Chapter 298: The brothers of the Imperial Clan
“Take a seat, y’all.” Ning Xiaoyao told the princes to sit. She lightly pressed her lips, which were a little dry, and said, “Since we’re fighting enemies, I won’t invite you to tea.”
The princes looked at Ning Xiaoyao, and then at Ning Xiaomu who stood next to her.
“This gentleman is the heir to the Duke of Yue’s Estate.” Ning Xiaoyao introduced. “Say, what did you guys come to find me for?”
The princes were all inwardly shocked. The Duke of Yue’s Estate has chosen to side with Ning Yu?
“Didn’t you ask for a meeting?” Ning Xiaoyao asked when she saw that no one spoke up. “You guys just want to take a glance at me and have nothing to say?”
“Earlier, there were words that Your Majesty was assassinated…”
“It was fake.” Ning Xiaoyao cut off Second Prince Ning Huo’s speech, “To expose Grand Preceptor’s true face, I faked death. Alright, since I’ve answered that, are there any other questions?”
Second Prince pointed out, “Your Majesty appears to be very impatient to meet with us subjects.”
“We’re fighting enemies, big bro,” Ning Xiaoyao made a pained expression. “You think I have time to sit here with you guys to reminisce our past and to look forward to our future?”
Ning Xiaoyao’s words caused Second Prince to choke.
“What’s the situation of the battle?” Third Prince asked.
“Xie Wenyuan fled.” replied Ning Xiaoyao.
The princes had all heard that Grand Preceptor Xie escaped the capital via the west gate, so they only pretended to be surprised upon hearing Ning Xiaoyao’s words.
Second Prince sneered, “What are these officers and soldiers in charge of guarding the capital doing? Are they Lou Zigui’s men? How could they let Xie Wenyuan escape?”
“It’s Xie Wenyuan, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao said, “He tricked the late emperor into thinking that he was a sweetheart. Until now, even I haven’t been able to kill him after all so many clashes. Yet you guys think a single city wall can stop him?”
“That’s because Lou Zigui is impotent!” Second Prince bit down on this point and refused to let off.
“Don’t be like that,” Ning Xiaoyao reproached, “It doesn’t hurt when you just sit and talk, alright? If you think Supreme Commander is no good, then why don’t you personally go and lead troops to fight Grand Preceptor instead?”
Second Prince was rendered speechless by Ning Xiaoyao’s words again. He could neither lead troops nor fight enemies!
“Your Majesty shouldn’t have pushed Xie Wenyuan to this state!” Fourth Prince opened his mouth, “Now, how do we put an end to this? Can Your Majesty ascertain Xie Wenyuan’s death?”
“So you mean to say that we should give up on this country and hand it over to Xie Wenyuan?” Ning Xiaoyao retorted.
“This subject does not mean that.” Fourth Prince hurriedly denied.
“Then you shouldn’t talk.” Ning Xiaoyao wasn’t polite at all. “If you guys feel that I was doing it wrong, why didn’t you say so sooner? Now that we’re about to fight, you’re telling me what’s not ok, what won’t work?”
The palace room lapsed into silence as the princes and Ning Xiaoyao glowered at one another.
“This subject thinks that,” First Young Master Ning wanted to speak out.
“We are having a conversation here, who are you to butt in?” Second Prince immediately flared at First Young Master Ning.
“You should back off!” Ning Xiaoyao was displeased, “Aren’t you all still fine? If you are alright then go home. I’m in a hurry here.”
Second Prince inquired, “This subject only wants to know what Your Majesty has in plan for your next move.”
“Fight the enemies.” Ning Xiaoyao curtly stated, “The troops are all outside the capital already. What else could we do but fight?”
“Is Your Majesty certain about winning?” Second Prince asked.
“No.” Ning Xiaoyao was completely honest.
At this point, the five princes all stood up..
“If I lose, what will you guys do?” Ning Xiaoyao asked them.
The five princes couldn’t provide an answer to this question. With all five of them included, they had over 500 guards on hand. This was enough to deal with the common people. But to oppose Xie Wenyuan’s rebel troops? Even an idiot knew that was absolutely impossible. Could they count on Lou Zigui to save them after the emperor was dead? The princes had never held any hope for Lou Zigui in the first place.
“You have no idea? Then you should just believe that I can win. Anyhow, if I’m done for, you can become Yongning’s emperor if you’re capable enough. The Imperial Jade Seal is inside the Supreme Splendor Hall. If you can’t beat Grand Preceptor, then run while you can…”
“Your Majesty,” Second Prince interrupted Ning Xiaoyao, “If something really happens to you, does Your Majesty think that Xie Wenyuan will let us off?”
“He won’t,” Ning Xiaoyao bluntly stated, “So I’m telling you guys, you should think of a solution yourself, ah.”
“How do we escape?” Third Prince wanted to know.
The five princes’ expressions were that of irrepressible rage as they stared at Ning Xiaoyao. It was as if they were awaiting their death, and Ning Xiaoyao was the culprit who had pushed them into this hopeless situation.
Ning Xiaoyao suddenly felt a distaste rise up in her stomach. These people were actually resenting her for being useless.
“Your Majesty, you must give us subjects a justification on this matter.” Second Prince demanded as he glared at Ning Xiaoyao.
“What kind of justification do you want?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“This subject would like to take Imperial Concubine Jing out of the capital.” Second Prince replied.
Big Boss Black jumped into the room through an open window and hopped on the couch. He told Ning Xiaoyao, “Imperial Concubine Jing is Second Prince’s birth mother.”
Ning Xiaoyao pursed her lips. The other four princes all chimed in, demanding that they wanted to take their imperial mothers out of the city to take refuge as well.
“Okay,” Ning Xiaoyao assented, “You guys can take the Imperial Concubines and go.”
“Then Your Majesty, how many guards are you sending to escort us subjects?” Second Prince continued making requests.
“You still want imperial bodyguards?” Ning Xiaoyao was amused, “Then do we have to send guards to escort the capital citizens as well, ah? Are you dreaming?”
“Your Majesty!” Second Prince screeched.
“When times are good, you guys hide in your home and live in comfort,” Ning Xiaoyao shot a look of contempt at Second Prince. “When things go wrong, you guys only think of escaping with the guards. Do the guards owe you lot or something?”
“As imperial bodyguards, it’s their duty to…”
“To throw away their lives for you, isn't it? Ning Xiaoyao cut Second Prince off, “Let me make it clear, while they are imperial bodyguards, they are my guards. What do they have to do with you? How’s that? Do I really seem like Holy Mother*? Even I myself don’t know if I’ll make it out alive, why should I bother to fret over your lives?”
“So Your Majesty wants us subjects to join you in death?” Third Prince muttered.
“When the citizens were fleeing the capital, why didn’t you all leave then?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“How would us subjects know Your Majesty would push Xie Wenyuan to the point of rebellion?” Second Prince icily replied with a question.
“You don’t know? Are you an idiot, ah?” Ning Xiaoyao rolled her eyes. “Find a better excuse next time.”
“If us subjects all die, isn’t it equivalent to Your Majesty handing the country over to Xie Wenyuan with both hands?” The longer Second Prince confronted Ning Xiaoyao, the bigger his fury grew. You may point swords and have your mighty faceoff against your subject, but on what grounds are you making us princes accompany death with you?
“If you don’t even have the skills to flee, how are you gonna become the emperor after I die?” Ning Xiaoyao found it ridiculous. “Where does this inexplicable confidence of yours come from?”
“So Your Majesty wants us subjects dead?” Second Prince countered.
“Don’t push me.” Ning Xiaoyao’s baby face sank and her voice turned cold. “There will be no guards. If you wanna flee, then think of your own method. Even the commoners figured a way out, why can’t you guys?”
“We are princes!” Second Prince finally stopped addressing himself as ‘subject’ when he spoke with Ning Xiaoyao.
“Oh?” Ning Xiaoyao’s tone was sarcastic, “So you still remember that you’re a prince? If you know that you’re a prince, why are you trying to run away? Why don’t you think of tactics to help me fight Xie Wenyuan to death?”
“It was Your Majesty who forced Xie Wenyuan to rebel, not me.” Second Prince rebuked.
Ning Xiaoyao nodded. Then, she stood up from the couch and threw a punch at Second Prince’s face. These bastards receive an official salary and enjoy the luxurious, comfort life of a prince. All of the country’s best resources are in their possessions. Yet, when the country falls into distress, these bastards only think of their own escape. They are even shameless enough to demand guards from her! They don’t even have the heart to at least think of leaving the guards to protect the city so the citizens could retreat safely!
Taking Ning Xiaoyao’s punch head-on, Second Prince fell to the ground. Streaks of blood overflowed down his nostrils.
The other four princes were frightened by Ning Xiaoyao’s sudden use of violence.
Ning Xiaoyao was panting heavily. The little amount of strength she had recovered was completely used up on this punch.
“Your Majesty, please calm your anger.” First Young Master Ning hurriedly stepped forward and pulled Ning Xiaoyao back.
“I’ve changed my mind,” Ning Xiaoyao was furious. “None of you are leaving!”
“Your Majesty wants to commit fratricide?” Third Prince flew into a rage as well and shouted at Ning Xiaoyao.
“So what if I decide to kill you?” Ning Xiaoyao remained standing even though First Young Master Ning pulled her to sit on the couch. She glared at Third Prince, “I can kill you now and blame it on Grand Preceptor! What can you do to me huh?”
Third Prince:… Well there’s really nothing he could do to get back at this thug.
“I’m the emperor!” Ning Xiaoyao pointed at her own nose. “I make the rules!”
“You,” Second Prince was lying across the floor. He wanted to say something.
Big Boss Black hurled himself at Second Prince’s head. He raised his claws and scratched out five bloody streaks on the latter’s face.
Second Prince shrieked in pain and stretched out his hand to grab Big Boss Black. At that moment, Ning Xiaoyao dashed forward and threw another punch at Second Prince’s face. “You dare to bully my cat?!”
“Miaow!” Big Boss Black ruthlessly scratched Second Prince’s face as he screeched, “You dare to bully my Xiaoyao?!”
Second Prince’s face instantly became unrecognizable under the abuse of a human hand and a cat claw.
The four princes were watching furiously on the side. As they gawked at the beating, they thought to themselves, you shouldn’t aim for the face when you’re beating a person up. Can’t these two rascals switch to a body part or something?
Second Prince was beaten unconscious. It was unclear whether he had fainted from the pain or from anger.
Ning Xiaoyao stood up from the ground. She stared icily at the other four princes and asked, “What else do you guys have to say?”
The four princes didn’t say a word. If they talked now, they would probably become the next Second Prince.
“I’m not joking,” Ning Xiaoyao bragged, “I can kill you guys now.”
The four princes were even less willing to talk now. Earlier, the thought of being dragged into death by association with Ning Yu had muddled their minds, making them forget that Ning Yu was that same merciless person who forced Xie Wenyuan into rebellion.
“Third Rain.” Ning Xiaoyao called out at the outside of the palace room.
Shadowrain stepped inside in response.
“Take them to the Hall of Punishment,” Ning Xiaoyao pointed at the princes in front of her. “Make sure that they are well fed, just don’t let them out.”
“The Hall of Punishment?” Fifth Prince had kept silent the whole time, but he finally spoke up.
“Or should I let you go to Empress Dowager’s palace so you guys can whine and complain to your respective birth mothers?” Ning Xiaoyao humphed. “Uncle Prince Fu can stay at the Hall of Punishment, why can’t you guys?”
Shadowrain called in a team of Dragon Guards.
“Drag them out.” Ning Xiaoyao ordered.
Shadowrain and the guards moved forward and dragged the four princes with them.
“As for this one, carry him out.” Ning Xiaoyao pointed a finger at Second Prince.
Shadowrain brought three Dragon Guards to lift Second Prince out.
At this moment, Big Boss Black miaowed and clawed twice on Second Prince’s chest. Ning Xiaoyao chided, “Are you an idiot? He’s wearing clothes. What’s the point if you can’t scratch his flesh?”
Upon hearing Ning Xiaoyao’s words, Big Boss Black raised his paw directly at Second Prince’s head.
His scratch slapped down the white jade crown Second Prince was wearing.
The white jade crown hit the ground and made a clacking sound. Ning Xiaoyao furrowed her brows. Something’s wrong with this sound. Why does it sound like this jade crown is hollow inside?
* 圣母 [shèngmǔ]: literally Holy Mother - a loving, caring and self-sacrificial person (mostly used as sarcasm)Previous Chapter Next Chapter