Chapter 193: In only a single morning… Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“This should be a daughter of the Wang Clan as well, right?” a Dragon Guard asked her.
“Mm,” Ning Xiaoyao’s face was somber as she answered. “She’s the daughter of Lady Wang’s own brother.”
“Lady Wang killed her?!” another Dragon Guard exclaimed in shock.
Ning Xiaoyao only shook her head and sighed. They stood in front of young née Wang’s bed and stared at her dead body with its eyes still wide open— sure signs of someone who died with a grievance. Time was needed for the group to absorb the scene before them.
“How in the world could she be so ruthless?” one Dragon Guard finally sighed.
Ning Xiaoyao was thinking over possible reasons why Lady Wang would kill young née Wang at all. Because of Xie Anyi? Or because of Old Madame Xie?
“Your Majesty,” another Dragon Guard asked, “What should we do now?”
“Carry away the body, we’re off to find Lady Wang,” Ning Xiaoyao decided after rubbing her nose.
The Dragon Guards dismantled a bedboard and placed young née Wang’s body on top, then lifted her up. Ning Xiaoyao lingered in the room for one last look around. The surroundings showed that the occupant had been planning to go to bed. Her outer robes had already been hung up while the bed curtains were half open. The covers were slightly pulled down and there was half a bowl of unfinished tremella soup still on the table.
“I didn’t even know the little white flower had died,” A’Mo told Ning Xiaoyao.
“That’s right, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao replied. “If Cousin Magpie hadn’t said anything to you, I wouldn’t have known, either.”
A’Mo asked, “Xiaoyao, are you going to take revenge for the little white flower?”
Ning Xiaoyao began to walk out of the room as she spoke. “How would I do that? Didn’t the little white flower kill Old Madame Xie as well? It’s nigh on impossible to calculate who owes whom at this point.”
Little white flower killed Old Madame Xie, so Lady Wang killed the little white flower as revenge. But wouldn’t that make Lady Wang the good guy in the end? A’Mo’s head grew dizzy from the thought. Humans are just too complicated!
Ning Xiaoyao exited into the courtyard, where she lifted the door crushing the various servant ladies. Now that the servants were too scared to make a racket, she asked them, “Little white flower died in her room, but you lot are just pretending nothing had happened?”
The servants knew they were doomed from the moment Ning Xiaoyao and her men walked into the bedroom. Now her words scared them mute as they stared at her in utter despair.
“Are you bunch in charge of waiting on the little white flower—young née Wang?” Ning Xiaoyao asked them next.
“No, ah,” Cousin Magpie chirped. “They’re Lady Wang’s servants.”
“Take them away,” Ning Xiaoyao pointed at the figures still on the ground as she ordered the Dragon Guards. The guards approached and started dragging the servants away. Ning Xiaoyao stood in the courtyard and gave a big thumbs up to Cousin Magpie resting on the eaves.
Cousin Magpie said, “Xiaoyao, I only just found out myself. Last night we were all watching A’Mo and the rest biting Grand Preceptor Xie, ah.”
Ning Xiaoyao thought it over and replied, “If it were me, I’d choose to watch Grand Preceptor, too.” Who’s never seen a murder before? Compared to being bitten by ants, killing happened everyday in the apocalypse.
The Dragon Guards heard Ning Xiaoyao speaking, but none of them asked who His Majesty was talking to. Their emperor was capable of sitting by himself in the palace’s little flower garden and chattering to no one for ages, so they had long gotten used to it. (Author: Your emperor is talking to the little animals…)
Young née Wang’s corpse raised a series of shrieks and screams as she was carried into the courtyard. More female servants fainted away fro the sight. The Dragon Guards carried the body over in front of Grand Preceptor Xie and Lady Wang before setting their load on the ground.
“This is young née Wang?” Elder Li asked loudly.
Ning Xiaoyao came in from behind the guards. “Old gramps, you’ve already seen her for yourself. Why ask the obvious?”
“Your Majesty clearly ordered you to take care of this young madame,” Elder Li raged at Grand Preceptor Xie, “Is this how you treat her?! Just who killed this woman?” It was obvious that young née Wang had been murdered by human means.
“Human blood, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao looked pointedly towards Lady Wang. “You’re certainly something.”
Lady Wang couldn’t stop shaking her head in denial, or terror, who could know.
“The upper beams of the house are crooked,” Lou Zigui spat coldly, using an idiom to express his views on the matter. If née Wang could kill her own niece, then it wasn’t strange at all that the Xie Clan daughters would harm one of their own sisters. Such was the Xie Clan trait. Many others could hear the implied insult in his words.
“Little white flower died last night,” Ning Xiaoyao said, pointing at the servants she’d ordered brought along. “I wanted to enter her rooms, but they even tried to keep me out. They were rather adamant about guarding the doors. Your ladyship, these are all your servants. Do you have anything else to say?”
Lady Wang only stared blankly at Ning Xiaoyao.
Ning Xiaoyao continued, “I think you don’t need to say anything else…”
Grand Preceptor Xie spoke up, “This was nothing more than a concubine.”
“But she’s still her ladyship’s niece, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao said.
Grand Preceptor Xie countered her words, “She had committed a grave sin, so I ordered her to be disposed of.” Whatever the case may be, the blame for young née Wang’s death can only fall on the head of the family. Despite his pounding heart and rising blood pressure, his mind was still clear on that point.
“What grave sin did she commit?” Elder Li asked. “Did you forget about His Majesty’s decree to watch over her carefully?”
“It’s merely a family scandal,” Grand Preceptor Xie said tersely.
Ning Xiaoyao nodded in reply. “Whatever makes you happy, Grand Preceptor.”
“Your Majesty!” Elder Li shouted at Ning Xiaoyao. We can’t just end things like this!
Ning Xiaoyao waved a hand at Elder Li. “Old gramps, we have no choice but to face the truth.” It’s not like I can kill that Xie husband and wife pair, so what’s the point of using an imperial decree to pressure them?
Elder Li knew the truth as well, so he was left with no choice but to stand there and fume.
“Your Majesty, this subject invites Your Majesty to return to the palace,” Lou Zigui spoke up.
Ning Xiaoyao replied, “Little white flower is now dead. Supreme Commander, do you think I’ll rest easy leaving Fifth Young Miss Xie at the Grand Preceptor’s estate?” Until she figured out exactly what Windy felt for Xie Duoying, she still had to preserve that beauty’s life.
At that moment, the doors to the boudoir opened up behind them. When Ning Xiaoyao saw Xie Duoying walk out from its depths, she was stunned. “What happened to your hair?!”
Fifth Young Miss Xie was now standing with a smooth, cleanly shaven head. She walked over to Grand Preceptor Xie and fell to her knees before him, then kowtowed three times. “Grandfather, your granddaughter’s sins are too deep. I am willing to spend the remainder of my life as Buddha’s companion to absolve my sins.”
Ning Xiaoyao couldn’t understand what she was saying. How could the victim have committed any sins?
Seeing that Ning Xiaoyao was about to speak, Lou Zigui tugged on her hand and murmured, “It’s no use, she’s already taken the tonsure on her own volition.”
Ning Xiaoyao then asked, “What does she mean by being Buddha’s lifetime companion?”
Lou Zigui replied, “She wants to become a nun now.”
“…….” said Ning Xiaoyao. If this beauty becomes a nun, what will my Windy do then?!
“Let us go,” Lou Zigui still wanted to leave.
Ning Xiaoyao stammered, “W-well, even if she shaves her head, her hair can still grow back.”
Lou Zigui looked at Ning Xiaoyao, curious. “One’s body, hair, and skin are all given to one by one’s parents. How could anyone damage these gifts?”
Ning Xiaoyao was out of the loop in regards to that. Why does that make it sound like getting a haircut is a really big deal?
“It’s no use,” the Lord Protector said from the side in addition. “This girl can only be a nun now.”
Ning Xiaoyao quietly stole a peek over at Shadowgale, who was standing there staring blankly before him.
“Such a sin!” Elder Li shook his head and sighed in dismay.
May I trouble Elder Li to help this young Miss find a quiet Buddhist temple,” Lou Zigui intoned to Elder Li. “She has drawn a pitiful lot.”
Elder Li nodded to show he agreed to the request.
“Is this fine now?” Lou Zigui asked Ning Xiaoyao next.
Ning Xiaoyao worriedly glanced at Shadowgale. “Windy?”
Shadowgale then bent forward and said, “This servant invites Your Majesty to return to the palace.”
Ning Xiaoyao said, “We can still try for it, you know.” For example, I can even make fifth young Miss’s hair grow back instantly.
Shadowgale still remaining bowing without saying a word.
Fine, then. Ning Xiaoyao scratched her head. Since Shadowgale’s rejecting my offer, so we might as well head back first.
“Do you want to come with me?” Ning Xiaoyao asked the little servant girl who was standing behind Xie Duoying.
The servant girl glanced up at her young Miss, then shook her head at Ning Xiaoyao with a timid voice. “Your Majesty, if this servant leaves, there won’t be anyone left to take care of Young Miss anymore.”
“Go on,” Xie Duoying told the servant girl. “Go and serve His Majesty.” The little servant girl looked at Xie Duoying with teary eyes, but she simply smiled at her. “Did you not just agree to help repay my benefactor?”
“Then let’s go,” Ning Xiaoyao headed for the exit. The longer she watched this, the worse she felt. It was far better to get out of there. The little servant girl trotted after them behind Shadowgale’s heels, turning to look back every few steps. When Shadowgale passed by Xie Duoying, he glanced at her, yet she didn’t look up.
Elder Li only looked coldly at Grand Preceptor Xie before beckoning towards Xie Duoying. “Come with this old man. I’ll help you find a quiet place where no one shall disturb you.”
Xie Duoying glanced at Grand Preceptor Xie, who merely waved his hand in turn. At this, Xie Duoying’s mother burst into tears, but she didn’t dare to ask for her daughter back. Xie Duoying followed Elder Li all the way out of the Grand Preceptor’s estate without taking a single look back. When Ning Xiaoyao stood at the entrance and saw the bald Xie Duoying get on a carriage and leave with Elder Li, she turned towards Shadowgale with his expressionless face. The sight made her fret and in her irritation, she knocked down the other door of the Grand Preceptor’s estate gates.
“I’m not eating anything today,” Ning Xiaoyao told the Lord Protector.
“Ah?” the Lord Protector asked, confused.
Ning Xiaoyao said, “Didn’t you invite me over for a meal?”
“…….” said the Lord Protector. After all of that, Your Majesty still remembers that this subject invited you home to eat?
“You can owe me one,” Ning Xiaoyao said seriously. “When I’m feeling better, invite me then, Lord Protector.”
Aside from saying ‘this subject accepts the decree,’ the Lord Protector couldn’t manage to say anything else.
“We’re going home,” Ning Xiaoyao commanded in low spirits.
The Lord Protector hastily asked, “Your Majesty, were you still considering this subject’s second brother for the post of Nine Gates Infantry Commander?”
Ning Xiaoyao paused and patted herself on the chest. “Oh, ah, that’s right. There’s still that.”
The Lord Protector fell silent again. Your Majesty, you forgot that, but not the meal?
“Your Lord Protector’s estate has agreed to take the post!?” Lou Zigui asked him.
The Lord Protector quickly nodded in the affirmative.
“Then be sure to have Pei Yan remember to come to court tomorrow,” Lou Zigui said.
The Lord Protector agreed. By the time he realized it should’ve been Ning Xiaoyao issuing the order, Lou Zigui had already placed her on the back of Little Red. Ning Xiaoyao waved goodbye to the Lord Protector and said, “Lord Protector, see you tomorrow.”
“Giddy up,” Lou Zigui urged his horse into motion.
Little Red galloped away and was gone in a flash. The Lord Protector stood dumbly in front of the Grand Preceptor’s now door-less gates and turned around to observe the estate. Then he looked back at the long lane that ran before it and marveled at the fact that it’d only taken one morning for one of the Xie Clan daughters to become a nun while the other six were ruined for marriage ever more. Lady Wang’s name was now completely wrecked as well.
Why does all of this feel like I’m dreaming? The Lord Protector couldn’t help but to wonder.