Chapter 163: If you have the guts, come bite me Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
After hastily donning the dragon robes that Shadowthunder had brought over, Ning Xiaoyao prepared to go to court. Lou Zigui couldn’t bear the sight of Ning Xiaoyao’s lopsided bun anymore and used his hands and a comb to redo her hair into something more presentable for court. Shadowgale came running back from the Hall of Golden Chimes and stared at His Majesty’s hairstyle before he said, “Your Majesty, Grand Preceptor Xie has arrived.”
Shadowthunder grew upset at the news. “Shouldn’t he be thinking over his wrongs at home? As well as mourning his mother?”
Lou Zigui said, “Xie Wenyuan is still the Grand Preceptor, as such he is an important official in court. It’s not wrong for him to appear in court and ask His Majesty for official leave.”
“Then,” Shadowthunder tried, “Then what about him reflecting upon his wrongs?”
Ning Xiaoyao’s mouth twitched. “Don’t be so mad, Second Thunder. It’s not like I can kill him off, so my words are only worth farts to the Grand Preceptor after all. Let’s go, we need to get ready for another fight with him at the Hall of Golden Chimes.”
Aside from resting his forehead against his palm, Lou Zigui did nothing else. The head and second commanders of the Dragon Guards both privately felt that His Majesty would be so much better if he kept quiet more often.
“That’s right,” Ning Xiaoyao paused after a few more steps. “Call over Xie Anwu as well. He’s supposed to break off relations with his clan too, isn’t that right?”
Shadowthunder went running over to the Supreme Splendor Hall to summon Xie Anwu. Sometime later, Ning Xiaoyao found herself sitting on the throne in the Hall of Golden Chimes as an eunuch announced Grand Preceptor Xie’s request for an audience.
“Send him in,” Ning Xiaoyao said as she uncomfortably tugged on her collar. She looked ready for a brawl.
Grand Preceptor Xie entered, dressed in his white mourning robes, looking wan and sallow. Ning Xiaoyao waited until he finished his bows before speaking, “The ones who murdered Old Madame Xie were the seven men that I captured at the Grand Preceptor’s estate. Grand Preceptor, ah, I’ve already killed them all to avenge the old madame.”
Grand Preceptor Xie lifted his head to glance at Ning Xiaoyao, who looked nothing but stern.
“This subject thanks Your Majesty,” Grand Preceptor Xie expressed his gratitude, looking as if he was moved to tears.
Ning Xiaoyao replied, “No need to thank me, it’s something I should’ve done. She was my great grandmother, after all. Her death is a great loss to our Yongning, enough to blot the sun and moon from the skies, to cause the stars to fall into darkness, and that there, shock the ghosts and gods of the world to tears. In any case, I’m really sad.”
“………” said the gathered officials. Just what kind of nonsense is he spouting? A single old woman’s death is enough to shock the ghosts and gods themselves to tears?
“Old Madame Xie’s death told me a principle of the world as well,” Ning Xiaoyao blathered on with a serious face, “And that is, never reveal your actual wealth.”
Nobody had the skills to continue Ning Xiaoyao’s words. Grand Preceptor Xie remained unmoved as expected. “Those seven men were after her wealth?”
Ning Xiaoyao answered, “I think so.”
Elder Li couldn’t stand listening to their drivel anymore. He stepped out of the ranks to ask, “How could Your Majesty simply ‘think so?’” Your Majesty, aren’t you making yourself an easy subject for ridicule for the Grand Preceptor’s faction with such uncertain claims?
“Your Majesty,” As they predicted, a member of the Grand Preceptor’s faction immediately spoke up.
“You can speak later,” Ning Xiaoyao pointed at the official in question. “Can’t you let me talk properly first?”
How could anyone deny the emperor his right to talk? The official shut up.
“Those seven men had said that when the Grand Preceptor was younger, he took a fancy to one of their daughters,” Ning Xiaoyao continued on with a straight face. “But that girl had already promised herself to someone else. She was the faithful and unyielding sort, but for the sake of her son, Old Madame Xie forced her into Grand Preceptor Xie’s bed. That’s why—”
“Blasphemy!” Grand Preceptor Xie could endure all sorts of things, but such slander was far too much. He cut Ning Xiaoyao off with a loud shout.
“Yah,” Ning Xiaoyao waved a hand dismissively. “I didn’t believe it either. Grand Preceptor has plenty of concubines by his side and a mistress that he keeps in a separate estate as well as who knows how many paramours. He’s got enough to fill a cart full of them, so why would he need to snatch any girl who takes his fancy? I wouldn’t believe it even if you beat me to death!”
Elder Li had resumed his position amongst the ranks. Although he knew His Majesty was just spewing nonsense, he quite enjoyed listening to this brand of rubbish. Meanwhile, Grand Preceptor Xie had started trembling from head to toe. Grand Preceptor Xie’s faction wanted to help him out, but if they accused His Majesty of cursing the Grand Preceptor and he said he was just defending the man, they wouldn’t be able to pick out any faults. His Majesty was technically speaking in Grand Preceptor Xie’s favor!
Ning Xiaoyao went on, “Grand Preceptor, don’t get upset. I didn’t believe a word of what they said. We have to be magnanimous, you know. Magnanimous.”
Grand Preceptor Xie sucked in a long breath. “This subject thanks Your Majesty.”
“Hahah, no need to be so polite,” Ning Xiaoyao smiled at him.
Grand Preceptor Xie raised the self-admission letter he’d spent all night writing over his head and said, “Your Majesty, last night, this subject’s third son, Anshi, went and murdered several of the refugees in the capital city. This vile spawn was so sinister and vicious with his methods that even death would be too good for him. This subject was remiss in teaching my son and deserves 10,000 deaths.”
“……..” said Ning Xiaoyao. How heartless can he be? Xie Anshi might be of a bad sort, but he’s still your son, right?
“This subject asks Your Majesty to mete punishment,” Grand Preceptor Xie kneeled on the ground and kowtowed low against the floor. The eunuch on duty in the hall ran down the steps of the throne at Ning Xiaoyao’s signal to retrieve the Grand Preceptor’s letter and deliver it into His Majesty’s hands. Ning Xiaoyao would never do anything she didn’t want to, so she simply placed the booklet in an empty space behind her without reading the contents.
Then she commanded, “Rise. Your sons and daughters all owe you for this, so you might as well bear their existence, Grand Preceptor.”
Grand Preceptor Xie felt blood threatening to rise up in his throat again. This damned granddaughter of mine owes me too!
“Your Majesty,” a member of the Grand Preceptor’s faction took the chance and spoke up. “The refugees have rioted twice now. This official believes they deserve nothing but death.”
Seven to eight more officials stepped out of line to request the same thing.
“Mm,” Ning Xiaoyao leaned forward with her elbows against her legs as she cupped her chin in her hands. “You lot are real men, decrying evil just like that. Someone come, write down those officials’ names and everything they just said on paper. Make multiple copies and place them out in the streets for everyone to see.”
“This servant obeys,” Shadowgale loudly accepted the decree. The various officials were left stunned by Ning Xiaoyao’s orders. The first one who’d suggested killing all the refugees in the first place simply fell on his knees before Ning Xiaoyao. The capital’s refugees had enough gall to even charge into the palace, kill Tao Chen’s entire family, then douse Xie Anshi in oil and light him on fire. What was the difference between them and roving bandits?! If His Majesty does that, it’s equivalent to killing off our entire families!
“Oh,” Ning Xiaoyao continued, “A lot of the refugees don’t know how to read, so Windy, you should send out people to read the proclamations out loud. Let them know how to be proper people. If they won’t be docile, these officials will definitely kill them all off, oh~”
“Your Majesty!” one of the listed officials wailed and kowtowed against the ground before Shadowgale could even accept the decree.
“Aye, you don’t need to do all that,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “I know I’m a wise and brilliant guy. Whoever came up with these ideas can see through it themselves. The refugees are right out there on the streets, so you guys can take care of killing them. I won’t stop you.”
The various officials exchanged worried glances. Just the few of us? Even if they brought all their retainers and guards, they wouldn’t be any kind of match for the crowds.
Grand Preceptor Xie spoke up next. “This subject asks that Your Majesty call in the soldiers.”
“Call in the soldiers?” Ning Xiaoyao echoed. “No can do.”
“Why not?” Grand Preceptor Xie asked.
“What if the refugees charge into the palace again?” Ning Xiaoyao asked. “The city’s soldiers have to be on hand to protect me. Do you know why?”
Grand Preceptor Xie silently stared at Ning Xiaoyao, who jabbed a finger towards her nose. “Because I’m the emperor!”
Grand Preceptor Xie didn’t want to talk to Ning Xiaoyao at all. He’d much rather she dropped dead, but his features were nothing but respectful as he added, “Only by killing off all the refugees will Your Majesty surely be safe.”
“I’m a scaredy cat,” Ning Xiaoyao shrugged nonchalantly. “If too many people die, I’ll have nightmares. If I have nightmares, I’ll get sick. This is my emperor’s dragon body you’re talking about, you know. It can’t afford to be harmed in any way.”
Once again, Grand Preceptor Xie tasted blood in his throat before he forcefully swallowed it back down. The rest of the officials simply stared at Ning Xiaoyao. Is this another way of being talented with words? Although they knew her words were nothing but nonsense, they still couldn’t call her wrong, either. Both officials on and against Ning Xiaoyao’s side only felt dejected by the realization. They were supposed to be the experts in rhetoric and debates!
“I’ll have to trouble you for your labors,” Ning Xiaoyao told the officials who had previously spoken up. “I respect you all as true men.”
The officials all looked towards Grand Preceptor Xie with silent pleas in their hearts. Save us, ah!
Grand Preceptor Xie evened out his breathing. Lou Zigui had instigated the refugees to kill Tao Chen’s entire family and burn Xie Anshi, but that didn’t mean Ning Yu wasn’t involved in it as well. Now the girl was forcing those eight officials and their families on a path to death. What a poisonous girl she is, Grand Preceptor Xie thought as he lifted his eyes to look at Ning Xiaoyao.
Ning Xiaoyao was still wearing her stern face. Unfortunately, she still had baby fat and a pair of large, bright eyes. No matter how serious she tried to look, she wasn’t terrifying in the least.
That’s right, Grand Preceptor Xie lowered his head again. How could she have tricked me if she wasn’t so vicious and guileful to begin with?
Ning Xiaoyao was very self-satisfied. She mentally gave herself a ‘like.’ I’ve rendered the Grand Preceptor’s faction speechless with fear!
Lou Zigui took this chance to cough lightly. When Ning Xiaoyao glanced over, he gently shook his head.
What does he mean? Ning Xiaoyao scratched her head. Didn’t I do a great job?
Grand Preceptor Xie had turned around to look down at the officials kneeling on the ground, his gaze steady and determined. The sight of his eyes suddenly made the officials come to a startling realization. It was perfectly possible for the Grand Preceptor to move them and their families under the protection of the capital’s barracks. His Majesty might have said he wasn’t sending out any troops, but wasn’t it the Grand Preceptor who called the shots?
Immediately, one of the officials declared, “For the sake of Your Majesty, for the sake of Yongning, this official is willing to die 10,000 deaths.”
Ning Xiaoyao saw Grand Preceptor Xie and understood what was going on. He was the one with military power in his hands. Would the capital soldiers stay put just because she said so?
“Summon Xie Anwu to the hall,” Ning Xiaoyao called towards the entrance as she scratched her palms. Discussions broke out within the Hall of Golden Chimes. All of the officials had heard about what happened with Xie Anwu. But why were the personal matters of a Xie Clan concubine’s son being brought up at the Hall of Golden Chimes?
Soon enough, Xie Anwu arrived and knelt down to give Ning Xiaoyao a grand bow. Then he turned and prepared to bow towards Grand Preceptor Xie, who simply harrumphed and moved aside to avoid the gesture. He wouldn’t accept such rites from an unfilial son.
“Come and rise now,” Ning Xiaoyao made a lifting motion with her hand at Xie Anwu before addressing the rest of the hall. “When I was still at the Grand Preceptor’s estate, I had the best relations with this fourth elder uncle of mine.”
Grand Preceptor Xie wanted to spit up blood again. This damned girl, does she have to turn everything she say into nonsense?!
Ning Xiaoyao sat on her throne and extended her palms towards Grand Preceptor Xie. If you have the guts, come bite me. ╮(╯▽╰)╭