Chapter 85: Lady Xiang’s secret Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
The guards outside the door began to bash at the gates, while others prepared to scale the walls. Ning Xiaoyao looked at Shadowgale and the rest. “How about we evacuate?” After careful thought, she really couldn’t find any excuse for sticking around.
Shadowgale and the rest hastily nodded their heads.
“Let’s go,” Ning Xiaoyao said as she ran inside the covered walkway. Since their pursuers were at the front doors, they should escape via the back. While running, Ning Xiaoyao managed to exchange glances with a lithe and graceful young woman dressed in twill-weave silk robes. When she saw that Ning Xiaoyao’s head was wrapped up in her clothes, then caught sight of Shadowgale’s saber, she was so frightened that her face lost all color as she shrieked.
Ning Xiaoyao observed the beauty, feeling rather jealous of her good figure. “Lady Xiang?”
The woman subconsciously nodded her head. Ning Xiaoyao simply ran past her with Shadowgale and the rest following close behind. Because the Dragon Guards abided scrupulously to maintaining distance between men and women, they didn’t spare Lady Xiang a glance.
Once Ning Xiaoyao ran through the walkway, she ended up in another courtyard. She looked left and right before asking Shadowgale, “Windy, where’s the back door to this place?”
Shadowgale could only run in front of Ning Xiaoyao to lead the way.
While Ning Xiaoyao and her cohorts had ran away, the Grand Preceptor’s guards were still in the front courtyard. When they heard pounding on the doors, then looked at their master’s expressionless face, the ten or so guards didn’t even dare to breathe.
“Impudence!” someone shouted from outside the gates. “This is the Grand Preceptor’s side courtyard. Whose soldiers are you? You dare to make a ruckus here?!”
The princes’ guards all looked at a middle-aged retainer that had shown up. One of Prince Zhi’s guards pointed at the black lacquer door and asked, “This is the Grand Preceptor’s side courtyard?”
The middle-aged man stuck up his chest and said proudly, “I’m none other than the steward of this very house. Who are you lot? Are you all sick of living?”
Verifying the owner of the compound was enough for them. The princes’ guards all retreated. Even their masters had to take care when dealing with the Grand Preceptor, much less guards like themselves. They’d leave the matter to the various princes instead.
The middle-aged man watched them leave before spitting disdainfully on the ground with a curse, “Damnable soldiers!”
Grand Preceptor Xie entered the walkway.
“Grand, Grand Preceptor,” Lady Xiang wanted to smile at Grand Preceptor Xie, but found that she couldn’t.
“The Grand Preceptor’s side courtyard?” Grand Preceptor Xie asked as he came to a stop before her.
Lady Xiang hastily fell to her knees. There were rules to being a mistress, too. One of them was to keep a low profile so that nobody would be able to see her face or know of her existence. Now her own steward had announced this place as the Grand Preceptor’s compound, which meant she’d committed a huge taboo. Lady Xiang was so frightened that she started to cry.
Meanwhile, the steward knocked on the door outside and shouted, “Old Woman Guo, open the doors! I’ve returned!”
The chubby mama who was surnamed Guo hardly dared to move. She wish she could find that steward and tear his mouth off right now. Still, she neither spoke nor moved. The steward didn’t sense anything amiss inside the courtyard and even added smugly, “I’ve already chased off the soldiers from just then. Those things even dared to act unbridled before the Grand Preceptor’s side courtyard! Who knows what gave them such damned guts.”
Grand Preceptor Xie turned around and walked to the sedan chair stopped outside the walkway.
“Grand Preceptor!” Lady Xiang sobbed as she threw herself at him and hugged his leg.
There was no sign of anger on the Grand Preceptor’s face, but he told her, “Let go.”
How could Lady Xiang let go now? Once she did, her only way of livelihood would be forfeit.
A few guards ran over as Grand Preceptor Xie uttered once more, “Let go.”
Lady Xiang cried as she spoke. “Grand Preceptor, this mistress was wrong. I beg you to forgive me this once.”
Grand Preceptor Xie beckoned to his guards, who came forward to pull Lady Xiang away. But before they could touch her, she let go in fear. Grand Preceptor Xie sat in his sedan chair and said, “Return to the estate.”
The steward outside was about to knock on the doors again when it was opened from inside. One of the Grand Preceptor’s guards stepped out and kicked him straight down the steps for flaunting his powerful connections. Only when the Grand Preceptor’s sedan chair leave did the steward crawled up from the ground and stumbled his way into the doors. Guo mama helped Lady Xiang to her feet. When she saw the steward running towards her, she simply raised her hands and boxed his ears. The steward knew he’d made a big mistake, so he didn’t raise a single sound in protest.
“You deserve to die,” Lady Xiang cursed him.
Guo mama was so panicked that she began to cry. “What do we do now?”
“Scram!” Lady Xiang cried as she slapped her.
“You’re pretty violent, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao said as she walked back out of the walkway.
When Lady Xiang saw her return, she looked stunned. Ning Xiaoyao was holding a piece of brocade in her hand that was embroidered with a wolf’s head. “How come you’re worshipping a thing like this?” In an instant, Lady Xiang’s pitiful expression shifted into one as cold as ice. Shadowgale and the rest flipped their way into the walkway to surround Lady Xiang on all sides.
“I heard Little Tangerine say that you shut yourself up in a secret room for an hour everyday,” Ning Xiaoyao stepped to the side, and a little girl about Erya’s age walked out from behind her. It looked like her face had been branded by something in the past, thus changing it beyond recognition.
“Little Tangerine, how could–how could you still be alive?!” Guo mama cried out in alarm.
The steward, along with all the other servants, recoiled back as if they’d seen a ghost. Because this little servant girl had been careless while serving Lady Xiang, their mistress had scalded her to death in boiling water not more than two hours ago. Her corpse had been laid out by the back door so they could throw away the body outside the city limits once night fell. Why was this girl alive again?!
“You’re a Northern Hu person,” Ning Xiaoyao looked at Lady Xiang as her voice turned cold.
The other residents of the compound grew fearful expressions. Lady Xiang’s from the Northern Hu? The Grand Preceptor’s mistress was a Northern Hu person? How could this be?
“This is the wolf god that you Northern Hu worship,” Ning Xiaoyao waved the embroidered cloth in her hands. “I have people who recognize this thing.”
“Take this despicable woman into custody!” Shadowgale ordered his brothers in a low voice. He wouldn’t make a mistake with Northern Hu and their wolf god totem pictures. Lady Xiang’s figure flashed before she rushed towards Ning Xiaoyao.
“Be careful!” Shadowgale and Shadowrain shouted at the same time. But Lady Xiang had already reached Ning Xiaoyao before they finished speaking. Little Tangerine screamed in fright as the five nails on Lady Xiang’s right hand suddenly lengthened and clawed towards Ning Xiaoyao’s face. At that moment, Shadowgale was still a step away from reaching Lady Xiang.
“Xiaoyao!” Even Wifey Magpie chirped in alarm from her perch on the wall, where she’d settled to watch the show.
Just as Lady Xiang was about to reach Ning Xiaoyao, the latter lifted her left arm, which had been resting by her side, and viciously smashed Lady Xiang’s face with the brick in her hand. This woman had used boiling water to cause burns on over 90% of that little girl’s body. People like her should be thrown to the zombies as fodder!
Lady Xiang collapsed to the ground. Her movements had been fast, but Ning Xiaoyao’s genetically enhanced speed was even faster. At the same time, Shadowgale reached them as well, and gave a ferocious kick that sent Lady Xiang’s body flying until she landed heavily on the grounds beyond the walkway. Two heavy blows in a row would have made any normal person immobile by now, but Lady Xiang was still able to move. She crawled to her feet and attempted to flee towards the walls so she could flip over them and escape.
“Well dang,” Ning Xiaoyao threw the brick in her hand. She can still run? Her weapon hit Lady Xiang in the crook of her knee. This time, Lady Xiang was unable to get to her feet. Ning Xiaoyao had conserved her strength when fighting against Prince Zhi’s men, but she didn’t hold back a bit this time. The end result was that she broke Lady Xiang’s left knee with her brick from behind.
Shadowbolt rushed over to tie up Lady Xiang.
“Don’t be afraid,” Ning Xiaoyao said as she patted Little Tangerine’s head comfortingly. “See there? I’ve knocked down the bad guy.”
Little Tangerine looked at the sprawled Lady Xiang. Ever since she was sold into this courtyard, she didn’t have a single good day under her mistress. Even though Lady Xiang was all tied up with a broken leg and a face covered in blood, she still feared her.
“If you’re scared, then we just won’t look at her,” Ning Xiaoyao pushed Little Tangerine behind her. “I’m here, so no need to fear.”
Little Tangerine only felt safe when she was behind Ning Xiaoyao. She rubbed her eyes and leaned against Ning Xiaoyao to keep standing.
“Take her back and have Supreme Commander interrogate her,” Ning Xiaoyao told Shadowgale. “Have the imperial guards watch over this compound. Maybe she’s got cohorts amongst the people here. Interrogate them one by one.” By delegating public affairs to Elder Li and military matter to Supreme Commander Lou, Ning Xiaoyao had already divided her up work to them.
“This servant obeys the decree,” Shadowgale accepted the orders. At this, even an idiot would realize the true identity of the person before them. The steward felt his body go limp and sank to the floor by Guo mama, who’d long been kneeling on the ground. What kind of day is this? The Grand Preceptor came, and so did His Majesty. My master is actually a Northern Hu person, and even knows martial arts?! The steward was at a loss.
Ning Xiaoyao handed Shadowrain the embroidered wolf head and said, “We’ll keep guard here first. There’s tons of gold and silver and jewelry in that secret room. If the Grand Preceptor has the face to gift them, then we have the face to take them. Move it all out.”
“This servant obeys the decree,” Shadowrain accepted the orders. Ning Xiaoyao looked at Lady Xiang, who was currently in Shadowbolt’s custody, and began to make some mental calculations. Now she could continue to tear at Grand Preceptor Xie. Hadn’t he framed Supreme Commander for colluding with the enemy and betraying his country? Now you’re the one sleeping with a Northern Hu girl. And you even raised her outside the estate so nobody would know. Who else deserves the bad reputation of a traitor and colluder, if not you?
“This servant saw it with my own eyes, he gave the match to the assassin who set the fire.”
Outside of Prince Zhi’s side courtyard, one of his guards was currently pointing out Xie Laifu.
“N-no, it wasn’t this servant,” Xie Laifu knelt on the ground as he cried out his grievances.
“This servant saw it with my own eyes,” the guard emphasized his point again.
“Prince, this servant…” Xie Laifu still wanted to cry injustice. Prince Zhi simply stepped forward and kicked Xie Laifu multiple times in succession. If I don’t believe my own guards, am I supposed to trust the words of a steward from the Grand Preceptor’s estate like you?
“You were following this prince the entire time,” After losing half his teeth, Prince Zhi’s face was currently swollen to twice its size. He even lisped when he talked, but that didn’t stop him from giving rein to his temper. “Accursed servant, you had evil designs from the start!” Prince Zhi flew into a rage at the very sight of Xie Laifu.
TOT, went Xie Laifu. He’d been captured and dragged along by His Majesty, that was the truth!