Chapter 239: The disaster star versus the one who never dies Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“I know,” Ning Xiaoyao nodded at Lou Zigui. “I know you’re doing this for my sake.”
Lou Zigui’s expression softened.
“If there’s anyone who’s a jerk in all this, it’s me,” Ning Xiaoyao stated as she scratched at Lou Zigui’s palms. “I can’t blame the Grand Preceptor for forcing me either. If I hadn’t agreed to wed the empress, would the marriage have happened in the first place?”
Although it was done by Ning Xiaoyao, now that she was Ning Yu, she needed to shoulder the girl’s burdens. Ning Xiaoyao wore a pained expression at the thought.
“You’re still young and your life is in Xie Wenyuan’s hands. What else could you have done?” Lou Zigui exonerated her.
“You only think that way because we’re on good terms, Supreme Commander,” Ning Xiaoyao replied. “The first time we met, you even called me a fatuous ruler.”
“.......” said Lou Zigui. She still remembers that?
“The empress’s true love is Xu Feiyu, ah. When General Zhou ran into trouble, he could only think of the best way to help his sister first,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “Murder is definitely wrong, but I can understand where they’re coming from.”
Lou Zigui didn’t speak.
“Don’t be mad anymore, alright?” Ning Xiaoyao nuzzled her head against Lou Zigui’s shoulder.
Lou Zigui said, “Do you think the Zhou siblings will accept your feelings?”
“Why do I need them to care about what I do?” Ning Xiaoyao shrugged, unconcerned. “It’s not like I have to live with them for the rest of my life.”
“Then what are you...?”
Ning Xiaoyao poked Lou Zigui’s palm. “As long as we have a clear conscience, it’s fine. I’ve made the empress suffer over the past few years too, right? If I can fulfill her wish to be with General Xu this time, it’ll count as repayment for my wrongs. In the future, we’ll each go our own ways and never have to meet again.”
Lou Zigui made a noncommittal noise at her remark.
“They’re not people who have to die,” Ning Xiaoyao started nuzzling his shoulder again. “Supreme Commander, don’t be angry anymore. Isn’t it better to find a solution that will work for everyone?”
Lou Zigui raised a hand to stroke her face. “Work for everyone? Right now, those people think the only solution that works for them is to have you dead.”
“Hahah, but I can’t die, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao laughed merrily. “It’s not bad if they all aim for me, either. I can keep them company with the fighting and never die. Isn’t that great?”
“Are you stupid?” Lou Zigui asked.
Ning Xiaoyao glared at him. “I’m not stupid at all. I’m a superbly skilled person who does the whachamacallit.”
“Boldness of execution stems from superb skill,” Lou Zigui quoted the proverb as he rested a hand against his forehead.
“Urk, right, that’s what I meant. Haha, when the empress and the rest finds out that I can’t die no matter what, they’ll definitely feel depressed, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao continued to grin happily.
Lou Zigui pinched her cheek ruthlessly.
“Ouch.” Ning Xiaoyao stopped smiling.
“You don’t want the Zhou siblings to die?” Lou Zigui asked.
“Mhm,” Ning Xiaoyao nodded.
“Fine,” Lou Zigui relented.
“Oh yeah~” a happy Ning Xiaoyao lifted her head to peck Lou Zigui on the cheek. “Love ya!”
Wind whistled through the courtyard, noisily shaking the leaves on the bodhi trees. Their dappled shadows flickered against the ground before one heart-shaped leaf fell to land on Ning Xiaoyao’s head. She took the leaf and used it to tease Big Boss Black by her feet, earning a scratch from the cat.
Lou Zigui sat in a trance on one side, half-doubting what he’d just heard.
“Come on,” Ning Xiaoyao said after she finished playing with the cat. She rose to her feet and pulled Lou Zigui after her. “I’ve already cured Zhou Junqi’s injuries. He should be awake by now, so let’s pay him a visit.”
Lou Zigui was dragged off by Ning Xiaoyao while wishing he could ask her just what she had said. But the question stopped at the tip of his tongue. If I really heard what I think I heard, how am I supposed to reply? Love?
Ning Xiaoyao took Lou Zigui past temple after temple, allowing him to catch glimpses of the various half-smiling Buddha statues on the way. He had once prayed before a statue just like these, one who seemingly lamented the state of the world and yet only chose to watch its fate from a distance. The vision of his father and brothers, their corpses riddled with war wounds, once again rose before his eyes. The white mourning streamers trailing down from the ancestral hall, the loud sobs of Lou Nan as he cried for his father and mother---all of it chilled Lou Zigui to the heart.
“Eh?” Ning Xiaoyao paused to look at the hand she was holding. “Supreme Commander, it’s summer. Why is your hand so cold?”
When he felt the warm puffs of air against his hand, Lou Zigui recovered his wits and saw Ning Xiaoyao blowing on his skin.
“Why would your hand get cold?” Ning Xiaoyao puffed a few more times before rubbing the back of his hand. It was still a bit chilly, causing her to tilt her head in thought. Forget about doing this physically, I might as well use my powers instead.
But Lou Zigui took this chance to pull Ning Xiaoyao into his arms.
“Hm?” Ning Xiaoyao looked up at him. “Supreme Commander, what are you doing n---”
Lou Zigui’s lips closed abruptly over hers, his movements somewhat aggressive. Ning Xiaoyao only peered at the Buddha statues behind Lou Zigui with a start. Dang it, are we allowed to kiss in a temple? Will we incur divine retribution from the skies? (Author: If you’re afraid of being struck with lightning, why not push Supreme Commander aside?)
“Give me a little more time,” Lou Zigui remained hugged Ning Xiaoyao after he’d finished his kiss.
“Oh, okay,” Ning Xiaoyao replied. What kind of time is Supreme Commander asking from me anyways?
“I’m a star of disaster,” Lou Zigui added.
“Ah?” Ning Xiaoyao looked up at him again. People believe nonsense like that? She mused a bit before declaring, “It’s alright. I’m the last person in this world that anyone could kill. A star of disaster versus one who never dies, mm, it’s a perfect match.”
Lou Zigui stared at Ning Xiaoyao with an unreadable expression. She blinked and said, “Supreme Commander, are you still mad?” Is he unhappy because I don’t want to kill the empress and her brother?
“I’m not mad,” Lou Zigui replied. “I’d never be mad at you.”
“Then don’t kill the empress and General Zhou, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao said.
“The things I agreed to do for you, I’ll definitely see through ‘til the end,” Lou Zigui smiled.
Then everything’s alright, Ning Xiaoyao thought privately. She stroked his hand, which was no longer cold, and said, “Supreme Commander, don’t believe nonsense like that ‘star of disaster’ business. Just then I met with Great Master Kumu and asked him where I came him. He actually said that I fell from Heaven. Hear that? Those were even the words of a Great Master. Supreme Commander, don’t you think anyone who falls from the skies would be long dead by now?”
“What he meant to say was that you’re the emperor, and the emperor is the Violet Star Sovereign of the Heavens,” Lou Zigui explained.
Ning Xiaoyao’s mouth pursed as she muttered to herself, “So Violet Star Sovereigns can be females too, huh.”
“......” said Lou Zigui. Truthfully, he’d never heard of such a thing.
“See that?” Ning Xiaoyao was all scorn. “You call that a Great Master? Who was the bastard who read your fortune? Was it a Great Master as well?”
“Let’s go,” Lou Zigui had no more desire to continue the topic.
“When I said we were a perfect match just then, all of the Bodhisattvas were smiling, oh,” Ning Xiaoyao added as Lou Zigui pulled her away.
“Those are only statues polished to look like people,” Lou Zigui replied. “Do you think they’re really smiling?”
“Then look,” Ning Xiaoyao drew back the corners of her mouth into a grin. “See here? I’m smiling.”
Miss Ning was ever stuck with wide, gaping grins whenever she smiled, showing her mouthful of white teeth while her eyes were reduced to curved lines. Lou Zigui felt that her smile looked exceedingly foolish as he went to pinch her cheek. But I still like this smile regardless.
Big Boss Black followed quietly behind Ning Xiaoyao and Lou Zigui. Supreme Commander actually told the ninny to give him more time. Isn’t he worried that she’ll run off with another man instead? His heart was almost broken from worrying.
By the time Ning Xiaoyao brought Lou Zigui to the secret chamber, Zhou Junqi was already awake. When he saw the pair standing before him, he only recognized Lou Zigui.
“It’s a bit sad, hah,” Ning Xiaoyao waved her hand at him. “But I’m the one who married your little sis, Ning Xiao---Ning Yu, ah.”
Zhou Junqi gave Ning Xiaoyao an embarrassed look. Lou Zigui addressed Great Master Kumu instead. “Great Master, you should withdraw first.”
Great Master Kumu left the room with his two young disciples.
“You still know to feel shame,” Lou Zigui said coldly to Zhou Junqi once the monks were gone. “Looks like you have some morals after all.”
Zhou Junqi’s expression shifted from embarrassment to alarm. Had his sister already attacked His Majesty?
“Don’t,” Ning Xiaoyao tugged at Lou Zigui’s hand. “You said you wouldn’t get angry. Can’t we just talk normally?”
“Your Majesty,” Zhou Junqi rolled off the stone bed to kneel on the floor by her feet.
“Ah geez, hey, what are you kneeling for?” Ning Xiaoyao pulled him upright and sat him back on the bed. “I already know everything the empress is planning.”
Zhou Junqi’s face turned ashen at her words.
“To tell you the truth,” Ning Xiaoyao continued, “Even though I’m not innocent, this is still hurtful to me.”
Zhou Junqi hung his head before he finally muttered, “I’m the one who deserves to die.”
“Don’t talk about death,” Ning Xiaoyao said hastily. “If we can all live, then none of you should spend your days going dying and death and dead. It annoys me just to hear it all the time.”
“Your Majesty isn’t going to kill Esteemed Empress?” Zhou Junqi asked instantly.
“I’m not,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “I won’t kill anyone.”
“Just then, there were men from the military barracks after my life,” Zhou Junqi said in a low voice.
Ning Xiaoyao glanced at Lou Zigui before she said, “Ah, the military barracks? Then it’s the Grand Preceptor who wants your life. But you don’t have to worry, Supreme Commander and I will protect you.”
When Zhou Junqi next looked up, it was to see a genuine smile on Ning Xiaoyao’s face.
“If the empress attacks His Majesty,” Lou Zigui said coldly as he pulled Ning Xiaoyao behind him, “Do you and your sister think you’ll be able to escape the capital in the wake of his death?”
The hint of hope in Zhou Junqi’s heart died out and turned to ice at Lou Zigui’s cutting words.
“His Majesty is merciful and benevolent, so he doesn’t plan to publicly disclose the matter,” Lou Zigui replied. “His Majesty has been nothing but magnanimous towards the empress and your Zhou Clan.”
Zhou Junqi wanted to kneel at Ning Xiaoyao’s feet, but his body was currently refusing to obey his commands.
“You should hide out in these secret chambers for awhile,” Lou Zigui added. “Once everything blows over, His Majesty will let you both go.”
Zhou Junqi looked at Ning Xiaoyao, who nodded and said with a dignified air, “I have someone I like already---someone I like very, very much. I’d like to plea with the empress to let me go.”
For some reason, Lou Zigui inexplicably felt his face grow hot.
Big Boss Black only looked uncomprehendingly at Ning Xiaoyao. How does this ninny do it? She’s turned a perfectly respectable speech into pure gibberish.
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