Chapter 154: His Majesty Ning wants to claim houses and properties Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“His Majesty has the heart to let you go,” Lou Zigui told the officers. “What do you all plan to do?”
The seven officers remained silent. If Xie Wenyuan’s untrustworthy, what makes us think His Majesty is?
Ning Xiaoyao said, “I’ll treat you guys to a meal.”
The seven officers gave her incredulous looks. Treat us to a meal? You mean, like a last meal?
When Ning Xiaoyao saw that the seven didn’t respond, she thought it over and tried again, “Then why don’t you guy raise some terms. Supreme Commander and I will see if we can accept them; otherwise, we can keep negotiating, ah.”
The seven officers wanted many things, such as glory, splendor, wealth, wives, and children. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have listened to Grand Preceptor Xie’s orders and brought their troops here. But now they found themselves at a loss to ask for anything. That was because Grand Preceptor Xie had their families’ lives at stake, trapping them in a hopeless game without hope of escape.
Ning Xiaoyao waited a while with no response. She spread out her hands at Lou Zigui and said quietly, “They don’t want anything, ah.”
Lou Zigui said coldly, “We’ll give you one last chance. Tell us what you want.”
The officers weren’t familiar with Ning Xiaoyao’s personality, but they’d long heard of Lou Zigui’s ominous reputation. They understood that if they insisted on keeping quiet, the man would take their lives. Finally, the officer that Ning Xiaoyao had saved spoke up. “If Your Majesty can promise that this subject’s family doesn’t come to harm, this subject is willing to be Your Majesty’s cow or horse.”
Ning Xiaoyao felt that these were difficult terms. She couldn’t very well run to the south and become a bodyguard. Lou Zigui smiled coldly. “A cow or horse? You’ve definitely said the same things to the Grand Preceptor as well in the past.”
Ning Xiaoyao patted Lou Zigui to indicate that he should shut up, and said in high spirits, “So, you’ve said these things to the Grand Preceptor too, ah. Then it should be easy to say them to me as well. Pledging loyalty, right? If you can do it once, why not twice?”
“........” said the seven officers. ‘If you can do it once, why not twice?’ Your Majesty, you’re not cursing us as disloyal, are you?
Ning Xiaoyao said, “We can discuss the stuff about your families later.”
The officer that she rescued replied, “How is Your Majesty planning to discuss it with us subjects?”
Ning Xiaoyao said, “No matter how brutal Grand Preceptor Xie may be, his men are still in the capital. News from the city will still take time to spread to your troops, right? If the Grand Preceptor’s orders are on its way to your homes, can’t you guys follow the messenger yourselves?”
“Your Majesty is planning on letting us go?” an officer spoke up.
“If I don’t let you go, am I supposed to raise you myself?” Please no, I’m already wracking my brains to death trying to feed all those refugees!
“Then what does Your Majesty want us subjects to do?” another officer asked in return. If His Majesty wants us to kill Xie Wenyuan, we don’t have the skills. Even if we charged in and kill him, how would we shoulder the revenge from the Xie Clan?
Ning Xiaoyao tugged Lou Zigui’s hand and murmured, “Can I ask them for their soldiers now?”
Lou Zigui pulled Ning Xiaoyao to the side and replied, “You really believe their words?”
“Ah?” Ning Xiaoyao asked. “Are they lying to me, do you think?”
Lou Zigui said, “Aren’t you afraid that they’ll turn back and work for Xie Wenyuan again?”
Ning Xiaoyao blinked doubtfully. “Would they?”
Supreme Commander Lou felt weary at heart. Ning Xiaoyao scratched her palms. Zombies only knew to eat human flesh, but didn’t have any other thoughts. But the people lying on the ground over there were all living humans, so it was hard to guess their hearts.
“Is there any kind of medicine we could use to control them?” Lou Zigui asked.
“Controlling medicine?” Ning Xiaoyao echoed. “You mean, like poisons?”
Lou Zigui nodded. “The kind that needs regular doses of antidote to keep the poison from killing its host.”
“.......” said Ning Xiaoyao. If I had poison powers, that’d be easy, but I’m the healer type.
“None?” Lou Zigui asked.
“N-none,” Ning Xiaoyao shook her head.
It looks like this girl’s master isn’t proficient in poisons. Lou Zigui had understood a bit more about His Majesty Ning. (Author: What can I say about that, o(╯□╰)o )
“Let’s take a gamble,” Ning Xiaoyao came to a choice after scratching her palms incessantly. “My drillmaster told…”
“Oh, my master told me once, the more you fear something, the more you’ll have to face it,” Ning Xiaoyao corrected. “The more we’re afraid they’ll betray us, the more they’ll betray us for real.”
Lou Zigui didn’t reply. What kind of unlucky master did she have? Just because you don’t fear something, you won’t run into it? Is this master trying to teach disciples or coax little children instead?
When Ning Xiaoyao recalled her drillmaster, her heart had a moment of weakness. All of her previous comrades-at-arms who’d fought side-by-side with her in the battlefields were forever apart from her now.
Lou Zigui patted Ning Xiaoyao’s head and whispered, “Where is your master now?”
“Somewhere I can never see again,” Ning Xiaoyao deflated.
Lou Zigui gave a start. So did her master leave her, or die? Judging by the girl’s expression, it seemed to be the latter.
Ning Xiaoyao sniffled a few times before reviving her spirits anew. “Supreme Commander, stop changing the subject. Shall we take a gamble this time?”
“Do that after you get the soldiers,” Lou Zigui replied. He didn’t want to place bets on things like this. It was very possible that these men would return to help Xie Wenyuan again. Why should they keep men like that alive?
Ning Xiaoyao ran to the beds of the officers and told them, “I’ll let you guys go and you’ll hand over the soldiers you’ve brought to my control, how’s that?”
The seven officers exchanged glances. All of their soldiers were southerners. Wouldn’t leaving them in the north keep them away from their homeland against their will?
Lou Zigui hurried over to add, “Those who join the army normally do it for a chance to stand out. You can have your men choose whether they want to leave their homeland and make a name for themselves.”
“Your Majesty is really letting us go?” another officer asked again.
Ning Xiaoyao vowed easily, “Yeah, ah. I’ll let you guys go, or may death strike me fast.” She’d made her promise so fast that Lou Zigui had no time to stop her. Ning Xiaoyao had spoke of a gamble, but this was a gamble for the seven officers as well. They were betting on whether this little emperor’s words were trustworthy enough to forgive them for bringing troops into the city and let them all go home instead of the dungeons.
“How’s that, ah?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“What should we subjects do upon arriving home?” one officer asked.
“Be a good person,” Ning Xiaoyao replied.
“.......” said the seven officers.
Lou Zigui rested his hand against his forehead and said, “All of you just promised to be His Majesty’s cow and horse, but now you’ve already forgotten?”
The officer that Ning Xiaoyao saved spoke up. “Can Your Majesty let us subjects discuss it first?”
Ning Xiaoyao was about to agree when Lou Zigui cut in. “You still need time to discuss? Where do you think you are? Just who do you think you’re talking to?”
The room fell into silence for a spell before one officer spoke up, “This subject knows his wrongs. This subject is willing to be His Majesty’s cow and horse.”
With one person taking the lead, the other six were quick to nod in agreement. After careful thought, they realized that they had no other choice. Ning Xiaoyao only felt that she’d accomplished yet another monumental task and puffed out her chest as she grinned at Lou Zigui. Lou Zigui pinched Ning Xiaoyao’s cheek as he shielded her from sight. How could she let her subjects see such a simple-minded, foolish smile?
“Treat your injuries first,” Lou Zigui told the officers. “When you’ve recovered, we’ll let you go home.”
Ning Xiaoyao and Lou Zigui were already long gone while the seven officers were still digesting those words. So does this mean we can live?
Ning Xiaoyao was humming a song all the way to the main audience hall. When she saw the pile of treasure recovered by Shadowgale and his men, her smile grew even happier. Shadowgale handed over a pile of papers to Ning Xiaoyao and said, “Your Majesty, these were found in the jars as well.”
Ning Xiaoyao looked at the papers without any sign of recognition. Lou Zigui pointed at two deeds and said, “That’s a deed for a house, and the other’s a deed for land.”
Ning Xiaoyao asked, “Does this mean finders keepers?”
Lou Zigui said, “There are names on that deed. If Your Majesty wants the house and land, you’ll still need to get the Xie Clan’s approval first.”
How could I put back a piece of meat already by my lips? Ning Xiaoyao hugged the papers to herself before she finally proclaimed, “This is the legacy left to me by Old Madame Xie, she doted on me a lot!”
“.........” said everyone else in the room. Is it really alright to make up such nonsense out of the blue?
“Windy,” Ning Xiaoyao returned the deeds to Shadowgale. “After you finish eating, take your brothers to claim these lands and properties. All of them belong to us now!”
“Ah?” Shadowgale was stunned. We’re claiming them overnight?
“Mine, mine, all mine!” Ning Xiaoyao poked at the papers in Shadowgale’s hands.
An imperial guard ran to the door and announced at that moment, “Your Majesty, news from the Grand Preceptor’s estate says that the Grand Preceptor spat up blood and fainted.”
Ning Xiaoyao fell silent. She had thought the Grand Preceptor to be a strong and firm man, but apparently even he had his breaking point. Lou Zigui told Ning Xiaoyao, “How about sending an imperial physician over to examine him?”
“I refuse to believe that their Xie Clan can’t afford a doctor,” Ning Xiaoyao was unwilling to spend the money. Imperial physicians were paid by the royal court, so why should she spare one for Grand Preceptor Xie?
“Send one,” Lou Zigui coaxed quietly. “Your Majesty is the sovereign and should be more magnanimous.”
Ning Xiaoyao didn’t believe a word of it.
“Do it for others to see,” Lou Zigui bent down so much that his mouth was right next to Ning Xiaoyao’s ear. Ning Xiaoyao’s mouth twitched. See, this is the truth.
“Then have the imperial physician go stroll around a bit,” Ning Xiaoyao decreed.
The Dragon Guard in charge of passing on the orders felt a strong headache coming on. ‘Stroll around a bit,’ can I really relay that as an official decree?
“Windy,” Ning Xiaoyao looked back at Shadowgale, “Take this chance while the Grand Preceptor’s unconscious to snatch those lands and properties.”
Shadowgale assented before asking, “Then what about the people still living in the houses, or the ones in charge of crops on those lands?” Three of the deeds belonged to crop lands, most likely used as part of Old Madame Xie’s dowry when she married in.
“Chase them all off,” Lou Zigui spoke up for Ning Xiaoyao. “Have them go find the Grand Preceptor.”
Ning Xiaoyao creased her brows.
“These lands are located in the capital and will be a good place to put many refugees,” Lou Zigui explained immediately “They can also be used to give the refugees work as well.”
“Then that’s what we’ll do.” As soon as Ning Xiaoyao heard those words, she stopped second-guessing altogether. Grand Preceptor Xie could take care of the people who’d been chased out. Shadowgale carefully collected the deeds.
Lou Zigui said, “The Grand Preceptor should already know what he’s lost. Take more men and horses with you tonight, including all the imperial guards who aren’t on night shift.”
“Is the Grand Preceptor planning to fight against us?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“He won’t show up personally,” Lou Zigui’s eyes were cold. “But he’ll instigate the servants who’ll lose their homes and land to rise against us with their lives.”
Shadowgale hadn’t paid much mind to his orders until Lou Zigui brought up this very point. His heart clenched at the words before a certain phrase rose in his mind: Cutting, Off, All, Paths, of, Survival.