Chapter 40: His Majesty’s indeed extraordinarily valiant Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“This servant respectfully invites Your Majesty to return to the palace,” the two ‘eunuchs’ said, but the strength of their grip belied their words. There was enough strength to break Ning Xiaoyao’s wrists.
“Your Majesty will be better after using some of the imperial physician’s medicine upon your return,” Empress Dowager Xie wiped at her tears, her face filled with heartbroken grief as she looked at Ning Xiaoyao.
The assembled ministers were left at a loss by the events suddenly playing out before them. None of them had time to react or say anything as the Hall of Golden Chimes fell into silence. There was only the sound of Empress Dowager Xie’s sobs. Ning Xiaoyao had been waiting to fight for ages. Her martial arts skills weren’t that impressive, but she had the strength of genetically evolved humankind. His Majesty Ning raised her hands, shook herself free, and grabbed the ‘eunuch’ latched onto her right wrist. Then she flung him outside as if he weighed nothing. The ‘eunuch’ on her left had already reacted subconsciously when his hand felt nothing but air. He aimed for Ning Xiaoyao’s abdomen, but Ning Xiaoyao caught his hand with her right and lifted him up before throwing him down the steps to the throne.
“Your Majesty!” Empress Dowager Xie shrieked.
“Someone come,” Grand Preceptor Xie reacted lightning-fast. A group of imperial guards ran in from outside, making a racket with all the armor they were wearing. Ning Xiaoyao surveyed the scene before testing the weight of the Dragon Throne behind her. Then she lifted the shiny gold throne above her head and threw it outside the palace. All of the ministers felt a gust of wind as it flew past them. The girth of the Dragon Throne was far wider than the opening in the door to the Hall of Golden Chimes. The seat that had sat generations of Ning Clan imperials knocked over three or four doors before smashing over a swath of imperial guards. The rest were transfixed with fear or amazement amidst the loud cries of the victims. Ning Xiaoyao lifted a leg and stepped before Empress Dowager Xie. Since she’d already put aside any and all considerations of face, what else did she have to worry about?
Empress Dowager Xie wanted to back away, but she was standing on the steps to the throne. Her foot touched air before she rolled down the steps in surprise. A sharp pain shot up her left leg before the empress dowager fainted away from the shock. This time, she didn’t even have to pretend. Grand Preceptor Xie knew that their Xie Clan couldn’t lose someone like Empress Dowager Xie, who had the power to shelter their entire clan for a lifetime. He rushed forward to stand protectively by her side. Lai mama couldn’t just stand by and watch Ning Xiaoyao beat people up later, and sobbed as she shouted for the empress dowager. She rushed towards the steps to the throne and threw herself by the empress dowager’s side. Chaos had descended on the Hall of Golden Chimes.
Standing outside, far below the main steps to the palace, were Fang Tang, Song Jin, and the rest. Their ears had caught wind of the unnatural commotion, so they charged upwards without a second thought.
“Hold it!” an imperial guard who spotted them shouted.
“Climb!” Song Jin told his fellow brothers-at-arms. Hearing this, Fang Tang kept running without even turning back. The imperial guards chased after them with weapons in hand. Old Liu1 stood in place unmoving. Currently, this Deputy General Liu was wishing he’d never come here at all. Could he cross swords with his former colleagues? No, he couldn’t. Could he ignore orders from his superiors? He couldn’t do that, either. This moment of hesitation was enough to make Old Liu realize he was the only imperial guard still standing around. Now he just wanted to drop dead.
Inside the Hall of Golden Chimes atop the steps, the imperial guards who’d been attacked by the Dragon Throne poured into the great hall.
“Xie Wenyuan!” Elder Li finally targeted Grand Preceptor Xie with his angry criticism. “Are you planning to revolt?!” He was old, but he wasn’t blind. The Xie father and daughter pair were planning to seize His Majesty and send him back to the palace! This despicable pair, did they really think Heaven and Earth belonged to the Xie Clan?
Grand Preceptor Xie had no time to pay attention to Elder Li now. Scholars couldn’t manage a rebellion even if they took ten years, so why would he bother coming to odds with Elder Li? “His Majesty’s been affected with grief from losing his father. These days, his mind’s been muddleheaded. Hurry and send His Majesty back to the palace and call for the imperial physicians,” Grand Preceptor Xie loudly ordered the imperial guards.
Ning Xiaoyao watched the guards rushing towards her and smoothed out her sleeves. No matter how many people they sent, she wasn’t afraid. They were only humans after all. Could they be any harder to deal with than zombies? Unexpectedly, Elder Li actually did something out of the blue. The old man who’d been leading on his pupils to scold Ning Xiaoyao like a dog suddenly ran in front of the steps to the imperial throne and stood there unmoving. His posture suggested that if any of the imperial guards wanted to climb those steps, they’d have to do it past his dead body. Grand Preceptor Xie gave a cold laugh before signalling the imperial guards with a wave of his hand. The imperial guards pushed the officials blocking the way lightly aside and threw them carelessly to the ground.
Ning Xiaoyao shouted, “Old father, get out of the way!” He was already so old. An old man like you doesn’t need to get mixed up in a fight!
Elder Li still stood by the steps, towering and majestic in his stillness.
Aiya, my God.
Ning Xiaoyao felt fatigued at heart as she ran down the steps. For the sake of herself and this old man, she was going to act first.
It was just then that Fang Tang reached the top of the stairs. Seeing the Dragon Throne smashed into pieces by the door, then the imperial guards sprawled on the ground beside it, left him and the rest of the generals all speechless. His Majesty was indeed, extraordinarily valiant. The imperial guards still standing at the door hastened to surround Fang Tang and the rest.
“Your Majesty?” Song Jin yelled towards the noisy and confused voices inside the Hall of Golden Chimes
Ning Xiaoyao’s voice immediately called out from inside. “Invading the house and confiscating property, there’s no logic to this!” When Fang Tang heard Ning Xiaoyao’s voice, he formed a fist and punched the imperial guard standing before him. As a result, chaos descended outside the great hall as well.
Right now, Ning Xiaoyao wanted to help Elder Li to the side. What if this old man got hurt in the fight later? But Elder Li grabbed Ning Xiaoyao instead and said heroically, “Your Majesty, with this subject and the others here, how could we allow Your Majesty to risk his own life?”
Ning Xiaoyao watched the rapidly approaching imperial guards, then at the old man holding onto her with a hand full of protruding old veins, before she teared up. Old man, just whose side are you on?
Many of Elder Li’s pupils had pulled themselves up from the ground after being knocked over. Upon hearing their teacher’s words, they were filled with warm-blooded righteous ardour. Then they rushed forward and continued pestering the imperial guards. If those men wanted to ascend the steps to the imperial throne, they’d have to beat them to death first!
Meanwhile, the other members of the imperial clan stood on one side, unmoving. None of them had even spoken up. Ning Yu was an imperial son that the late emperor had never even seen. He had become emperor after figuratively stepping over the crown prince’s corpse. The Xie Family had always claimed credit for being big and great, but now Ning Yu had become their enemy. In the eyes of the imperial clan, this was just a case of dog eat dog as a result of uneven division of power.
“It’s certainly lively,” the second imperial son Ning Huo sneered with a laugh.
The imperial uncle Prince Fu, also known as Ning Guangshun, had his arms crossed as he watched the crowd of people running around. He took in the view with relish as he said, “How long has it been since our Ning Family’s royal court been so bustling with excitement?”
“…..” said the rest of the relatives. Never had something like this happened!
Empress Dowager Xie woke up from her stupor then, only to see Lai mama’s crying, yelling old face distorted beyond recognition. For a second, she couldn’t even recognize the mama and felt alarmed. Lai mama had no idea her tearstained, snivelling face had scared her own mistress. When she saw Empress Dowager Xie opening her eyes, she quickly exclaimed, “Grand Preceptor, Esteemed Empress Dowager’s awakened!”
Grand Preceptor Xie had been watching Ning Xiaoyao struggling with Elder Li at the steps to the throne when he heart Lai mama’s shout. Quickly, he turned back to walk to the empress dowager’s side and knelt down on one knee. “Does Esteemed Empress Dowager feel unwell anywhere?”
Empress Dowager Xie lifted her eyes, looking past scores of people to pinpoint Ning Xiaoyao at the steps to the throne. The sight of that girl made her feel unwell all over. “She,” Empress Dowager Xie placed her hand on her father’s wrist, tightening her grip as she murmured in a low voice. “What other things can she rely on at this point?”
Grand Preceptor Xie’s face was currently gloomy and somber. Ning Yu didn’t seem like she’d formed any alliances with the imperial clan. Now that Lou Zigui was dead, who else could this girl rely on? Those 300 or so Dragon Guards? Weren’t they the same guards he’d trapped in the back palace beforehand?
At this point, Empress Dowager Xie asked the Grand Preceptor the same question she’d asked many times before. “Is Lou Zigui really dead?”
How could there be any mistakes in something he’d done himself? Grand Preceptor Xie’s rather loose skin trembled on his face. It was impossible for him to make a mistake there. If not there, then where?
“Father!” Empress Dowager Xie’s nails dug into Grand Preceptor Xie’s flesh.
“She’s nothing but a stranded beast,” Grand Preceptor Xie went over the details again. From dipping the blade in poison, to handing it over to the executioner, to watching the executioner perform the sentence with the poisoned blade in question, he could find no mistakes. Thus, he said as much to Empress Dowager Xie.
Fighting against a stranded beast? Empress Dowager Xie glanced at Ning Xiaoyao. Such a stranded beast had the heart to tug and struggle with an old-fashioned old fogey?
“There must have been a mistake somewhere,” Empress Dowager Xie said. “Father, something must have gone wrong!”
Suddenly, another heavy object fell onto the ground, its impact reverberating throughout the hall. The Xie father and daughter pair turned around, only to see a white marble banister fallen on the floor, ten imperial guards crushed beneath its weight. Silence descended on the great hall. His Majesty had pulled off one of the banisters by the steps to the imperial throne, and with only one hand. That was because Elder Li had her other hand in check. O(╯□╰)o
“This is all you’re useful for?” Grand Preceptor Xie looked coldly at the imperial guards. None of them had drawn their swords when entering the great hall, but some of them placed hands on their weapons at Grand Preceptor Xie’s words.
Ning Xiaoyao shouted from the steps, “If any of you dares to kill today, I’ll kill your whole families tomorrow!” If it was a contest to see who was more ruthless, anyone could do it.
Her words frightened the imperial guards. The Grand Preceptor had the ability to fight with His Majesty, but would he protect them if His Majesty turned the blade on them instead?
“His Majesty’s mind isn’t…”
“You’re the one whose mind isn’t clear,” Ning Xiaoyao pointed at Grand Preceptor Xie as she interrupted loudly. “I just knew it, you wanted to revolt. What ‘late emperor’s last will?’ When the late emperor was dying, it was you and your scoundrel subordinates who were there. Who knows how my dad–my imperial father, actually died?”
“Your Majesty!” Grand Preceptor Xie finally roared. This girl wanted the lives of their entire clan!
Ning Xiaoyao’s shouts were no lower than Grand Preceptor Xie’s. “You still know that I’m supposed to be the emperor?!”
“Take His Majesty back to the palace,” Empress Dowager Xie said severely. Ning Xiaoyao gave her a glance. Her leg was already broken, but she didn’t feel any pain?
Empress Dowager Xie was currently full of strong misgivings. How could she feel the pain from her broken leg at all? Ning Xiaoyao then focused her sights on another banister behind Elder Li. It was impossible to find a brick here, so all she could do was take the house apart.
“Your Majesty, you cannot,” Elder Li literally threw himself at Ning Xiaoyao. This was the Hall of Golden Chimes. Your Majesty, are you planning to ruin the property of your forefathers?
Ning Xiaoyao could only struggle forward with Elder Li clinging to her body. He was always about not doing this or not doing that. What was she supposed to do, wait for the Grand Preceptor to take a bite out of her?
In the midst of the chaos, the sound of an infant crying floated in from outside. Everyone inside the Hall of Golden Chimes stopped as if frozen in time. Why had a baby shown up?
- Old Liu (老刘) – first mentioned in chapter 38, a former member of Supreme Commander’s Black Frost Calvary who got re-assigned to the imperial guards thanks to his familial connections. ↩