Chapter 235: Supreme Commander says, all things come in threes Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Shadowgale looked at his silently chuckling emperor and suddenly realized something. His Majesty might be younger than Supreme Commander Lou, but it didn’t mean Supreme Commander was taking advantage of the emperor and monopolizing all his power. Perhaps His Majesty was dressing up as the part of a pig to eat the tiger instead.
“When you see the empress tomorrow, you have to act more gentle and kindly,” Ning Xiaoyao urged Shadowgale.
“This servant understands,” Shadowgale replied.
“When we’re talking in private in the future, can you not use ‘this servant?’”
“Your Majesty, this servant…”
“I’ll simply pretend I didn’t notice a thing if you stop saying it. I’ll also pretend that I’m clueless about your solitary visits to Clearheart Nunnery outside the capital, or the fact that Xie Duoying’s staying there,” Ning Xiaoyao added as she looked at him.
Shadowgale was stunned speechless.
Ning Xiaoyao patted the little gyrfalcon’s stomach. How could I ever miss such details with such a good spy?
︿(￣︶￣)︿ went the little gyrfalcon.
“Windy?” Ning Xiaoyao saw Shadowgale’s head droop, so she went down to look at him. “Say something already.”
Shadowgale said, “I only went to see if fifth young Miss was…”
“Great, just use ‘I’ from now on. That’s how it’ll be,” Ning Xiaoyao cut him off.
“I understand,” Shadowgale submitted.
Ning Xiaoyao patted him on the shoulder. “At first, I thought Miss Jiang wasn’t a bad choice, either. She’s pretty and knows how to fight. When you became a general someday, Windy, Miss Jiang could even fight shoulder to shoulder with you.”
“Your Majesty!” Shadowgale grew anxious at her words. “This servant---no, I mean, I don’t have any such feelings for Miss Jiang, I really don’t.”
“You like types like fifth young Miss, so of course you wouldn’t be interested in Miss Jiang like that,” Ning Xiaoyao assumed the air of an experienced elder as she spoke. “Fifth young Miss is a very fine choice as well.”
As for whether Xie Duoying would hate them for decimating the Xie Clan in the future---Ning Xiaoyao figured it was better to consider that when the situation came to pass. It was too tear-jerking to consider that possibility now.
“No need to worry,” Ning Xiaoyao slapped Shadowgale’s shoulder again. “I’m here.”
The little gyrfalcon chirped and nuzzled his head against Ning Xiaoyao’s face. Shadowgale was deeply moved, but didn’t know how to express it. Ning Xiaoyao picked up the gyrfalcon on her shoulder and placed him back in Shadowgale’s arms before rising to her feet. “Alright now. Windy, keep waiting on the little gyrfalcon. I’m going to stroll around Chef Huang’s place a bit.”
“Your Majesty,” Shadowgale called after her. “Have you told Supreme Commander about your worries regarding the Black Frost Cavalry?”
Ning Xiaoyao shook her head. “Nope.”
“Why not?” Shadowgale asked.
Ning Xiaoyao sucked in a breath before she said, “I’m afraid I’ll hurt Supreme Commander’s feelings if I do. Would he think I’m worrying about such things because I don’t have faith in him? Or confidence in the Black Frost Cavalry themselves? Would he assume I think he’s a good-for-nothing rice bucket for brains who doesn’t have any fighting prowess?”
How can you think up so many reasons from just one sentence? Shadowgale stared at Ning Xiaoyao. Is His Majesty too partial to Supreme Commander Lou?
“Windy, what do you want to eat tonight?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
Shadowgale shook his head. How could I be in the mood to think about food at a time like this?
“Oh, so anything’s fine with you,” Ning Xiaoyao said confidently as she strode out.
“.....” said Shadowgale go. That’s not it. I just don’t have any appetite for food at all!
Jiang Peng went to see Tao Yu’s wife and daughter and left the very same afternoon with Lou Zigui’s letter to the general in his pockets. Ning Xiaoyao spent her afternoon in Chef Huang’s kitchens until Lou Zigui found her at nightfall with a set of soft armor.
“What’s this?” Ning Xiaoyao asked as she weighed the outfit in her hand.
“Lightweight armor,” Lou Zigui said as he took the item and helped her put it on. When he saw that it was a perfect fit, he said with satisfaction, “The empress will be returning to the palace tomorrow. You can keep this on at all times starting then.”
“Supreme Commander, you’re afraid that the empress will stab me?” Ning Xiaoyao felt the somewhat cold armor.
Lou Zigui sat by her side and murmured, “This is the armor that’s been passed down through generations of my Lou Clan. I had Old Huo find a craftsman to adjust it to your size.”
“A family heirloom, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao echoed. The thing that looked like a sleeveless vest in her eyes suddenly took on new importance. “What’s its name?”
“Golden thread soft armor,” Lou Zigui replied, “It was woven together with threads of gold.”
Gold! The armor instantly skyrocketed to a priceless treasure in Ning Xiaoyao’s eyes.
“You have to keep it on,” Lou Zigui lifted Ning Xiaoyao by her chin so she was meeting his eyes. “The empress has practiced martial arts before, so you have to be careful in case she attacks you.”
Ning Xiaoyao was unconcerned. “She can’t beat the likes of me.”
“But you still have to pretend to get injured,” Lou Zigui reminded her.
Ning Xiaoyao pursed her lips. Right, I have to get ‘injured.’
“I’ve already told Deng Rong to prepare some blood bags,” Lou Zigui added. “You can just fake being wounded.”
“You even prepared blood bags?” Ning Xiaoyao asked. “Then how am I supposed to know where the empress will stab me?”
“She wants to kill you, so of course she’ll surely aim for your vital points,” Lou Zigui poked the area over Ning Xiaoyao’s heart. “She also knows you have substantial martial arts skills, so she’ll wait until you’re not paying attention to make her move. That’s the easiest way to hurt you.”
That’s true. Ning Xiaoyao could already imagine it in her head. She and the empress would be talking when the empress suddenly says, ‘Look, there’s a cow flying in the sky!’ And then Ning Xiaoyao would look up and the empress would stab her right in the head, filling the screen with a tragic scene of blood… (Author: Alright, enough already…)
“You have to be careful,” Lou Zigui urged again.
“Mhm,” Ning Xiaoyao nodded before she gave a start. “Hold on, that’s not right. The empress’s going to stab me right in the palace? What about her brother and lover? Doesn’t she care about their fates anymore?”
Lou Zigui said, “I’m guessing she’ll most likely use poison against you.”
Ning Xiaoyao pointed at her armor. “Then what’s the point of this?”
“As a countermeasure just in case,” Lou Zigui said. “Suppose she loses her mind?” And then stabs Miss Ning? Lou Zigui couldn’t bear to imagine it.
Ning Xiaoyao patted her armor. She actually didn’t need such a thing. Unless the empress decided to decapitate her, she could still live even with a single breath left. The only fatal thing against her kind were zombie bites. She glanced at Lou Zigui before asking, “How many of these armor sets does you family have?” Lou Zigui had a total of four brothers, so would there be four sets between them?
Lou Zigui only smiled sadly. “This is the only one.”
Ning Xiaoyao’s mouth dropped.
“I was the youngest son, so all of my brothers yielded the armor to me. Second brother even said that nothing would happen to them---they were more worried that I’d get hurt instead,” Lou Zigui’s smile grew faint, before he murmured, “But who knew that in the end, I lived while they died.”
“Supreme Commander.” Ning Xiaoyao suddenly felt a burst of sadness upon looking at Lou Zigui.
Lou Zigui’s hands brushed past the cold armor before he sighed and looked up, his expression back to normal. “Let’s not talk about the past. Xiaoyao, you have to be careful. Don’t underestimate the empress.”
“Mm,” Ning Xiaoyao nodded seriously. “I will.
“If you don’t want to do this, we can think of another way,” Lou Zigui suddenly spoke up. “The empress hasn’t come back yet, so we still have time to make other arrangements.”
Are we still going to hash this out? Ning Xiaoyao shook her head like a rattle drum. “Let’s just do this. If we keep trying to come up with other plans, I’ll go crazy before the empress does!”
“Alright,” Lou Zigui clasped Ning Xiaoyao’s head between his hands. “Then we won’t change the plan.”
“Don’t worry,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “I’ll be fine.”
“Alright,” Lou Zigui’s hands moved to pull her into a hug. “This will be the last time I put you in danger.”
“Ah?” Ning Xiaoyao asked. “Supreme Commander, you’ve put me in danger before?” Why don’t I remember anything?
“There was that time at the brothel, and the other time and the ancestral hall,” Lou Zigui said. “Add those to this and it’ll already be three times. All things come in threes, so I won’t allow a fourth.”
At the ancestral hall, she’d fallen into the poisoned pit, but what was that nonsense about a brothel? Ning Xiaoyao scryed her thoughts before finally recalling how she’d proven Lou Zigui’s innocence by capturing all those Northern Hu spies that night in the red lantern district. So, Supreme Commander Lou still remembers that. “It’s alright,” Ning Xiaoyao told him. “Even if there’s a fourth, a fifth, or an nth time…”
“There won’t be a next time,” Lou Zigui’s chin brushed against Ning Xiaoyao’s forehead as he cut her off. “I promise, never again.”
Then never it’ll be. Ning Xiaoyao wasn’t the type to haggle over such matters and simply nodded her head. “Okay.”
“You should sleep,” Lou Zigui said as he carried Ning Xiaoyao to bed.
“Urk,” Ning Xiaoyao asked, “When you say ‘sleep,’ do you mean the noun form or the verb form?”
“Noun form,” Lou Zigui said as he planted a kiss on her lips. “I still have things to do.”
“Oh, then shall we try the verb form together when you’re done?” Ning Xiaoyao asked as she drew circles on Lou Zigui’s chest.
Lou Zigui caught the troublemaking hand that was igniting flames inside him before hugging Ning Xiaoyao for awhile. Then he quickly got off the bed and left before he lost control. Seeing him gone, Ning Xiaoyao hugged her covers and rolled around her bed for a bit.
“Aroo,” Little White Fatty ran to the foot of the bed, where he tried in vain to jump up with his short, stubby legs. Ning Xiaoyao reached out and picked him up instead.
“Aroo, Xiaoyao,” Little White Fatty licked her face.
“Big Boss Black went out again?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“Yep,” Little White Fatty nodded.
“You still treat me best of all, Little White Fatty,” Ning Xiaoyao kissed the wolf pup, who howled and licked her on the face.
“Ah,” Ning Xiaoyao sighed as she hugged him to her chest. “Tomorrow’s another battle. Little White Fatty, I’m so depressed right now!”
“Then Xiaoyao, want to gnaw on some bones? I buried some really yummy ones in the little flower garden~” Little White Fatty blinked.
“.......” said Ning Xiaoyao. Do wolves have a habit of burying bones?
Inside Lou Zigui’s chambers, Deng Rong stared at his Supreme Commander as he murmured, “Supreme Commander, are we really going to capture Zhou Junqi tomorrow?”
“You’re going to rescue him,” Lou Zigui raised his eyes as he emphasized. “Remember, the ones who kill him can only be men from the capital’s barracks.”
“Then what about Esteemed Empress?”
“I’ve already talked about her with His Majesty,” Lou Zigui looked back down at the letter in his hands. “You don’t need to worry about her.”
“Didn’t Xiaoyao say that Supreme Commander was leaving the Zhou Clan troops as a backup force?” Grandfather Sparrow asked Yellow Great Immortal from outside the window. “Why does it sound like Supreme Commander’s planning to kill him off?”
Yellow Great Immortal swished his downy tail and remarked, “Xiaoyao really thinks too highly of Supreme Commander Lou.”
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