Chapter 95: I want to take this young lady as my wife Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“Let’s go to the Windward Pavilion,” Empress Zhou said after sending off Ning Xiaoyao. “The banquet’s already been prepared. It’s just waiting for all the ladies to arrive.”
The various ladies expressed their thanks before following their servants to the empress’s palace. Empress Zhou looked at the retreating form of young née Wang amongst the wives in the front. Empress Zhou was a daughter of a general as well, so she instinctively sympathized with Qin Xin. She silently shifted her gaze and secretly started to anticipate what His Majesty would do once he reached the Windward Pavilion.
Ning Xiaoyao returned to Supreme Splendor Hall first, where Lou Zigui was already waiting with Qin Xuan in one of the side halls.
“Subject Qin Xuan greets Your Majesty,” Qin Xuan gave a large formal bow to Ning Xiaoyao.
“You may rise.” Once again, Ning Xiaoyao had stepped to the side to avoid his bow. After Qin Xuan straightened up, Ning Xiaoyao studied the Jiangnan naval commander from head to foot. He was slightly shorter and more robust-looking than Supreme Commander Lou. His complexion was the color of wheat, and his features could only be considered ordinary. Despite this, everything combined to give him a rather dashing air. You could tell at a glance that he was one of those unyielding men of iron. The little person in Ning Xiaoyao’s heart broke into applause. Here was a good man!
“Your Majesty,” Lou Zigui furrowed his brows after he noticed Ning Xiaoyao staring at Qin Xuan.
Ning Xiaoyao shifted her gaze to Supreme Commander Lou. “Supreme Commander, General Qin looks stronger than you.”
“……….” said Qin Xuan. Is His Majesty praising me?
Lou Zigui’s expression turned black as his tone grew serious. “We don’t compete in raw strength when fighting on the battlefields.”
“………” said Qin Xuan. So, Supreme Commander Lou’s angry?
Ning Xiaoyao glanced at Lou Zigui’s face before she sucked at her lips. Really, his very existence defied natural laws. Ning Xiaoyao walked in front of the Supreme and Regional Commanders, only to find a great discrepancy between their heights and hers. Again, she suffered another heavy blow. The Grand Preceptor must have maltreated Ning Yu while she was living at his estate! (Author: Whether or not he did, you’ll never grow as tall as these two. Wake up already!)
“Your Majesty,” Lou Zigui said, “Grand Preceptor Xie’s fourth son, Xie Anwu, requested to meet with Your Majesty. This subject has already brought him into the palace.”
Ning Xiaoyao furrowed her brows in dislike. “Grand Preceptor Xie’s son? Supreme Commander, don’t you know I don’t make appointments with the Xie Clan?”
Lou Zigui walked to Ning Xiaoyao’s side and whispered, “Your Majesty, I think this person’s worth meeting.”
“Alright,” Ning Xiaoyao had a ‘I can’t do anything with you’ expression. “If you say so, so be it. It’s not like he can defeat me in a fight anyways.”
Qin Xuan was currently anxious for news of Qin Xin. When he saw Ning Xiaoyao and Lou Zigui whispered to each other, he turned impatient. “Your Majesty, this subject wants to ask about Qin…”
“Miss A’Xin is currently in the Supreme Splendor Hall,” Ning Xiaoyao said as she settled into the host’s seat. “I wanted to ask your opinion if I had Miss A’Xin divorce Xie Anyi.”
“Divorce?” Qin Xuan hadn’t even registered the word when Lou Zigui spoke up.
“You want née Qin to divorce Xie Anyi?” How can a wife divorce her husband?
Ning Xiaoyao said, “Originally, I was planning to annul their relationship, but now I’ve changed my mind. I want Miss A’Xin–”
Lou Zigui glanced at Qin Xuan before he covered his mouth and coughed, then shook his head at Ning Xiaoyao. Ning Xiaoyao only blinked. Did he have another secret to share with her? Lou Zigui saw that Ning Xiaoyao didn’t understand, so he could only walk up to her and bend down with a murmur, “You can’t say A’Xin.”
Ning Xiaoyao slapped her forehead. That’s right. She’d forgotten about the custom of girls and their given names.
“Zhen,” Lou Zigui urged again.
Ning Xiaoyao wanted to flip the table. Can’t I even talk? She thought over the words in her head before speaking up again. “If Zhen wants Miss Qin to divorce Xie Anyi, do you have any objections, Supreme Commander?”
Lou Zigui said, “This subject has no objections, but feels that it’s against the proper rites.”
“Proper rites, his sister,” Ning Xiaoyao replied. “I–Zhen’s speech is from a golden mouth with pearly words. If Zhen says divorce, then we’ll divorce.”
Supreme Commander Lou didn’t say another word. Girl, as long as you’re happy.
“General Qin?” Ning Xiaoyao asked next. “What are your thoughts? Why don’t you tell them to Zhen?”
Qin Xuan fell to his knees as if he was toppling gold mountains or felling jade pillars–having heard something inexpressibly precious. Even Ning Xiaoyao, who didn’t understand much about bowing at all, could sense the feelings behind his motion. Regional Commander Qin’s kowtow this time was much more sincere.
“This subject is willing to take the young lady as my wife!” Qin Xuan spoke loudly, word by word.
Ning Xiaoyao said, “Stand up and speak.”
Qin Xuan remained unmoving on the ground. Left without a choice, Ning Xiaoyao let him do as he pleased. “Miss Qin’s current condition is far more wretched than in the past. That there,” Ning Xiaoyao glanced at Qin Xuan, suddenly sensing he was about the same age as Miss A’Xin. “You’re younger than Miss Qin, aren’t you?”
“This subject is younger than the young lady by five years,” Qin Xuan said truthfully.
“Heheh,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “Five years isn’t a lot. At most, she could already run around while you were just a newborn.”
“Cough, cough,” Lou Zigui coughed again, looking helplessly at Ning Xiaoyao. Can’t you say something useful instead?
“She’s older than you and her looks are currently terrible,” Ning Xiaoyao told Qin Xuan. “When Miss Ji saw her, she was so saddened that she burst into tears. Even Zhen’s pet cat thinks she’s unattractive. Do you still want to marry Miss Qin even when she’s like this?”
“………” said Lou Zigui. That fat black cat has an aesthetic sense, too?
“Yes, this subject wants to marry the young lady,” Qin Xuan didn’t have time to wonder about the cat, but simply nodded at Ning Xiaoyao.
“Oh that’s right, Miss Qin is paralyzed as well,” Ning Xiaoyao added.
Qin Xuan suddenly leaped to his feet.
“You still want to?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“Wh, where is she?” Qin Xuan’s eyes had turned red with unshed tears.
That means he still wants her. “Third Rain,” Ning Xiaoyao shouted at Shadowrain, who was standing outside the hall. “Take General Qin to Miss Qin.”
Qin Xuan vanished from Ning Xiaoyao’s eyes like a gust of wind.
“Née Qin is physically paralyzed?” Lou Zigui asked.
“She’s been paralyzed for years now,” Ning Xiaoyao scratched at her palms. “But it’s alright, I can cure her.”
“Then that’s good,” Lou Zigui said in a low voice.
“Come on,” Ning Xiaoyao jumped up from her seat as she tightened her waistband. “Let’s go deal with that jerk, Xie Anyi!”
“Don’t move,” Lou Zigui reached out a hand to re-tie Ning Xiaoyao’s loosened waistband. “What kind of knot did you tie?”
Ning Xiaoyao didn’t answer. This was how she tied her shoelaces. Would it sound too stupid if she said that out loud?
“Xie Anwu is the Grand Preceptor’s son by his concubine,” Lou Zigui added as his flying fingers tied a new knot. “He probably requested a meeting with you because he’s planning to break away from the Xie Clan.”
“Really?” Ning Xiaoyao said. “Then what about his mom?”
“His birth mother’s already passed away,” Lou Zigui released his hands before adjusting the position of Ning Xiaoyao’s waistband.
“Does the Grand Preceptor maltreat him?” Ning Xiaoyao asked next.
“For an old and established family like the Xie Clan, concubines’ sons won’t amount to much unless they have exceptional looks or literary talents,” Lou Zigui murmured. “All they can do be stepping stones for sons of the legal wife, or act as their foils or footmen.”
“That tragic?” Ning Xiaoyao clicked her tongue. “But what if he’s just playing pretend with the Grand Preceptor so he can trick us?”
“Then I’ll take his life,” Supreme Commander Lou replied.
Ning Xiaoyao sighed. What was good about using violence everyday?
“Will you go to Windward Pavilion to meet Xie Anyi, or meet with Xie Anwu first?” Lou Zigui asked as he raised his hand to wipe Ning Xiaoyao’s lips.
“I’ll see Xie Anyi,” Ning Xiaoyao replied while pacing around in a circle. “Don’t you think I’m devastatingly handsome enough to emit a halo and crush Xie Anyi right underfoot?” Her height might be nothing to scoff at, but Ning Xiaoyao could vouch for her face, which was quite good-looking.
Lou Zigui rested a hand against his forehead. He could never understand what this girl was talking about. How would that ever do?
Ning Xiaoyao next heard the sound of a man weeping. When she paid closer attention, she realized it was coming from that man of iron, Qin Xuan. Ning Xiaoyao rubbed her nose and said, “Let’s go take a look at the Qin Clan sister and brother first.”
Lou Zigui’s heart gave a lurch when he heard Ning Xiayao said ‘sister and brother.’ “That’s right, they’re siblings. How are a sister and brother supposed to get married?”
“Isn’t Qin Xuan an adopted son?” Ning Xiaoyao couldn’t understand Lou Zigui’s words. “They’re not really related, so what are you worried about?”
“An adopted son is still a son,” Lou Zigui said.
“Then fine. That old General Qin sent me a dream,” Ning Xiaoyao went on as she rubbed her nose. “He didn’t want Qin Xuan to be his son anymore, but his son-in-law.”
“……..” said Supreme Commander Lou.
“Old General Qin showed up together with my Imperial Father,” Ning Xiaoyao added, “Supreme Commander, do you have any more objections?”
Lou Zigui sighed. “I don’t have any objections. I wouldn’t object even if they were blood-related siblings, but Esteemed Empress invited Elder Li this time as well. Your Majesty, you can tell your dream to Elder Li.”
o(> ﹏ <)o, went Ning Xiaoyao. Why did the empress have to invite Elder Li?! (Author: You’re the one who said to invite the important officials of the court!)
“Are you still using the dream excuse?” Lou Zigui asked.
Ning Xiaoyao walked out of the hall. So what if it’s Elder Li. I’ll figure it out when I’m there. She’ll check on the siblings in the meantime.
Inside the palace, Qin Xin was hiding her face with the bedcovers so Qin Xuan couldn’t see. Qin Xuan knelt in front of the bed and cried for awhile before he said, “You don’t want to see me?”
“You can leave,” Qin Xin said.
“Just earlier, His Majesty asked me whether or not I wanted to marry you. I said I did,” Qin Xuan reached out a hand to pull the covers aside, his voice choked with sobs. “A’Xin, I can finally marry you now.”
Qin Xin had no strength, so the covers were pulled away with ease. She quickly lifted her hands to cover her face instead. Qin Xuan held Qin Xin’s hands with his own. They were large hands, strong enough to wield a sword, but right now they were trembling.
“A’Xin,” Regional Commander Qin said, “I can take you home now.”
Qin Xin’s body stiffened before she burst into tears. Qin Xuan had half his body sprawled on the bed as he held Qin Xin and her covers alike like the most precious treasure in the world. In a low voice, he murmured, “I’m sorry.”
I’m sorry that when you were betrothed, I was nothing but a timid, inferior wretch who didn’t tell foster father about my feelings for you.
I’m sorry that when you were married, I didn’t have the courage to stop your wedding sedan chair.
I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to save you from the Grand Preceptor’s estate.
“I’m a coward and a weakling,” Qin Xuan said as he cried. “A’Xin, are you still willing to marry me?”
Outside the bedroom, Ji Yuerong’s face was already streaked with tears.
Ning Xiaoyao puffed up her cheeks. That’s right, Qin Xuan. Why didn’t you charge into the Grand Preceptor’s estate all these years and save her? She suddenly had an urge to go inside and beat him up. The heck was that?!
“With the late emperor still around,” Lou Zigui murmured by Ning Xiaoyao’s side, “If Qin Xuan had tried anything, both him and the men who helped him would be condemned to death. Née Qin would have been labeled as an unfaithful wife and forced to her death by the Xie Clan as well.”
“………” said Ning Xiaoyao, who had a sudden urge to whip the late emperor’s corpse. The heck was that?!