Chapter 305: The little falcon says, the mountain slope is going to collapse
Lou Zigui politely nodded his head at Xu Feiyu and got off his horse. He walked towards Ning Xiaoyao and Xu Feiyu and sat between them. Once the two were separated, Lou Zigui asked, "Why has Your Majesty come?"
Ning Xiaoyao replied, "Third Rain found nine cannons in Second Prince's estate, along with a bunch of cannonballs. As for Grand Preceptor Xie's troops, their cannons were useless after Big Bro Ning soaked their cannonballs. That's why the palace is fine even when the cannons kept making loud blasts."
Supreme Commander, General and the soldiers: … We are that lucky?
"But battles are still taking place out on the capital streets." Ning Xiaoyao spoke after some thought, "Lord Protector said we could definitely win this, or else he'd kill himself."
"Lord Protector wants to sacrifice himself for the country?" asked Xu Feiyu. Ning Xiaoyao didn't look intimidating at all, so now General Xu had no trouble conversing with him. Originally, he had felt embarrassed and experienced extremely conflicting emotions.
"Hmm?" Ning Xiaoyao blinked before firmly shaking her head. "He didn't say anything about sacrificing for the country. He said he'd kill himself."
Lou Zigui rested a hand on his forehead and whispered, "That means he wanted to sacrifice for the country."
"Whatever," Ning Xiaoyao couldn't care less. "Even if we lose this fight, I won't let him kill himself anyway."
Supreme Commander Lou decided there was no need to continue this topic. He asked Ning Xiaoyao, "So you left the capital as soon as the result of the battle was determined?"
"I got news that Grand Preceptor was in the eastern suburbs," Ning Xiaoyao sniffled, "So I came."
Lou Zigui nodded slightly. He received news of Grand Preceptor's location from Xie Laibao. As for His Majesty, while Lou Zigui didn't know who her informer was, he believed that Ning Xiaoyao definitely had spies among Xie Wenyuan's people.
Ning Xiaoyao raised her head to search the space behind Lou Zigui. Wheat was the one who had given her the news, but its location was currently unknown. Furthermore, there was no sight of Little Gyrfalcon either. Little Gyrfalcon should have been by Supreme Commander's side as well.
"I didn't see Xie Wenyuan." Xu Feiyu muttered.
"Maybe he didn’t take the roads that people usually choose." Ning Xiaoyao scanned the vicinity and shivered upon the sight of a blood-soaked corpse. She turned her head to face the sky again.
"Where is Pei Yan?" Lou Zigui asked Xu Feiyu.
General Xu pointed to the southeast direction, "He’s led men to check the farms and villages there."
"Leave a troop here to keep watch over this place," Lou Zigui took Ning Xiaoyao and got on his horse as he instructed Xu Feiyu, "Order your men to chase down this road. Perhaps Xie Wenyuan is just up ahead."
Xu Feiyu shook his head, "How could he flee that quickly?"
"There might be shortcuts around here that we are unaware of," After Lou Zigui made sure Ning Xiaoyao was safe and stable, he cupped fist toward Xu Feiyu. "This will have to trouble you."
Ning Xiaoyao also hastened to chime in, "General Xu, your hard work is appreciated. I’ll invite you to a meal after this."
Before Xu Feiyu could react, Lou Zigui urged his horse and took Ning Xiaoyao with him toward the southeast direction.
Lou Zigui’s cavalry troops hurriedly urged their horses to follow as well. The horse hooves stomped up a myriad of water drops off the ground in their wake.
Xu Feiyu stood there dumbfounded for a while. Leaving a team of soldiers to keep the place guarded, he led the rest of the cavalry down east.
"I saw Xie Anshi’s corpse." Lou Zigui muttered to Ning Xiaoyao.
"Oh," Ning Xiaoyao’s mood was rather low. "Are all the Xie family members dead?"
"Xie Wenyuan is still alive." Lou Zigui said, "Xie Anyi and Xie Anji are alive as well. Xie Wenyuan sent his first son Xie Anyi's family out of the capital half a month ago. But rest assured, Xiaoyao, both Xie Anyi and Xie Anji can’t escape."
Ning Xiaoyao mused on it. Xie Anyi was sent to serve the army at the borders, while Xie Anji is under Tao Yu’s watch. Of course it’s impossible for those two to escape, ah.
"What was the matter about Second Prince?" Lou Zigui asked.
Ning Xiaoyao let out a long sigh and told Lou Zigui about what happened with Second Prince.
By the end of it, Lou Zigui thought to himself, Big Boss Black has accomplished a great deed? This must be my imagination. （o(╯□╰)o）
There were numerous paths that were connected to the eastern part of the suburbs. The deputy general who delivered reports from Pei Yan took a different path and missed Lou Zigui's team.
"The stench of blood is too strong." As they passed by a small farm, Ning Xiaoyao inhaled deeply and mumbled to Lou Zigui.
Lou Zigui stopped the horse. A half of a broken whip was dropped at the entrance of this small farm.
"Do you wanna go in to check?" Ning Xiaoyao suggested, "There’s no one on this farm."
Lou Zigui got off his horse and told Ning Xiaoyao in a low voice, "Stay here and wait for me."
Leaving five soldiers to protect Ning Xiaoyao, Lou Zigui led his men through the farm’s loosely shut gates. Ning Xiaoyao had a staring contest with the five soldiers before she could no longer sit still. She jumped off Little Red's back and asked the soldiers, "Why hasn’t Supreme Commander come out yet?"
The five soldiers: … Didn’t Supreme Commander just go in?
"Let’s go in as well!" Ning Xiaoyao headed towards the farm. The rain was heavy and the wind was fierce. The smell of blood would drift by for a moment then disappear at the next, triggering anxiety to rise up in Ning Xiaoyao’s heart. Did people get hurt? Or did a lot of them die?
The five soldiers didn’t dare to stop Ning Xiaoyao, so they followed her into the farm.
The farm was draped in utter silence, but signs of life could be sighted from both the interior and exterior. There were tea and sweets on the table, a ball that children played with in the courtyard, and wet clothes were hanging high in the corridors. In front of the makeup mirror, a little case of face powder remained unshut. The incense stick was still burning and the books were left open on the table. On the embroidery rack facing the window, the mandarin ducks pattern was almost finished.
"Where did everyone go?"
"The people in the capital fled, so those in the farms fled as well?"
The five soldiers were quietly discussing amongst themselves behind Ning Xiaoyao. Even those in the army were a bit spooked when they walked through places like this – a place where people should've been present but weren't.
Upon reaching the backyard, Ning Xiaoyao wiped the raindrops off her face and proceeded to step inside.
Lou Zigui’s party were all standing next to the pond. The instant Ning Xiaoyao walked in, Lou Zigui rushed to her. In an urgent voice, he blurted, "Your Majesty, don't come over here."
However, since Ning Xiaoyao was walking so quickly, she had already reached the pond before Lou Zigui could reach her.
The pond was filled with corpses. The heavy rain had caused the water in the pond to rise dramatically. The entire yard was filled with watery blood.
Ning Xiaoyao’s eyes were fixated on the body that Pei Yan had dragged ashore. It was a little girl. Even without having to touch her, Ning Xiaoyao could tell that she was dead. The little girl’s neck bone was broken and pierced out of her skin, looking stark white under the rain’s shower. Ning Xiaoyao bit her lips. She couldn’t even tell what she was feeling right now.
Lou Zigui stood in front of Ning Xiaoyao and covered her eyes. "Don’t look."
Ning Xiaoyao was silent for a long time before she spoke again. "Who did this? Grand Preceptor?"
"All of the people in this farm died of one slash." Lou Zigui lowered his voice. "It was either the rebel troops or Xie Wenyuan. Since the rebel troops shouldn’t have reached this place, the culprit could only be Xie Wenyuan."
"If he wanted a place to hide, can’t he just lock them up?" Ning Xiaoyao couldn’t understand. "What did he kill them for?"
Lou Zigui softly patted her soaking wet face and muttered, "Dead men tell no tales, right?"
"What is this, ah?" Ning Xiaoyao wiped her eyes. "Just how many people had died already?"
"Go search this farm." Lou Zigui commanded the soldiers. The soldiers made haste and spread out in all directions.
Lou Zigui dragged Ning Xiaoyao over to a corner of the corridor. He wrapped his arms around her and stroked her reddened eyes. "Crying?"he whispered.
"Too evil!" The red-eyed Ning Xiaoyao grumbled.
"How can this man be so evil?" Ning Xiaoyao kept rubbing her eyes. "But of course, we are no good either. We didn’t kill any less this time."
"It was me who killed them all, it had nothing to do with you." Lou Zigui grabbed Ning Xiaoyao’s hands and pulled them down to stop her from rubbing her eyes. "Those lives are all on me, okay?"
"Pah!" Ning Xiaoyao spat in contempt. They kill as a team but only one person takes the sin? What the heck?
"The Xie family’s members must all be killed." Lou Zigui steered Ning Xiaoyao by the chin so she would look at him.
"Can we not talk about this?"
"Alright, I won't say anymore." Lou Zigui agreed right away. "If you don’t want to stay here, I’ll have my men escort you back to the palace. Or you could go to my army camp."
"I want to pursue Xie Wenyuan." Ning Xiaoyao enunciated, "I have come to the realization that until Grand Preceptor is dead, many more people will keep dying!"
Lou Zigui grabbed on Ning Xiaoyao’s skinny shoulders and squeezed them a little.
"Don’t make the army bros search around, Grand Preceptor is definitely not here." Ning Xiaoyao finished her speech and walked outside. There was no sound of human breathing at this place. If there's no signs of life, how could Xie Wenyuan be here?
Lou Zigui chased after Ning Xiaoyao as she left the corridor. This time, he wasn't able to shield Ning Xiaoyao from the rain. He could only hold her tightly in his embrace while leaning down as much as possible to minimize the rain's impact.
Standing at the farm’s entrance, Ning Xiaoyao was at a complete loss. Under the heavy rain, she couldn’t see a single soul in the surrounding. How is she going to pursue Grand Preceptor Xie now?
Lou Zigui lifted Ning Xiaoyao onto the horse before getting on himself. "We will head east."
Ning Xiaoyao asked, "Are you sure east is the way to go?"
"We can reach Xiang city if we keep heading east. Xie Wenyuan has an army stationed there." Lou Zigui urged his horse forward as he analyzed, "If a person wants to escape from the eastern suburbs, he can only flee to the direction of Xiang city."
Ning Xiaoyao exclaimed immediately, "Then hurry, Supreme Commander! Hurry, Little Red!"
Warhorse Little Red didn’t need Lou Zigui to urge again as he sped off like mad on four hooves.
Ning Xiaoyao couldn’t open her eyes under the rain’s slapping.
"Lean against me," Lou Zigui whispered as he raised his hand to shield her face.
"Arooo!" A very unusual chirping echoed from the skies.
"It’s little falcon!" Ning Xiaoyao shouted. Little Gyrfalcon landed on Little Red’s head. He shook his body, splashing water droplets in all directions.
"This is the one Shadowrain raises?" Lou Zigui asked. After being drenched in the rain, Little Gyrfalcon currently looked like a drown chicken. Originally, Lou Zigui thought all falcons looked the same as he didn't raise one. So, it was even harder for him to distinguish now.
"Yeah." Ning Xiaoyao nodded.
Little Gyrfalcon informed, "Xiaoyao, the mountain slope up ahead is about to collapse! You and Supreme Commander shouldn’t go over there."
Ning Xiaoyao: … The mountain slope is gonna collapse? A landslide?
"Second Young Master Pei led his man in that direction. They didn’t understand my speech. Xiaoyao, you and Supreme Commander have to hurry and run!"
Ning Xiaoyao broke out in cold sweat. If she and Supreme Commander ran away, won’t Second Young Master Pei and the army bros be buried alive?
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