Chapter 164: Oil Jar advances on the enemy Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Elder Li knew what was going to happen, but for the sake of playing along, he asked, “Your Majesty, why did you summon this man to the audience hall?”
“It’s not a big deal,” Ning Xiaoyao said cheerfully, “I’m just getting my fourth uncle out of his family---that is, severing his ties to his clan.”
“........” said the officials. Isn’t that actually a huge deal?!
Having been born and raised in the apocalypse, Ning Xiaoyao naturally had no idea how customs worked in this world. Those who wanted to leave their clans not only had to open the ancestral halls and burn incense in respect to the deceased, but also have to assemble all the elders in the family and leave the record of separation in the hall as a formal farewell to the ancestors. They also needed to leave a record with the local authorities and other trivial details to make the severance official.
“Grand Preceptor, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao said carelessly. “Fourth uncle will be his own man from now all. I’ll have someone pick up my fourth aunt from the Xie estate later.”
Xie Anwu only had one wife and no concubines. The couple had yet to bear any children, which was why Xie Anwu dared to sneak his wife out of the estate and hide her away before leaving the clan on his own.
Grand Preceptor Xie said, “His wife isn’t at the Grand Preceptor’s estate.”
“Oh, that saves us time, then,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “But we’ll still need to get fourth uncle’s possessions from the estate. I’ll have someone pick them up.”
“Possessions?” Grand Preceptor Xie smiled coldly.
“That’s right, he’s still your son. Grand Preceptor, could you bear to let my fourth uncle and aunt starve to death?” Ning Xiaoyao asked. “That doesn’t sound very good.”
Grand Preceptor Xie replied, “Isn’t Your Majesty on best relations with him?”
“Whaa?” Ning Xiaoyao’s eyes widened. “Grand Preceptor, do you mean to say that I should raise your son for you? Sure, we’re on good enough terms to be pals, but does that mean I’m responsible for keeping him alive?”
“........” said Grand Preceptor Xie. None of the other officials could understand it either. Why does Grand Preceptor still try to talk back against His Majesty? It’s obvious he’s no match for the emperor.
Grand Preceptor Xie looked towards Xie Anwu next, who had already stood up and lowered his head after he didn’t catch his father’s eye the first time. Grand Preceptor Xie asked, “You’re really cutting yourself off from the clan?”
Hearing this, Ning Xiaoyao grew a little anxious. But Xie Anwu only nodded once and said, “Yes, your son is unfilial.”
“Grand Preceptor doesn’t want you to be filial,” Ning Xiaoyao interrupted. “He’ll be less vexed once you’re gone and he can’t see you anymore. Fourth uncle, ah, where will we ever find a son as filial as you under the Heavens?”
Xie Anwu’s face turned red at Ning Xiaoyao’s words. His Majesty’s just too good at spewing nonsense.
Grand Preceptor Xie looked at Ning Xiaoyao and said, “How did Your Majesty know that this subject found the sight of his son weary?”
“Hm?” Ning Xiaoyao said. “Did I misunderstand the situation? Didn’t Grand Preceptor plan for fourth uncle to do business in the south? And to send him as far away as possible?”
None of the officials in the hall found this strange. Concubine-born sons only existed to support the sons born of the proper wives. For Grand Preceptor Xie to send his concubine’s son to the south wasn’t wrong at all. But the fact that Xie Anwu was abandoning the clan over something like that earned their sneers and disdainful looks. A concubine’s son with too much ambition couldn’t be kept in the main family.
Lou Zigui coughed again and lightly shook his head at Ning Xiaoyao, indicating that she should quit while she was still ahead. Ning Xiaoyao saw Xie Anwu clenching his fists and realized she’d hurt him instead of Grand Preceptor Xie with her words. After some thought, she continued, “You knew I was on good terms with fourth uncle and esteemed him highly, yet you chased him off to the south. Grand Preceptor, that’s like slapping me in the face, oh.”
Grand Preceptor Xie held back the blood in his throat and bowed towards Ning Xiaoyao. “This subject wouldn’t dare.”
At Ning Xiaoyao’s words, the various officials’ thoughts shifted again. It looks like it wasn’t the problem of the concubine son’s ambitions, but instead another conflict between His Majesty and Grand Preceptor Xie again.
“This subject definitely wasn’t…”
“Let’s just leave it at that,” Ning Xiaoyao didn’t let Grand Preceptor Xie finish. One of the tenets of mindless blathering was to make sure the other party didn’t get a chance to refute your words. “Fourth uncle, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao said next. “Take a trip to Jiangnan for me and uh, that thing.” For a second, she forgot how to say imperial envoy. o(╯□╰)o
Lou Zigui saw Ning Xiaoyao getting tongue-tied and hastened to salvage the conversation. Your Majesty, this subject believes that Xie Anwu could act as your imperial envoy.”
Grand Preceptor Xie spat coldly, “This son has never taken the imperial examinations nor done any merit for his country. Dare I ask Your Majesty what rank of government post befits him?”
An official with a rank would have to receive wages from the court---a set salary with no room to haggle. At this, Ning Xiaoyao simply said, “No rank required. Fourth uncle is acting as my personal representative and my eyes and ears.”
Xie Anwu kowtowed towards Ning Xiaoyao. “This commoner accepts the decree.”
Ning Xiaoyao rose to her feet. “Then that’s that. Everyone’s dismissed.”
Grand Preceptor Xie raised his voice. “Your Majesty, the Nine Gate…”
“As for Tao Chen’s replacement,” Ning Xiaoyao wrested back the topic to her side. “Everyone can make your own suggestions. We’ll get into the details at the next morning assembly. That’s all for now, hello Grand Preceptor, goodbye Grand Preceptor.” She slipped off the throne and ran like mad. Grand Preceptor Xie only saw a flash before his eyes before His Majesty Ning disappeared from sight. All of the officials couldn’t help but think, His Majesty certainly runs fast…
Grand Preceptor Xie looked back at Xie Anwu, who was still kneeling on the ground. Lou Zigui approached the man and said, “Get up now. You’re a man working in the service of His Majesty, so there’s no need to mind how others see you.”
Xie Anwu rose to his feet before giving a low bow to Grand Preceptor Xie, who tossed his sleeves and stalked off. By the time he left the palace with his retinue crowding around him, Ning Xiaoyao had run back in a rush to stop in front of him.
“I almost forgot, Grand Preceptor,” she said, “Is Xie Anshi dead yet?”
The various officials all withdrew two steps back from the pair. Grand Preceptor Xie replied, “That vile spawn’s still on his last legs. What, is Your Majesty offering to save him?”
“Ah? Me, well,” Ning Xiaoyao blinked. “Can’t I just send an imperial physician over? It’s not like I’m a doctor myself, ah.”
“........” said Lou Zigui, who’d just reached the entrance of the audience hall.
Grand Preceptor Xie said, “Isn’t Your Majesty worried that others will talk if you try to save a man who deserves death?” Grand Preceptor Xie wanted to use Ning Xiaoyao’s words against her like a slap to the face. Sending over an imperial physician to treat Anshi now? It’s already too late!
Ning Xiaoyao scratched her head. “You’re right, that bastard deserves to die. Then let’s just leave him half-dead as is and let nature take its course.”
Grand Preceptor Xie tottered in his steps. Ning Xiaoyao forced herself to imagine that a zombie had bit her again as her expression changed from one of abject grief to sheer despair. “Actually, I’m not worried about Xie Anshi’s wellbeing at all,” she told Grand Preceptor Xie. “But I am concerned about you, Grand Preceptor. Your eldest son’s gone off to eat dirt past the borders, while your second son already looks like an idiot at first glance. Now your third son’s like that and you won’t even bother with your concubine’s children. Maybe you and your wife should try a bit harder to have another child?”
(￣△￣；) , went the various officials.
“Pfft,” a few of them couldn’t hold back despite themselves.
“You!” Grand Preceptor Xie pointed a finger towards Ning Xiaoyao.
“Don’t be like that,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “Grand Preceptor, you can’t beat me in a fight and you know it.”
Grand Preceptor Xie’s hand stiffened in mid-air.
“Well dang, if looks could kill, I’d be dead by now,” Ning Xiaoyao pointed at Grand Preceptor Xie’s eyes. “Look at how much you loathe me, aye.”
“.......” said the officials. The two of you really do have a huge grudge against each other.
Grand Preceptor Xie’s body toppled backwards.
“Grand Preceptor!” the man standing behind him hastened to hold him up. Ning Xiaoyao turned and fled. Oh boy, I’ve angered the Grand Preceptor into unconsciousness again!
Big Boss Black ran along the wall until he made a running leap to land on Ning Xiaoyao’s shoulders. When he spotted the various people trying to hold up Grand Preceptor Xie, then the stupid smile on his ninny’s face, he stuck out a tongue to lick her cheek. Mm, the ninny’s not a numbskull at all if she can make the Grand Preceptor pass out from sheer rage!
“Let’s go,” Lou Zigui told Xie Anwu. Elder Li simply glanced at Grand Preceptor Xie with a cold chortle before bringing his own disciples down the steps. His students felt like their teacher was walking on clouds today, as if an errant wind would send him airborne.
Grand Preceptor Xie took a long time to recover while half-lying on the ground.
“Grand Preceptor?” his followers yelled at various intervals. Grand Preceptor Xie peered at the faces of the officials before him and saw anxiety, depression, unease, and panic. All of them looked afraid.
“You should all go back to your homes,” Grand Preceptor Xie told the officials who’d vowed to kill the refugees. “Take your families to the capital barracks in the northern part of the city.”
The officials expressed their profuse thanks before leaving the scene.
“Grand Preceptor, what about the Nine Gate Infantry Commander candidates?” another official asked carefully as he helped the man to his feet.
“This old man would like to see who has the guts to accept the position,” Grand Preceptor Xie sneered coldly. Unless he agreed, none of the men under the jurisdiction of the Nine Gate Infantry Commander would follow orders, even if Ning Yu took the post herself. The title was a ornamental one at best.
Meanwhile, the little gyrfalcon circled multiple times above Grand Preceptor Xie’s head, wanting to poop on his face. Unfortunately, he couldn’t poop anything out. Meanwhile, Oil Jar slipped through the crowd to stop by Grand Preceptor Xie’s feet. The old man was too busy thinking up schemes and reassuring his men, so nobody noticed the little mouse beneath their robes. The little gyrfalcon and an entire row of sparrows on the wall all held their breaths at the sight. Is Oil Jar going to poop on the Grand Preceptor’s shoes?
Oil Jar crept right next to Grand Preceptor Xie’s feet and bolstered his spirits, saying he wasn’t afraid. Then he opened his jaws and gave a vicious bite to Grand Preceptor Xie’s toe.
“Argh!” Grand Preceptor Xie cried out seemingly randomly.
Oil Jar fled. Everyone looked down and only saw His Excellency Grand Preceptor’s left foot developing a patch of red.
Oh! The little animals watching were all stunned. Oil Jar actually bit the Grand Preceptor!
“Oil Jar is amazing!” a little sparrow chirped.
“Mouse! It’s a mouse!” One of the officials interjected upon discovering Oil Jar. All of the other civil officials fell into an uproar, but none of them thought to chase after the creature. Meanwhile, the imperial guards on the side simply pretended that they didn’t exist. Even a little mouse can bully the Grand Preceptor. It looks like he’s doomed for good.
“Imperial physician! Hurry and get one!” one of the officials shouted.
“To the estate,” Grand Preceptor Xie endured the pain to speak up. Let an imperial physician treat my wounds in the palace? What if Ning Yu uses the chance to finish me off instead?
“For real?” By now, Ning Xiaoyao had returned to Supreme Splendor Hall and gotten the news from the little gyrfalcon. She burst into laughter just as Lou Zigui entered the room.
“.......” What’s going on now?
“Oil Jar gets a like!” Ning Xiaoyao told the little gyrfalcon. “I’ll gift him a bag of peanuts!”
Lou Zigui saw the gyrfalcon perched on the windowsill inside the room and asked Ning Xiayao, “Who’s Oil Jar?”
“Urk, a mouse I’m raising. A very cute little mouse, oh~” Ning Xiaoyao replied.
“Your Majesty!” Shadowthunder’s voice rang out from the northern walkway as he arrived to gloat. “A mouse bit the Grand Preceptor! Enough for him to bleed!”
“.......” said Lou Zigui. The culprit must be that Oil Jar, right?
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