Chapter 116: Yan Hong, a girl wearing a flowery dress Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Lou Zigui didn’t even look at Xie Anshi as he ordered, “Take him away.”
A few imperial guards stepped forward to grab Xie Anshi, who fumed, “Lou Zigui, don’t act too outrageously!”
A general of the Black Frost Cavalry stepped forward, shoved aside the two guards shielding Xie Anshi, and punched the man. When the Grand Preceptor’s guards saw their third young master get hit, they had no choice but to charge forward in retaliation. The imperial guards had His Majesty as their backing, so they wouldn’t fear the Grand Preceptor’s men. The two factions broke out into a full-on fight.
Ning Xiaoyao found the spot on the wall where she’d hid with Ning Xiaoluo and perched there once more with Shadowgale by her side. The other Dragon Guards perched directly in the trees as there was no more room on the wall itself. Ning Xiaoyao was quite excited to see a fight break out, but when she recalled how Supreme Commander Lou had told her to stay hidden, she held back her urge to join the fray.
Lou Zigui’s expression didn’t change as they fought. He saw Fang Tang run out and down from the rock formation and asked him in a low voice, “How is it?”
Fang Tang replied, “The stone door’s been completely scorched black. It’s not hot anymore, though, so the fire’s probably burnt itself out inside.”
“Open it,” Lou Zigui said.
Fang Tang murmured an assent as he nodded, before taking men back with him to the rockery. Ning Xiaoyao had said that there was red smoke after the fire. Lou Zigui and the rest were all familiar with the description. Such poisonous smoke was usually used to rot away the skins of its victims. But once kerosene containing the poison burnt itself out with flames, the toxin would disperse as well leaving the area safe to enter. Fang Tang and his men opened the stone door at the same time the imperial guards beat Xie Anshi and his men out of the courtyard.
“No fire or smoke,” Fang Tang shouted as he stood at the entrance to the basement.
“Go in,” Lou Zigui ordered. Fang Tang covered his face with a damp towel before bringing his men inside.
“Bring back a message,” Xie Anshi instructed one of his guards from outside the courtyard gates. “If my father’s still unconscious, find whoever’s in charge of affairs at the estate.”
The guard accepted the orders, pushed aside the people blocking his way, and ran off. One of the courtyard’s other guards noticed Xie Anshi sending off a man and wanted to remind him that it was impossible for anyone to leave the courtyard since the back alley was filled with imperial guards. After seeing Xie Anshi’s unsightly complexion, he decided to stay quiet for now.
Meanwhile, the men inside the basement were bringing up the bodies one by one. Ning Xiaoyao saw two imperial guards carry another person to the pile of corpses and add it to the growing stack. Thanks to her genetically enhanced vision, she could tell this new body was a corpse as well.
“That should be the driver of the carriage that had the bodies of Ning Xiaoluo’s guards,” Shadowgale explained in a low voice. “He’s from the Grand Preceptor’s estate.”
Fang Tang was the last man out of the basement. He stood at the entrance and shouted, “Supreme Commander, there are no more bodies inside.” In response, Lou Zigui waved a hand at the entrance to the courtyard.
“Go in!” an imperial guard shoved Xie Anshi roughly. Once again, Xie Anshi entered the courtyard. When he saw the stack of bodies before him, he quickly counted the pile of corpses. It matched his recorded number from before, so he set his worries at rest. Originally, the plan was to open the stone doors tomorrow and have his father count the bodies. However, Lou Zigui’s arrival had disrupted their plans. Despite all that, he smiled coldly in his heart. So what if Lou Zigui saw these bodies? They’d been distorted beyond recognition, thanks to the poison smoke. The corpses would be completely useless to him.
Lou Zigui approached the bodies and glanced at a few of them that were lying face-up. All of them had gaping mouths, a signature of death from asphyxiation. Their bodies and faces alike were covered in abscesses.
“What did you use the basement for?” Fang Tang shouted at Xie Anshi.
“Storage,” Xie Anshi replied.
Fang Tang raised a hand, fighting the urge to strike him. Storage? Is this bastard whelp treating me as a monkey?
“Take the corpses away,” Lou Zigui ordered coldly. “Find someone to do an autopsy on the bodies.”
“Lou Zigui, these are my Grand Preceptor estate’s men,” Xie Anshi raised his voice.
Lou Zigui turned to walk towards Xie Anshi. He was much taller than the other man, and lowered his head to whisper into Xie Anshi’s ear, “Just then, you asked Fang Tang just what kind of thing he was. Now I’m asking you--what kind of thing do you think you are?”
Xie Anshi’s expression wavered between anger and fear.
“A good-for-nothing,” Lou Zigui answered his own question as he strode past him.
Pairs of imperial guards came to carry away the bodies one by one. Perched on the wall, Shadowgale asked Ning Xiaoyao, “Your Majesty, shall we leave as well?”
Ning Xiaoyao said, “Windy, do you think that bloke Xie Anshi will cry after Supreme Commander’s bullied him?”
“..........” said Shadowgale. What does that have to do with me?
Lou Zigui’s group left as quickly as they came. In the blink of an eye, they had all retreated. Ning Xiaoyao and Shadowgale didn’t have a show to watch anymore. They were about to leave as well when a young woman clothed a flowery dress entered the courtyard. She burst into tears upon seeing Xie Anshi.
“Third young master, those soldiers scared me to death!”
“Who’s she?” Ning Xiaoyao squatted back down on the wall.
“She doesn’t look like a good woman,” Shadowgale remarked.
“Yan Hong,” Xie Anshi spoke.
As soon as Ning Xiaoyao heard this name, she grew enlightened and told Shadowgale, “Yan Hong, that’s Xie Laibao’s lover.”
Shadowgale said, “Even a steward like Xie Laibao has a kept woman of his own?”
“He has money, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao said sourly. “Not like me!” I even had to return what I had!
Head Commander Shadowgale had no way to comfort His Majesty this time.
Yan Hong stood in front of Xie Anshi as she wiped her tears, quietly telling him how frightened she’d been. Xie Anshi even had the patience to stand under his umbrella and listen to her chatter.
“Pah,” one of the Dragon Guards spat. “Shameless.”
Ning Xiaoyao said, “It really is shameless. That bastard even wants to steal away Xie Laibao’s woman!”
All of the Dragon Guards joined Ning Xiaoyao is cursing Xie Anshi’s shamelessness, but Shadowgale was an insightful type. After wiping rainwater off his face, he said, “Your Majesty, Xie Anshi should know about the relationship between that woman and Xie Laibao. The very fact that the Grand Preceptor trusts Xie Laibao is enough for Xie Anshi to set aside his airs before that woman.”
Ning Xiaoyao rubbed her chin, lost in thought. The more she watched Yan Hong and Xie Anshi, the more unsightly they seemed. Xie Anshi hadn’t moved his eyes from Yan Hong’s chest the entire time. As for Yan Hong herself...Ning Xiaoyao spat again. It’s a crime to have a figure that good! (Author: If you’re jealous, just say it outright, o(╯□╰)o)
“His eyes are completely fixated on that woman’s chest,” one of the Dragon Guards observed. “Your Majesty, this servant feels that the Xie young master’s just shy of copping a feel for himself.”
“Reputation’s very important,” Ning Xiaoyao muttered to herself. Everyone looked at Ning Xiaoyao. Why bring reputation up now?
Ning Xiaoyao’s eyes were dancing. “Say guys, if anything happens between Xie Anshi and Xie Laibao’s lover, would that jerk drown in all his saliva?”
“............” said the Dragon Guards. His Majesty had ruined the Xie Clan’s eldest son during the day, but now he was aiming for their third son as well?
Shadowgale asked, “Your Majesty, are you going to drug them?”
“...........” said the Dragon Guards. Is it alright for you to be so blunt, Head Commander?
“I don’t have any drugs on me, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “Windy, do you carry those ‘heheheh’ drugs on you all the time?”
It was the first time the Dragon Guards had heard of anything called a ‘heheheh’ drug. Dammit, and they knew instantly what it meant!
Shadowgale’s face immediately flushed as he violently shook his head. “I don’t. I don’t have drugs like that.”
Ning Xiaoyao rubbed her nose. “Even if you did, I wouldn’t give it to Xie Anshi. Why should we help him achieve his aims?”
Is that really his aim? All of the Dragon Guards fell silent at that.
Ning Xiaoyao dug out a brick from the wall and broke it in half, before telling the Dragon Guards, “Watch this.”
Shadowgale thought it over. Supreme Commander Lou had never told him that His Majesty couldn’t crack Xie Anshi’s head open, too. Thus, all he did was stare at the piece of brick in Ning Xiaoyao’s hands and asked, “Isn’t it a little too small?”
Ning Xiaoyao shook her head as she threw the chunk of brick in her hands. It whizzed through the air before coming in contact with its target. Yan Hong felt a sudden pain behind her left knee before her leg involuntarily bent forwards.
“That’s what we call a conditioned reflex,” Ning Xiaoyao said.
As soon as Yan Hong’s leg bent, she toppled forwards as well. Xie Anshi subconsciously reached out to catch her as she fell until the two of them looked like they were locked in an embrace.
“Shameless!” Ning Xiaoyao cursed from her perch on the wall.
“Someone’s coming!” Shadowgale cautiously pulled Ning Xiaoyao back. “Your Majesty, be careful.”
Ning Xiaoyao had long heard the sound of footsteps coming towards the garden thanks to her enhanced hearing, but she didn’t care. The more people who saw them the better. Soon enough, two generals wearing helmets and armor led the way into the courtyard. Shadowgale recognized the pair and told Ning Xiaoyao, “It’s the Luo brothers from the left barracks in the capital.”
Ning Xiaoyao had no idea who they were, but nodded her head anyways. Shadowgale’s expression, however, shifted into an odd look.
“What’s up?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
Shadowgale said, “Xie Anshi’s wife née Luo is their little sister.”
Little sister? Ning Xiaoyao’s mouth gaped. She felt like she’d done something unthinkable again.
“Xie Anshi?!” one of the generals lost his temper as soon as they entered the courtyard and saw Xie Anshi hugging Yan Hong. After shouting Xie Anshi’s name, he started charging towards the pair.
Xie Anshi quickly shoved Yan Hong aside. Ning Xiaoyao jumped off the wall and ran forward despite Shadowgale’s attempts to stop her. Xie Anshi had shoved Yan Hong so hard that she fell straight to the ground. Ning Xiaoyao squatted by Yan Hong’s side and rubbed some muddy water on her face before she shouted, “Lady? Lady?!”
“Lady?” Xie Anshi’s two brother-in-laws turned to glare at Xie Anshi.
Ning Xiaoyao cried, “Third young master, how could you treat her ladyship like this?”
All of the Grand Preceptor’s men were caught off guard by the sudden turn of events. Where did this muddy-faced brat come from? No wait--when did Yan Hong become a woman with the official status of ‘lady?’
Yan Hong recovered her wits and wanted to shout, but Ning Xiaoyao pinched the side of her waist so hard that she fainted away from the pain.
“W, who are you supposed to be?” Xie Anshi asked Ning Xiaoyao.
“Ah?” Ning Xiaoyao said. “Third young master, you sent me to wait on her ladyship, ah.”
He even sent someone to specially wait on his kept woman? The two Luo brothers raised their hands to thrash Xie Anshi’s face. Our Luo Clan would never allow our daughters to have the same fate as née Qin!
When Lou Zigui had heard news of the capital’s barracks sending their soldiers to the house, he’d returned with his men on account of his worry. As soon as he reached the courtyard, it was to see Luo Rui[1. Luo Rui (骆瑞) - Luo is a surname that means “white horse with a black mane” in archaic Chinese, Rui means “token made of jade, auspicious sign, good omen/good luck.] beating up Xie Anshi. Supreme Commander Lou gave a start before he noticed a certain Miss Ning squatting on the side.
This is your doing, isn’t it? You must have done something again!
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