Zu An’s words left Chu Zhongtian stumped too.
Just how brazen must you be to dare ask for beautiful maids in the presence of your parents-in-law and your wife? Do you think we would send you those to compete with our daughter? There’s no such parents in the world who would do that!
Back then, I wanted a few beautiful maids too, but in the end, aren’t I still single here?
Chu Zhongtian couldn’t help but direct a grudging look toward his wife.
Zu An was shocked by those words too. A furrow gradually formed on his forehead as he asked, “You can’t be so stingy as to shirk compensation after the huge contribution I’ve made for the Chu clan, right?”
“…” Qin Wanru.
Chu Chuyan finally spoke up at this moment, “Do you still not understand the situation yet? We want to know who’s behind you! What’s your purpose of going this far to infiltrate our Chu clan—cough cough!”
Halfway through her words, she suddenly began coughing violently. Chu Zhongtian quickly asked out of concern, “Your injuries seem to be worse than I expected.”
“It isn’t an issue. It won’t get in my way.” Chu Chuyan shook her head before turning her gaze back to Zu An.
“I infiltrated the Chu clan?” replied Zu An subconsciously. “Weren’t you the one who chose me as your drafted son-in-law and brought me in?”
A tinge of redness formed on Chu Chuyan’s face as she explained, “I was just thinking of… choosing an ordinary, unambitious man. I thought that you would fit the criteria. While the world says that you’re inept… I don’t care about all those. But now, I realized that you’ve been keeping me in the dark all along.”
Qin Wanru followed up as well, “Indeed! You went through so much effort to hide your true strength so as to appear harmless before us. Without a doubt, you must be planning something great. On top of that, you were even able to circumvent the background check we conducted. This means that there has to be a greater power assisting you. Speak! Were you sent by the empress’ faction or King Qi’s faction?”
Zu An finally understood why they were so angry at him, and he answered, “Mother-in-law, who do you think I was sent by then?”
“Shut your mouth! Don’t call me mother-in-law!” bellowed Qin Wanru furiously. “It goes without saying that you’re…”
But halfway through her words, she suddenly froze up. She realized that Zu An’s actions didn’t benefit any of the factions she had just listed.
“If I really bear malicious intentions in mind, why would I risk exposing myself in order to help the Chu clan win the Clans Tournament? You should also be aware of the implications behind this tournament too,” added Zu An.
“Hmph! It might be because you weren’t valued by the Chu clan thus far, so you wanted to make a name for yourself to win our favor. At the same time, you would also be able to get together with Chuyan… Cough cough.”
There was no way that she wouldn’t have noticed that her daughter and son-in-law hadn’t been sleeping in the same room.
“Fine, allow me to put it in another way then. If I was from the empress’ faction, why would I get into a conflict with Shi clan, and why would Snow, whom they had slotted by Chuyan’s side, be out for my life then?” said Zu An. “And if I’m from King Qi’s faction… Oh? It does seem like there’s a chance here.”
Qin Wanru sneered coldly, “Nothing more to say, huh?”
However, how could Zu An possibly lose in an argument? He swiftly recovered and thought of an idea, “There’s actually an easy way to prove that I’m not related to King Qi.”
“How do you intend to prove it?” asked Chu Chuyan.
Subconsciously, she hoped that Zu An had nothing to do with all of these powers. She didn’t think that she was really fond of Zu An, just that she had already gotten used to being with him. While he was different from how she thought him out to be, it wouldn’t be easy for her to find someone else at this point.
Zu An pointed to heaven and swore, “How about this? King Qi’s sons will have no buttholes and all of his daughters will become my concubine. Now, you can’t possibly still think that I’m from King Qi’s faction, right?”
Qin Wanru’s body recoiled in horror whereas Chu Chuyan hurriedly averted her embarrassed gaze/
Chu Zhongtian burst out angrily, “How can you say such words out loud! If King Qi hears of that, he’ll have you executed right away!”
Zu An chuckled cheekily in response, “Well, doesn’t that prove that I have no relations with King Qi? You should trust me now, right?”
“Even if you aren’t related to King Qi, there’s no saying that you might still be from the empress’ faction,” said Qin Wanru. “Who knows? You might just be putting on a skit with Shi Kun and the others so as to win our trust.”
“Isn’t that simple to disprove too?” Zu An put his hands up and began swearing once more. “From now on, the empress shall…”
Chu Zhongtian hurriedly reached out to cover Zu An’s mouth. “Enough, enough! You shouldn’t talk about the empress in such a manner even if she can’t hear you. At this rate, it’s only a matter of time that your rotten mouth lands you into deep trouble!”
Zu An scoffed a little upon hearing those words. Sorry to let you down, but I’m counting on this rotten mouth of mine to rise through the ranks.
“Then how do you possess your current level of cultivation?” Chu Chuyan stared at Zu An intently. “Based on what I saw on the dueling ring, you should be at the third rank at the very minimum.”
“Are you surprised to see that your husband isn’t a good-for-nothing contrary to what others say?” Zu An leaned toward Chu Chuyan as he asked with a smile.
Chu Chuyan subconsciously took a step back to widen the distance between them before saying, “I’m more shocked than surprised. You haven’t answered my question yet.”
“Oh.” Zu An pondered for a moment before replying, “Actually, I’ve been talented ever since a young age. It’s just that I don’t like bragging so I’ve been keeping a low profile all this while. That’s why the world misunderstands me… Ah! The common populace simply doesn’t understand prodigies and discriminate against them!”
“Do you take us as fools?” Qin Wanru couldn’t take it anymore. “We did a thorough check on you before accepting you in as our drafted son-in-law. In the past decade, you’re a good-for-nothing from head to toe. Your deceased uncle doesn’t know any cultivation either, so there’s no one around you who you could have possibly learned how to cultivate from.”
“Well, it’s like this. Many years ago, I met an old beggar who was on the verge of starving to death. Out of pity, I gave him a bun, and that made him extremely thankful to me. So, he imparted to me a cultivation technique. I’ve been practicing it diligently since then, and before I knew it, I’ve already reached my current level.” Zu An laughed heartily.
He had seen plenty of martial arts movies in his previous life to know about the plot devices that give rise to the protagonist’s power skips.
“Hah! A cultivator would actually be starving to the point where he needs you to save him?” Qin Wanru totally didn’t believe the story at all. “Are you taking me for a fool?!”
“I mean, cultivators can get into bad positions at times too! God knows what he has been through!” Zu An swiftly supplemented his story.
Qin Wanru and Chu Zhongtian shot a glance at one another before nodding inconspicuously. If Zu An had tried to explain all of the details, they might have doubted him even more. However, Zu An’s vehement and forceful attitude in insisting on his imperfect story somehow made him look much more credible.
“Very well, we’ll believe you for the time being. However…” Qin Wanru’s tone suddenly turned sharp. “… if we were to ever find out that you have been deceiving us, you shouldn’t blame us for getting nasty on you!”
“But what if Chuyan and I already bear grandchildren for you by then? Won’t you be a bit nicer on me on the account of your grandchildren?”
“…” Chu Zhongtian.
“…” Qin Wanru.
Chu Chuyan was both embarrassed yet enraged. “Shut up! Who’s going to bear children with you?!”
Zu An shrugged calmly. “Aren’t we a couple? It’s perfectly normal for us to have children.”
“Pui!” No matter how cold-natured Chu Chuyan was, she was still a young maiden. Zu An’s teasing left her turning her head away in a huff.
This fellow really is too much! Despite being… he still wants to make fun of me!
Chu Zhongtian coughed lightly to alleviate the awkwardness in the room. “So, Zu An…”
But before he could finish his words, Zu An had already interrupted, “Father-in-law, please don’t call me Zu An anymore. Please call me Ah Zu instead.”
“Ah Zu?” Chu Zhongtian was perplexed. “That’s quite a weird nickname you want me to call you by.”
Zu An explained with a smile, “Back at my hometown, Ah Zu is a term used to refer to handsome guys.”
Chu Zhongtian couldn’t help but roll his eyes upon hearing those words. However, knowing that Zu An had a screw loose, he decided against arguing with him. “Ah Zu, you’ve crippled two of the most outstanding juniors in the Yuan clan today. You must make sure to be careful from now on. I’ll also dispatch more experts to protect you as well.”
Qin Wanru added on, “Also, you shouldn’t get too complacent just because you’ve managed to win on the dueling ring earlier today by luck. Your true cultivation is still only at the third rank. If not for Yuan Wendong losing his focus at a crucial moment, the one to be crippled would have been you instead. You should try to keep a lower profile from now on.”
Zu An shrugged helplessly. “There’s nothing I can do about that. Someone as outstanding as me is bound to be in the limelight no matter where I go. Even if I want to keep a low profile, the world doesn’t allow me to do so!”
Unable to stand all the bragging coming from Zu An anymore, Chu Zhongtian and Qin Wanru decisively kicked Zu An out of the room.
Once Zu An left the area, Chu Zhongtian turned to his daughter and asked, “Chuyan, what’s your take on this matter?”
Chu Chuyan pondered with a frown before replying, “I don’t think that he’s a spy sent by the other clans. No one would send someone of his character over to spy on us.”
Thinking about Zu An’s unruly personality, Chu Zhongtian and Qin Wanru agreed deeply with her words.
“No matter what, he’s only a third rank cultivator at the moment. Even if there’s something amiss with him, we still have the means to deal with him,” said Qin Wanru.
Chu Chuyan nodded in agreement too. “I’ll pay closer heed to him in the future.”
Meanwhile, as soon as Zu An left the room, Chu Huanzhao quickly walked up to him together with a group of people. “Brother-in-law, brother-in-law! How is it? Did my parents reward you for your effort or something?”
The others in the crowd also looked at Zu An with heated looks in their eyes. No matter how low Zu An’s position was in the Chu clan previously, he was still its son-in-law. With the merits he had accrued through the tournament today, there was no doubt that he would become deeply favored by the Chu clan from now on.
It was also only then that a severe problem had dawned on Zu An. Wait a moment… Yeah, where is my reward?
He got too caught up in Chu Zhongtian and Qin Wanru’s tempo that he actually forgot about this matter!
“You didn’t receive any rewards?” Noticing how Zu An had gone silent, she immediately felt indignant on his behalf. “How can my parents act like that? My big sister should have spoken up for you!”
“Who says that there’s no reward?” A smile curled on Zu An’s lips. “They have rewarded you to me.”
“Ah?” Chu Huanzhao was stunned for a moment before she finally understood what those words meant. Her face immediately reddened. “Did they really…”
It was then that she noticed the teasing look in Zu An’s eyes and realized that he was making fun of her. She immediately lifted the crutches supporting her body and smacked it down on him. “Stinky brother-in-law, you lied to me! I’ll beat you to death!”
“I’m just joking! Ey, aren’t you injured? How in the world are you able to run that quickly?” Zu An quickly scooted off, and Chu Huanzhao chased him desperately.
The crowd was left staring at one another in bewilderment. The second branch’s Chu Hongcai heaved a deep sigh of relief and said, “That scared me! I thought that uncle really betrothed Huanzhao to him!”
The plump Chu Yucheng’s eyes curled into crescents as he said, “That’s not entirely impossible.”
Chu Hongcai scoffed in response, “What nonsense are you spouting? Just think about what kind of people Chuyan and Huanzhao are? How could the two sisters possibly wait upon the same man, not to mention, Zu An is just a drafted son-in-law!”
Chu Yucheng didn’t bother arguing his point. Instead, he gazed at the two people running around the Chu clan’s courtyard contemplatively. He could tell from Huanzhao’s coy response earlier that she wasn’t averse to the idea at all. On top of that, instead of taking out her Wailing Whip to strike him, she instinctively used her crutches instead.
It looks like our drafted son-in-law is quite an interesting man.
In the midst of fooling around with Chu Huanzhao, he unknowingly returned back to his own residence. As soon as he opened the door, however, he found Old Mi standing right before him, leaving him jolting backward.
For some reason, he simply felt uncomfortable in the old man’s presence.
Chu Huanzhao also noticed that there was a stranger present, and it belatedly dawned on her that it was inappropriate that the second miss of the Chu Estate was actually prancing around with her brother-in-law like that. Her face reddened as she harrumphed. “Hmph! I’ll settle the score with you next time!”
Then, she quickly left the area.
After Chu Huanzhao left, Old Mi turned to look at Zu An and asked coldly, “How did you manage to raise your cultivation that quickly?”