Chapter 69: A girl with a serpent's heart and a wolf's personality Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Prince Fu sprawled unmoving on the ground, unable to even take deep breaths. Only them did the Dragon Guards cease their beatdown. Shadowthunder even asked Ning Xiaoyao, “Your Majesty, is hitting him like this enough?”
Ning Xiaoyao looked at Prince Fu. Forget about wisdom or divine might, these adjectives didn’t fit him at all. He possessed a poor image to begin with, and all the beatings had changed his 220lb body into something that looked like a swollen, 270lb one. Still, Ning Xiaoyao couldn’t help but pity Prince Fu. She didn’t think Windy or Second Thunder had used much strength at all, but why was he all swollen up like this now? (Author: Enough, you….)
“You can’t hit him anymore,” Ning Xiaoyao told Shadowthunder. “Or else he’ll die.”
Lou Zigui’s cold voice rang out beside her. “Even the death sentence isn’t enough to make up for attempted assassination of Your Majesty.”
“Don’t, don’t be like that,” Ning Xiaoyao hastily waved a hand at Supreme Commander Lou. “Be more lenient, haha, more lenient.”
Lou Zigui looked down at Ning Xiaoyao, who raised up Big Boss Black’s paws and waved them at him. Quietly she said, “There’s a question that I don’t know whether or not I should ask.”
“What is it?” Lou Zigui replied.
Ning Xiaoyao stood on her tiptoes and dropped her tone even lower. “I was the one who told Prince Fu to stab me. Does this still count as attempted assassination from Prince Fu?”
“..........” said Supreme Commander Lou.
Ning Xiaoyao continued, “I feel that Prince Fu is innocent, but Windy and the rest already beat him up like that. I already owe him two years of official salary, but now I owe him medical expenses as well. Supreme Commander, I say we ought to retreat. Let’s just pretend the stabbing attempt never happened, alright?”
“...........” said Supreme Commander Lou.
Ning Xiaoyao observed his silence and continued to explain. “When I wanted to tell them to stop, Windy and rest had already started beating him up.”
Big Boss Black cried out, “He still wants medical expenses? Then you might as well stab that fatty, miaow!” Ning Xiaoyao muffled Big Boss Black’s mouth. Did this black furball think that ten gashes didn’t count enough to warrant medical expenses?!
Lou Zigui replied softly, “Why did you want him to kill you?”
Ning Xiaoyao shrugged her shoulders. “He wanted money from me, but I had nothing to give except my life. So I told him to clear my debts with a stab.”
Supreme Commander Lou rubbed his forehead with his hand and sighed. He had no words to reply her.
“Are we withdrawing?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
Lou Zigui pulled Ning Xiaoyao to a corner, where they stood together as he murmured, “You don’t want to give these princes their salaries?”
Ning Xiaoyao quickly nodded her head. She’d never give away money if she had it, especially since she was currently a pauper. Lou Zigui bent down until his lips were by Ning Xiaoyao’s ears, and whispered, “Then listen to me.”
Ning Xiaoyao leaned back to stare at him. “You’re going to come up with the money in my place? Aren’t you even more of a pauper than me?”
Supreme Commander Lou momentarily choked before he clenched his teeth. “Prince Fu planned to assassinate you the entire time.”
“Listen to me first. We’ll talk about the complicated details of right and wrong later.” Lou Zigui said, pressing a hand on Ning Xiaoyao’s shoulder. Ning Xiaoyao glanced back at the half-dead Prince Fu. She thought of the money she needed, the accounts that Supreme Commander Lou had calculated for her, and all the refugees in the capital that could only eat one meal a day. Then she decided to abandon her conscience and do as he wished.
“Done,” Ning Xiaoyao replied. “As long as we can get rid of that salary issue, we’ll frame him.”
Lou Zigui made a soft noise of assent before lightly brushing against Ning Xiaoyao’s hand. He was still worried, so he urged her, “Starting now, don’t say a word.”
This was a very unreasonable demand of her, but when Ning Xiaoyao thought of the money, she decided to agree. Grand Preceptor Xie had been staring at them both until he suddenly broke out into cold sweat. The glances between those two are too abnormal! Their shared whispers aren’t like that of a sovereign and official or even friends, but sweet nothings between a pair of lovers, ah! Grand Preceptor Xie felt his breathing turn labored as he helped himself to a sitting position on the long couch. His hands wrapped around the armrest before telling himself that was impossible. If Lou Zigui knew that Ning Yu was female, could he still refrain from exposing her up to this point? Would Lou Zigui ever give up the chance to kill their Xie Clan in one shot?
Grand Preceptor Xie privately found it impossible, but Ning Xiaoyao and Lou Zigui had already split up by the time he looked back. Lou Zigui walked towards Prince Fu, while Ning Xiaoyao remained standing in the corner while holding Big Boss Black.
“Stop thinking about it,” Big Boss Black said, “It serves that fatty right to have bad luck.”
Ning Xiaoyao stroked Big Boss Black’s head. What kind of expression did she have now after casting her conscience aside? She couldn’t imagine it, so she asked Big Boss Black, “How can I make sure no one can tell I’ve done something shameful?”
Big Boss Black rolled his eyes and said, “Just look expressionless.”
Expressionless? That was easy. Ning Xiaoyao looked at everyone in the room and pretended they were all zombies. Her face became devoid of expression as her gaze turned frighteningly cold. (Author: So that’s what you look like when you see zombies. ( ⊙ o ⊙ ) ) Grand Preceptor Xie had been watching Elder Li talk with Lou Zigui before his eyes turned back to Ning Xiaoyao. His hand tightened on the armrest when he caught her looking coldly at Lou Zigui. This girl, Grand Preceptor Xie thought, Why is she looking at Lou Zigui with that kind of expression? He and the empress dowager had been thoroughly tricked by this girl. Was she now treating Lou Zigui as a stepping stone beneath her feet as well?
Black Frost Cavalry. Anyuan’s Six Provinces. Former subordinates of the Lou Clan.
When Grand Preceptor Xie recalled all the things that Lou Zigui could give Ning Xiaoyao, his breathing turned sluggish. It was as if a heavy stone was crushing his heart in his chest, making it hard to breathe. How did he raise a girl with a serpent’s heart and a wolf’s personality?!
The little gyrfalcon took this chance to fly from Shadowgale’s shoulder to Ning Xiaoyao. He cocked his head and nuzzled it against Ning Xiaoyao’s face. “Xiaoyao, I’ve found out that the Grand Preceptor looks like he’s dying.”
Ning Xiaoyao looked expressionlessly at Grand Preceptor Xie. “That seems to be the case. It looks like his heart disease’s acting up.”
Big Boss Black stuck out a head to look as well. “Heart disease? What kind of disease is that? If he’s sick, why’s he looking at us?”
“I don’t know,” Ning Xiaoyao said, “Well dang, his face is all twisted up. Is he trying to make us his scapegoat even if he dies?”
“What a toxic old man!” the little gyrfalcon flapped his wings in rage. “Xiaoyao, let me eat him!”
“Stay calm,” Ning Xiaoyao patted the falcon’s head. “Right now, Fatty Fu is more important.”
“So we’re just going to let him stare at us like that?” Big Boss Black asked.
Ning Xiaoyao imagined Grand Preceptor Xie as the strongest zombie in this room before splitting her lips into a grin. In the apocalypse, she’d often worn such a expression right before she fired her rifle and blew out her enemy’s brains. Otherwise, it was her with a knife hacking zombies to pieces. Grand Preceptor Xie was a shrewd man that caught the killing intent in Ning Xiaoyao’s eyes immediately. She was like a bloodthirsty devil who wanted him dead. Grand Preceptor Xie pressed a hand over his heart, feeling a hopeless terror rise up in his chest as their eyes met.
Oh yeah! Ning Xiaoyao was excited. Grand Preceptor Xie was clutching his heart, so did that mean his heart disease had already reached the advanced stages?
Grand Preceptor Xie slowly collapsed onto the long couch, unable to take such a shock. Neither him nor the empress dowager no longer had any means of dealing with Ning Yu. Their lives were in her hands, but they still had to protect her position on throne before Ning Xin came of age. Everyone would be satisfied if Ning Yu was simply an obedient chess piece, but now she was planning to use them as her pieces to pulverize and discard as she wished. What should they do?
As it turned out, he and the empress dowager were simply pawns as well. Grand Preceptor Xie had been far-seeing and astute his entire life, so how could he bear such a blow?
“Father!” Eldest Young Master Xie was the first to realize the Grand Preceptor Xie had fainted. His cries brought all three sons of Grand Preceptor Xie’s first wife rushing to his side.
“Doctor, go call a doctor!” Third Young Master Xie shouted as he rushed out the door. It was chaotic enough inside the estate, but now things were even more crazy. Prince Fu was unconscious on the ground, while Lou Zigui and Elder Li’s people were fighting against the vassal lords. The Grand Preceptor’s faction and Elder Li’s pupils had already been hurling verbal insults back and forth for some time now. Now that the Grand Preceptor had fainted, his three sons were crying out for their father while the room was full of people bustling about. The Xie Clan’s women were all sobbing in the courtyard outside, making it feel as if the Xie family was about to meet its doom.
Ning Xiaoyao strode to the long couch and reached out a hand to touch Grand Preceptor Xie’s head. Big Boss Black was anxious. “Is he dead? Is that old man dead?”
Ning Xiaoyao removed her hand with a sigh and a shake of her head. It wasn’t heart disease acting up at all. Instead, the Grand Preceptor had been too agitated and fainted away from the stress. Ning Xiaoyao found it incomprehensible. Why would the Grand Preceptor have gotten so agitated and fainted away after seeing Prince Fu’s unfortunate lot? (Author: As for the truth, leaving it unsaid is fine as well.) Ning Xiaoyao grabbed the two plates of pastries from the tea table and detoured her way past the fighting factions to stand before the window. She dumped one plate outside for Wifey Magpie and the rest, while pointing at the other plate to Grandfather Ash and the sparrows. “Eat up.”
Big Boss Black bit a mouthful of pastry before spitting it up in disgust. “Too sweet, it’s not tasty at all.”
Ning Xiaoyao grabbed a bagful of sugar beans from her pockets and nodded in agreement. “I think it’s too sweet, too.”
Grandfather Sparrow flew on top of Ning Xiaoyao’s head. “Xiaoyao, are you just going to let them argue like this?”
Ning Xiaoyao said, “I don’t even understand what they’re arguing about, so how am I supposed to stop them from fighting?”
Grandfather Sparrow fell silent. He hadn’t understood the speakers, either. Ning Xiaoyao sat on the window ledge and turned to look out the window. The sunlight was perfect right now, and there was a soft, warm breeze in the air. Bathed in the rays of the sun and caressed by the wind, Ning Xiaoyao yawned. This weather is great for naps.
“This old man loathes!” Elder Li suddenly shouted out loud right before Ning Xiaoyao nodded off. His voice suppressed all other voices in the room and nearly sent Ning Xiaoyao rolling off the window ledge. Big Boss Black choked on a piece of pastry at Elder Li’s outburst, forcing him to claw at his own throat in desperation. Grandfather Sparrow took all the other sparrows and flew off. They didn’t have much courage to begin with, as sparrows.
“Wh, what happened?” Ning Xiaoyao asked the little gyrfalcon, who was the only calm one of the bunch.
“Don’t know,” the little gyrfalcon shook its head. “I didn’t understand their words.”
“Prince Fu enjoys 10,000 mu[1. mu (亩) - traditional unit of area that may vary with dynasty.] of land without lifting a finger and enslaves around 100,000 people of your own. Such glory, splendor, wealth and position were offered to you on behalf of imperial benevolence. And yet you committed the greatest treason to his sovereign by an attempted assassination,” Elder Li said loudly to Prince Fu. “Where is the justice in this world if this criminal doesn’t die? You’ll all pleading and explaining on his behalf, but where have you placed His Majesty’s position?!”
“..........” said Ning Xiaoyao. Elder Li wanted death. Was Fatty Fu doomed to die no matter what?
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