Chapter 59: Because I like you, because I’m happy Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Lou Zigui lowered his head and rested it against Ning Xiaoyao’s face, before going on to explain his question in detail.
“If I like someone, I kiss them,” Ning Xiaoyao had been born as a genetically evolved human being with loose moral standards. Her reply was powerful enough to leave an impression. People in the apocalypse greeted each other with kisses as a form of hello. They did goodbye kisses as well. Happy times were marked with celebratory kisses, while tragedies were consoled by comforting ones. What was the big deal?
“Like?” Lou Zigui asked again. He lived in a time and age where matchmakers paired up couples and the parents’ word was law. Husband and wife didn’t even meet each other before marriage, so having a girl say she liked him to his face was, while not universally shocking, still teetering on the border of his expectations. When Ning Xiaoyao saw Supreme Commander Lou’s serious face, she couldn’t help but to grow serious herself.
After some thought, she finally said, “Mm, because I like you and because I was happy.” If she didn’t like him, she wouldn’t have been willing to grab him, much less set her lips on him. And if she hadn’t been happy, she wouldn’t have thought of kissing him in the first place.
Lou Zigui felt his heart grow restless. Though he’d asked his question and gotten the answer, he had no experience with females at all. Faced with such a situation, he still didn’t know what to do, much less what he felt like. Happy? But he also felt alarmed and restless. Alarmed? What kind of thing made someone happy and alarmed at the same time? He had a clear conscience upon self-examination, because he was pleased with his current debt of gratitude combined with his duty for vengeance. All of the methods Supreme Commander Lou had used in the past few days to deal with different things were completely useless for the situation at hand.
Ning Xiaoyao cradled Lou Zigui’s face. When Supreme Commander Lou felt clueless, he usually wore an expressionless face. His current expression was a strange one for Ning Xiaoyao and made her wonder. Did I make a mistake somewhere? Ning Xiaoyao asked herself. Was the kissing method all wrong, or was the timing off? Maybe this was wrong place for kisses? Or was this similar to Shadowgale and Little Peach Blossom from the imperial kitchens? Had Supreme Commander found his own true love somewhere in the palace as well? (Author: How many times have I told you? If you don’t know what’s going on, don’t make wild guesses!)
Ning Xiaoyao’s brain ran over the options of time, place, and person before she loosened her hands and shook her head in embarrassment. No matter how she looked at it, the person seemed most likely to blame. You could grab a handful of babes anywhere in the palace and find one that was pleasing. Such things were way too commonplace.
“Sorry about that,” Ning Xiaoyao apologized to Lou Zigui. “I didn’t know a thing.”
Supreme Commander Lou’s heart was still in turmoil, but now he was at a loss. He grabbed Ning Xiaoyao before she stood up and asked, “What don’t you know?”
“It’s good that you’ve found your true love,” Ning Xiaoyao. “Congratulations, ah.” She definitely wasn’t going to be some third wheel in their relationship. People in the apocalypse could bed each other as they liked, but you weren’t supposed to get involved with people who’d already found their true love. Anyone who destroyed true love deserved to be bitten by zombies!
“True love?” Lou Zigui didn’t understand her words.
“Wh-which girl is it?” Ning Xiaoyao asked. Any female who could capture Lou Zigui so quickly had to be someone she should meet. She’d slept with him once, after all. The great and mighty Supreme Commander should give up on avenging himself for that fact, at most? (Author: If you want to be human, you need to have a conscience, hey!)
Supreme Commander Lou’s face had turned completely black. If he still didn’t understand Ning Xiaoyao’s words by now, then he was an idiot.
“You can’t say?” Ning Xiaoyao saw his face darken and felt that things had gotten complicated. Hopefully his true love wasn’t the empress, because that babe already had her own true love and a baby to boot. Lou Zigui stared at Ning Xiaoyao before gripping her arms tightly.
Ning Xiaoyao said, “Don’t say it, then. I’m not forcing you to do anything, so can’t you let me go first?” If this continued, she wouldn’t be able to resist fighting back. Did he think her arms were made of steel?
“There is no other woman,” Lou Zigui finally spoke up.
“Whaa?” Ning Xiaoyao was stunned.
Lou Zigui pulled the person in his arms into an embrace and said, “That day, I promised you that I wouldn’t wed anyone without giving you a proper justification.”
“You’re actually planning to hog Supreme Commander all to yourself?!” Big Boss Black yelled angrily from outside the window. “Ning Xiaoyao, go die, die, dieeee ahhh–”
“………” said Ning Xiaoyao. In all honesty, when had she ever brought up terms like that with Supreme Commander Lou?
“Ning Xiaoyao!” Big Boss Black was still shouting and yelling. The little gyrfalcon flew outside. This damned cat was cursing at Xiaoyao, how unforgivable! Outside the window, the cat and gyrfalcon started to fight with meows and cries as bits of cat fur and feathers flew into the air. Ning Xiaoyao stuck her neck out the window, wanting to see all the fuss. More accurately, she wanted to see what Big Boss Black looked like when he was acting at his most vicious. But Lou Zigui was in no mood to pay attention to the events happening outside.
He raised a hand and grasped Ning Xiaoyao’s somewhat tubby chin and murmured, “You like me, hm?”
Ning Xiaoyao nodded. She didn’t find anyone disagreeable in this world besides the Xie father and daughter pair.
“You’re not afraid?” Lou Zigui’s gaze darkened as he peered at Ning Xiaoyao. He was considered to be the bane of others’ existence. Aside from the fellow brothers under his command, no one else dared to approach him. It was as if they feared a single word with him would cause their deaths. As a person used to being alone, he wasn’t self-confident enough to believe that anyone would like him.
Ning Xiaoyao laughed out loud. What was there to fear? Big Boss Black biting her to death? (Author: Can you two stop having such different trains of thought? o(╯□╰)o)
So this means she’s not scared? Lou Zigui stared at her blankly. Then unexpectedly, he leaned down to kiss Ning Xiaoyao’s open mouth, causing their tongues to touch. Thus, the mighty Supreme Commander Lou learned how to kiss without ever consulting a teacher.
“Hurry up and get dark soon!”
After the time it took to brew a cup of tea had passed, Ning Xiaoyao was standing by the window with her arms above her head, shouting at the top of her lungs. Over by the Wutong tree, one could see the patch of black fur that belonged to Big Boss Black. He was pretending to play dead after fighting with the little gyrfalcon. Fighting falcons really wasn’t something a cat should do, because he was tired to death.
“Black Tubby,” Ning Xiaoyao shouted at him, “You still have to lead the way tonight, so don’t play dead.”
Big Boss Black continued to play dead. Lou Zigui walked to the window as well, his mood all but recovered. There was still an unnatural air about him, but he went ahead and rested his hand on Ning Xiaoyao’s shoulder. Ning Xiaoyao’s gaze trailed downwards because she’d definitely felt that, oh~
Supreme Commander Lou’s face fell.
“It’s alright,” Ning Xiaoyao spoke with the tone of an old experienced Daoist. “It’s normal to shoot accidentally while polishing a gun. It’s the same as our first time, when you couldn’t last long–”
Lou Zigui muffled Ning Xiaoyao’s mouth, feeling unsatisfied by the fact that he was always at a disadvantage when it came to such topics. He held Ning Xiaoyao while standing by the window and kissed her for awhile longer. When he finished, he said fiercely, “Don’t stir up the flames.” Despite his expression, he was faint at heart.
Ning Xiaoyao spared a glance at the foot of the Wutong tree outdoors. Big Boss Black was lying there like he’d rather die instead of living.
“N-Ning Yu?” Lou Zigui tried saying her name.
“Ning Xiaoyao. I’m called Ning Xiaoyao,” Ning Xiaoyao hastened to shake her head. Then she grew serious and added, “If you call me Ning Yu, our friendship ends here!”
Supreme Commander Lou fell silent.
“Let me hear you try calling me ‘Xiaoyao,’” Ning Xiaoyao demanded.
“You don’t like ‘Ning Yu’ as a name?” Lou Zigui asked.
“What’s so good about that name?” Ning Xiaoyao felt indignant. Who wanted to share a name with the unlucky bastard who’d been killed off by her own mother?
“This name was bestowed upon you by the late emperor,” Lou Zigui said quietly.
“That’s because my father didn’t know I was a fem–”
“All right, I know,” Supreme Commander Lou muffled His Majesty Ning again. Why was this person so careless with her speech?
“Ning Xiaoyao.” Ning Xiaoyao moved Lou Zigui’s hand aside and jabbed a finger at his chest, before poking him three more times.
“A gentleman is like yu, or jade,” Lou Zigui held onto her finger and murmured, “That was the late emperor’s wish for you when he gave you the name of Yu.”
Ning Xiaoyao thought it over, but still felt that this was ridiculous. Even if she was a he, could that he still be a gentleman like jade? In fact, what did ‘gentleman like jade’ even mean? Someone who looked like a piece of jade?1 (Author: There’s no need to think, you’ll never get it….)
“I’ll go make some arrangements,” Lou Zigui said, “And have someone come over to clean up the garden at the same time.”
The little flower garden was covered in cat fur and falcon feathers. Supreme Commander Lou couldn’t stand the sight at all. Ning Xiaoyao nodded to say she agreed. She wanted to go to the kitchens too, to see what kind of food they were making today. Lou Zigui turned towards the door, but suddenly stopped, turned around, and bent down to whisper by Ning Xiaoyao’s ear.
“Xiaoyao.” When Supreme Commander Lou spoke softly, his voice was a little hoarse, just like someone who’d just woken up. Even though he’d only said two words, there was an unclear quality to them.
Ning Xiaoyao felt like she’d been electrocuted. Lou Zigui brushed his hand against the stray locks of hair across her forehead before turning to leave.
The heck! Ning Xiaoyao leaned against the window ledge as she watched Supreme Commander Lou’s retreating form. As a former doctor, she could measure with her eyes that the proportion of his upper body to his lower body was 5:8, with the belly button making up the division point. These were gold-standard measurements. Moreover, he had broad shoulders, a narrow waist, two long legs, and was dressed in clothing that made him look thinner. He was just as impressive unclothed as well, plus he had a pretty face and an electrifying voice. Honestly, his very existence broke all the laws of Nature! When Ning Xiaoyao lowered her head to inspect her own body, she couldn’t help but feel depressed. Comparing yourself to others would only make yourself angry! (Author: Do you have to compare your body with a man’s?)
The little gyrfalcon flew onto the window ledge and chirped at Xiaoyao, spreading his wings to expose his tummy. Ning Xiaoyao’s mouth twitched. Big Boss Black was missing a patch of fur on his head, but this guy had lost feathers from his stomach. “How could you let Black Tubby use his claws? How did he manage to reach your stomach?” Ning Xiaoyao said, perplexed.
The little gyrfalcon used its head to nuzzle against Ning Xiaoyao’s face. Ning Xiaoyao reached out to rubbed his bare tummy, and a layer of tiny new feathers grew out in exchange to cover up the bald spot.
“Meow~” Big Boss Black ran over with a cry.
“Hmph!” Ning Xiaoyao gave a mean snort before turning to leave.
“…….” said Big Boss Black. Was there ever a cat owner like this?!
“Little falcon, fly around the empress dowager’s place when you have nothing else to do,” Ning Xiaoyao said as she headed for the kitchens. “See what the empress dowager’s up to.”
“Kay~” the little gyrfalcon spread its wings and took to the air, heading in the direction of the empress dowager’s palace.
“Take this letter to the Grand Preceptor,” Empress Dowager said, handing over a personally written missive to a eunuch. After receiving her decree, the eunuch cradled the letter and quickly left the palace.
Currently, Grand Preceptor Xie was sitting in his study at his estate, flipping through the account books from Head Steward Xie Laibao.
“This batch of army provisions will reach the western suburb’s granaries by dusk today,” Xie Laibao reported quietly. “Your servant had the subordinates speed up the pace. They’ll finish storing up all the grain after nightfall.”
Grand Preceptor Xie silently calculated the quantity of grain in his head. Once it was stored, he’d have to arrange for people to move it elsewhere. Compared to the Board of Revenue’s granary, his own reserves in the western suburbs was wealth equivalent to an entire nation.
“You must be careful,” Grand Preceptor Xie warned as he closed up the accounts. “Make sure you don’t attract any attention.”
Xie Laibao hastily flattered, “Grand Preceptor, don’t worry. Your servant wouldn’t dare to be careless. Moreover, who would dare to touch the Grand Preceptor’s things in or out of the capital? Your servant doesn’t think that such a person exists in this world.”
There was that girl, Ning Yu. However, Ning Yu didn’t know the existence of the western suburb’s grain depot. Grand Preceptor Xi silently rejoiced in his heart.