Chapter 245: Supreme Commander says, for His Majesty's sake Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“It’s nothing that serious,” Ning Xiaoyao told Imperial Physician Gao. “Why would I kill my own mother?”
Imperial Physician Gao just stared at her. So you do realize the empress dowager’s your mother.
“It’s just that the empress dowager has never viewed me as her daugh---as her son, that’s all,” Ning Xiaoyao added.
Imperial Physician Gao fell silent again. That’s true, too.
Shadowrain soon ran back with a gust of wind and gave Ning Xiaoyao two bags of sugar beans. “Your Majesty, are two bags enough?”
“They are,” Ning Xiaoyao nodded, before tossing one promptly in her mouth. As she munched on the candy, she remarked, “Eating too many sweets is bad for your teeth.”
“Your Majesty is right,” Shadowrain agreed. “Your Majesty is wise and brilliant.”
Imperial Physician Gao stared at Ning Xiaoyao’s mouthful of sugar bean and didn’t feel like saying a word.
“Your Majesty, can I go to the empress dowager’s palace?” Shadowrain asked.
“Mhm, go ahead,” Ning Xiaoyao nodded again. “Tell Windy and the others that I’m alright so they don’t need to worry.”
Shadowrain muttered an assent and ran back out.
“Your Majesty, then this subject?” Imperial Physician Gao asked.
Ning Xiaoyao looked at him. “What should we do?”
“This subject doesn’t know,” Imperial Physician Gao replied.
“Aye,” Ning Xiaoyao sighed. “I don’t, either.”
Imperial Physician Gao just stared at her again. Right now, I just want a place by myself to think a bit.
“That’s right,” Ning Xiaoyao suddenly remembered, “Supreme Commander said he’d fetch water for my bath.”
Imperial Physician Gao leveled a calm stare at Ning Xiaoyao as he reminded her, “Your Majesty, Supreme Commander’s already left for the empress dowager’s palace.”
Ning Xiaoyao stared back.
Imperial Physician Gao had no choice but to ask, “Shall this subject fetch water for Your Majesty?”
“I can’t even rely on Supreme Commander, so how could I rely on you?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
Imperial Physician Gao immediately felt like leaving again. Ning Xiaoyao swayed her way off the bed and said, “Forget it. Nowadays, it’s better to rely on yourself, ah.”
“Your Majesty, you’re still supposed to be faking your death,” Imperial Physician Gao pointed out.
Ning Xiaoyao’s glare turned vicious. “So just because I’m ‘dead,’ I can’t even leave my room?”
Imperial Physician Gao braced himself as he intoned, “What if a spy sees Your Majesty looking perfectly well? That wouldn’t be good, right?”
“That’s what I just said. Now you’re using my words against me?” Ning Xiaoyao’s gaze sharpened.
“......” said Imperial Physician Gao. You were worrying about spies just a minute ago, but now you don’t care anymore?
“I,” Ning Xiaoyao began, before her expression suddenly shifted. The next second she had fallen back on the bed and told the stunned doctor, “Quick, someone’s coming. Little Gao, hurry and pretend you’re heartbroken.”
Imperial Physician Gao’s head darted around the imperial bedchambers, seeing nothing but stillness in the room.
“Hurry up,” Ning Xiaoyao pressed.
Imperial Physician Gao was left at a loss by her urgency. “W-what should this subject do?”
“Pretend I’m your father! “ Ning Xiaoyao hissed. “And that I’m dying!”
“........” said Imperial Physician Gao.
When Ning Xiaoyao heard noises coming from outside the window, she shut her eyes and lay stiffly on the bed, pretending she was dead. Imperial Physician Gao nudged the bags of sugar beans under the covers before kneeling by the bedside and began to imagine his father dying…
A rather short eunuch appeared outside the window on the right, holding a broom in his hand. He lightly pushed against the window. Catching the minute change of light seeping in through its crack, Imperial Physician Gao immediately dropped his head and broke into quiet sobs. With a mournful cry, he exclaimed, “Your Majesty!”
Ning Xiaoyao felt goosebumps on her skin. As she lay there like a corpse, she couldn’t help but marvel at the fact that Imperial Physician Gao was really treating her like his dead dad.
“Who’s there?” a Dragon Guard soon appeared by the window and soundly boxed the eunuch by his ears. Imperial Physician Gao immediately shut up and ran towards the window. There, he saw the eunuch sprawled on the ground, a trickle of blood coming out of his lips.
“Who let you in here?” the Dragon Guard came forward and placed his foot over the eunuch’s chest, voice cold.
Imperial Physician Gao moved to shut the window before demanding, “Who is it?!”
The eunuch was trembling in fear as he pointed at the broom in his hand. The Dragon Guard knitted his brows before replying, “Someone on clean up duty.”
“Chase him off!” Imperial Physician Gao’s voice was hoarse from obvious crying.
“Scram!” the Dragon Guard kicked the eunuch, who rolled on the ground before crawling to his feet and fleeing with the broom in his arms. “He’s gone,” he added after the eunuch had vanished.
Imperial Physician Gao returned to the bed. Ning Xiaoyao was tossing another sugar bean into her mouth. “See that? What did I say? There are spies in Supreme Splendor Hall.”
Imperial Physician Gao sat quietly on the stool by her bed, and Ning Xiaoyao offered him a few sugar beans as well. “Eat. This world is pretty savage, isn’t it?”
Imperial Physician Gao silently ate the beans. Yes, this world is plenty savage.
Ning Xiaoyao sighed. Forget about baths. She got off the bed and prepared to change her clothes instead. Imperial Physician Gao saw her digging through her wardrobe and asked, “Your Majesty, shall this subject help you change clothes?”
Ning Xiaoyao glanced at him. “That’s the job of concubines or eunuchs. Little Gao, you still want to do it?”
Imperial Physician Gao fell silent.
Ning Xiaoyao carried a bundle of clean clothes behind a folding screen and began to change as she talked. “Say, how do you think Supreme Commander’s doing over there?”
Imperial Physician Gao thought it over before replying, “If he gets physical, Supreme Commander won’t lose.”
Ning Xiaoyao stiffened in the middle of taking off her robes. Supreme Commander getting physical with the empress dowager? Is that possible?
Currently, Empress Dowager Xie was sitting in her bedroom at the empress dowager’s palace with a mama cradling Ning Xin standing by her side. Both mistress and servant were ashen faced and nearly scared out of their wits.
“The empress was shouting that His Majesty died?” Empress Dowager Xie asked the mama beside her.
The mama couldn’t say anything beyond nodding her head. Empress Dowager Xie felt her whole body turn cold as she sat there blankly. Then she muttered to herself, “Née Zhou wouldn’t dare. How could that slut have the guts to kill His Majesty?”
Weren’t you the one who gave her the guts in the first place? The mama looked at Empress Dowager Xie but kept her thoughts to herself. She tried to comfort her next, but no words came out from her trembling lips. A team of imperial guards had long surrounded their palace. Occasionally, the sobs of an errant court lady or eunuch would reach their ears between the flurry of guards’ boots running through the building. They would upbraid the servants for making noise, their loud voices passing through the shut doors and windows. Empress Dowager Xie could only listen dazedly as they talked. Lou Zigui had suddenly brought an entire contingent of imperial guards into her palace, completely taking her by surprise. Before she could recover, she’d been trapped in the inner chambers of her bedroom. As time trickled by, Empress Dowager Xie suddenly sprang to her feet.
The mama gave a start.
Empress Dowager Xie’s face was turning green as she grit her teeth. “Née Zhou only went to Supreme Splendor Hall today. If His Majesty took the drugs, they wouldn’t have reacted so quickly.” Her face seemed to contort at the thought, badly scaring the mama who backed away with Ning Xin in her arms.
Ignoring her servant, the empress dowager said, “Née Zhou didn’t use the drugs on His Majesty at all. She must have conspired with him to accuse This Dowager of plotting against the emperor. Ning Yu wants This Dowager dead. That bastard actually wants me dead?!”
The mama grew even more fearful at Empress Dowager Xie’s words. She held on tightly to Ning Xin as if he was her last life-saving straw. Because her grip was too tight, Ning Xin woke up from his nap and burst into tears. Hearing him wail, the mama narrowly dropped the baby in her arms. But his sobs calmed Empress Dowager Xie down. She reached out to hold him before remembering that she was still ill. It’d be bad to infect her son as well, so she chided the mama, “Why haven’t you set His Highness down to comfort him yet?”
The mama quickly ran to the bed and carefully set Ning Xin on its surface. She knelt by his side and began to coax the baby. Empress Dowager Xie stared at her son before deciding she couldn’t wait any longer. She had to change the situation to her favor.
Outside the building, Lou Zigui entered the courtyard and was met with Shadowgale, who murmured, “Esteemed Empress Dowager has been inside the whole time. She hasn’t come out or said a word.”
“Mm,” Lou Zigui murmured back, his icy eyes sweeping over the court ladies and eunuchs kneeling on the ground.
“All of these are the servants who wait on Esteemed Empress Dowager in her quarters,” Shadowgale explained.
“Take them away,” Lou Zigui said simply.
Shadowgale nodded before turning to bark orders. “Take all them to the Hall of Punishment!”
The servants broke into sobs and screams as soon as they heard those words. One eunuch even wanted to run up the steps and into the building, but an imperial guard caught up to him and kicked him to the ground.
“Empress Dowager!” the eunuch tried to shout, but more imperial guards drew in and hit and beat him until he fell unconscious.
“All of you, be quiet!” one of the imperial guard captains shouted. The sobs stopped momentarily before starting up again.
“Make them shut up,” Shadowgale said coldly.
An imperial guard stepped forward with his sword still in its sheath and smacked the loudest crying mama on the face. Blood burst from the wound as she tumbled backwards and lay still, out cold. The other guards prepared to follow suit, but the servants all fell silent when they saw them move.
At this moment, someone pounded on the door. Lou Zigui looked towards the building, where a few successive knocks sounded loudly. Nobody moved to open the doors, but Empress Dowager Xie was standing right on the other side. Lou Zigui signaled the two imperial guards standing by the door, who quickly opened it up for the woman. Because Empress Dowager Xie was still healing from her broken leg, she could only hobble her way over the threshold.
The imperial guards saw that Lou Zigui didn’t bow or pay her any respects, so they simply stood there unmoving. Empress Dowager Xie reached the covered walkway before demanding from Lou Zigui, “Where is His Majesty?”
Lou Zigui replied, “His Majesty was attacked by an assassin and injured. This subject and the rest are currently hunting down the assassin. Empress Dowager, that killer was from your palace.”
Empress Dowager Xie’s nail sheaths dug into the palms of her hands. She sucked in a deep breath and cried, “Where is your proof?”
“We haven’t interrogated the assassin yet,” Lou Zigui replied. “Once we get some results, this subject will tell Empress Dowager right away.”
“This is the empress dowager’s palace,” Empress Dowager Xie replied. “Lou Zigui, you’re an outer official. How could you bring troops with you into the empress dowager’s quarters? Who gave you the gall?”
Lou Zigui bow slightly towards her before he said, “This is a matter of utmost urgency that related to His Majesty’s safety. May Esteemed Empress Dowager pardon this subject for charging in with soldiers.”
“This is the empress dowager’s palace!” Empress Dowager Xie raised her voice.
Lou Zigui’s voice was as cold as ever. “For the sake of His Majesty, this subject is willing to charge through all nine gates of Heaven to the celestial palace itself, to say nothing of this palace.”
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