Chapter 216: I respect you as a man Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Clap! Ning Xiaoyao clapped her hands. “Uncle is wise and brilliant!”
Prince Fu sat there thinking for a long time. After being tricked by Ning Xiaoyao, he was full of nothing but caution against her. Suppose that shameless bastard tries to trick me again?
Ning Xiaoyao looked at the myriad of expressions playing across Prince Fu’s face as her mouth twitched. Looks like a person’s expressions are still important to determine how handsome he can be. Prince Fu was clearly a dashing uncle, but he looked kind of idiotic when he made too many faces.
“Uncle, ah,” she called out to him.
“Don’t talk,” Prince Fu retorted. “Let me consider things carefully.”
Ning Xiaoyao replied, “What’s there to think about?”
“You’re not hiding any evil intentions from me?” Prince Fu asked.
Ning Xiaoyao arched a brow. “Look at what you’re saying, uncle. When have I ever hid any evil intentions from you? I don’t know how to be a bad guy.”
“......” said Prince Fu. This bastard’s skin’s too thick!
“Uncle,” Ning Xiaoyao said, “I say we just do it my way. Saving lives is like putting out a fire, right? You have to be quick.”
Prince Fu asked with great difficulty, “How are you planning to split up my land and my money?”
“You can decide on that, uncle,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “You know more about Fenglin City than I do, ah.”
“Hold it,” Prince Fu said. “You want me to go back?”
Ning Xiaoyao was quite surprised. “If you don’t, who’s going to do the job?”
Prince Fu’s face began to tremble again. Fenglin City might fall into the rebels’ hands soon, but this wretch still wanted him to go back? To seek my own death? “I, I just knew it!” Prince Fu pointed at Ning Xiaoyao’s nose.
Ning Xiaoyao was a bit lost. “What did uncle just know?”
“This prince just knew it, you want me to die!” Prince Fu shouted in rage.
“Miaow!” Big Boss Black grew impatient when he saw Prince Fu’s finger about to poke Ning Xiaoyao’s eye. He opened his mouth and bit the offending digit.
“Ahhh!” Prince Fu shrieked.
“Ah geez,” Ning Xiaoyao quickly pulled Big Boss Black back. “Black Tubby, quick, let go! Hurry and let go!”
“Damned beast!” Prince Fu swore.
Big Boss Black was about to let go when the insult made him tighten his teeth in a death-grip.
“Ning Yu!” Prince Fu switched to directly howling Ning Xiaoyao’s name.
The various people outside the Hall of Punishment all exchanged glances. The prince’s cries were so wretched---just what was His Majesty doing to the man?
“Open your mouth,” Ning Xiaoyao pried at Big Boss Black’s jaws. “His meat isn’t tasty, really. It’s not as yummy as a little rat’s. In the past, he was fat and full of grease, but now he’s as dry as a stick. It’s like gnawing like cured meat, not tasty at all!”
“.......” said Prince Fu. This bastard’s still cursing me, isn’t he?
Big Boss Black was forcefully pried off by Ning Xiaoyao, who felt guilty upon seeing Prince Fu’s bleeding finger. She rapped Big Boss Black on the head and declared, “Why are you so disobedient? If you act like this again, I’ll beat you up next time!”
Big Boss Black ignored her only to glare at Prince Fu before licking his lips. “Miaow!”
“What’s going on?” Prince Fu asked Ning Xiaoyao. “Does your cat want to eat people?”
“What kind of cat eats humans, ah?” Ning Xiaoyao placed Big Boss Black on the ground. “Go look for your Supreme Commander. Don’t cause trouble for me here.”
Big Boss Black bared his fangs at Prince Fu one last time before scampering away. After being threatened by a cat, Prince Fu had no idea how he should feel anymore. Even small animals are looking down on me now?!
“Uncle, uncle,” Ning Xiaoyao waved her hand in Prince Fu’s face. “Let’s not set ourselves against kitties, but keep talking.”
“I want to see an imperial physician,” Prince Fu protested.
Ning Xiaoyao took Prince Fu’s finger for a look and saw that it was missing a piece of skin. Her mouth twitched. If this keeps on, will that Black Tubby really end up eating humans?
“I want to see an imperial physician,” Prince Fu demanded again. How can this wretch just sit and watch me bleed? He must be harboring bad intentions against me!
“Yikes! There’s a cow flying in the air!” Ning Xiaoyao cried as she looked up. Although Prince Fu knew that was impossible, he couldn’t help but look up as well. Ning Xiaoyao seized the chance to squeeze his finger briefly before letting go. Meanwhile, the skies were a clear, dark blue devoid of any birds, to say nothing of cows.
“You!” Prince Fu looked back at Ning Xiaoyao in irritation.
“Your hand’s cured,” Ning Xiaoyao pointed at Prince Fu’s finger. Realizing his finger had stopped hurting, Prince Fu stopped to check. The bleeding had stopped and the flesh was all but recovered by now aside from some missing skin.
“Just like how I made you skinny, uncle,” Ning Xiaoyao waved to get his attention, “I can cure you of all ills and injuries as long as you don’t die first.”
Prince Fu looked blankly at Ning Xiaoyao. He was quite an astute man, or else he never would have taken the leadership position amongst the princes. But every time he ran into Ning Xiaoyao, he felt like his brains were rather lacking.
“You’re a miracle doctor?” he asked.
“Urk,” Ning Xiaoyao stammered, “As humans, we should be modest. It’s fine if you think that to yourself, there’s no need to say it out loud.”
Prince Fu very, very, very much wanted to stop talking with this shameless bastard.
“Uncle, why don’t you go back to Fenglin City with Tao Yu?” Ning Xiaoyao suggested. “You can decide how to divide up your lands. I don’t have any requirements besides for you to be fair.”
Prince Fu stared at Ning Xiaoyao a little longer before he said, “Your Majesty means to say, ‘do not worry about scarcity, but rather about uneven distribution?”[1. do not worry about scarcity...distribution (不患寡而患不均) - bu huan gua er huan bu jun, this is an idiom from the Analects of Confucius.]
Ning Xiaoyao fell silent and scratched her palms. ‘Do not worry about scarcity, but rather about uneven distribution’---that sounds like it’s talking about being fair, right?
“I understand,” Prince Fu nodded.
“Oh? Oh.” Ning Xiaoyao instantly forgot the phrase. “Then it’s fine as long as you understand, uncle.”
“How can I accomplish Your Majesty’s perception of fairness?” Prince Fu asked next.
“As long as it keeps people alive, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “If you can’t give it to them, then don’t, that’s all. Also, you need to sign a contract---ah no, a deed. We can’t let the refugees think that we’re just using them, or that we’ll take back the lands as soon as the rebel bands retreat.”
Prince Fu felt his meat aching again. “And if the refugees refuse to believe this prince?”
“Those lands are mine, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “I heard that emperors are a sacred existence. If they don’t believe you, they won’t take my words as just fats from a fly, will they?”
“.....” said Prince Fu. So, you’re saying that my words are like a fart?
“Be humble,” Ning Xiaoyao admonished earnestly. “All those civilians are having trouble surviving. If they’re not waiting for death, then they’re revolting. If we lose our kingdom, what will you be prince of then, uncle? Right now, we want to quell the rebellions first so they can regain their faith in the royal court. So that there, uncle, do you understand what I’m saying?”
Prince Fu’s voice was cold. “Your Majesty wants this prince to kneel to the refugees?”
“If kneeling works, then kneel,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “If you can’t bear to bend your knees, just imagine the refugees taking over Fenglin City with their giant sabers. When those men set their eyes on your daughters, ah, or your sons---”
“Shut up!” Prince Fu slammed the stone table with a roar. Ning Xiaoyao muffled her mouth, while Prince Fu grew extremely uneasy.
“Which is more important, human lives or money?” Ning Xiaoyao asked in a very small voice.
Prince Fu replied, “This prince may end up dying at Fenglin City.”
“I don’t think there’s anything bad about dying with your family,” Ning Xiaoyao patted Prince Fu on the chest. “Uncle, you’re a man. Are you planning to start a new family in the capital after letting your old one die?”
“This prince never had such an idea!”
“Then go to Fenglin City!”
“You think this prince doesn’t dare?”
“Then go back!”
Prince Fu slammed the table again and declared, “This prince will go back!”
“Whew,” Ning Xiaoyao exhaled, before giving Prince Fu a big thumbs up. “Uncle, I respect you as a man!”
Prince Fu fell back onto his stool and thought, Wait, what have I done?
“Supreme Commander’s currently fretting over how to transfer the troops,” Ning Xiaoyao pulled Prince Fu to his feet. “Uncle, you’re familiar with the situation at East Ji, ah. I’ll take you to see Supreme Commander so you guys can discuss it together.”
“Hold it,” Prince Fu said, “Let this prince think it over first.”
“Big Boss Xiang’s army is making their way to Fenglin City this instant, ah.” Ning Xiaoyao simply threw Prince Fu over her shoulders when she saw the man was reluctant to move. “What else do you need to consider? Who needs to think twice when it comes to saving their family?”
“You---that’s not---I---” Prince Fu wanted to shout, but Ning Xiaoyao took this chance to speed off, stuffing the prince’s mouth full of wind. He coughed, unable to get out another word. The staff at the Hall of Punishment could only watch, speechless, as His Majesty vanished with the prince in a blink of an eye. For a long time, they were unable to say a single word.
Lou Zigui was currently in one of the side rooms at Supreme Splendor Hall, studying a piece of paper with Tao Yu. The various military barracks of East Ji were drawn on its surface. By their side, the Lord Protector was making suggestions of his own.
“Supreme Commander~” Ning Xiaoyao ran into the room with Prince Fu on her shoulders.
Lou Zigui looked up and instantly snapped the brush in his hands in half. Why is this girl carrying a man?
“Your Majesty?” Elder Li stood up from his chair. At the sight of him, Ning Xiaoyao’s smile stiffened. Why hasn’t that old gramps gone home yet? Her hands relaxed and Prince Fu went tumbling to the ground.
“Who is this?” Elder Li stared at Prince Fu, who was sprawled in an unmoving heap on the ground. The changes to him were so great that he didn’t recognize the man at first sight.
Ning Xiaoyao quickly pulled Prince Fu to his feet. “Old gramps, this is my uncle, Prince Fu, ah.”
“What?!” the Lord Protector exclaimed. He’d heard that Prince Fu had lost weight, but seeing him in the flesh was a completely different feeling.
Prince Fu only looked at him coldly. “Pei Yi, what are you hollering about?”
The Lord Protector shut his mouth and prepared to pay his respects, but Ning Xiaoyao waved a hand. “This isn’t the time to worry about those things, ah. Speaking of which, old gramps, why haven’t you gone home?”
“.....” said everyone else. Things are already like this, but you’re still wondering why Elder Li hasn’t gone home yet?
Elder Li replied, “This subject couldn’t stop worrying about East Ji’s battle affairs, so I didn’t go home.”
“Someone already went to notify the Grand Preceptor,” Pei Yan added from his seat in the corner. He’d been virtually invisible the entire time. “But the Grand Preceptor only said that he understood.”
“W-what does that mean?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“Hmph,” Prince Fu gave a cold snort. “Xie Wenyuan doesn’t want to get involved in this.”
“He’s only good for internal strife anyways,” Ning Xiaoyao waved a careless hand. “If we relied on him to win our battles, we might as well go die.”
“But how can we muster up funds and grains without Xie Wenyuan’s word?” Elder Li asked in worry. Over half of the officials at court were part of Grand Preceptor Xie’s faction. If Grand Preceptor Xie wasn’t planning to involve himself, neither would those officials, leaving the court all but half-paralyzed. How were they supposed to fight their wars then, much less send troops against the bandits?
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