Chapter 169: Supreme Commander, you don't understand love Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“Grand Preceptor Xie will try to kill them,” Lou Zigui told Ning Xiaoyao.
“I know that, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao replied.
“If those seven officers knew that Xie Wenyuan wanted to wipe them out,” Lou Zigui said, “Xiaoyao, do you think they’ll be hell-bent loyal to you instead?”
“Hell-bent?” Ning Xiaoyao pouted. “Why can’t you say that they’ll love me instead?”
“Don’t speak such nonsense,” Lou Zigui couldn’t hold himself back from thwapping Ning Xiaoyao on the head again. Ning Xiaoyao wanted to retaliate, but Big Boss Black choose right then jumped on the table to glare at her with eyes that seemed to say, If you fight back, I’ll bite you to death.
Ning Xiaoyao withdrew her hand and mentally excused herself. After all, humans shouldn’t lower them to the same level as cats, isn’t that right?
“Someone, come,” Lou Zigui called out the door.
Shadowrain ran in.
Ning Xiaoyao remarked, “Oh, Third Rain, you’re back!”
“........” said Shadowrain. I was back ages ago, didn’t Your Majesty know?
“Shadowrain brought back Prince Cheng and gave him to the empress dowager,” Lou Zigui added.
Ning Xiaoyao covered her ears. “When we’re talking about the Grand Preceptor, don’t bring up the empress dowager as well. It’s too much for me to take both of them at once.”
Lou Zigui tugged down the hands covering Ning Xiaoyao’s ears with a wooden expression. “Have a good seat.”
Ning Xiaoyao’s body sat stock straight, while Shadowrain’s mouth twitched. Is Supreme Commander Lou treating His Majesty like his own son again?
“Spread news that the seven military officers from the south are planning to leave the capital,” Lou Zigui told Shadowrain once he’d settled Ning Xiaoyao down. “Just say that the palace has sent out a few carriages and will escort them south with the Dragon Guards.”
“Just like that?” Shadowrain asked. “In other words, Supreme Commander, we can let the Grand Preceptor know it’s those seven officers in our custody that are planning to leave?”
“Just like that,” Lou Zigui nodded. He had to admit that Grand Preceptor Xie had an exceptionally sharp mind even if he didn’t want to.
Shadowrain glanced at Ning Xiaoyao next. “Your Majesty?”
“I have no objections,” Ning Xiaoyao wore an expression that read ‘do whatever you want.’
Shadowrain accepted his orders and withdrew.
“And call Fang Tang here!” Lou Zigui called out after him.
Soon enough, Fang Tang had rushed over as well. At the sight of Ning Xiaoyao, he said, “Your Majesty, hasn’t Windy come back yet? Little Peach Blossom from the imperial kitchens has been looking for him thrice now. If he doesn’t come back soon, that girl will probably get mad.”
(Little Peach Blossom: “.....”)
Ning Xiaoyao grew vexed again. That’s right, there’s still that girl to deal with. She’s a mole planted by the empress dowager, isn’t she? Ning Xiaoyao looked up at the ceiling. I wonder which girl Windy bumped into that day at the Xie Estate. If she could be his true love, that’d be much better.
(Author: You would give up in despair if you knew the truth…)
Lou Zigui saw Ning Xiaoyao look up, but he was long used to her rich variety of expressions so he kept silent.
“Little Peach Blossom is one of the empress dowager’s people,” Ning Xiaoyao revealed the sad truth after she finished organizing her thoughts.
Fang Tang grew dazed for a minute before he burst out, “That base wretch, I’ll slaughter her!”
“Leave that aside for now,” Ning Xiaoyao said, “Wait until I find a way that won’t hurt Windy.”
Fang Tang glanced at his Supreme Commander, not understanding what His Majesty meant. Why would slaughtering an agent of the empress dowager hurt Shadowgale? It’s not like Shadowgale can’t find another woman once Little Peach Blossom dies.
Lou Zigui said, “What kind of ways do you need? Just tell Shadowgale directly.”
Fang Tang nodded in agreement. “That’s right, ah.”
Ning Xiaoyao shook her head at Lou Zigui. “Supreme Commander, you don’t understand love.”
“........” said Lou Zigui.
Fang Tang disagreed. “Your Majesty, our Supreme Commander…”
“Don’t speak,” Lou Zigui had Fang Tang shut up. This topic needs to end here, right now. “Go find Prince Zhi and tell him that the seven military officers His Majesty took into custody are leaving the capital today.”
Fang Tang said, “Those seven men had broken arms and legs. They can walk by now?”
Ning Xiaoyao raised a hand. “That’s because I’m here.”
Fang Tang stared at Ning Xiaoyao’s raised hand, which looked as skinny as a chicken claw. But he thought it over carefully and realized he trusted her words despite not knowing why.
“Go on,” Lou Zigui chased Fang Tang off.
It was a while after Fang Tang left that Ning Xiaoyao finally snapped out of her reverie. She asked Lou Zigui, “If he passes on the message, Prince Zhi will know about the officers. Supreme Commander, are you joining hands with him to trick the Grand Preceptor?”
“Yes,” Lou Zigui said.
“Why?” Ning Xiaoyao asked. “I don’t understand.”
Lou Zigui stared at Ning Xiaoyao and wondered how he should explain.
“Moreover, is the Grand Preceptor’s IQ that low?” Ning Xiaoyao added. “If you guys scheme like this, isn’t it just proclaiming to the Grand Preceptor that those seven men are leaving so he should send his assassins pronto? Would the Grand Preceptor fall for such an obvious trap?” Ning Xiaoyao refused to believe that the Grand Preceptor was so stupid.
Lou Zigui remained silent.
Ning Xiaoyao continued, “Supreme Commander, we can look down on the Grand Preceptor’s moral integrity, but we can’t look down on his IQ.”
Lou Zigui raised his hand and waved it back and forth, indicating that Ning Xiaoyao should stop talking now. He was getting dizzy just from trying to follow her train of logic.
“You’re not even letting me speak now?” Ning Xiaoyao grew frantic. “If the Grand Preceptor doesn’t fall for it and sends his assassins, are you planning to have the seven men wait outside the capital like wooden pegs or dance around in joy? You…”
“Can I talk yet?” Lou Zigui asked.
“Fine, you speak,” Ning Xiaoyao fell silent.
“Xie Wenyuan won’t fall for it,” Lou Zigui said. “He might even send his people to grandly send them off, or have them disguise themselves as some of our people and injure those seven men. But he still wouldn’t kill them, do you know why?”
Ning Xiaoyao shook her head. The humans in this world are too complicated, so how is an apocalypse dweller like myself supposed to deal with them?
“Because he still wants to keep the loyalty of the army from the south,” Lou Zigui said. “Only trusted aides of the Grand Preceptor would have been secretly smuggled into the capital like those seven military officers were. They are his eyes and ears in the southern soldier’s camp. They can be tools used to kill or reins used to control the southern army. If those seven officers betray the Grand Preceptor but return alive to the army camp, what do you think will happen, Xiaoyao?”
“Oh, I know,” Ning Xiaoyao replied. “If you ask the southern army soldiers who Xie Wenyuan is before the seven officers return, they’ll say, ‘Xie Wenyuan is His Excellency the Grand Preceptor.’ But once those seven officers rejoin the army, ask the soldiers the same question and they’ll curse, ‘that grandson.’”
“Pfft---” Lou Zigui laughed.
“Am I right?” Ning Xiaoyao assumed a serious expression as she asked. Lou Zigui simply raised a hand to brush Ning Xiaoyao’s cheek. How in the world did this girl grow up into this?
“Don’t get all touchy feely, be more serious,” Ning Xiaoyao swatted Lou Zigui’s hand away. “Now isn’t the time to flirt.”
Lou Zigui continued. “If the Grand Preceptor can find people to pretend to be some of our men, why can’t we do the same for his, do you follow?”
“So you’re saying Windy and the rest should pretend to be the Grand Preceptor’s men and feign killing those seven officers?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“That will all depend on what the Grand Preceptor does,” Lou Zigui said. “But no matter what he chooses, we will still have ways to counter him, so it’s fine.”
Ning Xiaoyao sucked in a breath as she sighed with feeling. “Supreme Commander, I finally know just how much damage I did to the Grand Preceptor and empress dowager after carrying you home from the execution grounds. I ruined their only chance to kill you.”
Lou Zigui was silent. If it’s a rescue, just call it a rescue. What’s with all this ‘carrying home’ business?
“Or maybe I can put it this way,” Ning Xiaoyao added. “Supreme Commander, I was the one there to save you during the only stupid moment of your life.”
Lou Zigui’s head hurt listening to her. “Xiaoyao, just what are you saying?”
“Oh, I mean to say that you’re too evil, shameless, and all those other things. With your IQ, it would’ve been impossible for the Grand Preceptor to defeat you unless you had a moment of idiocy.”
“Alright, you don’t have to say any more.”
“But I’m praising you, though.”
“I said, you don’t have to say any more on the subject!”
“Alright.” Ning Xiaoyao shut her mouth. Lou Zigui stood up. He had to go meet with those seven military officers and get a breath of fresh air. Right now, he felt nothing but extremely depressed.
Ning Xiaoyao said, “Supreme Commander, what are you going to do?”
“I’m going out for a stroll. You---” Lou Zigui glanced at Ning Xiaoyao before looking away. “You can go play with your cat.” Then he left the room.
Ning Xiaoyao exchanged stares with Big Boss Black, who said, “Ninny, I’ll bite you if you call Supreme Commander a bad guy again.”
Ning Xiaoyao chuckled. “Black Tubby, your words are soooooo scary.”
“Miaow!” Big Boss Black’s fur stood on end as he glared at Ning Xiaoyao.
Before he could spring up and bite her, Ning Xiaoyao grabbed him by the fat on his neck and said smugly, “Come on, I’ll wait for you to bite me.”
“Ninny!” Big Boss Black roared.
“Stupid kitty,” Ning Xiaoyao curled her lips in disdain.
“You’re not allowed to call this noble cat such names!”
“Miaow!” Big Boss Black kicked and clawed furiously in Ning Xiaoyao’s grasp. “This cat wants to bite you to death! Go die, go die, go dieeeeeee!”
Ning Xiaoyao stuck out her tongue and made a face at Big Boss Black. “I refuse to die just so that I can anger you to death!”
Big Boss Black was in tears. How heartless do you need to be that you can you bully a cat like this?
“.........” said Supreme Commander Lou, who was still standing by the door. Are the two of them arguing inside? A human, arguing with a cat?
“Supreme Commander?” Shadowgale had reached the palace by now and hurried to Lou Zigui’s side with a hushed tone after seeing him standing blankly by a door.
Lou Zigui turned to see Shadowgale and he recalled how Little Peach Blossom was one of Empress Dowager Xie’s agents. He had a rare moment of sympathy and patted Shadowgale on the shoulder. “Shadowgale, why do men have to suffer from want of a wife?”
Shadowgale looked at Lou Zigui with a wooden face. I don’t even have a wife yet, so why are you asking me that kind of question?
Lou Zigui simply turned to walk away. Inside the room, Ning Xiaoyao told Big Boss Black, “My God, Windy’s back.”
Big Boss Black replied, “You’re just stupid. If Little Peach Blossom’s no good, then you should help the gyrfalcon’s master find another mu[1. mu (母) - literally “mother,” but also used scientifically to refer to the female gender of an animal or plant species.] for him.”
“Pah, what ‘mu?’” Ning Xiaoyao demanded. “It’s called a ‘girl,’ don’t you get it? A girl!”
“Catgirl?” Big Boss Black shook his kitty head. “You humans are such idiots. Doesn’t mu (female) cat sound more pleasing to the ear?”
Ning Xiaoyao simply threw the fat black furball outside the window. Talking to him would only hurt my own IQ.
“Your Majesty?” Shadowgale called from the otherside of the door.
Ning Xiaoyao had him come in as she held a strand of long hair between her fingers. “Windy, ah, when we came back from the Grand Preceptor’s estate that day, I found this strand on hair on your shirt. Come and tell me which girl you ran into at the estate?”
Shadowgale stared at the hair in Ning Xiaoyao’s hands as he answered, “It might be this servant’s own hair.”
“The smell doesn’t fit you,” Ning Xiaoyao replied. “Come on, tell me. What’s that girl like?”
His Majesty can smell the differences in a single strand of hair? Head Commander Shadowgale was utterly floored. Exactly what kind of nose does he have?!
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