Chapter 232: Empress Dowager Xie begans to make her move Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“Your Majesty,” a mama in charge of affairs at the empress dowager’s palace along with three doctors from the Imperial Physician Courtyard stopped Ning Xiaoyao’s group halfway to kneel on the ground.
“People from the empress dowager’s palace,” Shadowgale whispered to Ning Xiaoyao.
Ning Xiaoyao only rolled her eyes. “What’s wrong with Esteemed Empress Dowager this time? Is she sick with another incurable illness now?”
The atmosphere grew stagnant. Everyone knew that His Majesty was on bad terms with the empress dowager, but how could a son curse his own mother to death? In an era where filial piety reigned supreme, no one could quite swallow Ning Xiaoyao’s words. Completely ignorant of their thoughts, Ning Xiaoyao looked at the three imperial physicians and said, “Not speaking? Then I’m going.”
Lou Zigui reached out a hand to hold her back, then asked the doctor, “What’s going on?”
The one kneeling in the center replied, “Esteemed Empress Dowager is seriously ill.”
“Tch,” Ning Xiaoyao rolled her eyes. What did I just say?
Lou Zigui held fast to Ning Xiaoyao’s arm and asked, “Where is Esteemed Empress Dowager feeling unwell?”
The doctor choked as he looked up at Lou Zigui. He certainly knows how to talk. I’ve already said that the empress dowager is severely ill, but he only asks where she’s feeling unwell. A serious illness and feeling uncomfortable are two completely different things.
“Are you thinking up lines on the spot?” Ning Xiaoyao asked, not waiting for the doctor to speak.
“To reply Your Majesty,” the physician quickly lowered his head to report, “Esteemed Empress Dowager is suffering from a high fever than won’t go away. We subjects have already used various medicines on Esteemed Empress Dowager, but---but all of us are useless and couldn’t improve her condition.”
A fever’s just a fever. Empress Dowager Xie’s perfectly fine, so why would she be stuck burning up now? Ning Xiaoyao rubbed her chin in thought, then asked a few of the empress dowager’s mamas, “What has she been doing for the past few days?”
All of the mama shrank back involuntarily at her words.
Something’s up. Ning Xiaoyao’s eyes narrowed at their reaction. She was in no rush to leave now, but stood with her hands behind her back as she circled around the mama and physicians. “Just what did you all find me for?” I’m sure it’s not to ask me to treat the empress dowager’s fever.
A few of the gathered mama exchanged glances before one finally spoke up. “Your Majesty, Esteemed Empress Dowager wants to see you.”
“Don’t say useless things,” Ning Xiaoyao narrowed her eyes. “Get to the point. Just what does the empress dowager want?”
Her tone was extremely impatient, scaring the mama. She opened her mouth blankly, unable to say a word.
“Your Majesty,” an imperial physician braced himself and spoke up, “Esteemed Empress Dowager is truly very sick this time.”
Ning Xiaoyao’s fingers twitched. I can make the empress dowager well enough to run around the palace within the span of a few minutes. Do you believe me?
“Esteemed Empress Dowager wants to see you,” another mama said.
“You’ve all talked it over with her?” Ning Xiaoyao said. “Did you just come here to tell me these two things?” Just what are they playing at? She was starting to get mad.
Lou Zigui stepped forward this time and pulled Ning Xiaoyao gently to one side, before murmuring under his breath. “The empress dowager is seriously ill. Logically speaking, you should go wait on her.”
“Say what?” Ning Xiaoyao cocked her ear towards Lou Zigui. “What did you just say?”
Lou Zigui said, “A son or daughter who waits upon an ill parent is expressing their filial piety.”
Ning Xiaoyao sniffed. “Fine then. I’ll just go treat her illness.” I’ll make it so that Empress Dowager Xie can run circles around the palace for fun!
Lou Zigui said, “Then the empress dowager will definitely say that Your Majesty has been busy with affairs of state, and that she couldn’t allow her illness to disrupt Your Highness’s work.”
“Oh,” said Ning Xiaoyao. “Then let her stay sick.”
Lou Zigui looked at Ning Xiaoyao, who scratched her head. “Alright, she’s a good mom who’s deeply conscious on the righteousness of a cause. Then I’ll be the filial son who cries and shouts until the empress dowager lets me treat her.”
Lou Zigui rested a hand against his forehead, while Ning Xiaoyao grew vexed. “That’s still not right?”
Lou Zigui pulled Ning Xiaoyao away to somewhere more secluded before murmuring, “A son can’t always stay by a bedside to treat the parent, though a daughter-in-law can.”
Ning Xiaoyao suddenly understood. So the empress dowager wants to see the empress, ah. After holding back her evil tricks for a month, the empress dowager’s finally begun to make her moves.
“Just let her see the empress,” Lou Zigui said.
Ning Xiaoyao nodded. They can meet as they like. Having the empress dowager suppress her evil tendencies all the time isn’t a solution, after all.
“I’m here,” Lou Zigui squeezed Ning Xiaoyao’s hand. “So I won’t let anything happen to you.”
Ning Xiaoyao sighed. Although she knew this was a trap, she was still jumping in. Only an idiot like her would do something like that.
“Go see the empress dowager. She’ll surely ask you to have the empress wait on her,” Lou Zigui told Ning Xiaoyao. “You just have to agree.”
Ning Xiaoyao walked to the mama and imperial physicians and said in a worried voice, “Lead the way, I’ll go take a look at the empress dowager.”
Before the imperial physicians could react, the mama were already exhaling in relief. The one who spoke before bowed and said, “Your Majesty, if you please.”
Ning Xiaoyao told Lou Zigui, “Supreme Commander, you go ask that officer about the battle situation. I’ll be back at Supreme Splendor Hall very soon.”
Lou Zigui accepted the order while everyone else fell silent. Is this the attitude you should put on before visiting a sick mother?
Empress Dowager Xie laid on the bed, her face morphing into an expression of pleasant surprise when she saw Ning Xiaoyao materialize before her. With a trill, she cried out, “Has Your Majesty come?”
Ning Xiaoyao nodded. “It’s me. Recently I’ve been busy with the war, so I didn’t come to ask after you, Empress Dowager. How did you fall so ill? When people get older, they have to take care of themselves, ah. Empress Dowager, how do you feel right now?”
Empress Dowager Xie wiped at her eyes and said, “That’s true, it was imperial mother who was too careless.”
Ah geez. Ning Xiaoyao arched a brow. She’s not even mad that I called her old. Looks like the empress dowager’s upped her strength.
Empress Dowager Xie said, “Your Majesty, you’ve gotten thinner.”
“So have you, Empress Dowager,” Ning Xiaoyao replied.
Empress Dowager Xie said, “Your Majesty has been busy worrying about the war front these days, yet your imperial mother chose this time to fall ill. Imperial mother’s heart is truly---aye!”
Ning Xiaoyao replied, “Imperial mother has been doing nothing but thinking of me these days, yet Xiang Nong chose this time to rebel. My heart is truly---aye!”
Empress Dowager Xie said, “This Dowager feels sorry towards Your Majesty.”
Ning Xiaoyao parroted back, “I feel sorry towards Empress Dowager.”
“......” said Empress Dowager Xie. Ning Xiaoyao blinked at her. You think I can’t play pretend, too?
Empress Dowager Xie averted her gaze. She needed a breather before she tried to talk to this damned girl again. Ning Xiaoyao stood there, bored. Her eyes swept over the various objects in Empress Dowager Xie’s chambers before hearing something overhead. When she looked up, she saw Oil Jar on the ceiling rafters, sticking out his head to peer at them.
“Hm!” Ning Xiaoyao blew a kiss of approval at him, and Oil Jar nodded his head back. If not for Empress Dowager Xie, he’d come down himself right now.
Empress Dowager Xie couldn’t decipher the motions for blowing a kiss, but asked Ning Xiaoyao guardedly, “What is Your Majesty doing?” Are Ning Yu’s spies hiding in the ceiling rafters?
“I’m waiting for you to speak, ah, empress dowager,” Ning Xiaoyao replied.
Empress Dowager Xie peered at the rafters for any potential stowaways. But her rooms were constantly filled with people both within and without, so how could anyone sneak in here without being discovered? Oil Jar had quickly withdrawn his head from the edge of the rafter in fright. He was nearly discovered by that super villain, Empress Dowager Xie! (Author: Who’s scaring whom between the two of you anyways…)
Ning Xiaoyao took a step to the left to block Empress Dowager Xie’s line of vision. “Tao Yu fought a successful victory so I haven’t had much to do lately. How’s this? I’ll stay at this palace for the next few days and take care of you, Empress Dowager.”
Empress Dowager Xie’s phoenix eyes immediately widened at the suggestion.
Ning Xiaoyao’s voice was quite heartfelt. “After becoming the emperor, I realized that I don’t show enough care for Empress Dowager. That’s my fault. As the proverb says, a good child is one who can fix their mistakes. That’s why I’ll definitely take good care of you this time, empress dowager.”
Empress Dowager Xie only had one word in her mind right now: scram!
“Empress dowager, are you thirsty? Hungry?” Ning Xiaoyao asked with concern. “Or do you want to get up and walk around a bit?”
Empress Dowager Xie took in a deep breath. Now wasn’t the time to lose her temper.
Ning Xiaoyao said, “If you don’t want to, that’s fine too. I can even help you run around and climb mountains and so on. Besides bringing imperial father back to life again, or dropping dead myself, or hurting good people, I can do anything you want, empress dowager.” You think you can just disgust me without me disgusting you in turn? Ning Xiaoyao looked evilly at Empress Dowager Xie. You’re still not flipping out or coming to thrash me yet?
Empress Dowager Xie wiped her eyes again, then said in a soft and gentle voice, “This Dowager knows that Your Majesty is busy.”
“Heheh,” Ning Xiaoyao said, “I’m not that busy anymore, ah.”
“Your Majesty, please wait for This Dowager to finish,” Empress Dowager Xie requested.
“Fine,” Ning Xiaoyao nodded.
“This Dowager doesn’t know when my illness will recover,” Empress Dowager Xie said. “Your Majesty is the sovereign of the entire nation. How could you stay by This Dowager’s bedside day after day? Wouldn’t that simply make This Dowager the scourge of the kingdom?”
Ning Xiaoyao’s lips pursed. She sure has a big ego if she doesn’t think she’s a scourge already.
Empress Dowager Xie continued, “The empress has been away from the palace for a while as well. Let her come back. As empress, she is the model woman for the nation as well. How can she stay outside the palace all this time?”
“The empress?” Ning Xiaoyao feigned surprise even though she knew where Empress Dowager Xie was going.
Empress Dowager Xie took Ning Xiaoyao’s reaction to heart before she nodded and sighed. “This Dowager is ill. It doesn’t matter to me if the empress isn’t here to wait on me, but others will certainly reproach her for it.”
Ning Xiaoyao pretended to be stuck in a hard spot. “The empress, she…”
“There are plenty of court ladies and eunuchs at the empress dowager’s palace,” Empress Dowager Xie said next. “Would This Dowager really demand the empress to wait on me? If Your Majesty dotes on her, then have her pay a visit to my palace for appearance’s sakes before sending her back out.”
Ning Xiaoyao said, “You can just see me. Why do you have to insist on seeing her too?”
Empress Dowager Xie saw the key sticking point in Ning Xiaoyao’s views and said, “This is called filial piety.”
Ning Xiaoyao fell silent.
“If Your Majesty isn’t willing, then just pretend This Dowager didn’t say a thing,” Empress Dowager Xie declared. “But if censure against the empress appears in the future, This Dowager won’t be able to protect her.”
Ning Xiaoyao chuckled. “I wonder who’s going to be the one spreading rumors?”
Empress Dowager Xie only sighed. “Your Majesty, ah. Even the imperial family can’t stop wagging tongues.”
“Mhm,” Ning Xiaoyao replied, “You’ve got plenty of them right here at the empress dowager’s palace.”
Empress Dowager Xie’s face, which had grown red from her fever, now grew ashen white.
“Fine,” Ning Xiaoyao nodded. “My arguments lost all merit as soon as you brought up filial piety. I’ll have the empress come back and see you, but you have to agree not to make things difficult for her.”
Empress Dowager Xie agreed. “Alright.” Why would I hurt her, when I’m hoping she can help me instead?
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