Chapter 87: Request from a daughter of the Ji Clan Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Ning Xiaoyao munched and crunched on her egg yolk guoba as she looked at Ji Yuerong with a self-satisfied expression–despite the fact that it was the latter who’d help to pay for her food. “Tasty?” she asked curiously.
When Miss Ji saw Ning Xiaoyao staring at the half of the guoba in her hands, she simply stuffed the entire thing in her mouth.
“…….” said Ning Xiaoyao. Did she think I’d steal her share?
“Not bad,” Ji Yuerong said as she swallowed the guoba. Then she took a look at the stall and made a mental note of its location, so she could come here next time and buy some more.
“They were the last ones,” Ning Xiaoyao said, savoring the taste of egg yolk guoba in her mouth before its last traces disappeared. “If you want to buy them again, you’ll have to wait ‘til next month.”
Quietly, Miss Ji erased the memory of the stall location from her mind. Meanwhile, Shadowgale had been standing woodenly behind them. Now he offered the egg yolk guoba in his hands to Ning Xiaoyao. Her eyes grew wide at the sight.
Still wearing his wooden expression, Shadowgale said, “Your Majesty, this servant doesn’t like to eat things like this.”
Ji Yuerong smiled mockingly. This was the first time she’d seen someone wearing an expression like that while acting like a toady. Ning Xiaoyao reached out to take the guoba, because she really did want another one. But at the same time, the snow wolf pup jumped out from her robes and bit into the guoba instead.
“Well dang,” Ning Xiaoyao snatched it back. The guoba was a brittle and crispy snack. As human and wolf fought over the snack with their hand and mouth, it snapped in half in the grown man’s hand. Shadowgale grabbed the wolf pup just in time before the snack-thief tumbled to the ground. Meanwhile, Ning Xiaoyao stuffed her stolen guoba into her mouth and crunched on the remnants before batting the wolf pup on its head.
“You’re a wolf, and you’re still eating guoba?” Don’t all wolves eat meat? Did this wolf pup’s mother abandon him because he was a picky eater? (Author: You’re overthinking it. o(╯□╰)o) The little wolf pup chewed on its guoba without sparing Ning Xiaoyao a single look. He allowed her to bat his head as she wished.
“…….” said Ji Yuerong. So that was a wolf.
“Eldest lass.” Ji Jiu rushed over just then on his horse, with his troops in tow. Ning Xiaoyao and the rest all lifted their heads to look at him.
“Your Majesty?” Ji Jiu quickly dismounted his horse at the sight of Ning Xiaoyao.
“No need to bow,” Ning Xiaoyao held on to Ji Jiu before he started kneeling in the streets. Because she’d used her hands to eat the guoba, her oily fingers managed to stain Old General Ji’s sleeves as well.
Ji Jiu looked around them until he found that Shadowgale was the only one guarding Ning Xiaoyao. He asked in worry, “Your Majesty only took along the head commander to protect you?”
“That’s not it, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao shook her head.
“Where are the rest of the Dragon Guards?” Old General Ji asked.
“The rest, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao pointed towards Lady Xiang’s house. “We caught a Northern Hu…”
“Your Majesty,” Shadowgale’s voice cut off Ning Xiaoyao’s words before he lowered his head to whisper in her ear. “This servant thinks it’ll be better to tell the details to other people after we’ve interrogated the woman.”
“Oh, so it’s like that,” Ning Xiaoyao nodded without thinking twice. “Sure, whatever you say.”
“What Northern…” Ji Yuerong wanted to ask, but Ji Jiu lightly pulled her behind him. If His Majesty didn’t want to say, then they shouldn’t pry.
“Did you guys come out to go window shopping?” Ning Xiaoyao asked Ji Jiu.
Ji Jiu was quick to answer. “To reply Your Majesty, this subject and the rest wished to meet with Supreme Commander, but he wasn’t at the palace.”
Ning Xiaoyao said, “Oh, you wanted to see Supreme Commander, ah. He went to see Prince Zhi.”
Old General Ji’s eyebrows furrowed slightly. Why did Supreme Commander Lou wish to entangle himself with the likes of Prince Zhi, Ning Guangyuan?
Ning Xiaoyao continued, “Then why don’t we go find a place to chat?” She’d promised she’d treat the Ji grandfather and granddaughter to a meal once, so she had to stick to her word. When she recalled how she had no money, she turned to whisper in Shadowgale’s ear. “Windy, go get some money. I want to treat them to a meal.” Shadowgale muttered an assent before he quickly disappeared into the crowd.
With His Majesty offering the invitation, how could mere subjects such as they refuse? Ji Jiu bent over and said, “This subject accepts the decree.”
“Which restaurant in the capital city has good food?” Ning Xiaoyao asked the Ji pair seriously.
“………” said the Ji grandfather and granddaughter duo. Your Majesty, what are you thinking? Why are you asking us when we’re from the borderlands?
Ning Xiaoyao said, “I heard that the Drunken Immortal place on this street is pretty good. Shall we go there?”
“……..” said the Ji duo. If you already knew where to go, why ask us in the first place?
Without conversation, there was only silence. Ning Xiaoyao felt very please as she lead Ji Jiu and the rest to the Drunken Immortal. She’d inspected all the restaurants and inns on this street before determining that the Drunken Immortal had the cheapest prices! (Author: So, Your Majesty, your standard for treating someone to a meal is finding the cheapest place to eat? orz)
Soon enough, everyone was sitting together in an elegant dining room. Ji Jiu felt out of sorts, while Ji Yuerong was ill at ease. Yongning had always valued its civil officials over its military ones, so as warriors, they had few chances to sit with His Majesty at the same table for a meal. All four generations of the Ji Clan had been soldiers, but this was the first time anyone from their family had eaten with the emperor.
“Come on, order some dishes,” Ning Xiaoyao said.
Ji Jiu was too afraid to even speak.
Ning Xiaoyao said, “I’m treating you guys, you know? Old gramps, order whatever you’d like! Windy went to get money, so don’t worry. I won’t piss off before I pay the bills.”
Piss off? Even the the waiter in the room found it painful to hear such words. Since there was no way to get the better of Ning Xiaoyao, Ji Jiu picked up the menu and read through it once before carefully selecting a table full of dishes.
While they were waiting for the food, Ji Yuerong asked Ning Xiaoyao, “Why did Your Majesty invite we subjects out to eat?”
“Oh,” Ning Xiaoyao said, “Because I want to be friends with you guys, ah.”
Ji Jiu rose to his feet before kneeling in front of Ning Xiaoyao. Was there ever a subject who had befriended his emperor? Ning Xiaoyao’s expression stiffened. Does this mean we can’t be friends?
Ji Yuerong simply sat there unmoving, completely stunned again. She didn’t even realize what she should be doing at this moment. Ning Xiaoyao simply hauled Ji Jiu up from the ground and said, in a rather hurt tone, “Old gramps, you don’t want to?”
Ji Jiu was terrified. “This subject doesn’t dare.”
Doesn’t dare? That means he doesn’t want to, then. Ning Xiaoyao felt awful as she set the old gramps in a chair by her side.
Old General Ji privately marvelled at His Majesty’s brute strength before he spoke. “Your Majesty, a sovereign differs from his subjects. Your Majesty can simply order your subject if there’s anything to be done. A subject will never begrudge a sovereign who tells him to spill his liver and brains on the ground.”1
Ning Xiaoyao said, “Old gramps, why spill your liver and brains on the ground? Your sons and grandsons have been injured enough.” Because Ning Xiaoyao had brought up the subject without any warning, both Ji Jiu and Ji Yuerong were caught off guard. When they recovered from their shock, Ji Yuerong’s eyes had already turned red and teary.
“When there’s a chance, I’ll pay them a visit,” Ning Xiaoyao said as she poured Ji Jiu a cup of water. Without seeing the people first, she didn’t dare promise that she could cure them. After all, they’d been injured for at least four years now and her skills were a far cry from their original strength in the apocalyptic world.
Ji Jiu rose to kneel again.
“Don’t,” Ning Xiaoyao pressed him down. “If you have any requests, old gramps, just bring them up to me. If I can manage it, I’ll definitely do them for you.”
In the end, Ji Jiu was a military officer. He wouldn’t hide his feelings like the civil officials and simply stared at Ning Xiaoyao in surprise. In his Ji Clan, the members were either aging or disabled. All they could do was rely on this granddaughter of his to support their family status. Even if they had soldiers under their command, they were still stationed at the distant borders. What had His Majesty taken a fancy to from his Ji Clan? He looked at Ning Xiaoyao, then at Ji Yuerong, before this old gramps seemed to tremble.
His Majesty fancies Yuerong?
“Old gramps?” Ning Xiaoyao shouted.
“Your Majesty,” Ji Jiu was still sitting in his chair as he spoke. “This subject’s granddaughter has played with spears and staves since her youth. She’s not good with poetry or literature, and her looks are ordinary at best.”
“Whaa?” Ning Xiaoyao widened her eyes before pointing at Miss Ji. “Her looks are still ordinary?” Then what about mine? Am I a criminal dragging down the average attractive index for humans?
“This subject’s granddaughter needs to bring a son-in-law home,” Old General Ji came clear out to Ning Xiaoyao, who gave Ji Yuerong a sympathetic look. At this rate, there’d be no hope for the girl to be matched with Supreme Commander.
“Your Majesty!” When Ji Jiu saw Ning Xiaoyao staring at his granddaughter, he couldn’t help but feel jumpy and shout.
“If Your Majesty really wants to help the military officials with matters,” Ji Yuerong spoke up, “Then this soldier has a request.”
“I can’t help you with Supreme Commander,” Ning Xiaoyao replied immediately. Ji Yuerong balled her hands into fists, while Ning Xiaoyao simply sat there unmoving.
“You cannot be impudent!” Ji Jiu told his granddaughter. Currently, Shadowgale was holding onto the snow wolf pup while standing outside their private dining room.
“Aroo?” the wolf pup barked at the door, before Shadowgale heartlessly stuffed him back into his clothes.
Ji Yuerong bit her lip and looked at Ning Xiaoyao, her expression stubborn. “Can Your Majesty help the wife of the Xie Clan’s eldest son annul her relationship with him?”
“Wh-whaa?” Ning Xiaoyao didn’t understand.
Ji Yuerong rose to her feet forcefully, sending her chair flying backwards before she kneeled in front of Ning Xiaoyao. Ning Xiaoyao jumped out of her chair. After coming to this world, she found it extremely annoying that people kept bowing to her for no reason whatsoever.
“Big sister Qin’s2 clearly being tormented by the Xie family, but there’s no way for this lowly soldier to help her,” Ji Yuerong said loudly. “Your Majesty, the Qin Clan had also sacrificed many loyal martyrs for the cause. Big sister Qin is one of the last surviving members of the Qin Clan. Please take pity on her and help her.”
“Hold on, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao helped Ji Yuerong up as she spoke. “Is this wife of the Xie Clan’s eldest son from the Grand Preceptor’s estate?” No way, right? It’s not like what I think, right?
“Yes,” Ji Yuerong broke apart Ning Xiaoyao’s delusions with one word.
In that case, this big sister Qin must be the wife of that Xie Anyi. Ning Xiaoyao couldn’t help but think that she had no end of conflicts with the Xie Clan. Otherwise, why would she keep bumping into their business wherever she went?
“The Xie Clan bullies big sister Qin merely because she’s an orphan,” Ji Yuerong’s face was red from her anger. “That Xie Anyi dotes on his concubine but wants to destroy his proper wife. He keeps big sister Qin in an empty room without paying her any attention. If the Qin Clan’s uncles and older brothers were still alive, how would the Xie Clan dare to treat her like that?!”
Ning Xiaoyao said, “In other words, after Xie Anyi married your big sister Qin, he changed his mind and fell in love with another woman instead?”
“Heh,” Ji Yuerong laughed coldly. “When big sister Qin married into the Xie Clan, that man’s son was already one month old. It’s the child of the girl he likes, his younger female cousin from the Wang family.”
“He already had a woman and a baby, but still went ahead to marry your big sister Qin?” Ning Xiaoyao furrowed her eyebrows. “Isn’t he swindling her with that marriage?”
Ji Yuerong’s expression grew disdainful. “Their Xie Clan only wanted her so they could take control of the Qin Clan’s naval forces. With a navy, they can do whatever they like without fear in the southern Jiangnan regions.”
So Yongning even has a navy. Ning Xiaoyao learned another fact about the country.
Ji Jiu glanced at Ning Xiaoyao. A navy was only useful in places where there was water, such as the rivers and seas. Such forces were completely unnecessary for the capital city. Would a young emperor like him offend the Xie Clan yet again just for some tiny, useless navy?