Chapter 11: Surrounded By Danger

But of course, if the person behind all of this deadly mischief was Chu Chuyan herself, he would have no choice but to simply submit. He might as well reveal his shortcomings to clear his name, but fortunately it wasn’t necessary. Yet.

Zu An gathered his thoughts, then said to Springflower, “Take your relocation expenses. Honestly, you came at just the right time. The last person I took home is about to break down in the military camp. You’ll be able to replace her there.”

“Relocation expenses?” Springflower finally started to smell something fishy. “Wait a second. Why is she in the military camp?”

“You didn’t know?” Zu An put on a look of mild bemusement. “My wife is perfect in every aspect. Her only failing is that she dotes on me too much and gets a teensy bit jealous. The last time I brought in someone like you, she found a random excuse to send the woman to our military camp to service our soldiers. Maaan. She has to be a blushing bride multiple times a day. I feel bad for her.”

You have successfully trolled Chu Chuyan for +433 Rage!

Chu Chuyan never would’ve imagined that he would paint such a portrait of her. Upon seeing the weird looks everyone was giving her, for the first time she wanted to kill Zu An as well. However, she knew that the events of the past two days were simply too strange, and he did fulfill all of her criteria. If she had to find another groom, their clan would once more become embroiled in all sorts of intrigue.

And so, she simply sat there with a stony look on her face, not saying a word.

“MILITARY CAMP?!” A look of horror appeared on Springflower’s face. Even for people in her profession, there was a social hierarchy. The highest-level prostitutes were the ‘queen of flowers’, next came the ordinary courtesans, and third was cheaper brothel prostitutes like herself. At the very, very bottom rung, however, were the army whores, most of whom had been assigned this punishment for some infraction.

All the men in the military were thirsty, yet had incredible endurance. There weren’t many women who could endure this sort of treatment, and so it took at most half a year for them to be utterly wrecked. When she thought of the terrifying gossip stories she had heard in the prostitute circle… her face instantly turned ashen white.

Zu An nodded. “Don’t worry, though. These are members of our private army. They’ll take good care of you! They’ve been looking forward to someone fresh.”

Madame Chu was no longer able to contain her rage. “Miscreant, the Chu clan…”

She was about to say that the Chu clan and its army never took part in such shameful deeds, but Springflower had already mentally collapsed. The latter let out a shrill scream and said, “I don’t want to go to an army base! Everything I said just now was a lie! I don’t even know you!”

As she spoke, she began pushing and pulling at the nearby Diao Yang. “Diao Yang, the situation is completely different from what you described to me! SAY SOMETHING! I don’t want to go to the army base!”

Diao Yang’s face turned pale, and he hurriedly kicked her aside. “Don’t try to slander me, you crazy bitch! The Chu clan’s forces are under strict moral supervision. How could we possibly…”

He wanted to continue, but suddenly an enormous burst of power surrounded him and prevented him from saying another word.

Patriarch Chu’s face was as placid as water. He looked at Springflower. “So he asked you to come here and say what you just said?”

Springflower nodded frantically, like a chicken pecking at rice. “He found me and gave me twenty silvers, then said that I’d earn even more after visiting the estate. Since this is a Duke’s estate and everyone in here is a noble, I was sure that if I helped out then I’d earn enough for a lifetime. That’s why I snuck in! Please forgive me, Lord Patriarch!”

Only then did Patriarch Chu release his energy hold on Diao Yang. “Do you have anything to say?”

Diao Yang’s face was ashen. He hurriedly knelt down to beg for mercy. “Please forgive me, Master! I was instructed to do this.”

“Instructed by who?” Patriarch Chu barked.

“I… I don’t know.” Diao Yang swallowed hard, then hurriedly continued, “That person spoke to me from the other side of the wall. He gave me a bribe to do it! I’ve always hated the fact that our young miss ended up marrying someone so useless, so like a fool I agreed. Please show me mercy on behalf of my many years of service, Master!”

Upon hearing his words, Snow finally relaxed her formerly-tight grip on her ponytail.

Patriarch Chu snorted, then waved for him to be removed. He glanced at everyone present with a thunder-like gaze. “Since the situation has been clarified, it is easy to see that Zu An was maligned. Considering that he has already suffered punishment, this matter is at an end. No one is to speak of it in the future. Any objections?”

Chu Tiesheng gently fanned himself, while Chu Yuepo continued to toy with his compass. Neither spoke. Given that right now they had yet to discover the mastermind behind all this, none of them were willing to risk jumping out and attract scrutiny upon themselves.

Zu An let out a long sigh of relief. Finally, its over. However, Madame Chu was still angry. “Are we going to spare him, just like this?”

“Of course not.” Patriarch Chu immediately smiled ingratiatingly. “Zu An has gotten himself involved in all sorts of unsightly affairs. To ensure he doesn’t cause trouble in the future, after he’s recovered from his injuries we’ll punish him by sending him to the Brightmoon Academy to cultiv-…” He wanted to say cultivate, but when he remembered how poor Zu An’s physique was he immediately changed his words. “Ahem, to become a man of learning. That way, he’ll at least be able to assist the clan as an accountant or something.”

“Brightmoon Academy?” Zu An was rather stunned. But, considering that Patriarch Chu was the Duke of Brightmoon City, the Brightmoon Academy was most likely affiliated to their clan.

His main focus right now was on the Rage points he had accumulated. From start to finish, he had accumulated 1646 more Rage points. Time to play the lottery again!

After he was carried back to his room, a red shadow suddenly barged inside just as he was about to begin drawing his prizes.

A wary look appeared on his face when he saw it was the Second Miss of the Chu clan. “Why are you here?” Did she figure out that my wounds are all feigned?

Chu Huanzhao immediately hopped onto the nearby table, then sat down, letting her slender little legs dangle in midair. “I came here to apologize to you.”

“Apologize?” For a second, Zu An didn’t know how to respond.

A rather uncomfortable look appeared on Chu Huanzhao’s face. “Per our wager, I agreed to forget about what happened that night. But, I wasn’t able to protect you today. You even ended up being punished for it.”

Zu An was amused. This little girl has an honest side to her. He was in a rush to play the lottery, so he didn’t have any interest in wasting time with her. He just casually waved his hand. “Oh, whatever. You’re a kid. It’s only normal that you don’t have much say in the family.”

You have successfully trolled Chu Huanzhao for +66 Rage!

Zu An blinked. Only now did he realize that a rather ugly look was on Chu Huanzhao’s face. She let out a snort, then hopped off the table. Before leaving, she said, “In the future, I’ll protect you when you are at the academy. If anyone tries to bully you, just tell’m you are under my care!”

Zu An rolled his eyes behind her back. You’re just a little slip of a girl, but you act like you are the boss woman in charge or something. Besides, he himself was the son-in-law of the estate. After what happened today, no one in the family would dare to bully him for a time.

He cast that all aside for now. After scanning the area and ensuring that no one else was coming, he immediately hopped out of bed. He solemnly washed his hands and his face, then actually pulled out a joss of incense. He lit the incense, then said a prayer: “Buddha, Brahma, Jehova, Allah… any gods that exist, please protect me and ensure I get a nice pull.”

Factoring in the 66 Rage he had just earned from Chu Huanzhao, he now had a total of 1712 Rage points. He summoned the keyboard, selected the ‘Lottery’ button, then carefully pressed ‘Enter’. Light once again began to quickly flash across the numbers on the keyboard.

Thanks for playing!

Thanks for playing!

Thanks for playing!

Oh come ON! Zu An was beyond irritated. Do I have the worst luck in the world, or are the drop rates really that low?

It wasn’t until his thirteenth pull that the light finally escaped from the space bar and instead landed on the number ‘8’. He looked up excitedly. This was a new key; he wondered what it would grant!

A small bottle suddenly appeared before his eyes, filled with some sort of green crystalline liquid. Below as the explanation.

Poison Bottle: This is a thrown weapon. It is capable of causing everyone within a small area to feel numb and powerless. It ignores all defenses for targets below the fifth rank.

This time, Zu An truly was delighted. In any game and any world, defense-bypassing skills and techniques were always overpowered as hell. His only regret was that it only worked against targets below the fifth rank, but for now he probably wouldn’t be so unlucky as to encounter bosses at or above the fifth rank, right?

Aww, hell, I hope I’m not foreshadowing myself.

Now he had yet another trump card up his sleeve. Zu An happily stored the little green bottle into his item bar. His only complaint was that its coloration seemed a bit unlucky. He pulled four more times, but as expected, the only result was ‘thanks for playing’. What a crappy pull rate this thing has.

Still, Zu An was quite happy that it was apparently quite easy for him to earn Rage. The one drawback was the byproduct of earning rage was that he would definitely become hated by everyone. This is a cultivator world. I hope I don’t end up getting offed by a random boss. Mm. I need to pick my targets carefully in the future!

Man, I really wish I was like one of those endgame MC’s who can wipe out entire worlds with a thought. I guess all I can do is keep a lower profile and slowly grind my way up for now.

Suddenly, new messages began to pop up.

You have successfully trolled Qin Wanru for +2 Rage!

+2 Rage! +2 Rage! +2 +2 +2 +2 +2...

A series of flashing messages appeared, causing Zu An to feel a bit stunned. What’s going on with that freebie mother-in-law of mine? How did I piss her off this time?!

***

In another part of the Chu Estate, within Patriarch Chu Zhongtian and his wife Qin Wanru’s private quarters. Qin Wanru was still feeling rather angry. “That bastard really pisses me off! My poor, sweet Yan’er. Her future marital prospects have now come to an end at that fellow’s hands.”

Patriarch Chu hurriedly poured a cup of tea and brought it to his wife. “This was Chuyan’s personal decision.”

Qin Wanru drank the tea in one gulp, still feeling angry. “It was all for the sake of your Chu clan!”

Patriarch Chu smiled awkwardly, then hurriedly changed the subject. “Honestly, right now I’m more concerned about who, exactly, is secretly targeting Zu An.”

Now that they were talking about serious business, Qin Wanru frowned as well. “Agreed. Before this, I didn’t fully believe your suspicions, but the events in the ancestral hall this morning do seem to suggest that someone is secretly targeting him.”

Patriarch Chu nodded. “And why would he, on his wedding night, suddenly run off into Huanzhao’s bed? He might be a little bit of a miscreant at times, but I really don’t think he’s that bold.”

Qin Wanru snorted grumpily. “He seemed quite bold this morning, didn’t he?”

Patriarch Chu said, “And that night, someone knocked Huanzhao out. That’s the only explanation; otherwise, there’s no way she would’ve let him get into her bed. You don’t honestly think he’s capable of that, do you?”

“Honestly, I wouldn’t be half as pissed off as I am right now if he did have that level of talent,” Qin Wanru said angrily. Clearly, she was exceedingly disgruntled by how useless her new son-in-law was.

Patriarch Chu sighed. “There’s something I haven’t had a chance to tell you yet. That same night, our spirit creek was defiled.”

“WHAT?!” Qin Wanru shot up, thunderstruck. Ever since the Chu clan was established, it relied on two primary sources of revenue. The first was the salt trade, while the second was the arms trade. The reason why the Chu clan was so dominant in the arms trade was partially due to their marvelous runic formations, but also because they had a spirit creek which could be used to cleanse and temper weapons. This was why the arms they produced were of a significantly higher quality than those of their competitors.

Every clan had their own runes and formations, after all, and some of them were on par with the Chu clan’s. The spirit creek, however, was exclusive to the Chu clan. It could easily be described as the critical component to the clan’s success in the arms industry.

“You were so furious at what Zu An did that night that I was afraid to tell you.” Patriarch Chu kept a careful eye on his wife’s facial expressions as he continued. “Right now, I suspect that on his wedding night, someone drugged him and put him into Huanzhao’s bed. While almost everyone was distracted by this, they seized the chance to secretly send people to defile our spirit creek.”

Qin Wanru said frantically, “Can the spirit creek be restored?”

Patriarch Chu shook his head. “That person dripped ‘demonspit’ into the spirit creek. It’ll remain defiled for at least twenty years. Thankfully, that person didn’t have a large supply of demonspit; perhaps in a few more decades, the spirit creek will slowly manage to cleanse itself."

“Who knows if the Chu clan will even be around in a few more decades!” Qin Wanru knew that demonspit was the vilest and most toxic substance in this world. If their spirit creek had been polluted by demonspit, then there really was no way to save it for now. “Who do you think carried this out? The Emperor’s faction, or King Qi’s faction?”

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