Chapter 297: The Princes request for His Majesty’s presence
Upon arriving at the city gate tower of the imperial palace, the personal guards increased the pace of their steps. Their mission was to escort his Majesty into the palace safely. Until they have completed this mission, they wouldn’t be able to relax.
After passing a crossroad with many people, a team of Dragon Guards rushed out of the opposite street. The guard at the front saw Lord Protector’s personal guards and ran forward. “Are you people from Lord Protector’s estate?”
The personal guards were very anxious. At this juncture, who knew if these were Grand Preceptor Xie’s men dressed in the Dragon Guards’ robes?
Ning Xiaoyao lifted open the curtain. Her voice was nasally after all the crying. She shouted out of the carriage, “Big Bro Ning?”
It only took Ning Xiaomu several steps to reach the palanquin. He directly held Ning Xiaoyao’s hand and lifted the curtain. Looking inside, he whispered, “Is Your Majesty hurt?”
“Nope,” Ning Xiaoyao shook her head.
For a moment, his gaze lingered on Ning Xiaoyao’s eyes. First Young Master Ning lowered his voice further, “You cried?”
Ning Xiaoyao sniffed, “I’m usually a person that sheds blood and not tears.”
After gently wiping Ning Xiaoyao’s eyes with his fingers, First Young Master Ning added, “Let’s talk about it when we return to the palace. Shadowgale has gone to chase after Xie Wenyuan. However, I’m afraid he might run into Xie Wenyuan’s supporters on the way. Hence, I have already sent people to bring him back.”
“Supreme Commander is also worried about the same thing,” Ning Xiaoyao said hurriedly, “Second Thunder also went to call him back.”
“Then it’s fine. Let’s go back to the palace.”
“Big Bro Ning, the earthquake.. I mean what about the earthshake?” Ning Xiaoyao exclaimed softly and stopped First Young Master Ning from letting go of the sedan curtain.
“Some buildings in the imperial palace were damaged but the empress dowager’s palace is fine.” First Young Master Ning reported, “After walking around the city, I saw that some buildings were destroyed. There are a few casualties but most of the people are alright.”
“I have ordered Lord Protector to settle this matter.” Ning Xiaoyao casually gave an account of what she had done to First Young Master Ning. “Big Bro Ning, what do you think about my arrangement. Is it ok?”
Ning Xiaomu was taken aback. Is His Majesty relying on him?
“I need to find someone to discuss this with,” Ning Xiaoyao continued, “If I ask Elder Li now, I’m afraid that old gramps would hit me. Supreme Commander has gone to find Grand Preceptor. Windy and the rest are also not here.”
“Your Majesty has done well.” Firsty Young Master Ning gave Ning Xiaoyao a reassuring smile and lowered his voice, “Lord Protector is familiar with the capital and has soldiers under him. With him in charge of these matters, there should be no issue.”
“Oh.” After hearing First Young Master Ning say that, Ning Xiaoyao felt a breath of relief. It’s good she didn’t do anything wrong ah.
First Young Master Ning finally released the curtain and ordered the two personal guards in charge of lifting the palanquin. “Back to the palace.”
The group of guards protecting Ning Xiaoyao quickly made their way towards the imperial palace. When they had reached the palace gates, there was a strong stench of blood wafting through the air. It was so thick that it made it difficult for people to breathe.
Ning Xiaoyao wanted to lift up the curtains to take a look but First Young Master Ning stood outside and held it shut. He murmured, “Your Majesty shouldn’t look. Over thirty people died but Elder Li and the other important ministers are fine.”
Ning Xiaoyao dug her fingers into her palms and loosened the grip of the curtain. She leaned back against the seat.
The open space in front of the imperial palace was drenched with blood. Those walking by stepped in pools of blood, and the remaining spots that weren’t stained by blood had bloody footprints. All this would make observers feel like they were soaked in blood.
Piled up at a corner were bodies that have yet to be collected. The numbers were far higher than the thirty that Ning Xiaomu had reported. The bodies were stacked above each other like a little mountain.
First Young Master Ning didn’t allow Ning Xiaoyao to stop at the palace gate even for a moment. He walked in front of the palanquin and informed Ning Xiaoyao. “Without permission, I have arranged for Elder Li and the others to wait at the Cherish Language Hall for Your Majesty. If Elder Li knew that Your Majesty is fine, he would be very happy.”
Ning Xiaoyao tried to shrink herself into the palanquin, Elder Li would be very happy?? How is she going to explain to old gramps? The feeling of being excluded from the inner circle must be terrible ah!! (Author: Since when did you guys create the inner circle? o(╯□╰)o)
They had already arrived at Supreme Splendor Hall, but Ning Xiaoyao still needed time to catch her breath. Just as she was thinking about what to say to Elder Li, Shadowrain dashed in.
“Windy is back?” Ning Xiaoyao saw Shadowrain and jumped out of her seat.
Shadowrain spoke in a higher pitch. “Your Majesty, I didn’t chase after Xie Wenyuan with big brother.”
Ning Xiaoyao’s face soured, “Did something happen then?”
Shadowrain replied, “Second Prince brought the other four princes and they are outside the palace. They are requesting an audience, Your Majesty.”
Ning Xiaoyao was stunned. “Imperial brothers?”
Shadowrain nodded at Ning Xiaoyao.
From the moment she had arrived into this world, Ning Xiaoyao was thrown into a deathmatch with the Xie father and daughter pair and the supporters from the crown prince association. She even fought a few rounds with her imperial uncles. But Ning Xiaoyao had never once spoken to any of her imperial brothers.
Ning Xiaoyao had assumed she was the only daughter of the previous emperor and Ning Xin was the only son. “That fool had other sons?” Ning Xiaoyao muttered.
Shadowrain heard Ning Xiaoyao’s mumbling and his lips twitched. Third Commander could only pretend that he didn’t hear anything.
“Why are they looking for me, ah?” Ning Xiaoyao questioned.
Shadowrain reported, “The princes didn’t say but I’m quite sure it’s related to issues pertaining Xie Wenyuan.”
“Wait a minute,” Ning Xiaoyao interrupted, “They are princes not wangye* ah?” Weren’t relatives of the emperor all known as wangye? Did she make another mistake?
“Your Majesty didn’t confer titles to them right?” Shadowrain asked a question in response.
“Ah,” Ning Xiaoyao then realized, she didn’t confer these princes to be wangye ah.
Shadowrain looked at Ning Xiaoyao innocently, but deep down he thought, His Majesty can’t be an idiot.
“Can I not see them?” Ning Xiaoyao asked Shadowrain. She really wasn’t in the mood to meet her... Ning Xiaoyao smacked her head. Are these people her elder or younger brothers ah?
“I think it’s better to meet them for a bit,” First Young Master Ning spoke from the side. He looked at Ning Xiaoyao and added, “Right now, it would be better to appease the princes. This would be beneficial to us and the war.”
“They’ll join me in the fight?” Ning Xiaoyao’s eyes widened in excitement.
“They don’t have any troops under them,” Shadowrain objected. These princes have no conferred titles, land and have never left the capital before.
They are unable to expand the number of guards under the emperor’s influence. Even if they wanted to stir up trouble, they wouldn’t have the capabilities to do so.
“Then tell them to head home quickly.” Once Ning Xiaoyao found out the princes didn’t have any troops, she immediately scoffed, “Tell them right now the situation is that Xie Wenyuan has escaped.”
Shadowrain accepted the imperial decree and left.
“Your Majesty,” First Young Master Ning walked over to Ning Xiaoyao and lowered his voice. “At this point in time, it is important to secure the imperial household. The common people will be watching to see whether there is chaos. If the imperial household is unstable, the outcome of the war wouldn’t matter. The capital will still be in turmoil.”
First Young Master Ning’s words frightened Ning Xiaoyao and she hastily exclaimed, “What will happen after that? Will everyone be running around in chaos?”
“Running around would still be fine,” First Young Master Ning explained, “I am just afraid that the common people may all defect to Xie Wenyuan’s side if they see the imperial household is a mess. If that happens, wouldn’t Your Majesty have enemies coming from everywhere?”
Ning Xiaoyao understood what First Young Master Ning was implying. Her newly acknowledged older brother was warning her. If the Ning imperial family was a mess, the common people would lose faith in them and may end up joining Grand Preceptor Xie’s side to seek for glory and wealth.
“Supreme Commander had never mentioned this to you before, Your Majesty?” First Young Master Ning asked out of curiosity.
Ning Xiaoyao shook her head. Supreme Commander never brought up the princes before.
First Young Master Ning was a wise person who could see things clearly in an instant. The moment Ning Xiaoyao shook her head, he realized Lou Zigui was willing to abandon all the officials and common people of the capital.
Lou Zigui has no intention of defending the city. All he wants is to kill Xie Wenyuan. Even if the capital has to be sacrificed, it doesn’t matter to him.
“Your Majesty.” First Young Master Ning anxiously grabbed hold of Ning Xiaoyao. Currently, Ning Xiaoyao was restlessly running around in circles. “Xie Wenyuan and Supreme Commander Lou’s vengeance lies beyond matters concerning the country. Their hatred towards each other lies deeper, involving their families. Thus, when he’s thinking of killing Xie Wenyuan, it is important for Your Majesty to consider the other aspects of war.”
Ning Xiaoyao pondered over First Young Master Ning’s words for a long time before she replied, “I want less people to die ah. But Big Bro Ning, you have seen for yourself. I haven’t even started the war with Grand Preceptor and there was already an earthshake!”
First Young Master Ning sighed, “The sturdy houses built in the capital have not collapsed. This means that the magnitude of the earthquake was not very serious. In my opinion, Your Majesty can leave the war affairs to Supreme Commander Lou. Your Majesty’s focus should be on how to protect the capital.”
Ning Xiaoyao was about to die from anxiety. How is she going to protect the capital?
“Your Majesty!” Shadowrain’s voice trailed from outside the door.
“It’s over,” Ning Xiaoyao blurted, “The princes are here.” How did these people get here so fast? She hasn’t thought about how to appease them yet!
“If you can’t appease them,” First Young Master Ning softly instructed Ning Xiaoyao, “Then prevent the princes from leaving the palace.”
“Ah?” Ning Xiaoyao stared at First Young Master Ning with her mouth open. If she can’t convince them, she has to be hostile and put them in jail?
“The princes can protect Your Majesty from the left and right,” First Young Master Ning advised, “Isn’t this a great plan?”
“Your Majesty?” Third Rain Commander shouted from outside the door again.
“Come in,” Ning Xiaoyao responded.
“Wait a moment,” First Young Master Ning yelled.
Shadowrain had to quickly block Second Prince from barging through the doors.
“Your Majesty should go and change first,” First Young Master Ning quietly reminded Ning Xiaoyao.
Looking at her outfit, Ning Xiaoyao realized she was still wearing the flowery skirt. She gave First Young Master Ning an awkward grin and jumped out of the window. She had completely forgotten that she was still wearing the flowery skirt!
Outside the hall, Second Prince asked Shadowrain, “There is someone else in the room?”
Shadowrain lowered his head and didn’t say anything.
Second Prince clenched in his fist behind him and coldly chuckled. He mocked Shadowrain, “You really are a faithful slave.”
Shadowrain continued to lower his head without a sound. Second Prince couldn’t hit him anyway.
Ning Xiaoyao hastily changed her outfit and pulled her hair into a messy bun. Flipping out of the window, she ran back to the room.
First Young Master Ning studied Ning Xiaoyao in her male garment. Raising his hand, he flattened some of the stray hairs on her head. “On a normal day, who is the one that waits upon Your Majesty?”
Ning Xiaoyao didn’t think there was anything wrong with First Young Master Ning asking such personal matters of the emperor. So, she casually replied, “I do it myself ah. Uh, Supreme Commander ties my hair for me.”
First Young Master Ning’s hand stiffened. Lou Zigui combs his sister’s hair? Is that something a subject should be doing?
“You can enter now,” Ning Xiaoyao cleared her throat and called to the door.
Shadowrain waited until he could no longer hear any conversation from His Majesty and First Young Master Ning before letting the princes into the room.
The lighting in the room wasn’t very good. Ning Xiaoyao sat on the couch but was entirely hidden by the shadows. The girl who didn’t look very emperor-like appeared much more somber.
The princes entered the room. Regardless if they wanted to or not, all of them got down on their knees to greet Ning Xiaoyao.
“Rise,” Ning Xiaoyao quickly waved her hand at the princes as she carefully scanned their faces. Mm, these should be her imperial elder brothers. They all looked older than her.
**Wangye are the brothers of the emperor. I'm not sure how else to translate it. They're usually pretty rich though.Previous Chapter Next Chapter