Chapter 104: How great would it be if you weren’t the late emperor’s daughter? Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“Father,” Second Young Master Xie pressed his hands against the table as he raised his voice. “You can’t do this, ah!”
Third Young Master Xie wore a stunned expression as well. “Father, née Wang’s still with child. Aside from the fact that it’s bitterly cold at the borders, how is she supposed to travel while she’s pregnant?”
Grand Preceptor Xie heard the pleas from his two sons, but he knew all too well who meant it, and who was only pretending. His second son was genuinely concerned, but someone so emotional wasn’t suited for power. His third son was faking it, which made him ruthless enough, but his view of things was too superficial and shallow. Was His Majesty simply striking out against Xie Anyi today? No, Ning Yu was cutting them off at the roots and decimating his entire Xie Clan!
Grand Preceptor Xie shook his head and sucked in a long breath. “Both of you, get out.”
“Father, you…” Second Young Master Xie still wanted to speak.
“Scram!” Grand Preceptor Xie roared.
“Second brother,” Third Young Master Xie pulled his brother away.
Grand Preceptor Xie slammed a fist against his still-drying booklet. If everyone except one man died in his Xie Clan, would there be any amongst them capable of supporting the household on his own shoulders like that damnable Lou Zigui?
“Not a single one,” Grand Preceptor Xie muttered to himself. His exquisite game of chess that had once ensured his victory had turned into a hopeless game. He hung his head and muttered, “Irreparable.”
Even if they killed Ning Yu, how could they be sure the new sovereign would favor them? That they could still accomplish meritorious deeds for him? Anyone who backstabbed their master would be the first to be eliminated when a new master came into power, just to avoid falling into the same snare. But if they didn’t kill Ning Yu, she would only press closer and closer until their clan died at her hands.
They could neither kill her nor leave her be. If this wasn’t a hopeless game, then what was it?
Grand Preceptor Xie sat up straight and closed his booklet before shaking his head with a smile. Once you started relying on the wrong person, every step after that would be a mistake.
“Grand Preceptor,” one of his stewards quickly entered the study and exclaimed, “Just then, Fang Tang brought some men to dump a woman’s body by our doorstep.”
Grand Preceptor Xie’s heart stopped. Ning Yu killed the empress dowager?
He ran out of the estate and through the front doors, only to see a woman’s body lying on an unfurled straw mat. Grand Preceptor Xie couldn’t see her face clearly from his position on top of the steps, but her curvaceous figure was enough for him to recognize her as his mistress. His head throbbed with pain before he fell forward towards the steps.
“Grand Preceptor!” the gate guards all chorused in alarm. A mistress’s life was utterly worthless, but to dump her naked body here? What beastly bullying! Grand Preceptor Xie would rather kill Ning Yu this instant, but he was currently stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. There was no way he could touch that damned brat!
“I killed her,” a freshly washed and clothed Lou Zigui reported to Ning Xiaoyao.
Strips of cabbage fell out of Ning Xiaoyao’s mouth. “Whaa?”
“I couldn’t get any answers out of that woman’s mouth,” Lou Zigui said. “Moreover, she was an extremely venomous female. What was the use of keeping her alive?”
Ning Xiaoyao picked up her cabbage from the table and stuffed it back into her mouth. People of the apocalypse treasured human lives, so she wasn’t used to how easily people killed each other in this world. It was as if they were doing nothing more than sipping a cup of water.
Lou Zigui had killed off one of the emperor’s prisoners in the Hall of Punishment without a prior decree. He didn’t hold the sovereign’s authority in regard at all. Though Shadowgale and the others knew this principle, Ning Xiaoyao didn’t say a word. Because of that, they could only remain silent with her.
“Eat your meal,” Ning Xiaoyao swallowed her cabbage as she looked at Lou Zigui, who hadn’t made any move to pick up his chopsticks.
Lou Zigui took his chopsticks and glanced at the dishes on the table. Ning Xiaoyao pointed at a plate in front of Lou Zigui as if it was a treasure. “This is fish-flavored shredded pork!”
Lou Zigui picked up a sliver of meat from the dish and took a bite. It had been delicately stir-fried, and the sauces on the meat seemed to have an almost reddish hue.
“Tasty, huh?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
Slender strips of meat, vaguely red in hue…Supreme Commander Lou suddenly gagged as he felt like throwing up. Everyone stared at him in surprise. His Excellency Supreme Commander’s gotten sick from eating a strip of meat?
“Is it poisoned?” Shadowthunder made an uproar.
Shadowrain was quick to add, “But we’ve all eaten the same thing.” How could they be all fine while Supreme Commander got poisoned? That seemed impossible.
“I’m not very hungry,” Lou Zigui placed his chopsticks down. “Your Majesty, you should eat your meal. Excuse my absence.” Then he stood up and walked away with large strides. Everyone in the room exchanged glances, wondering what was the matter. Ning Xiaoyao stared at the meat in the dish. Supreme Commander Lou had a healthy body, so if it wasn’t a physical cause for his gagging, the reasons must be psychological. Quickly, she recalled how she’d saw similar strips of meat on the execution platform on the first day she transmigrated to this world.
Ning Xiaoyao polished off her bowl of rice in a few more bites before telling Shadowgale and the rest, “You guys eat, I’ll go check on Supreme Commander.”
Lou Zigui was holding a column in the corner of the covered walkway. After he threw up a few times, he reached out a hand to cup some rain water before using it to rinse his mouth. Ning Xiaoyao stood behind him and wondered what she could do. Wouldn’t it be a tragedy if he couldn’t eat any meat in the future? Since so many days had passed already, Ning Xiaoyao thought Lou Zigui had already set aside the trauma he’d suffered at the execution platform.
“I’m fine now,” Lou Zigui said after cleaning out his mouth.
Ning Xiaoyao said, “Actually, you’ll be fine after you get used to it a few more times.” People who saw zombies for the first time either went crazy or wanted to vomit themselves. After seeing them a few more times, they were fine. Could strips of meat be more revolting than a zombie? Ning Xiaoyao was certain that Supreme Commander Lou would be fine after eating more meat, too.
“I was just reminded of something,” Lou Zigui didn’t deny Ning Xiaoyao’s statement. He had thought of the execution grounds, but now he walked to Ning Xiaoyao’s side with a smile and murmured, “I’m okay now.”
Ning Xiaoyao shook her head. Like hell you’re okay. I don’t believe it.
When Lou Zigui saw Ning Xiaoyao this time, he thought of Emperor Mingzong. This girl was the flesh and blood of that very same emperor who sold out his family. At that, he suddenly didn’t want to look at her anymore. “I want to lie down for a bit,” Lou Zigui said as he walked towards his quarters. “Your Majesty, you needn’t worry about me.”
Ning Xiaoyao stood there scratching her head. She didn’t look any bit like a strip of meat, but why did Supreme Commander Lou look like throwing up at the sight of her, too?
Lou Zigui pushed open the door to his rooms and lied down on his bed. He shut his eyes and breathed rapidly for a bit, seemingly thoroughly exhausted. Even getting air into his lungs felt difficult. The bed beneath him shifted, and Lou Zigui’s eyes flew open to see Ning Xiaoyao sitting by his side.
“Don’t talk,” Ning Xiaoyao rested her hand over Lou Zigui’s lips. “Just close your eyes. I’ll sit with you for a bit. You’ll stop feeling uncomfortable very soon.”
Pale green light glimmered at her fingertips below slipping between his parched lips. When Lou Zigui took his next breath, he caught the scent of fresh grass and trees again. His stubborn, wide-open eyes seemed to turn hazy as he relaxed his hold over his emotions. “You,” there was a slight pause, before Lou Zigui continued, “How great would it be if you weren’t the late emperor’s daughter?”
Ning Xiaoyao frowned. Who wants to be that stupid bastard’s daughter? But that wasn’t for her to decide. Lou Zigui rested his hand against Ning Xiaoyao’s cheek, his rough skin making Ning Xiaoyao feel itchy. Even when Supreme Commander Lou saw the skin beneath his hand turn red, he didn’t let go.
Ning Xiaoyao almost couldn’t sit still. This was her face, not some meatbun! She pulled his hand aside and asked, “Did you run into something at the Hall of Punishment?”
“Nothing,” Lou Zigui replied.
“A single strip of meat disgusted you this much?” Ning Xiaoyao asked doubtfully.
“It won’t in the future,” Lou Zigui’s lips tugged into a grin.
“If you don’t want to smile, then don’t smile,” Ning Xiaoyao smoothed out Lou Zigui’s lips back to its original expression. “Just like how you’ve never forced me, I won’t ask you just what happened. If you don’t want to eat, then sleep.”
Lou Zigui shook his head. “I can’t fall asleep.”
“You can’t fall asleep if you see me?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
A bit. But when Lou Zigui saw Ning Xiaoyao’s face by the candlelight, still carrying traces of baby fat and completely red, he half-wanted her to stay. Ning Xiaoyao felt like sweating beneath Supreme Commander Lou’s stare.
A single strip of meat turned him completely abnormal? “How about I sing you a lullaby?” she asked.
“What is a lullaby?” Lou Zigui asked.
“Something to coax people to sleep,” Ning Xiaoyao said and prepared to sing, before her mind went 囧. All the songs in her head were things like “I Kill Zombies, I Earn Glory,” to “Brandish Your Broadsword and Hack Those Zombies,” to “Zombies Just Can’t See Me.” She didn’t know any gentle and soothing lullabies.
Lou Zigui said, “Your Majesty, this subject is waiting to hear you.”
“That there,” Ning Xiaoyao shuffled around a few times as if a needle was poking her butt. “I think things like that don’t suit heroic types like us. Supreme Commander, you can just close your eyes and count sheep.”
“……….” said Lou Zigui. What do you mean, ‘count sheep?’
“I’ll help you count,” Ning Xiaoyao scooted over and started, “One sheep, two sheep, three sheep, four…”
Lou Zigui rested his hand against his forehead, feeling like he was being surrounded by sheep. Is this how she coaxes me to sleep?
By the time Ning Xiaoyao got to 500 sheep, she yawned and saw that Lou Zigui’s eyes were still wide open. She decided to stop counting before she fell asleep herself.
“Xiaoyao,” Lou Zigui felt much calmer now. “What do you plan on doing for the future?”
“Plan on doing?” Ning Xiaoyao asked. “Grand Preceptor Xie’s still around. It doesn’t matter what I’m planning, does it? I’d like to visit a bunch of places, though.” Here was a world without zombies, so she should explore, play, and eat around a bit more, shouldn’t she?
“Alright,” Lou Zigui said.
Ning Xiaoyao nodded. Looks like Supreme Commander approves, too. Once she toppled Grand Preceptor Xie, she was going to travel around the world.
Kill Xie Wenyuan first, Lou Zigui thought as he rested his hands over Ning Xiaoyao’s own. Everything else can wait until afterwards.
Ning Xiaoyao dug her fingers into her palm and wondered what sorts of nice places existed in this world. I should find a map and look into that.
Lou Zigui stared at the bed canopy above him and wondered how to kill Xie Wenyuan.
“Supreme Commander, do you want to team up with me?” Ning Xiaoyao asked. It was super boring traveling solo. She might as well have Supreme Commander be her travel companion.
“Alright,” Lou Zigui said. If they didn’t cooperate, how were they supposed to kill off Xie Wenyuan and the mighty Xie Clan?
“Great” Ning Xiaoyao clapped her hands. “Then it’s a done deal!”
(Author: You two are thinking about completely different things, all right?!)