Chapter 2: Don't ask me who peace is
“Your Majesty has grown up at the Grand Preceptor’s estate since childhood and isn’t familiar with the palace. If anyone lets His Majesty bump his head while walking again, neither the servants by his side nor the rest of you here will be forgiven!”
“Your servants know our wrongs, your servants ask for Empress Dowager’s grace to spare our lives!”
The conversation by her ears made Ning Xiaoyao’s eyes fly open. There seemed to be something she should grasp from the information, so she turned toward the direction of the voices. Sitting in front of her bed was a woman dressed in mourning apparel. Despite the sober dress, her hair was decorated with pearl and jade ornaments. She turned around at the sound of Ning Xiaoyao moving, and asked with concern, “Your Majesty’s awakened?”
Ning Xiaoyao looked at the person before her and felt thunderstruck and zombie-bitten at the same time. Wasn’t this the woman who’d just killed her own daughter? This face, this figure, and that voice--there was no mistake! Ning Xiaoyao was certain that this was that callous, cruel mother! Her expression turned as wretched as if she’d been gnawed on by zombies.
In the empress dowager’s eyes, she only looked like she wanted to cry, timid and weak-willed as always. Looks like father raised this daughter into a good-for-nothing. Empress Dowager Xie hid her scorn deep in her heart. If they had raised a bold, disobedient child, the monstrous lie they’d spread around would turn into their ill fortune.
“Your Majesty, does your head still hurt now?” Empress Dowager Xie’s voice was gentle and sweet-tempered.
Ning Xiaoyao jumped off the bed and ran barefoot to a bronze mirror inside the room. When she saw her reflection, she clutched her head in her hands. Why did she have to face such a tragic fate?! Right now, her face was identical to that of the figure in dragon robes who’d been unluckily poisoned by her mother!
Empress Dowager Xie only knew that her daughter was still a girl who was still concerned with her looks. She rose and walked behind Ning Xiaoyao. “Your Majesty, if it still hurts, why don’t we have the imperial physicians take a look? You hit yourself rather hard, but the skin wasn’t broken. It won’t leave any scars.”
“No need,” Ning Xiaoyao said as she cradled her head. “I need some peace and quiet, don’t ask me who peace is.”
“Your Majesty?” Empress Dowager Xie reached out to pat Ning Xiaoyao’s shoulder. Nobody on the side could understand the emperor’s words. Had he knocked himself silly?
Ning Xiaoyao stepped to the side and evaded Empress Dowager Xie’s hand. After touching air, Empress Dowager Xie sensed that Ning Xiaoyao was avoiding her. Her phoenix eyes immediately filled with tears as she rested her hand over her heart. “Is Your Majesty blaming This Dowager?”
Hearing Empress Dowager Xie speak this way, a few of her trusted mama [1. mama (嬷嬷) - a form of address for an elderly female servant, also a wet nurse.] all knelt down before Ning Xiaoyao. The head mama said, “Your Majesty, Esteemed Empress Dowager also suffered these years from not seeing Your Majesty!”
Ning Xiaoyao felt that this empress dowager could be a movie queen[2. movie queen (影后) - yinghou, an actress considered to be the top of her line by public and critics alike.]. She wore such a bitter, pained expression on her face when she spoke to her! The reason this woman hadn’t visited her daughter while lying to her husband about birthing a son was because she was planning to hide her in her parental home for the rest of her life, all right?!
“Your Majesty, forgive This Dowager, won’t you?” Empress Dowager Xie said, tears streaming down her face.
Ning Xiaoyao chuckled. “Heheh.”
Although she wasn’t a frontline fighter, she’d hacked her share of zombies as a medical officer from her apocalyptic world. After carefully surveying her surroundings, Ning Xiaoyao pondered over how to kill this ruthless woman who would murder her in the future. Should she kick her to death, or find a sword or something to stab her?
Empress Dowager Xie had cried after seeing her daughter. This girl had constantly tried to rely on and get close to her after she entered the palace. But now she was standing there aloof and indifferent, making the empress dowager furrow her brows. What had happened?
“All of you, withdraw,” Empress Dowager Xie commanded the people in the room. “This Dowager has words to speak with His Majesty alone.”
The people in the room retreated with due haste. Seeing that there were only the two of them left, Ning Xiaoyao clenched her hands into fists. Here was her chance to kill this woman!