Chapter 83: His Majesty says, tear down the wall Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
While Supreme Commander Lou was galloping to Prince Zhi’s estate, Grand Preceptor Xie had left his own estate in his sedan chair. A guard had personally let down the door curtains before ordering the four sedan bearers, “Lift.”
The sedan bearers carried their load past the Xie Clan archway at the end of the street and headed for Prince Zhi’s estate.
Grand Preceptor Xie was sitting in the sedan chair. Since Prince Zhi refused to come to him, he’d visit the prince himself. As Prince Fu was still confined to the Hall of Punishments, he had to find a way to win over Prince Zhi, no matter what. The imperial clansmen weren’t as unyielding as steel, so he was 80 percent certain that he’d be able to win over Prince Zhi if he highlighted the advantages of their alliance.
By the time Prince Zhi reached his side courtyard, he didn’t enter the inner rooms, but waited in the receiving hall instead. Soon enough, Prince Xi, Ning Guangzong, arrived with the rest of the clansmen.
“We’ll speak in the study,” Prince Zhi didn’t waste words as he followed along his wall and took a shortcut to bring the dozen or so imperial clansmen to the study of the inner courtyard.
“Are we discussing Prince Fu again?” Prince Xi asked as he followed behind Prince Zhi.
Prince Zhi waved a dismissive hand. “His case is as plain as black words on white paper. There was even an Imperial Jade Seal to seal the deal. It’s useless to speak of him.”
“How could he have exchanged his 10,000 plots of fertile farmland for a single set of brushes?” Some of the imperial clansmen still didn’t understand Prince Fu’s reasoning.
None of the other clansmen replied. Prince Fu was not only one of their speakers, but their former leader. How could their leader possibly be an idiot? No one understood why he gave up his land for some brushes. Only a few even believed that he truly did it out of his own free will.
Perhaps he came to some sort of agreement with Ning Yu?
Perhaps Ning Yu gave Prince Fu some advantages in secret?
The clansmen exchanged glances, all of them wearing dignified expressions. Each of them had their own guesses about the matter, but none of them dared to voice it out loud and claim theirs was right.
“As long as His Majesty doesn’t bring up dismissing the vassal lords, we’ll be alright,” Prince Zhi said. “The only fear is whether His Majesty’s found an opening with Prince Fu. One ant hole may cause the collapse of a thousand-li dyke. You should all understand the logic.”
How could they not?
“The Grand Preceptor chose to dry out his brushes just as His Majesty came calling,” Prince Zhi added, “And how did His Majesty even know when Prince Fu arrived at the Grand Preceptor’s estate?”
At his words, the imperial clansmen’s faces all turned green and ghastly. In other words, the Grand Preceptor’s on the same team as His Majesty. They put on a show for us by pretending to be enemies, all the better to dismiss the vassal lords?
“This is a very important matter,” Prince Qi, Ning Guangbei, murmured in a low voice. “We need to verify it first. Xie Wenyuan isn’t someone who is easy to deal with. If possible, I think we should avoid making an enemy out of him.”
Once again, all the clansmen fell into a brown study. Who wanted to make enemies out of a powerful minister like Xie Wenyuan? But if he really wanted to dismiss them, how were they supposed to oppose him?
“Supreme Commander,” on the streets near Prince Zhi’s courtyard, a Dragon Guard who had set off in advance rode his horse to Lou Zigui’s side. Quietly he murmured, “This one saw many imperial clansmen’s carriages parked by the side courtyard.”
Lou Zigui asked, “Have you seen His Majesty?”
The Dragon Guard shook his head. “This one didn’t see His Majesty. It’s all quiet in the side courtyard as well.” His meaning was that anyplace with His Majesty would be a rowdy scene. Supreme Commander Lou could read between the lines.
“Did His Majesty head elsewhere?” a Dragon Guard asked.
“Circle the perimeter walls of the side courtyard,” Lou Zigui ordered. Maybe that girl isn’t entering through the front gates?
Where was Ning Xiaoyao?
His Majesty Ning was squatting at the foot of the wall surrounding Prince Zhi’s side courtyard.
“What do we do now?” Ning Xiaoyao asked her Dragon Guards. Shadowgale and the rest all stared at the wall, their expressions equivalent to one character: 囧
Before them was a round and chubby butt, as well a furiously wagging white tail. The snow wolf pup had gotten stuck in a hole beneath the wall. (o(╯□╰)o) Ning Xiaoyao tried once more to pull her precious pet from the hole, but the wolf pup only howled in pain. She ended up with a handful of white fur while the little pup was still stuck with its head inside and its butt outside.
“Your Majesty, you can’t pull any more,” Shadowgale told Ning Xiaoyao. “If this goes on, that little thing will turn bald.”
Ning Xiaoyao stared at the fur in her hands before cursing, “Why is the hole in this wall so tiny?!”
“……..” said the Dragon Guards. Why don’t you ask why you raised such a fatty instead?
“Aroo, aroo, arooooo, Xiaoyao, I want to go home,” the snow wolf pup said weakly. He had no more strength left. If he knew this was going to happen, he never would have tried to crawl through that doggy hole!
Ning Xiaoyao glanced over at Xie Laifu, the Grand Preceptor’s second steward that she’d captured along the way. “You work in the service industry, do you have any ideas?”
Second Steward Xie was silent. All he wanted to know was why His Majesty had captured him. He didn’t want to consider how to save a mere dog. (Author: That’s a wolf….)
“Smear on some oil?” Shadowrain suggested.
Ning Xiaoyao asked, “Which one of you brought some oil?”
All of the Dragon Guards shook their heads. Who would carry around oil to wander the streets? Ning Xiaoyao looked back at Xie Laifu again, who quickly shook his head.
“You’re a waiter of sorts, so why don’t you have a bottle of oil on you?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
How was Second Steward Xie supposed to answer that question? He didn’t even know what a waiter was.
Shadowbolt raised a hand and slapped Xie Laifu soundly. “His Majesty’s asking you a question, and you still have the gall to not reply?”
Second Steward Xie covered the back of his neck where he’d been slapped before forcing out, “The Grand, the Grand Preceptor doesn’t drink oil.”
All of the Dragon Guards felt their mouths twitch.
“Looks like oil won’t do it. Are there any other ideas?” Ning Xiaoyao didn’t have time to ponder why the Grand Preceptor didn’t drink oil. Her face was anxious as she sought help from Shadowgale and the rest.
“There’s an oil shop at the end of the street,” Shadowbolt said. “I could go buy some?”
“I didn’t bring any money,” Ning Xiaoyao said as she felt her bag. It was half filled with sugar beans but didn’t have a single copper coin.
Shadowbolt’s fair face stiffened. “This subordinate has money. This subordinate will go buy the oil.” Thus, the fourth commander of the Dragon Guards ran towards the end of the street.
Meanwhile, Shadowgale took out a dagger and tested out the wall before telling Ning Xiaoyao, “No good, there’s brick beneath the outer layer of dirt.” If it was a dirt wall, they could dig the animal out, but brick wouldn’t do.
Ning Xiaoyao sprawled on the ground as she checked the hole holding the snow wolf pup in place. “Well dang, it’s rocky down here too. I won’t be able to pry him out.”
“Xiaoyao, my tummy hurts,” the snow wolf pup whimpered. At this, Ning Xiaoyao grew even more anxious. If the stomach was crushed for long periods of time, the internal organs would get injured.
“How about I jump over the wall and pull him from the other side?” Shadowrain came up with another idea.
Ning Xiaoyao pressed her ears to the wall for a listen. “No good, there’s people coming.”
The Dragon Guards held their breath and listened against the wall as well. Indeed, they could catch the indistinct sound of footsteps. Ning Xiaoyao leapt up from the ground. There was no time to wait for Shadowbolt now. Moreover, who knew if using oil would even work?
His Majesty Ning came to a decision. “Let’s tear down the wall.”
“………” said Second Steward Xie.
“………” said the Dragon Guards.
We’re, we’re going to tear down the wall again?
Currently, Prince Zhi was leading the imperial clansmen out of the covered walkway. Once they passed through the flower gardens and the full moon gate, they’d reach the courtyard in front of his study. The courtyard walls were bordered by a pleasing bamboo grove, and Prince Zhi stopped here to speak. “Gentlemen, there’s no need to be too troubled. Even if His Majesty has teamed up with Xie Wenyuan, they won’t be able to dismiss the vassal lords unless they killed us.”
Outside the walls, Ning Xiaoyao had taken off her outer robes and tied it around her head.
Shadowrain asked, “We need to conceal our faces?”
Ning Xiaoyao replied, “What if we’re caught? Where am I supposed to find the money to pay the prince back for his wall?” There were people standing right on the other side.
The Dragon Guards thought this made sense. Since none of them had brought face masks along, they copied Ning Xiaoyao and tied their outer robes around their heads. Second Steward Xie stood on one side, afraid to even move. He didn’t get it. Was this person really His Majesty? You’re already the emperor. So what if you tear down Prince Zhi’s wall? Even if you dismantle his entire side courtyard, Prince Zhi can’t do anything against you. Do you really need to cover up your entire head?
Shadowgale took out his saber and prepared to smash the wall.
“That won’t do,” said Ning Xiaoyao. “If you break it down like that, the little wolf will get hurt.”
Shadowgale asked, “Then what does Your Majesty plan to do?”
“…….” said Xie Laifu. That fat furball’s a wolf?!
Ning Xiaoyao backed up a few steps, took a deep breath, and raised her leg to kick viciously at the wall.
Inside the walls, the imperial clansmen were still standing in front of the bamboo grove after hearing Prince Zhi’s words.
“His Majesty wants to kill us?” Prince Xi asked Prince Zhi.
Ning Xiaoyao’s foot made contact with the wall, which shuddered twice. The imperial clansmen felt the ground beneath them quake.
Ning Xiaoyao next slammed both of her fists against the wall. A few pieces of wall came loose from the top and fell, before the entire surface of the wall began to show cracks like ruptured ice. Inside the courtyard, the imperial clansmen were all staring stupefied at the sight. The courtyard wall stood staunchly for a few more seconds before it utterly collapsed inward. The resulting spray of flying rocks knocked two imperial clansmen clear to the ground with bleeding heads.
Σ(°△ °|︴, went the Dragon Guards. We really didn’t mean it!
Ning Xiaoyao quickly took the snow wolf pup into her arms and stroked his tummy. He was fine, so she stopped worrying. Then she stuffed the wolf down the front of her robes. By the time she looked up again, it was to see Prince Zhi. They were separated from each other by a single grove of bamboo trees.
“S-should we run?” Shadowrain asked in a trembling voice.
Ning Xiaoyao thought it over before touching her face, which was still wrapped up in her clothes. “What are we afraid of?” Ning Xiaoyao told the Dragon Guards. “That prince was having a private affair with the Northern Hu. Today’s the perfect chance to beat him up!”
It was ‘private business deal,’ not ‘private affair.’ Shadowrain wanted to correct His Majesty’s words, but Shadowgale had already led the other Dragon Guards towards the imperial clansmen with sabers drawn before he could speak up. In the end, Shadowrain unsheathed his own saber and followed them in. Ning Xiaoyao picked up a brick from the ground and prepared to charge forward when Shadowgale ran back to shield her behind him.
“Your Majesty, you can’t attack,” he said in a small voice, “Your figure is too obvious.”
Ning Xiaoyao stiffened in place as she weighed the brick in her hands. She was as flat as an airport runway and as skinny as a stick. Indeed, her figure was quite unique.
“Who are you people?!” Prince Zhi shouted. Everyone on the streets had heard the commotion from the walls. Prince Zhi’s guards, retainers, and the other guards of the imperial clansmen all ran to the scene. Shadowgale waved his saber and joined the fight anew. Ning Xiaoyao glanced at the brick in her hands, then at Prince Zhi, who was still shouting for identification from Shadowrain. She aimed for Prince Zhi’s face and threw her brick.
“Prince!” a guard felt something off with the wind currents by Prince Zhi and pulled him aside to duck the blow.
The guard had done his best, but Prince Zhi still let out a wretched scream. He’d managed to preserve his eyes and nose, but not his teeth. Over half of them had been sent flying by the brick.
“Kill!” Shadowgale shouted.
Second Steward Xie wanted to kneel at His Majesty’s feet. Just what kind of ruckus was this, ahhhhhhhhhhh?!?