Chapter 212: The ganged-up beatdown draws blood Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“Go back and be sure to teach them properly,” Ning Xiaoyao told Xie Anji. “Your previous efforts might have failed, but that doesn’t mean they’ll always fail in the future, right?”
Ning Xiaoyao was all sincerity with her words. She still felt a pang in her heart when she recalled how Xie Duoying had been forced to enter the nunhood. That girl should’ve been quite a pair with her Windy---wouldn’t that have been nice? Now she wasn’t even sure if it was too late to re-instruct the Xie Clan daughters. The Xie Clan was a pit to start with, the deepest, darkest kind.
All members of the Grand Preceptor’s faction still present simply pretended they hadn’t heard a single thing. Those who weren’t delighted in eavesdropping on the conversation, but held themselves back from smiling. Grand Preceptor Xie might be helpless against His Majesty, but it was different in their case. Still others, such as Elder Li and his clear stream officials, were a little put off by Ning Xiaoyao preaching articles on inner courtyard female conduct. How could the sovereign of an entire nation lower his status to speak of such mundane topics?
“Say, aren’t I right?” Ning Xiaoyao asked Xie Anji again, all earnesty.
Xie Anji lowered his head without a word. Meanwhile, Fang Tang burst into guffaws.
“You shouldn’t laugh,” Ning Xiaoyao reprimanded him instantly. “This is a very serious matter.”
“Fang Tang.” Xie Anji raised his head to look at him. Fang Tang didn’t have enough time to take back his grin before Xie Anji punched him.
“.....” said Ning Xiaoyao. Why did it suddenly turn into a fistfight?!
Lou Zigui finally reached Ning Xiaoyao and grabbed ahold of her before dragging her backwards. On the other hand, Fang Tang had successfully caught Xie Anji’s fist, feeling quite dejected. He’d given his all to curse the man but Xie Anji had completely ignored him. Now all he did was laugh a few times and the guy had lost his mind. What kind of logic does he have?
“Why aren’t you all moving to drag them apart yet?” Lou Zigui kept a death grip on Ning Xiaoyao as he looked towards Shadowrain and the others. Shadowrain led his Dragon Guards to rush forward---supposedly to help stop the fight, but in actuality to help Fang Tang beat up Xie Anji.
“G, Grand Preceptor?” all of the officials by Grand Preceptor Xie began to panic as they watched Xie Anji being beat up by a gang.
Grand Preceptor Xie didn’t speak, but his gaze turned gloomy as he watched Xie Anji taking a thrashing. Does Ning Yu have the guts to order men who’ll beat my son to death right here in the palace? He didn’t believe that she did.
“Is this going to cost a human life?” Ning Xiaoyao asked Lou Zigui with a heavy heart. If they can beat Xie Anji to death just like that, then I can beat Grand Preceptor Xie to death as well, ah. “Just what are you planning?”
When Lou Zigui didn’t reply, Ning Xiaoyao tugged on his sleeve. “Say something, ah!”
Lou Zigui finally murmured, “It’s nothing very important.”
“Of course fighting’s no big deal, but it feels like they’re going to beat Xie Anji to death!” Ning Xiaoyao said urgently.
Someone had unsheathed their sword. Ning Xiaoyao’s head whipped back. Are they really going to kill Xie Anji?!
Instead, Xie Anji had pulled out the sword from one of the Dragon Guard’s waists. While the guards were momentarily stunned by the unexpected development, Xie Anji seized the chance to stab towards Fang Tang. Fang Tang saw the blade coming his way and had ample time to evade it. But right now, I can’t!
Ning Xiaoyao’s mouth gaped as the gleaming tip of the weapon plunged into Fang Tang’s left flank with a audible squick. Xie Anji pulled on the handle, intending to draw out the blade, but Shadowrain raised a foot and kicked him in the hand, knocking his fingers loose. Fang Tang clutched his wound as he wobbled on his feet. He soon lost his balance and rolled down the stone steps leading to the palace, leaving a trail of blood in his wake. Everyone was stunned. Nobody had expected Fang Tang to be the loser in this bout.
“Ah!” Ning Xiaoyao exclaimed as she prepared to run after Fang Tang.
But Lou Zigui held her tight and ordered coldly, “Take that bastard to a doctor.”
The dazed Shadowrain gave a start before hurrying down the steps.
“I’ll go take a look at Lil’ Big Bro Fang!” Ning Xiaoyao shook herself free and ran towards Fang Tang.
“Your Majesty!” Lou Zigui and Elder Li chorused at the same time, both of them very stern. Startled, Ning Xiaoyao stopped at the head of the stairs.
Nearby, Xie Anji was caught in a similar state of alarm. He had forgotten everything in a moment of desperation to attack. Now there was no crowd around him, so the high winds from the landing gradually cooled his head. What have I done?
“Fang Tang was the instigator,” Elder Li walked behind Ning Xiaoyao, his tone strict. “How is Your Majesty planning to punish him?”
Ning Xiaoyao saw Shadowrain and three other Dragon Guards carry Fang Tang off to the Imperial Physician Courtyard before furrowing her brows at Elder Li. “Fang Tang’s already like that, but I still have to punish him?”
Elder Li stared at Ning Xiaoyao as the wrinkles on his face grew deeper. Ning Xiaoyao dreaded the old man to start, but his staring only made her quail all the more. She pointed at Xie Anji and tried to change the subject. “You sure are something, daring to hurt others in front of my face!”
Xie Anji stood on the landing as he looked at Ning Xiaoyao, his expression resigned. “This subject allows Your Majesty to deal with the offense.”
“Did Your Majesty not see?” Grand Preceptor Xie spoke up next. “It was Fang Tang who provoked him first, and Fang Tang who ganged up with the Dragon Guards to beat him up. Why did Your Majesty not stop them then? Now that Fang Tang has shown his skills to be lacking by getting injured, Your Majesty speaks up in his defense instead?”
“I,” Ning Xiaoyao was at a loss for words. Truthfully speaking, they were the ones at fault here.
“Xie Anji,” Grand Preceptor Xie called for his son, who walked to his side. Then the Grand Preceptor sat up straight in his chair and soundly slapped Xie Anji’s face. He stood there unmoving in wake of the blow.
“You unfilial son, you actually used a blade to injure someone in front of His Majesty?” Grand Preceptor Xie scolded.
“Th, that’s right!” Ning Xiaoyao fumed. “He actually used a sword to injure someone! It’s unforgivable!”
“Your Majesty, this unfilial son deserves death,” Grand Preceptor Xie replied, “But so does Fang Tang for stirring up trouble in the first place. This official asks, how is Your Majesty planning to deal with Fang Tang?”
“.......” said Ning Xiaoyao. No wonder that old geezer was slapping his own son. He was waiting for me to walk into his trap!
“Your Majesty?” Grand Preceptor Xie asked.
“Fang Tang’s already injured, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao replied.
Grand Preceptor Xie shook his head. “That’s not a punishment.”
“Old gramps, help me analyze this,” Ning Xiaoyao climbed up a couple of steps so she was standing on equal footing with Elder Li. “Does the Grand Preceptor have ulterior motives for insisting that I punish Fang Tang?”
Elder Li said, “No matter what punishment Your Majesty gives Xie Anji, the punishment for Fang Tang will be harsher.”
“That cheap scum!” Ning Xiaoyao cursed.
Elder Li furrowed his brows. “Your Majesty, Xie Wenyuan is your maternal grandfather.” Forget about how scummy he is, no grandchild is allowed to curse their grandparent like that.
Ning Xiaoyao nodded. “Old gramps, you don’t need to remind me about such heartbreaking things.”
“......” said Elder Li.
Ning Xiaoyao walked in front of the Xie father and son pair and said, “I understand Grand Preceptor’s meaning.”
Grand Preceptor Xie was cold. “Then how is Your Majesty planning to punish Fang Tang?”
Ning Xiaoyao’s flexed her fingers before raising a hand to slap Xie Anji across the face, sending the taller man flying into an arc across the sky. He tumbled against the landing before rolling down the steps just like Fang Tang before him. Everyone was silent. His Majesty looks small and harmless, but just where did he get such strength?
“I’ll do this to Fang Tang later as well,” Ning Xiaoyao told Grand Preceptor Xie. “Grand Preceptor, you needn’t worry. I’ll definitely use more strength than I did just then. After all, Fang Tang was the first in the wrong.”
The crowd couldn’t help but stay speechless. Who would dare speak up and accuse His Majesty of being shameless at a time like this?
Grand Preceptor Xie was forced to swallow down his rising temper. His health was bad to begin with, but now his vision was turning black. Now one of the officials from the Grand Preceptor’s faction spoke up. “Fang Tang is a member of the Black Frost Cavalry. May Your Majesty pin Lou Zigui for the crime of insubordination from his subordinate.”
“I pardon Supreme Commander as blameless,” Ning Xiaoyao stood up with her hands behind her back to face the loyal Grand Preceptor apologist. “Any objections?”
The official instantly cried out, “If Your Majesty does that, it’s too unfair!”
“Unfair?” Ning Xiaoyao echoed. “Then what’s ‘fair?’ I’m the emperor and you’re a subject, but you want equal treatment from me? Your Excellency, how will you feel if I let you sit on that throne in the audience hall?”
What common sense is that?! The official was so furious that he nearly spat up blood, but he still fell to his knees and said, “This official doesn’t dare.”
“This subject asks that Your Majesty do not treat Fang Tang’s wounds,” Lou Zigui bowed towards Ning Xiaoyao. “That wretch dared to make a commotion in front of the Hall of Golden Chimes. Severe punishment is necessary.”
“Supreme Commander Lou is right,” Elder Li walked over. “Severe punishment is mandatory for Fang Tang.”
Ning Xiaoyao looked down at Grand Preceptor Xie. “Are you happy now?”
Grand Preceptor Xie simply slapped his armrests. “This official will take his leave.” I can’t collapse in front of Ning Yu yet again!
The two eunuchs who had carried him out of the hall were both the Grand Preceptor’s men within the palace, but even if they weren’t on Ning Xiaoyao’s side, they couldn’t simply carry Grand Preceptor Xie without permission.
“Carry him away,” Ning Xiaoyao waved a hand. It’d be better if I never see Grand Preceptor Xie again.
Grand Preceptor Xie brought away the unconscious Xie Anji lying at the foot of the stairs. He didn’t look like the defeated party when he left, nor did he flee the scene. Xie Anji had publicly stabbed Fang Tang but only got a slap from His Majesty as punishment. What did that prove? Those who had insight could tell that Yongning was still a place where the sovereign held less power than his officials.
“That there, let’s go back and eat,” Ning Xiaoyao said after glancing at Elder Li.
“Your Majesty,” Elder Li replied, “This official has words to discuss with you.”
“But my stomach’s hungry,” Ning Xiaoyao insisted.
Elder Li looked at Ning Xiaoyao with a grave face. She gave him a wooden expression in response.
“Your Majesty,” Elder Li said, “Why did Fang Tang do that?”
“I don’t know, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao shook her head.
“This official doesn’t believe it. Your Majesty shouldn’t joke around with this official,” Elder Li shook his head as well.
Ning Xiaoyao was vexed. I really don’t know, ah! Can’t people trust each other’s words?
“His Majesty has already said how he’ll punish Fang Tang,” Lou Zigui spoke up. “Is Elder dissatisfied?”
Elder Li furrowed his brows to glare at Supreme Commander Lou. “If His Majesty has no idea, then did you incite it on the sly, Supreme Commander? What are you planning?”
“Don’t,” Ning Xiaoyao pushed Lou Zigui behind her. “Old gramps, don’t be like that, c’mon~”
“Speak properly!” Elder Li felt goosebumps when he heard Ning Xiaoyao go ‘c’mon~,’ and couldn’t hold back his urge to rebuke her soundly.
“......” said the crowd. Elder, is it really alright for you to yell at His Majesty like that?
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