Chapter 170: Empress Dowager Xie appears at Supreme Splendor Hall Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“This servant only ran into the Xie Clan’s Fifth Young Miss that day at the estate,” Shadowgale hesitantly admitted. “This servant didn’t speak to her, so that’s why I didn’t tell Your Majesty…”
“Enough, you don’t have to say anymore about it,” Ning Xiaoyao interrupted him. “So the girl you ran into was Xie Duoying?”
“Yes,” Shadowgale nodded.
In order to make sure she looked less tragic, Ning Xiaoyao kept a stiff face. This world is far too cruel.
“Your Majesty?” Shadowgale asked.
Ning Xiaoyao threw the strand of hair to the ground. She’d even been keeping it safe for Shadowgale’s sake, but never expected it to belong to Xie Duoying. If it’s that girl, then there’s probably no hope, Ning Xiaoyao thought. She is a girl with aspirations to be empress. If you tried to make a person run when she wants to fly, that’s simply unrealistic.
“Let’s forget about everything we just talked about,” Ning Xiaoyao told Shadowgale. “One, two, three—forget it!”
“…….” said Head Commander Shadowgale.
“Oh, Shadowgale! So you’re back, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao greeted Shadowgale anew.
Head Commander Shadowgale followed her lead and bowed once more. “Your Majesty, this servant has returned.”
“Sit,” Ning Xiaoyao pointed to a chair by her side. “Let’s have a chat.”
Shadowgale felt his head starting to throb. Why are we still chatting?
While Ning Xiaoyao was chatting about life with Head Commander Shadowgale, Lou Zigui was already sitting in front of the seven military officers and had witnessed them walking and moving about with his own eyes. Supreme Commander Lou discovered that he wasn’t the least bit surprised. After seeing Miss Ning nearly bring back the dead, he figured that something like this was only a logical conclusion to the ordeal. The seven officers lined up in front of Supreme Commander as if they were facing one of their superiors in the army. Since Lou Zigui didn’t speak after entering the room, they kept silent as well to wait.
Lou Zigui’s fingers lightly tapped the table by his chair before he spoke. “For the sake of getting you out of the capital as fast as possible, His Majesty used secret medicines from the inner palace. There’s only so much of it left before it’s all gone. You must all remember His Majesty’s grace.”
The seven officers all nodded. If Ning Xiaoyao were present, they’d be on their knees kowtowing by now.
“The imperial physicians might not have told you,” Lou Zigui added, “But if you hadn’t received this medicine, you would’ve been crippled even if you did recover from your injuries. It would have been impossible for you all to assume posts in the army again. From the start, Xie Wenyuan was never planning to leave you all alive.”
If they couldn’t return to the army, that was the same as cutting off their livelihood—and by extension, their very lives. The seven officers understood the implied meanings in Lou Zigui’s words.
“With the empress dowager at the palace, nothing you do will escape Xie Wenyuan’s eyes,” Lou Zigui continued. “His Majesty intends for you lot to leave the capital today.”
The seven officers felt their expressions tighten. They would rather leave as soon as possible, and were only worried that His Majesty wouldn’t let them go after all that had happened.
“Before you leave, meet with your soldiers first,” Lou Zigui added. “If you take your troops along, you’ll have more people and only pose a bigger target. Xie Wenyuan could stop you as easily as turning over his hand. It’s better to pack light and disguise yourselves if you want a chance to escape his assassins. Being his trusted subordinates, you lot of all people should be clearer than me on his methods.”
“Has Supreme Commander received some sort of news?” an officer asked.
“Xie Wenyuan wants to kill you all,” Lou Zigui replied simply.
The seven officers suddenly felt like the sky was falling.
“This is His Majesty’s reward to you all,” Lou Zigui brought out a few silver drafts and placed them on the table as he rose to his feet. “Make preparations. I’ve arranged for the Dragon Guards to escort you all out of the palace.”
The seven officers still had more questions to ask, but Lou Zigui had already left the room. One hour later, the seven officers kowtowed to Ning Xiaoyao outside the doors of the main audience hall before mounting their horses and leaving the palace via Dragon Guard escort.
“I’ll go follow them,” Lou Zigui told Ning Xiaoyao. “You stay at the palace.”
“You don’t need my help?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“Don’t run about,” Lou Zigui simply stroked Ning Xiaoyao’s head as he spoke.
Ning Xiaoyao said, “Then can you bring back some osmanthus honey for me?”
“Alright,” Lou Zigui agreed easily to her request. Ning Xiaoyao stood by the palace door to watch Lou Zigui ride off with the men before she asked Shadowbolt by her side, “But I still want to see all the fuss, what should I do?”
“………” said Shadowbolt. So the promise you made so easily to Supreme Commander just then was just a sham?
“I want to check out the Grand Preceptor’s estate, too,” Ning Xiaoyao added. “I feel like trouble’s going to brew there today.”
The fourth commander of the Dragon Guards said, “Your Majesty, the Grand Preceptor’s estate has been having no end of troubles over these past few days.”
Ning Xiaoyao was about to verbally agree when Grandpa Sparrow spoke from his perch above her. “Xiaoyao, we’ve gotten news of Supreme Commander’s older brother, come meet us in the little flower garden.”
“Forget I said anything,” Ning Xiaoyao shook her head at Shadowbolt. “I suddenly don’t want to go anywhere at all.”
Shadowbolt had been wracking his brain to think of excuses for His Majesty to stay. Now he could only blanch and wonder, Is it really alright for His Majesty to change his mind so easily?
Ning Xiaoyao was about to run for the little flower gardens when someone can running over from the empress dowager’s estate. Ning Xiaoyao shot an impatient look at the mama that Mute Nanny had brought in, and asked, “What’s happened with the empress dowager now?”
The mama replied, “Your Majesty, Prince Cheng has fallen ill.”
Ning Xiaoyao gave a start at the news.
“The imperial physician said that the prince caught a chill,” the mama continued with a worried expression.
Ning Xiaoyao said, “So he caught a cold, ah. Then won’t he be fine after he takes some medicine?”
The mama gave Mute Nanny and Shadowbolt a pleading look. What is a ‘cold?’
“See ya,” Ning Xiaoyao turned to leave.
“Your Majesty!” the mama cried out quickly.
“Impudence!” Shadowbolt cried in an even louder voice. “You dare to raise your tone in front of His Majesty?”
The mama hastily fell to her knees.
“It’s fine, since she’s yelled then let her yell,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “It’s not like she can scare me with a throat like hers.”
“It’s not because of that,” Shadowbolt said urgently. This is a breach of etiquette against Your Majesty. What does that have to do with scaring anyone?
“Then how do you want to deal with it?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“Beat her to death,” Fourth Commander Shadowbolt was the decisive type and got straight to the point. The mama’s form trembled.
“This Dowager would like to see just who’s the one getting beaten to death today!” Empress Dowager Xie’s voice sounded out from outside the courtyard, her tone filled with rage.
Ning Xiaoyao whispered to Shadowbolt, “How come she’s killing her way here personally?”
Shadowbolt simply took a step forward to shield Ning Xiaoyao from sight. Because the empress dowager had sounded too aggressive, his first reaction was I have to protect His Majesty.
Empress Dowager Xie was sitting on a cushioned chair that was being carried aloft by four eunuchs. She entered the courtyard, and Ning Xiaoyao pulled Shadowbolt behind her to shield him instead. “Do we really need to be afraid of someone with a broken leg like hers? Fourth Lightning, don’t be scared, ah. Your Majesty will protect you.”
Shadowbolt felt like dying from embarrassment. As the eunuchs set down the cushioned seat, Empress Dowager Xie stared at Ning Xiaoyao. “Your Majesty.”
“You hold on,” Ning Xiaoyao raised a hand before addressing the four eunuchs. “What’s going on here? My title as emperor is useless again? Why are you lot still standing in my presence?”
“We servants greet Your Majesty!” the people of the empress dowager’s palace quickly bowed to Ning Xiaoyao, who stood tall and straight in the courtyard. She didn’t like it when people bowed to her, but when faced with a high-level foe like Empress Dowager Xie, besting her in brains wouldn’t do it. She could only pressure her with her status instead!
Empress Dowager Xie gave a cold laugh. “Your Majesty’s finally learned some manners.”
“Heheh,” Ning Xiaoyao chuckled back. “I’ve always been full of manners. Hello, Empress Dowager. Why do you suddenly look so much older? Does breaking a bone age people too?”
“………” said Empress Dowager Xie.
“Tch,” Ning Xiaoyao clicked her tongue, before pointing at the mama who’d come to report. “This mama just said that Prince Cheng was sick. Why has the Empress Dowager come to Supreme Splendor Hall instead of taking care of Prince Cheng?”
“Ah,” Ning Xiaoyao went on, “Is it because Prince Cheng’s condition has gotten serious, so you remembered that I was a doctor and came to ask me to treat him?”
“This Dowager wouldn’t trouble Your Majesty for such things. This Dowager—”
“Oh, so it’s not that, ah. Then we have nothing to talk about. Hello Empress Dowager, goodbye Empress Dowager,” Ning Xiaoyao waved a hand at Empress Dowager Xie. “You can see yourself out.”
Empress Dowager Xie began to huff for breath. None of the people in the courtyard dared to lift their heads to see her current expression. Meanwhile, Shadowgale returned from sending off Lou Zigui and the rest, saw the scene in the courtyard, and rushed promptly to Ning Xiaoyao’s side.
Empress Dowager Xie simply blew her top and pointed an accusing finger at Shadowgale. “You cur of a lackey!”
Shadowgale suddenly realized that he hadn’t paid his respects to Empress Dowager Xie. He was about to kneel and ask for punishment when Ning Xiaoyao dragged him behind her too. “Don’t insult dogs if you’ve never been chased by one yourself,” Ning Xiaoyao glared at Empress Dowager Xie. “Didn’t you look in the mirror before coming to Supreme Splendor Hall? You’ve aged 30 years in an instant, so how was Windy supposed to recognize you?”
Shadowgale lowered his head and to stop looking at Empress Dowager Xie. 30 years in an instant and things like that—your mouth is really too venomous, Your Majesty.
When Shadowbolt saw the empress dowager’s face shift from green to almost black, he wanted to kowtow to Ning Xiaoyao in respect. Meanwhile, the empress dowager’s retinue were all thinking the same thing: Why does Esteemed Empress Dowager insist on facing off against His Majesty when she never wins?!
Empress Dowager Xie looked at Ning Xiaoyao, who raised her hands to prop up her eyelids. “If I look at you like this, I can clearly see every line and wrinkle on your face, Empress Dowager.”
“Ning Yu!” Empress Dowager Xie finally shrieked.
Ning Xiaoyao released her eyelids. “Aye, I’m here. Speak properly, we’re all civilized people here. Don’t shout abuses in public like ruffian from the streets.”
“Is this how you treat your imperial mother?” Empress Dowager Xie suddenly burst into tears. Ning Xiaoyao pursed her lips. [email protected]#[email protected]#*$($, when this woman can’t tear a new one into me, she resorts to crying instead. Boring!
Empress Dowager Xie sobbed as she cried out, “What’s the use of living when you’re like this?”
“Enough, stop crying,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “What are you going to do next, cry for the late emperor again? Why don’t you reconsider and try something else next time?”
“I’m speaking from the perspective of a doctor, you’ll only age faster if you cry!”
Empress Dowager Xie pointed a finger at Ning Xiaoyao, who had propped her head in her hands and said, “Look, I’m as fresh as a flower at this age.”
“……..” said everyone else. Do you want to anger the Empress Dowager to death?
Empress Dowager Xie saw that Ning Xiaoyao didn’t look an inch like herself and suddenly realized that it was too stupid of her to try and arguing with the damned girl. “Where’s that servant Shadowrain?” Empress Dowager Xie finally suppressed her temper to ask.
“He’s not here,” Ning Xiaoyao replied.
“He’s the one that made Prince Cheng sick,” Empress Dowager Xie said. “And you’re not punishing him, Your Majesty? Or did Your Majesty order him to get Prince Cheng ill in the first place?”