Chapter 97: What a good white lotus in full bloom Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Everyone’s eyes were on Ning Xiaoyao, so no one noticed that Qin Xuan had already arrived at the gardens. Ning Xiaoyao stood on the veranda as she stared at Elder Li. “Old gramps, I think you acted like a hypocrite.”
Once again, the entire veranda fell silent. As the head of the clear stream faction, Elder Li naturally had to dispute the claim that he was a sham. However, Ning Xiaoyao beat him to it.
“You mentioned married women with husbands? Sure, then I’ll break your words down right now.”
“..........” said everyone else. What’s ‘break your words down?’
Ning Xiaoyao pointed at the half-dead Xie Anyi. “Does this jerk count as a husband?”
Elder Li replied, “The late emperor decreed the marriage between he and née Qin. They finished all six rites of the marriage and have a certificate as well. Née Qin’s name has been added to the Xie Clan’s family history as well. This subject dares to ask Your Majesty, how could Xie Anyi not be née Qin’s husband?”
“When the Xie Clan asked my imperial father to grant the marriage, did they mention that jerk had already slept with his little white lotus? Or that she was already with child?” Ning Xiaoyao asked coldly. “Did they ever mention how he insisted on making that little white blossom of his an equal wife after Miss Qin entered the estate?”
Elder Li was rendered mute. An official from the Ministry of Rites spoke up next. “Your Majesty, at that time, Xie Anyi truly was an unmarried man.”
“Just because he’s unmarried, we can pretend his cousin and childhood sweetheart never existed? That there wasn’t a child between them?” Ning Xiaoyao asked. “Does Xie Anyi get to have all the good things for himself? After marrying Miss Qin, he gained control of the Jiangnan navy. Then he spends his days everlasting with his true love, that slutty cousin? Is this the kind of ‘married woman with a husband’ that you scholars speak of? Fine then, let me express my good wishes to all your daughters. May they find a husband like this in the future as well! Heheh, no need to thank me.”
No one spoke. Which one of them didn’t have daughters of their own? Which one of them wanted their own girls to meet a husband like Xie Anyi?
“Your Majesty,” Second Young Master Xie Anji[1. Xie Anji (谢安济) - Ji is “cross a river, aid/relieve/help.”] knelt on the ground as he kowtowed. He had to say something. “This subject’s eldest brother didn’t marry eldest sister-in-law for the Jiangnan navy. The navy was only…”
“You can shut up,” Ning Xiaoyao said before he finished. “Are you Xie Clan members the only smart ones? Is everyone else blind or an idiot?”
“Your Majesty!” Third Young Master Xie Anshi was now kneeling on the ground, too. “This subject’s eldest brother had his marriage with eldest sister-in-law decreed by the late emperor.”
“So what?” Ning Xiaoyao said. “I haven’t even mentioned how your entire clan tricked my imperial father yet. All you want to do is harp on the late emperor’s marriage decree, is that it? Didn’t you hear what I said earlier? Did you guys tell my imperial father that your big brother already had a woman? Or that she already gave birth to his son?!”
Neither of the two Xie sons could speak a word. Back then, even if their father told the truth, the late emperor would still allow the marriage on account of how much he favored their aunt. But they couldn’t be certain of what the Grand Preceptor had revealed. Ning Xiaoyao stood there expressionlessly. Even if the Grand Preceptor did tell everything, she wasn’t afraid. That muddle-headed late emperor was long dead now. With the sole witness gone, couldn’t she rip into the Xie Clan as much as she liked?
“This subject’s father would never dare to deceive the sovereign,” Third Young Master Xie said. Compared to the second Xie son, his brains were much more competent. A single thought was able to bring him back on task. If he admitted that his father didn’t tell the late emperor the truth, wouldn’t that be admitting his father lied to the emperor? The current emperor was really a piece of work. Within a few words, he’d managed to hold a capital offence above their father’s head again. Third Young Master Xie was determined to get rid the accusation.
“In other words, you’re saying your father told the truth, but my imperial father was the idiot?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
““Cough--” all the subjects started coughing. Even if you’re the emperor, you can’t call the late emperor an idiot!
Ning Xiaoyao said, “The Qin Clan were loyal martyrs unto death. Miss Qin’s father and elder brothers all died at sea for the sake of the country. We even recovered their bodies, so would my imperial father really give their last remaining family member to a scum of the earth in marriage?”
“.........” said everyone else. Yes, the later emperor would still do that.
Third Young Master Xie said, “Your Majesty, it’s normal for a man to have three or four wives.”
Ning Xiaoyao strode forward. Everyone was expecting her to say something else, but she simply lifted her leg and kicked the third son to the ground.
“Your Majesty, you…” Second Young Master Xie was about to shout, but Ning Xiaoyao kicked him to the ground, too. “I was talking about favoring the concubine and doing away with the wife, and you bring up ‘having multiple wives is normal’ instead?” Ning Xiaoyao stared at the third son.
“You think I’m easy to bully because I haven’t read many books? Are these two even the same thing? I say east and you say west. In the end, you’re still planning to prove I’m wrong with your shamelessness? Just how much gall do you have?”
Some of the officials who had been swayed by Third Young Master Xie’s words suddenly grew alert. That’s right. His Majesty was talking about Xie Anyi cheating his way into a marriage. Then there was favoring the concubine and doing away with the proper wife. What does that have to do with a man having multiple wives?
Third Young Master Xie Anshi pressed a hand over his chest, where Ning Xiaoyao had kicked him. His face was pale and greenish, his mouth unable to make a sound.
“Your Majesty,” Second Young Master Xie Anji was still unresigned.
Ning Xiaoyao grabbed a bench from one side and smashed it on his head. All of the officials took a large step back as Xie Anji fell over in a dead faint, blood pouring from his head.
Lou Zigui bent down and told Ning Xiaoyao, “Your Majesty, Xie Anyi is lacking in virtue. This subject asks that he be demoted from his official post and title and chased out of the palace as a warning to others.” As Supreme Commander Lou saw it, Ning Xiaoyao had already cursed and scolded the man. Now it was time to get down to business.
“Mm,” Ning Xiaoyao nodded. “It’ll be as Supreme Commander says. I don’t want to see this jerk again in the future!”
“.........” said everyone else. So Xie Anyi’s become a commoner just like that?
Shadowthunder looked at the dazed crowd and shouted, “Impudence! Why aren’t you all kneeling to acknowledge the sovereign’s decree?”
“Hold on,” Ning Xiaoyao said, “I’m not done yet. None of Xie Anyi’s sons or grandsons, no matter who gave birth to them, are never to be employed by me as long as Yongning still exists.”
Everyone fell silent. The little emperor was quite ruthless. If the Xie Clan admitted defeat this time, then none of the sons or grandsons from their eldest son would ever become officials in court. If that was the case, the Xie Clan would simply discard their eldest son. Ning Xiaoyao stared at Elder Li, who led the way to say, “This subject accepts the decree. Your Majesty is wise and brilliant.”
“We subjects will carefully abide by Your Majesty’s decree. Your Majesty is wise and brilliant,” Prince Zhi and a few other vassal lords present at the banquet all spoke up. The short Ning Xiaoyao stood up straight. She too, felt that she was quite wise and brilliant. It was a shame she’d come too late. If she was here 10 years ago, the Northern Hu might’ve been completely destroyed before now. (Author: Don’t make wild guesses--)
At the opposite end of the veranda, the assembled wives were all giving cold looks to née Wang, who was sitting paralyzed on the ground. She was an ‘equal wife’ who’d been granted a title and even claimed herself an equal with the Xie Clan’s eldest young madame. Then she had the gall to sit amongst proper wives like themselves. Over the past few years, the Xie Clan had been too powerful to offend. Moreover, these were domestic matters of their Xie Clan. Of all the wives present, those whose own clans depended on the Xie fawned and flattered young née Wang, while those who didn’t need the Xie still had to endure silently despite their dissatisfaction.
But when they saw née Wang sitting there with an ashen face, looking as if she was about to cry, both the flatterers and the silent group were secretly delighted. How had His Majesty put it? Everlasting days with a slut? All of the wives dearly wished they could cheer for the emperor and give him a round of applause. To put it in modern terms, they wanted to give Ning Xiaoyao a ‘Like!’
Empress Zhou used a brocade handkerchief to wipe her lips before she murmured, “Chase née Wang out of the palace.”
Two mama stepped forward and started dragging née Wang away. She was like a puppet with its strings cut when faced with the other wives. Some of them jeered at her, while others wore ridiculing smiles. Many had disdainful looks in their eyes that seemed to cut her into pieces. As a woman who’d been called a slut by the emperor, would she have any way to show her face outside of her home in the future? Would anyone in the Xie Clan still be willing to shelter her?
As the two mama hauled née Wang out of the veranda, Ning Xiaoyao saw them and waved a hand. “Is that the little white flower[2. little white flower (小白花) - xiaobaihua, similar meaning to ‘white lotus,’ aka an extremely two-faced woman.] cousin? Come come, drag her over here so I can see what she looks like.”
The two mama dragged née Wang to Ning Xiaoyao. On the right side of the veranda, an older madame asked Empress Zhou, “Empress, what does ‘little white flower’ mean?”
Many of the other wives were curious, too. His Majesty shouldn’t know née Wang’s given name, but even if he did, the Wang Clan had always used literary names for their children. Would they really called their young Miss “little white flower?”
Empress Zhou pondered the question before she made up some nonsense on the spot, “This née Wang is as venomous as a snake or scorpion, but she’s still the Grand Preceptor’s daughter-in-law by his eldest son. Because His Majesty respects the Grand Preceptor, he cannot curse her directly. All he can do is say the opposite of what he means.”
“Oh,” the wives came to a deep understanding. From then on, ‘little white flower’ became a term to curse people in the country of Yongning. (o(╯□╰)o)
Young née Wang felt herself physically paralyzed on the ground before Ning Xiaoyao. She pressed her forehead to the floor, not daring to let her see her face. No matter how many schemes or plots she had in the Xie estate, they were far from enough in the face of the emperor and various important officials.
The woman before Ning Xiaoyao was dressed in brilliant brocade robes decorated with blossoming flowers. Her hair ornaments were made from precious and rare materials, while her figure was delicate and petite aside from the parts that naturally stuck out. A pair of tender white hands peeked out from beneath her sleeves. Ning Xiaoyao lifted her foot and kicked née Wang too--not too hard, just enough to make her roll over and show her face.
Frightened, née Wang did her best to cover her face with her hands, but Ning Xiaoyao caught a glimpse of her with her eyes anyways. She could only say that née Wang was certainly a good white lotus in full bloom.
“Your Majesty,” Elder Li couldn’t keep on watching anymore. No matter how vicious this woman was, she was still a wife of an official. Oh no, that’s not right--Xie Anyi’s lost his title by now. This woman was still the wife of a citizen. Anyways, it doesn’t matter if she’s the wife of an official or a citizen. The point is that the dignified and upright sovereign’s already losing face by speaking directly with a mere married woman, much less teach her a lesson. Aren’t you afraid of getting your hands dirty?
“Old gramps, she might look pitiful now, but this little white flower’s plenty formidable.” Ning Xiaoyao had no way to understand Elder Li’s inner pains. “Yesterday, she even destroyed Miss Qin’s face.”
“Hisss…..” some of the officials sucked in their breaths.
“But fortunately, there’s me. Miss Qin’s face will be alright,” Ning Xiaoyao added. “Still, I won’t be able to forgive myself if I let this little white flower off.”
“Cough,” that was Lou Zigui. What does Qin Xin’s ruined face have anything to do with you forgiving yourself or not?
Elder Li asked outright, “What does Your Majesty mean?” Privately, Elder Li swore that if His Majesty said he liked née Qin, he would ram his head into a pillar and die on this very veranda.
“When I saw née Qin’s state, I was so angry my liver hurt,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “I even cried. This little white flower’s completely inhuman.”
“...........” went everyone else. Those words sound alright. At least people won’t misunderstand what you’re saying.
Previous Chapter Next Chapter