Chapter 213: His Majesty says, open and forthright Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Lou Zigui silently stepped forward to shield Ning Xiaoyao behind him.
“Don’t fight,” Ning Xiaoyao yelled as she stuck her head out from his side.
The people around them could only stay silent. Could those two really fight? Supreme Commander can kill Elder Li with just a single finger, couldn’t he?
“What do you want to say?” Elder Li asked Ning Xiaoyao.
“Your Majesty,” Shadowgale suddenly called from the foot of the stairs. “Urgent news from East Ji!”
Besides Ning Xiaoyao, everyone’s faces paled. Ning Xiaoyao had no idea where East Ji was, so she simply exhaled in relief. We’re finally moving on from Fang Tang. But when she noticed the people around her, she had to scratch her head. Why does everyone look so serious?
Shadowgale ran up the stairs two to three at a time before kneeling right in front of Ning Xiaoyao to offer up the emergency missive with his hands above his head.
“Rise,” Ning Xiaoyao said as she accepted the paper, broke the seal, and opened its contents. The words were written very neatly and filled up five large pieces of paper. Ning Xiaoyao could more or less recognize all of the traditional Chinese characters by now, but seeing so many at once still made her dizzy.
“Your Majesty.” Elder Li had been counting the pages as Ning Xiaoyao read them. Once she finished the fifth sheet, he finally spoke up. “What has happened in East Ji?”
Ning Xiaoyao handed the missive to Lou Zigui and replied, “They said I was wise and brilliant, that as subjects they were useless, as soldiers they were worthless, and something about how they deserved ten thousand deaths. I didn’t look at the details. But the main idea was that roving rebel bands of farmers have taken their troops to take over the 19 cities of East Ji. Now their Great General is currently on his way to Fengling City.” She paused there and cocked her head to one side. “Eh? Why do I feel like I’ve heard ‘Fengling City’ somewhere?”
Lou Zigui was currently pouring over the contents of the letter with an urgent air. “Your Majesty, Fengling City is Prince Fu’s fief.”
Ning Xiaoyao nodded before spreading her hands towards Elder Li. “That was all there was.”
Elder Li’s body swayed on the spot. Ning Xiaoyao hastened to steady him, but sucked in a breath as soon as she grabbed his arm. Old gramp’s heart rate is almost at 202 beats per minute!
“Old gramps, calm down a bit,” Ning Xiaoyao coaxed. “The country hasn’t collapsed completely yet.”
At those words, Elder Li’s heart beat even faster and went out of control. Ning Xiaoyao quickly gave a gentle pat to Elder Li’s chest and shut up. She had to preserve his heart first, ah! Meanwhile, Lou Zigui had finished reading all five pages with creased brows. His mind flew through a myriad of mental calculations, wondering how many troops they could transfer over to East Ji.
Elder Li, on the other hand, felt much more comfortable even as his nerves were strung taut. “Your Majesty, can this official take a look at the missive?”
Ning Xiaoyao took the papers from Lou Zigui’s hands and stuffed them all into Elder Li’s arms. “Go ahead, read them as you like, old gramps.”
“We’ve already lost 19 cities?” the Lord Protector asked.
“Mhm,” Ning Xiaoyao nodded.
The Lord Protector stared at Ning Xiaoyao, who didn’t seem concerned at all. “Your Majesty...” he tried, “Your Majesty already has a counter strategy in place?”
“Ah?” Ning Xiaoyao replied. “I don’t, ah.” In the past, she’d just followed her pals when it came time to fight zombies without wasting any brainpower. Her strategy skills were even more lacking.
The Lord Protector was speechless. If you don’t, why aren’t you panicking yet?
Lou Zigui said, “We need to transfer troops over to help. If we lose any more of East Ji, the rebels will be able to use the Winterpool Pass to and fight their way straight to the capital and its environs.”
Ning Xiaoyao scratched her palms. The situation seemed urgent, but dang it, today was the first time she’d heard of any of these places. She had no idea where they were, so what was she supposed to do?
Elder Li asked Lou Zigui, “Are there troops available for transfer?”
Lou Zigui nodded. “Yes.”
“This official asks that Your Majesty speedily dispatch relief troops,” Elder Li kneeled in front of Ning Xiaoyao. At his lead, all of the other officials fell to their knees as well to ask Ning Xiaoyao to send reinforcements. Ning Xiaoyao raised a hand to help Elder Li up, then told the other officials to rise as well.
“Shall we send reinforcements, then?” she asked Lou Zigui.
“We have soldiers,” Lou Zigui replied, “But who’s to lead them?”
Ning Xiaoyao blinked. That’s a good question. Lou Zigui pulled her aside and added in a small voice, “Right now, I can’t leave the capital city.”
Ning Xiaoyao’s face whipped around to stare at him.
“I can’t leave you alone in the capital right now,” Lou Zigui elaborated. He had already started to move the chess piece that was the empress, so who could finish the game in his place if he left for East Ji? Miss Ning? If that was the only option, he’d rather take Miss Ning to East Ji with him instead.
Ning Xiaoyao thought it over before asking, “Are there any competent generals amongst the ones in East Ji?”
Hearing this, Elder Li shook his head. “All of them are generals of defeated armies. Your Majesty cannot use them.”
“Then do you have any proposals, old gramps?” Ning Xiaoyao asked next.
Elder Li shook his head again. “Your Majesty, this official is only a civil official.”
“Oh,” Ning Xiaoyao helped him finish. “So you’re not familiar with generals or fighting wars.”
Her words sounded harsh, but Elder Li couldn’t refute them. It left him in very bad spirits. Lou Zigui considered the issue before proposing, “Your Majesty, amongst the military officers that accompanied this official back to the capital---”
“Hey, aren’t you a general?” Ning Xiaoyao suddenly looked at Tao Yu. “General Tao, do you know how to fight?”
Her sudden question caught Tao Yu off guard.
“Speak already,” Ning Xiaoyao moved to stand closer to him.
“Y, Your Majesty wants th, this official to lead the troops?” Tao Yu stammered back.
“Mhm,” Ning Xiaoyao replied. “As long as you’re confident, you can do it.” Supreme Commander Lou had wanted to use this guy, so I’m sure he’s not useless. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have caught Supreme Commander Lou’s eye at all, ah.
Tao Yu’s shocked expression grew touched at her words, then contemplative. Finally, his features turned calm as he knelt in front of Ning Xiaoyao. “This official thanks Your Majesty for your regard. This official has confidence.”
“Then fine,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “You’ll be the one, General Tao!”
“This official accepts the decree,” Tao Yu bowed.
Ning Xiaoyao reached forward to help him up, but Lou Zigui beat her to it and tugged Tao Yu upright. Tao Yu ignored the stares of the crowd on him as he stood with head bowed in front of Ning Xiaoyao. Only now he did believe what he’d heard last night and the picture of the future she’d painted for him. The world was so vast that His Majesty would certainly give him a place to display his talents. I’d be less than a mutt if I ever fail His Majesty in this life.
Lou Zigui led Ning Xiaoyao to a place away from everyone else before asking her in a low voice, “If we had Tao Yu, we could win more men to our side at the military barracks. Xiaoyao, you’re really sending him to East Ji instead?”
“I’ve already said my piece,” Ning Xiaoyao replied. “Could I take back my words now?”
“This is your first time dealing with war since taking the throne, so it’s unavoidable that you can’t consider all sides of the issue,” Lou Zigui replied. “Even if you change your mind now, no one will rebuke you.”
Ning Xiaoyao tilted her head to one side until she was looking past Lou Zigui’s shoulder to Tao Yu standing in the distance.
Lou Zigui said, “Just then, I wanted to say that you could use one of the generals I brought with me.”
Ning Xiaoyao scratched her palms before asking, “Then Supreme Commander, do you have any faith in General Tao?”
Lou Zigui replied, “Tao Yu does have the ability. The only reason he didn’t make a name for himself was because Tao Chen was suppressing him.”
“Then I want Tao Yu to go,” Ning Xiaoyao said after knitting her brows in thought. “I promised him that I’d give him a chance to showcase his skills.”
“Isn’t it all the same if he goes to the military barracks…”
Ning Xiaoyao stood on her tiptoes to muffle Lou Zigui’s mouth. “This is different. To put it bluntly, that man named Chen Lu in the barracks is nothing more than a desperate type vying for fame and fortune in our fight against the Grand Preceptor. He’s an awfully petty schemer. If you’re a real man, you should go off to war and fight openly and forthright. Isn’t it better to publicly defend your country?”
Lou Zigui was struck speechless by Ning Xiaoyao’s words.
“When there’s a chance, you need to go back to Anyuan too,” Ning Xiaoyao removed her hand. “That’s the real battlefield for you, Supreme Commander.”
After a moment of silence, Lou Zigui raised a hand to touch Ning Xiaoyao’s cheek. “Then will you fight Xie Wenyuan by yourself?”
“Reality proves that he can’t kill me,” Ning Xiaoyao was rather smug. “What’s there to be afraid of?”
“Alright,” Lou Zigui finally smiled and nodded. “Then have Tao Yu lead the troops.”
“Mhm,” Ning Xiaoyao replied. “Tell me about the roving rebel bands later. I still haven’t figured out what that’s all about.”
Lou Zigui had just been smiling at Ning Xiaoyao, but now he wanted to rest his hand against his forehead again.
“This is all the Grand Preceptor’s fault!” Ning Xiaoyao added hatefully. If he didn’t stop interfering so stubbornly with me all the time, would I have neglected national matters until now?
In Lou Zigui’s ears, Ning Xiaoyao was blaming the Grand Preceptor for keeping intel from her on purpose. After all, an ignorant monarch was supposed to be easier to control, right?
Ning Xiaoyao ran towards Tao Yu as she proclaimed, “General Tao Yu, you’re the one! You’re going to lead the troops and go fight, ah!”
“......” said the crowd. Is this something worth celebrating?
“Old gramps,” Ning Xiaoyao stopped next to Tao Yu to address Elder Li. “Let’s disperse. Everyone should go home and eat.”
Elder Li asked, “Your Majesty still has the heart to eat?”
“Urk, I can’t eat right now?” Ning Xiaoyao didn’t understand. “It’s not like I was the one who lost the city.”
“........” said the crowd. His Majesty’s words seem to make sense. We can’t find a retort for them.
“Goodbye,” Ning Xiaoyao waved farewell to Elder Li. She had to leave now---Fang Tang was still waiting for her to treat his wounds! Elder Li watched His Majesty Ning fly off in the blink of an eye and shifted his gaze to Lou Zigui again. Lou Zigui respected cupped his fist at Elder Li before taking away the Pei brothers and Tao Yu.
“Elder?” one of Elder Li’s disciples ventured to ask. “Are we really going to send Tao Yu off to East Ji?”
Elder Li withdrew his distant gaze and glanced at the disciple. “What of it? Do you know anything about warfare?”
The official in question instantly shut up.
“Congratulations, General Tao,” the Lord Protector said on their way to Supreme Splendor Hall.
Tao Yu respected the Lord Protector, but his words were naturally hard and stiff. “Serving the country with my life is something I, Tao Yu, am supposed to do. What joy is there to be found in unrest and rebels?”
The Lord Protector’s smile stiffened. That’s right, ah. East Ji’s lost 19 cities. Why am I congratulating Tao Yu?
“This isn’t something a simple transfer of troops will solve, is it?” Pei Yan finally spoke up as he looked towards Lou Zigui. “Supreme Commander, am I right?”
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