WARNING: This chapter contains graphic depictions of attempted suicide.
Chapter 98: Real and fake suicide Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Young née Wang simply covered her face and sobbed bitterly.
“Your Majesty, this woman should be quickly chased out of the palace,” Elder Li suggested.
“Then what about me?” Ning Xiaoyao asked. Chase her out just like that? How could things be so simple? Miss Qin was still paralyzed and bedridden. If Miss Ji hadn’t made a move, it was possible that Miss Qin would be dead by now. No matter what, it seemed only fair to get back at this little white flower, too.
At that moment, née Wang cried for her husband and started crawling to his side. On the ground, Xie Anyi’s voice became choked with sobs at the sight of his wife’s tears.
“……….” said Ning Xiaoyao. What are they playing at now? Am I some sort of despot that’s breaking a pair of devoted lovers apart?
As soon as née Wang started crawling towards Xie Anyi, she caught sight of her uncle standing nearby. He was Wang Furong[,1. Wang Furong (王付荣) – Wang is a surname that means “king,” Fu means “to pay,” Rong means “glorious, flourishing.”] the minister of the Ministry of Personnel, and he was shaking his head slightly in her direction. One of his fingers made a swiping motion at his throat. Little née Wang felt her entire body turn cold. This blood-related uncle of hers was telling her to die.
Ning Xiaoyao asked Lou Zigui in a small voice, “Have you noticed something off about that little white flower?”
Supreme Commander Lou didn’t understand women in the first place. How could he ever tell that something was wrong?
Young née Wang pressed her forehead to the ground again. Its cold brick surface was flooded by her tears. That’s right, née Wang thought, The emperor has labeled me as a slut. How will the women of our Wang Clan be able to marry anyone in the future? Which of the old and established families will have daughters willing to marry into the Wang Clan?
She dug her fingers into the crevices of the brick floor until her fine, well-kept nails broke in two places. When née Wang lifted her head again, it was to look at Xie Anyi, who was less than ten steps away from her. If she could kill herself now, there would be two lives lost–hers and her baby’s. As long as she bore the blame for everything, she could at least leave behind a reputation for dying for love. Moreover, if she died, that née Qin wouldn’t be able to live, either!
“Your Majesty,” née Wang said to Ning Xiaoyao. “This is all this concubine’s fault for leading Minister Xie astray. This concubine is willing to atone for her crimes with her death. May Your Majesty forgive Minister Xie!”
“Hold her back!” Lou Zigui shouted, realizing that things had gone amiss.
Shadowthunder ran towards née Wang, but she steeled her heart and bit through her tongue with all her strength. Shadowthunder was stunned by the time he reached her. Blood trickled out of the corners of née Wang’s lips. Most of the officials present were important figures at court, but aside from the military officers, none of them had ever seen someone die. Shock rippled through the crowd. On the right side of the veranda, Empress Zhou and the assembled wives heard shouts from beyond the beaded curtain that said née Wang had committed suicide by biting her own tongue. Their faces blanched at the news.
Young née Wang was pregnant with her second child, but she’d died for Xie Anyi’s sake. If news of this spread, then people would say that His Majesty had forced his subject’s wife to die. Once he shouldered that kind of reputation, he’d be labeled as a fatuous and self-indulgent ruler. Young née Wang would become a woman who died for love. The very thought of that was nauseating.
Lou Zigui strode over to née Wang and took a look at her mouth, before ordering Shadowthunder, “Go find an imperial physician.” There was no way that née Wang could die here. Otherwise, her and her baby’s death would be twisted in Grand Preceptor Xie’s lips as Qin Xuan tricking His Majesty to hound his subject’s wife to death. If that was the case, neither Qin Xin or Qin Xuan would be able to live. Getting ahold of the Jiangnan navy would be completely out of the question as well.
Elder Li was actually thinking along the same vein as Lou Zigui. He quickly urged the stunned Shadowthunder, “What are you still standing around for? Go find an imperial physician!”
Shadowthunder looked at Ning Xiaoyao. He only listened to the emperor, after all.
“You two,” Lou Zigui was now calling the two mama who had been dragging née Wang out. “Come over and gag her mouth.”
After biting her tongue off, the pain made née Wang want to scream in pain, but copious amounts of blood loss soon left her feeling cold. Slowly, her body began to freeze as death crept closer. Née Wang was very afraid of such a feeling, but she couldn’t scream or move anymore. Ning Xiaoyao walked over to née Wang and told the two mama who were about to gag the woman to calm down. “It’s a sham. No need to panic, this little white flower’s just playing around with us.”
“……….” said everyone else. She’s bled so much and looks like she’s on death’s door. Could this be a sham?
Ning Xiaoyao crouched down and stared at young née Wang’s dilated pupils. “You sure can act, ah.”
Because née Wang had lost so much blood, her body temperature had dropped drastically, causing her to go into spasms.
“Your Majesty!” Lou Zigui half crouched as well to shout at Ning Xiaoyao. Save her already. If not, she’ll die for real.
Ning Xiaoyao pried open née Wang’s mouth and told Elder Li, “I’m not touching her because I want to, ah”
If Ning Xiaoyao was his own son, Elder Li would be whipping him by now. What an annoying child! “Your Majesty, it’s imperative that we save her,” Elder Li restrained his urge to thwack the emperor as he urged Ning Xiaoyao.
Twenty seconds had passed since née Wang bit her tongue, but she still wasn’t dead. Because of that, Ning Xiaoyao knew she wasn’t going to be dying anytime soon. People who bit their tongues didn’t die from blood loss as much as the tongue slipping back to block their throat. The throat contained the esophagus as well as the airway for breathing. If a bitten tongue blocked that airway, the victim would asphyxiate to death within seconds. Ning Xiaoyao reached her hand into née Wang’s mouth and felt around until she found her tongue. The woman had only bitten a little half of it off, not completely. Her fingertips glowed with green light before the half-bitten tongue reformed itself into a whole once more.
Ning Xiaoyao withdrew her hand from née Wang’s mouth. Before she could wipe off the blood, Lou Zigui was already doing it for her with a handkerchief. Quietly, he asked, “How is the woman doing?”
“She’s fine,” Ning Xiaoyao said with a wink.
Lou Zigui said, “Good. Then this woman faked her suicide. She and her husband should be locked up in the justice courts.”
Ning Xiaoyao arched an eyebrow and whispered, “We have to lock them up?” It looked like the crimes of that bastard couple were growing.
Lou Zigui nodded. “Spilling blood before His Majesty is a breach of etiquette and a very serious offense.”
Ning Xiaoyao said, “Then you might as well say that little white flower tricked me and scared me half to death. Wouldn’t that be an even bigger crime?”
Lou Zigui looked at Ning Xiaoyao and grinned. “They’re not worthy of dirtying Your Majesty’s hands.” Ning Xiaoyao lowered her head and glanced at née Wang.
Because Ning Xiaoyao and Lou Zigui had been speaking in hushed tones, no one else knew what they were saying. But née Wang clearly heard every single word between them. She was both angry and in agony, but yet she couldn’t make a sound. Her tongue had just healed, so every little movement still caused her sharp pain.
“Give me the bag you use to hold your sugar beans,” Lou Zigui extended a hand to Ning Xiaoyao.
“Oh,” Ning Xiaoyao reached into her bag to grab her sugar beans first.
“The smaller bag,” Lou Zigui clarified.
Ning Xiaoyao took out an empty, smaller bag and gave it to Lou Zigui. “Erya made this for Xiaoqiu.”
Supreme Commander Lou’s mouth twitched. What was so tasty about those cloying sweet sugar beans? This girl even steals snacks from a three-year-old child!?
Ning Xiaoyao said, “Supreme Commander, did you want to eat sugar beans?”
Supreme Commander Lou sighed, before pressing the little bag against née Wang’s mouth.
Ning Xiaoyao felt her heart ache. “Erya made that.” Washing detergent doesn’t exist in this world, so Erya’s bag is probably ruined, right?
Lou Zigui stood up and showed off the bloodstained bag in his hands to the crowd. His voice was cold. “This married woman faked her suicide.”
There was an uproar. How much gall did that Xie Clan wife have? She actually dared to fake her suicide in His Majesty’s presence?
“That despicable whore,” the old lady of the Duke of State’s1 estate spat. The wives of the second and third young masters of the Xie Clan, who were wiping their tears just a second ago, stopped their sniffling and didn’t make a sound. Empress Zhou simply looked at them and smiled wordlessly.
None of the other titled ladies spoke a word. After all, the Xie Clan hadn’t fallen, so they couldn’t invite disaster onto their husbands. However, the looks in their eyes made it impossible for the other two wives of the Xie estate to even lift their heads. By now, two imperial physicians had arrived with some Dragon Guards.
“Come, examine her,” Ning Xiaoyao waved at the physicians. The gathered subjects had to marvel at the Dragon Guards for their good work. The two imperial physicians that had arrived were once personally recommended to the palace by Grand Preceptor Xie. What could make Grand Preceptor Xie more dumbfounded than knowing those same two physicians would pronounce née Wang’s suicide a sham?
This was Head Commander Shadowgale’s work. He was still holding onto Qin Xuan so the latter wouldn’t charge onto the scene. He wasn’t afraid of the Grand Preceptor’s faction, nor was he worried that the two physicians wouldn’t give their all to save née Wang!
A mama pried open née Wang’s mouth so the two physicians could examine her. After a thorough inspection, the two imperial physicians rose and told Ning Xiaoyao, “Your Majesty, this woman’s tongue is uninjured.”
Young née Wang’s body trembled. H-how is this possible?
Lou Zigui looked at Ning Xiaoyao. If she had a tail, she would definitely be sticking it up right now. Does she have some sort of miracle pill to staunch bleeding in an instant?
Xie Anyi simply spat out a mouthful of blood. He couldn’t take the shock, and fainted straight away. Meanwhile, the Grand Preceptor’s faction was at a loss for what to do. Every single one of them stared at Wang Furong. Your Wang Clan’s daughter is certainly something!
His Excellency Wang was swaying on his feet. Fake suicide? How could she dare? If possible, he would get rid of née Wang with his own hands right then and there. The reputation of their Wang Clan would be dragged through the mud from hereon after. How was he supposed to fix things now?!
“What kind of bag could hold so much blood?” Finally, one of the officials from the Grand Preceptor’s faction spoke up. “Née Wang bled substantially. How could she fit so much blood in her mouth with no one the wiser?”
Ning Xiaoyao had a guilty conscience as soon as she heard those words. That’s right. There’s blood all over the ground now. Just how big of a bag would she need to hide all that blood?
Lou Zigui’s face was calm as he replied, “Née Wang’s mouth is uninjured, so where could the blood have come from? Your Excellency Lin, are you saying that His Majesty is making things up? That those two imperial physicians are simply saying irresponsible remarks?”
His Excellency Lin knelt on the ground and said, “This subject doesn’t dare.”
Ning Xiaoyao learned one thing from Supreme Commander Lou then: when you didn’t have a way to argue back, you could intimidate others instead. She silently gave Supreme Commander Lou a ‘Like’ in her heart.
“Drag née Wang to His Excellency Lin’s side,” Lou Zigui ordered the mama. “Since he doesn’t believe it, he can look at her mouth himself.”
The two mama did as they were told, while His Excellency Lin simply backed away. Touch a woman of the Xie Clan? Grand Preceptor Xie would kill him for that.
“Pry open her mouth and pull out her tongue so everyone can see,” Lou Zigui ordered next.
The two mama followed his orders and forcefully opened née Wang’s mouth so they could pull out the tongue. There was blood in née Wang’s mouth, that was true, but her tongue was completely unharmed. Nobody could truthfully say that she tried to commit suicide by biting it off.
“Preposterous!” Elder Li roared.
Young née Wang could only sob. Thanks to the mama holding her tongue, it was impossible for her to speak even if she could talk past the pain.
“Throw Xie Anyi and née Wang into the imperial prisons of the justice courts,” Lou Zigui whispered by Ning Xiaoyao’s ear. “They’ll be dealt with later. Just say what I just said.”
Ning Xiaoyao looked carefully at Supreme Commander Lou. “Supreme Commander, you’re always teaching me how to talk. If you keep doing this, I’m going to think I’m an idiot.”
“………” said Lou Zigui.
- Duke of State (国公) – guogong, traditionally a third rank official in the imperial court, ↩