Chapter 62: His Majesty Ning says, the darkness tempts one to commit crimes Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“I didn’t save you just to get a present,” Ning Xiaoyao said sincerely to the mother wolf named Peach.
Big Boss Black patted Ning Xiaoyao’s face with his paw. “Stop pretending.”
“Alright,” Ning Xiaoyao said, “I need money and grain.”
“……” said Peach.
An unsatisfied Big Boss Black asked her, “Can’t you control yourself a bit more?”
Ning Xiaoyao said, “Can’t you ever shut your mouth?” First he told her to stop pretending, then he told her to control herself. Even a movie queen wouldn’t be able to master such a complicated role. Peach licked her lips as she saw the human and cat about to break into an argument. Her tail gave a swish before a grayish black cloth ball rolled out from behind her.
“I wanted to give you this,” she told Xiaoyao.
Ning Xiaoyao looked at the thing that some human must have thrown away and was now being used as Peach’s toy. “So it’s a little cloth ball.” Getting a present was a happy occasion, so Ning Xiaoyao cheerfully reached out to take the ball. But Peach wagged her tail and hid the ball behind her again. Ning Xiaoyao awkwardly withdrew her hands. Big Boss Black felt like his ninny had been bullied once more, and wanted to take revenge for her with his claws. Yet after he saw Peach’s fangs, Big Boss Black grew alarmed.
Peach looked at Ning Xiaoyao and said, “I was going to give you this cloth ball to start, but you said you wanted money and grain. So I won’t give you the cloth ball anymore.”
“Miaow,” said Big Boss Black, “Are you going to give us money and grain?”
Ning Xiaoyao hastily waved her hands. “No need, I have money and I’ve just stolen some grain.”
“Over on that side of the mountain,” said Peach, “ There’s a place where humans live. You should go take a look, there’s a lot of money and grain there.”
“That won’t do,” Ning Xiaoyao said, “I can’t steal from the common people.”
“I heard that you’re enemies with the Grand Preceptor?” Peach asked.
“……” said Ning Xiaoyao. Did all the animals know about this?
“Those are the Grand Preceptor’s men,” Peach said, “My leg was injured near those big houses.”
Ning Xiaoyao’s joy came so quickly that she suffered a lapse of concentration. Big Boss Black bit his tail just to check. It hurt, so that meant everything happening right now was real! Ning Xiaoyao pointed at the mountain face before them and asked, “Is it over there?”
“Yes. Follow alongside the brook to the north until its end, and you’ll reach it,” Peach said as she looked behind Xiaoyao. “There’s a human coming, so I’m going now. Xiaoyao, if fate decrees it, we’ll meet again.”
Ning Xiaoyao heard the sound of footsteps as well, and turned around. Peach picked up one little snow wolf in its mouth and vanished into the forest. Big Boss Black shouted after her, “Did you forget one?”
Peach’s voice came from far away, “Xiaoyao, that other son of mine is too small and weak. I can’t provide for him, so you can adopt him.”
Lou Zigui had already reached the vicinity, but grew alarmed when he heard a wolf howling. He unsheathed his saber and ran towards the direction of the noise.
Ning Xiaoyao bent down to pick up the abandoned wolf pup, feeling its bones beneath the fur. She furrowed her brows and asked Big Boss Black, “Why is he so skinny?”
“All whelps are skinny if you can’t provide for them,” Big Boss Black reached out a paw to pat the little snow wolf’s head. “Peach took away the one that looked stronger.”
In the animal world, mothers would always prioritize raising the healthier child. It sounded cruel, but that was simply survival of the fittest. Ning Xiaoyao hugged the trembling wolf pup tighter to her chest as she looked in the direction where Peach had run off to. She could still see her figure amongst the trees of the forest.
When Lou Zigui saw Ning Xiaoyao standing unharmed beneath a rocky outcropping, he exhaled in relief and quickly went to her side. He spotted the white furball in her arms at a glance.
“Wolf pup,” Ning Xiaoyao showed Lou Zigui the little snow wolf.
Lou Zigui’s eyes grew cautious as he looked around them. “Where’s the mother?” He’d heard a wolf howl just then, so it had to be nearby.
Ning Xiaoyao glanced at Big Boss Black before she replied, “Urk, it ran away.”
Lou Zigui looked at Ning Xiaoyal. “Ran away?”
Ning Xiaoyao waved her fist. “Heheh, I’m very powerful.”
Lou Zigui wanted to cover his forehead again. If you’re here to steal grain, then steal grain. Why are you stealing from a wolf’s den, too? He grabbed Ning Xiaoyao’s hand and prepared to leave, wary of running into a pack of wolves. But Ning Xiaoyao simply nuzzled Lou Zigui’s shoulder with her head and said with a grin, “The Grand Preceptor still has another secret location on the other side of that mountain. I don’t know how many men he has, but we might as well destroy the place over there too, right?”
Lou Zigui found himself speechless at this moment. Ning Xiaoyao waved a hand in front of Lou Zigui’s face. He’d suddenly stopped speaking, but he didn’t look particularly happy either. Just what was the situation now?
Supreme Commander Lou grabbed the hand in front of his face and sighed. “Did another one of your subordinates find this as well?”
“Urk,” Ning Xiaoyao thought it over. She thought it was ludicrous to have a fake army under her command when she was simply a leader without a following. Finally, she pointed at Big Boss Black and said, “Black Tubby found it.”
Big Boss Black suddenly sat up straight when Supreme Commander Lou’s attention shifted to him. His dark green cat eyes opened wide to meet Supreme Commander Lou’s own. Please praise me, please hold me!
Lou Zigui’s eyes dimmed. So she still won’t tell me who’s helping her. Ning Xiaoyao stared at the ground with a guilty conscience, because she’d ended up crediting Big Boss Black for Peach’s work. Lou Zigui looked into the distance. Under the cover of darkness, the other mountain peak seemed to pierce through the clouds. His silence made Ning Xiaoyao feel all the more guilty. She was about to make up another lie when Lou Zigui finally said, “Alright, let’s go over there.”
Ning Xiaoyao hastened to nod her head.
Lou Zigui lifted Ning Xiaoyao’s chin and added, “I hope that one day, Your Majesty will stop hiding things from me.”
Ning Xiaoyao’s face still held traces of baby fat, but now she’d puffed herself into a steamed stuffed bun. How was she supposed to explain to him that she understood animals? “I can talk to animals,” Ning Xiaoyao said seriously as she looked at Lou Zigui.
Supreme Commander Lou laughed as he headed towards the granary.
Does he believe me or not? Ning Xiaoyao followed behind him.
“Xiaoyao,” Supreme Commander Lou suddenly stopped, causing Ning Xiaoyao to crash into his back. “I’m not forcing you to do anything. I just want to help you, and I w-want…want to protect you.”
Ning Xiaoyao gingerly touched her red nose. Fine, Supreme Commander Lou doesn’t believe me after all! The sadness!
Soon afterwards, they reached the western corner of the northern mountain. A small stream meandered past the curves of the mountain. Tiny fish occasionally leapt out the water, their splashing creating teeny sparks of light beneath the star-studded, crescent moon skies.
“Xiaoyao,” Ning Xiaoyao could hear the little fish shouting. She waved at the ripples to say hello. Lou Zigui looked at the jagged rock path beneath their feet, worried that Ning Xiaoyao would be tired by such a journey. When he glanced back at her, it was with the thought of piggybacking this girl instead.
“Supreme Commander, look at the fish,” Ning Xiaoyao smiled broadly as she pointed at the leaping fish. Supreme Commander Lou quietly turned back to keep walking. He’d been overthinking things by worrying about this girl. At the end of the brook was was another outcrop of mountains.
“There’s no path left,” Fang Tang said as he patted a moss-covered boulder after he and a few of the Dragon Guards caught up from following Supreme Commander Lou.
“Over here.” Ning Xiaoyao was scratching her head to search when she heard the fish in the stream speak up. A little fish jumped out of the water before splashing back in.
“I keep thinking there’s something weird about the fish in the water,” one Dragon Guard told his companion. What kinds of fish keep leaping in and out?
“Are they carp leaping the dragon gate?” another Dragon Guard guessed.
“But these aren’t carp,” another Dragon Guard said quietly as he knelt by the stream.
“Your Majesty!” Supreme Commander Lou shouted from the banks of the brook. Everyone turned to see that their sovereign had leapt into the water.
“There’s a fissure here,” Ning Xiaoyao said after she ran to where the little fish had jumped out of the water. “People can fit through it.”
Lou Zigui rand to Ning Xiaoyao’s side. The mountainside here was covered in vines, so Lou Zigui took his blade and hacked them all off. Sure enough, a crack big enough to fit a single person appeared before his eyes.
“This is the way,” Ning Xiaoyao took a step forward without even waiting for Lou Zigui’s reaction, and entered the fissure. Moonlight couldn’t penetrate through the crack, which was so dark that one couldn’t even see one’s fingers. However, the abnormal abilities of a genetically evolved human helped Ning Xiaoyao see a five meter wide path stretch out from before her feet.
“The path’s right here,” Ning Xiaoyao said as she turned to shout outside. “We…”
She didn’t manage to finish before a furious Supreme Commander Lou anxiously pulled her into his arms. “What if there was a trap in here? How could you be so rash?!” Even with her in his arms, Lou Zigui’s heart was still thumping. The moment he saw this person dash recklessly into the passageway, his mind had turned completely blank.
“………” said Ning Xiaoyao, whose nose was plastered against Lou Zigui’s chest. As long as the trap didn’t involve zombies, she wouldn’t die.
“You can’t do this again next time,” Lou Zigui loudly required Ning Xiaoyao.
“Oh? I want you to remember, you can’t have no precautions whatsoever!”
“I, I know.”
Outside the fissure, everyone exchanged glances. Supreme Commander, ah, we know you’re worried about His Majesty, but you can’t treat him as one of the cadets in training. He’s His Majesty, ah.
Lou Zigui’s chin rubbed against the soft head of hair beneath him before he sighed. He was thinking how telling her all this seemed useless when a soft, warm sensation pressed again his face. Ning Xiaoyao had stood on her tiptoes to kiss him, her heart filled with contentment. It felt great to have Supreme Commander worrying about her. Lou Zigui touched where he’d been kissed and gave a light cough.
Ning Xiaoyao said mysteriously, “Not bad, right? The darkness tempts people to commit crimes, oh~”
Lou Zigui muffled the mouth that dared to say anything without care. Outside, Fang Tang carefully asked, “Supreme Commander, can we come in yet?”
Lou Zigui lit the torch in his hands and inspected the path before him, before replying, “Come in.” A line of people followed along the path cut into the mountain to head north.
One hour later, Grand Preceptor Xie looked at the faintly brightening skies as he emerged from the underground chambers with Elder Li. “That’s a place for imprisoning servants who’ve committed crimes. Naturally, these people would harbor injuries on their bodies from the punishments they endured.”
Elder Li gave him a cold smile.
“Where else does Elder Li want to inspect?” Grand Preceptor Xie asked.
Elder Li kept up his cold smile. Grand Preceptor Xie was nearly at the limit of his patience. One of the estate’s stewards dashed into the courtyard, in too much of a rush to even bow properly. He ran to Grand Preceptor Xie’s side and said a few words by his ear very fast. Grand Preceptor Xie staggered in place. The granary of the western suburbs was done for….