Chapter 106: Xiaoyao, you're very good Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
While Ning Xiaoyao was reflecting gloomily over her life, Wifey and Husband Magpie, along with Elder Cousin Magpie, all flew into the room.
"Xiaoyao, it’s not good!" Wifey Magpie cried.
Ning Xiaoyao placed a hand over her heart.
Big Boss Black spoke up for Ning Xiaoyao. "What happened?"
"The Grand Preceptor and his third son-in-law--that is, the Nine Gate Infantry Commander--have made a plan to kill General Qin and Miss Qin, chirp chirp!" exclaimed Wifey Magpie.
"H, how are they planning to kill them?" Ning Xiaoyao felt unwell all over.
Elder Cousin Magpie said, "They’re planning to wait ‘til General Qin takes eldest young madame out of the city, then have men kill them in the dark of night while disguised as bandits, chirp!"
"It’s ‘Miss Qin’ now!" Wifey Magpie pecked Elder Cousin Magpie’s head. "Miss Qin has no relation with that jerk Xie Anyi anymore!"
"That’s not the point," Oil Jar weakly raised his paw.
"The point is, how do we save them," Grandfather Sparrow remarked.
"And also, how can Ning Xiaoyao make sure Supreme Commander isn’t mad," Oil Jar was more concerned about this. "If Supreme Commander gets angry, how is Xiaoyao supposed to be his wife?"
"........" said Ning Xiaoyao. Wife? Let me figure out how to stay alive first!
"And my master, too," the little gyrfalcon looked at Ning Xiaoyao with teary eyes. "My master will be depressed to death. All of his brothers are calling Little Peach Blossom his wifey already."Ning Xiaoyao stayed quiet for a long time beneath the stares of the various worried animals. Finally, she said, "I want some peace and quiet."[expand]
"Miaow!" Big Boss Black jumped up and brandished his claws to scratch her. "Do you still have time for peace and quiet? You have to take care of Supreme Commander’s matter!"
Ning Xiaoyao tossed Big Boss Black out the window. "Do I owe him?"
"Your father killed Supreme Commander’s father and elder brothers!" Big Boss Black meowed as he jumped back onto the window ledge. Ning Xiaoyao was rendered speechless.
"And also," Big Boss Black held up his bloody claws. "You slept with Supreme Commander, so you have to take responsibility for him! Otherwise, you’re simply seducing and abandoning him!"
"That’s right!" chorused ten or so cats, all Big Boss Black’s buddies.
"Otherwise, you’re just Xie Anyi Number Two!" Big Boss Black added, "Ning Xiaoyao, you jerk!"
"........." said Ning Xiaoyao. What a cruel and brutal reality!
"Xiaoyao," Yellow Great Immortal spoke up. "I’ve checked already. You and Supreme Commander have the faces of husband and wife. You--"
"Enough already, Great Immortal," Ning Xiaoyao wanted to kneel at the weasel’s feet. Who would be interested in face reading at a time like this?
Yellow Great Immortal said, "What I mean is, you don’t need to worry about Supreme Commander hating you. Some things are determined by fate."
Rather than relying on fate, I might as well count on myself right now. Ning Xiaoyao sat bolt upright, forcing her brain to think things through. Her fingers dug into her palms before she told the little animals, "Supreme Commander’s father and elder brothers are already dead. There’s no way to change that, but his older brother might still be saved. The first thing we need to do is figure out which of the Northern Hu hunting grounds has Elder Brother Lou."
All of the little animals nodded their heads. That’s right. We can only save him after we find his location first.
"Right now, there’s no way for me to run off to Northern Hu," Ning Xiaoyao said. "Supreme Commander sent people there for six years and didn’t find any clues. It looks like we can’t depend on him either."
Big Boss Black asked, "Then what should we do?"
"Speaking of which, do any of you have brothers or sisters in Northern Hu?" Ning Xiaoyao held her hands in prayer as she looked at her animal friends. "Elder Brother Lou’s description was pretty distinctive. His face is ruined, he’s mute, and he’s got deformities in his right hand and left leg."
Old A’Gui stuck his tongue out a few times before he said, "But we all live in the capital, ah."
"Then do you guys know any migrant birds?" Ning Xiaoyao asked.
Oil Jar asked, "Xiaoyao, what kind of a bird is a migrant bird?"
"The kind that flies south for winter and back north when it gets warm," Ning Xiaoyao explained.
"Wild geese?" Grandfather Sparrow asked.
"Yes, wild geese are migrant birds," Ning Xiaoyao hastily nodded.
"A flock of wild geese lives at the south of the capital in the Comforting Celestial Pond," Grandfather Sparrow said, "But I don’t know if they’re from Northern Hu."
"It’s fine even if they aren’t," Ning Xiaoyao said. "Just ask them if they have brothers and sisters from Northern Hu."
"That’s a solution," old A’Gui nodded.
"I’ll help you ask," Grandfather Sparrow accepted the mission. Ning Xiaoyao picked him up and kissed him.
"........" went Grandfather Sparrow. Does this girl know there’s distance between males and females?!
Husband Magpie said, "Xiaoyao, I’ll help you ask around amongst the capital city’s birds. We birds fly all over the place, so maybe we’ll hit on news somewhere?" Ning Xiaoyao picked up Husband Magpie and prepared to kiss him too.
"Chirp!" Wifey Magpie suddenly cried, and Ning Xiaoyao obediently set Husband Magpie down. This bird’s already taken.
"Then what about my master?" the little gyrfalcon asked anxiously once Ning Xiaoyao had settled big brother Supreme Commander’s affairs. "What’s to be done about my master?"
"I was thinking this way for Windy’s situation," Ning Xiaoyao said seriously. "We have to avoid hurting him as much as possible."
"So then?" Big Boss Black asked.
"So I’ll accompany Windy to witness that Little Peach Blossom’s true face," Ning Xiaoyao waved her hand. "I’m experienced with matters like these." Jilted love, was it? She’d studied psychology before, so it shouldn’t be a problem to comfort a heartbroken man.
".........." said the little animals. This is how you avoid hurting him as much as possible?
"As for the Grand Preceptor and his son-in-law," Ning Xiaoyao rubbed her chin, "If it’s anyone making the killing blow, it’d probably be Tao Chen, the Nine Gate Infantry Commander. Thus, I’ll make a move against him first."
"You’ll bite him to death?" the little gyrfalcon asked.
"We, we haven’t reached that point quite yet," Ning Xiaoyao said. "First, I need to figure out what kind of people Tao Chen prepared as his assassins. Once I know, we can move before these assassins and finish them off first. Wouldn’t everything be all right then? Which one of you guys has siblings at the Nine Gate Infantry Commander’s estate? And at Tao Chen’s own home?"
"We have some too, tweet tweet~"
All of the animals expressed their contacts.
"Then that’s what we’ll do," Ning Xiaoyao slapped the tea table soundly.
Oh! All of the little animals felt that it had all been a very simple affair. Xiaoyao’s so amazing!
Ning Xiaoyao puffed up her chest. Just earlier, she’d felt that life was incomparably tragic. She even wanted to run away and go die. But now she had revived to her hot-blooded self. She wasn’t even afraid of zombies, so why should she be afraid of human affairs? When there were difficulties in your way, you had to face them head on.
"Then let’s set out," Big Boss Black said. He was the first to lead the way with his fellow cats. The rest of the animals all scattered to their respective tasks, braving the night in spite of its rain.
"Great Immortal," Ning Xiaoyao called the weasel back. "When do the people from the empress dowager’s palace make contact with Little Peach Blossom?"
"Make contact?" Yellow Big Immortal echoed.
"As in, when do they meet up?"
"Two days from now."
"Alright," Ning Xiaoyao nodded. "Two days from now, I’ll take Windy to see Little Peach Blossom’s true face."
Yellow Great Immortal looked at Ning Xiaoyao again. "Xiaoyao, you have to believe me. Even if Supreme Commander’s angry now, he won’t stay mad at you for long."
"Is it because I have gorgeous looks, an ethereal bearing, celestial fragrance, and am kind and cute?" Ning Xiaoyao asked.
"......" said Yellow Great Immortal.
"Alright, I know what you mean, Great Immortal," Ning Xiaoyao hung her head. As expected, she didn’t fit any of those descriptions at all.
Yellow Great Immortal suddenly broke into a smile as he perched on the window sill. His eyes narrowed before he told her, "Xiaoyao, you’re very good."
"Hm?" Ning Xiaoyao’s head whipped up.
But Yellow Great Immortal had already jumped off the ledge and ran into the rain. Soon enough, he disappeared.
"Xiaoyao, I’m going to keep my master company," the little gyrfalcon flew over to nuzzle Ning Xiaoyao’s face.
"Go on," Ning Xiaoyao said as she promised, "I’ll take responsibility for finding Windy a good girl. If Little Peach Blossom won’t cut it, I’ll find him another flower."
"Mm," the little gyrfalcon trusted Ning Xiaoyao 100 percent.
After he flew away, Ning Xiaoyao ran to Supreme Commander Lou’s room for a look. The man was still sleeping soundly, though his eyebrows were furrowed into a thick crease. Ning Xiaoyao rested her hand against his forehead and spent some time smoothing out his brows.
"I will save Elder Brother Lou," Ning Xiaoyao murmured into his ear. Then she touched him with her fingertips as a pale green light sank into the skin of his forehead.
Lou Zigui had been dreaming of war and warriors, his family’s corpses scattered into pieces across a wild and bloodsoaked wasteland. Then there were the white streamers flying above the mourning hall and the pained, hopeless sobs of his various sister-in-laws. As the world became bathed in blood, a sudden scent of fresh grass and trees filtered into the dream. Lou Zigui lifted his head from his kneeling position in a blood-soaked puddle of the mourning hall and saw a young girl standing before him with sparkling eyes. Their surroundings shifted to the execution platform and the hordes of angry, screaming people about them, but he only had eyes for her. She smiled at him as the world shifted. Rain fell in a fine drizzle against the light of the setting sun, leaving nothing but him and this girl in the entire world.
Ning Xiaoyao lowered her head to plant a kiss against Lou Zigui’s forehead. "Have a good dream," she said.
In his dream, Lou Zigui suddenly tasted the sweetness of osmanthus honey on his lips.
After leaving Lou Zigui’s room, Ning Xiaoyao ran to the windows of Qin Xin’s bedroom to have a peek. Qin Xin was already sleeping with the snow wolf pup by her side. Qin Xuan sat by her bedside, staring intently at her dreaming form. Ning Xiaoyao quietly slipped away to standing in the covered walkway. Her sharp ears heard noises from the front courtyard--snatches of conversation from the Dragon Guards. They were talking about how Little Peach Blossom had made walnut cake for Shadowgale today, and how lucky their commander was. Ning Xiaoyao felt stifled after hearing that, so she covered her ears with her hands.
This just won’t do, Ning Xiaoyao thought. She couldn’t let the empress dowager off just like that. Anyways, since it was impossible for her to sleep, His Majesty Ning decided to visit the empress dowager’s palace instead. If she wasn’t happy, then the empress dowager couldn’t be happy, either!
Empress Dowager Xie had just thrown a temper tantrum at her palace. None of the mama in her hall dared to speak a word, but could only hope that their mistress would calm down soon.
A head steward ran into the palace and murmured, "Esteemed Empress Dowager, the Grand Preceptor ordered someone to deliver a letter to you."
"Speak," Empress Dowager Xie adjusted her hair as she held back her rage to listen. A palace mama entered the hall and knelt down to pay obeisance to the empress dowager. Empress Dowager Xie had never seen this mama before, but when she recalled all the people her father had arranged in the palace, she didn’t bother to ask after this mama’s origins. "Where is the message?" she asked.
Ning Xiaoyao had flipped over the empress dowager’s palace walls by now. When her ears caught wind of the empress dowager’s voice, she quickly ran towards her hall.
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