Chapter 79: Xiaoyao is a good emperor Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
“I gave Prince Zhi money because I wanted Song Jin to return to Anyuan. Prince Zhi is a man who loves money, so of course I need to cater to his tastes,” Lou Zigui said before explaining his entire reasoning process, including why Song Jin couldn’t simply leave the city by himself. As a resident of an apocalyptic era with no experience in crafty plots and machinations, Ning Xiaoyao was stunned. Why did a person have to take so many twists and turns just to deliver some money? And also, Little Song might risk death just by taking a simple trip home?
When Lou Zigui finished, he looked at Ning Xiaoyao’s eyes and said, “Xiaoyao, do you understand my intentions now?”
Ning Xiaoyao blinked. Would her IQ be called into question if she said she didn’t understand? She thought it over before replying, “Can we earn back the money we gave away?” Things like the reasons for collateral or going home were beyond her, but the money should be the most important point, right?
Lou Zigui nodded before he lowered his voice. “I’ll get that money back.”
Ning Xiaoyao released a breath. If that was the case, she wouldn’t feel so pained.
“Everything else I said on the scene were all lies,” Lou Zigui told Ning Xiaoyao next. “Xiaoyao, don’t take it as the truth.”
Ning Xiaoyao couldn’t help but turn these words over in her head. What else did Supreme Commander say?
Lou Zigui leaned in closer to Ning Xiaoyao and murmured, “My father and brothers all died by the Northern Hu’s hands. If I don’t destroy them in my lifetime, I won’t have any face to see them again.”
Ning Xiaoyao went ‘oh’ and wanted to comfort Lou Zigui, but couldn’t figure out how. In the end, she simply stuffed a red bean cake into his mouth and said. “Eat up.” Eating sweets could improve a person’s mood.
So she believes me? It’s all right? As Lou Zigui ate the sweet red bean cake, he slowly sank down to sit next to Ning Xiaoyao. Then he carefully rested his hand over her own. When he saw that she didn’t resist, Supreme Commander Lou simply grasped her entire hand. Ning Xiaoyao tilted her head to look at the person next to her. For some reason, she kept feeling like she’d missed out on something important he’d said before.
On the tree branch, Wheat said to Grandfather Sparrow, “So it’s that easy to talk to Xiaoyao, chirp~”
Ning Xiaoyao next asked Lou Zigui, “Do the Northern Hu have any connections with birds?”
Supreme Commander Lou was still nursing a guilty conscience, so he thought over Ning Xiaoyao’s question before answering, “The Northern Hu believe in the Wolf God, so they have nothing to do with birds.”
Ning Xiaoyao shook her head. If the Northern Hu had nothing to do with birds, then what was all that nonsense about ‘a drawn bow needs a flying bird to shoot?’ And that stuff about bows, too. If there weren’t any birds in the air, who’d bother carrying a bow on their backs in the first place? Just what was the connection between that phrase and the Northern Hu? Ning Xiaoyao found that this question was too mysterious for her to solve. (Author: Illiteracy kills, ah. o(╯□╰)o )
“Why did you ask about that of all things?” Lou Zigui asked.
Ning Xiaoyao looked up at Wheat in the branches. Did he hear the wrong thing? Wheat simply chirped at Ning Xiaoya again. The red bean cake is sooo delicious~
Ning Xiaoyao silently filed away the fact that Wheat liked eating red bean cake before asking Lou Zigui, “Then did Prince Zhi agree for Song Jin to go along?”
Lou Zigui nodded.
“Then everything’s good,” Ning Xiaoyao decided not to think about this anymore. In any case, she didn’t understand it and questions seemed useless when she couldn’t fathom Supreme Commander’s answers. Lou Zigui finally withdrew the hand behind his back and extended it to Ning Xiaoyao. The oilpaper package in his palm was still sealed shut.
“What is this?” Ning Xiaoyao asked.
Lou Zigui opened up the package to reveal a pound of fried dough twists inside. “I bought them on the road. I remember there was one stall who makes really good dough twists,” he told Ning Xiaoyao.
“Really?” Ning Xiaoyao grabbed a fried dough twist and took a bite. It had just come out of the pot, so it was crispy and savory. Ning Xiaoyao was so happy that her eyes curved into crescents. Tasty.
When Lou Zigui saw Ning Xiaoyao’s smile, he finally felt some peace of mind despite being free from guilt in the first place. “Do you like them? Then I’ll buy them for you again next time.”
“Sure, sure,” Ning Xiaoyao nodded as she crunched on her dough twist.
Lou Zigui watched Ning Xiaoyao munch her way through the snacks before he suddenly said, “Xiaoyao, I won’t lie to you.”
Ning Xiaoyao was just reaching in the package for another fried dough twist when she heard Supreme Commander Lou’s words. She looked at him and nodded her head, but her mind was wholly on the fried dough twists. Even her ears heard nothing but the crinkling of oilpaper beneath her fingers. As for Supreme Commander Lou’s words, His Majesty Ning didn’t take them in at all. (o(╯□╰)o)
“Thank you,” Lou Zigui said.
When Ning Xiaoyao heard his thanks, her mouth was full of dough twists. She looked at him and muttered unintelligibly, “Whaa?”
Lou Zigui rested his hands on Ning Xiaoyao’s shoulders before lowering his head to whisper by Ning Xiaoyao’s ear. “Thank you for being willing to trust me.” Supreme Commander Lou knew that he’d said truly wretched words in front of Prince Zhi. Though Ning Xiaoyao had easily given him her trust, he was clear that such faith in him was a heavy weight.
Ning Xiaoyao stuffed a fried dough twist into Lou Zigui’s mouth. In any case, no one had died, so what was this big deal about trust? She split her mouth into a grin and said, “Seeing as you’ve brought me fried dough twists, I’ll lend you money next time too when I earn some.” What was a pauper’s purpose in life? To earn money, of course!
Lou Zigui kissed the top of Ning Xiaoyao’s head.
The moonlight was gentle and soft, while the wutong tree’s leaves rustled slightly in the breeze scented with the fragrance of chamei flowers. Ning Xiaoyao lifted her head as she swallowed the dough twists in her mouth. Faint green light shimmered between her lips, cleaning her teeth thoroughly before she kissed Lou Zigui back.
Although Ning Xiaoyao and Lou Zigui’s brains had been running on completely different trains of thought, both of them were very happy in this moment~
Mute Nanny silently retreated from her perch at the window, afraid to make a peep. Ning Xiaoyao noticed that half-shut window and figured that the most Mute Nanny could do was tell everything to the empress dowager. But the empress dowager wouldn’t dare to reveal the secret of her gender anyways, so Ning Xiaoyao resumed resting her head against Supreme Commander Lou’s shoulders. If nothing would come of it, why should she worry?
Mute Nanny knew of His Majesty’s secret, or else Empress Dowager Xie would never have let her serve the emperor. After retreating from the main hall, she felt her legs grow weak as her heart pounded. Supreme Commander was kissing His Majesty. Do the two of them, are they… Mute Nanny’s thoughts ran wild. Supreme Commander knows that His Majesty is a female. What now?
Outside the walls of the Supreme Splendor Hall, the gong rang for the second watch of the night–between 9 and 11PM. Mute Nanny leaped onto the western wall of the Supreme Splendor Hall before smoothly climbing down the other side. Her motions were far more fluid and natural than Ning Xiaoyao’s wall-climbing skills. Big Boss Black raced up the wall and watched Mute Nanny heading to the west, before jumping down to give chase. Although the entire empress dowager’s palace was flanked by imperial guards, Mute Nanny simply slipped silently behind a pair without either one the wiser. Big Boss Black followed Mute Nanny to the outer walls of the empress dowager’s palace. When he saw Mute Nanny flip over another wall to go inside, he wanted to find a way in as well, but was stopped but a fat round furball. He could tell it was that little rat Oil Jar just by the smell.
“Big Boss Black, you can’t go in here,” Oil Jar said. “There are guards inside.”
Big Boss Black said, “The old granny who went in just then saw Supreme Commander kissing Xiaoyao.”
“Squeak?” Oil Jar grew agitated as he bit his own tail and ran around in a circle. “Supreme Commander kissed our Xiaoyao? Oh, Xiaoyao can be married off now!”
Big Boss Black really wanted to swallow up this stupid rat. He raised a paw and smacked Oil Jar to the ground. “What if that old woman tells the empress dowager?”
Oil Jar was stunned speechless.
“Will the empress dowager allow Supreme Commander to marry Xiaoyao?” Big Boss Black was very worried.
Oil Jar’s whiskers quivered. “That’s right, the empress dowager is very, very vile.”
“Then what are you still spacing around for?” Big Boss Black roared. “Hurry and scout for news. I’ll wait for you here.”
“Alright,” Oil Jar grew serious as he crawled up from the floor and ran into the darkness. If the empress dowager won’t let Xiaoyao marry Supreme Commander, he thought, I’ll go out of the city and find Brother Tiger to learn how to kill humans. Then I’ll bite the empress dowager to death!
If the empress dowager doesn’t let Supreme Commander marry my ninny, Big Boss Black thought as he waited by the wall, I’ll bring along my brothers and find a chance to finish her off. Don’t think cats can’t kill humans. Hmph, hmph! Big Boss Black bared his teeth. He had fangs, too! (Author: You two are worried about the completely wrong thing!)
Mute Nanny knelt in front of Empress Dowager Xie, only standing when the latter raised her hand.
“His Majesty really has a miracle medicine to make Prince Fu skinnier?” Empress Dowager Xie asked.
Mute Nanny shook her head as she signed with her hands.
Empress Dowager Xie creased her eyebrows. “No? Then what’s all that fuss about?”
Mute Nanny lowered her head and stood there respectfully. Empress Dowager Xie next asked, “What else has His Majesty done in the past two days?”
Only then did Mute Nanny look up at Empress Dowager Xie again. Just now, she discovered that the woman had aged. This second glance only confirmed her beliefs. There were wrinkles at the corner of the empress dowager’s eyes, and her face wasn’t rosy anymore without rogue. There was even an age spot on her chin. How was this the most favored peerless beauty of the entire imperial harem?
Empress Dowager Xie saw Mute Nanny staring dumbly at her and touched her own face before giving a bitter laugh. “Do you think This Dowager’s aged?”
Mute Nanny hastily shook her head.
Empress Dowager Xie said, “This Dowager knows it just from looking in the mirror. I’ve aged, so what’s the use if This Dowager dresses up myself now to look younger? The late emperor isn’t here anymore, so who should This Dowager dress up for?”
Perhaps Empress Dowager Xie was willing to share her thoughts with Mute Nanny because she was a loyal servant who couldn’t speak. Inexplicably, tears filled her eyes before she heaved a faint sigh. Her palace was still the same as bygone days, but there were no more happy nights filled with song. Now, it was just her sitting here by herself.
“Speak,” Empress Dowager Xie looked back at Mute Nanny. “What else has His Majesty done?”
Once again, the scene of Supreme Commander Lou kissing His Majesty resurfaced in Mute Nanny’s mind. She raised her hand and prepared to use sign language, but a sudden gust of cold wind blew through the palace and chilled her palm. Only then did Mute Nanny realize her hands had broken out in sweat.
“What is it?” Empress Dowager Xie saw that Mute Nanny hadn’t made a move and so she leaned forward, her voice frigid. “What’s that girl planning now?”
Mute Nanny’s hand closed into a fist again before she slowly shook her head.
“Nothing?” Empress Dowager Xie asked.
This time, Mute Nanny signed with her fingers. His Majesty is busying herself with Prince Fu’s matters. Lou Zigui left the palace, but his reasons were unknown.
His Majesty had never allowed her to kneel before her, and always called her granny. She was an emperor that smiled at everyone and treated her to snacks, even the osmanthus candy she’d brought outside the palace. His Majesty had sold off all the things in her room to buy grain to support the capital’s refugees. She’d even heard His Majesty say that she’d divide Prince Fu’s land amongst the refugees once she got it. This is a good emperor, Mute Nanny thought in her heart. I can’t hurt a good emperor who calls me ‘granny.’