Unruly Phoenix Xiaoyao Chapter 340: The merchant says, they went southeas
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Prince Fu was issued an imperial edict to enter the capital. Meanwhile, Ning Xiaoyao sat behind her desk and was in the process of writing back to Lou Zigui. She’s pregnant with his baby. She has to tell the child’s father about it, ah! But what if the letter goes missing and someone peeks at it?
Ultimately, His Majesty Ning wrote the word "pregnant". That way, no one else would understand except for Lou Zigui. After all, he was the only person she had rolled in the bed sheets with.
While Ning Xiaoyao sprawled across the table and wrote her response, Lou Zigui entered the gate of Lou Estate in Black Frost City. Although it was a common practice in Yongning to value civil matters and neglect the military, Black Frost City was located at the border. As a result, the people at the border areas revered military skills. Not to mention, the Lou Clan was a well established family there. Hence, the Lou Estate had the biggest and most expansive mansion in the whole city.
“Fourth Uncle!” a little boy ran into Lou Zigui’s arms. Lou Zigui half crouched down and hugged his little nephew. He lightly chuckled, "Fourth Uncle is back."
Lou Nan clung onto Lou Zigui’s neck and did not let go. He mumbled, "Why were you gone for so long this time, Fourth Uncle?" Lou Zigui embraced his nephew again before releasing him. "Have you missed Fourth Uncle?" Lou Nan also let go and nodded.
Although they were interdependent of each other, Lou Zigui had always kept a distance between him and his nephew because of his cursed fate. Lou Zigui had always considered himself as the star of misfortune, so he was afraid his bad luck would kill off his only nephew. Because they had been separated for so long, Lou Nan had thrown himself into his Fourth Uncle's arms. However, after that, he did not know how to interact with Lou Zigui. He couldn’t come up with anything to say.
Lou Zigui sized up Lou Nan. Autumn had just begun, yet his nephew was already dressed in cotton-padded clothes. He felt his nephew’s hands. Despite wearing such thick clothes, Lou Nan's small hands weren’t warm. The child was still thin and weak. In fact, his thin body made his head appear very large. The way his small neck was supporting his large head was worrisome to others. What if the small neck couldn’t support his head?
“Fourth Uncle,” Lou Nan raised his eyes to gaze at Lou Zigui again. "I have been eating all my meals and taking all my medicine."
Lou Zigui didn’t like to sigh in front of children. Instead, he smiled at his little nephew and stood up to walk towards the estate. He deliberately slowed down his steps so Lou Nan could keep up with him. Although Lou Nan didn’t know how to converse with Lou Zigui, he still wanted to follow his Fourth Uncle.
"This time we should bring Little Young Master to the capital with us," Fang Tang walked behind and whispered to Shadowbolt, "We could get His Majesty to take a look at our young master. He’s already taking his medicine every day, yet Little Young Master Lou’s health is still so poor!”
Shadowbolt surreptitiously looked at him with disdain. Does he seriously regard His Majesty as a doctor?
"Go back to your room," When they reached the conference hall, Lou Zigui turned around to face his nephew. His hands were clasped behind his back. "Fourth Uncle will go see you later."
"Alright," Lou Nan nodded and obediently returned to his residence.
Shadowbolt clucked his tongue. So cold, ah! Supreme Commander Lou often hugged Xiaoqiu in the palace. How come he’s less affectionate towards his own nephew?
Lou Zigui looked at Shadowbolt. Fourth Commander hurriedly straightened up his posture. For some reason, he was always cowardly in front of Lou Zigui.
"We'll head to the city gate tower in a bit," Lou Zigui continued walking to conference hall as he spoke to Shadowbolt, "Once you have seen Black Frost city gate tower, rush back to the capital immediately."
"Yes," Shadowbolt responded promptly. On the one hand, the affairs of the nation was important. On the other hand, Fourth Commander would rather stay with His Majesty than with Lou Zigui. He wasn’t the type that liked to compare, but he also lacked awareness back then. After following Lou Zigui, Shadowbolt realized how free he felt whenever he stayed by Ning Xiaoyao.
"Little Young Master, let's go," At the corner of the corridor, Niu Zi, the pageboy, whispered to Lou Nan. Lou Nan was still standing quietly at the corner. "Supreme Commander has matters to deal with.”
Lou Nan appeared very disappointed. He had thought about what he would say to his Fourth Uncle when he met. Yet, when they finally saw each other again, he was speechless.
"Little Young Master, after Supreme Commander is finished with his tasks, he’ll go see you," Niu Zi tried to persuade Lou Nan. Looking at the soldiers in front of the conference hall, Lou Nan suddenly hollered angrily, "He won't!"
Niu Zi quickly chased after his young master. Lou Nan had ran behind the veranda. The twelve year old Niu Zi sighed on the inside. Has Supreme Commander ever been affectionate to anyone over the years? Why is Little Young Master so adamant on getting close to him?
After having a meeting in the conference hall, Lou Zigui led Shadowbolt to the city gate tower. By the time he was done all his pressing business, the sky had turned dark. Even when Lou Nan was in bed, Lou Zigui never came to see him as promised.
“Little Young Master,” Niu Zi stood in front of the bed with a quilt in his hand, "Zhou Mama said it’s turning cold again, so you need to add an extra quilt."
Lou Nan stretched his ears to listen for any movements outside the room. No one came. Little Young Master Nan closed his eyes in disappointment. Niu Zi sighed and covered his young master with the quilt.
In the study, Lou Zigui asked the doctor about Lou Nan’s condition. "We could only try to keep Little Young Master alive," the best doctor in Anyuan's six prefectures told Lou Zigui in a low voice, "Supreme Commander, I’ve tried my best."
Each time they met, Doctor Ji always told him the same thing. Lou Zigui could practically recite it from memory. Looking at the thick list of medicines in his hand, Lou Zigui didn’t dare to imagine how Lou Nan’s future would’ve been if he had died at the execution ground. Suddenly, Miss Ning’s chubby face flashed through his mind.
“Supreme Commander,” Doctor Ji spoke, "I heard there is a divine doctor living in the imperial palace. If possible, could Supreme Commander take the little young master to the capital?”
Lou Zigui put down the medicine list in his hand. "Shortly after the war ends, I’ll take Nan’er to the capital. Thank you for all your hard work all these years, Doctor Ji.”
Dr Ji was very flattered by Supreme Commander’s words. In the past, whenever he gave Lou Nan treatment, His Excellency Supreme Commander would always thank him for his hard work with an icy expression. Therefore, Doctor Ji was pleasantly surprised to find His Excellency Supreme Commander smiling at him today.
"Servant, see Doctor Ji off," Lou Zigui called out. The old housekeeper came in and led Doctor Ji outside.
Lou Zigui spread out the letter writing paper. He lifted up the writing brush to write. Shadowbolt will be delivering the letter for him. Once again, Miss Ning's plump face hovered in front of his eyes, causing Lou Zigui’s smile to widen.
After he entered the kingdom of Anyuan's six states, he had requested all the high-ranked military officers guarding the border to see him. When the officers said they did not find any unusual movements from the Northern Hu, Lou Zigui felt reassured. If in a few days the regions outside the borders were still peaceful, he would take Lou Nan to the capital. First of all, he wanted Ning Xiaoyao to take a look at Lou Nan. Secondly, he missed her.
Just as Lou Zigui had dipped the brush into the thick ink, Song Jin’s voice could be heard from outside the study door. "Supreme Commander." Lou Zigui put the brush down and answered, "Come in."
Song Jin entered Lou Zigui’s study with two middle-aged merchants. When Lou Zigui saw them, he frowned. After the three respectfully greeted him, Supreme Commander Lou asked, "What happened?"
"Tell Supreme Commander what happened," Song Jin ordered the two merchants behind him. The two merchants looked at each other, and the merchant standing on the left mumbled, "Supreme Commander, these humble ones have gone outside the mountain pass."
"Make the long story short," Song Jin instructed coldly. As soon as the two merchants heard Song Jin's words, they were so frightened that they knelt down in front of Lou Zigui.
Song Jin explained to Lou Zigui, "Supreme Commander, they are Wu merchants. They secretly left the mountain pass to do business with the Northern Hu."
Those who were caught secretly leaving the mountain pass to conduct business with the Northern Hu were arrested and put to death. Song Jin had brought these two men to face him. Supreme Commander leaned forward and commanded, "You speak first."
"These humble ones went to the King's Court of the Northern Hu this time," the merchant on the left admitted while continuously pressing his forehead to the ground in front of Lou Zigui. "These humble ones heard that the Wolf King of Northern Hu had left the King’s Court with a large army."
"You heard about it? Who did you hear it from?" demanded Lou Zigui.
"This humble one brought a box of silk to the wife of a Northern Hu general. S-she told this humble one."
"The men in her family are followers of Modou," the merchant kneeling on the right interrupted in a hurry. "Where did Modou take his army?" Lou Zigui pressed.
"This humble one d-doesn’t know," the two merchants shook their heads simultaneously. Lou Zigui stared at the two merchants for a moment, "I’ll ask you one last time. Where did Modou go?” he growled.
The two merchants didn’t dare to look up at Lou Zigui. Lou Zigui waited for a while but the merchants never replied. Thus, he lightly smacked the table and turned to Song Jin, "Take them away."
"East, southeast," the merchant kneeling on his right suddenly raised his head and shouted at Lou Zigui. Both Lou Zigui and Song Jin stared at the merchant.
"This humble one doesn’t dare to talk nonsense. He went southeast," the merchant looked at Lou Zigui and exclaimed urgently, "While this humble one was in the rear courtyard, I noticed southern grass inside the carriage. That type of grass only exists in the southeastern parts of the mountain pass."
Lou Zigui nodded at the merchant and declared, "I will not kill you."
"Thank you, Supreme Commander! This humble one thanks Supreme Commander," the merchant hurriedly pressed his forehead to the ground. Bodyguards were called in to take the two merchants out.
"Modou brought a large army towards the southeast. What are they planning to do?" Once the two merchants were gone, Song Jin quickly asked. Lou Zigui stacked the blank letter writing papers in front of him and lowered his voice, "It's not the southeast."
"What?" Song Jin's eyes twitched. He immediately barked, "Those two were talking rubbish?"
"It's too coincidental," said Lou Zigui, motioning Song Jin to get a map from the curio shelves. "I don't think I have the luck to track Modou’s movements from these two merchants."
Song Jin laid the map on the table. "Then Modou has not sent the troops?"
"He sent out troops. It’s just that he doesn’t want me to know where he went," Lou Zigui looked at the map in front of him. "The southeast valley pass is being guarded by the Ji Clan."
"General Ji has already returned," blurted Song Jin. "It can't be the valley pass," Lou Zigui looked from southeast to southwest. Song Jin also looked at the southwest end of the map, and then shook his head. "If Modou brought a large army, how would they cross the small mountain pass?"
Lou Zigui stared at the map and whispered, "His Majesty’s letter mentioned that Feng Muhai has been rescued."
"Feng Muhai is a general from the capital. What does this have to do with him?" Song Jin looked at the map and frowned.
"What if Feng Muhai was just a cover-up?" Lou Zigui raised his head and looked at Song Jin. This question surprised Song Jin. "Twenty-eight people," whispered Lou Zigui, pointing to the map on the table, "Out of twenty-eight people…"
"No way," Song Jin shook his head. "Those twenty-eight criminals have nothing to do with us." Looking at the territory he pointed at, Lou Zigui enunciated, "Those twenty-eight people were Xie Wenyuan’s cover-ups."
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