Warning: Please note that this chapter contains graphic descriptions of gore.
Chapter 133: The mobs invade the palace Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“Xiaoyao, what do we do?” A’Mo grew anxious when he saw Ning Xiaoyao sitting there doing nothing.
Ning Xiaoyao swallowed the sugar bean in her mouth and said, “Poisons aren’t all that scary. I just need to cure the refugees right?”
A’Mo said, “But the Grand Preceptor said that poison wouldn’t kill anyone.”
“Could that old geezer’s words be counted on to be trustworthy?” Ning Xiaoyao curled her lips in contempt. “Then A’Mo, I say that you’ll knock out an elephant with one punch tomorrow!”
A’Mo peered at his own hands and feet and figured that Grand Preceptor Xie’s words weren’t trustworthy, after all. Ning Xiaoyao stood up from the ground and patted the dust off her butt, then set A’Mo down on her collar. “We’ll go over to the palace gates and check things out.”
As soon as she had finished speaking, the sounds of shouting and fighting came from the direction of the front gates. There were even the dull thuds of something heavy striking against the doors.
A’Mo said, “We’re doomed. Those refugees are killing their way in.”
Ning Xiaoyao stuffed more sugar beans into her mouth. She needed some peace and quiet! When the people inside the ancestral hall finally heard the commotion from outside, all of them stopped arguing. The sudden silence made them all feel a chill in the air as they realized they’d been arguing inside the ancestral hall! They glanced at the memorial tablets on the altar, then at the gaping hole in the ground. Many of them began to soundlessly withdraw from the temple. Elder Li went to search for Lou Zigui so he could ask about what was going on, but suddenly discovered that Supreme Commander Lou was no longer inside.
“We’ll head to the palace gates,” Lou Zigui told Ning Xiaoyao while they stood at the head of the steps. “Have Shadowgale and the rest guard you as you leave the ancestral hall, then head for the north of the city. Fang Tang will be there. Xiaoyao, wait for me outside the city.”
Ning Xiaoyao shook her head. If I leave now, who would treat those poison victims? No need for pointless deaths, refugee or citizen…
“Right now, we have no idea what’s going on,” Lou Zigui tried to coax her away.
“I know what’s going on, though,” Ning Xiaoyao raised a hand, before she realized this wasn’t a classroom. Her arm dropped, and she told Lou Zigui the news she’d got from A’Mo right there and there.
Afterwards, Lou Zigui wore an emotionless expression as he cursed. “Shameless.”
“Even though we know that old geezer’s shameless, we still can’t kill him, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “Supreme Commander, I’m going to ask you a serious question. We really can’t kill the Grand Preceptor?”
Instead of answering, Lou Zigui asked back, “Can you treat those refugees’ poison?”
“Sure, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao nodded.
“Then fine,” Lou Zigui pulled her up by the hand. “Find that old man and treat those refugees. Leave the rest to me.”
As Ning Xiaoyao was led down the steps by Lou Zigui, she turned back to see Grand Preceptor Xie just emerging from the hall. Immediately, she raised her fist and waved it in his direction.
Grand Preceptor Xie glanced at his men on both sides and said, “Why aren’t you all hurrying to protect His Majesty yet?”
“No need!” Ning Xiaoyao pointed at Grand Preceptor’s men. “I don’t need you lot to guard me. Just look after the Grand Preceptor instead. When he incurs Heaven’s wrath one day, you guys can take some of the lightning bolts in his place.”
“……..” said Grand Preceptor Xie’s men. Are we sure His Majesty isn’t insane? Why does everything he say sound so crazy?
Grand Preceptor Xie didn’t reply. Why should I bother speaking with a dead girl?
“Your Majesty!” a Black Frost Calvary general ran over when Lou Zigui and Ning Xiaoyao were halfway down the steps. “Your Majesty, Supreme Commander, the refugees have broken through the palace gates!”
Ning Xiaoyao widened her eyes in disbelief. “Where are the gate guards?”
“There weren’t guarding the gates at all!” the general spat hatefully.
Lou Zigui acted at once and ordered a few of his subordinates, “You lot, take His Majesty out of the palace via one of the side doors.”
Ning Xiaoyao pulled on Lou Zigui’s sleeve. “There’s no time, I can hear their footsteps already.”
Every path in the palace was meticulously swept and attended to by specific servants, so it was impossible to raise up a dust cloud when anyone walked on them, a large crowd. However, the sound of shouting and multiple quickly approaching footsteps gave off an equally oppressive air.
“Imperial guards,” Lou Zigui shouted loudly from the steps. “Hold back the refugees for this Supreme Commander. Anyone who refuses to stop will be killed without mercy!”
The thousand strong imperial guards stationed on both sides of the steps charged towards the incoming refugees.
“You’re not stopping Lou Zigui?” Grand Preceptor Xie asked Elder Li from the top of the steps. Elder Li’s face was looking green, but he also didn’t answer Grand Preceptor Xie’s question.
Grand Preceptor Xie said, “There are tens of thousands of refugees in the capital city. It’s unlikely that the imperial guards will be able to hold them back.”
Elder Li glanced at Grand Preceptor Xie, then said, “Then you and I should guard His Majesty with our own lives.”
“Naturally,” Grand Preceptor Xie replied. His sanctimonious attitude only enraged Elder Li all the more until his stomach ached. But if Lou Zigui knew that they couldn’t kill the Grand Preceptor without wresting military power from his hands, why wouldn’t Elder Li understand, too? All he could do now was endure. Everyone knew that the character for endure (忍) was written with the character for knife (刀) on top the heart (心). It was a blade capable of hurting one body and soul!
The imperial guards crashed against the flood of refugees. Even if Lou Zigui hadn’t ordered them to kill these people, they still wouldn’t spare their lives. Even scholar-officials had to die after charging into the palace unbidden, much less these lowly, cheap refugees. As row after row of refugees fell to the ground as bleeding corpses, the rest of the hotheaded mob finally sobered up slightly. If they kept pressing forward, wouldn’t the next in line to die be themselves?
The stench of blood rose in the air, making Ning Xiaoyao feel both pained and restless. Zombies didn’t exist here, so why couldn’t the humans in this world just live a peaceful life? As if sensing her discomfort, Lou Zigui grasped Ning Xiaoyao’s hand and murmured, “If you don’t want to look, then close your eyes.”
“………” said Ning Xiaoyao. How am I supposed to close my eyes at a time like this?! I’m the Emperor after all!
Now that most of the refugees were recoiling back in fear, someone shouted from the crowd, “If we don’t charge forward, then we’ll all die! The imperial guards will slaughter us all!” His voice was quickly followed in succession by multiple others.
“We’ve already broke into the palace, so we’re doomed to die anyways!” a hoarse yell rang out. “Retreating is death as well. If we keep charging, we might be able to get some justice on our side!”
When the refugees heard this voice and looked around, they saw nothing but lofty palaces and royal halls. This was Yongning’s imperial palace! They’d broken their way into the Son of Heaven’s domain. Would we still have a chance to live after this?
“Go already!” one of the refugees took the lead and rushed forward, fighting against the imperial guards with a cudgel in his hand.
“Shoot and kill the people who shouted just then,” Lou Zigui ordered from his perch on the steps. One of the imperial guard’s generals accepted his orders and prepared to leave with his regiment. Grand Preceptor Xie stood at the top with perfect composure. When more and more refugees flood into the palace and add to the mob, how will you protect Ning Yu then, Lou Zigui? Much less the safety of this palace?
“Forget it,” Ning Xiaoyao shook aside Lou Zigui’s hand and shouted at the general, “Don’t play around with human lives. Let them come over.”
“Your Majesty!” ten voices–including Lou Zigui’s own–chorused back in immediate protest.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “I know how to fight.”
“……….” said everyone else. Now isn’t the time for you to fight!
“Supreme Commander, are you coming with me?” Ning Xiaoyao asked. Faced with the girl’s wide, blinking eyes, Lou Zigui swallowed his words before he could say hurry and leave with me. When he recalled how valiantly she’d fought against her enemies, Supreme Commander Lou suddenly felt that they might be able to kill their way out together.
Meanwhile, Ning Xiaoyao was thinking of something completely different. The heck, why do I have to take the blame for poisoning the refugees? I’m not doing that even if I die. I’m going to expose your true face, Grand Preceptor Xie! (Author: Again, you two are on completely different wavelengths. Ah, ptooey! ╮(╯﹏╰）╭)
When Grand Preceptor Xie saw Lou Zigui and Ning Xiaoyao walking down the steps, he glanced quickly at his men on both sides. The weapons-wielding men hastened to follow after His Majesty Ning and Supreme Commander Lou.
“Xiaoyao!” Husband Magpie flew on top of Ning Xiaoyao’s head. “You have to be careful. Another group’s broken through the left side doors of the palace!”
Ning Xiaoyao patted her chest for Husband Magpie to see. She wasn’t afraid of more numbers. She could fight them all the same! Meanwhile, the other officials and ministers stared at the magpie flying in circles around His Majesty’s head while chirping incessantly. Was this supposed to be news of good tidings? But, what good could possibly come from mobs of refugees charging into the palace?
“Xiaoyao, you have to take care. Do you want me to fly over Grand Preceptor Xie and poop on his head?” Husband Magpie asked.
Ning Xiaoyao shook her head. There was no need for that when she’d smear poop on Grand Preceptor Xie’s face before long!
“Then, I’ll go check on the north gates again!” Husband Magpie flew off.
“Magpie,” Ning Xiaoyao pointed at the bird while explaining to Lou Zigui. “We’ll have good luck.”
Supreme Commander Lou couldn’t help but think that this girl was always talking to the animals that dropped by around her. (Author: Supreme Commander, that’s the truth!)
Currently, the imperial guards were both blocking and retreating in face of the advancing hordes. The two parties struggled all the way until they reached foot of the steps leading to the ancestral hall. Because His Majesty was always dressed in dragon-embroidered robes, the refugees recognized him at once with no introduction. A’Mo saw the crowded sea of human faces before them and remarked, “Xiaoyao, I can’t tell which one’s that old man.”
Ning Xiaoyao reached out a finger to stroke A’Mo. That was okay, because it was highly likely that old man’s family had already all been poisoned. Based on that clue alone, she’d be able to find him eventually.
While she hunted for possible suspects in the crowd, a Black Frost Calvary general ran over and reported to Lou Zigui, “There were a total of five speakers. We’ve placed marks upon them all. Supreme Commander, shall we shoot them immediately?”
Lou Zigui faintly shook his head. “Keep an eye on them for now.”
With a murmur of assent, the general ran back down the steps. Meanwhile, the refugees had carried out all the poison victims and placed them on the ground in front of the crowds. Ning Xiaoyao looked down at the victims, all of whom were spewing out large mouthfuls of blood. Mixed in with the blood were red chunks, and the skin on their faces was starting to turn black.
“Can you cure a poison like that?” Lou Zigui asked Ning Xiaoyao in a low voice.
Ning Xiaoyao said, “I’ll know if I give it a try.” As soon as she saw the bloodied chunks on the ground, she knew that the poison had already wrecked havoc with the victims’ insides. They weren’t only spitting up blood, but bits and pieces of their internal organs as well.
“Why aren’t you all kneeling in the presence of His Majesty?!” one of the imperial guards shouted at the refugees.
“He won’t even let us live anymore, why should we–”
Lou Zigui raised a hand and shot an arrow from the miniature crossbow hidden inside his sleeve. It was a very short arrow, but it struck the victim clear through the throat like sparks from a flint striking a stone.
Ning Xiaoyao felt a cold chill creep down her back at the sight. The man clutched at the gaping hole in his throat. Blood streamed from the wound, then through the gaps in his fingertips as he fell towards the ground. He struggled and gasped for air, his throat making gurgling sounds that made one’s skin crawl. A few seconds later, he died from asphyxiation.