Chapter 43: The Imperial Jade Seal is very important Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
The stench of blood was still heavy within the palace. Two palace maids lay collapsed in front of a bed with their heads chopped off, the blood staining the floor in front of the bed a fresh red. Despite this, an infant’s babbling cries came from the embroidered sheets. Empress Dowager Xie’s mind turned completely blank at the sound. Grand Preceptor Xie hurried forward a few steps and lifted the covers aside, picking up the sleeping infant within.
“Who is he?” Empress Dowager Xie shouted. Grand Preceptor Xie carried the little infant to Empress Dowager Xie, who looked at the tiny, tubby white body wearing bright and beautiful brocade clothes. Her lip trembled twice before she cried out shrilly, “How does he dare? How did he dare to treat my son like this?!”
Let her little son stay in the same room as corpses? She’d just given birth to him, he was nothing but a baby!
In the midst of her anger, Empress Dowager Xie broke out into tears. She’d never felt so helpless in her life as this moment, nor had anyone done something so intolerable. Ning Yu, Lou Zigui. When Empress Dowager Xie thought of these two names now, she wished she could swallow them raw! Grand Preceptor Xie didn’t dare hand Ning Xin into his daughter’s hands, but ordered a mama to carry Empress Dowager Xie to the bed.
“There are dead people here,” Empress Dowager Xie screamed at Grand Preceptor Xie. “Can’t you see there’s dead people here?!”
Grand Preceptor Xie bent over and said softly, “Do you want to move out of the empress dowager’s palace? Lou Zigui would rather you move out this instant.”
Empress Dowager Xie suddenly widened her phoenix eyes.
“Carry Esteemed Empress Dowager to bed,” Grand Preceptor Xie straightened up and ordered. A few mama who’d been scared witless came forward and carefully helped Empress Dowager Xie lie down on the bed, not daring to look at the two corpses on the ground.
“Call for an imperial physician and clean this place up,” Grand Preceptor Xie said. Immediately, a eunuch ran towards the Imperial Physician Courtyard, while the people left behind began to clear out the bodies and clean up. Grand Preceptor Xie walked in front of the window and prepared to open it, only to remember the pile of bodies outside. They reeked of blood that made one want to throw up, so he could only give up on the idea and ordered someone to light incense instead.
Very soon, the rooms were cleaned up. The imperial physician that hurried over couldn’t even tell that two headless bodies used to lie at the foot of the bed. Empress Dowager Xie’s broken leg was set in place, leaving her covered in sweat from the pain. Her hatred for her daughter and Lou Zigui increased by many folds yet again. Grand Preceptor Xie held onto Ning Xin as he waited by the side the entire time. When the physician, palace maids, and eunuchs all left, he placed Ning Xin by Empress Dowager Xie’s side and sat down on a round stool in front of the bed.
“Lou Zigui tricked us,” Empress Dowager Xie said.
“He slaughtered everyone in the empress dowager’s palace, so how hard would it be to take away the prince as well?” Grand Preceptor Xie replied.
“Then why did he trick us with a fake child?” Empress Dowager Xie said angrily.
The Grand Preceptor sighed. “When Empress Dowager saw the prince, what were you thinking of?”
Empress Dowager Xie turned her head to look at Ning Xin by her side. It was a while before she replied. “Fear. Lou Zigui was telling This Dowager that he could kill the prince at any time.”
Grand Preceptor Xie nodded his head. Perhaps the scent of his mother had soothed Ning Xin, because the baby gave a yawn while chewing on his finger before he fell asleep.
“When we captured Lou Zigui, we killed off all of his bodyguards right then and there,” Grand Preceptor Xie unfolded the little blankets on one side and draped them over Ning Xin’s body. Quietly, he added, “Today he killed the people at your palace as revenge.”
“Wasn’t Lou Zigui guaranteed to die?” Empress Dowager Xie grabbed the Grand Preceptor’s hand and demanded. “Why is he still alive? You did the deed personally, so how could there be any mistakes?!”
Grand Preceptor Xie had no words to answer his eldest daughter’s questions.
“Because Lou Zigui didn’t die, our plans became a laughingstock for all to see!” Empress Dowager Xie couldn’t control her emotions right now. Her usually beautiful face was distorted and twisted as she spoke in a high voice. “Father, tell This Dowager why Lou Zigui didn’t die?”
Her shrill tones startled Ning Xin awake. The child didn’t open his eyes, but opened his mouth to cry. His tears calmed finally calmed down Empress Dowager Xie, who took him into her arms to coax him and kiss his chubby face. Empress Dowager Xie’s rage soon changed into sorrow tears streamed down her face. “Ning Yu hates This Dowager this much?”
“Pah!” On the ceiling rafters, the little rat Oil Jar who’d been invited by Ning Xiaoyao to feast on peanuts spat at the people below him. “It’s obviously this woman who wanted to hurt Xiaoyao!”
Oil Jar was very angry and bared his fangs. Grandfather Ash swatted him with a paw and said, “Don’t make noises, listen to them speak.”
Grand Preceptor Xie lifted his head to peer at the rafters. He couldn’t help but feel that there was something there…
Empress Dowager Xie put down the sleeping Ning Xin and said coldly, “Now that we’ve lost this round, This Dowager can’t hold court from behind the curtains. Could we say the late emperor’s last will made father into the acting regent of the monarchy? As This Dowager sees it, we can’t use this excuse anymore.”
By now, a mama had arrived with a medicinal decoction. Grand Preceptor Xie accepted the bowl and waved the mama away, before personally feeding the empress dowager her medicine. “This subject will start investigating Lou Zigui’s matter from the poison itself,” he said. Once the medicine hit her throat, the empress dowager’s mouth was filled with bitter flavors.
“There’s one more thing. Has the empress dowager noticed?” Grand Preceptor Xie asked. “When His Majesty saved Lou Zigui that day, he had already suffered through 30 slices and being tore and bitten by the commoners. This subject saw the bones of his shoulder peeking through with my own eyes.”
“He was injured that severely?” Empress Dowager Xie was doubtful. “When This Dowager saw him today, his movements were very natural. It didn’t seem like he was injured at all.”
“His Majesty has a capable medical expert by her side,” Grand Preceptor Xie said in a low tone. “No, it can’t be called an expert, but a miracle doctor wouldn’t be exaggerating things.”
“A person like that would follow Ning Yu?” Empress Dowager Xie didn’t want to believe it.
Grand Preceptor Xie said, “This subject will find that person.”
“And after you do?” Empress Dowager Xie asked.
“It’ll be best if we can use them for ourselves. Otherwise,” Grand Preceptor Xie made a chopping motion towards his head.
Empress Dowager Xie smiled. “Kill? This Dowager only wishes for Ning Yu not to kill This Dowager right now, and give her little brother a way out.”
“Empress Dowager,” Grand Preceptor Xie said, “Today was nothing but a battle lost. You don’t need to take it to heart too much.”
“Has Empress Dowager forgotten? The Imperial Jade Seal is still in your hands,” Grand Preceptor Xie dropped his voice. “With the Imperial Jade Seal, how can His Majesty issue any orders in court unless you bring it to him there?”
Who would recognize an imperial decree as legitimate without the imperial jade seal?
Empress Dowager Xie shook her head. “Once His Majesty comes of age and takes over the reins of government, could This Dowager still hold onto the Imperial Jade Seal?”
“If Empress Dowager doesn’t give it, would His Majesty dare to snatch it from you?” Grand Preceptor Xie asked. Empress Dowager Xie stared at her father as he spoke. Ning Yu even dared to threaten to kill her, so why wouldn’t that scoundrel dare to steal from her?
“This subject will arrange things,” Grand Preceptor Xie said. “If His Majesty pressures Empress Dowager too much, she can’t maintain a steady seat on the Dragon Throne either.”
“If she wants to protect Lou Zigui and the rest, then she’ll have to cherish her position as emperor,” Grand Preceptor Xie knocked his fingers against the edge of the bed. “If there’s things and people she has to look out for, His Majesty won’t be able to threaten us with her female identity anymore. Otherwise, we’ll all perish together. This is good news.”
“Go tell Xiaoyao,” Grandfather Ash told Oil Jar, who hissed at the ones beneath the ceiling rafters again before he turned and scurried off. Very soon, Ning Xiaoyao got Oil Jar’s report while sitting beneath the Wutong tree in her little flower garden. Her hand shook before she dropped her apple. Ning Xiaoyao wanted to find various ways to die. So that woman could still hold court from behind a curtain?! Why wasn’t this over yet?
Oil Jar said, “Xiaoyao, you have to think of something. Squeak squeak, the empress dowager is a bad woman!”
Ning Xiaoyao slammed her head against the tree. Grandfather Sparrow stood on a branch and said, “Oil Jar, do you know where the empress dowager hid the Imperial Jade Seal?”
Oil Jar shook his head. “I don’t know. I’ve never seen the empress dowager take out such a thing.”
“Neither have we,” said Grandfather Sparrow.
Ning Xiaoyao took another apple out of her sleeve for Oil Jar before picking up the one she dropped to munch on herself. Many bites later, Ning Xiaoyao sprang to her feet and said, “I’ll go discuss this with Supreme Commander.”
Ning Xiaoyao ran off like the wind while Oil Jar held onto an apple even bigger than himself as he rolled around on the ground. He asked, “Grandfather Sparrow, do you think Supreme Commander will have any ideas?”
Grandfather Sparrow adjusted his grip on the kernel of corn beneath his claw that Ning Xiaoyao had gifted to him and shook his head. “If Supreme Commander could find the Imperial Jade Seal, he would have taken it from the empress dowager’s palace already.”
Oil Jar’s ears drooped. Even the sweet apple in his mouth didn’t taste so good anymore. Grandfather Sparrow flew up from the branch and headed towards the empress dowager’s palace. Maybe he’d find the Imperial Jade Seal if he looked around~
“Imperial Jade Seal?” In the middle of bending over a letter he was writing, Lou Zigui looked up.
“That’s right,” Ning Xiaoyao said, “The Imperial Jade Seal’s still in the empress dowager’s hands!”
Lou Zigui set his brush down and gestured for Ning Xiaoyao to sit. “I had Shadowgale and the rest search through the empress dowager’s palace, but they didn’t find the Imperial Jade Seal.”
“And so?” Ning Xiaoyao watched Lou Zigui eagerly.
“Perhaps the Imperial Jade Seal’s not in the palace at all, but at the Grand Preceptor’s estate,” Lou Zigui replied.
Ning Xiaoyao hadn’t even warmed her seat yet before she jumped back up. “Then I’ll go look around the Grand Preceptor’s estate.”
Lou Zigui quickly reached out a hand and tugged at Ning Xiaoyao. “How could the Grand Preceptor admit to the Imperial Jade Seal being in his estate? He’d never open the doors to let you search.”
“That’s not right,” Ning Xiaoyao stood as she thought. “The Grand Preceptor clearly said the imperial jade seal was still in the empress dowager’s hands.” Oil Jar’s words to her couldn’t be wrong.
“The Grand Preceptor said so?” Lou Zigui looked at Ning Xiaoyao. “When did he say it?”
“….” Ning Xiaoyao said. Should she sell out Oil Jar?
“You can’t trust the Grand Preceptor’s words,” No matter how intelligent Lou Zigui was, he’d never think that it was a mouse who’d delivered the news this time. Thus, he only spoke logic to Ning Xiaoyao.
“Ah? Ah.” Ning Xiaoyao could only nod. It was pretty painful to have a secret you couldn’t share with your pals, wasn’t it?
“I’ve already arranged men to scout the Grand Preceptor’s estate at night,” Lou Zigui said in a small voice. “Your Majesty doesn’t need to worry, I’ll definitely find the Imperial Jade Seal for you.”
Ning Xiaoyao nodded again before sitting down to space out for awhile. Abruptly, she asked, “Truthfully speaking, it’s only a stamp. Can’t I carve one out of a radish myself?”
Lou Zigui’s hand shook in the middle of writing his letter, causing the brush tip to leave a streak across his words and ruin his half-completed paper.
“Urk,” Ning Xiaoyao looked at the long black mark drawn across the paper. “I guess that’s not possible.”
Lou Zigui lifted his head to look at Ning Xiaoyao, still wearing a very gentle smile. “Why don’t Your Majesty sit in the flower gardens for a while?”
“No need,” Ning Xiaoyao didn’t get that Supreme Commander Lou was telling her to get lost. “Supreme Commander, are you hungry right now? I’ll get you something good to eat.”
“….” said the Supreme Commander who’d just finished eating lunch…
Original Chapter Teaser: Lou Zigui: Who are you trying to fool…
Ning Xiaoyao: Wah, scaaaaaary~!
Ning Xiaoyao: Hey, hey! There are sensitive types in our readers too, y’know!
Ning Xiaoyao: Some of them have never killed a zombie in their lives, much less another human being!
Lou Zigui: …haven’t you got that backwards?
Ning Xiaoyao: Whaaa? No way, it’s you guys who are backwards.
Ning Xiaoyao: Leave it to humans to kill each other when there’s no common enemy, hmph!
Lou Zigui: (Aren’t you…a human too…)
Lou Zigui: Who are you trying to fool…