Chapter 65: His Majesty Ning asks, do you like her? Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Grand Preceptor Xie really was spitting blood. A property that had been managed by generations of the Xie Clan had practically disappeared overnight. No one else in his place would’ve been able to take such a blow.
When Ning Xiaoyao returned in high spirits to the palace, she issued a decree to set up food relief centers at each of the four city gates in the capital. It was impossible to feed all of the refugees in the city until they were full, but at least she could make sure they wouldn’t starve to death, or be forced to eat the dead to survive. Grand Preceptor Xie’s private orders to forbid the capital shops from selling grain to Ning Xiaoyao thus became useless. Why would His Majesty need to buy any more grain when she had her own?
“Keep away from the vanguard,” Grand Preceptor Xie told his eldest son Xie Anyi while lying sick in bed. “As long as our Xie Clan still has troops and horses, there’s no need to fear.”
Xie Anyi nodded to agree, but still his heart was ill at ease. Historically speaking, any subject that dared to tussle with the Son of Heaven was more apt to lose than win. Can our Xie Clan really keep His Majesty down?
“Find some way to send a letter into the palace,” Grand Preceptor Xie added. “Have Esteemed Empress Dowager ease her worries and to not fear. This is a temporary victory at most. My Xie Clan has yet to become a sinking ship just by losing some money.”
Losing some money? If it was just ‘some money,’ would a father like you have spat out blood and fallen ill? Eldest Young Master Xie did his best to remain calm and nod. “His Majesty and Esteemed Empress Dowager are still mother and son by blood, after all. Perhaps His Majesty will understand the loyal devotion of our Xie Clan with time.”
What was so bad about a strong maternal clan when it came to a young emperor? Eldest Young Master Xie just couldn’t understand why His Majesty was at odds with them now. Still, he had hope that the two sides could reconcile. When Grand Preceptor Xie heard his son’s words, a sweet taste filled his throat before he nearly spat out another mouthful of blood. What did family love count for in the face of power? The empress dowager had all her thoughts on Ning Xin, while Ning Yu was after imperial power. A mother and daughter like them had no mutual affection to begin with. Because their gaze had wavered, they’d placed a wolf to sit upon the Dragon Throne. Grand Preceptor Xie shut his eyes and took a long breath. From now on, the path before them would be difficult.
Xie Anyi sat cautiously on his seat, not daring to say a word. Grand Preceptor Xie swallowed the blood in his throat and opened his eyes to see Xie Anyi sitting there with his head lowered. His brows furrowed even more at the sight. This son of his was nearly 40 years old and the official Minister of Revenue. Despite this, he was still incapable of acting independently.
“Father?” Eldest Young Master Xie felt his palms began to sweat under his father’s stern scrutiny.
“Go invite Prince Fu to the estate for a chat,” Grand Preceptor Xie said. “Do it in person. If he doesn’t come, then just say that Lou Zigui was an intimate friend of the late crown prince. When the late crown prince was alive, he’d never forgotten about the salaries of the vassal lords. Now that His Majesty favors and trusts Lou Zigui, you should ask Prince Fu to consider whether that Lou Zigui will ever mention the salary issue to His Majesty.”
“If you do this, won’t Prince Fu…”
“Go on,” Grand Preceptor Xie cut off his son’s words. Xie Anyi saw his gloomy face and didn’t dare to say any more. He made a noise of assent and left.
How could it be so easy to be an emperor? Grand Preceptor Xie beat the headboards as he laid on the bed. Since you, Ning Yu, want to rule over everything, then this old man will let you have a taste of that power!
Although Ning Xiaoyao had transmigrated to this world, she really had yet to taste the flavor of absolute sovereignty. Right now, His Majesty Ning was sitting in the main quarters of the Supreme Splendor Hall. A grandfather and his grandchild were currently glaring at her.
“Your Majesty,” an old man dressed in military court attire, who looked about sixty years old, faced her with a face filled with grief and indignation. “Your subject Ji Jiu[1. Ji Jiu (纪久) - Ji is a surname that means “order, discipline, era,” Jiu means “a long time.”] heard news of what happened to the Supreme Commander. Thus, I’ve brought along a full account of events at Anyuan’s six provinces and hurried my way to the capital. However, I was still unable to make it before Supreme Commander was beaten and tortured.”
Ning Xiaoyao made an ‘oh’ of assent. She couldn’t help but think that if she hadn’t transmigrated, Supreme Commander wouldn’t even be a pile of bones by the time this old general made it back.
“Your Majesty!” Because Ning Xiaoyao wasn’t paying attention, old General Ji raised his voice and cried out, “Supreme Commander’s heart is wholly for the country. Even if it was to kill the Northern Hu spies, how could Your Majesty bear to have Supreme Commander sent to the execution grounds and be eaten alive by tens of thousands of people, and have him…”
“I-it wasn’t that ridiculous,” Ning Xiaoyao cut him off. “How could we have tens of thousands of people trying to eat him? Could Supreme Commander still be alive after that?”
“This subject is pained at heart!” old General Ji said as he fell to his knees again in tears. Throughout the whole thing, his seventeen year old granddaughter had been glaring at Ning Xiaoyao, making her wonder whether she’d killed the girl’s entire family or something.
“Without poison, there is no great man--a great man has to be ruthless,” Ji Yuerong[2. Ji Yuerong (纪月容) - Ji is a surname that means “order, discipline, era,” Yuerong can mean “appearance like the moon.”] said hatefully towards Ning Xiaoyao. “Supreme Commander shed blood for his country as a martyr. Did Your Majesty ever think of the blood Supreme Commander bled for Yongning when you schemed your self-injury ruse?”
“........” said Ning Xiaoyao. This gal was cursing her for letting Supreme Commander shed blood and tears? Could she say she had nothing to do with it?
“What nonsense are you spewing?” old General Ji quickly lifted his head to scold his granddaughter. “You cannot be impudent!”
Ji Yuerong shut her mouth, but still looked unkindly at Ning Xiaoyao. It was then that Lou Zigui finally hurried over from his sleeping quarters.
“No need to bow,” Ning Xiaoyao said as she waved a hand at him.
“Old General Ji,” Lou Zigui turned to cup his hands in greeting at the general.
Ji Yuerong ran in front of Lou Zigui and asked, “Supreme Commander, how are your wounds?”
Big Boss Black took this chance to jump onto Ning Xiaoyao’s armrest and said quietly, “This cat’s made some inquiries. That girl is a general. Their Ji Family defends the border station at Jinhuan City.”
Ning Xiaoyao examined Ji Yuerong. This girl had a figure that made her feel ashamed. She was 170cm tall with a big chest, small waist, and pert bottom. At seventeen years old, she’d already developed so well! Dangit, Ning Xiaoyao could only envy her devilish figure in secret. Big Boss Black’s paw scratched at Ning Xiaoyao’s hand.
“She’s been hitched with two families before, but somehow her two fiancés both died.”
Ning Xiaoyao murmured, “Not bad, it’s better than Supreme Commander’s six dead fiancées. Only two died on her.”
Big Boss Black raised his claw at Ning Xiaoyao’s face and cried, “You’re not allowed to talk bad about my Supreme Commander.” Ning Xiaoyao slapped Big Boss Black, who exclaimed, “Then don’t blame me in the future if I don’t tell you!”
“Don’t tell me what?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“If you guys hadn’t tricked Supreme Commander to the capital this time, that woman would’ve been betrothed to him,” Big Boss Black glared at the Ji girl, who was still talking to his Supreme Commander. “Her grandpa even found a matchmaker.”
Ning Xiaoyao looked over at the Ji girl again and somehow felt a bit annoyed. Big Boss Black jumped onto her shoulder. “But you’re better than that girl. Xiaoyao, this cat thinks you’re good.”
Ning Xiaoyao haphazardly stroked Big Boss Black’s head. “Then what about me compared to Jiao Jiao?”
Big Boss Black took a long time before he said reluctantly, “You’re better.”
“Thanks, ah.” Ning Xiaoyao replied. Though Big Boss Black’s words had been a little fake, she still had to thank the tubby for trying his best to comfort her.
“What if that woman curses my Supreme Commander to death?” Big Boss Black asked. “That's why, Xiaoyao, you have to protect Supreme Commander well. You can’t let that woman snatch him away.”
Now Ning Xiaoyao felt even more vexed. In the end, all this fat black furball cared about was his Supreme Commander!
“Your Majesty,” Lou Zigui was shouting at her now. Ning Xiaoyao was currently fuming at Big Boss Black, who gave her a paw.
“Supreme Commander’s talking to you!”
Ning Xiaoyao pursed her lips before looking at Supreme Commander Lou and the Ji girl stuck by his side. His Majesty Ning stood up and said, “You two take your time and chat, I---Zhen will leave first.”
“You’re admitting defeat just like that?!” Big Boss Black was stunned.
“Drop it,” Ning Xiaoyao muttered. “All I did was roll around in the sheets once with Supreme Commander. We haven’t gotten a marriage certificate or anything.”
“......” said Big Boss Black. What’s a marriage certificate?
“His Majesty is talking to the cat on his shoulder?” Ji Yuerong could see Ning Xiaoyao’s mouth moving, but she was too far away in the large hall to hear what she was saying.
“That’s His Majesty’s cat,” Lou Zigui said quietly.
“So he’d rather talk to a cat than to us?” Ji Yuerong asked.
Lou Zigui’s smile stiffened when he heard Ji Yuerong saying such things about Ning Xiaoyao. In a low voice, he intoned, “That’s His Majesty. Miss Ji, you cannot be disrespectful to His Majesty.”
Ji Yuerong’s gaze on Ning Xiaoyao turned even more unkind.
Ning Xiaoyao took along Big Boss Black as she jumped out a window and left. The longer she saw those two standing together, the more annoyed she felt. He was a handsome man and she was a beautiful woman. They’re really too much of a match!
The Ji grandfather and granddaughter were startled by Ning Xiaoyao’s window-flipping antics. Was there ever an emperor that jumped out the window to leave his palace? Lou Zigui had seen Ning Xiaoyao climb through windows and even over walls. Unperturbed by the sight, he cupped his hands to Old General Ji and said, “Please wait here awhile. I’ll speak a few words to His Majesty.”
Ning Xiaoyao kicked at the pebbles as she walked until the person hurrying behind her caught up and grabbed her by the hand. When she turned back, she saw Big Boss Black’s Supreme Commander. (Author: So you’ve finally given Supreme Commander away to Big Boss Black?) Lou Zigui examined Ning Xiaoyao’s expression, who couldn’t hide a shred of what she was feeling. Supreme Commander Lou could tell that she was unhappy at a glance.
“They’re from the borderlands,” Lou Zigui only thought that the Ji Family’s manner of speaking had offended Ning Xiaoyao, so he was quick to defend them. “They’re used to speaking that way. Don’t take any of their unpleasant words to heart.”
Ning Xiaoyao shrugged her shoulders. Compared to those who called her an incapable ruler, those two had been rather polite to her overall.
Lou Zigui said, “The Ji Clan are a military family situated at the border. Old General Ji has three sons, but his second and youngest sons died in battle a long time ago. Four years prior, the Northern Hu dispatched their troops to invade our territory. Miss Ji’s father went out to fight and lost both his legs, while her older brother lost both his eyes. Xiaoyao, the numbers of the Ji Clan are weak and thin, and Old General Ji is already getting on in years. That’s why Miss Ji had to take on the mantle of war despite being a female.”
Ning Xiaoyao’s eyes drooped. She didn’t find Miss Ji and her devilish figure annoying anymore.
“Don’t blame them, alright?” Lou Zigui said as he held onto Ning Xiaoyao’s hand.
“I don’t,” Ning Xiaoyao pulled out her hand, her head still lowered. “I won’t get mad at good people. You can go keep them company. I’ll have the kitchens make them a tasty meal.” His Majesty Ning didn’t have enough money to spend, but she at least had enough grain and flour for now.
Supreme Commander Lou felt his heart flutter when Ning Xiaoyao prepared to leave. He took a step forward and blocked her way to ask, “Is there something else?”
Ning Xiaoyao hesitated. People from the apocalypse never knew when they would be eaten by zombies, so they always said what was on their mind at the moment. Ning Xiaoyao lifted her head and looked at Lou Zigui with a very serious face.
“Old General Ji wants you to marry Miss Ji. Do you like her?”
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