Chapter 179: Supreme Commander Lou discovers the truth Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
A human unused to her current world and a group of non-human animals sat in a flower garden outside Supreme Splendor Hall to talk. They wanted to figure out just what was going on between the empress, Xu Feiyu, Zhou Junqi and Grand Preceptor Xie. All of them were talking and munching on apples when Ning Xiaoyao heard footsteps coming their way. The little animals immediately scattered with apple pieces in their mouths, leaving only Big Boss Black and the snow wolf pup by her side.
“Supreme Commander,” Ning Xiaoyao waved at the man who just arrived. Lou Zigui crouched down, and the snow wolf pup in Ning Xiaoyao’s lap raised his head to aroo at him.
Ning Xiaoyao said, “He’s saying hello to you.”
Lou Zigui stroked the wolf pup’s head, making Big Boss Black jealous beyond belief. But he couldn’t show his claws in front of his idol, so the fat cat could only sit there depressed.
“It’s time to give him a name,” Lou Zigui said as he settled to sit by Ning Xiaoyao’s side. “He can’t be just ‘little snow wolf, little snow wolf’ forever.”
“How about Little Snow?” Ning Xiaoyao gave her nth+1 name to the snow wolf pup.
“No, aroo!” the snow wolf pup was the first to reject the name. I’m a male pup!
Thanks to the name ‘Little Red,’ Supreme Commander Lou already had some immunity to names like Little Snow. He only creased his brows and said, “Then what would you call him if he was female?”
Ning Xiaoyao raised her head in thought.
“Male, male, I’m a male!” the snow wolf pup yipped at Ning Xiaoyao, who suddenly dropped her head and spoke to Lou Zigui.
“We can talk about this little white fatty’s affairs later, I have more important things to discuss!”
Big Boss Black gave a start. “Little White Fatty, this cat thinks that name suits him.”
Ning Xiaoyao glanced at the snow wolf pup, who wanted to say he wasn’t fat…but his paws touched his tubby tummy and left him unable to retort.
“Looks like you’ve tacitly accepted,” Ning Xiaoyao placed the wolf pup on the ground. “Then you’ll be called Little White Fatty from now on. Black Tubby, take Little White Fatty to play,” Ning Xiaoyao ordered Big Boss Black.
The snow wolf pup Little White Fatty discovered that he had no way to reject his name anymore. Once the wolf and cat left, Lou Zigui asked Ning Xiaoyao, “What’s so important that you have to tell me?”
Ning Xiaoyao scratched at her palms until Lou Zigui grasped her hands with his own. “Stop scratching them. What happened? Xiaoyao, is there something you can’t tell me?”
“This concerns the empress’s private affairs,” Ning Xiaoyao hesitated. “It’ll be disrespectful to her if I tell.”
Lou Zigui gave a start. What could be wrong with the empress? He thought it over a bit before trying, “Is it related to national affairs?”
Ning Xiaoyao wore a pained expression on her face. It seems to be a true love versus family grudge kind of thing. But with Grand Preceptor Xie involved, it doesn’t seem just like the empress’s private affairs anymore.
“Looks like it really is related to affairs of state,” Lou Zigui had been staring at Ning Xiaoyao the entire time to watch for her expression. He paused before saying, “The empress has a very unique identity. She was born from a military family and has some connections to the Zhou Clan soldiers currently under Xu Feiyu’s command, so I don’t think her private affairs are minor at all.”
“You said that Xu Feiyu and the Grand Preceptor ruined the empress’s big brother,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “Then wouldn’t that make the empress and Xu Feiyu enemies?”
“Yes,” Lou Zigui replied. “The empress once cursed Xu Feiyu for taking the enemy as his foster father.”
“Then wouldn’t she be cursing the Grand Preceptor as well?”
“Esteemed Empress and Grand Preceptor Xie have a terrible relationship, don’t you know, Xiaoyao?”
Ning Xiaoyao sniffed. “Whether or not she gets along with the Grand Preceptor has nothing to do with me, but she’s pregnant with Xu Feiyu’s child. That’s what I can’t understand.”
“What did you say?” Supreme Commander Lou doubted his hearing once again.
“The empress is pregnant. Of course, it’s not with my baby,” Ning Xiaoyao said.
Supreme Commander Lou rested a hand against his forehead. “I know the baby couldn’t possibly be yours. How could a girl like you make the empress pregnant?”
Ning Xiaoyao said, “Actually, it wouldn’t be so troublesome if it was my baby. After all, I’m the emperor and she’s the empress.”
For a while, Lou Zigui didn’t know how to continue the conversation. But Ning Xiaoyao grew amused at her thoughts and added, “Haha, if I really had the skills, then I’d make you pregnant instead, Supreme Commander. Hahaha~”
“What’s she laughing so much for?” Big Boss Black gritted his teeth to ask his brother cats from the flowerbeds.
The long-furred white cat licked its paws and commented, “Supreme Commander’s face is turning green, meow.”
“Sometimes, I really pity Supreme Commander,” Wifey Magpie whispered to her husband from the branches of the Wutong tree.
“I can tell,” Husband Magpie remarked as he stared at the stiffly sitting Supreme Commander Lou, “That Supreme Commander sometimes really suffers a lot from Xiaoyao, chirp.”
“Can Supreme Commander get pregnant?” On one of the lower branches, a little sparrow was asking Grandpa Sparrow, who sighed.
“Xiaoyao’s foolish, but are you foolish as well? Males can’t give birth to babies!” What do I do if Xiaoyao turns all of my grandchildren into idiots? Grandpa Sparrow found himself faced with a vexing conundrum.
Lou Zigui pressed down against the veins popping out in his forehead and asked, “Are you certain about this?”
“Certain,” Ning Xiaoyao replied, “The empress and General Xu rolled around in the sheets at the Grand Preceptor’s estate, then the empress got preg—”
Lou Zigui raised a hand to signal her to stop. “I don’t want to know where they indulged in conjugal acts.”
“Indulged in conjugal acts?” This was the first time that Ning Xiaoyao had heard such words, but she could guess it wasn’t a nice turn of phrase.
Lou Zigui said, “The empress was already set to become another’s wife, but she still had illicit—”
“Finefinefine,” Ning Xiaoyao cut him off before he said something even nastier. “She and I are just a joke together, alright?”
“Then what about her and Xu Feiyu?” Lou Zigui said with a heavy expression. “As if they’re husband and wife.” Whether or not Ning Xiaoyao and the empress were a joke, the fact that Empress Zhou had done such a thing was a sign of huge disrespect to Ning Xiaoyao. Because of that, Lou Zigui had no kind words for the woman.
Ning Xiaoyao only looked shamefaced. “Supreme Commander, that there—we weren’t husband and wife, either.”
Lou Zigui felt his face sting as if he’d just been slapped.
“The soup that day was given to me by the empress.” Since Ning Xiaoyao had already sold out Empress Zhou, she felt no need to hide the other details of the aphrodisiac soup. Hearing that, Lou Zigui kept silent for a long time. Ning Xiaoyao had no choice but to keep quiet with him as the entire atmosphere stilled.
“So it was the empress’s schemes,” Lou Zigui finally cracked a smile as he murmured to himself. He originally thought that maybe Ning Xiaoyao was attracted to him in some way, but it looked like he’d thought too much. That had been nothing but a ploy gone wrong from the empress’s side. In the end, it was all a joke.
Ning Xiaoyao exhaled. “Aiya, I don’t feel so oppressed anymore after saying all that.”
Lou Zigui maintained his smile but didn’t reply. Ning Xiaoyao tilted her head at him before suddenly sitting up straight and planting a kiss on his cheek. She chuckled and said, “But isn’t it excellent all the same? I had a great time, and you, Supreme Commander, had a great—”
Supreme Commander Lou muffled Ning Xiaoyao’s mouth and murmured, “Alright, no need to bring it up.”
Ning Xiaoyao blinked at him. Lou Zigui released her and stared back. As Ning Xiaoyao opened her mouth to speak again, Supreme Commander Lou covered her lips with a kiss and tasted the sweet, tangy flavor of apples.
“It looks like the Zhou Clan siblings and Xu Feiyue pretended to fall out with each other and turn into enemies, all for Xie Wenyuan to see,” Lou Zigui resumed his normal self after kissing Ning Xiaoyao. “They should’ve found out back then that there was no keeping the Zhou Clan soldiers no matter what they did. Thus, they’d rather Xu Feiyue go seek refuge with Xie Wenyuan instead. After all, the Zhou Clan troops falling into Xu Feiyu’s hands is better than them falling into Xie Wenyuan’s hands.”
“Is Grand Preceptor Xie that easy to fool?” Ning Xiaoyao said doubtfully. If Grand Preceptor Xie was that stupid, would I have so much trouble killing him now?
“Thus the Prince Hong’s entire family suffered while Xu Feiyu sought refuge with Xie Wenyuan to save his life,” Lou Zigui had finally figured things out as he explained to Ning Xiaoyao. “If Xu Feiyu hadn’t fled with his men in private at the last minute, Zhou Junqi wouldn’t have lost to the bandits.”
“That was all part of the play too?” Ning Xiaoyao pointed at her left hand. “The empress’s big brother even got his hands chopped off, you know.”
“If their fate wasn’t tragic enough, would Xie Wenyuan have bought the act? And would there even be a so-called ‘debt of blood’ between Xu Feiyu and the Zhou Clan?” Lou Zigui gently took Ning Xiaoyao’s hand.
“Then what about the empress and me? Did they think up that pairing ahead of time too?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“That would be part of Xie Wenyuan’s schemes,” Lou Zigui murmured. “With née Zhou in Xie Wenyuan’s hands, Xu Feiyu wouldn’t dare to cheat his master. Née Zhou is simply Xie Wenyuan’s hostage to control Xu Feiyu.”
Now Ning Xiaoyao understood everything too. This was the same situation as Grand Preceptor Xie holding Qin Xin hostage to control Qin Xuan.
“The empress dowager knows that the empress is pregnant?” Lou Zigui asked next.
Ning Xiaoyao nodded. “Supreme Commander, if you’re always this sharp, I’m going to feel pressured.” Being beat by others in IQ is a really heartbreaking thing!
“The Zhou Clan troops are stationed near the capital city,” Lou Zigui calculated. “If we can pull the Zhou siblings and Xu Feiyu to our side, we’ll reap nothing but benefits.”
“So it’s like that, ah,” Ning Xiaoyao was moved by Lou Zigui’s words. She wanted the empress and Xu Feiyu to be together, so couldn’t that General Xu give her a helping hand too? Although people said you shouldn’t wish for favors when helping others out, she was in a really tough spot now. Furthermore, Ning Xiaoyao thought to herself, Since he’s one of the country’s generals, isn’t it his duty to serve his country?
“Let’s observe the situation for a bit first,” Lou Zigui said in a low voice. “We’ll see what the Zhou siblings and Xu Feiyu are planning to do first, then make a move.”
Ning Xiaoyao clicked her tongue. “Do we need to do that? They’ll definitely try to leave.”
“Mhm,” Lou Zigui said. “If it was me, I’d set a fire to burn down Iron Buddha Temple and spread false word that née Zhou died. That’d take care of everything.”
“True enough,” Ning Xiaoyao replied. “So why do we need to wait and see?”
“If they leave, it’ll be much harder to ask them for favors in the future. Xiaoyao, you’d end up begging them for help instead.” Lou Zigui raised his head to look at the sky with cold eyes. “And help gotten through pleading makes the heart uneasy. Xiaoyao, we have to make sure the Zhou siblings and Xu Feiyu are completely willing to beg us to let them pledge loyalty instead.”
Oh my God! Ning Xiaoyao felt sweat break out on her forehead. Supreme Commander’s up to his dirty tricks again, ah!