Chapter 332: Grand Preceptor's assassins

Chapter 332: Grand Preceptor's assassins

Ning Xiaoyao dashed to Shadowrain’s side. She lifted her hand and pressed her palm on Shadowrain’s chest.

The Dragon Guard holding Shadowrain was half-kneeling on the ground. He felt that Shadowrain was about to die any minute and hollered at Ning Xiaoyao, “Your Majesty, Third Commander was fine momentarily ago but he suddenly became like this.”

Ning Xiaoyao sighed, “Don’t be nervous, Third Rain will be alright.” The Dragon Guard immediately closed his mouth. That’s right, with His Majesty around, Third Commander will be alright.

Shadowrain opened his mouth and spat out another mouthful of blood again. The Dragon Guard immediately became nervous again. He had just convinced himself to calm down.

“It will be alright.” Without waiting for this Dragon Guard to speak, Ning Xiaoyao reassured him, “Don’t panic, I’m here.”

Specks of faint green light emerged between Ning Xiaoyao’s fingers and entered Shadowrain’s chest. The green specks should have naturally stood out in the dark, but the speed at which the green specks had entered the body was so rapid that no one noticed it.

Only a bit more than a minute had gone by but it felt incredibly long to Ning Xiaoyao. She had broken out in sweat and her vision was a blur. A mouthful of blood was stuck in her throat. If she had not been forcefully enduring it, she would have vomited.

“Your Majesty?” Behind Ning Xiaoyao, Pei Yan hastily crouched and softly called out to His Majesty when he saw the sweat soaking through the back of Ning Xiaoyao’s clothes.

At this moment, Ning Xiaoyao removed her hand. Shadowrain’s complexion had returned to normal. On the contrary, Ning Xiaoyao’s ghastly pale complexion made her look like she had just died.

“Your Majesty?” Pei Yan reached out his hand to support Ning Xiaoyao. As soon as he came in contact with her, his palm became completely wet. After he realized that Ning Xiaoyao’s clothes were completely soaked with sweat, Pei Yan immediately touched Ning Xiaoyao’s face. His hand was drenched with sweat again.

“I’m alright.” Ning Xiaoyao started to pant heavily. If there’s another poisoned victim, she’ll probably die from exhaustion after saving him.

“What’s going on with you?” Pei Yan let Ning Xiaoyao lie in his arms.

“Tired.” Ning Xiaoyao wanted to roll her eyes. In the end, she had no strength and could only continue gasping big mouthfuls of air. “Shadowrain is fine now.”

Shadowrain was still unconscious but he was no longer vomiting blood and colour had returned to his face. Anyone could tell that Third Commander Shadowrain was alright now.

“S-send him,” Ning Xiaoyao could not even catch her breath, “Send Third Rain…”

“Send Shadowrain back to the palace.” Pei Yan helped Ning Xiaoyao finish her sentence. The Dragon Guards didn’t dare to let Ning Xiaoyao speak further. They carried Shadowrain and dashed outside.

“I,” Ning Xiaoyao still wanted to speak. “Don’t talk anymore!” Pei Yan carried Ning Xiaoyao bridal style and spoke in a very anxious voice, “I’ll send you back to the palace and let an imperial physician take a look at you.”

“No…”

“I told you not to speak anymore!” Pei Yan roared this time. The surrounding people were all startled by Pei Yan’s roar. This person dared to roar at His Majesty like this?

Ning Xiaoyao opened her mouth wide to gasp twice. Her hand pointed behind Pei Yan and bellowed, “Seize those two. They’re assassins, ah! Hey!”

The yamen runners were still in a daze. The Dragon Guards rushed over and reacted in lighting speed. They followed the direction of Ning Xiaoyao’s finger and zoomed in on the target. Then, they sprinted forward to capture the accused.

The two yamen runners didn’t expect Ning Xiaoyao to point at them and yell that they were assassins. The two didn’t bother resisting when they were cornered. It was two against ten. No matter what, they wouldn’t be able to fight against so many Dragon Guards.

Pei Yan saw these two yamen runners putting their hands near their mouths and hollered at once, “Don’t let them take the poison!”

A Dragon Guard raised his hand and landed his sword, directly chopping off one of the yamen runner’s hands.

“Release the arrows!” At this moment, Ning Xiaoyao strained her throat to shout at the top of her voice in Pei Yan’s arms. Pei Yan heard the sound of wind from behind his head. He couldn’t turn his body in time and directly dropped to the ground while hugging Ning Xiaoyao. A short arrow flew past the back of Second Young Master Pei’s head.

Since Ning Xiaoyao was shielded by Pei Yan as they fell to the ground, she wasn’t injured and neither did she swallow any soil. She was extremely anxious about Pei Yan though. Ning Xiaoyao exclaimed, “Second Young Master, Second Young Master, are you alright?”

Pei Yan’s hand protected Ning Xiaoyao’s head while his chest acted as a cushion for Ning Xiaoyao. Currently, Ning Xiaoyao was on top of him. Although Second Master Pei didn’t find Xiaoyao heavy, he felt uncomfortable to be pressed down. So, he pushed Ning Xiaoyao and grunted, “Get up first.”

“Oh.” Ning Xiaoyao shifted her buttocks and wanted to stand up. Sadly, she couldn’t hop up no matter how many times she tried. But Ning Xiaoyao was already quite impressed she could still speak in her current condition.

“Get up!” Pei Yan was getting anxious due to Ning Xiaoyao. He still wants to go and catch the assassin who shot the arrow. How is he going to capture him while lying on the ground?

Ning Xiaoyao stood up very slowly. The moment she stood up, Ning Xiaoyao felt unwell. Hence, she immediately sat back down on the ground. Before she could reach her hand out to check how Pei Yan was faring, Pei Yan shot up from the ground and shouted at the people around him, “Where’s the assassin who shot the arrow?”

“People have gone to chase.” The team leader of the yamen runners from the justice courts raised his voice to answer.

Ning Xiaoyao continued to pant on the ground as she scanned the scene. The open space stood full of people who were in an uproar and she didn’t know what they were busying themselves with. Are they still going to catch the assassins when they’re like this? Ning Xiaoyao shook her head. Let’s forget about it. It’s already pretty good they are still alive. Her hand trembled as she felt for a sugar bean and stuffed it into her mouth. She laid on the ground. Even if Grand Preceptor appears now, she wouldn’t have the strength to bite him to death.

Ning Xiaoyao laid down and closed her eyes. Despite her chaotic surroundings, she fell asleep without any care.

Pei Yan continued to stand next to Ning Xiaoyao. He steadied her and dispatched people to chase after the assassins. By the time he lowered his head to look at Ning Xiaoyao again, Second Young Master Pei was almost frightened out of his wits. Ning Xiaoyao was ashen pale and lying on the ground like a dead person!

Shadowthunder ran over with a group of Dragon Guards. When he saw His Majesty lying on the ground, Second Commander Shadowthunder had no time to process his thoughts. He immediately knelt beside Ning Xiaoyao and raised his hand to check for Ning Xiaoyao’s breathing.

“How is His Majesty?” At this moment, even Second Young Master Pei was speaking gingerly.

“Still alive.” After Shadowthunder finished speaking, he sat on the ground as if he had lost all his strength. Aren’t they supposed to be here to look at the scene of the conflagration? Instead, it’s as if they’re recklessly risking their lives!  

“Your Majesty——”

“Your Majesty!”

…...

The Dragon Guards shouted simultaneously as they surrounded Ning Xiaoyao. They even squeezed Pei Yan to one side.

Ning Xiaoyao was asleep but opened her eyes when she heard people yelling around her. “Return to the palace. My head hurts. I-I’ll be fine after I sleep.”

Shadowthunder couldn’t be bothered with anything else at this moment. He carried Ning Xiaoyao and left. The next time Ning Xiaoyao opened her eyes again, she was already lying on the bed in Supreme Splendor Hall.

Er Ya and Xiao Qiu were half lying at the side of the bed. When they noticed Ning Xiaoyao’s head shifting, the siblings hurriedly stretched their necks to look at Ning Xiaoyao, their eyes gleaming with tears.

Since Er Ya and Xiao Qiu are back, that means Shadowgale must have returned as well. Ning Xiaoyao shifted her gaze a little to the side. The person guarding beside her bed was indeed Shadowgale.

“Your Majesty?” Shadowgale asked softly. Ning Xiaoyao stretched herself and muttered, “Whoops, I survived.”

“Alright.” Shadowgale patted Xiao Qiu’s head and told Er Ya, “His Majesty is already awake so you two can relax now. You may withdraw first.”

The imperial palace was not a place where they could act like spoiled children and refuse. Although Er Ya didn’t want to leave, she still obediently took Xiao Qiu with her and left the palace chamber. The siblings only lit up again after they heard Ning Xiaoyao shouting after them. Ning Xiaoyao said she was going to eat with them in a bit. If His Majesty can think of eating, then that must mean His Majesty is really fine.

Not long after Er Ya and Xiao Qiu retreated, Imperial Physician Gao dashed into the palace chamber. When he saw Ning Xiaoyao sitting up and conversing with  Shadowgale, Imperial Physician Gao was instantly furious. Didn’t they say that His Majesty has suffered grave injuries and is on the brink of death?!

“Little Gao.” Ning Xiaoyao waved her hand at Imperial Physician Gao. Imperial Physician Gao stiffened his face as he walked to the front of the bed. “Your Majesty is alright?”

“I’m alright.” Right after she replied, she asked Shadowgale, “I just returned to the palace?”

Shadowgale nodded his head. “What about Third Rain?” Ning Xiaoyao asked again.

Shadowgale informed her, “When I went to see him, he was still unconscious.”

Ning Xiaoyao immediately turned to Imperial Physician Gao. “Little Gao, you should go take a look at Third Rain.”

Once again, Imperial Physician Gao resigned to his fate as he walked outside the palace chamber. If Third Commander Shadowrain was also alright, Imperial Physician Gao vowed that he wouldn’t want to be an imperial physician anymore. Were these people just messing with him because they’re bored?

“We didn’t catch the assassins.” After Imperial Physician Gao exited the palace chamber, Shadowgale reported to Ning Xiaoyao in a low voice, “Elder Li and His Excellency Pei are still at the justice courts. Lord Protector has returned to the capital’s barracks. Great General Xu is still in the palace.”

“Didn’t you catch two?” Ning Xiaoyao remembered that she identified two assassins. The two had the identical scent of the poison found in the criminal’s mouth.

“They were killed by someone,” Shadowgale stated laconically. Those two criminals were shot down by hidden arrows in a sneak attack. Meanwhile, Elder Li wanted to interrogate individuals one by one. This included high ranking officials as well as the laborers doing odd jobs. As a result, everyone in the justice courts was imprisoned. However, in Shadowgale’s opinion, the assassins would definitely leave after successfully completing the mission. Even if Elder Li is interrogating so many people, he’s not going to get any results.

“Are they Grand Preceptor’s people?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.

“They should be.” Shadowgale nodded. “That coroner responsible for examining prisoners has already inspected the corpse. Although this person appeared to have his whole body burned, the inner sides of his arms and thighs were completely fine. Furthermore, there weren’t any calluses on the inner sides of his thighs. This means he wasn’t someone who rode a horse often. Therefore, it’s impossible for this person to have been an army prisoner.”   

Frequent horse riders would have calluses on their inner thighs due to the friction from rubbing against the saddle. Ning Xiaoyao only understood after Shadowgale elaborated his explanation.

“Those twenty-eight corpses were burnt until their original appearances were no longer recognizable.” Shadowgale continued, “The coroner also couldn’t find anything from inspecting the corpses. Elder Li is worried that even if these twenty-eight army prisoners had been swapped, we wouldn’t be able to find out.”

“In that case,” Ning Xiaoyao was all fired up again, “In that case, how did this conflagration begin?”

Shadowgale shook his head.

“You don’t know.” Ning Xiaoyao wiped her face. “Fine, I also don’t know.”

“Xie Wenyuan is already a stray dog driven into a corner yet he still wants to revolt?” No matter how Shadowgale contemplated about it, he found it incredulous.

Ning Xiaoyao sat silently. Who knows how Grand Preceptor thinks?

“Great General Xu wishes to see Your Majesty.” Shadowgale sat with Ning Xiaoyao for a while before he added a final line. “Does Your Majesty want to meet him?”

“What about Chen Lu?” Ning Xiaoyao suddenly asked. Shadowgale didn’t know why Ning Xiaoyao was asking about Chen Lu at this moment but he still answered, “Chen Lu has been in his house all this while.”

“Ask him to make a trip here.” Ning Xiaoyao added, “He is Great General Xu’s son-in-law. Why is he always cooping himself at home?”

“Your Majesty still wants to use him?” Shadowgale knitted his eyebrows.

“Let’s see what Great General Xu thinks.” Ning Xiaoyao scratched her head. “At any rate, Chen Lu offended Grand Preceptor Xie so he can’t possibly mingle with Grand Preceptor anymore, right?”

Shadowgale expressed his concern, “What if Xie Wenyuan plays the move of burying the hatchet?”

“Then that’s even better.” Ning Xiaoyao slapped the bed’s board. “As long as Grand Preceptor comes to find Chen Lu, I’ll definitely know where he is hiding now!”

Shadowgale: … So Your Majesty has already arranged your spies beside Chen Lu?

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