Chapter 145: Who killed Old Madame? Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Grand Preceptor Xie’s glare towards Lou Zigui turned venomous. Though he was quick to hide his distaste, both Ning Xiaoyao and Lou Zigui noticed the stare.
“Good grief,” Ning Xiaoyao muttered to Lou Zigiui, “The Grand Preceptor looks ready to bite you to death.”
Lou Zigui didn’t care about such things and replied, “You should be thinking about what we should do next.”
“You’re asking me?” Ning Xiaoyao pointed at her nose. “What could I do?”
Lou Zigui felt that he was posing a tough question as well, so he handed her more sugar beans and started to think up ideas himself. Big Boss Black jumped onto Ning Xiaoyao’s shoulders and asked, “Xiaoyao, are we just going to leave that old grandma’s corpse to dry in the sun?”
Ning Xiaoyao crunched on her sugar beans as she shook her head. “Don’t know. The Xie Clan isn’t fussing over her, so what’s the use if I get anxious about it?”
Big Boss Black gave her a suggestion. “If nothing else, we can have the crows eat her up.”
Ning Xiaoyao pouted. Have the crows gobble up Old Madame Xie in front of her family? That seems impossible. (Author: It’s not ‘seem impossible,’ but absolutely impossible, alright?!)
“It was that cat,” Lady Wang told everyone around her. “It was all because of that cat! Hear that? It’s still meowing!”
The womenfolk by her side dearly wished Lady Wang would shut her mouth. That’s His Majesty’s cat. Are you trying to go against His Majesty and condemn us all to death?! Ning Xiaoyao and Big Boss Black were currently staring at Old Madame Xie’s body, so neither of them paid Lady Wang any mind. When Ning Xiaoyao saw the golden hair ornaments on Old Madame Xie’s head, she said, “Dang, you can tell they’re expensive at a glance.”
Big Boss Black said, “Then should we snatch them away?”
“We can’t. I have to be a civilized person, so you need to be a civilized cat,” Ning Xiaoyao shook her head. “Stealing is wrong.”
Big Boss Black checked to make sure his Supreme Commander wasn’t looking before clawing at Ning Xiaoyao. “Who was the one who told the gyrfalcon’s master and his men to steal the grain?”
Ning Xiaoyao spoke with justice on her side. “Bullsh**! That’s to fight the fire! That grain would’ve been burned away by the flames anyways. It only exists still because we’re putting it out, so how could you call this stealing?”
“…….” said Big Boss Black. So shameless. How am I supposed to counter that?
“What fine quality gold,” Ning Xiaoyao cast covetous eyes on the Old Madame’s ornaments, then at the hole by the side of her head. The edges of the bloody wound even showed traces of white from her brains. Just how hard did that little white flower shove the old woman aside?!
By now, Grand Preceptor Xie had finally arrived in front of Lady Wang with a cold voice. “Are you going to leave mother’s corpse lying on the ground indefinitely?”
Custom decreed that males were forbidden to touch the corpses of their female kin. Even if Grand Preceptor Xie wanted to place Old Madame Xie’s body back in her coffin, he couldn’t do it himself. Lady Wang was still so fixated on her son that she had no thought for Old Madame right now. She turned to Grand Preceptor Xie and sobbed, “What about Anyi!?”
“Stop making trouble!” Grand Preceptor Xie roared. Stunned by the shout, Lady Wang soon became fearful at the sight of his cold stare. “Do well the things you’re supposed to do,” Grand Preceptor Xie said. “Do you really think you can save Anyi?”
Lady Wang shook her head at his question. She had no way to save her son even if she cried herself blind. Ning Xiaoyao approached the coffin and prepared to straighten out Old Madame Xie’s corpse when Shadowgale stopped her.
“Your Majesty, you can’t touch this corpse,” Shadowgale said. Ning Xiaoyao looked around at the various Xie Clan womenfolk before waving towards Xie Duoying, who was sitting off by herself.
“Miss, come over here.”
Xie Duoying pulled herself from the ground and slowly walked over to Ning Xiaoyao, feeling like her soul had left her body.
“She was still your paternal grandmother,” Ning Xiaoyao murmured. “How about you give her a hand and straighten the Old Madame out?”
Xie Duoying knelt down and straightened out Old Madame Xie’s corpse. When all was said and done, the Fifth Young Miss of the Xie Clan suddenly realized what had happened and looked down at the body once more. Then she let out a shrill cry and fell backwards onto the ground.
Ning Xiaoyao glanced over at Xie Duoying’s sitting position with her legs crossed askance. “Did you pee your pants from fright? Don’t be afraid. When I saw my first zombie—urk, when I saw my first dead person, I peed my pants too. But after awhile I got used to them, hehe.”
Neither the Fifth Young Miss nor the Dragon Guards could bear to hear such details. Despite the fact that this was the Xie Clan, speaking of such things to a girl was completely inappropriate.
“Your Majesty,” Xie Duoying looked at Ning Xiaoyao as she cried.
Ning Xiaoyao circled around Old Madame Xie’s body and arrived in front of Xie Duoying. “All of my Dragon Guards here are great chaps. Do you want to give them some consideration?”
Xie Duoying stopped crying only to stare at Ning Xiaoyao in confusion. His Majesty wants to marry me off to one of his Dragon Guard servants?! All of the Dragon Guards backed away at the proposal. No matter how beautiful the Xie Clan women might be, do we dare take them?!
Ning Xiaoyao took in the reactions of both parties. Alright, guess that was a fail.
Lou Zigui sighed as he approached Ning Xiaoyao. Girl, you don’t have any skills as a matchmaker, do you know that?
Xie Duoying ended up sitting on the ground and sobbing her heart out. Ning Xiaoyao pointed at each of her Dragon Guards in turn. You guys won’t even take a girl as beautiful as this? Aren’t you setting your sights too high? Or do all the men in this world prefer flat chests? (Author: Can you stop making wild guesses…)
Big Boss Black nuzzled Ning Xiaoyao’s face with his head. “Xiaoyao, you have to deal with the main issue here, remember!?”
The main issue? Ning Xiaoyao asked Lou Zigui, “Supreme Commander, did you come up with any ideas yet?”
Lou Zigui said, “Those seven men were the culprits who killed Old Madame.”
“Whaa?” Ning Xiaoyao didn’t understand.
“We can capture them using that excuse,” Lou Zigui explained softly. “To catch brigands, first catch their king. Once we have them in our custody, the soldiers under their command might very well be in our hands instead.”
Ning Xiaoyao couldn’t resist a temptation like that. The one thing she lacked besides money was military might! Shadowgale knitted his brows and asked, “Do we need to plant false charges on them? The Grand Preceptor will definitely protect them to the death. Moreover, they’ve yet to reveal any tangible motives, so how are we supposed to snatch them?” In Head Commander Shadowgale’s eyes, the idea was impossible.
“They won’t admit that they’re military officers, correct?” Ning Xiaoyao asked as she rubbed her chin in thought. Lou Zigui nodded. Military men who entered the capital without express permission faced the death sentence. How could those seven men ever admit to their crime?
“Then it was because of the money,” Ning Xiaoyao concluded. “Murder has three motives: money, passion, or revenge. Now, Old Madame Xie’s too old for passion to be a good motive, so no one will believe us if we cite that as the reason.”
“…….” said everyone else. True, nobody would believe that.
Ning Xiaoyao continued, “In terms of vengeance, the Grand Preceptor’s been guarding her very closely. How could we weave a tale of revenge out of thin air when no one’s had a chance to approach her? So, it can only be money.”
A Dragon Guard murmured, “They came to the Grand Preceptor’s estate to rob the Old Madame? But there are many retainers guarding the courtyards, ah.” We can’t pretend all their guards were dead in this situation.
Ning Xiaoyao’s gears turned quickly before she focused on the wound on Old Madame Xie’s temple again. Her eyes brightened as she declared, “It was attempted kidnapping, of course! They wanted to poison Old Madame Xie and use the antidote as a way to get ransom from Grand Preceptor Xie. But Old Madame caught them in the act. Since their crimes were about to be exposed, they simply went through it in spite of the consequences and—” Ning Xiaoyao made a pushing motion with her hands. “—killed the Old Madame just like that.”
“Then why did Old Madame Xie agree to meet with them in the first place?” another Dragon Guard asked her.
“Can’t we just make something up for that?” Ning Xiaoyao asked the group. “They lied to Old Madame Xie, saying that they had some precious treasure in their hands. Old Madame Xie wanted to buy it, so of course they arranged to meet.”
Shadowgale chimed in. “Your Majesty, a married woman of the inner chambers like Old Madame isn’t allowed to meet male outsiders.”
Now Ning Xiaoyao was stuck at that. She glared at Shadowgale and said, “Where do you guys get all these questions from?”
“……..” said the Dragon Guards. You’re blaming us for asking too many questions?
“The poison is still sitting in the Old Madame’s room, all ready-made,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “We weren’t present when those two groups decided to meet, so how would we know why Old Madame Xie wanted to see those inflated resellers?”
The Dragon Guards dearly wanted to ask Ning Xiaoyao what an ‘inflated reseller’ was, but her face was so covered in wrinkles from thinking too hard that none of them dared to speak up. Lou Zigui just ignored the foreign term entirely and asked, “What kind of poison?”
Ning Xiaoyao cast a glance over at Fifth Young Miss, who had already walked away, before whispering to Lou Zigui, “The poison that the little white flower was to use to kill Old Madame, ah. It’s still in Old Madame Xie’s quarters.”
“Who told you that?” Lou Zigui asked, curious.
Supreme Commander, you’ll never believe me if I said it was Cousin Magpie. Ning Xiaoyao sniffed a few times before admitting, “I bought the intel with some sugar beans. J-just like how I did just then.”
“…….” said Lou Zigui.
“You don’t believe me? Then, fine, a magpie told me,” Ning Xiaoyao admitted openly. “The one that was chirping earlier.”
Lou Zigui rested his hand against his forehead. “Are you sure the intel you bought with that sugar bean is reliable?”
(#‵′)凸, went Ning Xiaoyao. So you’d rather believe that sugar beans are valuable than to believe the fact that magpies can speak! (Author: Haven’t you realized that the Supreme Commander doesn’t believe in either of those?!)
Another house was swallowed up by the flames. Lou Zigui walked over to Grand Preceptor Xie and said, “I’ve heard that Old Madame passed away in her own quarters.”
Grand Preceptor Xie nodded. He’d told that tale to everyone who had came by to offer their condolences, so it was impossible to deny that now.
“Then we’ll go inspect her rooms,” Lou Zigui continued. “I believe that Grand Preceptor doesn’t wish for the origins of her death to remain unclear, either.”
“That’s right!” Ning Xiaoyao nodded.
“There are specialists for that,” Grand Preceptor Xie’s voice sounded a little hoarse as he replied. “Your Majesty, this subject wishes to invite the justice courts to investigate this matter.”
Lou Zigui’s voice was cold as ice. “This is His Majesty’s expression of filial piety towards the Old Madame as well. Grand Preceptor, are you planning to refuse him?”
Grand Preceptor Xie said, “This subject was already moved beyond tears of gratitude when His Majesty rescued Old Madame’s body from the flames.”
“You’re welcome,” Ning Xiaoyao waved a hand at Grand Preceptor Xie. “It’s what I should have done. Helping you again isn’t much for me either. Just because you can’t find the culprit doesn’t mean I can’t, right?”
Grand Preceptor Xie couldn’t help feeling wan every time he heard Ning Xiaoyao speak. This person doesn’t listen to anyone at all!
“Let’s go,” Ning Xiaoyao waved at everyone in the courtyard. “We’ll head over to Old Madame’s quarters for a look. See if the culprit possibly left any clues behind.”
None of the officials from the Grand Preceptor’s faction heeded Ning Xiaoyao’s summons, but Elder Li and his disciples all followed after their emperor. Because of that, the Grand Preceptor’s men were left with no choice but to follow suit. At the very least, Grand Preceptor Xie wouldn’t have to fight by himself if they were still around.
(Author: You guys….
Have you guys already labeled His Majesty as an irrefutable enemy of the Grand Preceptor’s estate? ╮(╯﹏╰）╭ )