Chapter 246: Supreme Commander adds details mid-way Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Empress Dowager Xie knew that now wasn’t the time to retreat. Even if she was more to blame than that slut née Zhou, she couldn’t admit defeat. For the sake of her son, she had to stand firm.
“This Dowager wants to see His Majesty,” Emrpess Dowager Xie said.
Lou Zigui nodded slightly. “This subject will report your request to His Majesty.”
“When has This Dowager’s desire to see His Majesty ever needed the likes of an outer official like you to take part?” Empress Dowager Xie immediately questioned sternly.
Lou Zigui knew what she was thinking. Mothers rose in strength in accordance with their sons. Even if this woman had hit a dead end, she would fight to the last for the sake of Prince Cheng, Ning Xin. Still, Lou Zigui thought as his eyes flashed sinisterly, If you want to live, it’ll only be after I let you.
“This Dowager wants to see His Majesty!” Empress Dowager Xie pointed her finger at the imperial guards. “This Dowager is His Majesty’s mother. What are you all doing? Are you planning to revolt just because His Majesty was attacked by an assassin?!”
“Kill.” Lou Zigui’s voice was soft, but it sounded unmistakably cold beneath the summer sun.
“What?” Empress Dowager Xie was astonished.
Shadowgale suddenly raised his sword and sliced the two eunuchs by his feet, killing them both. As shrill screams filled the air, the imperial guards all attacked with their swords to silence the cries. Corpses soon littered the grounds of the courtyard, soaking its ornamental slabs with blood. The brilliant hues of the summer flowers paled in comparison with the crimson liquid, which seemed to dye the entire world scarlet. Its raw, metallic stench filled Empress Dowager Xie’s nostrils and made her gag.
Lou Zigui was still standing as still as a quiet pine, completely indifferent to the blood pooling at his feet. He looked at Empress Dowager Xie and stated, “This subject suspected these servants to be accomplices of the assassin. For the sake of Esteemed Empress Dowager and Prince Cheng’s safety, this subject had them all executed. Now His Majesty can tend his wounds in peace.”
“You,” Empress Dowager Xie backed away a few steps.
“They might be assassins too,” Lou Zigui said, “This subject had no other choice.”
Empress Dowager Xie held onto a pillar for support as she stared at him, then at the dead bodies on the ground and the troops who refused to kneel at the sight of her. She suddenly realized that now wasn’t a matter of retreat, but of what Lou Zigui was planning to do to her instead.
“Drag the bodies away,” Lou Zigui ordered.
The imperial guards picked up the corpses by one ankle and hauled them off with no fanfare.
“All of you withdraw,” Lou Zigui told the rest of the soldiers. Shadowgale took the lead to take them out of the courtyard.
“Your Majesty,” Empress Dowager Xie managed to keep herself upright with the pillar as she spoke. “This Dowager wants to see His Majesty!”
Lou Zigui took a few steps forward, causing her to back away again. Meanwhile, the mama holding Ning Xin was still scared speechless.
“What are you planning?” Empress Dowager Xie backed all the way into the rooms before quickly retracing her steps again, her voice shrill. “Lou Zigui, you dare to kill This Dowager?!”
Lou Zigui’s lips curved up into an icy smirk.
He’s not the one who wants to kill me, the empress dowager suddenly thought, It’s Ning Yu. “Where’s Ning Yu?” she cried desperately. “Does he plan on killing his mother?!”
Lou Zigui looked at her without a word.
“He wants This Dowager dead,” Emrpess Dowager Xie grew agitated. “Then he better not plan on surviving, either. He’s---”
“Wahhhh! Wah, wahhh!”
The words ‘a girl’ died on Empress Dowager Xie’s lips as Ning Xin’s wails filled the air. Her son’s voice was like a bucket of ice water over the empress dowager as she recovered her wits. If she got in a life-and-death struggle with Ning Yu now, what would become of Ning Xin? Was he supposed to die with them?
Lou Zigui’s hand was resting on his sword. If the empress dowager had really blurted out the emperor’s true gender, he was prepared to kill her right then and there. Now that Empress Dowager Xie had stopped talking, he quirked another grin and murmured, “What fine skills, Esteemed Empress Dowager.”
Empress Dowager Xie’s eyes flickered.
“His Majesty was severely injured,” Lou Zigui continued. “The empress didn’t use poison, but a dagger to stab His Majesty in the neck.”
“His Majesty refused to let any doctors treat the wound,” Lou Zigui went on. “And shut himself in his bedroom, refusing to come out. Right now, the only thing I know is that he’s seriously injured, because I smelled a lot of blood.”
Empress Dowager Xie suddenly lost all energy from her body and toppled back against the wall.
“If His Majesty doesn’t make it this time,” Lou Zigui continued murmuring with a level stare, “Then I believe Esteemed Empress Dowager should know who stands to benefit the most.”
Inside the rooms, Ning Xin’s wailing continued.
Who benefits the most if Ning Yu dies? If Ning Xin takes the throne as a baby, then the mother will be killed to leave the son. With him so young, the Grand Preceptor will act as regent and become the sole ruler at court. Who benefits the most? Of course, it’ll be my father.
“There’s one more thing that Empress Dowager might not be aware of,” Lou Zigui added. “The Grand Preceptor delivered Zhou mama’s headless body to Iron Buddha Temple.”
Empress Dowager Xie first assumed that the empress was conspiring with Ning Yu, but now she assumed that the woman could only have been instigated by the Grand Preceptor.
“If the Grand Preceptor promised to protect the safety of the Zhou siblings,” Lou Zigui went on, “Then I believe the empress would have trusted him.”
Empress Dowager Xie slowly straightened up with a curse. “Slut.”
Lou Zigui said, “Esteemed Empress Dowager better pray that His Majesty can survive this unharmed. Otherwise, no one will be able to protect you.”
“If something happens to His Majesty, would any good come to you?” Empress Dowager Xie challenged.
“Worse comes to worst, I could simply leave,” Lou Zigui said calmly. “Before the new emperor takes the throne, I could depart the capital city for Anyuan. With its six provinces and the Black Frost Cavalry under my hands, the Grand Preceptor wouldn’t be able to touch me even if he claims all power in court.”
Empress Dowager Xie just shook her head and mocked, “This is the extent of your loyalty?”
Lou Zigui wasn’t affected. “As long as His Majesty is still alive, my life is his. Even if His Majesty commands me to die, I will do it without objections.”
“Do it without objections?” Empress Dowager Xie echoed coldly. “And if His Majesty dies instead, you’ll just choose to walk away from the problem?”
“Naturally, I’ll seek revenge for His Majesty’s sake,” Lou Zigui said. “But that means I’d have to survive first. A dead man can’t do anything, wouldn’t you say?”
Inside the rooms, Ning Xing’s sobs had dwindled to soft whimpers. Empress Dowager Xie heard this and suddenly said, “Why should This Dowager believe you? You said His Majesty’s been attacked, but what makes that fact?” Here was the man who’d just ordered 20 or so of her servants killed. How could she trust him?
“It doesn’t matter whether or not Empress Dowager believes me,” Lou Zigui said. “I’m not concerned with Empress Dowager’s future.”
Empress Dowager Xie choked.
“The Grand Preceptor will enter the palace very soon,” Lou Zigui added. “I’ll block his way. That’s the only thing I can do for His Majesty now.”
He won’t let the Grand Preceptor seize the chance to control the courts while Ning Yu’s injured, then? Empress Dowager Xie’s thoughts were currently in a mess. She couldn’t trust anyone or see through anything anymore.
“As long as His Majesty is fine, then Empress Dowager can continue to live,” Lou Zigui finished before turning to leave.
“Hold it,” Empress Dowager Xie called after him and stepped forward. “This Dowager wants to see His Majesty once.”
Lou Zigui turned back.
“If things really are as you say, then This Dowager will help you keep the Grand Preceptor out,” Empress Dowager Xie added.
Lou Zigui creased his brows.
“But before This Dowager helps you, This Dowager must see His Majesty once,” Empress Dowager Xie insisted.
“Empress Dowager isn’t afraid that the Grand Preceptor will bring his troops into the palace as well?” Lou Zigui asked.
“Even if His Majesty can’t speak, This Dowager can,” Empress Dowager Xie said coldly. As long as Ning Yu has o single breath of air remaining, the Grand Preceptor can dream on about leaving the son and killing its mother!
Lou Zigui’s body turned sideways as he acknowledged her words. “Alright. This subject invites Esteemed Empress Dowager to come with me to Supreme Splendor Hall.”
Now he’s ‘this subject’ again, Empress Dowager Xie stared at Lou Zigui before descending the steps.
“With the imperial guards here, nothing will happen to Prince Cheng,” Lou Zigui promised before the empress dowager could mention it. She headed out the courtyard at that.
“So, is Supreme Commander teaming up with the empress dowager now?” Oil Jar asked Grandpa Ash in confusion from the flower beds. “Doesn’t Supreme Commander hate the empress dowager?”
Grandpa Ash only shook his head. “This is called a mutual deception. They’ll try hook and crook for the sake of their goals and even turn friends into enemies, enemies into friends.”
Oil Jar only felt dizzy at the words. “Ancestral Grandfather, doesn’t this mean Supreme Commander’s a villain now?”
“He’s not a villain,” Grandpa Ash answered. “But he’s not a hero, either.”
Now Oil Jar was even more confused. Not a villain or a hero? Then what is he?
“Oil Jar,” Grandpa Ash’s paw patted him on the head. “After living a while, you’ll discovered that humans can’t simply be divided into ‘good’ and ‘bad.’”
“Humans are too complicated,” Oil Jar sighed. A little mouse like me doesn’t get it.
Shadowgale and the rest were astonished to see Empress Dowager Xie emerge from her courtyard.
“Escort Esteemed Empress Dowager to Supreme Splendor Hall,” Lou Zigui ordered Shadowgale. “Empress Dowager wants to visit His Majesty.”
By now, Shadowrain had already reached them as well. All four commanders of the Dragon Guards glared at Lou Zigui at the same thing. This wasn’t part of the plan.
“Does This Dowager even need the permission of you servants now before I can see His Majesty?” Empress Dowager Xie actually burst out laughing from her fury.
The Wind, Thunder, Rain and Lightning commanders all exchanged glances. Should we join Supreme Commander in his insanity?
After changing into new clothes, Ning Xiaoyao went back to lying on the bed and snacking on sugar beans. When she wanted to talk, she could find all sorts of topics to talk about, so Imperial Physician Gao had no choice but to keep her company despite wanting to find a quiet corner to adjust his thoughts. Their chats ranged from who would win in a fight between Supreme Commander and Shadowgale, to which restaurants were the most famous in the capital city, to why Imperial Physician Gao had yet to beget a daughter despite being married for so long with a son already in the family.
Imperial Physician Gao first thought of dying when they first started talking, then thought of killing Ning Xiaoyao first before himself as time went on. Just when he was about to give out, Shdaowrain rushed in with an urgent tone. “Your Majesty, Supreme Commander’s decided to ally with the empress dowager to face off against the Grand Preceptor. He’s bringing her here to check on your injuries!”
Ning Xiaoyao blinked, then asked Imperial Physician Gao, “Did I hear wrong? Third Rain just said that Supreme Commander’s allying with the empress dowager?”
Imperial Physician Gao nodded woodenly at Ning Xiaoyao. “Your Majesty didn’t hear wrong. This subject heard the exact same words.”
Ning Xiaoyao clutched her head. What’s going on now? How can we add details to our play mid-way?!
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