, she’d be a fool to expect the impossible.
“Yes, this subject accepts the decree,” Qin Xuan said again.
“Then leave the capital city soon,” Lou Zigui said. “Are the guards you’ve brought with you reliable?”
Qin Xuan nodded. “They’ve served my family for generations. I wouldn’t pick anyone unreliable to be my personal bodyguards.”
“Then please go,” Lou Zigui half turned towards the door. In the time it took to burn two sticks of incense, Qin Xuan took Qin Xin and left by the side gates of the palace.
“You both have to take care, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “If there’s a chance in the future, I’ll go visit you in Jiangnan. Otherwise, you guys can come to the capital. In any case, we’ll definitely meet again. Goodbye!”
Qin Xin said, “This commoner wishes Your Majesty to take care.”
“Mhm,” Ning Xiaoyao said, “I’ll definitely take care, ah.” Finally, she was living in a world without zombies. If she didn’t live well, she’d be unworthy to herself.
“Hyaa!” Qin Xuan urged his horse forward.
“Be careful on the road!” Ning Xiaoyao shouted at their retreating forms. While on his horse, Qin Xuan turned around to cup his fist at Ning Xiaoyao. Qin Xin perched against the carriage window and looked at her as well, wearing a teary smile.
Ning Xiaoyao told Lou Zigui and Ji Yuerong, “Who said Miss Qin was ugly? Did you see her smile? That was peerless elegance and intellectual brilliance!”
Ji Yuerong said, “That’s right, Xie Anyi was completely blind.”
“Yeah, and he was an idiot, too,” Ning Xiaoyao cursed.
“Bastard!” Ji Yuerong added.
“Jerk!” Ning Xiaoyao said.
Supreme Commander Lou watched the pair as they cursed, feeling helpless amidst it all.
They’re like a pair of sisters~ Shadowthunder thought, before he suddenly shivered and smacked himself on the forehead. Am I sick of living? What kind of thought was that?
“Let’s go,” Lou Zigui took Ning Xiaoyao and pulled her towards the palace.
“I’ll definitely go see them in Jiangnan,” Ning Xiaoyao said.
“Mhm,” Lou Zigui replied absently. “There’ll be chances.”
Ning Xiaoyao tilted her head at him. “I can tell you’re humoring me just by looking at your face.”
Lou Zigui tried to raise his lips into a smile.
“It’s too late to smile now,” Ning Xiaoyao pursed her lips.
“……..” said Lou Zigui, who was beginning to feel weary again.
“I’ll definitely visit Jiangnan,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “Nobody will be able to stop me.”
“……….” said everyone else. None of us are stopping you. Meanwhile, Ji Yuerong stepped forward and gave Ning Xiaoyao a few silver drafts. Ning Xiaoyao glanced at them. Each silver draft was worth 100 taels, with a total of five for 500 taels.
“Oh,” Ning Xiaoyao looked at Ji Yuerong, deeply moved. “Yuerong, are you giving me money?”
“It’s not mine,” At that moment, Ji Yuerong didn’t even think it was wrong for Ning Xiaoyao to call her by name. “Yesterday I went to the justice courts and saw one of the Grand Preceptor’s elderly female servants trying to bribe the jailer. I caught her and took the silver drafts. Your Majesty, you should use them instead.”
“Yuerong, thank you!” Ning Xiaoyao spread open her arms.
Lou Zigui grabbed Ning Xiaoyao by the collar and murmured next to her ear, “If you hug her, you’ll have to make her into one of your concubines.”
Ning Xiaoyao dropped her arms. She couldn’t afford to make jokes like that. Though she didn’t mind either way, Miss Ji might not be able to take it.
“Why don’t I treat Your Majesty to egg yolk guoba next month?” Ji Yuerong asked. “I’ll buy all the egg yolk guoba from that stall.”
“Oh!” Ning Xiaoyao was extremely moved. She sniffled a few times. “Yuerong, you’re such a good person.”
Ji Yuerong lowered her head to glance at Shadowgale. “Your Majesty, I won’t forget to bring money with me.”
Slap–! Shadowgale hadn’t said a word today, but he felt the figurative slap on his face loud and clear.
“Alright, that’s great! “Ning Xiaoyao nodded her head like a chicken pecking at grain, her eyes curved into grinning crescents.
Lou Zigui suddenly found the presence of Ji Yuerong unsightly. Why is she so unpleasant to look at? She’s even competing with me to take her out for egg yolk guoba? (Author: Supreme Commander, you have to be logical sometimes too, seriously–)
“How’s that couple in the jail doing?” Ning Xiaoyao asked curiously.
“Nothing much,” Ji Yuerong said, having worked off all her anger. “When I went, that little white flower was crying.”
“In front of His Majesty, you should refer to yourself by–” Lou Zigui wanted to tell Ji Yuerong to use ‘this subject!’ But both Ning Xiaoyao and Ji Yuerong had huddled together at that moment, chatting as they walked on ahead. Judging by their footsteps, they were in an extremely good mood, enough to jump for joy.
They still look like sisters~ Second Commander Shadowthunder thought again before slapping his forehead once more.
“Perhaps the palace will have another imperial concubine soon,” a Dragon Guard whispered to his companion. Lou Zigui shot a glare at him, his eyes as cold as ice. The Dragon Guard nearly peed his pants in his fear.
These Dragon Guards have been spoiled to the point of indecency by that Miss Ning, Lou Zigui silently cursed. He’d need to settle the score with them later.
Shadowrain ran over at this time with a folded booklet in his hands. “Your Majesty, the Grand Preceptor has sent over a booklet admitting his wrongs.”
“Whaa?” Ning Xiaoyao accepted the booklet and opened it to read the contents. She had to admit that Grand Preceptor Xie had very fine calligraphy skills. His words were like miniature paintings. In any case, it wasn’t anything she could write herself. (Author: You don’t need to compare yourself to the Grand Preceptor for that!)
“Your Majesty,” Shadowrain said, “The Grand Preceptor is asking for an audience outside.”
Ning Xiaoyao tried her best to read the traditional Chinese characters on the paper while trying to figure out what the Grand Preceptor was saying between his numerous literary jargon, classical quotes, and pedantic prose. Ji Yuerong didn’t dare to try taking the booklet from Ning Xiaoyao’s hands, but backed away until she was following five steps behind. Lou Zigui saw that Ning Xiaoyao’s face was quickly approximating that of a meatbun and quickly rushed forward.
“Your Majesty?” he asked in a low voice.
Ning Xiaoyao slapped the booklet into Lou Zigui’s hands. “Just what did he write? I don’t understand it at all!”
Shadowgale’s face turned black. “The Grand Preceptor had the nerve to fool around with His Majesty?”
Between admitting that the Grand Preceptor was fooling around or confessing that she was illiterate, Ning Xiaoyao would naturally pick the former. “That’s right, that old geezer’s trying to provoke me!”
Ji Yuerong and the Dragon Guards instantly looked to Lou Zigui to see if that was the case. Grand Preceptor Xie had written a very heartfelt letter admitting his wrongs, even blaming himself for accepting imperial favor and showing grief over Xie Anyi’s actions. Lou Zigui read the entire thing from beginning to end without finding any faults in it.
“Just say that the Grand Preceptor’s trying to provoke me,” Ning Xiaoyao told Shadowrain. “And that their Xie Clan doesn’t deserve to have that archway. Have the Xie Clan dismantle the thing and return it to me in pieces, I’ll–”
Lou Zigui pulled on Ning Xiaoyao’s sleeve.
“I’m not done yet,” Ning Xiaoyao shook herself free.
Lou Zigui murmured, “There’s nothing wrong with the contents of this booklet. You can’t use an excuse like that to take back the Xie Clan’s archway.”
Ning Xiaoyao said, “Then just what did he write?”
Lou Zigui stared at Ning Xiaoyao. He wanted to make sure that this girl was just joking with him.
“Urk,” Ning Xiaoyao dug her fingers into her palms. “I felt nauseous as soon as I saw his handwriting.” His Majesty Ning had found an excuse for her lack of letters.
“……….” said everyone else. So His Majesty already loathes Grand Preceptor Xie that much!
“Xie Wenyuan admitted his wrongs to Your Majesty,” Lou Zigui pulled Ning Xiaoyao along as they walked ahead. “He’s asked Your Majesty to exile Xie Anyi and née Wang to the borderlands and forbid them from ever setting foot in the capital again.”
Ning Xiaoyao sucked in a breath. “The Grand Preceptor’s that ruthless?”
Lou Zigui closed the booklet with a cold laugh. “He has no need for a useless son.”
Ning Xiaoyao didn’t utter a sound. The Supreme Commander and Grand Preceptor Xie had a grudge as deep as a sea of blood!
Shadowrain said, “Your Majesty, will you meet with the Grand Preceptor?”
“No,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “Tell him that Your Majesty is busy. Have him go home and keep meditating upon his mistakes.”
Shadowrain accepted the decree and ran off. At that moment, a mama from the empress dowager’s palace arrive and knelt by Ning Xiaoyao’s feet to tell her how the empress dowager had fainted again.
“What was the reason this time?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
The mama explained how a rock had fallen out of the skies and broke the clothes hanger to Ning Xiaoyao.
“Tch,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “I’ve told her already, my imperial father isn’t willing to see her right now, but she still insists on being so sentimental!”
How am I supposed to report these words back to Esteemed Empress Dowager? The mama was thinking to herself. If I tell her verbatim, will Esteemed Empress Dowager die from sheer rage?
“If she’s sick, she should see a doctor,” Ning Xiaoyao said as she detoured around the mama. “Have her take medicine.” That Esteemed Empress Dowager should take lots and lots of pills. She’s too good at acting!
“Your Majesty,” the mama said, “Esteemed Empress Dowager wants to uncover the culprit who threw the rock.”
Ning Xiaoyao asked, “When did it happen?”
“A little less than an hour ago,” the mama answered truthfully.
Ning Xiaoyao rubbed her chin in thought. It seemed like she’d kicked a pebble about that time. Where had it flown again? Thinking back to that moment, Ning Xiaoyao’s expression suddenly twisted. It looks like I was the culprit.
“Didn’t you guys investigate around the empress dowager’s palace?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
The mama shook her head. “We’ve looked all around the empress dowager’s palace, but we didn’t find any outsiders.”
Shadowgale crept forward and whispered, “Your Majesty, none of the Dragon Guards would’ve dared to do such a thing.”
“Heheh,” Ning Xiaoyao chuckled. “Then it must’ve been me who did it. I kicked a pebble from the Supreme Splendor Hall, oh.”
“……….” said everyone else. Although Supreme Splendor Hall was far too far away from the empress dowager’s palace, they all had the inexplicable feeling that His Majesty was indeed the guilty party.