Chapter 281: Without you in this world…
Ning Xiaoyao entered the room and shook hands with Xu Jichang. "I hope we'll work well together."
Lou Zigui stepped forward and soundlessly pulled Ning Xiaoyao's hand away. He rubbed her palm with his own.
Xu Jichang: ...somehow, something feels off.
"Whatever you need, just talk to Supreme Commander about it. I don't know anything about fighting wars, so I'm not gonna get involved." Ning Xiaoyao told Xu Jichang as she gave Lou Zigui a look while rubbing her nose.
With that, Ning Xiaoyao walked off. It was as if there was wind under her feet, and she disappeared in the blink of an eye.
"Now can we sit down and talk?" Lou Zigui asked Xu Jichang.
“Brother,” Lady Xu yelled.
Xu Jichang sat down. "This subject is listening. Go ahead, Supreme Commander."
Lord Protector silently let out his breath. Looks like His Majesty won’t have to be chased out to sea by Xie Wenyuan after all.
Just as Ning Xiaoyao was about to leave the courtyard and head to the kitchen, she saw Shadowthunder rushing over.
“Second Thunder!” Ning Xiaoyao waved enthusiastically at Shadowthunder.
Shadowthunder ran before Ning Xiaoyao, wiping his sweat-laden face, and panted, “Your Majesty, Xu Feiyi has dispatched people, they're outside the palace doors.”
Ning Xiaoyao's eyes widened in an instant.
"I guess the empress arrived at Xu Feiyi's." Shadowthunder lowered his voice.
"Bring him in," Ning Xiaoyao asserted. "Great timing. Supreme Commander and Eldest Master Xu are chatting right now. They can all discuss together."
Shadowthunder indicated his obedience to Ning Xiaoyao's command, and turned to dash off in the direction he had come.
“Aow,” Little White Fatty burrowed out of the bamboo grove opposite the courtyard, and ran to Ning Xiaoyao. Ning Xiaoyao picked up Little White Fatty and strolled into the bamboo grove. She found a stone stool and sat down. "Where's Black Tubby?"
“With Supreme Commander.”
Ning Xiaoyao's lip curled. Looks like Black Tubby wants to wriggle his way into getting some food from Supreme Commander.
“Xiaoyao,” Little White Fatty jumped onto the stone table and licked Ning Xiaoyao's hand, before repeating Lou Zigui's conversation with the Lord Protector. “I heard everything,” Little White Fatty mumbled. “Xiaoyao, will Supreme Commander and the rest die?”
Ning Xiaoyao bit her lip.
“Black Tubby is very upset,” Little White Fatty continued. “Will Supreme Commander and the rest really die?”
Ning Xiaoyao rubbed Little White Fatty’s head and sighed, “People die in wars.”
“Aow?” Little White Fatty looked at Ning Xiaoyao.
“Supreme Commander wants me to live,” Ning Xiaoyao continued.
“Mm,” Little White Fatty remarked, “Supreme Commander is very good to Xiaoyao, aow.”
“It's okay,” Ning Xiaoyao did some calculations in her heart. “I’ll take the old madam and the rest to a safe place before coming back. With me around, there’ll be fewer people dying.”
Little White Fatty asked, “Then, where's a safe place?”
“That's the problem,” Ning Xiaoyao hugged Little White Fatty and stood up. “Let me go back and analyse the map.”
Xu Feiyi's men were led into the palace by Shadowthunder. The bunch of them sat together in discussion until the sky turned dark. That very night, Xu Jichang and Xu Feiyi's men departed and left the city.
When Lou Zigui entered Ning Xiaoyao's bedroom, she had her head buried in a pile of maps. Ning Xiaoyao briefly lifted her head to glance at Lou Zigui before returning to her maps.
Lou Zigui walked over and sat down next to Ning Xiaoyao. He scanned his eyes across the mess. "Why are you looking at these maps?"
“Just casually looking,” Ning Xiaoyao bit the brush in her hand. “Did you guys settle everything, Supreme Commander?”
“Mm," Lou Zigui plucked the brush from Ning Xiaoyao's hand and carelessly placed it aside. “Xiaoyao, the Xu Clan's Tigers Roaring Camp will reach the capital in two days.”
Ning Xiaoyao took a deep breath. “Does that mean the war will begin in two days?”
“Can you escort the old madam and the family members of Lord Protector's estate out of the capital first?” Lou Zigui asked.
Ning Xiaoyao pretended that she didn't know anything and stared at Lou Zigui. “Apart from me, can no one else send them?”
"If the old madam thinks you don't need her to take care of you, she won't leave." Lou Zigui pressed, "You don't want them to come to harm, right?"
“Of course not,” Ning Xiaoyao shook her head. “But the capital has many more old madams, I don’t want any of them to come to harm either.”
Lou Zigui was unable to refute her point, and instead coaxed, “The other old folks in the capital won't be harmed.”
This was obviously a lie, how could Miss Ning believe it?
"I've studied the maps." Ning Xiaoyao showed Lou Zigui. "There are no safe places in this capital for me to take and hide them."
“Head north,” advised Lou Zigui. “Go to Qin Xuan.”
“In the worst-case scenario, Qin Xuan will know what to do.” Lou Zigui muttered.
“Go out to sea?” Ning Xiaoyao exclaimed. “Where would we go then? Without you in this world, where can I go? Does the other end of the ocean have another Lou Zigui?”
Lou Zigui was stunned silent by Ning Xiaoyao once again.
“I've thought about it,” Ning Xiaoyao placed her hand on Lou Zigui's and whispered, “I want to stay.”
“Let me finish,” Ning Xiaoyao pressed her hand firmly over Lou Zigui's mouth.“The old madam won't leave, so I'll convince her. I'll be responsible for convincing her to go.”
“That's the worst-case scenario.” Lou Zigui murmured, looking at Ning Xiaoyao.
“No matter what the outcome is, I can't go.” Ning Xiaoyao emphasized. “I’ve thought about it for a day, and I finally understood something. This is the capital city of Yongning, and I'm the emperor; how can I simply run away?”
“But are you really the emperor?” Lou Zigui asked.
“I'm wearing the dragon’s robes, sitting on the dragon’s throne, how can I not be the emperor?” Ning Xiaoyao huffed. “Supreme Commander, tell me, how are you going to fight this war? I've thought about it, we are outnumbered, so you can't just take people outside the city to slash at Grand Preceptor’s men head on.”
Lou Zigui: ...woman, how many thoughts went through your mind today?
“I'm very smart,” Ning Xiaoyao pointed at her brain.
"Xie Wenyuan's main troops are allied." Lou Zigui explained. "Although they are selected troops, there are still different skill levels amongst them. Since we are disadvantaged in terms of numbers, the best way for us to fight is to gather all our forces and attack our opponent's weakest spots."
"Do you know which troop is the weakest?" Ning Xiaoyao questioned.
Lou Zigui nodded.
“Then that's it?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“We'll lure them into the city.” At this point, Lou Zigui didn't want to hide it from Ning Xiaoyao anymore. He softly spoke, "The city's streets are interlocked. Xie Wenyuan's cavalry will be useless then.”
“What about the people in the city?”
Lou Zigui was silent.
“Oh.” Ning Xiayao understood. Whether the people in the city survive will depend on their luck.
“Xiaoyao, I’m not…”
"I understand. There's no way people won't die in a war." Ning Xiaoyao cut Lou Zigui off. "We have bad luck. Who told us to be alive during this time period?" Just like her previous life, she had lived in a post-apocalypse world. Who could she reason with?
Lou Zigui held Ning Xiaoyao's hand and gazed at her. “You don't blame me?”
Ning Xiaoyao furrowed her brows. “Are you doing this on purpose?”
Lou Zigui shook his head. Of course it wasn't intentional.
“Then why would I blame you?” Ning Xiaoyao said. “We're in a war, it's not like we're doing charity. If we don't want people to die, then we shouldn't be fighting a war.”
The corner of Lou Zigui's mouth quirked up, and he smiled.
“I'm staying in the city.” Ning Xiaoyao's next words immediately wiped the smile from Lou Zigui's face. “Let them fight to the palace. The roads of the palace are zigzagged, we can do street fighting.”
"First, let them burn the palace. Ning Xiaoyao declared. "Then, they can burn the capital. I don't want my citizens to die just like that. Nothing will happen to me. Plus, the person they really want to kill is me. Let them come here instead."
Lou Zigui thought to himself. Should I just knock her out and take her out of the city?
“You can't knock me out,” Ning Xiaoyao snickered upon seeing his face.
Lou Zigui: …
“I can see the ominous glint in your eyes. You’re definitely up to no good. Supreme Commander, I want you guys to leave the capital.”
“I'm staying in the city.” Lou Zigui rubbed his eyes.
“Wouldn't the city become even safer the more enemies you kill outside?” Ning Xiaoyao was close to losing her temper. “Are you going to be my bodyguard in the city? Hey hey, Supreme Commander, where exactly is your battlefield?”
Lou Zigui felt like he had no way of arguing.
"I already got Windy to take Erya and Xiaoqiu out of the palace." Ning Xiaoyao continued, "When the time comes, I will tell everyone in the palace to gather at Empress Dowager's palace. On the account that the Empress Dowager is a Xie and assuming Grand Preceptor Xie still wants to put Ning Xin as the emperor, Empress Dowager's palace should be the safest place."
“What about you?”
“I'm gonna go all out with my enemies,” shouted Ning Xiaoyao. “Xie Wenyuan better not let me see him, or I'll dice him!”
Lou Zigui was silent. He was still contemplating ways to take the Miss Ning out of the city.
"Why don't we have a fight right now?" Ning Xiaoyao suggested. "Supreme Commander, in my opinion, you may not be able to defeat me."
Lou Zigui sighed, “I don’t hit women.”
Ning Xiaoyao had no other choice. She gazed at the table, but felt her heart ached. After all, it cost money. So, Ning Xiaoyao crouched down and gathered all her strength and punched the ground.
The whole bedroom shook. The doors and windows made swishing noises, and some wood shavings fell from the rafters.
Shadowthunder, Shadowrain and Shadowbolt raced into the bedroom. The three commanders and the Supreme Commander were stunned.
Ning Xiaoyao looked at the large hole under her feet. “Ai ma, why is this leaking water?”
The water in the pit looked to be rising higher and higher. Finally, it rose above the pit, and overflowed onto their feet.
“It's flooding,” Ning Xiaoyao pointed out to Lou Zigui. Lou Zigui rubbed his forehead.
Shadowthunder and the other two ran over and stood by Ning Xiaoyao, gazing into the water-filled pit.
“Is it water from the earth?” Shadowrain asked.
“What’s up with this pit?” Shadowbolt queried.
“I made it,” Ning Xiaoyao dipped her head and admitted in shame. She merely wanted to make a hole to display her prowess before mending it, and that would've been that. Who would've known that she would raise water from the earth?
“No,” Shadowrain asked. “Your Majesty, why on earth did you make a hole for no reason?”
“I wanted to have a fight with Supreme Commander, but he said that he doesn't hit women,” Ning Xiaoyao whimpered. “So I hit the ground instead.”
The three commanders turned their unfriendly gazes onto Lou Zigui. After such a hubbub, it turned out to be your fault? Why does nothing good ever come out of you being with His Majesty?!
Lou Zigui sat down, and refused to say a word.
“It has reached our ankles.” Ning Xiaoyao mumbled.
After submerging their instep, it was submerging their ankles...
“Let's go,” Lou Zigui stood up. They have to find another place to talk. After all, they can't stand there and soak their feet, right?
 Literally, it means “Emma”. In this context, it is used as a colloquialism, and indicates dismay or annoyance, similar to ai ya (哎呀).Previous Chapter Next Chapter