Chapter 325: Supreme Commander looked for Empress Dowager
“I am going to meet with General Xu. Do you want to join me?” Ning Xiaoyao had gotten dressed and had her hair freshly combed by Lou Zigui. She stood in front of the bed and asked, “Or Supreme Commander, are you planning to set off now?”
“Do you want me to help you teach Xu Feiyu a lesson?” Lou Zigui looked at Ning Xiaoyao with a satisfied grin on his face. Ning Xiaoyao couldn’t tell whether Lou Zigui was serious or not. Does he really want to beat Xu Feiyu up? Or is he just joking around?
“You are kidding, right?” Ning Xiaoyao asked. Lou Zigui sat up and sternly stated, “It is not a joke.”
“Oh, in that case, you better wait for me here.” Ning Xiaoyao pushed Lou Zigui down on the bed. “After I’m done speaking with General Xu, I will come back to send you off.”
Lou Zigui questioned, “What do you have to say to Xu Feiyu?”
“Since he is here, I ought to go greet him.” Ning Xiaoyao scratched her head and turned to leave.
Once Ning Xiaoyao left, Lou Zigui’s expression instantly turned cold. He was in a hurry to leave but there was a matter he had to settle first.
“Supreme Commander,” Shadowgale and some of the Dragon Guards walked into the courtyard and happened to see Lou Zigui standing along the corridor. Shadowgale immediately walked forward and bowed to Lou Zigui.
“Where is His Majesty?” Lou Zigui asked. Shadowgale replied, “Shadowthunder and the rest are at the main hall. His Majesty will be fine.”
“Then let’s go,” Lou Zigui walked down the steps.
A few of the Dragon Guards followed Lou Zigui. It wasn’t until they had walked through the main doors of Empress Dowager’s palace that they realized Supreme Commander had brought them to meet Empress Dowager Xie.
“Empress Dowager is inside.” Pointing to a darkened chamber, Shadowgale softly told Lou Zigui. “Around dusk, she took Prince Cheng into this chamber and there has been no movement thereafter.”
Lou Zigui nodded his head and lengthened his steps. He walked to the door, pushed it open and walked in.
Shadowgale instructed the Dragon Guards to keep watch at the courtyard while he personally stood guard outside the chamber.
On this summer night, the moon shone brightly, but there were few stars. Although there was no light inside the imperial chamber, Lou Zigui was able to see Dowager Xie holding Ning Xin. She had shrunk herself on a chair at the very corner of the room. Striking up a fire to light the candle, Lou Zigui sat down on the chair beside the candle stand. In this position, he was able to see Dowager Xie face to face.
Despite all the commotion, Empress Dowager Xie didn’t bother looking up once. Prince Cheng remained motionless in her arms, possibly due to exhaustion from crying.
Lou Zigui looked at Dowager Xie and let out a soft laugh. “Empress Dowager, do you plan on starving to death in this palace hall with Prince Cheng?”
Upon hearing Lou Zigui’s voice, Dowager Xie slowly raised her head. She looked wan and aged beyond her years.
“Is Prince Cheng still alright?” Lou Zigui asked.
Empress Dowager Xie subconsciously tightened her grip on Ning Xin, unknowingly causing him to feel pain. The little prince began to cry again. However, Ning Xin sounded much weaker than before. Now, his cries were like the soft meows of a frail kitten. The little prince started to cry again, just that his voice was not loud. Instead, he sounded like a little kitten meowing weakly.
“Shadowgale, come in,” Lou Zigui called out. Shadowgale responded and entered the chamber.
“Take Prince Cheng out first.” Lou Zigui instructed. Shadowgale took one glimpse of Empress Dowager Xie. She had shrunk herself on the chair at the corner of the room. He hesitated and then walked towards to her.
“You two…what are you guys planning to do?” Empress Dowager Xie could not keep quiet anymore and shrieked, “Both of you are subordinates. How dare you?!!”
Shadowgale felt his hands were tied and was unsure of what to do. On one hand, he truly hated Empress Dowager Xie to death. On the other hand, he had never forcefully snatched a prince from a member of the royal family before. This was going to be his first time. He lacked experience in these kinds of things.
“Get lost!” Dowager Xie screeched at Shadowgale.
Lou Zigui walked over and reached out a hand to snatch Ning Xin from Empress Dowager Xie’s arms. Empress Dowager may have had a strong grip on her son, but her strength was no match against Lou Zigui. After all, she was merely an imperial concubine, while Lou Zigui was a commander of the army!
Shadowgale was still in a daze when he felt a weight in his arms. By the time he looked down, Lou Zigui had already placed Ning Xin into his embrace.
“Carry him out and find a mama to take care of him.” Lou Zigui commanded, “Empress Dowager may be able to refrain herself from eating and drinking for a day or two. But Prince Cheng is too young. How could he handle it?”
Empress Dowager Xie tried to throw herself at Shadowgale, but he simply stepped aside to avoid her. Shadowgale turned around and quickly carried Ning Xin out of the imperial chamber in a few steps.
Empress Dowager Xie failed to seize Shadowgale and fell to the ground. She watched helplessly as Shadowgale carried her son out of the chamber. The whole thing happened so fast that she did not have time to get up.
Lou Zigui sat back down on his original seat and did not react as Empress Dowager Xie picked herself up from the ground and dashed out of the chamber.
Shadowgale was still standing guard in front of the imperial chamber while a few Dragon Guards remained in the courtyard. However, two other Dragon Guards had already carried Ning Xin away. When Empress Dowager Xie chased out to the courtyard, there was no signs of her son anywhere.
Empress Dowager Xie stormed back to the imperial chamber and slammed the door heavily against the wall. Lou Zigui raised his eyes to look at her.
“Where did you send Prince Cheng to?” Empress Dowager Xie bellowed, “Did His Majesty ask you to come?”
“What’s wrong?” Lou Zigui asked in a low voice, “Empress Dowager does not wish to vent your anger with the guards outside?”
Those Dragon Guards were only following orders. Empress Dowager Xie was very clear she had nothing to say to Shadowgale and the rest. “Ning Yu is really not scared anymore?” Under the candlelight, she looked slightly deranged.
Lou Zigui laughed sarcastically, “Empress Dowager, at this point, do you still think you have the ability to threaten His Majesty?”
Dowager Xie icily replied, “Bring back Ning Xin for this Dowager, otherwise this Dowager will…..”
“Shadowgale, retreat.” Lou Zigui suddenly interrupted Empress Dowager Xie and loudly commanded to Shadowgale. “Dismiss all the Dragon Guards out of the courtyard as well.”
Could an imperial subject stay alone in a chamber with a reigning Empress Dowager? Shadowgale knew that this was unreasonable but upon thinking about Ning Xiaoyao and Empress Dowager Xie’s relationship, he kept quiet and retreated with the Dragon Guards.
Lou Zigui lightly tapped his finger against the sword at his waist. “Continue. What did you want to say just now? What are you going to do?”
Now that Lou Zigui allowed Empress Dowager Xie to continue her threats, she was afraid to speak. If she really threatened to perish with all of them, then she would truly have no other way out.
“Let’s cut the conversation short.” Lou Zigui’s voice was turning more and more icy. “When I found out that the crown prince was murdered, I pledged to take revenge for him.”
Empress Dowager Xie took a step back and stood still. She did not wish to look scared in front of Lou Zigui. “Then just kill this Dowager off. Prince Cheng is still a child though. As Anyuan’s Supreme Commander, you can’t let a child go?”
“Child?” Lou Zigui mocked. “At the time, the crown prince’s son was only three days old. Did you let him off? Don’t you find it ridiculous that you’re trying to use the child excuse on me?”
Empress Dowager Xie’s face immediately turned deathly pale.
“You deserve to die,” Lou Zigui looked at Empress Dowager Xie and curtly stated, “Initially, I thought with the defeat of Xie Wenyuan, coupled with the loss of support from your maternal clan and the bad relationship between you and His Majesty, you would have taken Prince Cheng to seek death together. It seems like I may have underestimated you. It appears a woman from a noble family like you would rather be a living dog than a dead lion.”
Empress Dowager Xie took a while to reply, “I want to see His Majesty.”
“Empress Dowager, please do not jest with me,” the cold sneer on Lou Zigui’s face made Empress Dowager Xie trembled, “If I want kill you, I will naturally hide it from His Majesty.”
Empress Dowager Xie turned around, wanting to bolt. But before she had taken a step, she thought to herself. How can a woman like her outrun Lou Zigui?
“I will keep Ning Xin by my side.”
Hearing Lou Zigui’s words, Empress Dowager Xie abruptly turned around to stare at him.
“In a moment, I will send a child into the palace.” Lou Zigui told her. “In such times, orphans are everywhere. The child has lost both his parents and could not find his family. Empress Dowager, someday, you must treat him well.”
“You, ...what are you planning to do?” Empress Dowager Xie’s voice was shaking.
“If I hear that Empress Dowager is not peacefully living your remaining years,” Lou Zigui looked at her and said icily, “I will send Ning Xin’s head to you.”
At this moment, Empress Dowager Xie could no longer support herself. Her whole body slumped onto the floor.
“I will not let Empress Dowager raise this orphan,” Lou Zigui sharply continued, “I cannot trust you.”
“No, you can’t do this!” Empress Dowager Xie cried and frantically shook her head at Lou Zigui.
“What makes you think you have the right to negotiate with me? Remember my words. If you make any unusual moves, I will kill off Ning Xin.”
“He,” Empress Dowager Xie was rattled and could not string a sentence together. Finally, she was able to spat out to Lou Zigui. “He is Ning Yu’s little brother!”
“The crown prince was also His Majesty’s older brother.” Lou Zigui mercilessly laughed.
“They are born from the same mother!” Empress Dowager Xie was hysterical. Lou Zigui stood up and suddenly unleashed his sword. He lifted his sword and swung it at Empress Dowager Xie.
“Ah!” Empress Dowager Xie screamed in fright. Behind Empress Dowager Xie, the chamber door horizontally split into two from the sword’s impact. The entire door dropped onto the ground with a thud.
Empress Dowager Xie watched in a daze at the hair dropped beside her. Why is there hair on the ground?
Lou Zigui held onto his sword and glared at her with his chilled eyes. Empress Dowager Xie felt her head and realized her dishevelled hair appear lighter. Looking down, she started to cry. Her fine black hair!
“Empress Dowager’s palace isn’t suitable for a woman like you. Shave your head, go forth and lead an austere life of a Buddhist.”
“Lou Zigui!” Empress Dowager Xie straightened her body, intending to fight him with all her might. Lou Zigui raised his arm and jabbed his sword at Empress Dowager Xie’s shoulder blade. She stumbled backwards. Once again, Empress Dowager Xie fell to the floor. She lost all courage when faced with the sharp end of the sword.
“If you refuse to go, I will kill Ning Xin now. Now, tell me, where do you plan to spend your remaining years?” Lou Zigui threatened.
Empress Dowager Xie’s mouth trembled twice and she sobbed, “Then, just kill me.”
“Alright,” Lou Zigui raised his sword up and aimed at Empress Dowager Xie’s neck.
“I’ll go to the Buddhist hall!” Empress Dowager Xie blurted. She changed her mind the moment she saw the cold glint sword flashed across her eyes.
“Come in.” Lou Zigui withdrew his sword and called out.
There were still people outside? Empress Dowager Xie wildly swung her head around to look.
Grandmaster Kumu walked in from outside. It was unclear how long this senior monk had been waiting for. He looked at Empress Dowager Xie with some sympathy. But under Lou Zigui’s watchful cold eyes, he lowered his gaze and intoned, “Amitabha Buddha.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter