Chapter 18: Red and indigo-blue bowls Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“Your Majesty?” Empress Zhou walked to Ning Xiaoyao’s side.
Ning Xiaoyao couldn’t raise her hand against a pregnant woman. As she saw it, the empress was a victim of this conspiracy as well. She didn’t know what her fate was in her original life, but the empress definitely wouldn’t survive if she tried to threaten the Xie father and daughter with knowledge of Ning Yu’s true gender.
Empress Zhou lowered her head slightly, looking subservient as she spoke, “The sweet soup isn’t good if it gets cold. Your consort heard that Your Majesty liked sweet soups like this.”
Ning Xiaoyao looked at Empress Zhou and thought, What to do now? Chase her away directly, or trick her away with words? When Empress Zhou saw that Ning Xiaoyao remained silent, she grew nervous. Rumors had it that His Majesty had gotten into a clash over the matter of Lou Zigui, so the empress thought this was a chance. Once the angry emperor saw the empress that the empress dowager disliked, would he try to talk with her to provoke the empress dowager? As long as she could speak with His Majesty and coax him to drink a few mouthfuls of soup, then she and her child would have a hope for survival. But right now, Ning Xiaoyao’s silence was sapping away at Empress Zhou’s gathered courage.
Ning Xiaoyao observed Empress Zhou as she stood before her with head bowed, shoulders contracting slightly, and gave a sigh. Then she raised a hand to touch her obviously nervous, fair face. Empress Zhou trembled. She felt a subconscious urge to avoid Ning Xiaoyao’s hand since she had someone she loyally loved already, but in the end she stood unmoving. The person before her could ensure that she and her child lived on.
“Go back,” Ning Xiaoyao said against her will. “I don’t like sweet soup.”
Empress Zhou revealed a hopeless expression. It made Ning Xiaoyao feel like she was a bad guy who’d bullied others. She didn’t have the heart to keep looking and averted her gaze to the window. “Right now, I have to take care of Supreme Commander’s matters. I’ll find you to talk in the future.”
Empress Zhou glanced at the food tray on the tea table. She was from a general’s family and knew martial arts. She could force His Majesty to drink the soup, but how could she bear his anger afterwards? Drugging him, then stripping and offering herself was completely different from forcing him with martial arts.
“I like to eat meat,” Ning Xiaoyao said seriously. “When you send over food in the future, make some red braised pork or something. That’ll stave off hunger.” Could she get full off sweet soup? Show sympathy for someone who’s lived through the apocalypse, being full is the true meaning of happiness!
Empress Zhou wasn’t sure if Ning Xiaoyao was playing around. He might have been confined within the Grand Preceptor’s estate before and spent his days in loneliness, but they always had enough food. Had His Majesty starved before?
“Go on,” Ning Xiaoyao waved a hand at Empress Zhou. She could only retreat, but cast a glance at the items on the tea table before she left. If His Majesty didn’t use them, the bowls would probably be poured out.
When Ning Xiaoyao saw that the empress had left, she turned to lift the cover off the food tray. The sweet soup bowls inside were wrapped in padded cotton holders and still emanated steam. The soup strongly resembled dense syrup, and inside there was lily, red dates, and many thin slices of ginger. Ning Xiaoyao swallowed her saliva. She’d only seen these things in photos before. As for real lilies, red dates, or ginger, the apocalypse was a place where rice and flour were in short supply. How could those things exist?
“That ninny wants to eat that?” a chubby yellow cat asked from outside.
The long-haired white cat replied, “I know which bowl is drugged. The two of them are different colors.”
Ning Xiaoyao didn’t say anything else, but took the two bowls of sweet soup out of their holders and placed them onto the tea table.
“Which bowl has the drug?” Husband Magpie asked.
“The left one, meow,” said the long-haired white cat.
The left one. Ning Xiaoyao glanced at the two bowls. One was red, and one was indigo-blue. Then she looked at the soup inside the bowls. Geez, she was hungry. Humans with healing ability were immune to hundreds of different poisons, so eating a bit of aphrodisiac was nothing to them. She placed the indigo-blue bowl back in its holder, picked that up, and started walking out of the room while drinking from the red bowl in her other hand.
The cats and magpies outside the window all fell silent. This ninny had drank the drugged sweet soup despite being treated as a chess piece by her own family. She still thought that her maternal grandfather and the empress dowager were the best people in the world. Who was supposed to treat her poison now? It looked like things were going to get serious…