Chapter 227: His Majesty is grief-stricken
"We can't afford any mistakes right now," Lou Zigui pinched Ning Xiaoyao's face at the sight of her bitter expression. "Nothing will happen to the empress."
"And suppose the empress doesn't become bad guys with the empress dowager?" Ning Xiaoyao asked.
Lou Zigui smiled. "Then wouldn't that be an even better outcome?"
Ning Xiaoyao pursed her lips. She couldn't out talk this black belly, how depressing.
"Take me to see Xie Anji," Lou Zigui said.
Ning Xiaoyao pointed with her finger. "He's over there."
"Let's go," Lou Zigui pulled at Ning Xiaoyao.
Seeing the two of them about to leave, Yan Hong quickly spoke up. "Your Majesty, what about those men from the Grand Preceptor's estate?"
"Send them off to work in the mines!" Ning Xiaoyao cut off Lou Zigui's words. Everyone's human here. Do we need to be so ruthless and kill them all the time?
Lou Zigui looked once more at Ning Xiaoyao.
"I think Regional Commander Qin needs more manpower over there," Ning Xiaoyao said seriously. "These men might be reformed through hard laboronce they're far away from the Grand Preceptor's poison. Perhaps they'll even improve?"
What the hell is 'reformed through hard labor?' Lou Zigui felt another headache coming on.
"Supreme Commander agrees," Ning Xiaoyao told Yan Hong when Lou Zigui didn't speak. "Send them off to work in the mines."
Yan Hong glanced at Lou Zigui, her eyes seductive as always. Does His Majesty's words need Supreme Commander's permission before they pass through?
Ah geez, those charming eyes of her again. Ning Xiaoyoa sniffed, before turning to walk towards Shadowgale and the rest.
"Why did you think of bringing those two from the Poison Sect with you?" Lou Zigui asked as he followed behind her.
"Supreme Commander, is a girl like Miss Yan Hong excellent in your eyes?" Ning Xiaoyao asked.
"….." said Lou Zigui. Are we even talking about the same thing?
When Ning Xiaoyao recalled the beauty Yan Hong's gaze just then, she tried to imitate the same look at Lou Zigui. "Supreme Commander, do you feel anything?"
Lou Zigui raised a hand to cover Ning Xiaoyao's eyes. "What's wrong with your eyes? Are they hurting?"
"….." said Ning Xiaoyao.
After some thought, Lou Zigui removed his hand and bent down to look carefully at Ning Xiaoyao's face in the moonlight. "Did you get some sand in them?"
(⊙︿⊙), went Ning Xiaoyao. It's no good, I can't have my fun anymore.
"No sand," Lou Zigui said as he brushed carefully through Ning Xiaoyao's eyelids with a murmur. "What's wrong with your eyes?"
Ning Xiaoyao slapped Lou Zigui's hand aside and start walking forward. "Don't talk to me, I'm very grief-stricken right now."
"Because of the empress's affairs?" Lou Zigui asked.
"Pah!" Ning Xiaoyao spat furiously. "I'm not her man, so why would I be depressed for her sake? Moreover, she already has a child, while I have nothing!" If you compare yourself to others, you'll anger yourself to death. Who's in a worse state than me right now?
Lou Zigui's face reddened. This girl wants to have my children? (Author: Cough, cough, the two of you are thinking about completely different things, ah!)
"Hmph!" Ning Xiaoyao huffed and sped up her steps, feeling more grieved by the second.
A Dragon Guard quietly asked Shadowgale, "His Majesty and Supreme Commander are arguing over the sake of a woman now?"
Before Shadowgale could reply, another guard asked, "Which woman could that be?"
Shadowgale only knitted his brows. "Isn't it easy enough for His Majesty to get a child?"
Everyone agreed with the Head Commander's words. His Majesty could have all the women he wanted, so what was so hard about having children?
"Was Supreme Commander trying to introduce a married woman with children to His Majesty?"
"Impossible if she's married. Maybe he meant a widow?"
The Dragon Guards gossiped amongst themselves, none of them understanding exactly what His Majesty and Supreme Commander were arguing about. The Poison Sect Head only felt himself suffering after hearing their words. Why are the so called mysterious, cold-blooded, killing machines of the imperial Ning Clan a bunch of addled-brained weirdos? His impression of them had been thoroughly destroyed, leaving him with inexpressible feelings.
Ning Xiaoyao could clearly hear her Dragon Guards talking amongst themselves. She wiped a hand across her face and began to worry for their sake. Their IQ doesn't feel quite normal. They were perfectly fine a moment ago, but what's wrong with them now? Anyone who spends time with someone as dashing as the Heavens like me should grow more and more dashing themselves! (Author: Enough, you…)
Lou Zigui saw multiple eyes sneaking glances his way and simply headed for Xie Anji, who was still unconscious. The man's complexion was gray and he looked half-dead.
"He fainted?" Lou Zigui asked the Dragon Guard standing watch over him,
"I-it was His Majesty who kicked him," the guard replied hastily.
Lou Zigui nodded. That's Miss Ning's style, all right.
"It was mostly the Sect Head's work," Ning Xiaoyao walked over with her hands behind her back while clicking her tongue. "Sect Head, you were too brutal on him. I don't think the Grand Preceptor will forgive you after this."
The Sect Head didn't want to say a word. Isn't this exactly what you wanted?
"Very good," Lou Zigui quietly praised Ning Xiaoyao.
A smug Ning Xiaoyao replied, "Typically speaking, people about my height are rarely a match for me."
The Sect Head clenched his fists, but once he remembered this was His Majesty, impervious to hundreds of poisons, he decided to endure it instead. Lou Zigui wanted to raise a hand and pat Ning Xiaoyao on the head, but realized everyone was watching. He withdrew his hand and said instead, "Even those taller than Your Majesty aren't your match."
Ning Xiaoyao grew more smug as her eyes swept over the assembled men. All of the Dragon Guards lowered their heads, not wanting to participate in this conversation. The Sect Head spoke up wickedly, "Then what about you, Supreme Commander?"
"Whaa?" Ning Xiaoyao pulled Lou Zigui behind her to glare at the Sect Head. "Forget about the fact that you're only as tall as me, why are you so petty as well? You're supposed to be a man! I've broken off relations with you and the Grand Preceptor, so now you're sowing discord between me and Supreme Commander? Do you think you'll get any taller after Supreme Commander and I fight a round?"
For a second, the Sect Head entertained the thought of a full-on brawl with this wretch. We're both men and about the same height, but he only minds the fact that I'm short, not him? He told himself to bear with it before saying, "How could Supreme Commander ever have the nerve to contest against you, Your Majesty?"
Ning Xiaoyao wore a do-you-think-I'm-an-idiot expression as she shot back, "How are Supreme Commander and I supposed to know who's the stronger one unless we fight a round?"
The Sect Head revealed a so-you-really-are-an-idiot expression. You're the emperor. Do you think Lou Zigui would really fight you? That'd just be labelled as rebellion on his end!
"A person like you," Ning Xiaoyao continued as she pointed at the Sect Head, "Has spent too much time with the Grand Preceptor. Your own humanity's been infected by his."
Although the Sect Head didn't quite understand what being infected with humanity meant, he knew His Majesty was cursing him out. Lou Zigui took this chance to speak. "The Sect Head should deliver Xie Anji to Prince Fu. Before Tao Yu and Prince Fu leave the capital, you'll be in charge of standing guard over him."
"Be careful when the Grand Preceptor sends men to rescue his son," Ning Xiaoyao reminded with a grin.
The Grand Preceptor's no hero, but are these two any better? The Sect Head felt suffocated by their words, but could only obey the commanders. He also came to realize a truth: it was just as hard to follow a master like Ning Xiaoyao as it was to follow the Grand Preceptor.
The Sect Head and Yan Hong left with a group of Dragon Guards and the unconscious Xie Anji in tow. Meanwhile, Shadowgale took another Dragon Guard contingent to bring the rest of the Grand Preceptor's men to the palace first. Lou Zigui was left standing in the empty streets, looking in the direction of Iron Buddha Temple. He asked Ning Xiaoyao in a quiet voice, "Shall I help you slip into Iron Buddha Temple for a look?"
Ning Xiaoyao rolled her eyes as she stared at the sky. "Just to see how the empress will hate my guts after I 'killed' Zhou mama? And listen to how she'll curse me to a miserable death? Am I mental? Do I have to abuse myself that much?" Besides, Big Boss Black had already gone in her place, so why did she have to make herself unhappy in his place?
Lou Zigui's mouth twitched. "You said it yourself, the empress might not fall for the trick or team up with the empress dowager."
"That's one possibility out of three," Ning Xiaoyao replied. "How are you so sure we won't run into the second or the third?"
"Three possibilities?" Lou Zigui asked. "Besides accepting or refusing an alliance with the empress dowager, what other choice is there?"
"The last one would be that the empress can't take the shock and commits suicide, ah," Ning Xiaoyao said.
Lou Zigui felt like he shouldn't have asked the question at all. Why would the empress kill herself when she's still pregnant with Xu Feiyu's child?
"Let's go home," Ning Xiaoyao bent down to pick up Little White Fatty. "I want to sleep—literally have a sleep, like the noun."
Lou Zigui watched as Ning Xiaoyao fed an apple to Little White Fatty and asked, "What does 'noun' mean?"
"Oh," Ning Xiaoyao replied. "To have a sleep in the noun sense means to just lie under the covers and actually sleep, snores and all."
"Is there any other meaning to 'sleep?'" Lou Zigui still ended up asking.
Ning Xiaoyao suddenly broke into a series of coarse chuckles before she stepped on her tiptoes to whisper in Lou Zigui's ear. "The other is the verb form. That's where people tumble in the sheets. The two of us, ah, when we…"
Lou Zigui carefully pushed Ning Xiaoyao back on her heels before resting a hand against his forehead. "Alright, I understand now. You don't need to say any more."
Ning Xiaoyao shrugged. "Windy brought me here on his horse. Now that he's gone ahead, can you bring me instead, Supreme Commander?"
Lou Zigui brought Ning Xiaoyao to Little Red, his expression a little tight. Once they reached the horse, he suddenly asked Ning Xiaoyao, "You don't know how to ride horses?"
"Urk, I should know," Ning Xiaoyao replied. I can even hold conversations with them, so how hard is it to ask one to carry me?
"Then ride on your own horse in the future," Lou Zigui said.
"But I haven't even found my own Little Ming yet," Ning Xiaoyao tugged at Little Red's mane, feeling sorry for the horse. Even now, she hadn't found a mare for him yet.
Lou Zigui mounted his horse and lightly pulled Ning Xiaoyao up after him. "The imperial stables have their share of good horses, I'll pick one out for you tomorrow."
"But aren't we supposed to send off General Tao and the rest tomorrow?"
"I still have enough time to pick a horse," Lou Zigui pulled Ning Xiaoyao towards him a bit. How can I keep letting Shadowgale take her on his horse? The very thought made him dejected. I should've picked a horse for her much earlier.
Ning Xiaoyao turned back to look in the direction of Iron Buddha Temple one last time, hoping that the empress wouldn't fall for the empress dowager's tricks. But what if she does? She looked back at Lou Zigui, who was urging on their horse. For the sake of your true love, empress, don't provoke Supreme Commander Lou. You have to rub your eyes and see clearly, ah!
"Aroo?" Little White Fatty looked up at Ning Xiaoyao.
She looked back down. In the space of a few steps, the chubby wolf pup in her arms had completely polished off her giant apple!
"Xiaoyao, don't worry," Little White Fatty stuck out his tongue to lick her hand. "I'll protect you, arooo~"
"……" said Ning Xiaoyao. Just eat less in the future. You devoured that apple without even stopping to take breaths. If you keep up that appetite, I won't be able to afford the cost of raising you!