Chapter 54: His Abominable Majesty who deserves death everyday in the empress dowager's heart Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
After being set on fire twice in the space of one night, news of the Grand Preceptor estate’s misfortune spread throughout the capital by next morning. Both the court and the commoners were discussing the matter amongst themselves, wondering just what kind of mighty figure dared to treat the Xie Clan this way? They were a family that had stood tall and powerful through the reign of five successive emperors. If Grand Preceptor Xie had chosen this time to stroll in the streets or sit in the teahouses, then he would’ve discovered that while the people were guessing and sighing in admiration for the culprit, they were also whispering about how the Xie Clan had fallen from favor in the eyes of the current emperor. The fact that Lou Zigui and Grand Preceptor Xie still had old scores to settle was another reason the populace didn’t sympathize with the victims of the fire, the Xie family.
That would have been enough to startle the heart of Grand Preceptor Xie. At the same time his Xie Clan’s power and influence had soared to the skies, they’d lost all respect amongst the people. However, he had no time to listen to the gossip outside his estate now. He was currently busy with searching for the Imperial Jade Seal while making backup plans in case they failed to find it.
“Esteemed Empress Dowager sent Lai mama and her crew to the Grand Preceptor’s estate,” Shadowgale reported to Ning Xiaoyao over a cup of tea in the Supreme Splendor Hall. They were both sitting as he added in a small voice, “This servant went to ask around and found out they were locked up as soon as they entered the Grand Preceptor’s estate.”
“You even know of things like that?” Ning Xiaoyao was surprised. “Windy, you have...you have those informer types in the Grand Preceptor’s estate too?”
Shadowgale really wasn’t used to sitting and talking with His Majesty at the same table. He awkwardly shifted in his seat before he spoke. “This servant is useless and has no informants. Your servant spent money to buy the information instead.”
Ning Xiaoyao blinked, before stuffing her jade teacup into Windy’s hands. “This is for you. You have to save your money in the future.”
Shadowgale hastened to shake his head before putting the jade teacup back on the tea tray. “Your Majesty, this servant has no place to use such money.” He was an orphan, and his clothing, food, and living quarters were all provided by the palace. Even if he had money, there was no place for him to spend it.
“Aye,” Ning Xiaoyao drew out her sigh. “Don’t be a fool, Windy. Don’t you need money to marry a wife? And to raise your sons and daughters in the future? Are you planning to starve them to death?” Shadowgale’s face immediately flushed before he slid out of his seat to kneel down before Ning Xiaoyao.
“......” said Ning Xiaoyao. Did I stupidly say something wrong again?
“Your servant’s loyalty to Your Majesty definitely isn’t half hearted.,” Shadowgale kowtowed to Ning Xiaoyao. Now she couldn’t sit still, and jumped up to pull Shadowgale off the ground. Then she turned to look at Supreme Commander Lou for help. Just what did this mean?
Lou Zigui sighed and said, “The Dragon Guards are servants of the emperor. They have neither homes nor properties, no wives or children.”
(￣△￣；), went Ning Xiaoyao. Was this even human?! Just because you were a bodyguard, you couldn’t even get a wife?! (Author: So in your heart, the Dragon Guards are just bodyguards…) Shadowgale was so flustered that he wished he could die.
“Your Majesty, this servant isn’t in a relationship.”
“Miaow a mi,” Big Boss Black was unsatisfied with Shadowgale’s words and cried out, “Everyday, Little Peach Blossom from the imperial kitchens makes you goodies to eat. You have the impudence to say you don’t like her?!”
“......” said Ning Xiaoyao. It seemed that she’d gotten wind of yet another secret.
“Is, is he hungry?” Shadowgale had no idea why Big Black Boss was meowing at him. Had he done something to this cat?
Ning Xiaoyao patted Big Boss Black’s head so he could be quiet and grinned at Shadowgale. Again, she stuffed the jade teacup into his hands and said, “I’m the emperor.”
Shadowgale stared blankly at Ning Xiaoyao.
Ning Xiaoyao said, “So you have to listen to my words and accept the teacup. And also, don’t spend money recklessly in the future.”
“Your servant obeys the emperor’s decree,” Shadowgale said.
“Mm, sit down,” Ning Xiaoyao sat her herself and said, “Let’s keep going. Urk, what were we talking about just then?”
“.....” said Shadowgale. His Majesty was really too forgetful.
Lou Zigui spoke up instead. “The Grand Preceptor’s planning to interrogate Lai mama and the others.”
“For the sake of the Imperial Jade Seal?” Shadowgale said in a rush. Ning Xiaoyao rolled her eyes and looked at the ceiling. For goodness sakes, it was the Imperial Jade Seal again.
“Keep an eye on the empress dowager’s palace,” Lou Zigui told Shadowgale. “The Grand Preceptor will definitely enter the palace to see her tonight.”
Shadowgale rose to accept the command before politely taking his leave of Ning Xiaoyao. Then he went to arrange for subordinates to keep watch on the empress dowager’s palace.
“We have the Imperial Jade Seal,” Ning Xiaoyao was at a loss again. “What else can the Grand Preceptor do?”
Lou Zigui rose to sit by her side and said quietly, “If they can’t find the real one, I think the Grand Preceptor will make a fake.”
Ning Xiaoyao sucked in a breath. “Make a fake Imperial Jade Seal?” Since that old man could falsify an emperor by placing his granddaughter on the throne, he was now using that bad habit on the Imperial Jade Seal as well?
“Just by looking at you, I can trust that Xie Wenyuan and his daughter have the guts,” Lou Zigui said. Ning Xiaoyao rolled her eyes and stared at the ceiling again. Whoever said they didn’t have the guts?
But as her brain thought it over, she turned around and asked, “Then isn’t this the perfect chance to capture them both? Speaking of which, what’s the crime for creating a fake Imperial Jade Seal?”
“The nine familial exterminations,” Lou Zigui said.
“Then,” Ning Xiaoyao steeled her heart and grit her teeth, “Then have his entire family killed!”
“Impossible,” Lou Zigui had essentially thrown a pail of cold water into Ning Xiaoyao’s face.
“Oh, then we’ll spare the elderly and the children, as well as the women,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “That should be fine, right?”
“.....” said Lou Zigui.
“If that won’t do,” Ning Xiaoyao said after looking at Lou Zigui’s reaction, “We won’t kill them, but put them in jail. That should be fine, right?”
Lou Zigui rested a hand on his forehead. Every time he talked with her, he always ended up feeling helpless by the end.
“That won’t do either?” Ning Xiaoyao was shocked. So much for nursing grievances and harboring hatred, making enemies and loathing family. Wouldn’t things never stop unless they were dead?
Lou Zigui’s hands held back Ning Xiaoyao before she ran away. In a low voice, he said, “You can’t pressure dogs to jump off a wall. Has Your Majesty forgotten? The capital city and its environs all have troops under the Xie family’s control. If you decree the Xie Clan to go through the nine familial exterminations tomorrow, then the Xie Clan’s troops will storm the capital the very next day.”
Ning Xiaoyao felt a million alpacas racing around her heart again. Are you seeing this? There’s no respect for an emperor at all!
“Does Your Majesty understand my words?” Lou Zigui asked.
Ning Xiaoyao curled her lips and said listlessly, “Understood. At tomorrow’s assembly, I’ll give the Grand Preceptor a hug. Then we’ll each go home and find our respective mothers.”
“.....” said Supreme Commander Lou. The sound of rain came from outside the window, making Ning Xiaoyao turn her head to look with an aggrieved air.
“Why is it raining again? Are we going to have a flood?”
“.....” Once again, Supreme Commander Lou had no idea how to continue from his previous conversation. By the time night fell, the annoying rainfall had stopped, and Grand Preceptor Xie had arrived at Empress Dowager Xie’s palace. As soon as he stepped through the front doors, news of his arrival spread to Supreme Splendor Hall.
“What did the Grand Preceptor bring along with him?” Lou Zigui asked Shadowgale.
Shadowgale replied, “There were twelve mama following behind him, each of them carrying a large wooden case.”
“Understood,” Lou Zigui’s fingers knocked lightly against his table. The fake Imperial Jade Seal had to be in one of those 12 boxes. Meanwhile, Ning Xiaoyao had no curiosity whatsoever about the machinations of the Xie father and daughter pair. With Grandpa Ash here, how could they hold onto any secrets in her palace?
“This is?” Currently, Empress Dowager Xie was pointing in delight to the wooden case before her. “Father found and brought back the Imperial Jade Seal?”
Grand Preceptor Xie shook his head, and Empress Dowager Xie’s smile immediately turned gloomy. The Grand Preceptor took out an Imperial Jade Seal from the wooden case and placed it in her hands.
“Those dozen servants of yours have long been beaten to death, but none of them gave an answer in the end.”
“It couldn’t be that the Imperial Jade Seal just upped and flew off on its own?” Empress Dowager Xie said anxiously.
“Empress Dowager,” Grand Preceptor Xie said, “The most pressing matter of the moment is to ensure we pass through tomorrow’s trials.”
Empress Dowager Xie lowered her head to closely examine the Imperial Jade Seal in her hands. After careful observation, she could find no difference between this seal and the original.
“The nation’s hereditary Imperial Jade Seal contains the blood of dragons,” Grand Preceptor Xie said in a low voice. “It can’t be affected by water or fire, much less injured by the edge of a blade. But this jade seal has no such immunities.”
Empress Dowager Xie set the fake Imperial Jade Seal down lightly, her face pale. “If anyone finds out, that is, This Dowager means to say, suppose the person with the Imperial Jade Seal stands out? What will we do then?”
“Then we were simply luring the snake from its cave,” Grand Preceptor Xie had obviously thought things through before coming over. “In order to capture the person who stole the Imperial Jade Seal, we created a fake because we had no other alternative.”
“Then, then suppose that person doesn’t reveal themselves?” Empress Dowager Xie asked.
“Then this seal is the real one,” Grand Preceptor Xie replied. Empress Dowager Xie’s hands clenched around the armrest of her chair.
“Empress Dowager can set aside your cares,” Grand Preceptor Xie nudged the fake seal towards her. “Who would dare go into the Hall of Golden Chimes and soak in it water, burn it in fire, or cut through a jade seal with their blade?”
“Nobody,” Empress Dowager Xie replied.
“Then what is Empress Dowager afraid of?” Grand Preceptor Xie asked. “As long as Empress Dowager says this is the hereditary Imperial Jade Seal, then it’ll precisely be our Yongning’s hereditary Imperial Jade Seal.”
Empress Dowager Xie was soothed by Grand Preceptor Xie’s words, but the image of Ning Xiaoyao soon appeared in her mind instead. Again, she grew flustered and said, “Ning Yu is simply crazy. Father, are you sure she won’t make a move towards the jade seal?”
Grand Preceptor Xie only laughed. “Empress Dowager, Ning Yu isn’t crazy. She’s extremely intelligent, so why would she do anything that threatens her throne?”
“She’d unfilial!” Empress Dowager Xie spoke with a venomous expression.
Grand Preceptor Xie looked like himself as always. “Nobody in the world knows what happens in the royal courts or deep in the palace. Aside from Ning Yu tearing down a side chamber, even if she tore down the entire empress dowager’s palace, she wouldn’t need to worry.”
Empress Dowager Xie’s voice was cold. “The walls have ears and people have mouths. How could people of the world not know what this girl’s done?”
Grand Preceptor countered, “Then would Empress Dowager cry towards the people of the world, complaining that Ning Yu is unfilial?”
Empress Dowager Xie grew sullen again. She couldn’t do that, because once Ning Yu lost the throne, it meant she wouldn’t be Empress Dowager anymore. Moreover, this “son” who had yet to come of age would lose the chance to be a proper emperor. Grand Preceptor Xie patted the Imperial Jade Seal basking beneath the lamplight and said, “Empress Dowager needn’t fear unless the Imperial Jade Seal is in Ning Yu’s hands.”
“Is the Imperial Jade Seal really not in Ning Yu’s hands?” Empress Dowager Xie was truly worried.
“It’s not,” Grand Preceptor Xie said without hesitation. If Ning Yu really had the seal, then she and Lou Zigui would have no need to set such desperate fires and place the lives of their subordinates on the line for a play. This wasn’t Lou Zigui’s style of doing things.
“Then doesn’t father want an explanation for Lou Zigui’s arson towards the Grand Preceptor’s estate?”
“This subject is willing to take a step back,” Grand Preceptor Xie replied. “Without the Imperial Jade Seal, they’ve already lost. Why does this subject need to raise another fist? Empress Dowager must keep thinking of warming Ning Yu’s heart.”
“That abominable girl,” Empress Dowager Xie cursed. (Author: It looks like His Majesty deserves death everyday when he’s with you, ah~ o(╯□╰)o)