Chapter 90: Xie Clan’s eldest young master’s wife and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Grand Preceptor Xie waited at his estate for two days, but received no retaliation from the imperial clansmen. Though he was still uneasy, a stone had come to settle on his heart. If the victims hadn’t come to seek reparations, that only meant two things. One, the victims were too scared to take action, or two, they were still figuring out how to get their revenge. Prince Zhi was a man with guts, so the second possibility had to be the case.
Grand Preceptor Xie had a firm handle on Prince Zhi. Once he spread news that this prince was doing business with the Northern Hu, people would be drowning Prince Zhi in their spittle with him lifting a finger. But it was difficult to use this information against the man because it’d hurt him more than Prince Zhi. It was impossible for Prince Zhi to keep up the business by himself. He had to be using suppliers, transporters, and middlemen. Throughout the journey, he would’ve spent money to let the officials and soldiers allow them passage, etc. There was a big group of people involved in the enterprise, so stopping Prince Zhi’s business would ruin their livelihoods as well. Once that was gone, he might as well be killing them and their parents. Grand Preceptor Xie had no wish to incur such resentment from them all.
“Wait,” Grand Preceptor Xie told his three sons. “I’d like to see whether Prince Zhi is going to fight me with all he has.”
His three sons only had the right to listen to his orders.
“Tomorrow, Qin Xuan will enter the city,” Grand Preceptor Xie told Xie Anyi again. “Remember to pick him up.”
The eldest son of the Xie Clan murmured an assent. The second son couldn’t help curling his lip in disdain. “He’s nothing but a military man.”
“Without that military man, could you be enjoying a life of peace and wealth?” Grand Preceptor Xie looked coldly at his second son, who was a head at the Ministry of War. “Scram!”
His second son withdrew from the study, too scared to say another word. Grand Preceptor Xie looked at his remaining two sons, who weren’t much better than the one who left. They’d read their share of books, but they weren’t talented at all! With his hands clasped behind his back, Grand Preceptor Xie paced around the study before he said, “Qin Xuan holds the reins to our Xie Clan’s businesses in Jiangnan.”
“How could it be him?” the third young master of the Xie Clan exclaimed.
“How are we supposed to do business without someone shipping the goods?” Grand Preceptor Xie retorted towards his unperceptive son. His third son fell silent.
“I don’t care how you feel,” Grand Preceptor Xie added, glancing at Xie Anyi, “But while Qin Xuan’s in the capital city, you have to put on a show as an affectionate couple with your wife.”
Xie Anyi hung his head and mumbled out a ‘yes.’
“Father.” Another voice called out from outside the study. The eldest and second young masters felt their expressions change at the voice. This was Grand Preceptor Xie’s bastard son, Xie Anwu.[1. Xie Anwu (谢安武) - An means “peace, pacify,” Wu means “martial, military.”]
“Come in,” Grand Preceptor Xie said at the same time he waved a hand towards his two remaining sons.
When Xie Anwu entered the room, he accidentally brushed shoulders with Xie Anyi and Xie Anshi.[2. Xie Anshi (谢安世) - An means “peace, pacify,” Shi means “world.”] Xie Anshi wanted to bow in apology, but Xie Anyi had already dragged his other brother out of the room.
“What did father find that flunkey sapling for?” Xie Anshi asked his older brother only a few steps out of the study. Xie Anwu heard every single word and curled his hands into fists. Then he entered the study.
Xie Anyi had Xie Anshi look for their middle brother, who’d been chased out of the study, before he went to young née Wang’s rooms. His hands lightly stroked her pregnant belly before he murmured, “You have to deliver medicine to née Qin today as well. I don’t want her speaking nonsense when Qin Xuan arrives at the estate tomorrow.”
There were gloomy clouds on née Wang’s face. “Can’t big sister control her temper once in awhile?”
Xie Anyi’s expression was filled with loathing. “She’s nothing but a vulgar woman, what else could you hope for?”
Young née Wang sighed.
“Go on,” Xie Anyi said, “We still have to see mother later to arrange for Qin Xuan’s visit tomorrow.”
Young née Wang’s voice was filled with grief. “It’s a pity that this wife’s father can’t help elder cousin.”
Xie Anyi laughed at née Wang’s words and gave her a hug. “He’s already done me a favor by bringing you into this world.” The two of them spoke tenderly to each other while the various female servants stood woodenly outside. It was quite some time before Xie Anyi came out of the room. The servants bowed at his appearance, finally looking like living people again.
Young née Wang personally brewed a bowl of soup before sprinkling in some powdered medicine from a small porcelain bottle. The head servant girl Xiping[3. Xiping (喜屏) - Xi is “fondness, happiness, joy,” Ping is “screen.”] picked up the bowl and murmured, “The color of today’s powder is different than usual, ah.”
“The usual medicine will only leave a woman weak and unable to move.” Because née Wang’s trusted servant girl was by her side, she had no need to hide her true face. She was smug as she said, “Tomorrow, that woman’s old sweetheart’s coming to the estate. I have to make sure she’s too shameful to see him.”
Xiping’s hand trembled, but she quickly flattered her mistress. “Madame is doing this for her sake. Otherwise, who knows what kind of complaints she’ll lodge upon meeting him? It’s fine if she ruins her own reputation, but she’ll drag down eldest young master’s as well.”
“That’s right.” Née Wang tossed away the empty bottle in her hands and rose to leave the room.
Née Qin’s rooms were filled with furniture and ornaments befitting of a proper wife, but it didn’t look like a lived-in place. There was even a rotting stench pervading the rooms. Yesterday, née Qin had just finished drinking a bowl of medicine. Now she was lying listlessly on the bed. Xiping and two elderly female servants had just forced another bowl of medicine down her throat while née Qin looked coldly at née Wang standing on the side. Née Wang hated that look in née Qin’s eyes most of all.
This woman, what is she so proud of in front of me? She smiled and said, “Big sister, my elder cousin said that General Qin Xuan is visiting the Grand Preceptor tomorrow.”
Née Qin’s body stiffened at the name, ‘Qin Xuan.’
Née Wang pursed her lips into another smile and added, “Big sister has to get well soon. Otherwise, won’t General Qin feel terrible at the sight of your sickly body?”
“Scram,” née Qin spat at née Wang.
“Yah,” née Wang pointed at née Qin’s face. “There’s a mosquito on big sister’s face.”
Xiping raised a hand and soundly slapped née Qin on the face. Née Wang looked on in satisfaction at née Qin’s swollen cheek before leaving Xiping to look after the woman. She took the rest of the servants with her and left.
Née Qin lay woodenly on the bed. The Xie Clan didn’t let her die, so they left her paralyzed in bed instead. She didn’t even have the strength to kill herself. Qin Xuan. When née Qin thought of that name, she wanted to cry, but the tears wouldn’t flow. I’m the one that dragged you into this mess.
Xiping watched née Qin’s face swell up until the skin broke open before feigning anxiety and running off to call for a doctor. Inside her heart, she promised herself that she couldn’t let her mistress down!
Née Qin broke out in cold sweat from the excruciating pain. She endured as much as she could, but still let out a miserable cry by the end. Xie Anyi stood outside the courtyard and heard her cries before going to the doctor as well. “I’ll have to trouble doctor to go take a look.”
The doctor assented and watched as Xie Anyi left without another word. He quietly sighed to himself. As the doctor who’d often been called on to look after the eldest young master’s wife, he couldn’t help but feel that née Qin was better off dead than living a life like this.
A magpie flew up from the cedar tree in the courtyard and headed towards the palace.
At Supreme Splendor Hall, Ning Xiaoyao was sitting on the ground. Before her were ten or so large wooden chests that Shadowbolt had taken from Lady Xiang’s estate. All of the chests had been opened, and the insides were filled with gold, silver, and various treasure. Their luster was almost enough to blind her.
Erya was stunned as well. “Th, there’s so many!”
Ning Xiaoyao sighed with feeling. “Yeah. I’m not even as rich as some guy’s mistress.”
“.........” said Shadowgale and the rest. Maybe we’ll just pretend we didn’t hear that part. It’s too much on the ears.
Ning Xiaoyao took out a peach blossom hairpin from the closest chest before glancing at Shadowgale. She decided she’d save that for him later. Wouldn’t it be great if he put this on Little Peach Blossom?
Meanwhile, Mute Nanny had arrived outside the doors. Because she couldn’t speak, she simply knocked on the doors.
“It’s Mute Nanny,” Ning Xiaoyao could tell by the sound of her footsteps. She told Shadowgale, “Windy, you guys can start counting the stuff here. If there’s anything anyone likes, they can take three things at max. But no more than three.”
Shadowgale accepted the decree. The rest of the Dragon Guards thanked Ning Xiaoyao in delight. They’d struck it rich again. When Ning Xiaoyao recalled that Mute Nanny had gone to invite the empress over, Ning Xiaoyao grabbed a cat’s eye peony hairpin from the chest. Then she recalled Mute Nanny herself and rustled in a chest until she found another hairpin made out of sandalwood. She slipped both in her pockets before leaving the room.
Mute Nanny used sign language to tell Ning Xiaoyao that the empress had arrived.
“Alright, I know now,” Ning Xiaoyao nodded. “I’ll go see her right away.”
Wifey Magpie’s elder male cousin chose this time to land on the rafters of the covered walkway and chirp at Ning Xiaoyao.
“Haha, it’s the magpie I’m raising,” Ning Xiaoyao explained to Mute Nanny, whose mouth twitched. I’ve never heard of anyone keeping magpies as pets.
“I’ll go see the empress. Nanny, you go rest,” Ning Xiaoyao said as she stuffed the sandalwood hairpin into Mute Nanny’s hands with a grin. “This is for you.”
Mute Nanny accepted the hairpin. When she kneeled to express her thanks, Ning Xiaoyao had already left with a magpie on her shoulder. Mute Nanny stroked the hairpin, noting that it didn’t have any flower carvings. The simple design was perfect for an old lady like her to use. Moreover, this was high-quality sandalwood, making this a precious gift. Mute Nanny carefully put the hairpin away and slowly withdrew from the walkway.
Ning Xiaoyao headed towards the empress’s palace as she asked the magpie, “Why did you drop by? Are you missing your younger female cousin, or is the Grand Preceptor up to his dirty tricks again?”
Elder cousin magpie chirped as he expounded on everything that had happened in the Grand Preceptor’s estate tonight. Ning Xiaoyao stood unmoving without a word when he finished, completely furious. How could such a despicable man and woman exist?!
“I really wish I could bite that wretch to death, miaow!” Big Boss Black had appeared in the midst of their conversation to perch on the walkway rafters.
Ning Xiaoyao clenched her fists. That’s right, I won’t stand for this. I have to kill off that man and woman!
Lou Zigui was walking over from the opposite direction when he spotted Ning Xiaoyao about to run off. He quickly hurried forward and grabbed her before he asked, “Your Majesty, what are you going to do?”
Ning Xiaoyao was so angry that her face was completely red. She whirled her fists around before crying out, “I’m going to the Grand Preceptor’s estate!”
Lou Zigui tightened his grip on her. “What are you going to do there?” It looks like she wants to murder Grand Preceptor Xie.
Ning Xiaoyao half explained, half-cursed her way through the report that elder cousin magpie had given her. “I’m going to find Xie Anyi!” Ning Xiaoyao still wanted to leave the walkway, ready to slaughter her way to the Grand Preceptor’s estate. Because she was so strong, it took effort for Lou Zigui to hold her back. He could only give a sudden tug until she fell into his arms.
Quietly, he spoke. “Your Majesty, now isn’t the time. Right now, we have to endure it.”