Chapter 28: His Majesty Ning doesn’t shirk responsibility after putting on the pants Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Fang Tang didn’t think the letters were fabricated by Grand Preceptor Xie, and explained a whole mess of his personal conjectures and reasons. In the end, he ended with a hateful tone. “This subject’s certain that the Northern Hu would rather Supreme Commander be made into mincemeat.”
Ning Xiaoyao sighed with feeling after hearing the history of old scores between Supreme Commander Lou and Northern Hu. “That’s certain. Supreme Commander Lou even killed the supreme khan’s father, so his enmity must be huge.”
“This subject only hopes for the day that our Yongning generals can stomp Northern Hu’s royal court flat and kill all those Man tribe thralls!” Fang Tang said viciously.
“... …” said Ning Xiaoyao. This guy really had a grudge. He didn’t just want to kill an entire family, but an entire tribe.
After he finished his hateful spiel, Fang Tang’s face turned bitter again. “Your Majesty, how do we restore Supreme Commander’s innocence?”
Ning Xiaoyao looked up at the skies in worry. “It really is a problem.”
Fang Tang pushed open the doors to the Supreme Splendor Hall for Ning Xiaoyao and spoke with a voice filled with faith. “Your Majesty is wise and brilliant. This subject believes that Your Majesty can definitely do it.”
Ning Xiaoyao looked serious as she nodded her head. “Let me think it over.” Since the problem was already there, it just needed someone to solve it. Ning Xiaoyao rallied herself up to fight a round for that long-suffering orphan, Supreme Commander.
Currently, the Dragon Guards were sitting on mats on the courtyard before the palace rooms. When they saw Ning Xiaoyao, they hastened to rise and pay their respects.
“Eat,” Ning Xiaoyao waved her hand. “Only fools refuse to eat when there’s food. Fill yourselves up and have Lil’ Big Bro Fang bring more if there isn’t enough.”
“... …” said Fang Tang. He was a food deliveryman now? Also, just what the heck was Lil’ Big Bro Fang?
Now that Ning Xiaoyao was full, she had the strength to treat others. She chose a few with severe injuries and touched a head here, patted a shoulder there, not batting an eyelid as she changed their serious wounds to minor ones. The Dragon Guards felt their injuries stop hurting, but none of them attributed it to something as supernatural as an ability. They only assumed that they were young enough to shoulder their injuries, and that Imperial Physician Gao had given them good medicine.
Lou Zigui remained in the audience hall of the palace, but didn’t lie on the dragon bed. Instead, he was half-leaning, half-sitting in a long, narrow by the window. There was a mantou in his hand despite the fact that he had no appetite and didn’t feel hungry. Still, he forced himself to eat. He had to make sure he recovered quickly because he had no time to waste treating his wounds. When Ning Xiaoyao pushed open the door and entered, Lou Zigui had just eaten half a mantou. The sight of her made him choke. Ning Xiaoyao surveyed Lou Zigui from the door and judged that he was no match for her currently. She straightened her chest and walked to the couch before greeting him as if no one else was there.
“Supreme Commander, is the mantou tasty?”
“... …” said Lou Zigui. This girl still had the mood to talk about mantou with him?
Big Boss Black leapt off of Ning Xiaoyao’s shoulder and onto the couch. He didn’t dare touch Lou Zigui, but settled down as close to him as possible. The cats on the Wutong tree outside all raised a cheer.
One of them was a tiger-striped cat that Ning Xiaoyao had never seen before, who spoke in a genteel voice, “Boss finally has the chance to get intimate with Supreme Commander’s fangze fragrance[1. fangze fragrance (芳泽) - scented hair oil used by women in former times.].”
Ning Xiaoyao was mute. Did this cat even know what fangze fragrance was?
Lou Zigui’s thoughts weren’t on the animals. He didn’t even seem to see Big Boss Black as he spoke to Song Jin at the rest. “All of you can withdraw, go eat something.”
Ning Xiaoyao spoke to Song Jin. “Can you help me out? Find empty rooms for Windy and the rest to live in. If they keep getting blasted by wind in the courtyard, they’ll get sick.”
Song Jing’s fair white face broke out into a smile as he bowed. “This subject obeys your command.”
“No need to obey my command, just help me out,” Ning Xiaoyao gave a wide grin. Big Boss Black lifted his paws to cover his eyes. This girl still looked like a fool. Song Jin’s smile turned stiff. No matter what, he felt that His Majesty’s words sounded off somehow.
“Go on,” Lou Zigui urged. Song Jin and the rest left. Ning Xiaoyao looked at the plate atop the couch and reached out a hand to take a mantou. A single bite from her polished half of it off. Lou Zigui raised his head to watch Ning Xiaoyao eat.
Ning Xiaoyao had been eating rice before. Now that she tasted white flour mantou, she couldn’t help but exclaim, “So this is mantou, it’s really delish!”
Lou Zigui raised a hand to urge Ning Xiaoyao to eat faster. Ning Xiaoyao didn’t get it and asked, “What?”
Lou Zigui felt his forehead before coldly spitting out two words. “Eat faster.”
“Oh,” Ning Xiaoyao couldn’t read his expression at all. “Then you eat too.”
Lou Zigui finished off his half-eaten mantou. As a man of rank-and-file, he didn’t have the luxury of picking his meals. As long as it was edible, he swallowed it into his stomach. But tonight’s mantou from the imperial kitchens made him finally understand what ‘hard to swallow’ felt like. Ning Xiaoyao had already eaten two mantous by the time Lou Zigui finished his one. She picked up another steaming hot mantou and stuffed it in his hands, adding on, “Eat some more, there’s plenty of mantou.”
“Do you have some words to say to me?” Lou Zigui asked.
Ning Xiaoyao’s mouth was full of mantou as she replied. “Is there anything else? Windy and the rest are all right now.”
“You’re usurping state power!” Lou Zigui said icily.
Ning Xiaoyao swallowed her mantou, pinching the other half between her fingers as she spoke in a low voice. “What can I do now that I’ve stolen it? Even if I want to return it, there’s no one to return it to.”
Lou Zigui’s lips curved up as he gave a cold laugh.
Ning Xiaoyao stuffed the other half of the mantou into her mouth, her cheeks puffing up as she made a vow to Lou Zigui. “Seriously, I don’t want to be the emperor, I swear. If I lie then I’m a puppy.”
“Do you take me for a three-year-old child?” Lou Zigui asked.
“Ah?” Ning Xiaoyao said. “Fang Tang said you’re 22 years old this year.”
“Don’t play dumb!” Lou Zigui was angry.
Ning Xiaoyao hastily patted Lou Zigui’s chest. “Don’t get excited, you definitely can’t. Let’s talk nicely if we have things to say.”
Lou Zigui took a deep breath. “Take your hands away.”
Ning Xiaoyao quietly withdrew her hands. Big Boss Black cried, “Miaow, Supreme Commander doesn’t like you. You should find another one.”
Ning Xiaoyao lifted Big Boss Black up by the scruff of his neck and threw the furball out the window. Only then did Lou Zigui asked, “You’re raising this cat?”
Big Boss Black shouted from outside the window, “What kind of skills is it to bully a cat? If you’ve got guts, restore Supreme Commander’s innocence!” A chorus of cat meows came from the Wutong tree to boost the morale of their boss. All of them were calling Ning Xiaoyao a ninny.
Ning Xiaoyao plopped down next to Lou Zigui and said, “We’ve already rolled in the sheets together…”
“What do you mean by roll in the sheets?” Lou Zigui asked.
“It means we’ve gone to bed together,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “I slept with you, understand?”
Lou Zigui’s face turned green again.
“I’m not a person who shirks responsibility after putting on the pants. I’ll definitely take care of your matter, so don’t be scared, Supreme Commander. I’ll stay by your side.”
Lou Zigui wasn’t angry anymore, having been completely flummoxed by Ning Xiaoyao’s words. Did she know what she was talking about?
Ning Xiaoyao shouted towards the window. “We’re talking serious business here, can you all quiet down?”
The meows outside the window stopped. Lou Zigui felt that something wasn’t right! Ning Xiaoyao straightened up and said, “I can’t restore the innocence to your body.”
Lou Zigui was still at a loss for words.
“But I can redress the accusation that you’ve betrayed your country,” Ning Xiaoyao said.
Finally, here was something he could reply to. “What do you plan to do?” Lou Zigui asked.
“Fang Tang already analyzed things. The letters in the Grand Preceptor’s hands had to have been fabricated by that supreme khan of Northern Hu, Modou,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “So I was thinking, if we could kill our way to the northern barbarians and capture that shameless guy, then curse, beat, and tyrannize him until he admitted his crimes, wouldn’t Supreme Commander’s innocence return?”
“... …” Lou Zigui was silent. If they could capture Modou, then why did he have to keep defending Anyuan’s Six Prefectures garrison with massive troops?
Ning Xiaoyao sought Lou Zigui’s opinion on the matter. “Supreme Commander, what do you think about my idea?”
“Do you have any idea what the Northern Hu are?” Lou Zigui asked.
Ning Xiaoyao cocked her head to the side in thought. Ning Yu had said back then that the ‘armies of the Northern Hu had already broken through the pass. The country can’t sustain itself anymore,’ so ‘I'd like to see how long you can hold onto Heaven and Earth!’ Ning Xiaoyao remembered these words very clearly.
“The Northern Hu are really tough?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
Lou Zigui could only force his spirits alert as he explained the enmity between Yongning and Northern Hu. They had engaged in battles for 200 years, long enough for enmity to turn into deep-set hatred and seas of blood. The final result would either see Yongning fall or the Northern Hu destroyed.
“Understood?” Lou Zigui asked Ning Xiaoyao by the end.
Ning Xiaoyao nodded her head, her face filled with shock. “A group of shepherds are this formidable? They’ve fought with you, no, with us, for 200 years?”
These words echoed evilly in Lou Zigui’s head for a long while until he felt like dying. After all that, this foolish girl hadn’t understood a thing! A puzzled Ning Xiaoyao munched on another mantou and asked, “Have the people of the grasslands genetically evolved?”
“What?” Lou Zigui didn’t understand.
“Urk,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “Can they fly? Can they control thunder and lightning, use superhuman strength, run at insane speeds, shift places in an instant, or…”
“They’re just a group of Man tribesmen,” Lou Zigui cut her off.
“Just then when Fang Tang mentioned it, I wanted to ask as well. What’s a Man tribe?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
Lou Zigui suppressed the fire raging in his heart. “Just uncivilized, uncultured Man people who’ve never learned things like courtesy or etiquette.”
“Oh,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “So if the people are normal humans, are their sheep super powerful? Can they shoot flames or water, are their strength…”
“Are you making up stories? Who told you these lies and nonsense?” Lou Zigui interrupted again. Had being locked up by Xie Wenyuan turned this person into an idiot?
Ning Xiaoyao dug her fingers into the woolen blanket atop the couch. Animals in the apocalypse, if not zombies themselves, were genetically evolved as ferocious creatures. Her head hung as her body shrank. In Lou Zigui’s eyes, she looked somewhat pathetic.
“We can’t catch Modou. Neither are the Northern Hu merely shepherds,” Lou Zigui turned his tone gentle as he explained softly.
Ning Xiaoyao dug at the woolen blanket as she mused, could it be that nomads in search of pastures aren’t called shepherds here? (Author: Enough already, you…)
“Reputation is useless to me,” Lou Zigui said again. “Impartiality naturally exists in people’s hearts, you needn’t worry about such matters.”
Ning Xiaoyao quickly raised her head. “What ‘impartiality naturally exists in people’s hearts?’ Have you forgotten? So many people wanted to eat you alive today. You think everyone loves you right now, with flowers blooming all over the place?”
Lou Zigui didn’t want to talk to this idiot by his side anymore.