Chapter 198: Xiaoyao, don’t you fault Supreme Commander? Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
After it grew dark, one of Chen Lu’s messengers went to the military barracks to find Tao Yu, saying that his general wanted to meet. Tao Yu was to hurrying to Iron Buddha Temple for the appointment. But Tao Yu doubted his words, so he brought along a few guards with him before following the messenger on horseback out of the city. Once they were within range of the temple, a storm of arrows attacked them from the forest. All of Tao Yu’s guards were shot to death while he was busying deflecting the blows with his own sword. Then, the messenger moved to stab him from the back.
Tao Yu caught something in the sound of the wind and quickly swiped his sword back at the messenger. At the same time, a black-robed man flew out of the woods and released a flying dart that pierced through Tao Yu’s left arm. Tao Yu only felt the injury turning numb before he lost control of his body and tumbled off his horse. As soon as he hit the ground, the black-robed man approached him and stepped on his neck, causing Tao Yu to lose consciousness.
“We’ll bring him back,” the black-robed man told the messenger as his men tied Tao Yu up and lifted him into a carriage. The messenger nodded and continued to gallop towards Iron Buddha Temple. By the time the black-robed men and his subordinates reached the capital, it was already nightfall. Countless houses were lit by the light of lanterns. A few of Tao Yu’s colleagues even walked past the party escorting their fellow general, but failed to catch sight of his unconscious form beneath the thick cloth covering him.
In the little flower garden, Ning Xiaoyao had already finished off half a bag of sugar beans while feeding her little animal friends. Cousin Magpie had flown A’Mo into the palace. The ant had just finished drinking the sugar water from Ning Xiaoyao as thanks. He was so happy that his feelers were dancing as he spoke. “Xiaoyao, can A’Mo drink honey water next time?”
“No problem,” Ning Xiaoyao nodded easily. She still had enough money to buy things like honey.
Cousin Magpie said, “Xiaoyao, you seem pretty happy right now?” So many things have happened, but why isn’t she worried at all?
Ning Xiaoyao found him strange. “Why can’t I be happy?”
Big Boss Black’s head hung. “Because Supreme Commander’s hiding things from you.” Although he worshipped Supreme Commander, he had still decided to tell Ning Xiaoyao how the man was using the empress for his own means.
“He even had people expose Zhou mama so she was captured by the empress dowager,” the little gyrfalcon added. He had seen it happen with his own eyes.
Ning Xiaoyao stuffed more sugar beans in her mouth and said, “I don’t know what he’s planning.”
“……” said the little animals. Then, we know even less.
Big Boss Black tried his best to find an excuse for Supreme Commander. “Xiaoyao, Supreme Commander must be trying to make sure you don’t worry.”
Ning Xiaoyao patted Big Boss Black’s head and said, “Now isn’t the time to worry about your Supreme Commander ah, Black Tubby.”
“Then what should I be worrying about?” Big Boss Black couldn’t even bother snapping at his nickname anymore, he was so frantic with worry.
Ning Xiaoyao said, “We should worry more about whether Zhou mama will die. And also, whether that General Tao will suffer a fate worse than death at Grand Preceptor Xie’s hands.”
“Xiaoyao, you’re so smart,” Oil Jar clapped for her again.
“Mhm, Xiaoyao you’re really smart,” A’Mo was now one of Xiaoyao’s loyal fans as well. Anything he didn’t understand, Xiaoyao made so simple.
“Haha,” Ning Xiaoyao chuckled a few times. “I’m ordinary at best, I can’t be too prideful.”
Actually, she was having trouble smiling at this moment. Nobody would feel good after learning that the person you trusted was hiding things from you. But Ning Xiaoyao didn’t want her little animals to fret with her. Youths like Oil Jar and the rest grew happy again at her words, but Grandfather Sparrow had lived long enough to see his share of experiences. He looked at Ning Xiaoyao and asked in concern, “Xiaoyao, don’t you fault Supreme Commander?”
Yellow Great Immortal had been lying quietly by Ning Xiaoyao’s feet, but looked up at her at the sparrow’s words. Big Boss Black grew even more tense as his eyes widened on her face. All of the other animals fell silent, waiting for her to reply.
Ning Xiaoyao sighed before standing up and dusting off her behind. “I don’t. After I’ve rescued Zhou mama and General Tao myself, I’ll ask him about it.” It was impossible to guess the depths of human hearts, especially when it belonged to someone as black-bellied as Supreme Commander Lou. Only idiots would try to understand him on their own. Ning Xiaoyao tightened her belt and strengthened her resolve. When dealing with types like Supreme Commander Lou, asking him outright was better than second-guessing.
Big Boss Black stopped worrying once Ning Xiaoyao said she wouldn’t blame the man. Oil Jar asked, “Xiaoyao, what are you doing to do now?”
“Ladies first,” Ning Xiaoyao replied. “I’ll go save Zhou mama, then General Tao. Little pals, do any of you know where they’re being kept?”
A little sparrow called Sesame Speck replied, “Xiaoyao, I know where they locked up Zhou mama.”
Cousin Magpie piped up next. “I can find out General Tao’s whereabouts just by asking around.” The city was full of animals on the ground and in the air, so somebody would have seen Tao Yu.
Ning Xiaoyao nodded. “Then that’s what we’ll do. I’ll go with Sesame Speck to save Zhou mama first. Cousin Magpie, you help find out Tao Yu’s whereabouts.”
Cousin Magpie brought A’Mo with him and flew away. Big Boss Black ran in front of Ning Xiaoyao and said, “Xiaoyao, should you go and tell Supreme Commander first?”
Ning Xiaoyao replied, “If Supreme Commander can hide his bad deeds from me, why can’t I do the same to him?”
“……” said Big Boss Black. This ninny, she’s actually mad at him, isn’t she?
“Black Tubby, you can go tattle to Supreme Commander,” Ning Xiaoyao laughed at him. “It’s only a pity that your Supreme Commander doesn’t understand your meowing, oh~”
Ning Xiaoyao’s words incited Big Boss Black once again to all the world’s evils. His fur stood on end as he bared his fangs at her, intending to fight her to the death.
“Stop worrying over nothing,” Ning Xiaoyao lightly kicked him aside. “The empress dowager captured Zhou mama before it grew dark. Now that it’s night, she should’ve gotten everything out of her already.”
Big Boss Black stared at Ning Xiaoyao.
“Didn’t Supreme Commander just want the empress dowager to know about the empress’s affairs?” Ning Xiaoyao rubbed her nose. “Since he’s accomplished his goal, then I’ll get Zhou mama out of there. It won’t ruin any of Supreme Commander’s schemes, ah.”
“It’s not a scheme!” Big Boss Black shouted in denial.
“Alright,” Ning Xiaoyao said. “Then we’ll just say your Supreme Commander’s wise and brilliant and powerful, with schemes shocking enough to move the Heavens and Earth and ghosts and spirits to tears. Is that better now?”
Big Boss Black felt a little lightheaded from all the big words. It sounded like a compliment, but why did he feel like the ninny was cursing Supreme Commander instead?
Ning Xiaoyao turned to her sparrow and said, “Sesame Speck, let’s go.”
“Why are you leaving just like that?” Big Boss Black chased after her.
Ning Xiaoyao ran as she spoke, “Am I supposed to say a few words for the deceased first, then?”
“Miaow!” Big Boss Black cried, “Are you trying to curse yourself to death? You ninny!”
Ning Xiaoyao shrugged and kept running. Big Boss Black saw that he couldn’t keep up, so he turned around and went to scratch Little White Fatty’s nose.
“Aroo!” Little White Fatty howled wretchedly.
“What’s wrong?” Ning Xiaoyao, who had already ran off without a trace, suddenly came back in a burst of wind.
Big Boss Black knew that the ninny would turn back, so he took the chance to jump onto her shoulders. “Miaow, ignore that stupid dog. Let’s go together,” he said.
“Black Tubby hit me,” Little White Fatty tattled with tears in his eyes.
Ning Xiaoyao turned to look at Big Boss Black, who simply meowed and nuzzled against her cheek.
“I already said, Little White Fatty is a snow wolf, not a dog!” Ning Xiaoyao went to touch his poor injured nose.
“Would any wolf end up bullied by a cat?” Big Boss Black rolled his eyes.
“…..” said Ning Xiaoyao.
“Aroooo, Xiaoyao,” Little White Fatty wagged his tail once his nose stopped hurting, currying for favor as was his wont.
He’s really not like a wolf, Ning Xiaoyao thought as she patted his head. But he’s still young, she consoled herself. “Go find Supreme Commander, he’s drinking meat soup,” Ning Xiaoyao told him. “Cling to himself and make sure he doesn’t come looking for me. Can you complete this mission?”
“Aroo!” Little White Fatty nodded, promising that he would. “If Supreme Commander doesn’t listen to me, I’ll bite him!” he resolved.
Big Boss Black wasn’t even worried by his words. This wolf would be weak even if he was a dog, so why should he worry about the pup biting his Supreme Commander? Ning Xiaoyao’s mouth twitched as she patted Little White Fatty’s head again. “As long as you make sure Supreme Commander doesn’t hit you, you can do as you like.”
Little White Fatty ran off to Lou Zigui’s rooms. He was afraid that Supreme Commander would finished off all the soup if he came too late.
“I’m leaving,” Ning Xiaoyao bid farewell to Grandfather Sparrow and the rest. “Wait for my good news.”
“…….” said the little animals. Judging from her words, is Xiaoyao going off to war?
Ning Xiaoyao and Big Boss Black followed Sesame Speck over a palace wall and left the royal grounds.
“Arooo~” Inside the palace, Little White Fatty stood on his hind legs and howled at Lou Zigui, who glanced at the dog-like wolf hankering after his food.
“Aroo,” Little White Fatty began to circle around Lou Zigui, who poured out half a bowl of meat soup in response. Little White Fatty pounced on the extra half-bowl and buried his face inside to eat.
“Why did you come?” Lou Zigui asked the wolf pup. “Weren’t you with Xiaoyao in the flower gardens?”
Little White Fatty’s body stiffened in the middle of drinking soup. Lou Zigui narrowed his eyes before plucking him up by the nape of his neck so they were staring eye to eye. “Why did you stop eating?”
“Aroo?” Little White Fatty’s paws shrank back as his tail drooped. His pure blue eyes blinked in pure innocence.
“Are you putting on a pitiful act in front of me?” Lou Zigui asked.
“Aroo!” Little White Fatty instantly bared his fangs. I’m not playing pitiful at all!
“……” said Lou Zigui. Can this little thing actually understand what I’m saying?
“Can Little White Fatty really keep Supreme Commander back?” Wifey Magpie asked Yellow Great Immortal from outside the window.
“It’ll be difficult,” Yellow Great Immortal intoned.
Back inside the room, Lou Zigui had already set Little White Fatty down. He stood up and prepared to leave, suddenly worried about Miss Ning. Little White Fatty went to hug his leg.
“You should stay here and eat your fill,” Lou Zigui patted Little White Fatty until he was forced to let go. As Little White Fatty saw Supreme Commander Lou walk towards the door, he grew desperate. He ran after the man and prepared to bite him, only for Lou Zigui to stop mid-stride. Little White Fatty went crashing into the high threshold of the door mid-leap. Lou Zigui only shook his head at the sight. He’s not like a wolf at all.
Little White Fatty fell on the floor and played dead. If he couldn’t bite Supreme Commander Lou, he could at least lure him back with his fake death. But Lou Zigui simply stepped over the threshold without a second glance.
“……” said Little White Fatty. Aren’t you a tiny bit concerned about my life or death?
Meanwhile, Wifey Magpie gave Yellow Great Immortal a respectful look. Since when did he get so shrewd?