Chapter 202: We were all born from concubines Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Ning Xiaoyao weighed her bloodsoaked brick in one hand and debated whether to kill Grand Preceptor Xie right here and now. She had already checked the other houses in this back courtyard and determined that there was nobody inside. Everyone had gathered in this basement instead. If she killed everyone here, who would know she was the murderer? Would the Xie Clan still send troops to avenge Grand Preceptor Xie if they couldn’t pin her as the culprit?
As Ning Xiaoyao walked towards Grand Preceptor Xie, he tumbled out of his chair and fell to the ground, fear shining from his eyes. “What are you doing?!” he cried.
Ning Xiaoyao tightened her grip on the brick, her eyes fixated on Grand Preceptor Xie’s forehead. One blow would be enough to split his brains open and solve much of her own troubles. Xie Laibao glanced at his master before suddenly leaning forward to roll in front of Ning Xiaoyao. As he cried for his master to flee, he reached out to hug Ning Xiaoyao’s leg. Now was the time to act out his ‘loyalty!’
Ning Xiaoyao lifted her leg and kicked Xie Laibao, causing him to roll aside. Grand Preceptor Xie did want to run, but found himself unable to move. Meanwhile, the sound of running footsteps hurried to the scene. Ning Xiaoyao turned and wondered whether Supreme Commander Lou had found this place as well.
“Father?!” a second later, Xie Anji’s voice came from above the basement.
“This…this old man is here!” Grand Preceptor Xie cried in a fluster.
Ning Xiaoyao ran for the torture rack instead and broke the iron chains with her bare hands. Then she shouldered Tao Yu and dashed for the exit. If she killed Grand Preceptor Xie while Xie Anji was around as witness, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore and make her an public murderer! Without troops in her hands, she couldn’t afford to carry a criminal name.
“We’re not over yet!” Ning Xiaoyao called back from the door at Grand Preceptor Xie.
Xie Anji and his men ran down the stairs to the basement and met Ning Xiaoyao head on.
“Who are you?!” Xie Anji demanded, since Ning Xiaoyao had already hid her face with a handkerchief.
Ning Xiaoyao didn’t reply, but charged at Xie Anji with Tao Yu on her shoulders. The brick in her hand went straight for Second Young Master Xie’s face. Because she moved too quickly, Xie Anji had no chance to dodge. Blood exploded from his face as he tumbled to the ground. Ning Xiaoyao kept up her thrashing with the brick while the Grand Preceptor estate’s men were still stunned. As she ran up the stairs, various guards fell in her wake to make a path for her escape.
Tao Yu was still half-conscious but couldn’t see what His Majesty was doing. By the time he felt wind against his face, he raised his head and saw a sky full of stars.
“Xiaoyao,” Big Boss Black, Sesame Speck, and Wheat all ran out from a corner of the wall.
“Hurry, run,” Ning Xiaoyao bent down to scoop up Big Boss Black from the ground. Sesame Speck and Wheat directly flew to stand on top of Ning Xiaoyao’s hair.
Shouts came from the gates as a troop of soldiers filled the lane with torches in hand and charged into the estate gates. Ning Xiaoyao stood in the courtyard and glanced back at the illuminated basement. She had been considering whether to collapse the building and bury the Xie father and son alive, but now she had no time.
“Master?” Xie Laibao crawled with effort to Grand Preceptor Xie’s side.
Grand Preceptor Xie stared at the door to the torture chamber and muttered to himself, “That person wants to kill this old man.”1 He could tell from the look in Ning Yu’s eyes. Xie Laibao didn’t dare to follow up with that sentence. His Majesty wants your life, but don’t you want his as well?
“Where’s Anji?” Grand Preceptor Xie suddenly raised his voice. “Where’s Anji?!”
Xie Laibao quickly shouted at the stunned torturers, “Hurry and see how Second Young Master Xie is doing!” They hadn’t heard any cries from His Majesty, but plenty of wretched howls from their own men. Head Steward Xie knew that Second Young Master Xie must have been amongst the thrashed without even going to look for himself. The two torturers were about to run out of the chamber when a group of guards carried Xie Anji inside. When Grand Preceptor Xie saw the fresh blood staining his second son’s face while his body laid as still as death, his vision turned black as he fainted. Xie Anji was his only son left from the first wife.
Xie Laibao cried out in alarm before roaring at the servants to find a doctor. Meanwhile, he had the faint sensation that there was no way his master could beat His Majesty. It was likely that Lou Zigui had saved his own life by forcing him to turn traitor.
Ning Xiaoyao carried her cat, one human, and two sparrows as she flipped over the estate’s back walls. The lane beyond was devoid of people, so she patted Tao Yu’s back to send some faint green light sinking into his body and stop his bleeding.
“Xiaoyao, where do we go next?” Sesame Speck asked.
“To the palace,” Ning Xiaoyao checked her directions before dashing like mad to her palace.
Big Boss Black said, “Supreme Commander must still be looking for you.”
Ning Xiaoyao replied, “Supreme Commander’s a full grown man. Do you think he’ll get lost and forget the way back to the palace?”
Big Boss Black didn’t want to talk with this ninny anymore.
“You,” After he had stopped bleeding, Tao Yu felt a bit more strength in his body and wanted to speak.
“It’s better if you keep quiet first,” Ning Xiaoyao was running so fast that she was kicking up a whirlwind beneath her feet. “Treat your wounds first, then we can talk about life when they heal.”
“…….” said Tao Yu. What kind of life topics do I have to discuss with the reigning emperor? The wind rushed past his ears as the scenery blurred before him, making General Tao dizzy from the sight. By the time his surroundings stilled, he discovered that Ning Xiaoyao had already set him on a bed.
“Will he die?” Wheat asked worriedly from his perch atop Ning Xiaoyao’s head. Tao Yu was covered in fresh blood.
Ning Xiaoyao leaned towards Tao Yu and said, “He won’t, I’m here.” As long as the man didn’t stop breathing like Zhou mama did, she could save him.
“Then does he hurt?” Sesame Speck asked.
“Of course he’ll hurt after being beaten up like that,” Ning Xiaoyao poked the injuries on Tao Yu’s face, only to see him wince in pain and avoid her jabs. She shook her head. “Aiya, he’s been terribly thrashed.”
Big Boss Black was currently perched at the head of the bed. “Ninny, let this cat remind you now that he’s one of the Grand Preceptor’s men.”
Ning Xiaoyao looked at Tao Yu. “He’s been beaten like this but still remains loyal and devoted? Is it Stockholm Syndrome?”
“What syndrome?” Big Boss Black asked.
“How do I put it?” Ning Xiaoyao’s eyes spun thoughtfully in their sockets. What was the best way to explain to a cat how humans grew attached to the criminals who hurt them?
Tao Yu couldn’t take it anymore and finally stammered, “Who, who are you t-talking to?” They were the only two people in this room, but he felt like His Majesty was conversing with someone else.
Ning Xiaoyao sat up straight. If she said she was speaking to the cat and sparrows, the general would never believe her. “I’m just talking to myself,” Ning Xiaoyao replied.
“……..” said Tao Yu.
Ning Xiaoyao walked to the table and poured a cup of water before handing it to Tao Yu. “Drink.”
Tao Yu’s mind was currently all in a mess. When he heard Ning Xiaoyao tell him to drink, he lowered his head and emptied the entire cup.
“The bleeding’s stopped,” Ning Xiaoyao said as she sat on the edge of the bed and placed a hand on his shoulder. Tao Yu looked at her with a start. Ning Xiaoyao watched new skin grow from Tao Yu’s wounds before she released him and rubbed her bloody hand against her clothes. Then she asked, “Do you feel a little better now?”
Tao Yu looked down and was completely stunned. All of his wounds were rapidly closing up!
“That there,” Ning Xiaoyao took the empty cup fom Tao Yu’s hands and placed it on a nearby stool. “Let’s talk about life now.”
“Oh, I used a pill to treat most of the internal ones. Hahah, isn’t it miraculous?” Ning Xiaoyao grinned.
“You–– I—” Tao Yu was completely flustered.
“What happened today was that the Grand Preceptor blamed you wrongly,” Ning Xiaoyao began to settle down for a long talk.
Tao Yu suddenly recalled what had happened. Why was I tortured in the first place? His face fell as she asked, “Your Majesty didn’t scheme against this subject?”
“I’m here for your own good,” Ning Xiaoyao said. The plot had been all Supreme Commander Lou’s idea, after all. Still, he had done it for her sake, so the whole host of reasons left Ning Xiaoyao feeling that nobody was really to blame. Tao Yu felt a bit agitated by all this.
“But I did let you see the Grand Preceptor’s true face, then saved your life,” Ning Xiaoyao said before Tao Yu could explode. “I even used a magic pill to cure most of your internal injuries. It’s a secret recipe, a legendary panacea to all ills. Well, in any case it was super expensive.”
Tao Yu was once again left speechless.
“Even though you share the same surname as Tao Chen,” Ning Xiaoyao continued.
“Tao Chen is this subject’s closely related brother,” Tao Yu said as he stared at Ning Xiaoyao.
Ning Xiaoyao sucked in a breath. Foot in mouth moment! Why didn’t anyone tell me this?!
“What does Your Majesty want to say to this subject?” Tao Yu asked.
“Let me ask first, were you on good terms with Tao Chen?” Ning Xiaoyao asked. What if they were the best of brothers? Then I don’t need to waste all this effort to win him to my side, and I’ll just send him home instead.
Tao Yu said, “Since Your Majesty didn’t scheme against this subject, then Your Majesty should long know that this subject did not get along with my brother.”
Clap! Ning Xiaoyao clapped her hands. “Then that’s fine. We can keep discussing life.”
“……” said Tao Yu. What does it mean to ‘discuss life?’
“See here, ah, I’ll analyze your current situation,” Ning Xiaoyao counted off with her fingers, “You definitely can’t go back to the Grand Preceptor anymore. I don’t think your family will be willing to make the Grand Preceptor their enemy, so you can’t go home either. But you still have a way out. You can toss your lot with me. If I can eat meat, so will so. If I have soup to drink, I won’t leave you just with boiled water.”
Tao Yu looked silently at Ning Xiaoyao. His Majesty’s words sounded sensible at first, but what was the second part all about? Tossing in lots? Why does this sound like something a jianghu bandit would say?
“A good man should choose a distinguished career,” Ning Xiaoyao began after she laid out the facts. She raised her hands and drew a big circle, then said, “The world is so big that I can give you a chance to show off your talents. More importantly, I’m different from the Grand Preceptor. He was born from a main wife, so he doesn’t understand the likes of us. Don’t think the empress dowager has her status now. In the past, she was just a concubine. That’s why I can say I was born from a second-status wife too. This whole affair between first wife born and concubine born is nothing but shit in my eyes.”
Tao Yu’s head seem to fill with roaring at Ning Xiaoyao’s words. ‘First wife born and concubine born is nothing but shit in my eyes’ was something he’d never heard before, but it would remain in his memories for the rest of his life.
Ruyi: Thanks for supporting UPX all these months! I’m really happy that–
Ning Xiaoyao: Shhh.
Ning Xiaoyao: Less talk~
Ning Xiaoyao: And more hugs from me instead!
- That person wants to kill this old man (她想杀老夫) – taxiang sha laofu, this sentence is tricky because in Chinese, “he” and “she” sound the same when spoken out loud (他 vs 她, or ta.). GPX is actually saying ‘she wants to kill…’ here, but to XLB and others unaware of NXY’s true gender, he would sound like he was saying ‘he wants to kill…” instead. I compromised with the gender neutral ‘that person’ instead. In truth, every time GPX’s referred to NXY with a pronoun in this story, he’s always been using “she,” it’s just impossible to tell the gender when you speak it out loud. ↩