Chapter 263: Mother, I want daddy Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“Your Majesty, you…” Shadowgale walked to Ning Xiaoyao and stared at her in her dress, his gaze frozen.
Ning Xiaoyao swept her eyes over the crowd. Everyone else was reacting more or less like the head commander. She cleared her throat and told the men, “Don’t be like that. Tonight I’m going to pretend to be Miss Ji’s little sister. That’s why I dressed up like this.”
“What?!” old General Ji Jiu exclaimed when he realized his granddaughter Yuerong was involved as well.
“It’s like this,” Ning Xiaoyao began to explain her plans with Ji Yuerong, Erya, and Xiaoqiu tonight. When she was halfway done, Ji Yuerong entered the room herself and added a few things here and there.
“So Miss Ji will be Chen Lu’s mistress, and I’ll be her younger sister. Erya is Miss Ji’s eldest daughter, while Xiaoqiu is her son,” Ning Xiaoyao concluded.
Old General Ji was floored by the plan. He only managed to ask, “Who’s the father?”
“Chen Lu, ah,” Ji Yuerong answered.
Old General Ji nearly toppled backwards. Although he knew this was all an act, it was still intolerable to hear such words from her mouth! “You,” the general looked between his granddaughter and Ning Xiaoyao. “Can’t a palace maid do something like this instead?”
“No,” Ning Xiaoyao shook her head. “None of them can afford to shoulder a thrashing.”
“......” said everyone else. That’s right. Chen Lu’s wife is a tigress. If a delicate palace maid played the role instead, she’d never be able to take a slap.
“I was originally planning to play the mistress myself,” Ning Xiaoyao added. “But I’m not beautiful enough. I’m afraid Chen Lu’s wife won’t believe me if I tell her.”
“Won’t believe what?” the Lord Protector asked dazedly.
“She would think, how could a girl who looks like this ever have seduced Chen Lu in the first place?” Ning Xiaoyao said with a shrug.
“The face is convincing enough,” Ji Yuerong got straight to the point. “But not the figure.”
Ning Xiaoyao only looked at her in silence.
So you’re doing it in his place instead? Old General Ji looked at his granddaughter with a pained expression. A girl running off to play someone else’s mistress. If news of this spreads, how will my granddaughter ever marry?
“Are you displeased?” Ning Xiaoyao asked after studying Old General Ji’s expression. He didn’t answer, because he knew his granddaughter wouldn’t heed his words anyways.
“Then it’s set,” Ning Xiaoyao clapped. “Tonight we’ll only aim for success, not failure.”
All of the men nodded their heads, then went back to staring at Ning Xiaoyao. They’d probably never get a chance to see their Majesty like this again after today. Lou Zigui strode forward and had Ning Xiaoyao sit on a chair. But the men’s gazes followed her there. Supreme Commander Lou tried to block them, but discovered it was impossible. In the end, he began to divvy up tasks for them instead to get them out as fast as possible. Once everyone left to fulfill their orders and Old General Ji took Miss Ji away, only he and Ning Xiaoyao remained in the room. Finally, he turned to look at her.
Ning Xiaoyao unconsciously straightened up in her seat. Lou Zigui’s expression wavered between nothing and a smile, leaving her feeling uncertain.
“What does that mean?” she asked.
“You have to be careful tonight,” Lou Zigui finally spok
“Ah? Oh.” Ning Xiaoyao nodded. How could I not be careful when I’m taking Erya and Xiaoqiu for a beating?
“Chen Lu’s wife might be rough, but it’s impossible to hope that she’ll kill Xie Wenyuan,” Lou Zigui said lightly. “This doesn’t just involve her and Chen Lu, but the Chen Clan and her own maternal clan. She wouldn’t have the guts to pay for Xie Wenyuan’s life with the lives of both clans.”
Ning Xiaoyao rolled her eyes. “Am I as malicious as that? Even if that wife wants to kill him, I’ll have to stop her myself. An emperor like me can’t even kill the Grand Preceptor whenever I want, so how could I let her steal that chance from me?”
“Alright,” Lou Zigui amended quickly. “I know. Xiaoyao, you’re not that kind of villain.”
“That’s right,” Ning Xiaoyao replied.
Lou Zigui bent down and kissed her on the forehead, then said, “I’ll go write a little to Xu Feiyu. Tonight I’ll come with you.”
“Don’t,” Ning Xiaoyao said hastily. “The Grand Preceptor will recognize you even if you’ve burned to ashes. Supreme Commander, you should escort the empress out of the city instead. That’s important, too.”
“Aren’t you afraid that Xie Wenyuan will recognize you instead?”
“Nope,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “I’m short, so I’ll vanish from sight as soon as I stand into a crowd. Moreover, how could my face be this clean after I tussle with Chen Lu’s wife? When the time comes, I’ll have a completely dirty face. The Grand Preceptor would be a monster if he recognized me then.”
Lou Zigui knit his brows. “You’re going to take a beating?”
“I’ll do my best not to,” Ning Xiaoyao replied. “Don’t worry. I’m a miracle doctor. Even a stabbing couldn’t kill me, so what does a thrashing count for?”
Lou Zigui forced his worries down before brushing at the stray hairs on her forehead. “I’ll have Old Huo and the rest make preparations.”
“Fine,” Ning Xiaoyao agreed. “The more people we have, the bigger row we can make. Our goal is to trap the Grand Preceptor at Fangqi Lane until he’s forced to call his subordinates for help.”
Lou Zigui’s hand trailed down until it stopped Ning Xiaoyao’s face. It almost looked as if he was going to kiss her on the lips before he turned to leave.
“Looks like charm only leads to grief,” Ning Xiaoyao muttered to herself from her chair. What to do? I’m not happy. She decided to take a trip to the little kitchens and see if Chef Huang had finished making her nourishing soup yet.
Two hours later, Ning Xiaoyao ate herself half full of soup straight from the point before leaving with Ji Yuerong, Erya, and Xiaoqiu out of the palace. At a street near Fangqi Lane, they stopped to eat Chef Huang’s pastries while waiting for the last of the sun to set and the city lanterns to go on.
“The Grand Preceptor’s here,” Ning Xiaoyao pointed Ji Yuerong and Erya towards the western end of the land as she spoke with a mouth full of sugar beans.
“You’re still looking?” Ji Yuerong pulled Ning Xiaoyao behind the wall. What would they do if Xie Wenyuan discovered them early? Erya used one hand to muffle her own mouth while the other cover Xiaoqiu’s. Meanwhile, the row of people from the Grand Preceptor’s estate strolled past them, never noticing the four figured huddled in the shadows of the alleyway.
“Eight people are carrying his sedan chair,” Ning Xiaoyao said in dissatisfaction. “He’s only a skinny old man. Does he need that many carriers?”
“In the future, he’ll need eight coffin bearers instead,” Ji Yuerong said even more viciously. “That’s why he needs those eight to get used to carrying him while he’s still alive. Otherwise, what would he do if they startle his ghost with their carry after death?”
Ning Xiaoyao’s round face twitched in response to Ji Yuerong’s words. This girl is even blunter than me!
“What is it?” Ji Yuerong asked.
“Nothing,” Ning Xiaoyao wiped her face and changed the topic. “I wonder when Chen Lu’s wife will show up?”
“That’s right, what’s her name, ah?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“She’s from the Xu Clan,” Ji Yuerong replied.
“Don’t know them,” Ning Xiaoyao shook her head.
“Née Xu is the eldest daughter of Xu Jing,[1. Xu Jing (许靖) - Xu is a surname that means “promise, praise/approve, allow permit,” Jing means “make tranquil, pacify.”] ah.”
“Oh,” Ning Xiaoyao replied. “Who’s Xu Jing?”
“He’s a powerful and mighty general,” Ji Yuerong said with a wooden face. “He controls the largest military barracks amongst the 36 battalions stationed in the capital city and its environs. He commands the most soldiers in Xie Wenyuan’s faction. Your Majesty, you don’t even know Xu Jing?”
“.......” said Ning Xiaoyao. I didn’t even know the capital had 36 battalions to begin with, so how would I know Xu Jing?
“Aye,” Ji Yuerong suddenly sighed as she came to her own conclusions. “I suppose Xie Wenyuan wouldn’t have let you known these things. Mm, that must be it.”
“Yes,” Ning Xiaoyao nodded with a straight face. “It’s all the Grand Preceptor’s fault.”
Ji Yuerong stopped fretting over the details, while Ning Xiaoyao spat in Grand Preceptor’s direction. That old man’s too vile! (Author: Do you think the Grand Preceptor could have hide something like this? Don’t blame the Grand Preceptor when it’s you yourself not being thorough enough. o(╯□╰)o)
“I’m really worried that née Xu will beat us to death,” Ji Yuerong said nervously as the night grew darker. She couldn’t help but confide her fears to Ning Xiaoyao. “She really will, you know.”
“Girl, you’re a soldier too,” Ning Xiaoyao didn’t understand why Ji Yuerong would get anxious now. You weren’t afraid the last time you fought in a war, so why fear fighting with somebody’s wife now?
“I can’t beat Chen Lu in a fight,” Ji Yuerong finally admitted. “And Chen Lu can’t beat née Xu, so I definitely won’t be able to defeat née Xu either.”
Ning Xiaoyao patted herself on the chest. “Don’t worry, I’m here.”
“But can we even fight back?” Ji Yuerong mused. “If we beat up née Xu too badly, how is she supposed to kill her way to Chen Lu and make him pay?”
(⊙︿⊙) , went Ning Xiaoyao. That’s right, we’re supposed to get beat up.
“Someone’s coming,” Erya called out softly. Ning Xiaoyao and Ji Yuerong quickled turned to look into the street, where stewards, servant girls, and old nanny types were clustered around a small sedan chair carried by two people coming down the lane.
“Is née Xu coming?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“Should be,” Ji Yuerong answered.
“Then shall we go?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
Ji Yuerong steadied her breathing before picking up Xiaoqiu and dashing into the middle of the street. Ning Xiaoyao took Erya by the hand and slowly followed behind her. She could feel her body aching for the expected beating again.
“Who’s there?” the foremost steward in front called out when he saw people blocking the road.
“I forgot to ask, what should my last name be?” Ji Yuerong asked Ning Xiaoyao. How am I supposed to be a mistress without a proper name?
“Your last name is Ji, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao said.
“I can’t use Ji, change it to something else,” Ji Yuerong was insistent on that point.
“How about Ning?”
Ji Yuerong shook her head. She didn’t dare borrow that one, either.
“The audacity! You have some nerve!” the steward crowed again when neither of the two woman answered him.
“Try Xiang,” Erya said, offering her own last name.
“This little woman is surnamed Xiang,” Ji Yuerong said immediately.
“Which Xiang?” one of the head nannies stepped forward and surveyed Ji Yuerong and Ning Xiaoyao from head to toe. “We don’t recognize it. What business have you here?”
Ji Yuerong had never done something as shoddy as this and found herself speechless before the nanny’s questions. Ning Xiaoyao stuck her nose in the air and gave a snort. “My big sister is Great General Chen’s wife. A servant like you should treat us with more respect!”
The group before them fell silent.
“Xiaoqiu, call for mother,” Ning Xiaoyao tugged on Xiaoqiu’s pant leg.
“Mother,” Xiaoqiu hugged Ji Yuerong around the neck before added like a natural, “I want daddy.”
The group before them remained silent, but now expressions of fright were on their faces. The general not only had a mistress, but a son with her as well?!
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