Chapter 234: His Majesty says, actually, I do understand Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“This one’s name is Jiang Peng,”[1. Jiang Peng (江鹏) - Jiang is a surname that means “river,” Peng is “roc.” So his name can be read as ‘river roc!’] the officer was simply giving answers to all of Ning Xiaoyao’s questions even though he had no idea what was happening right now.
“Ning Xiaoyao,” Ning Xiaoyao extended her arm for a handshake. “In the future, the two of us will be little pals.”
Jiang Peng also extended his hand, looking clueless.
Ning Xiaoyao successfully shook their hands before Lou Zigui pulled them apart from the back. His expression was quite black, his gaze on Jiang Peng rather unkind. “You’re just going to sit and let His Majesty speak to you?” he asked coldly.
Jiang Peng stared at Ning Xiaoyao, then at himself, only to realize His Majesty was still standing while he was sitting down. The two of them had kept up an entire conversation like this…
“Why aren’t you standing up yet?” Lou Zigui’s brows creased.
Jiang Peng almost leapt to his feet before Ning Xiaoyao pressed him back down again. “No need. Eat some snacks. These were made just today by Chef Huang. Aren’t they delicious?”
Jiang Peng didn’t know who Chef Huang was, but accepted another pastry with a mixture of awe and fear.
“I’ll have Chef Huang make some other things later so you can bring them with you on the way back,” Ning Xiaoyao said cheerfully. She was always generous when it came to her little pals. Jiang Peng looked at Lou Zigui, whose face was still black.
“Eat as you will,” Lou Zigui said stormily.
“Is it tasty? Hm?” Ning Xiaoyao wanted to ask Jiang Peng about his flavor preferences next, but Lou Zigui simply pulled her out of the room. Sitting by himself, Jiang Peng was left to muse alone as he munched on the snacks.
Ning Xiaoyao? Isn’t His Majesty’s name Ning Yu? What’s going on here? Does our Yongning emperor actually have two names? (Author: Why don’t you think about why the emperor’s made you her little pal instead?)
In the courtyard outside the palace, Lou Zigui rested a hand against his forehead before he said, “In the future, don’t just tell people as you please that your name is Xiaoyao.”
“Why not?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“Because you’ve always been ‘Ning Yu’ to the people of Yongning,” Lou Zigui murmured. “Did you forget?”
Ning Xiaoyao deflated immediately.
“I know you don’t like that name…”
“Who wants to be named after a shower?” Ning Xiaoyao cut him off with an irritable reply.
“Ning Yu sounds like linyu (淋浴),” Ning Xiaoyao mimed scrubbing her back with her hands. “Which means to shower or bathe.”
“....” said Lou Zigui.
“The late emperor couldn’t have been very educated,” Ning Xiaoyao belittled the man again. “Or else he’d never name me something like that.”
“You,” Lou Zigui couldn’t help but see Ning Xiaoyao’s point after she brought up the shower. “You thought of this long ago?” he asked.
“Nah,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “I only realized it a few days ago.” Mute Nanny had come to urge her to take a bath, but all the bathing here and there made Ning Xiaoyao think of linyu instead.
“Xiaoyao,” Lou Zigui wanted to take her by the hand, but she simply folded them behind her back.
“How long do I still have to be Ning Yu?” she asked.
“What?” Lou Zigui gave a start.
“Fang Tang’s gone off to transfer the troops,” Ning Xiaoyao said as she looked at him. “Can your Black Frost Cavalry come to the capital city this time, Supreme Commander?”
Lou Zigui nodded. “They can.”
Ning Xiaoyao exhaled. “Then can we seize the chance while the empress dowager and empress are plotting against me to get rid of the Grand Preceptor’s faction once and for all?”
Lou Zigui looked undecided for a minute before he said, “That’s my plan, but Xiaoyao, if that happens, there’ll be gunpowder and smoke from all corners of the capital city.”
Ning Xiaoyao cocked her head to one side. “I know that, ah. It’s the same principle as doing surgery on a sick person. If they’re going to die otherwise, then there’s no choice but to cut into their skin.”
“Alright,” Lou Zigui replied. “I understand. When the Black Frost Cavalry charges into the capital this time, I’ll definitely eliminate all of the Grand Preceptor’s forces.”
“Mm,” Ning Xiaoyao replied. “I’ll need to find ways to raise money.”
“What are you raising money for?” Lou Zigui asked.
“Are you going to ignore Big Boss Xiang and the Northern Hu?” Ning Xiaoyao asked. “After taking care of the Grand Preceptor’s faction, those two are our next problems. Don’t things like that need money?”
Lou Zigui never expected Ning Xiaoyao to consider the problem of the Northern Hu and refugees while she was fighting with Xie Wenyuan day after day. Now Supreme Commander Lou found himself a bit taken aback.
Ning Xiaoyao dug her nails into her palms. Supreme Commander’s big brother was still at White Wolf Gorge, so they’d have to fight the Northern Hu sooner or later to rescue him and bring him back home. Moreover, there was the issue of the refugees. With the country in such turmoil, it was hard for anyone to find happiness. Even if she preferred to tour around the world instead of being some dratted emperor, she couldn’t do that freely if there was civil unrest all over the kingdom!
“No rush,” Ning Xiaoyao raised her head to look at Lou Zigui. “Meals have to be taken bite by bite, just like problems. We’ll tackle them one by one. First, get rid of the Grand Preceptor’s faction---they’re the heart of the disease. Once they’re gone, it’ll be easier to take care of everything else.”
Currently, the courtyard was covered in a carpet of green grass and colorful summer flowers. It wasn’t the best place to talk of murder or wars. Lou Zigui fell silent for a while before he broke into laughter. With his back to the sun, his soft and gentle manner looked almost illusory to Ning Xiaoyao.
“I understand,” he murmured softly with his head bowed. “There’s no rush, so we’ll take it slow.”
Ning Xiaoyao seemed to sense that Supreme Commander Lou wasn’t just talking about battles anymore.
“What all did the empress dowager say to you?” Lou Zigui asked next.
Once again, his words distracted Ning Xiaoyao from her train of thoughts. “Nothing much. She wants the empress to come back to the palace and I agreed.”
“And then you angrily tore down her gates?”
Lou Zigui lightly patted her cheek. “In the future, have others do those things.”
“Are you fretting over the fact that I had to work hard at it myself?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“What do you think?” Lou Zigui asked with a grin.
“......” said Ning Xiaoyao. If I knew, would I be asking in the first place?
“Have the empress return to the palace tomorrow,” Lou Zigui said, “She and the empress dowager will need time to discuss their plans and prepare everything.”
Ning Xiaoyao nodded.
“Do you have any words for Jiang Peng to bring back to Tao Yu?” Lou Zigui asked.
“Nope,” Ning Xiaoyao replied. “You guys can take care of the fighting stuff. It’s not like I understand it anyways.”
“Mm,” Lou Zigui assented before turning back towards the palace. Ning Xiaoyao stood in the courtyard and looked around a bit before deciding her business was done. Then she ran out.
“You---” Lou Zigui turned back when he reached the covered walkway, only to find that Miss Ning had disappeared.
Inside the rooms, Jiang Peng had polished off both plates of snacks and hurriedly rose to his feet when Lou Zigui re-entered.
“Have a seat,” Lou Zigui said, shooting a cross glance at the empty plates. “You even have the nerve to sit in His Majesty’s presence, so why are you being so reserved with me?”
Jiang Peng stood 1.8 meters tall (approximately 6 feet), but he was now looking at Lou Zigui with pitiful eyes. He was only a trifling military officer who had no experience dealing with important VIPs. Can someone tell me if Supreme Commander Lou is mad at me right now?
Ning Xiaoyao ran out of the courtyard until she found Shadowgale, who was currently cleaning the little gyrfalcon’s feathers. “Windy, can you take a trip to Iron Buddha Temple tomorrow and bring the empress back to the palace?”
“We’re going to bring back the empress to live in the palace again?” Shadowgale asked hastily.
Ning Xiaoyao patted the little gyrfalcon, who had flown to rest on her shoulders. “Let’s not treat the empress as one of our little pals for now.”
Shadowgale’s expression grew cold before he lowered his voice. “What did the empress do?”
Ning Xiaoyao sat on Shadowgale’s chair as she sighed. “She hasn’t done anything yet, but she has an awful impression of me right now.”
Shadowgale walked to her side and said, “Then on the way back, this servant can do that to the empress.” As he spoke, he made a slicing motion as if beheading some unfortunate victim.
“Don’t,” Ning Xiaoyao waved her hands. “You definitely can’t, I don’t want the empress dead.”
Shadowgale replied, “Your Majesty, what kind of woman are you looking for that you can’t keep?”
The little gyrfalcon flapped his wings. Master, Xiaoyao’s a girl! You’re fretting me to death!
“Come, come,” Ning Xiaoyao beckoned for Shadowgale to sit. “Let me tell you the details.” Suppose the empress’s plot left her with a face full of blood, and spurred Windy to execute the empress on the spot, then go after Supreme Commander Lou? Then Ning Xiaoyao might as well go die for real.
The more Shadowgale heard of the plan, the uglier his expression grew. By the end, he jumped out of his chair and exclaimed angrily, “I’m going to find her!”
“That’s not it,” Ning Xiaoyao grabbed his arm. “Who are you looking for?”
Shadowgale grit his teeth and said, “I’m going to ask Lou Zigui just what he’s playing at?!”
“Ah?” Ning Xiaoyao was at a loss. “Haven’t I told you? Supreme Commander’s doing this so he can get rid of the Grand Preceptor’s faction, ah.”
“Is it worth risking Your Majesty’s safety for the sake of the Zhou Clan troops?” Shadowgale demanded angrily.
Ning Xiaoyao forced Shadowgale to sit back down and murmured, “Hear me out, won’t you? This isn’t just for the sake of the Zhou Clan troops. Song Qian and Fang Tang have already gone back to Anyuan, so the Black Frost Cavalry should arrive at the capital city soon. By then we won’t absolutely need the Zhou Clan troops. Don’t you think so too, Windy?”
Shadowgale replied, “Then Your Majesty has even less reason to take this risk.” If it didn’t even matter whether they got the Zhou Clan troops or not, why should they humor the empress dowager and empress’s schemes? Seriously, Lou Zigui. After getting ridding of the Grand Preceptor’s faction, it’d be easy enough to topple the Zhou Clan troops. Shadowgale just couldn’t figure out why they had to endanger His Majesty to accomplish these goals.
“But what if the Black Frost Cavalry can’t come?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
Shadowgale grew blank at that.
Ning Xiaoyao lowered her voice even further and said, “Supreme Commander has never explained to me exactly why he’s doing things this way. But I feel that he’s leaving himself a way out.”
“You mean to say….?”
“That’s right,” Ning Xiaoyao replied. “In case something unexpected happens and the Black Frost Cavalry can’t come, the Zhou Clan troops will be our backup forces. To put it more seriously, if we want to survive, we’ll need to rely on them then.”
“But the empress is already against you. How could the Zhou Clan troops agree to help?” Shadowgale couldn’t figure it out.
“Because there’s no way the empress will be able to kill me,” Ning Xiaoyao’s lips curved into a wicked smile. “After she uses her ‘fatal’ move on me, the empress dowager will never forgive her. Grand Preceptor Xie wouldn’t shield her either. Besides me, there’s no one else in the capital who can protect her, and that’s even leaving aside the fact that I can cure her older brother’s injury.”
Bearing the guilt for her crime, as well as a debt of gratitude for saving her brother?
Shadowgale looked blankly at Ning Xiaoyao.
“Supreme Commander thinks that I don’t know anything,” Ning Xiaoyao raised a finger and waved it back and forth at Shadowgale, still smirking. “Actually, I do understand.”
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