Chapter 124: On the verge of the Grand Sacrificial Ceremony Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Qin Xuan’s first reaction was to flare up at Ning Xiaoyao’s question. Can’t you think of something more positive about my elder sister? But his heart soon gave way to warmth. If His Majesty didn’t genuinely care about them, why would he run out here personally?
“Speak, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao waved her hand in front of Qin Xuan’s face. “Are you so sad that you’ve lost your wits?”
Qin Xuan said, “Your Majesty, this subject’s elder sister is fine.”
“Then is there something wrong with you?” Ning Xiaoyao looked at Qin Xuan from head to foot before resting her hand on his shoulder. “Huh? You’re perfectly fine,” Ning Xiaoyao stated. “Did you guys forget something here?”
“Your Majesty, let this subject speak,” Qin Xuan said. Why is he so eager to see us run into trouble?
Ning Xiaoyao stared at Qin Xuan, who said, “This subject discovered troops and horses outside the city.”
“Troops and horses?” Ning Xiaoyao exhaled. “My God, I thought that something serious had happened. Troops and horses are just troops and horses, they have nothing to do with me. Heheh, all the troops and horses in the city listen to the Grand Preceptor.”
“………..” said Qin Xuan. He suddenly discovered that His Majesty really had an extremely generous heart!
“Fine, I know now,” Ning Xiaoyao waved a hand at Qin Xuan. “Goodbye, General Qin.”
What do you mean, you know now? Qin Xuan stamped his foot in his worry. “Your Majesty, this subject wants to enter the palace and discuss details with you.”
“Details on the troops and horses?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“Yes,” Qin Xuan’s face was all persistence. At the very least, he could tell Lou Zigui everything if he entered the palace.
“Then alright,” Ning Xiaoyao brought Qin Xuan into the palace with her. “Let’s sit down and have a talk.” It was nothing but a single company of troops and horses. Plenty of them filled the streets of the capital, so what was so strange about that? (Author: When have you ever seen troops and horses filling the streets of the capital? o(╯□╰)o)
By now, the seven astrologers had appeared at the entrance.
“Hmph!” Ning Xiaoyao humphed at them before holding up her head, throwing out her chest, and striding right past them. The seven astrologers were rendered speechless. Does he have a grudge against us now?
Qin Xuan glanced at the court robes of the seven men before he asked, “These are officials from the astronomy department?”
“That’s right, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao answered. “Seven fortune tellers.”
“………” said Qin Xuan and the seven astrologers.
By now, Lou Zigui had arrived with quick steps from the Supreme Splendor Hall. When he saw that Qin Xuan was unharmed, his minutely furrowed eyebrows didn’t relax. There was no sign of tears on the other man’s face, which meant that Qin Xin had to be alright. So what had made Qin Xuan return?
As soon as Qin Xuan saw Lou Zigui, he wanted to speak up, but Lou Zigui silenced him with a wave. “Let’s go in to talk.”
The seven astrologers glanced at Lou Zigui and couldn’t help but feel like the Supreme Splendor Hall was his home instead. Lou Zigui glanced at the group and asked, “Do you seven still have business here?”
The seven astrologers hastily resumed their trek towards the palace gates.
“Remember to bring cooking pot lids on the day of the ceremony!” Ning Xiaoyao shouted after the astrologers, who began to jog away.
“Cooking pot lids?” Lou Zigui echoed.
“They don’t know how to fight, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao said. Lou Zigui understood. Since those astrologers couldn’t fight, they’d need something to defend themselves when a fight broke out.
“Armor exists,” he said as he rested his hand against his forehead.
“Armor?” Ning Xiaoyao asked. “I don’t know whether they have armor at home or not. I can only be sure that they’ll definitely have cooking pot lids.”
“Makes sense,” Qin Xuan nodded.
What was Supreme Commander Lou to say against such logical words? He sighed and said, “As long as Your Majesty’s happy.”
“I’m not happy,” Ning Xiaoyao pouted. They were going to fight both politically and physically soon, so how could she be pleased?
“Did something happen?” Qin Xuan asked.
Ning Xiaoyao lowered her voice. “Something big.”
“……….” said Qin Xuan. Why is this subject not getting that vibe from you at all?
Soon enough, the three of them retreated to a wing in Supreme Splendor Hall, where Qin Xuan explained the troops and horses he’d seen disguised as a merchant party outside the capital, along with their southern accents. Ning Xiaoyao was still clueless as to what was going on, but Lou Zigui’s eyes were gloomy as he sat in his seat.
“How many of them were there?” he asked.
“About 100 people,” Qin Xuan replied.
“Is 100 people really serious?” Ning Xiaoyao asked. 100 humans wasn’t much to her.
Lou Zigui dropped his voice. “Of course 100 people isn’t enough to constitute a threat. The trouble comes if they’ve split up the entire force into sections.”
“Is it the Grand Preceptor?” Qin Xuan asked.
Lou Zigui smiled coldly. “No one but the Grand Preceptor has the skills to bring troops and horses from the south into the capital city.”
“What is he planning to do?” Qin Xuan asked hastily.
“Perhaps we’ll resort to arms at the Grand Sacrificial Ceremony in two days,” Lou Zigui told Qin Xuan, before adding, “Hurry and take Miss Qin away from here, the farther away the better.”
“What?!” Qin Xuan sprang to his feet. Resorting to arms on the day of the Grand Sacrificial Ceremony?
“The Grand Preceptor wants to kill me, oh,” Ning Xiaoyao chuckled. “Of course, I want to kill him off too.”
So you decided to make your move on the day of the Grand Sacrificial Ceremony? Regional Commander Qin was astonished. But that’s the Grand Sacrificial Ceremony! Are you going to ignore all the gods, Buddhas, and Ning ancestors present in the Heavens?
“Leave as quick as you can,” Lou Zigui urged Qin Xuan.
“Then, then since Xie Wenyuan’s already moved his troops into the capital, have you done the same with your men, Supreme Commander?” Qin Xuan asked. Judging by the dates, it was impossible for the rest of the Black Frost Cavalry to reach the capital so soon.
Lou Zigui grinned. “Regional Commander, you don’t need to worry. I can promise that His Majesty will be unharmed.”
Ning Xiaoyao flexed her arm to show Qin Xuan her muscles, only to find that you couldn’t see any muscles on her arm at all. Qin Xuan asked Ning Xiaoyao, “Your Majesty, what can this subject do?”
“Go to Jiangnan and live well with Miss Qin,” Ning Xiaoyao said without thinking. “And have some kids with her too. You can do that.”
Qin Xuan grew anxious. “Your Majesty, this subject is worried about you!”
Ning Xiaoyao ran in front of him and split her lips in a grin. “General Qin, thank you for coming back to tell me about the southern soldiers. Aren’t you afraid that something will happen to you?”
Qin Xuan’s countenance turned stern. “Your Majesty, this subject wouldn’t even hesitate to scale a mountain of swords and plunge into a sea of flames for your sake.”
Ning Xiaoyao was moved. She lowered her head and prepared to hug Qin Xuan, but Lou Zigui stepped forward and dragged her back by the collar. Qin Xuan gave a start as he looked at them, not knowing what was the matter.
“You two should make haste and depart. Don’t let the Grand Preceptor stop you,” Lou Zigui said after pulling Ning Xiaoyao behind him. “That would be the biggest help to us. You have to be careful.”
Qin Xuan nodded. He didn’t have many men with him, so even if he did stay, they could only act as a few extra fighters, too insignificant to affect the whole. He stood up and fell to his knees to give Ning Xiaoyao a grand bow. “Your Majesty, you must take care. Even if this subject and my elder sister falls into Xie Wenyuan’s hands, you mustn’t attend to us.”
Ning Xiaoyao was about to speak when Lou Zigui squeezed her hand to hold her back. Qin Xuan bid his farewell as soon as he rose to his feet, and left. When Lou Zigui was sending him off, he murmured, “Xie Wenyuan’s completely focused on the Grand Sacrificial Ceremony right now. As long as you two are careful, you won’t fall into danger.”
Qin Xuan nodded.
“May Regional Commander do your best regarding the silver mines as well,” Lou Zigui added. “As for the Xie Clan’s businesses, His Majesty will send a few men to find you in Jiangnan soon.”
Lou Zigui had already mentioned these things to Qin Xuan before, so repeating them now deepened the impression in his mind. “I understand. Supreme Commander needn’t worry. I, Qin Xuan, am not a man who forgets my debts of gratitude.”
Lou Zigui stopped by the door and cupped his hands before his chest. “Smooth journeys.”
Qin Xuan hurried out of the palace before getting on his horse and whipping it into a gallop out of the southern city gates. Ning Xiaoyao held onto the doorframe as she watched him leave. She was about to turn and speak to Lou Zigui when she heard a sparrow chirping by the window. Her head swiveled until she saw Grandfather Sparrow.
“That there,” Ning Xiaoyao told Lou Zigui, “Supreme Commander, go talk about the ceremony with Windy and the rest.”
Lou Zigui grabbed onto Ning Xiaoyao before she could run off. “What are you off to now?”
Ning Xiaoyao’s eyes spun before she replied, “I want to go take a nap.”
Grandfather Sparrow covered his face with his wings. Of all the excuses…
Lou Zigui’s mouth twitched. She’s still in the mood to nap at a time like this?
“I didn’t sleep all last night,” Ning Xiaoyao pretended to yawn a few times. Actually, she was perfectly capable of fighting zombies even without sleeping for three days, but if she had to feign weakness now, so be it.
“Go on,” Lou Zigui softened when he saw her yawning. His fingers brushed against her face before privately musing that she’d gotten thinner. At his words, Ning Xiaoyao flipped out the window and dashed off.
“Everyone, come in,” Lou Zigui settled himself into an empty chair in the wing as he called to Shadowgale and the rest, who were waiting outside.
Ning Xiaoyao ran all the way to the flower gardens outside her bedroom before coming to stand beneath the Wutong tree. She asked Grandfather Sparrow, “How is it? Any news of Supreme Commander’s big brother?”
Big Boss Black scampered out from the bushes and zipped up to Ning Xiaoyao’s shoulders. Grandfather Sparrow replied, “The flock of geese I found weren’t from beyond the pass.”
“Meow,” Big Boss Black was disappointed.
“However, Xiaoyao,” Grandfather Sparrow continued, “I said you’d thank them plenty, so the flock outside the city’s agreed to help us scope out information.”
“Great, great,” Ning Xiaoyao nodded quickly. “I could give them mountains of gold and silver if they wanted, as long as they can tell me about Supreme Commander’s big brother.”
Grandfather Sparrow grew silent before he said, “Xiaoyao, all you have to do is give them some fish and shrimp.”
“That’s it?” Ning Xiaoyao broke into a smile instantly. “That’s fine, ah. No problem.”
“You still owe Big Boss Black five fish,” Grandfather Sparrow reminded Ning Xiaoyao. “But you can’t owe the geese any fish or shrimp, cheep!”
“………..” said Ning Xiaoyao. Was there no animal who didn’t know I owe Black Tubby five fish? Big Boss Black scratched her with his claws. As soon as he remembered those fish, he’d get angry!
“Enough already, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “If you scratch me again, I’ll fight back.”
Big Boss Black scratched her again, so Ning Xiaoyao picked him up by the scruff of his neck and flung him into the Wutong tree. Big Boss Black perched on its branches and shouted, “If you can’t bear to part with the fish and shrimp, the geese flock won’t tell us about Supreme Commander’s big brother!”
“As if I need you to tell me that!” Ning Xiaoyao spat at the ground. What kind of impression did that Black Tubby have of her?
“Oh, right,” Grandfather Sparrow said. “I heard my grandchild at the justice courts mention that that little née Wang had a miscarriage.”
“Ah?” said Ning Xiaoyao.
“She got into an argument with Xie Anshi and he shoved her to the ground. Then she lost her baby,” Big Boss Black said as he licked his fur. “And here this cat thought that Xie Anshi actually liked that little white flower.”
Ning Xiaoyao shook her head. How could such an irresponsible, dishonest man love anyone else? That was just talking nonsense.