Chapter 223: His Majesty gives up the chance to capture him alive Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
The little sparrow flew straight into the palace and found Ning Xiaoyao in the flower gardens outside the main hall. “Xiaoyao, chirp~” Wheat called out as he landed on her shoulder.
Ning Xiaoyao tossed Big Boss Black from her arms to the ground and went to stroke Wheat’s little head. “Wheat, why did you come?”
Wheat’s head bobbed happily under Ning Xiaoyao’s petting as he spoke. “I just went to visit the Grand Preceptor’s estate, ah.”
Oh my God. Ning Xiaoyao stiffened as her expression grew serious. “What’s the Grand Preceptor planning now?”
Wheat chirped out the entire conversation between the Xie father and son, imitating their voices for Ning Xiaoyao’s sake.
“They’re just too wicked!” Wheat said with an aggrieved air. “They want to kill you, Xiaoyao, cheep!”
“That’s not the main point,” Ning Xiaoyao said as her mouth twitched unhappily.
“Miaow?” Big Boss Black’s fur stood on end. “That pair of villains is already planning to kill you and it’s still not the main point?”
“Black Tubby,” Ning Xiaoyao replied, “Do you think that father and son only thought of killing me today?”
Big Boss Black fell silent at that.
“The main point is,” Ning Xiaoyao said, “Xie Anji’s going to run away!”
“Then what do we do?” Wheat asked Ning Xiaoyao, who settled to sit beneath the big Wutong tree as she fed him crumbs of egg yolk guoba from her pockets.
Little White Fatty scampered over and cried, “Xiaoyao, I’ll go bite the Grand Preceptor to death!”
“You be good and go run a few more laps,” Ning Xiaoyao patted his head. “Little White Fatty, you can’t keep getting chubby. Otherwise, your mother Peach will definitely bite me death when she sees you!”
“Arooo,” Little White Fatty’s head drooped before he went off to run laps.
“How about I go bite the Grand Preceptor to death?” Big Boss Black suggested.
“You’re a cat, alright?” Ning Xiaoyao rolled her eyes at him. “Leaving aside the fact that you can’t kill him, now isn’t even the right time.”
Big Boss Black’s fur wanted to stand on end again.
“Your Supreme Commander said so,” Ning Xiaoyao said before adopting Lou Zigui’s unhurried tone. “Now is not the time to kill Xie Wenyuan.”
Big Boss Black stopped protesting with that.
Wheat ate the delicious crumbs of egg yolk guoba as he asked, “Then what are you going to do, Xiaoyao? I could take my siblings to poop on the Grand Preceptor’s head?”
Ning Xiaoyao wanted to cry. If it’s not biting people to death, it’s pooping on them instead. Just who did they learn these things from?! (Author: Who do you think? o(╯□╰)o )
“How about you ask Supreme Commander?” Big Boss Black suggested next. “You’re a stupid human, but Supreme Commander’s very smart.”
“You’re the one who’s stupid,” Ning Xiaoyao stood up and dusted off her butt with a snort. “He wants to run away? As if it’s that simple! I’ll go stop Xie Anji this very night. [email protected]#*[email protected]#*([email protected]$, what did I say before? The Grand Preceptor’s a piece of sh**, so of course he’d come to meddle in our war plans!”
“Xiaoyao, you’re so smart,” Wheat exclaimed in a reverent tone. Ning Xiaoyao laughed out loud. Big Boss Black just licked the fur by his mouth. He wasn’t going to associate himself with these idiots who’d never seen real intelligent humans before.
“Wheat, do me a favor,” Ning Xiaoyao said as she cupped the sparrow in her hands. “Help me keep an eye on Xie Anji and see which city gate he’s leaving from. Then have some other little pal pass on the message to me, okay? Once everything’s finished, I’ll treat you to guoba. Chef Huang’s making some egg yolk guoba right now, ah.”
“Okay~” Wheat agreed.
Big Boss Black said, “He already said that the Grand Preceptor’s sending Xie Anji to the Wu region. That means he’ll definitely use the south gates, ah.”
“You’re the type of cat who doesn’t understand Grand Preceptor’s crafty ways,” Ning Xiaoyao replied. “For the sake of hiding Xie Anji’s whereabouts, wouldn’t he make his son go through a different door? Doesn’t the Grand Preceptor know how to make a roundabout trip?”
Big Boss Black was forced to admit that the ninny had her flashes of brilliance at times, too.
“Then I’ll go keep an eye on Xie Anji,” Wheat hopped onto Ning Xiaoyao’s shoulder and nuzzled against her cheek.
“Be careful,” Ning Xiaoyao tilted her head to nuzzle him back.
“Mhm.” Wheat then flew away.
“You’re really not going to tell Supreme Commander a thing that Wheat told you?” Big Boss Black asked as he looked at Ning Xiaoyao.
“No need,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “Your Supreme Commander’s busy with transferring troops. That’s a big task, so he can’t be distracted, oh.”
Big Boss Black dug into the ground with his claws as his tone grew vicious. “Fine then. If Xie Anji doesn’t behave, I’ll claw him a face full of blood!”
Just like that, Ning Xiaoyao began to make preparations at the palace for stopping Xie Anji even as he packed up his things and made ready to leave. As the skies approached dusk, a mama from the empress dowager’s palace came searching for Ning Xiaoyao until she found her at the little kitchens, then told her that the empress dowager was feeling unwell.
Ning Xiaoyao was currently holding half a pot full of Chef Huang’s freshly made egg yolk guoba. She glanced at the mama, then said, “If she’s not feeling well, go find an imperial physician. What’s the use of coming to me? It’s not like the empress dowager would eat any prescription I gave her, right?”
The mama remained half-bowed as she spoke. “Your Majesty, Esteemed Empress Dowager wanted to see you.”
“For the sake of keeping both of us in a good mood, I think it’s better that I don’t go,” Ning Xiaoyao pursed her lips. “Mama, you can just tell that to the empress dowager.”
“......” said the mama. Wouldn’t those words only infuriate the empress dowager to death?
“Come, have a guoba,” Ning Xiaoyao picked out a guoba and handed it to the mama. “Chef Huang made them, they’re super delicious.”
The mama bit into a mouthful of guoba in front of Ning Xiaoyao and swallowed it down. She felt fine afterwards and didn’t die, so she silently exhaled in relief. Looks like His Majesty wasn’t planning to poison me to death.
After the empress dowager’s mama finally withdrew, Ning Xiaoyao forgot all about this incident. She munched on her egg yolk guoba while planning how to give Xie Anji another thrashing. Meanwhile, the mama returned to the empress dowager’s palace and stood in front of her mistress, too afraid to speak. Seeing this, Empress Dowager Xie knew that Ning Yu wasn’t planning to come.
“Whatever His Majesty said to you, you can tell This Dowager directly. This Dowager won’t fault you for it.”
The mama stammered out Ning Xiaoyao’s exact sentence---for the sake of keeping both of us in a good mood, I think it’s better that I don’t go.
Hearing this, Empress Dowager Xie didn’t lose her temper like usual, but only told the mama, “This Dowager understands. Go make some arrangements to have Zhou mama’s head delivered to Iron Buddha Temple.”
The mama hastily accepted her orders before asking, “Is there any message for Esteemed Empress?”
“Just say that it’s from This Dowager,” Empress Dowager Xie replied breezily. “And that it was His Majesty who did the deed, but This Dowager snatched back that mama’s head on account of the fact that she’d accompanied the empress for all of her life, thus saving part of the corpse from being eaten up by dogs.”
The mama felt afraid upon hearing the empress dowager’s words.
“And tell the empress that His Majesty has already drawn the Lord Protector’s estate, Tao Yu from the military barracks, and Prince Fu all over to his side,” Empress Dowager Xie added. “To His Majesty, the soldiers of the Zhou Clan are negligible at this point. Of course it’d be best if he had them too, but otherwise he’ll just destroy them.”
“Yes, this servant has remembered empress dowager’s words,” the mama accepted the decree.
“Go on,” Empress Dowager Xie had her withdraw. Once she was gone, the empress dowager picked up Ning Xin by her side and rocked the baby until he laughed. Only then did she smile back in turn and murmur, “Xin’er don’t worry, imperial mother will definitely protect and guard you well.”
As for Ning Yu, Empress Dowager Xie mused as she continued to rock her son into smiles before talking to herself, “I’ve given that girl a chance. If she says she won’t meet me, then she doesn’t recognize me as her mother. She can’t blame me for eating her alive, then.” (Author: So, His Majesty just gave up her sole chance to live with that rejection just then? (￢_￢) )
After dusk, all the lamps were lit in Lou Zigui’s quarters. Tao Yu brought along his trusted subordinates from the military barracks to sit in a circle around Lou Zigui and a portion of his Black Frost Cavalry. All of them were discussing details in low voices. There was brush and paper before Lou Zigui, which he frequently used to take notes and draw diagrams.
Ning Xiaoyao snuck to the half-open window to watch the people working inside.
“It looks like Supreme Commander’s very busy,” Big Boss Black whispered from her shoulder.
Ning Xiaoyao perked up her ears to listen to Lou Zigui speak, before she complained, “I don’t recognize a single name he’s saying.”
“Ninny,” Big Boss Black said.
Lou Zigui thought he heard a cat’s meow and quickly glanced looked out the window, but all he saw through the half-open screen were a bunch of green trees. There was no sign of a cat or Miss Ning.
“Supreme Commander?” Tao Yu called to him softly when he noticed the man looking distracted.
“Let’s keep talking,” Supreme Commander turned back to Tao Yu, his expression back to normal.
In the front hall of Supreme Splendor Hall, Shadowgale had already gathered his fellow brothers. He next addressed Ning Xiaoyao, who had wandered onto the scene mid-way. “Your Majesty, Xie Anji’s really going to run away tonight?”
“Mhm,” Ning Xiaoyao nodded. She picked up Little White Fatty, who’d been trailing her the entire way, and asked Shadowgale, “Windy, can I bring along Little White Fatty?”
Shadowgale glanced over at the fat black cat already sitting on Ning Xiaoyao’s shoulders, then at the chubby little wolf pup in her arms, his mouth twitching. Is she planning to go on an all-out brawl?
“Arooo~” Little White Fatty tried to flatter Shadowgale by licking at his clothes.
Shadowgale’s lips twitched again. Is this a wolf or a dog?
“Windy?” Ning Xiaoyao called out.
“If Your Majesty wants to take him along, then go ahead,” Shadowgale replied. “Xie Anji’s skills are only so-so and doesn’t need Your Majesty to exert yourself.”
“Hey, you can’t say things like that,” Ning Xiaoyao rebutted him, “The Grand Preceptor will definitely send top-level experts to guard his son.”
Shadowgale was quick to recant himself. “Your Majesty lectures rightly.”
“Ah?” Ning Xiaoyao was lost. “I didn’t lecture you, ah.”
“......” said Shadowgale. These are just conventional expressions. All officials and servants say them in the presence of the emperor.
“Your Majesty,” the Poison Sect Head and Yan Hong appeared with Mute Nanny while Shadowgale was still fretting over how to explain the concept of formalities. Shadowgale’s expression fell at the sight of them before he looked back at Ning Xiaoyao.
“Your Majesty?” he questioned.
Ning Xiaoyao told him not to be nervous while she grinned cheerfully at the new duo. “Come, come, the two of you should join me and Windy over here.”
The Sect Head and Yan Hong approached Ning Xiaoyao and kneeled to pay their respects. Shadowgale instinctively stood in front of Ning Xiaoyao to shield her, so she stuck out her head from behind him to say, “Come and rise.”
Shadowgale asked in a small voice, “Your Majesty is going to bring them along?”
“Mhm,” Ning Xiaoyao nodded. “We’re not beating up Xie Anji today, but the Poison Sect Head will.” She dropped her voice and added, “Once he’s beaten Xie Anji half-dead, he won’t be able to run back to the Grand Preceptor’s side again. Windy, do you think this idea will work?”
“......” said Shadowgale. This idea will work brilliantly!
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