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Chapter 190: Whose foot are you smas.h.i.+ng with that rock?
"Carry this old man over there," Grand Preceptor Xie ordered the two little pageboys.
"Sto—" Lou Zigui wanted to stop him, but Ning Xiaoyao raised her b.l.o.o.d.y hand and waved at him. Soon enough, the two pageboys brought the Grand Preceptor's chair to the lantern stand. Ning Xiaoyao stood up and was pulled aside by Lou Zigui before she had a chance to speak. Lou Zigui's own hands had been dyed with blood countless times, but the sight of Ning Xiaoyao's red fingers left him in palpitations. He only felt that the image didn't suit her at all. Grabbing his cloth handkerchief, he began to wipe her hand clean, forgetting all about Lady w.a.n.g in the process. (Author: Hey, hey, Supreme Commander, is that really alright?)
The Grand Preceptor's people followed their master to gather by the lantern stand. Lady w.a.n.g lay unmoving on the ground, her face covered in blood. A pool of scarlet spread out beneath her head to sink into the mud and stain the yellow earth black.
"Née w.a.n.g?" Grand Preceptor Xie asked in a trembling voice.
Ning Xiaoyao felt the hairs on her body stand on end at his voice. Why's the old geezer playing at feeling deep love right now?!
"My Lady, ahh!" one of Lady w.a.n.g's elderly female servants suddenly fell to her knees by Lady w.a.n.g's body and burst into tears. "My Lady, how could you leave like this? My Lady, ah!"
More and more people joined in the sobbing until the entire courtyard was filled with tears. A few of the Xie Clan daughters cried themselves into a faint. They were very clear that Lady w.a.n.g had died for their sakes. Ning Xiaoyao shot a glance at Xie Duoying, who was still kneeling by herself in front of her boudoir. Her heart ached slightly at the sight. The difference in Fifth Young Miss Xie's treatment before and after Old Madame Xie died was proof that everyone needed a strong backer to survive. (Author: Aren't you missing the main point here?)
"Your Majesty," the Lord Protector called out.
"Ah?" Ning Xiaoyao turned towards him. The Lord Protector pointed at Grand Preceptor Xie, who was glowering at her with tear-filled eyes. Despite this, Ning Xiaoyao hadn't sensed any of the man's hostility, causing the Lord Protector to confirm that His Majesty was an exceptional existence. Ning Xiaoyao only glanced once at Grand Preceptor Xie before turning back again. It was impossible to stare at him right now. In fact, his swelling seemed to have worsened, because now he was the same size all over. Does he even look human right now?
Grand Preceptor Xie only turned away from Ning Xiaoyao as if afraid of being found out. "Your Majesty, what other lives do you want to take from this subject's estate?"
Ning Xiaoyao looked at him and said, "Don't start snapping randomly right after you've seized a bite. Whose life did I take?"
"Her ladys.h.i.+p!" one of the elderly female servants sobbed out.
"Stop wailing," Ning Xiaoyao shouted at her. The servant gave a start before glancing at Grand Preceptor Xie in his chair and busting into tears again.
"You can't let her keep crying," the Lord Protector said urgently to Ning Xiaoyao. "She wants to frame Your Majesty for the crime of forcing your grandmother to death."
"Kill her," Lou Zigui simply commanded the a Dragon Guard, who raised his sword and prepared to hack.
"Your Majesty!" Grand Preceptor Xie's voice was sad and shrill. Seeing this, the Lord Protector suddenly felt refreshed. Xie Wenyuan, you've finally tasted the flavor of helplessness. Ning Xiaoyao pushed away Lou Zigui's hand on her arm and took a few steps forward.
"Grand Preceptor, instead of calling for a doctor when your wife's like this, you're only interested in making an uproar with me. So much for deep feelings between husband and wife."
Grand Preceptor Xie had thousands of incriminating questions to throw at Ning Xiaoyao, but never expected her to say that.
"She bore you sons and daughters," Ning Xiaoyao said, staring at the woman lying by her feet. "But what did her ladys.h.i.+p get throughout her life? She might have lived in a big house and wore beautiful clothes, yet no one bothered to ask after her welfare. What's the point of a life like that?"
Ning Xiaoyao's words sounded extremely provoking, yet all of the Grand Preceptor's people could only stare at her in a daze. What's the meaning in provoking the dead? Grand Preceptor Xie fixed his attention on Lady w.a.n.g. Although there was blood staining her face and hair, he couldn't see the exact site of her injury. Did Lady w.a.n.g fake her suicide? But then, how did her head get so b.l.o.o.d.y? Would Lady w.a.n.g carry blood bags on her body to fake her death? Grand Preceptor Xie's thoughts grew a little wild.
Ning Xiaoyao shouted at Lady w.a.n.g, "Your ladys.h.i.+p, no need to keep sleeping, ah." Of course, it was only natural that Lady w.a.n.g would've gotten a concussion from her crash, but Ning Xiaoyao had already calculated things and knew it was about time she woke up.
But Lady w.a.n.g didn't move.
"There's no point for you to keep pretending," Ning Xiaoyao shouted.
The Lord Protector stepped forward and murmured, "Your Majesty, let's go back to the palace instead." As he saw it, there was no way they could disprove Lady w.a.n.g's death with a few choice words. It was better to head for the palace and think up other solutions, or else ask Elder Li for advice. (Author: Lord Protector, do you believe me when I say His Majesty will kill you for that? o(╯□╰)o )
Ning Xiaoyao started fixedly at Lady w.a.n.g, waiting to see how long she'd play dead! The Lord Protector saw that His Majesty remained unmoved by his words and turned to give Lou Zigui meaningful looks. Don't just stand there, help me convince him.
Lou Zigui was creasing his eyebrows. He trusted Ning Xiaoyao because of her mystical medical skills, but reason told him that it was impossible for Lady w.a.n.g to still be alive. Just then he'd personally witnessed her ramming her head into the lantern pole. How could there be anything fake about it?
Grand Preceptor Xie witnessed the reactions of the Lord Protector, Ning Xiaoyao and Lou Zigui. He a.s.sumed that Pei Yi was panicking, Ning Yu was thinking up a plot, and Lou Zigui was wracking his brains in vain. With Lady w.a.n.g dead, Ning Yu's actions now are nothing but a ploy to buy more time to think up a plan. After settling upon the 'truth,' Grand Preceptor Xie said, "Go call for the justice courts."
Now Grand Preceptor Xie wasn't worried about causing a racket with this business. He wouldn't be able to bear this insult until he successfully labeled Ning Xiaoyao as an immortal, fatuous, and self-indulgent ruler.
Lady w.a.n.g had long regained consciousness, but she didn't dare let anyone know that she was still alive. While she was puzzling over what to do, she heard Grand Preceptor Xie call for the justice courts and panicked. That won't do! In the end, she grit her teeth to bite down on her tongue, hoping to kill herself that way. But Ning Xiaoyao had been keeping her eye on the woman, so as soon as she saw her lips twitching, she figured out what she was up to. She feigned walking towards Grand Preceptor Xie before "accidentally" stepping briefly on Lady w.a.n.g's neck.
This caused Lady w.a.n.g to faint away before she could finish biting through her tongue. Because her face was facing in another direction while her body was surrounded by Ning Xiaoyao's people, no one from the Grand Preceptor's side noticed her lips move or the way she exhaled after she fainted.
Multiple thoughts popped up in Lou Zigui's head before he said, "This subject invites Your Majesty to return to the palace."
Ning Xiaoyao glared at him. The Lord Protector's never seen my miracles, so it's fine if he doesn't believe me. But Supreme Commander, why don't you trust me now?
The Lord Protector's mouth twitched before he asked Lou Zigui. "What does His Majesty mean by that? Is he feeling wronged?" Look at the expression in those eyes. With Lady w.a.n.g dead, you should be worried instead of looking so aggrieved.
A Dragon Guard spoke up on Ning Xiaoyao's behalf. "His Majesty never knew that the Grand Preceptor's wife would kill herself."
"That's right," another piped up. "How can you blame His Majesty for that?" All of the Dragon Guards nodded in agreement. Their Majesty wasn't at fault here.
"Alright already," Lou Zigui said, "Stop talking, all of you."
All of the Dragon Guards looked towards Shadowgale, who was too busy thinking of dying to atone for his sins to bother with anything else. Lou Zigui bowed towards Ning Xiaoyao and said, "This subject invites Your Majesty to return to the palace."
The Lord Protector also followed suit. "This subject invites Your Majesty to return to the palace."
Before Ning Xiaoyao could reply, Grand Preceptor Xie said, "Your Majesty, née w.a.n.g is still your maternal grandmother. You can't just leave like that."
"Your Majesty, this subject invites Your Majesty to immediately return to the palace," Lou Zigui said.
"Why aren't you calling for the justice courts yet?" Grand Preceptor Xie asked one of his retainers. The retainer muttered an a.s.sent before turning to run out of the palace.
Shadowgale unsheathed his sword, preparing to cut the retainer down before he could spread the news.
"Shadowgale!" Lou Zigui said sternly. Grand Preceptor Xie smiled inwardly in his heart. Panicking now? It's already too late.
"Sheathe your sword," Lou Zigui ordered. Shadowgale only looked at the retreating retainer with bloodshot eyes.
"Shadowgale?" Lou Zigui raised his voice.
Ning Xiaoyao ran in front of Shadowgale and spread open her arms to defend him against Lou Zigui. "Why are you yelling at Windy? He's doing good things, so what's the wrong in that?"
"Your Majesty." Shadowgale didn't have the heart to face Ning Xiaoyao right now.
"Don't be afraid," Ning Xiaoyao hovered in front of him like a protective mother hen before glaring at Lou Zigui. "Do you have any reason left?"
Lou Zigui was expressionless. Miss Ning was s.h.i.+elding Shadowgale while glaring at him, making him feel ill at ease.
"Then…then shall we put Lady w.a.n.g in a coffin first?" the Lord Protector quickly suggested when he sensed Ning Xiaoyao and Lou Zigui on the verge of a cold war.
Grand Preceptor Xie said coldly, "Before the coroner comes, no one's allowed to touch the body of my wife."
"You really are a good husband," Ning Xiaoyao gave Grand Preceptor Xie a thumbs up.
Grand Preceptor Xie took off the cloak draped over his shoulders and ordered a servant woman, "Put this over her ladys.h.i.+p."
The teary servant woman took the cloak and approached Lady w.a.n.g's "corpse." Ning Xiaoyao wanted to shout at her to stop, but Lou Zigui held her back. Then he bent down and whispered in her ear, "Isn't it good to let Xie Wenyuan smash his own foot with his rock?"
"……." said Ning Xiaoyao.
"Let Xie Wenyuan be smug for a bit," Lou Zigui squeezed her hand.
The servant woman knelt down and covered Lady w.a.n.g from head to toe, then went to check on her pulse. She wanted to verify whether or not her lady was still alive.