“How did they die” Zhuxie Chixin asked, shocked.
His first thought wasnt Zu An, whom he knew was only around the seventh rank at most.
Even though this fellow always seemed to manage to display strength greater than his cultivation, there was still a limit to that.
These three were all cultivators at the peak of the seventh rank, and their skills had been tempered on the battlefield, so their true strength was top-notch.
They were definitely not warriors anyone could randomly skip ranks to defeat.
Zu An said without batting an eye, “I killed them.” There was no way he could talk about Yun Yuqing, so he could only step up.
“You killed them” Zhuxie Chixin exclaimed, even more shocked.
He scrutinized Zu An and asked, “How did you do it”
Zu An replied, “They continued to pursue me, so I used the surroundings to break them up.
Then, I defeated them one by one.”
He remembered the story of how ancestor Blood Blade had faced off against four enemies who were on par with him and came out on top, so he revised the story a bit and fed it back to Zhuxie Chixin.
Zhuxie Chixin stared at him, stupefied.
There werent many people who possessed real strength like this.
This kid was quite outstanding.
When he saw the bloody holes in those corpses, he thought that they had been attacked by tremendous power.
It looked like Zu An still had many trump cards in his sleeves! He didnt ask Zu An about his exact abilities, as that was a taboo subject between cultivators.
No one was willing to expose their ultimate moves for no reason.
Zhuxie Chixin laughed out loud.
“This is a great achievement! Lets go; follow me to his majesty!”
Zu An nodded.
The case this time involved the Shi clan, so it wasnt something Zhuxie Chixin could decide on alone.
The two quickly arrived at the study.
Zhuxie Chixin respectfully reported the information to the emperor, while Zu An used this chance to examine the emperor.
After all, Jia Silis illusion was the first time he had faced off against the emperor, and he had even defeated him then.
Even though that was only the emperor in his subconscious, it had still given him incomparable confidence.
Now, he was much calmer when he faced the emperor.
“Hmph, the Shi clan really is daring!” The emperor slammed his table in anger after listening to Zhuxie Chixins entire report.
He was just about to say something, but he sensed something and raised his head.
The emperor seemed to have sensed that Zu An was observing him, which made him a bit unhappy.
However, when he thought about how this fellow had just brought back a great achievement, he couldnt berate him too much.
He held himself back and said, “Very good.
Eleven, youve done well.
Speak, what kind of reward do you want”
Zu An cursed inwardly, thinking, What, are you going to give me the crown princess if I ask for her But he smiled and said naturally, “Your majesty carries our worries on your shoulders.
What more reward would I need”
He had once been a bit dissatisfied with this sort of feigned servitude, but now, he didnt feel anything.
On the contrary, he felt that this would only serve to gain more favor from the emperor.
Sure enough, the emperor roared with laughter.
“Indeed! Eleven is growing more and more thoughtful.” After talking about a few other things, he said to Zhuxie Chixin, “Arrest officer Shi Tong and Huang Gates Shi Jun.
We wont touch the Minister of War Shi Miao yet.
Furthermore, place some more men on the investigation of Xuanwu Gates Ou Wu.
We dont need to find the power behind him, because if I remember correctly, hes someone King Qi brought up.
You can use this chance to investigate that area.”
Zhuxie Chixin trembled and quickly bowed.
Zu An spoke up just then.
“Your majesty, this case isnt as simple as it seems.
There are many points of suspicion, and there might be another true culprit…”
The emperor waved his hand before Zu An had even finished speaking.
“Enough; youve already completed your mission perfectly.
Just leave this case to Zhuxie Chixin; you dont have to bother with it anymore.”
Zu An frowned slightly.
He was just about to say something, but Zhuxie Chixin gave him an eye signal.
He kept quiet when he saw it.
The emperor closed his eyes, then sat down to meditate.
He said, “This emperor is tired.
You two can withdraw now.”
Zu An cursed inwardly. This fella is always cultivating so he can have even a minute longer to live.
What meaning is there left in living if you have to spend your life like that
When the two of them left the study, Zu An asked, “Chief commander, why did you stop me from saying anything else”
Zhuxie Chixin looked around.
When he saw that there was no one around, he said is a suppressed voice, “What do you think is the most important thing when investigating a case”
“The truth, of course,” Zu An subconsciously replied.
Detective Conans BGM began to play in the back of his mind.
Zhuxie Chixin chuckled.
“I cant help but remember my former hot-blooded self, from when I had just joined the Embroidered Envoy in the past.
Only later did I understand that the truth isnt important at all.
Whats important is what kind of truth his majesty wants.”
Zu An was startled.
He felt as if he were picking up on something.
Zhuxie Chixin continued, “His majesty doesnt care about the truth.
He has too many things to worry about.
What he cares about more are the objectives he can reach through this case.
Do you understand now”
“Thank you, chief commander, for your guidance.” Zu An wasnt stupid.
He had spent so much time wondering about the identity of the third party, he had forgotten that fact.
But after he heard Zhuxie Chixins explanation, he finally woke up.
The current situation was the most favorable for the emperor.
Not only could he deal with the Shi clan, who were opposed to the crown prince and princess, he could use this chance to purge King Qis strength.
What other truth did he need to investigate
As for the true perpetrator, either he already knew, or he just didnt care.
Either way, he was the worlds strongest, so the one who was hiding in the shadows couldnt harm him.
Zhuxie Chixin chuckled and patted his shoulder, saying, “Youre too polite.
Well get together and have a proper chat when theres time.
I have people to arrest.”
Zu An cupped his hands.
After separating from Zhuxie Chixin, he returned to the Embroidery House.
He summoned all of the brothers who had been with him during this case and said, “All of you have worked hard during this period.
This case has already been settled.”
Everyone cheered, and even the usually steady Xiao Jianren smiled.
All of them were physically and emotionally exhausted from the high difficulty of the case.
Zu An said with a smile, “The reason why this case could be solved was all because of everyones efforts.
Sir Xiao, Dai Seventh, and Chen Eighth, head over to the storeroom and take out two thousand silvers.
Reward everyone based on their contributions.”
As a golden token envoy, he had a set amount of authority to begin with.
Furthermore, the emperor had said that he was going to reward him, so Zhuxie Chixin naturally wouldnt trouble him over this.
“Thank you, Sir Eleven!” Those gathered cheered even louder.
They almost picked up Zu An and raised him into the air.
Zu An smiled when he saw how happy they were.
He had done his time as a corporate slave, so he obviously understood what the most important part of working was.
Even though they all had their loyalty as Embroidered Envoys, they still had families to feed back at home.
Xiao Jianren was surprised.
The Embroidered Envoys members were usually cold and stern; the other golden token envoys werent as considerate of their subordinates as Sir Eleven.
Even if there were some rewards occasionally, it was only for the sake of coaxing their subordinates.
But he could tell that Sir Eleven genuinely wished well for them.
It really was quite rare to see.
They went to withdraw the money in high spirits.
Zu An used this chance to look over all of the information gathered regarding the case.
He couldnt help but frown when he saw that there was no information on Ou Wu.
When Zu An left the Embroidery House, he changed into his normal attire and headed toward the Eastern Palace.
He sighed along the way.
Having so many identities really was a pain.
It would be great if he could clone himself. Wait, if I clone myself, would it be considered cucking myself He continued to ponder over this philosophical question along the way, and unknowingly arrived at the Eastern Palace.
“Heh, so our Sir Zu still remembered to report for roll call.
Do you know what time it is Could it be that you dont treat me and the crown prince with any respect” the crown princess remarked coldly.
Shed had something to discuss with Zu An today.
After all, following that experience, he had become the only one she could talk about regarding many things.
However, he still hadnt arrived, even after she waited for a long time! She really was pissed off.
Besides, this fellow didnt seem to report on time at all these days.
You have successfully trolled Bi Linglong for 56 56 56…
Zu An saluted and said, “Reporting to the crown princess! I left early for the imperial palace today, but I was attacked by assassins along the way.”
“What You were attacked!” Bi Linglong subconsciously stood up to check his wounds, but she quickly noticed the strange expressions of the maids around her.
She coughed lightly to hide her embarrassment and sat back down.
“Are you injured Who was the one who tried to assassinate you”
“They were just some small injuries.” Zu An smiled.
Then, he gave her a summary of what had happened.
The crown princess had assumed it was just some thugs when she saw that he was fine, but when she heard that there had been deathsworn soldiers, a siege crossbow, and even three military experts at the peak of the seventh rank, her expression greatly changed.
“Yet youre still saying it wasnt a big deal How could you only be a bit injured from such a huge scheme”
Zu An chuckled and said, “I was hit by the siege crossbow, but none of my vitals were hit.
It felt pretty terrible back then, but Im fine now.”
“Huh” The crown princess subconsciously wanted to check the wound where Zu An had been hit by the siege crossbow.
But when she thought about how so many people were watching, it really wasnt appropriate.
She could only say, “Have someone call over a physician to treat Sir Zu.”
Zu An waved his hand.
“Its fine, Ill just pay the hospital a visit later myself.”
Piao Duandiao and Jiao Sigun were incredibly stunned.
Everyone knew just how powerful a siege crossbow was! He had been hit by a siege crossbow, yet he still looked fine apart from being a bit pale. Sigh, he really is a brave and tough man!
The crown princess hurriedly asked, “What are you still doing here if you were injured so badly”
Zu An replied, “I was worried that the crown princess would misunderstand.
Besides, I wanted to tell you about the most recent developments in the case.”
The crown princess was startled when she saw Zu Ans scorching gaze.
This person was normally pretty smart, so why was he sometimes so clueless Cant you just send someone to tell me the details
However, when she sensed his sincerity, her heart still couldnt help but soften.
Even her voice became more gentle.
“Ill let you have a day off today… Ahem, no, you dont need to come in for the next few days either.
Just focus on your recovery.”
“Thank you, crown princess!” Zu An really was spread a bit too thinly.
Having this vacation would help a lot.
The crown princess thought to herself for a bit, and then she said to the maid beside her, “Little Mo, bring Sir Zu that spiritual root.”
Rong Mo exclaimed nervously, “That thousand year spiritual root is incredibly precious! Its something needed for the crown princess future breakthrough!”
The crown princess shook her head.
“No matter how precious it is, it isnt as precious as a person.
Sir Zu is the Eastern Palaces chamberlain, and he was injured while investigating my case.
This medicine is perfect for helping him with his recovery.
What, could it be that you want me to fetch it myself”
“This humble one doesnt dare!” Rong Mo bit her lip.
She could only unwillingly enter the inner room.
“Tsk tsk, this little girl is pretty interesting in terms of how she treats you.” Mi Li said in Zu Ans head.
She seemed to have emerged because of her amusement.
Zu An ignored her and instead bowed to Bi Linglong.
“Thank you, crown princess!”
Mi Li marveled, “Look at how shameless you are! You arent even refusing something this precious and are just going to accept it”
Zu An replied, “Thats where youre wrong.
Theres a trick back in my hometown calledborrowing books.
Once you borrow something, you have to return it.
That way, you dont even need a reason to meet again, and both of you will start to get along.
If I refuse her, Im only gaining favor once; I wont obtain any tangible benefits.
On the contrary, by accepting her gift, our good impressions of each other will rise by another level.
Furthermore, this thing seems extremely important for her, so Ill just return it when she needs it.
Wont I gain her favor once again then”
Mi Li was completely stupefied.
Only after some time did she harrumph and say, “What kind of place is this hometown of yours Theres actually so much thought behind something like this.”
Zu An replied with a wistful expression, “Its a place full of people with outstanding skills, a magical place…”
By then, Rong Mo had already emerged.
In her hands was an embroidered case resting on a red cloth.
Even though the spiritual root was stored inside the case, Zu An could still feel the thick natural ki it emitted.
He thanked the crown princess again.
A bit of gentleness appeared in the crown princess eyes.
“You should take some time to rest.
Leave the Shi clans matters for me to settle.”
Zu An knew that she was implying that she would use this chance to completely eliminate that future worry.
He signaled with his eyes that he understood.
The crown princess face turned red.
She quickly looked around, and then sighed with relief when she saw that no one else had noticed.
This guy really is brazen! He dared to publicly tease her! Hmph, Ill let you off today because youre wounded.
Zu An exited the Eastern Palace.
The crown princess sent Piao Duandiao and Jiao Sigun to escort him to the physician\'s courtyard.
Along the way, the two of them sighed in praise.
“Ive never seen the crown princess treat anyone so well in these years…”
“Exactly! I\'m even starting to wonder if big bro Zu and the crown princess have an affair.”
Zu An was stunned.
He asked, “Are you courting death You even dare to utter such things”
“We brothers are just joking around in private, come on! Besides, the crown princess is still treating big bro Zu this way, even after that happened.
That means she has a clear conscience.”
“I guess youre right.
However, if not for the crown princess special status, I really would rather believe that she was together with big bro Zu.
The crown princess had really had it hard these years.
The crown prince cant do anything for her and instead needs her to protect him.”
“What the hell Why are you blaming me then! Youre courting death too!”
In the end, Zu An was beginning to develop a headache, so he made them leave.
His injuries had already practically healed.
Wouldnt he be exposed if he went to the imperial palace now He didnt feel like leaving the palace, so he returned to his Embroidered Envoy residence and rested for two hours.
Soon afterward, he received news that Shi Jun had been arrested.
Zu An changed into his Golden Token Eleven uniform and headed to the Embroidery House.
He had many suspicions that needed to be confirmed with Shi Jun.
His status in the Embroidered Envoy was now quite high.
Even though this case was no longer under him, no one would be so senseless as to stop him.
Either way, Sir Zhuxie was currently interrogating Shi Tong regarding the siege crossbow and military experts.
Shi Jun sat in the prison with disheveled hair.
His entire being looked listless, and he no longer carried his past arrogant appearance.
When he heard that someone had come, he said weakly, “Please dont ask me anything more… We have a Death Pardoning Token, I wont say anything…”
Zu An chuckled.
“But you dont have that Death Pardoning Token on you right now.”
Shi Jun jumped in fright when he heard the voice.
His eyes immediately narrowed when he turned around and saw the familiar figure it belonged to.
He still had nightmares about his previous experience with Zu An.
Zu Ans smile faded as he said, “I dont want to waste time either.
I ask the questions, you answer.
Otherwise, feel free to have a taste of what it feels like to wish you were dead.”
“Okay, okay, okay, sir, please ask,” Shi Jun immediately said with an apologetic smile.
A wise man knew when to choose his battles. Ill deal with this monster first, and then my father will definitely have a way of saving us!
“How did you meet Xin Rui” Zu An asked.
Shi Jun was hesitant, but he still replied, “Ive served as the Huang Gates Assistant Minister for years, so it was easy for me to move within the palace.
One day, I ended up accidentally bumping into a frightened maid around a corner.
She continued to apologize to me.
When I saw her weak and alarmed expression, I couldnt bring myself to punish her.
Later on, she brought me some Hundred Flower Tea to thank me.
That was when I learned that she was the Hundred Flower Palaces maid, Xin Rui…”
There was a bit of tenderness in Shi Juns eyes when he recalled the events of the past.
His time with that lovely maid was clearly a joyful period.
Zu An quickly asked, “Was she the one who bumped into you, or did you bump into her”
Shi Jun frowned.
“Im in charge of inspecting the etiquette of officials to begin with, why would I be so impudent However, why does it matter who bumped into whom”
“Forget it.” Zu An smiled and continued, “So thats when the two of you started to get along”
Shi Jun nodded.
“She was just a maid at first, but all of the women in the palace belong to his majesty, so I didnt dare to touch her.
However, she told me that she had worked in the palace ever since she was really young.
But now, shes almost of age, so shell be able to leave the palace.
I had some good feelings toward her as well, so I thought that I could take her as my wife.
That was why our relationship got better and better as time went on.
“Then, I learned that she had a mother and younger brother in the countryside, so I helped bring them to the capital and get them settled there.
But for some reason, she fought with me over this matter,” Shi Jun explained, seemingly confused.
“Even so, our relationship improved again, and we began to happily dream about the future.”
Zu An said mockingly, “You make it sound great, as if youre describing a man deep in love.
But unfortunately, you had other motives for approaching her.
You probably favored her for her status as the maid of Concubine Bai, knowing that one day, youd be able to make use of her.
Sure enough, later on, you sent her to frame the crown princess and Zu An.
As for bringing her mother and younger brother, I reckon you were just using them as hostages.”
Shi Juns expression changed.
“I have no idea what youre saying!”
Zu An chuckled.
“Theres no need for you to deny it.
Its already meaningless now.
Either way, the Shi clan is finished.”
Shi Jun knew that what the golden token envoy was saying was the truth.
Not only had the assassination failed, everyone involved was instead captured.
The situation was looking extremely grim.
Now, his only hope was to see if the Death Pardoning Token could save his own skin.
He gritted his teeth.
His expression was extremely vicious as he said, “Its all that damn little brothers fault.
If it werent for the fact that he loved gambling and ended up being found by the Embroidered Envoy, why would we be pushed so far as to use force”
“For the sake of Hua Bao, you had no choice but to sacrifice that casino boss.
I already guessed a long time ago that the Shi clan was the one backing that casino.
After all, you guys supported the Plum Blossom Sect in opening a casino in Brightmoon City.” Zu An sighed.
Shi Jun revealed a look of surprise.
He thought to himself that the Embroidered Envoys information network truly was extensive, if they even knew about that.
Zu An said, “Thats why you all colluded with King Wu, and drew Zu An to Xin Ruis home.
You wanted to kill him there, then push all of the blame onto him.
Then you would silence him, as the dead cannot testify.”
“King Wu What King Wu” Shi Jun asked, bewildered.
Zu An was surprised when he saw that the mans expression wasnt feigned.