Chapter 81: Whose brush is this? Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“How should I know?” Ning Xiaoyao was all innocence despite the fact that she’d taken all of Prince Fu’s land.
If you don’t know, who would? Prince Fu and the other clansmen all thought as they stared at Ning Xiaoyao.
A flash of insight flickered in Ning Xiaoyao’s head before she crouched down before Prince Fu and said, “Hold it. What you’re saying is that you don’t want to live on your land anymore?”
Prince Fu couldn’t turn the gears in his head fast enough to keep up with Ning Xiaoyao, so he simply shouted, “You’re already splitting up the land, so how is it still mine to live on?”
Ning Xiaoyao replied, “So in other words, you don’t want your prince’s estate, either?”
Prince Fu was stunned speechless again. Everyone else turned to stare at Ning Xiaoyao. You want to steal Prince Fu’s house right after stealing his land?
Ning Xiaoyao craned her neck to look at Elder Li. “Old gramps, how big is Prince Fu’s estate?”
Before Elder Li could answer, Prince Fu lost his temper. “That’s my estate, my home!” he howled. “Even if this prince dies, it’ll be at this prince’s estate!”
Once again, Ning Xiaoyao wiped Prince Fu’s spittle off her face.
“Impudence!” Supreme Commander Lou and Elder Li berated him at the same time.
“Imperial brother!” Prince Zhi stomped his foot as well, his voice filled with distress. You might have lost your land, but you can’t just toss away your life like that! What kind of crime is it to blatantly disrespect to the emperor? Aren’t you just delivering yourself to death’s door for Ning Yu?
Slowly, Prince Fu’s body grew limp as he sank to the ground. Ning Xiaoyao stood up and turned to speak to Supreme Commander Lou, but she met eyes with Grand Preceptor Xie instead. She gave a sudden start. Did I forget something?
Grand Preceptor Xie took this chance to speak. “Your Majesty, this subject’s set of 24 brushes with painted scenes from Jiangnan…”
Ning Xiaoyao didn’t hear the rest as she recalled that the Grand Preceptor was the original owner of the brushes. “Those brushes belong to Prince Fu now,” Ning Xiaoyao said as she pointed at Prince Fu. “Grand Preceptor, why don’t you talk it over with him?”
Grand Preceptor Xie looked at Prince Fu. “Prince, those brushes belong to this official.”
Since the brushes belonged to the Grand Preceptor, as long as Prince Fu returned them, his first condition with Ning Xiaoyao would be null and void. Everyone who heard Grand Preceptor Xie’s words understood the meaning behind his message. They stared at Prince Fu, with the imperial clansmen looking especially enthusiastic. This is the perfect chance for him to recover his lands!
Prince Fu touched the set of brushes hidden in his sleeve. The jade handles had been warmed by close proximity to his body. Return these brushes?
Lou Zigui was about to step forward, but Ning Xiaoyao reached out a hand and held him in place, shaking her head. She even grinned at him to show that he shouldn’t worry. Lou Zigui was a little uncertain. If Prince Fu returned the brushes, wouldn’t our hard work all be for nothing?
Prince Fu suddenly spoke up to Grand Preceptor Xie. “These brushes belong to this prince!”
Everyone felt like their heads had exploded inside. Has Prince Fu lost his wits? He’s giving up 10,000 plots of fertile farmland for a single set of brushes?!
Ning Xiaoyao could only gloat as she caught sight of Grand Preceptor Xie’s dumbfounded expression. Then she stuck up her thumb at Prince Fu and declared, “That’s right! You have to protect your own things well! Prince, you’re a real man!”
If Prince Fu hadn’t wanted something that he thought it’d be impossible to get, why would he even bring up the Jiangnan set of 24 brushes? His Majesty Ning was proficient in the art of psychology and reading people’s hearts, so it was easy enough to predict how Prince Fu would think and act.
This is something Imperial Father wanted to give me. Prince Fu clutched his sleeves tightly. Who cared about farmland? He’d never planted crops in his life, much less seen those plots with his own eyes. All he knew was that having farmland meant he wouldn’t starve to death. But these brushes were once treasured items of his Imperial Father. His Imperial Father had even promised to bestow them to him. They contained memories of a time in the capital city when he was unsurpassed by anyone else and only a step away from the throne. These brushes rightfully belong to me.
When Ning Xiaoyao saw how staunchly Prince Fu claimed ownership of the brushes, she felt she could tear the Grand Preceptor a new one with it as a talking point. “You threw away these set of brushes, so I picked them up and gave them away. Why are you still saying that they’re yours?” Ning Xiaoyao asked Grand Preceptor Xie.
These words nearly infuriated Grand Preceptor Xie into swooning again. “When did Your Majesty ever see this official throw away these brushes?”
“They were thrown into a trash can,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “The trash can was shaped like a frog, and the brushes were lying right on top of its head.”
“........” said everyone else. That’s the Grand Preceptor’s celadon frog. For the sake of drying out the brushes, he had someone warm it up in a kiln before placing the brushes on top. What do you mean by calling it a ‘trash can?’ Your Majesty, aren’t you afraid of being struck by lightning after spouting such blatant nonsense?
Ning Xiaoyao was bold and self-assured with her words. Even as a person from the apocalypse, she’d broadened her knowledge enough to know such things. She’d seen trash cans shaped like frogs with her own eyes! (Author: I don’t have enough energy to make fun of you. Forget it, whatever makes you happy, Your Majesty.)
Grand Preceptor Xie tasted something sweet in his throat. Ning Xiaoyao had angered him into spitting up blood yesterday, but now he was close to vomiting blood again. “That’s not a trash can,” he said.
Ning Xiaoyao arched an eyebrow. “Is it not a trash can just because you said so? Why does everything have to go your way when you start talking? Say, Supreme Commander, was that a trash can or not?”
Although Supreme Commander knew it wasn’t, he still nodded his head.
“Old gramps,” Ning Xiaoyao asked Elder Li next. “You were at the Grand Preceptor’s estate yesterday too. Would you say that frog’s a trash can?”
Everyone looked at Elder Li, who was known for being upright and just. How are you going to answer? The corner of Elder Li’s eye twitched visibly in the face of all his spectators. Then he said, “This subject didn’t see that particular frog. However, this subject believes that if it was something used to hold discarded items, it was probably hidden in a secluded spot.”
Ning Xiaoyao asked, “Would somewhere beneath a walkway count as a secluded spot?”
Elder Li cupped his hands before his chest and bowed in front of Ning Xiaoyao, before he said loudly, “The Xie Estate actually allowed His Majesty to set sights on such a dirty item. May Your Majesty pin Xie Wenyuan with the crime of blatant disrespect to his sovereign!”
Ning Xiaoyao’s mouth gaped. Can I pin a crime on the Grand Preceptor just for that reason?
The rest of the people looked on in silence at Elder Li. For the sake of sentencing Xie Wenyuan to death, you’re really giving it your all, Elder Li.
Grand Preceptor Xie opened his mouth, only for blood to trail out of the corner of his lips. Once again, he’d spat up blood.
“In the end, he's still my grandpa,” Ning Xiaoyao said. She'd even subconsciously reached out to treat him before recalling his identity and drawing back. “Just forget about all that blatant disrespect stuff. In the future, don't toss out your brushes so carelessly. If you don't want them, you can give them to me.”
Grand Preceptor Xie lifted his head to look at Ning Xiaoyao. She was even wearing an expression of concern. He suppressed his temper and gave her a bow. “This subject thanks Your Majesty.”
Well, dang. Ning Xiaoyao stared at Grand Preceptor Xie. You can even endure (ren, 忍)things like this? Are you part of the Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles? (Renzhe Shengui, 忍者神龟)
(Author: Hey, I told you not to make groundless claims!)
Grand Preceptor Xie spared another glance at Prince Fu and said, “This official congratulates prince for getting his heart’s desire.”
Prince Fu evaded Grand Preceptor Xie’s gaze. The imperial clansmen and officials from Grand Preceptor’s faction all understood that Grand Preceptor Xie and Prince Fu hated each other now. It would be impossible for them to team up in the future.
“Send the Grand Preceptor out,” Ning Xiaoyao said as she looked at Xie Anyi, Grand Preceptor Xie’s eldest son and the Minister of Revenue. “Have him look after his illness at home and reflect upon his mistakes.”
Elder Li spoke up immediately. “Your Majesty ordered the Grand Preceptor to stay at home and reflect, but he actually left his estate without permission today. Your Majesty, please pin…”
“Old gramps, old gramps,” Ning Xiaoyao cut him off. “That’s my grandpa. Can’t you be more polite?” What’s the use of pinning crimes on him left and right? The Grand Preceptor holds all the military power, so what would be the use of punishing him?
Elder Li stopped talking. Prince Xi watched Grand Preceptor Xie being led away by his son before he asked, “Your Majesty, could Prince Fu leave as well?”
“Leave the Hall of Punishments?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
All of the imperial clansmen nodded at Ning Xiaoyao. You’ve got your land, so how could you still have enough face to keep Prince Fu imprisoned?
Ning Xiaoyao did some mental calculations in her head. “Then are we just going to forget about how he tried to kill me?”
“...........” said the imperial clansmen. His Majesty’s simply a shameless hooligan!
Prince Fu didn’t howl with rage this time, but simply asked calmly, “Is Your Majesty going to give this subject the death penalty?”
Lou Zigui slowly shook his head at Ning Xiaoyao.
That’s right, this guy still has his private soldiers. Ning Xiaoyao stood with her hands clasped behind her back and said, “Who told you to be my uncle? Since we’re family, we shouldn’t dispute over so many details. You can pay me for damages instead.”
Money is the most important thing!
“Hiss!” His Majesty’s brazen behavior caused many of the imperial clansmen to suck in a breath.
Prince Fu asked, “How much does Your Majesty want?”
Ning Xiaoyao rolled her eyes before asking, “If I asked you for everything, uncle, would you want to die?”
Prince Fu had somehow mastered a skill of his own without being taught. He looked at Ning Xiaoyao and chuckled. “Heheh.”
“Then wait a bit until I figure out a price,” Ning Xiaoyao said pleasantly. “You can live here for now. I’ll feed you meat everyday.”
Elder Li next took his leave from Ning Xiaoyao. On the one hand, he had to figure out how to divide up the land. On the other, he couldn’t stand listening to His Majesty talk anymore. What made a man of virtue? What made...forget it. Elder Li gave up considering the question altogether. The imperial clansmen withdrew as well. As they saw it, there was no way Prince Fu was leaving the prisons until His Majesty sucked him dry. Only Ning Xiaoyao, Lou Zigui, and Prince Fu were left.
Ning Xiaoyao raised her hand and started counting off with her fingers. “Prince, you didn’t lose out at all. See here, you got the one thing you wanted most in the world and lost weight when none of those doctors could cure you.”
Prince Fu looked at Ning Xiaoyao but remained silent.
Ning Xiaoyao said, “It’s not like you plant crops. You have no lack of money, either. What’s the use of you keeping all that land for yourself? Isn’t it nice to give other people a way to survive?”
Prince Fu glanced at the quiet Lou Zigui before he told Ning Xiaoyao, “There are hundreds of thousands of refugees in the world. Could you find a suitable place for them all with just my lands alone?”
Ning Xiaoyao laughed. “Things like this have to be done slowly. You won’t get full just from a single bite, right?”
Prince Fu grew alarmed. “Who are you targeting next?” This little lunatic, who’s he got his eyes on now?
Ning Xiaoyao walked to Prince Fu’s side and stroked his head, allowing another stream of pale green light to sink between his hairs. “You used to get headaches all the time, right? That won’t happen in the future anymore.”
Prince Fu’s head snapped up. How does this lunatic know I always get headaches?
Ning Xiaoyao had already straightened up with a grin. “You’ll get a little more skinny, too.” She was afraid of scaring people if she changed Prince Fu to his ideal weight immediately, so she figured she’d do it in stages instead. (Author: You’ve already scared them plenty. o(╯□╰)o)
“Let’s go,” Lou Zigui said quietly as he drew forward.
Once again, the door to the jail cell shut with a heavy thud. The world before Prince Fu’s eyes dimmed substantially, but he simply sat on the ground in a daze, considering Ning Xiaoyao’s words.
I really haven’t suffered any losses?
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