Chapter 48: A way to deal with villains Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Ning Xiaoyao walked out of the empress dowager’s palace with her head held high and chest puffed out as she spoke to Shadowgale and the rest, who were still in a trance.
“Let me tell you guys, there’s nothing scary about villains. There’s only one way to deal with them, and that’s bully, bully, and bully again. Make them too scared to act like villains, make them…”
Lou Zigui reached out a hand to muffle Ning Xiaoyao and said quietly, “Your Majesty must guard your tongue.” Standing in front of the empress dowager’s palace while ranting about bullying them? Any son or daughter who spoke of their mother this way was in for a bad end. Ning Xiaoyao only made a ‘che’ in response. Was she supposed to wait until the empress dowager bullied her instead? In your dreams.
Ning Xiaoyao’s fuming made Lou Zigui unable to stop himself from pinching her puffed up cheeks. Quietly he said, “Your mouth is so wide that it looks like it’s going to split open. Has Your Majesty gotten your hands on the Imperial Jade Seal?”
Ning Xiaoyao went (￣￣△￣；). Was she that easy to read?
“Let’s talk about it in the Imperial Palace, hm?” Lou Zigui smiled as he pinched Ning Xiaoyao’s dazed face again. Ning Xiaoyao covered her cheeks and glowered at Lou Zigui. What was he playing at? Lou Zigui coughed lightly and withdrew his hand. This little lady always made his hands itch to pinch her here and there. He never expected himself to act that way, either.
Shadowgale and the rest were still too lost in their trance to notice Supreme Commander Lou’s ‘defiance’ against the sovereign. He’d smashed the empress dowager’s doors, tore down her side chambers, and even angered her to the point of tears despite the fact that she’d reigned as an evil seductress in all her years as an imperial concubine. The Dragon Guards were still marveling at how manly His Majesty was!
The row of people arrived quickly at the foot of the stairs to the emperor’s Imperial Palace. The little gyrfalcon flew out from the palace and landed on Shadowgale’s shoulder, before chirping a few times at Ning Xiaoyao. “Xiaoyao, I put the Imperial Jade Seal on your bed. I even hid it beneath the covers~”
Ning Xiaoyao dug out some stir-fried broad beans from her pocket and said, “Little gyrfalcon, I’m treating you to these.”
The little gyrfalcon abandoned his owner’s shoulder for Ning Xiaoyao’s and ate the tasty, crunchy beans directly from the palm of her hand. Shadowgale’s feelings were mixed upon seeing his increasingly round gyrfalcon. If His Majesty kept feeding him like this, would he get too fat to fly? What would he do then?
High above the steps to the Imperial Palace, the two eunuchs flanking both sides saw the approaching group and hastened to bow. Lou Zigui followed behind Ning Xiaoyao to walk past the front courtyard and into the winding covered walkways. Only then did he say in a low voice, “Your Majesty, this subject is here and will definitely find a way to take care of the matter regarding the Imperial Jade Seal. This subject asks that Your Majesty refrain from putting yourself into danger.”
“Ah?” Ning Xiaoyao was stupefied. Hadn’t this person already guessed that she had the Imperial Jade Seal on hand? Why was he telling these things to her now? Did Supreme Commander have multiple personalities?
Lou Zigui bent down slightly and asked, “Your Majesty?”
“All, alright,” Ning Xiaoyao could only reply.
Lou Zigui kept walking forward as he said, “Your Majesty needn’t worry, this subject will find a way.”
“Okay,” Ning Xiaoyao scratched her head.
“I’ve already sent people outside the palace,” Lou Zigui added. “The Imperial Jade Seal can’t be in the palace.”
Ning Xiaoyao scratched her palms, feeling that something was off. The walkway turned another corner, changing the scenery from a water scene to a copse of dense bamboo on both sides. Wind whistled gently through the bamboo plants and echoed down the walkway. While Ning Xiaoyao was standing still to look up at the bamboo, Lou Zigui took the chance to signal Shadowgale with his eyes. Shadowgale bowed and turned to leave. The gyrfalcon saw his owner depart, but thought it over before deciding to stay with Ning Xiaoyao and her yummy food. Thus, he stood on her shoulder without moving~
Soon enough, a head eunuch ran out from the walkway before stopping at the curve as if he was preparing to take a step forward. Shadowgale emerged from the depths instead and recognized him as the head eunuch. “Steward Hu?”
Steward Hu hastily pasted on a smile. “Is Head Commander planning to head out?”
Shadowgale looked towards the courtyard behind Steward Hu, where a few eunuchs and court ladies were standing there like a pile of wood.
“Just now, this one heard from the young eunuchs at the gate that His Majesty’s returned?” Steward Hu asked.
“If there’s no business, don’t just enter the residences of the main palace,” Shadowgale said coldly.
“Yes, yes, yes,” Steward Hu nodded. “This one understands.”
Shadowgale glanced at the courtyard again, his eyes like a dagger. All of the eunuchs and court ladies there felt a chill despite standing in the sun. Steward Hu stood at the foot of the steps leading to the covered walkway without asking Shadowgale what he was doing. He kept a cheerful expression all the while. Shadowgale then turned and quickly walked back into the covered walkway. When Steward Hu saw that he had disappeared, his smile vanished. Then he headed for a small cobblestone path in the front courtyard and went towards the western end of the emperor’s Imperial Palace.
A short while later, Shadowgale reappeared by a small path leading to the empress dowager’s palace before ducking into a small copse of trees by the road. In the time it took to burn half a stick of incense, a young eunuch hastily made his way out of the Imperial Palace. He didn’t take the main roads, but kept to the small paths. Once he’d left the Imperial Palace behind hi, this young eunuch ran straight past Shadowgale’s hiding place in the trees to head for the empress dowager’s palace.
When Ning Xiaoyo returned to the Imperial Palace, she ran to her room and flung aside the covers of her bed. Then she opened up the Imperial Jade Seal box and took out the square-shaped jade seal inlaid with gold. Giving it a kiss, she quickly brought it to Lou Zigui, who had followed behind her, and asked, “Supreme Commander, take a look. Is this the Imperial Jade Seal?”
Lou Zigui took the seal into his hands and carefully examined it, before replying, “Without a doubt, this is the Imperial Jade Seal.”
Ning Xiaoyao clapped her hands and said happily, “Then that’s good, everything’s fine now.”
Lou Zigui placed the Imperial Jade Seal back in its box and asked softly, “Your Majesty, how did you get your hands on it?”
The little gyrfalcon was very smug as he perched on the table: ︿(￣︶￣)︿ He had a part in it too.
Could she say that her animal companions had helped her? Ning Xiaoyao reckoned that Lou Zigui wouldn’t believe it, so she only laughed and said, “Guess.”
“…..” said Supreme Commander Lou.
“All right,” Ning Xiaoyao turned serious. “Grandpa Ash who lives in the empress dowager’s palace told me where the Imperial Jade Seal was.”
“Who’s Grandpa Ash?” Lou Zigui asked.
“An old mouse,” Ning Xiaoyao replied. Lou Zigui placed a hand on his forehead, while Ning Xiaoyao tilted her head to look at him. “You don’t believe it?”
Lou Zigui said, “If Your Majesty doesn’t want to say, then forget it.”
Ning Xiaoyao sighed. She knew things would end up like this. Lou Zigui looked at the Imperial Jade Seal in its box. In his mind, His Majesty must have informers in the empress dowager’s palace just as the empress dowager had informers in His Majesty’s palace. These results had come about from a concerted effort between His Majesty and his subordinates.
“Your Majesty is very formidable,” Supreme Commander Lou praised.
Ning Xiaoyao puffed up her little chest. She thought she was pretty formidable too, since she’d used a sack of peanuts to trade for the Imperial Jade Seal.
“Hide the facts for now,” Lou Zigui closed the box as he spoke. “There’s still one more day before the small assembly. Let’s see what the Xie father and mother will do first.”
Ning Xiaoyao was startled again. Why was there no end to it? “Isn’t the Imperial Jade Seal in our hands?” she asked, “What else do they plan to do?”
Lou Zigui patted Ning Xiaoyao’s head. “The empress dowager doesn’t know.”
“If the Imperial Jade Seal disappeared after I went to see her, wouldn’t she and the Grand Preceptor figure it out?” Ning Xiaoyao didn’t think that the Xie father and daughter were so stupid.
“I’ll make sure they can’t figure it out,” Lou Zigui said as he smiled at Ning Xiaoyao.
Ning Xiaoyao blinked. She rather liked it when the Supreme Commander smiled, but her IQ couldn’t keep up with him. What’s to be done about that?
Big Boss Black jumped through the window then and walked to the bed before jumping on it. “Miaow, this cat’s returned. Xiaoyao, aren’t you going to tell Supreme Commander how this cat helped out?”
When Ning Xiaoyao looked at Big Boss Black, she felt cured again. Who was the real stupid one? Would the Supreme Commander believe her just because she said so? Just then, she’d tried it out herself and he hadn’t believed a word! (Author: If you have any more IQ, then you wouldn’t have tried in the first place, hey!)
“Supreme Commander,” Big Boss Black meowed at Supreme Commander Lou, “I was the one who took the Imperial Jade Seal out of the empress dowager’s bed with my mouth. Please praise me, please hold me, meow~”
“…..” said Ning Xiaoyao.
Lou Zigui stared at the cat meowing at him nonstop and asked, “Is he hungry?”
Ning Xiaoyao picked up Big Boss Black and threw him onto the grass outside the window. The species and gender were both wrong, so what was this fat black furball meowing for? If there was a chance, she was going to find Jiao Jiao and have a good talk with her. (Author: What could you two talk about? o(╯□╰)o ) When the little gyrfalcon saw Big Boss Black sailing into the air in a perfect arc, he clutched his stomach and cried out as he rolled around the table. Supreme Commander Lou fell silent, but couldn’t help but feel that he was missing out on something.
“Supreme Commander, are you hungry?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
When he heard this question again, Lou Zigui lifted a hand to rub Ning Xiaoyao’s head. “I’m going to plan things out. If Your Majesty is hungry, I’ll order someone to tell the imperial kitchens.”
“What are you planning out?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
“Something to make sure the empress dowager and Grand Preceptor won’t suspect that Your Majesty has the Imperial Jade Seal,” Lou Zigui replied. “Did Your Majesty forget what we just talked about?”
“…..” said Ning Xiaoyao. How was she supposed to remember so many things?
“I’ll be back in a bit,” Lou Zigui said as he left the room. Ning Xiaoyao gaped after him. What about when he said he was going to call for the imperial kitchens?
Big Boss Black called out then from the window. “Xiaoyao, Grandpa Ash has come again.”
As soon as Ning Xiaoyao heard that name, she thought of Elder Li and trembled as she sat on the bed. She hadn’t even prepared the sack of peanuts yet. Grandpa Ash jump in through the window, followed by Oil Jar and another little mouse.
As soon as Ning Xiaoyao saw this new little mouse, her forehead creased. There was a large tumor growing on the end of his tail that was even larger than the mouse himself.
“Xiaoyao, this is my elder cousin,” Oil Jar shouted as he entered the room. “He’s sick, so my auntie told him to enter the palace and find Ancestral Grandfather for ideas. Xiaoyao, can you help my elder cousin take a look?”
Of course there was no problem with that. Ning Xiaoyao jumped off the bed and reached out a hand to grab Oil Jar’s cousin. But as soon as she tried, the mouse hastily went to hide behind Grandpa Ash.
“My auntie’s very pitiful,” Oil Jar said sadly, “Of all the mice in her litter, only my elder cousin survived. The rest were all eaten by cats.”
“Little Oil Jar, could you not drag us cats into everything?” Big Boss Black shouted from the window.
“Maybe you guys were the very ones who ate them!” Oil Jar bared his teeth at Big Boss Black, who felt stifled by the sight. Where had his birth gone wrong so that even a little mouse could bare its fangs at him?
Original Chapter Teaser: Lou Zigui: Why is Your Majesty…holding up a flower branch?
Ning Xiaoyao: Heheh, I’m really a man of many talents!
Ning Xiaoyao: Well the flowers are a bonus, but I was just trying to make a “point!”
Lou Zigui: …..
Ning Xiaoyao: Hey, don’t look down! You’re a smart dude too, Supreme Commander!
Lou Zigui: …many thanks to Your Majesty for the praise.
Ning Xiaoyao: That’s the spirit! Successfully gaining Zhen’s favor is definitely something to write home about!
Lou Zigui: That kind of ‘favor’ is usually reserved for the imperial harem, Your Majesty.
Ning Xiaoyao: What’s a girl like me gonna do with a harem? If anyone’s my fav, it’ll have to be the guy who slept with–
Lou Zigui: *muffles her* That’s enough of that, now.
Lou Zigui: Why is Your Majesty…holding up a flower branch?