It was already pretty good for it to have reached this step. Xing Wei never counted on Duke Garcia and the Queen to turn against each other. In fact, with Duke Garcia’s steady and mature temper, there was no chance of that happening because of a small matter like this.
His goal was to get rid of the three manipulators and prevent the conclusions they set up from happening. The events he instigated and the angry, out-of-control knights were enough to do that.
Xing Ye kneeled down behind Duke Garcia, his voice deep: “Grand Duke, it’s my stubbornness that caused you trouble. Truly, I thank you for your care, but things between knights must be settled with the sword.”
After saying that, he spoke to the Imperial Guard Captain: “I want to duel with you. If I lose, our knight group will accept the body search. It won’t have anything to do with Her Majesty, the Queen or the Grand Duke. However, if I win, you have to apologise to our group and allow people from the Grand Duke to search us instead. As a knight, we will only accept our Lord’s suspicions.”
His words were very fitting. The watching nobles started nodding their heads one after another- indeed, this was the spirit knights should have.
The Imperial Guard Captain was infuriated. Why a duel, why another duel? Could it be that the moment you knights have a conflict, you pull out your swords?
”What happened?” A graceful and languid woman’s voice sounded.
The uproar finally attracted the Queen’s attention. She wore a luxurious gown and wore a veil over her face. Her hand rested on a handsome man’s shoulder while several average looking maids followed behind her.
Xing Ye immediately kneeled down to the Queen and fought to apologise before the Imperial Guard Captain: “Your Majesty, the Queen, I am very sorry for alarming you due to my superficial feelings and ignorance. However, as a knight, there will always be some things that I cannot stand for. I humbly request Your Majesty to allow me a duel with the Imperial Guard Captain to protect my honor.”
First, throw the blame of offending knights to the Imperial Guard Captain, then request for an open duel. According to this era’s custom, there should be no objections.
Sure enough, the Queen wasn’t angry and even smiled: “Knights are always impulsive, that’s just the benefits of being young. Alright, I grant permission. A knight’s contradictions ought to be solved by duels.”
In fact, the so-called knights were nothing more than higher level servants in the eyes of high ranking nobles. Every New Year’s Festival, watching a life and death duel between the knights would be a very popular event amongst nobles. Even if Xing Ye didn't do anything, the Queen would probably still find two skilled knights to liven things up. This arrangement was just perfect for her.
The original Imperial Guard Captain ought to be very skilled, but the current one… hehe.
Xing Ye and the imperial knight captain were led to the official dueling grounds and the nobles moved to sit in the stands whilst a maid gave both of them a sword. Duke Garcia took a seat with a frown, murmuring lowly: “Why does she have to be so stubborn, I could’ve just helped her. She doesn’t want to bother me but how could she decide on a duel when after all, she’s just a…”
Under everyone’s view, the Imperial Guard Captain and Xing Ye shook hands and hugged to show regardless of the results of the duel, it would not affect their friendly relationship.
The Imperial Guard Captain took the chance to whisper lowly in Xing Ye’s ear: “Are you crazy? What are you trying to do?”
Xing Ye smiled slightly: “Just trying to draw out the third person.”
After saying that, he pushed the other away and placed his hand on the hilt of his sword. His whole body was tense, just like a cheetah that was about to hunt.
The Imperial Guard Captain also gripped his sword hilt, secretly thinking that he would probably just fake two or three moves before admitting defeat. He could think of another method during the body search.
The instant the horn signalling the duel start sounded, Xing Ye jumped in front of the Imperial Guard Captain. His actions were too fast and ruthless, not giving the Imperial Guard Captain any chance to react before striking.
Before the Imperial Guard Captain could even draw his sword, he felt his neck turn cold and blood spill from his neck.
The Imperial Guard Captain’s vision blurred as he toppled over, dazedly watching Xing Ye take out a handkerchief and wipe the blood off his sword. Finally, he closed his eyes, his heart surging with resentment.
How did he do it and how could he dare to do it? What was this executor from the opposing fate camp thinking, to actually dare and kill the Imperial Guard Captain on the day of the Queen’s birthday?
He originally thought that at most, he would be beaten and lose the chance to conduct the body search but how did it end up like this? Even at death, the Imperial Guard Captain couldn’t understand what Xing Ye was planning by doing such a shocking thing.
Xing Ye resheathed the sword and glanced at the look of disbelief on the Imperial Guard Captain’s face.
No matter what the manipulator could’ve thought, there was no way he would have predicted that his conclusion was actually dying under a public duel to Duke Garcia’s knight.
After getting rid of another manipulator, Xing Ye observed the crowd’s gazes before immediately kneeling to Duke Garcia and shouting loudly amongst the uproar: “Sire, it was my miscalculation. I assumed that the Royal Family’s Imperial Guard Captain was extremely skilled so I used all my strength from the start. I just didn’t expect… no matter what, I still committed murder. May the Duke please execute me for my sins.”
There were two people who came with the Queen to the duelling site. The face of the handsome man standing behind the Queen was distorted, his fingers shaking with fury.
So it’s you, Xing Ye silently thought.
Players who died in the game wouldn’t die in real life and just returned to their system space with their mission failed. Because he knew they wouldn’t actually die, Xing Ye was completely ruthless and didn’t feel any guilt.
He did this to intimidate the last manipulator. The shock in the moment the other died would be enough to poke a hole through the third manipulator’s act. When somebody who came from the modern world sees their companion die right in front of them, along with everyone else’s disbelief, they would feel an additional sense of sorrow and fear.
So it turns out the last manipulator is actually the Queen’s favored man. No wonder all the Queen’s actions were targeted at him, pillow talk is really useful eh?
Xing Ye kneeled in front of Duke Garcia, not afraid at all.
If Duke Garcia really executed him, it would be fine. The two endings they had set for him were either being executed by the Queen or defeating the Queen, it was impossible for them to have set it to being executed by Duke Garcia.
Sure enough, after the handsome man whispered a few words in the Queen’s ear, the Queen smiled and said: “Public duels have always bordered along life and death. Since the Imperial Guard Captain’s skill was lacking, I would actually have to thank you for eliminating a guard that didn’t reach our standards. I’m actually a little scared, to think I was being protected by such an incompetent guard.”
Duke Garcia let out a small sigh before telling Xing Ye: “Her Majesty, the Queen magnanimously forgave you but I can’t just let this slide. Lawrence, you’re too impudent!”
Xing Ye humbly lowered his head.
”You will be demoted to a second-class Knight, understand?”
A second-class knight was worse than a first-class knight in every way by a huge margin. However, this was a matter under Duke Garcia’s dukedom. Rising back to a first class knight would also only take a few words from the Duke.
The Queen’s mood was very bad knowing that her own Guard Captain was completely useless and had even been killed in one blow. After Duke Garcia’s maids searched all the knights over and gave the Queen some dignity back, the Queen proclaimed she was tired and needed rest.
The maid who checked Xing Ye over was under Duke Garcia’s orders to just fake it. She didn’t even dare to touch Xing Ye’s chest so naturally there was no way she could discover the mirror hidden in Xing Ye’s pocket.
When the group returned to the manor, Duke Garcia’s face was solemn, “Lawrence, you were too impulsive.”
Xing Ye humbly waited for his punishment.
The other knights couldn’t bear to see him punished and Walter even took his place in begging for leniency: “Sire, Lawrence was only defending our dukedom’s honor. It’s that Imperial Guard Captain who was abusing his power and tried to tear off Lawrence’s clothes in public. These were the uniforms that Sire had custom made for us and a symbol of the clan. It can’t just casually be damaged!”
”There’s no need to plead for him,” Duke Garcia said, “I know he did it more for himself.”
Xing Ye lowered his head and didn’t try to justify himself.
Duke Garcia looked at the obstinate woman. He was both shocked by her ruthlessness and resigned by her stubbornness.
TL’s Note; I wasn’t sure what word to use here… think lovingly disappointed? Like understands, but is still kinda hurt/frustrated? Idk.
He personally took the knight's medallion off Xing Ye’s chest and replaced it with a second grade knight’s. When he saw how Xing Ye still made no attempt to justify himself, he sighed: “Go back and rest. Although you’ve been demoted to a second grade knight, your treatment won’t change.”
”Thank you for your leniency.” Xing Ye said.
After getting comforted a bit by the other knights, he returned to his room and gave his blood stained clothing to the maid to wash.
When he was finally alone, Xing Ye took out the mirror which, unsurprisingly, had the word “RUTHLESS” written in shining, bold, capital letters.
”It’s fine,” Xing Ye said indifferently, “That guy’s face was just covered in the words ‘I’m stupid, hurry up and kill me’ so it’d be a waste to not do so.”
Mirror: Weren’t you afraid that the Imperial Guard Captain would call you out and make you get a private body search?
”If so, then I’d just undress and shout ‘Rape!’,” Xing Ye said casually, “Although my gender’s often a weak point, it can also be used as a weapon. I’ve already told Duke Garcia so he knows. Under this situation, it’s easy for people to think I’m Duke Garcia’s lover dressing up as a knight, which is a fairly common kink. Then, the Imperial Guard Captain who harassed the Duke’s lover wouldn’t be able to live much longer anyways. In fact, from the moment I entered the Imperial Palace, the Imperial Guard Captain would’ve died either way.”
The mirror thought back and realised that it seems like Xing Ye had started planning everything from the moment he became Duke Garcia’s knight. At that time, he still wasn’t even sure who the other two manipulators were- how far ahead could this person see?
The mirror really wanted to praise Xing Ye but when he thought about how he had been played with this entire time by him, he finally wrote after thinking a long time: Shameless, the most shameless person in the world!
He was a big man, and even a powerful man at that but not only was he not upset at all upon finding himself turned into a woman, he even decided to use his gender as a weapon against his enemies. Right now, the manipulators are definitely regretting giving Xing Ye a woman’s identity.
When ordinary people find out they’ve become something neither male or female, shouldn’t they be trying everything to hide their identity, everyday trembling with fear of being exposed?
How could he be so natural?
Mirror: Don’t tell me you’ve really become addicted to crossdressing?
Xing Ye: “...”
Let’s just throw it away, there’s no use in keeping it anyways.