Chapter 233: Someone who will soon be suffering a fate worse than death Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“Then fine, you can keep on being sick,” Ning Xia oyao bid farewell to Empress Dowager Xie before walking out of the room. Most of the residences in the palace were small rooms divided into inner and outer chambers. Ning Xiaoyao had just left the inner chambers to the room outside, where all of the court ladies and eunuchs were standing with their heads bowed. Some of them were even trembling in fright, making Ning Xiaoyao feel like she was some man-eating beast or a freak.
“Your Majesty,” one of the mama bowed.
“I…” As soon as Ning Xiaoyao spoke, everyone in the room fell to their knees.
Ning Xiaoyao wiped her face before walking out, her heart feeling stifled. She was never welcome at the empress dowager’s palace. A mama entered the room with Ning Xin in her arms just in time to meet eyes with His Majesty. She shivered in response before turning on her heel to flee. Ning Xiaoyao turned back to look at the mama who was escorting her out. The mama silently cursed the other mama for bringing Prince Cheng here when His Majesty was visiting as well.
“Your Majesty, t-that servant’s never seen your heavenly countenance before, so she lost her cool. This servant will call her back right away.”
“Forget it,” Ning Xiaoyao said coldly. “Could anyone who’s been assigned to take care of Ning Xin be someone who’s never seen my face? Mama, you’re trying to fool me.”
The mama instantly fell to her knees and cried repeatedly, “This servant deserves to die.”
Ning Xiaoyao only shook her head at the woman before descending the steps. What’s wrong with all the people in this palace? Am I a zombie or something? Why are they all so afraid of me?
“Let’s go,” Ning Xiaoyao called to Shadowgale and the rest, who were all waiting in the courtyard. A few imperial physicians were still present as well. The one who’d last spoken to Ning Xiaoyao stepped forward with a bow to speak.
“Your Majesty, how is empress dowager’s illness?”
“Esteemed Empress Dowager’s worked plenty hard to catch a cold in the middle of summer,” Ning Xiaoyao remarked.
The physician didn’t dare to continue the conversation.
“You’re supposed to say ‘Your Majesty is wise and brilliant,’” Ning Xiaoyao reminded him.
The imperial physicians all stood with their heads bowed. If they praised His Majesty now, the empress dowager would skin them alive later!
“Just give her some pills or whatever,” Ning Xiaoyao told them. “It’s fine, no need to be nervous. Hard-working people rarely die so easily.”
“.....” said the imperial physicians. They couldn’t say anything to that, either.
Ning Xiaoyao strode forward. While Empress Dowager Xie had been sighing, she’d taken the chance to brush her hand against the strands of the woman’s hair to check the state of her body. As it turned out, the woman really had made herself sick, a feat that Ning Xiaoyao could respect. For the sake of defeating her, Empress Dowager Xie had given her all.
“Your Majesty?” Shadowgale called out at the sight of Ning Xiaoyao’s serious face.
“Hm?” Ning Xiaoyao turned towards him.
Shadowgale pointed towards the left, where Ning Xiaoyao spotted two Dragon Guards holding the mama who had fled earlier in custody.
“How does Your Majesty plan to deal with her?” Shadowgale asked.
“She ran as soon as she saw me, what’s the crime for that?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
Head Commander Shadowgale was quite ruthless with his reply. “Death penalty.”
Ning Xiaoyao’s mouth twitched. “Don’t be like that, let’s be a little gentler.”
Both Shadowgale and the Dragon Guards were silent. What does this have to do with being gentle?
Ning Xiaoyao walked to the mama and stuck her head out to peer at Ning Xin in her arms. The mama instinctively shrank back.
“Impudence!” Shadowgale scolded.
The mama trembled again, while Ning Xin stopped playing with his finger to burst into tears at Shadowgale’s shout. Shadowgale gave a start after realizing he’d agitated the little Prince Cheng. Ning Xiaoyao reached out a hand to pinch Ning Xin’s face. His little nose and eyes, along with that wide-open mouth, really looked like an exact copy of the empress dowager. Ning Xin didn’t have many chances to see Ning Xiaoyao since he was born, so his cries only grew more mournful at the pinching. Those who didn’t know any better might even think Ning Xiaoyao was pinching the little prince hard on purpose.
“Your Majesty!” Very quickly, the “seriously ill” Empress Dowager Xie was drawn to the scene by the cries. When she saw Ning Xiaoyao touching her son, she couldn’t help but scream.
Ning Xiaoyao withdrew her fingers, unimpressed. “He’s a boy, so why’s he crying at the mere sight of other people? Can’t he show a little more self-respect?”
Empress Dowager Xie nearly went mad at those words. “Don’t you touch him!” she shouted.
Ning Xiaoyao only shrugged. “You make it sound like I actually want to touch him.”
Ning Xin seemed to sense that Ning Xiaoyao was looking down on him, because his cries intensified. It sounded like he’d be out of breath at any minute. Empress Dowager Xie’s heart burned, but she didn’t dare to approach. In her mind, Ning Xiaoyao was the vilest of scoundrels. She was afraid that pushing her too far would make her act maliciously against Ning Xin instead.
“He wasn’t good looking to begin with, but he’s even uglier when he cries,” Ning Xiaoyao tugged on her eyelids and stuck out her tongue at Ning Xin.
“Wahhhhhhhh~” Ning Xin’s voice broke from all the wailing.
“Your Majesty!” Empress Dowager Xie shrieked.
Ning Xiaoyao stopped making faces and glanced at the mama who was looking at her like she’d seen a monster. She snorted and told Shadowgale and the rest, “Let’s go.”
As soon as Ning Xiaoyao and her people were gone, Empress Dowager Xie collapsed to the ground.
“Esteemed Empress Dowager!” her eunuchs and court ladies chorused at the same time.
Empress Dowager Xie looked at her sobbing son, then at the daughter who didn’t spare a look back at the servants’ shouts of alarm. Her gaze shifted from shock and anger to resentment and hate. I’d like to see how long that damned girl can keep being so smug!
“Pah!” Ning Xiaoyao spat at the gates to the empress dowager’s palace once she walked out.
Shadowgale looked at the empress dowager’s twin gates and suddenly felt like he could read His Majesty’s mind. “Your Majesty thinks these gates are ugly?” he asked.
“Ah?” Ning Xiaoyao was only venting with her spit, but re-examined the gates upon being prodded. “They are pretty ugly, ha.”
All of the Dragon Guards instantly understood that there was no keeping these two gates anymore.
“Actually, I think the empress dowager’s whole house is pretty ugly too,” Ning Xiaoyao told the Dragon Guards. “Ghastly.”
Shadowgale’s eyelid twitched. “But this servant doesn’t think there’ll be enough time to tear the whole thing down now.”
Ning Xiaoyao furrowed her brows. “As if this is actually a problem of time!”
Shadowgale felt that time wasn’t exactly the issue here, either. One Dragon Guard spoke up and asked, “Your Majesty, if the empress dowager’s palace is no more, where will she and Prince Cheng live?” One can’t just house the empress dowager wherever one pleases!
“That’s right,” Ning Xiaoyao clapped her hands as she turned to Shadowgale. “Without the empress dowager’s palace, where will she and Ning Xin live? The Grand Preceptor’s estate? Heheh.”
Too cruel~ All of the Dragon Guards and Shadowgale thought as they looked at Ning Xiaoyao. So His Majesty won’t even consider confining the empress dowager in the Cold Palace, because he wants to banish her and Prince Cheng outright!
Ning Xiaoyao kicked at the gates a few times, then punched it with her fists. After her flurry of attacks, the two gates crashed to the ground with a loud bang.
“Too ugly!” Ning Xiaoyao tossed these words at the dumbstruck servants of the empress dowager’s palace before leading her guards back to Supreme Splendor Hall.
When Empress Dowager Xie heard that her gates had been knocked down again, she didn’t even feel angry---or any need to get mad. That’s true, she mused as she hugged Ning Xin tightly to her chest, Why should I bother losing my temper at someone who’s sure to suffer a fate worse than death soon?
“Everything will be fine soon,” Empress Dowager Xie murmured as she nuzzled against his cheer. “Xin’er don’t cry, our days will get better very soon.”
Back in Supreme Splendor Hall, Lou Zigui had just finished asking about the battle situation from the military officer. He was about to ask after Tao Yu when Ning Xiaoyao entered and yelled, “Supreme Commander, I’m back.”
Lou Zigui quickly stood up from his seat while the military officer hastily made to bow. Ning Xiaoyao waved a hand and said, “No need to stand on formalities.”
The officer couldn’t quite understand what Ning Xiaoyao meant. What formalities? It’s Your Majesty.
“Sit,” Lou Zigui told the officer.
So being allowed to sit means not standing on formalities? The young officer felt he needed more brainpower to figure all this out.
“Here.” Ning Xiaoyao carried over two plates of snacks to the tea table by the officer’s chair. After some thought, she moved over the tea things by Lou Zigui’s side as well and said, “Eat up, we’ve got plenty of snacks.”
The officer was frightened by Ning Xiaoyao’s familiarity. He blankly took a pastry and opened his mouth to take a bite, not tasting a bit of it. All he knew was that His Majesty was personally treating him to desserts in Supreme Splendor Hall!
“How is Esteemed Empress Dowager’s condition?” Lou Zigui asked.
Ning Xiaoyao walked to his side and remarked, “Not serious. She froze herself until she got sick.”
Lou Zigui quickly darted a glanced at the dazed officer munching on his snack. Ning Xiaoyao got the message and lowered her voice. “Ah, that’s right. You can’t air private scandals in public.”
“......” said Lou Zigui. It’s not a good habit to be so blunt with your speech, either.
“The gates to the empress dowager’s palace were too ugly,” Ning Xiaoyao added. “So I helped the empress dowager fix them.”
“What did you do?” Lou Zigui regretted the words as soon as he spoke them.
Ning Xiaoyao laughed. “I helped her take the doors down. Now she can put up new ones in their place.”
“Pfft!” On one side, the officer spat out the pieces of pastry in his mouth.
Ning Xiaoyao looked at him and said, “Hurry up and drink some water.”
The officer poured himself a drink and drained the cup. Lou Zigui looked at him and realized the fellow was more simple-minded than he saw at first glance.
“That there, is General Tao doing well?” Ning Xiaoyao ran in front of the officer and asked.
“My general’s doing pretty well,” the officer replied.
“That’s good then,” Ning Xiaoyao replied. “Go visit your general’s wife and young Miss later, tell them a bit about what General Tao’s been doing.”
“Yes,” the officer obeyed immediately.
“Is there enough money?” Ning Xiaoyao asked as she lowered her voice.
“Enough,” the officer nodded. “Prince Fu has money.”
“Enough grain to eat?” Ning Xiaoyao asked next.
“Enough, Prince Fu has grain,” the officer replied.
“Oh,” Ning Xiaoyao looked at him. “Then who’s the good guy here, Prince Fu or Your Majesty?”
“Your Majesty is good!” the officer blurted without a second thought. “Without Your Majesty, that prince wouldn’t have given us any money or food!”
“What’s your name?” Ning Xiaoyao asked as she patted the man on the shoulder. “Let’s be friends.”
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