Chapter 162: His Majesty says, the son will pay the father’s debts Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“Send Xie Anwu to Jiangnan to take over the businesses in Qin Xuan’s hands,” Lou Zigui told Ning Xiaoyao once they returned to the palace.
“Isn’t he Grand Preceptor Xie’s son?” Ning Xiaoyao was surprised yet again by Lou Zigui’s plans. But after hearing Lou Zigui’s explanation and how she was supposed to decree his cut ties from the Xie Clan, her eye twitched as her mouth trembled. “Xie Anwu actually agreed to your terms?”
Lou Zigui nodded.
“Is he an idiot or something?” Ning Xiaoyao asked, dumbfounded. “His father might be a good-for-nothing, but are you supposed to be a good-for-something?”
“………” said Lou Zigui.
“Oh, that’s not right,” Ning Xiaoyao blurted out, before attempting to salvage the situation. “I’m not saying you’re bad in the same way, Supreme Commander.”
“Then just what am I?” Lou Zigui asked.
“You’re just someone who’s always up to dirty tricks,” Ning Xiaoyao said with a satisfied nod. “That’s all.”
Isn’t that the same as calling me a good-for-nothing as well? Lou Zigui stared at Ning Xiaoyao.
“Alright, let’s stop discussing this topic for now,” Ning Xiaoyao made a halting gesture with her hands. Lou Zigui had no idea what she was signaling, but he didn’t bother with asking. He knew the answers would only make him even more weary.
“Can Xie Anwu truly be trusted?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“He can,” Lou Zigui replied.
“Give me a reason to believe you,” Ning Xiaoyao said.
Supreme Commander Lou replied smoothly, “He can’t live unless Xie Wenyuan dies.”
Ning Xiaoyao felt her eye twitching again.
“Why shouldn’t we use people like him against Xie Wenyuan?” Lou Zigui added.
Ning Xiaoyao sniffed. Feuds between fathers and sons, is it? It sounds heartbreaking just to hear about it.
“How about issuing the decree today,” Lou Zigui leaned towards Ning Xiaoyao.
“Sure,” Ning Xiaoyao agreed. “That’s what we’ll do, then. I’m only happy when Grand Preceptor Xie is unhappy, so I’ve decided to abandon my conscience this time.”
Lou Zigui hastened to add, “This is all on me. It has nothing to do with you, Xiaoyao.”
“Drop it already,” Ning Xiaoyao stood up to walk outside the room. “A bad deed like this wouldn’t be possible unless I approved of it, too. The two of us are ants on the same rope. You don’t have to say anything else on the matter, Supreme Commander.”
Lou Zigui’s fingers brushed against the ice cold red lacquer table beneath his hands. The same rope?
“Windy,” Ning Xiaoyao called from the door. “Make some preparations, Your Majesty is preparing to hold court.”
Shadowgale quickly appeared in front of Ning Xiaoyao. “Your Majesty will finally attend the assembly today?”
Ning Xiaoyao replied, “Windy, you saw how Elder Li looked just then. If I try to request leave again today, he’ll either bite me to death or kill himself off.”
Shadowgale’s mouth twitched. “Elder Li calls that ‘demonstrating one’s sincerity by dying.’”
“Isn’t it the same as offing yourself?” Ning Xiaoyao asked. “Forget it, it’s not worth mentioning. When I go to court later, I’ll have to abuse Grand Preceptor Xie again. Aye,” Ning Xiaoyao sighed. “It’s not like I really want to, either.”
“………” said Shadowgale. Your Majesty, could you not smile when saying things like that?
Lou Zigui strode over until he was at the door. “Now that Tao Chen’s dead, Your Majesty will need to pick a new Nine Gate Infantry Commander.”
Ning Xiaoyao nodded. “That’s right, a provincial commander like that sounds like an important post.”
Of course it is important! Shadowgale almost wanted to shout at His Majesty. The defense of the capital city and its public order all fall under the Nine Gate Infantry Commander’s jurisdiction. Don’t you think that’s important?!
“Windy, are you interested in the job?” Ning Xiaoyao asked Shadowgale.
Shadowgale was thinking of leaping to his feet before, but now he was just stunned silent. Make me the Nine Gate Infantry Commander?
Taking his silence to be mute consent, Ning Xiaoyao waved a hand and said, “Then you can have the job.”
What do you mean, ‘then I can have the job?!’ Shadowgale quickly shook his head. “Your Majesty, this servant is a Dragon Guard.”
Ning Xiaoyao said, “I know that you’re a Dragon Guard, ah. Also, can you stop saying ‘this servant’ all the time, Windy? How many times have I told you already?”
Shadowgale replied, “Your Majesty, just how could this servant go be an official in the frontal courts?”
“Dragon Guards are forbidden from taking posts in the frontal courts,” Lou Zigui explained to Ning Xiaoyao quietly.
“The official courts of the palace,” Lou Zigui elaborated, “This is to prevent favoritism by the emperor.”
Ning Xiaoyao understood the concept of favoritism, so after spacing out for a while, she said angrily, “Is there any sense to this? That old geezer Xie was the previous emperor’s father-in-law. Isn’t that favoritism?”
Lou Zigui replied, “Dragon Guards are all military men, ah.”
Yongning was a country that favored scholars over soldiers. The facts of the matter even left Lou Zigui’s expression looking rather helpless.
“Your mother,” Ning Xiaoyao cursed.
“You cannot say such dirty things,” Lou Zigui whapped Ning Xiaoyao upside the head. Shadowgale immediately shot him a glare. Is His Majesty’s head something you can thwack like that?!
Ning Xiaoyao said, “If Windy can’t be the Nine Gates Infantry Commander, then who do we pick? Second Thunder?”
“………” said Shadowgale. We’ve already said that Dragon Guards can’t do it. Your Majesty, were you listening to me or Supreme Commander at all?
Lou Zigui rested his forehead against his hand. “He can’t, either.”
“Then, then should I take it on as a part-time job?” Ning Xiaoyao stammered next. In any case, she didn’t have much to do as the emperor.
Lou Zigui said, “Why didn’t you suggest me taking it on part-time?”
“Hehe,” Ning Xiaoyao chuckled back. Who cares what the Nine Gates Infantry Commander does (Author: Hey!). If you take this post, you’ll have to stay to guard the capital. Supreme Commander, aren’t you planning to save your older brother and kill the Northern Hu as revenge? Ning Xiaoyao shook her head. How could you accept such a job?
“What does your ‘hehe’ mean?” Lou Zigui asked.
“Don’t tease me like that,” Ning Xiaoyao replied. “Would you give up your Black Frost Cavalrymen? That Wolf King Modou is still alive.”
Lou Zigui fell silent. Miss Ning’s words made perfect sense, leaving him unable to retort.
“Then shall I ask Elder Li?” Ning Xiaoyao suggested a third option.
“Has Your Majesty heard of the Lord Protector’s estate?” Lou Zigui asked.
Ning Xiaoyao shook her head. “No.”
Lou Zigui sighed and said, “The old Lord Protector died at Xie Wenyuan’s hands, so Your Majesty can make the current Lord Protector Pei Yi1 the new Nine Gates Infantry Commander.”
“How did Grand Preceptor Xie kill off the previous Lord Protector?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“He was falsely accused of stealing the army’s pay and provisions. For the sake of proving his innocence, he rammed his head into a pillar at the Hall of Golden Chimes and killed himself,” Lou Zigui summarized the events in a way that the girl would understand.
“The Grand Preceptor’s already like that, yet he’s accusing others of embezzlement? Did this happen during the previous emperor’s reign again?” Ning Xiaoyao said in amazement.
Lou Zigui nodded.
“That’s understandable, then,” Ning Xiaoyao curled her lip in contempt. “The Grand Preceptor was the late emperor’s true love, after all.”
“………” said Lou Zigui.
“……………….” said Head Commander Shadowgale.
Ning Xiaoyao simply walked away. After going to the Hall of Golden Chimes twice, she knew the way herself now.
“Prepare His Majesty for the court assembly,” Lou Zigui instructed Shadowgale, who left while digging a finger into his ears. Sometimes His Majesty’s words were rather painful to hear.
“But,” Ning Xiaoyao halted in her steps to address Lou Zigui. She felt that things couldn’t be so simple. “The late emperor was my father. Since he caused the death of the previous Lord Protector, I’ll be lucky if his family doesn’t want me dead to boot. Would he agree to take the post?”
Ning Xiaoyao was worried that the current Lord Protector would only spit a mouthful of blood in her face at the suggestion. Or perhaps, he’d plaster her face with poop instead? She rubbed her face and privately wondered how big it was.
“That won’t happen,” Lou Zigui replied easily.
“That’s just you,” Ning Xiaoyao retorted. The late emperor had caused the deaths of Supreme Commander’s father and brothers. Even if Lou Zigui didn’t want her dead, it wasn’t guaranteed that the Lord Protector’s estate would feel the same way.
Lou Zigui furrowed his eyebrows. “What ‘that’s just you?’”
Clap! Ning Xiaoyao muffled her lips. She’d almost said too much. Lou Zigui stared at her eyes until she burst out, “I’m saying that’s what just would happen if you were the Lord Protector, Supreme Commander.” Ning Xiaoyao blabbed out before blinking innocently.
“Among Old Madame Xie’s items is a set of phoenix coronet and embroidered tassel cape. The coronet is known as the Five Phoenix Radiance, a treasure of the Lord Protector’s estate,” Lou Zigui told Ning Xiaoyao. “It was bestowed to them by Yongning’s first ever empress. When the previous Lord Protector died, the current Lord Protector, Pei Yi, was thrown into the prisons. In order to save her son, the old madame of the family gave the coronet to Old Madame Xie as a gift.”
“And then Old Madame Xie had Pei Yi set free?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“Pei Yi was sent into exile, while his younger brother Pei Yan2 was punished with castration…”
“The heck?” Ning Xiaoyao yelled. “They made him into an eunuch?”
Lou Zigui muffled Ning Xiaoyao’s mouth again as he lowered his voice. “It’s fine as long as you know what happened, there’s no need to say it out loud.” Why does this girl spread everything she knows?
“T-then what happened after that?” Ning Xiaoyao couldn’t help but feel that seeking out the Lord Protector’s family was just asking for trouble.
“Finally, His Highness Crown Prince repealed the charges,” Lou Zigui said.
“Aye, geez,” Ning Xiaoyao patted her chest. “I’m glad he wasn’t made an eunuch.”
Lou Zigui covered his mouth with a cough. “By the time the imperial edict reached the silkworm house,3 Pei Yan had already been castrated.”
Ning Xiaoyao wore a tragic expression. Although she didn’t know what a ‘silkworm house’ was, she didn’t want to ask, either. The main point was that Pei Yan had been castrated after all. “I know now. The person who did it must have been one of old geezer Xie’s men!” Ning Xiaoyao was convinced. “That had to be what had happened!”
“It should’ve been,” Lou Zigui agreed. “Pei Yan was castrated earlier than expected.”
“I’ll ask one thing, was he completely chopped off down there?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“……” said Lou Zigui.
“No, I mean,” Ning Xiaoyao explained, “If it hasn’t been completely chopped off, I can—I could probably heal it for him.”
“Can you really cure that?” Lou Zigui asked.
Ning Xiaoyao was completely serious. “I’ll know after I give it a try. So, was it completely chopped off?”
“I heard His Highness Crown Prince say it was just injured,” Lou Zigui felt awkward the more he spoke of the issue. I actually have to speak to a girl about these things?!
“The Lord Protector,” Ning Xiaoyao stood straighter as she walked. “Alright, I know what to do now. Return the coronet and check the Lord Protector’s little brother’s injury. This way, their family might hate me a little less.”
“How could Pei Yi dare to hate you?” Lou Zigui pulled Ning Xiaoyao back.
Ning Xiaoyao replied, “He should. Who told me to have a father that treated Grand Preceptor Xie as his true love? That muddleheaded fool created no end of disasters. Isn’t the son supposed to pay the father’s debts? Although I’m no son, I’m still heading the family business. Thus, I have to be the one to settle the scores.”
Lou Zigui’s expression seemed to have stiffened at her words. How great would it be if she wasn’t a scion of the imperial family and the Xie Clan?
“Your mother,” Ning Xiaoyao cursed again and kept walking. “Let’s not think too positively about all this. It’s likely Grand Preceptor Xie’s thinking of putting one of his men on the Nine Gate Infantry Commander’s post as well.”
“No matter who Xie Wenyuan recommends, you mustn’t agree, Xiaoyao,” Lou Zigui said hastily.
“Of course I won’t,” Ning Xiaoyao waved her fists. “If things don’t work out, I’ll fight him. He doesn’t scare me.”
- Pei Yi (裴毅) – Pei is a surname, Yi means “firm, resolute, staunch.” ↩
- Pei Yan (裴殷) – Yan means “blackish/dark red.” ↩
- silkworm house (蚕室) – common name for a castration chamber, so named because it was kept warm and draught-free like the rooms for raising silkworms to prevent the newly castrated subjects from incurring infection. ↩