Chapter 72: Taking His Majesty to ride a horse Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
While Old Madame Xie was panicking over the fate of herself and the Xie Clan, Ning Xiaoyao was standing outside the gates of the Xie estate and speaking to Xie Laifu, who was bent over like an archer’s bow.
“These gates look really ugly.”
The gates were identical to the previous ones except for lacking a coat of paint. Second Steward Xie glanced at them, unable to fathom His Majesty’s words. The Grand Preceptor estate’s doors were tall and imposing, so where were they ugly? Moreover, could you even judge the ugliness of a door? Ning Xiaoyao raised her hands and tugged on the gates.
His Majesty had personally torn down the Xie estate’s new doors. All of the Xie estate’s men looked dumbfounded. All of the Dragon Guards, in comparison, were completely calm. His Majesty had already knocked down the gates to the Hall of Punishment and the empress dowager’s palace. He’d even torn apart the empress dowager’s chambers, so destroying the Grand Preceptor’s gates shouldn’t be a big deal at all, right?
When Ning Xiaoyao let go of her hands, the brand new gates toppled to the ground. Because the ground before the gates was very clean, there wasn’t a cloud of dust when they landed, only some shockingly loud reverberations.
“I tore down the gates for you for free,” Ning Xiaoyao said while standing on the tall threshold for the gates. “Replace them with prettier ones. No need to thank me, it was effortless and something I should’ve done.”
Second Steward Xia stared at Ning Xiaoyao, his expression wooden. He watched as His Majesty hopped a few times on the threshold before stamping his feet. Soon enough, their threshold collapsed beneath his feet as well…
“That threshold looked pretty ugly too,” Ning Xiaoyao told Second Steward Xia, who fell to the ground on his knees. At this, all of the other Xie Clan men by the doors knelt as well. They finally saw that His Majesty was tearing apart the Xie estate. Perhaps he wanted to kill them all as well. Second Steward Xie had an absurd thought while he was on his knees: at least I’m too much of a joke to be killed off.
Ning Xiaoyao felt less annoyed after destroying the front gates and threshold. Back in the apocalypse, she used to tear down houses whenever she was in a bad mood. It’d always make her feel better. As expected, it still worked, even here. She stood in front of the doorless entrance to the Grand Preceptor’s estate and took a deep breath. (Author: That was during the apocalypse! People still live in the houses here, pah!)
Shadowthunder ran up to Ning Xiaoyao then and pointed at the walls bordering the doors. “Your Majesty, this servant thinks that these walls look ugly, too.”
“Mm?” Ning Xiaoyao turned to see. That’s right, I’ve already torn down the doors and flattened the threshold, but why should I leave these walls around? “I think they’re ugly, too,” Ning Xiaoyao replied sincerely. “Second Thunder, let’s help out Grand Preceptor again.”
“Demolish them!” Shadowthunder rolled up his sleeves and led his fellow brothers to charge. They’d almost been killed by the Grand Preceptor and Empress Dowager to be buried alive with the late emperor. Forget about a single wall, they were even willing to tear down the entire Xie estate for free. None of the people from the estate said a thing. Everything happening now went beyond their scope of experience. They’d never heard of people who started tearing houses apart as soon as they said it was ugly, all right?
Lou Zigui watched them silently before telling Shadowgale, “Keep an eye on them, make sure it’s not too excessive.”
Shadowgale hastened to assent. Lou Zigui led along his battle horse to the steps leading up to the estate and shouted out at Ning Xiaoyao before she ran towards the walls as well. “Your Majesty.”
Ning Xiaoyao looked back.
“Your Majesty, come back to the palace with this subject,” Lou Zigui said.
Ning Xiaoyao looked back at Shadowthunder and the others, who were currently dismantling the wall, and felt reluctant to leave.
“Your Majesty, this subject wishes to return,” Lou Zigui said next.
Big Boss Black appeared out of nowhere and scurried up Ning Xiaoyao’s shoulders, before giving her a scratch. “Xiaoyao, my Supreme Commander wants to go back.”
Ning Xiaoyao descended the steps, looking back ever so often behind her. Lou Zigui extended a hand to her and said, “This subject will help Your Majesty onto the horse.”
Ning Xiaoyao looked at Supreme Commander Lou’s horse, a tall, russet steed whose coat gleamed like dark red flames. He had four sturdy limbs and, as Ning Xiaoyao discovered after patting his stomach, firm muscles. Meat like this had a high protein content and would be extra chewy when cooked in a pot.
“A good horse,” Ning Xiaoyao told Supreme Commander Lou.
Lou Zigui smiled at his battle horse. When he’d first gotten the animal from his father, it was still a young colt. Now it galloped through the battlefields with him on its back. “Yes,” Lou Zigui said. “This is a good horse.”
Ning Xiaoyao swallowed a mouthful of drool, while Lou Zigui’s smile took on a proud, nostalgic tint. (Author: You guys are on two completely different trains of thought again, pah!)
There was a bang as Shadowthunder and the rest tore down a section of the Grand Preceptor’s walls.
“Let’s go,” Ning Xiaoyao walked forward. “To home.”
Lou Zigui hadn’t let go of Ning Xiaoyao yet. “Did Your Majesty walk all the way here?”
“Yeah,” Ning Xiaoyao replied, “I walk very fast. Urk, even faster than horses.”
When Supreme Commander Lou recalled how she’d climbed a mountain to see the sunrise, he believed her words. “Climb up onto the horse,” he pulled up beside her. The thought of this girl leaving him in the dust, even with him on horseback, was a picture that made him want to die.
Ning Xiaoyao’s eyes brightened. “You want me to ride your horse?” The horses in this world were equivalent to cars in hers. Supreme Commander Lou wanted her to drive his car? After realizing how much he trusted her, Ning Xiaoyao was very happy. Lou Zigui simply nodded his head. He was even worried that His Majesty would refuse because men and women were supposed to keep their distance. Shadowgale had been listening to their conversation the entire time. When he heard that Lou Zigui wanted His Majesty to ride a horse, he walked over and prepared to kneel down so that His Majesty could step on him to mount the horse.
Meanwhile, Ning Xiaoyao calculated the height differences between her and the russet horse before taking a step back and jumping straight onto its back.
“……..” said Shadowgale, who’d just walked over.
“……..” said Supreme Commander Lou.
So, the high-level martial arts expert who taught Ning Xiaoyao her skills never taught her how to get on a horse… The russet horse gave a few whinnies, frightened by Ning Xiaoyao’s horse climbing methods.
“Urk,” Ning Xiaoyao pulled at the horse’s mane and asked Lou Zigui, “How do I ride this?”
Lou Zigui suddenly felt sorry for his horse. He’d never pulled on its mane like that before!
Shaowgale said, “Your Majesty, there are reins to use. Hold onto the horse’s reins.”
Ning Xiaoyao searched around and asked, “Which ones are the reins?”
When Head Commander Shadowgale saw His Majesty pick up the horsewhip, he consulted with Supreme Commander Lou, “Supreme Commander, this subordinate believes His Majesty doesn’t know how to ride a horse. Why don’t you ride with His Majesty?”
Lou Zigui rested his forehead in his hands. He’d only brought this single horse over, while the others were all tied up at home. Was he supposed to run after the horse if he wasn’t sharing one with His Majesty? For a second, Supreme Commander Lou began to harbor doubts about Head Commander Shadowgale’s IQ.
Ning Xiaoyao decided to speak to the horse instead. “Go ahead, walk forward.”
The russet horse didn’t move. Big Boss Black jumped from Ning Xiaoyao’s shoulder to the horse’s back and scratched him with his claws. “You won’t listen to His Majesty’s words?”
The horse still didn’t move, but gave a snort instead.
Ning Xiaoyao asked Big Boss Black, “What does he mean by that?”
Big Boss Black replied, “He’s looking down on us.”
“Really?” Ning Xiaoyao didn’t quite believe him.
Big Boss Black was convinced. “Yes, miaow. This is a bad horse. How come he gets to be ridden by my Supreme Commander?”
“……..” said Ning Xiaoyao. So Big Boss Black is already this delusional. What’s the use of being jealous of a horse? Do you think you have the skills to carry your Supreme Commander into the battlefields?
“Neigh,” the russet horse whinnied. Stupid cat. The hairs on Big Boss Black’s body stood on end. He opened his mouth to bite and raised his claws to scratch. But Lou Zigui took that chance to get on his horse, wrapping his arms around Ning Xiaoyao and stroking Big Boss Black’s head at the same time.
“Be good,” he said in a low voice, “Or else you’ll fall off.”
“Meooowoo~” Big Boss Black immediately abandoned his tyrannical ways to act cute. Ning Xiaoyao felt incapable of ridiculing him.
“Return to the palace quickly if you’re done here,” Lou Zigui said as he glanced at the vassal lords still standing inside the Grand Preceptor’s doorway. Then he instructed Shadowgale, “Divide up some men to guard and escort these princes home.”
“Yes,” Shadowgale obeyed.
“Hyaa!” Supreme Commander Lou urged on his horse and left.
Shadowgale turned to the other Dragon Guards. “That section over the door looks ugly, too. Tear it down.”
The people of the Grand Preceptor’s estate didn’t want to say another word. Neither did the vassal lords, since it wasn’t their houses being torn down anyways. However, all of the princes now saw the current emperor in a new light. He was adept at tormenting others, absolutely shameless, and despicable in his methods. The only adjective he was missing in his repertoire was “obscene.”
Lou Zigui took Ning Xiaoyao on his horse past the Grand Preceptor’s archway and said, “This was given to the Xie Clan by the previous emperor. All civil officials are required to get off their carriages before its entrance. The same with military officials and their horses.”
“Pah!” Ning Xiaoyao spat at the archway. “I thought this was just some innocent memorial archway.”
Lou Zigui fell silent. How could this be some memorial archway?!
Ning Xiaoyao clenched her hands into fists. “When we come by next time, I’ll tear it down.”
Lou Zigui couldn’t help but feel curious. “Why will there be a next time?”
Ning Xiaoyao smiled at him. “If you just torment someone once, what does it count for? You have to go about it slowly. Today we tore down the gates and their estate walls. Next time I’ll tear down this memorial archway, and the time after that I’ll aim for that study we were in.”
“That’s not a memorial archway,” Lou Zigui started before he gave up halfway. Never mind. Whatever makes you happy, Your Majesty.
“Xiaoyao, so you were a vicious and venomous type,” Big Boss Black exclaimed in loud admiration.
Ning Xiaoyao rubbed Big Boss Black’s head and then asked Supreme Commander Lou, “Supreme Commander, what’s the name of your horse?”
Lou Zigui gave a start.
“You can’t say it?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
Lou Zigui replied, “I, I haven’t given him a name.”
Big Boss Black wasn’t jealous of the russet horse anymore. Instead he said, “Xiaoyao doesn’t have much brains, but she even named me Black Tubby. Supreme Commander didn’t even give you a name? You’re so pitiful, miaow.” (Author: But what’s worth showing off about your name?)
The russet horse slowed its galloping. Even the cat had a name, but he didn’t have any despite growing up with his master! The sudden, painful realization saddened him. Why didn’t my master give me a name?
“Miaow,” Big Boss Black stabbed another dagger into the russet horse’s heart. “Supreme Commander must not like you very much!”
The russet horse stopped moving altogether, feeling even sadder than before. Lou Zigui discovered that his battle horse had stopped on its own volition and grew surprised. His horse was afraid of meowing cats?
“Mm,” Ning Xiaoyao smoothed out the horse’s mane and said, “Supreme Commander, just call this horse Little Red. See how red its coat is.”
What kind of terrible name was that? Supreme Commander Lou stared at the emperor between his arms with a start. Just what do you mean by calling a battle horse ‘Little Red?’