Chapter 44: You’re invincible if you’re shameless Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
The men who scouted out the Grand Preceptor’s estate that night came to report early next morning on their results. They didn’t find the Imperial Jade Seal on the premises. Lou Zigui didn’t seem disappointed by the news, because he never expected to find the hereditary seal in one night. After reading through the written message brought by his men, Lou Zigui handed it over to Song Jin by his side.
Fang Tang couldn’t wait to read the message and asked, “What else is there?”
Song Jin read through the contents as he spoke, “Last night, the Grand Preceptor gathered his followers and fellow officials for an all-night discussion.”
All of the generals exchanged glances before one spoke up. “I just don’t understand, why won’t the empress dowager return the Imperial Jade Seal?”
Lou Zigui’s voice was cold. “It’s not strange that you have no idea. Unlike her, we still know what it means to have some self-respect.”
Ning Xiaoyao was standing right outside their door when she murmured to Big Boss Black, who was draped around her shoulders. “Supreme Commander said a truth just then.”
“What is it?” Big Boss Black asked.
“People are invincible if they’re shameless,” Ning Xiaoyao wore a serious expression on her face.
Big Boss Black flicked his tail before he replied. “What about shameless cats?”
Ning Xiaoyao walked to the gardens with Big Boss Black on her shoulders. “Black Tubby, you’re thinking too much. Even if you’re shameless, you still won’t be able to beat tigers or panthers or bears.”
Big Boss Black arched a paw at Ning Xiaoyao. He’d already told her to call him Big Boss Black, not Black Tubby!
“Go search around these people’s estates,” Inside the room, Lou Zigui handed a namelist to Song Jin, who skimmed through the names before carefully slipping the paper inside his robes.
Fang Tang spoke up again. “Supreme Commander, do we need to call in reinforcements?” Without soldiers on hand, the young General Fang Tang couldn’t feel at ease. No matter how well they could fight alongside His Majesty, they still weren’t capable of defeating all the troops in the capital, right? Song Jin glanced at Fang Tang and shook his head.
“Do you think the Grand Preceptor will let us travel out of the capital right now?”
At this, Fang Tang realized he’d said something stupid again. Lou Zigui tapped his fingers against the table and said quietly, “We need to find the Imperial Jade Seal first.”
“And if we can’t?” Fang Tang asked.
Lou Zigui’s fingers stopped tapping on the table. Fang Tang felt an inexplicable tension in the air, while the other generals all looked up simultaneously at their Supreme Commander. As generals, they knew that one needed to retreat and withdraw at times to get things done. If they couldn’t find the Imperial Jade Seal, what would they do at the small assembly two days later? Invade and plunder the premises like they did yesterday?
Lou Zigui’s half-raised fingers lightly rested on the table as he lowered his voice. “If we can’t find it, we’ll steal it when Esteemed Empress Dowager takes it out during the assembly.”
“…..” said the generals. All right, they were going to invade and plunder again.
“Will such actions not cause trouble for His Majesty?” Song Jin fretted. “Suppose someone accuses His Majesty of being unfilial then, what should we do?”
“The one who robs will be me, so what’s that got to do with His Majesty?” Lou Zigui said.
“Supreme Commander, you, you’re a bit of a scoundrel like that,” Fang Tang said. “Who doesn’t know that you’re one of His Majesty’s men?”
Supreme Commander Lou fell into an abnormal silence at the words. They were now filled with significance for him. The emotions of that certain dusky evening suddenly rose up, causing the corners of his lips to tug up silently. The generals were all silent. What had Fang Tang said to make Supreme Commander smile like that? Why did it look like their Supreme Commander was yearning for love?
“Where is His Majesty?” Lou Zigui asked suddenly. The generals were still silent. Supreme Commander, you ask for His Majesty right after you think about women. Is that really a good thing?
Ning Xiaoyao was sitting below the Wutong tree in the flower gardens again. The little gyrfalcon had brought her a bag of Sweet Rice Crispies1 before tilting his head to nuzzle at her face. “Xiaoyao, this is from me to you. All the girls like to eat these.”
Ning Xiaoyao stuffed the Sweet Rice Crispies in her mouth. Naturally, she had to split good stuff like this with her little companions, so all of the little animals in the flower garden soon had their own share as well.
“Grandfather Sparrow,” Big Boss Black stood beneath the tree to ask the bird above him. “Have you found out where the empress dowager hid the Imperial Jade Seal?”
Grandfather Sparrow pecked a mouthful of Sweet Rice Crispie and said, “No. The empress dowager was stabbing a doll of Xiaoyao all last night.”
“What do you mean by stabbing a doll2?” Ning Xiaoyao asked, sensing that it wasn’t anything good.
All of the little animals were residents of the palace and naturally knew what these stabbing dolls stood for. Various mouths opened to explain to Ning Xiaoyao. After understanding the gist of it, Ning Xiaoyao chuckled. She never thought the esteemed empress dowager had a naive side as well. If you could curse someone to death just by stabbing a doll of them, then why did people of the apocalypse need to fight zombies? Couldn’t they all just stab little dolls of them instead?
At this moment, the Wifey Magpie who’d been absent for days arrived at the Wutong tree and chirped at Ning Xiaoyao. Ning Xiaoyao narrowed her eyes at the male magpie who’d arrived with Wifey Magpie. This one didn’t seem to be Husband Magpie.
“You finally remarried?” Big Boss Black shouted. “Miaow, you cold, heartless magpie!”
Thus, the cat and magpie began to fight. Ning Xiaoyao couldn’t help but feel hurt. Couldn’t they discuss her problems first? Which was more important, the affairs of a country or Wifey Magpie’s illicit lover? The male magpie who followed Wifey Magpie here flew before Ning Xiaoyao to stare at the Sweet Rice Crispie in her hand.
“Eat up,” Ning Xiaoyao took one from her bag and handed it over. The male magpie thanked Ning Xiaoyao politely and pecked a mouthful of crispie to eat.
“I live in the old locust tree at the Grand Preceptor’s estate,” he said. “Many generations of my family have.”
“Then do you know where the Grand Preceptor’s hid the Imperial Jade Seal?” Yellow Great Immortal asked hastily, his mouth covered in rice crumbs.
“The Grand Preceptor doesn’t have the Imperial Jade Seal,” the male magpie replied. “He said so himself yesterday.”
“Looks like the seal’s still in the empress dowager’s hands,” Yellow Great Immortal said in a wise tone to Ning Xiaoyao.
“The Grand Preceptor invited over a bunch of doctors,” the male magpie added. “Xiaoyao, the Grand Preceptor said you’ve lost your wits because the late emperor died.”
“…..” said Ning Xiaoyao.
“Awoo, awoo, awoo,” the little gyrfalcon grew angry. “He’s the one who’s lost his wits!”
“Those doctors already wrote a prescription,” the male magpie said. “They even created a timeline that said you’ve been sick since you were little. Whenever you get a little excited, you lose your mind, oh~”
“……” said Ning Xiaoyao. Wasn’t this still calling her crazy?
“The Grand Preceptor said that as long as he can prove you’re sick, the empress dowager will be able to govern from the throne with the Imperial Jade Seal, chirp~” the male magpie looked at Ning Xiaoyao sympathetically.
“I’m, I’m not sick,” Ning Xiaoyao’s expression was wooden.
“But the doctors said you are,” the male magpie flapped his wings. “They’re all famous doctors, oh~”
“Xiaoyao, let’s bite those famous doctors to death,” Big Boss Black suggested as he sauntered over, his head full of bumps from his recent bout.
“There’s a bunch of tigers in the mountains outside the capital~” a little sparrow suggested from a branch.
“Xiaoyao, give them a few jin3 of meat and ask for their help,” the little gyrfalcon was eager to try out the idea. “I can find them to discuss it?”
“I’ll go too,” a few sparrows chirped in.
“Don’t,” Ning Xiaoyao pursed her lips. “They can’t enter the city.” Get a few tigers to run into the city and bite those doctors to death? They’d be shot to death by arrows from the city archers before they even made it inside, right?
“Then what do we do?” Big Boss Black thought hard. Suddenly, a light clicked on in his cat brain. “Then we can poison them, poison them all to death, miaow!”
“That’s right,” Wifey Magpie said as she stood next to the male magpie. “My grandma said before that there was an empress in the past who kill the emperor’s most beloved woman just like that.”
NIng Xiaoyao could only remain silent. Even a palace murder case had come to light.
“What’s the use of killing a few?” Yellow Great Immortal shook his skinny head. “The Grand Preceptor can just find a few more doctors. Are we supposed to kill all the doctors in the world?”
“Then what can we do?” Big Boss Black stared with his large round eyes, their pupils starting to glow green.
“Imperial Jade Seal,” said Yellow Great Immortal. “As long as we find the Imperial Jade Seal, none of that old Grand Preceptor wretch’s words will work. Kekek, the Grand Preceptor and empress dowager will be depressed to death.” As reality proved, Yellow Great Immortal was the most reliable of this bunch.
“Miaow meow mi,” Big Boss Black waved his tail. “But where’s the Imperial Jade Seal? Did the empress dowager eat it?”
All of the little animals grew worried at the thought.
“I know the location of the previous dynasty’s emperor burial mound,” a small marmot poked his head out from the ground. “Xiaoyao, should I bring you that emperor’s Imperial Jade Seal?”
“How many Imperial Jade Seals are there?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“The Great An has already perished,” Grandfather Sparrow hesitated. “Can Xiaoyao use the Imperial Jade Seal from the Great An?”
The marmot was very innocent as he asked, “Isn’t it an Imperial Jade Seal all the same?”
“…..” said Ning Xiaoyao. Please don’t cause trouble. If she used that seal, Elder Li would kill her.
“Supreme Commander’s coming!” Husband Magpie called as he flew over. Besides Supreme Commander’s fanboy, Big Boss Black, all of the other animals dispersed with their share of Sweet Rice Crispies. When Lou Zigui walked into the gardens, he saw Ning Xiaoyao sitting below the Wutong tree with dappled sunlight streaming on her shoulder. Her entire form was curled up into a little ball.
“Want to eat Sweet Rice Crispie?” Ning Xiaoyao asked as she raised her head.
Lou Zigui hesitated before sitting beside her. He rubbed her warm, sun-kissed head and said, “I’m not hungry. Your Majesty should eat it for yourself.”
“Oh,” Ning Xiaoyao stuffed the Sweet Rice Crispie in her hand into her mouth.
Supreme Commander Lou watched Ning Xiaoyao munch and crunch on the Sweet Rice Crispie for a long time before suddenly blurting out, “Too skinny.”
Ning Xiaoyao turned to look at the person beside her, her face all confusion. “Whaa?”
“You’ve eaten quite a bit, but why haven’t you put on any meat?” Lou Zigui seemed to be asking himself, but the question seemed directed at Ning Xiaoyao as well.
Ning Xiaoyao lowered her head to look at her bound chest, which was as flat as an airport runway. Then she looked back at Lou Zigui and asked in a solemn tone, “You think they’re too small?”
Supreme Commander Lou gave a start. Small?
Ning Xiaoyao puffed her cheeks. He’d slept with her first and found faults with her afterwards. Was this really the mark of a true man? Big Boss Black cast a glance at Ning Xiaoyao’s chest before deciding to play dead on the ground. He couldn’t butt in when it came to things like this. Last time when he mentioned to Jiao Jiao how her tail wasn’t soft enough, she’d almost bitten his ear off! If Supreme Commander said that part of Xiaoyao was too small, he’d definitely get a thrashing.
Lou Zigui’s line of vision shifted downwards before his intelligence kicked in and turned his face red. That wasn’t what he had meant.
“I’m still young,” Ning Xiaoyao said.
Supreme Commander Lou hastened to nod his head. “I know, you’ll grow.”
“…..” said Ning Xiaoyao. So, he still thought hers were too small, tch!
- Sweet Rice Crispies (炒米糖) – a type of snack, typically shaped in squares, made by frying glutinous rice and maltose together with other ingredients like peanuts to create a sticky, crunchy, chewy square. ↩
- stabbing a doll (扎小人) – zha xiaoren, or literally ‘poking at a little person,’ a form of voodoo used to curse the person the doll is meant to represent. ↩
- jin (斤) – Chinese unit of measurement approximately 0.5kg ↩