Chapter 232: Pleasant Countenance

Zu An didn’t doubt her words. After all, Mi Li’s powerful aura and her invincible form in the underground palace had made a deep impression on him. In his opinion, what she had described was only proper.

“Let me give it another try.”

Spurred on by his competitive nature, he began to practice the movement technique again.

After countless tries, he almost managed to make a third figure appear. However, each time he got close, his energies would turn chaotic, causing him to trip over himself and fall miserably. 

After one final, unsuccessful try, he climbed back to his feet with a long sigh. “It seems I can’t compare to big sis empress after all. I’ll have to keep up my earnest practice if I want to be like big sis and make four copies.”

“Honestly, you’ve already done quite well. Practice earnestly and you will slowly improve.” Mi Li encouraged him the way a wise senior would, but inside, she was pretty shaken up.

Transcendent-class aptitude really is worthy of its legendary reputation! Not only does his blood essence possess extraordinary effects, he also learns things far faster than ordinary people.

Her own aptitude already far surpassed others. Back then, her feat of producing two copies after just a month of training had already stunned countless people. And yet, this freak had actually succeeded after listening to her describe it once!

Excessively comparing oneself to others could really anger one to death. 

Despite her feelings, his dispirited expression made her worry that her mischaracterization of her success would affect his mentality and hinder his cultivation. Therefore, she had immediately tried to lift his spirits and bring him back to the right path. 

Zu An seemed relieved at her words. “By the way, big sis empress, what do you call this movement technique?”

Mi Li shook her head. “There are many things that would only bring you more harm than good if you learn of them too soon. Wait until you can make nine clones before asking me again. Since this technique is still integrated into your Sunflower Phantasm, you can just continue calling it the Sunflower Phantasm.”

“Forget it, then.” Zu An was slightly disappointed. The name ‘Sunflower Phantasm’ gave him some anxiety. It brought up the image of Old Mi, which made him feel deeply uncomfortable. He would much rather look at this pretty empress’ body instead. 

Sigh… I really care too much about outward attractiveness. That Old Mi actually treats me quite well, even though his motives are a bit strange...

*Knock knock, knock knock…*

Someone was knocking excitedly on his door.

“Young master, young master, Master invited Divine Physician Ji over!” Cheng Shouping’s unique voice came loudly through the door.

“I’m going into hibernation for a bit, and it will most likely be some time before I wake up again. The ‘Red Tears of Lady Xiang’ poison has already affected my soul, so I have to concentrate on neutralizing its effects.” Mi Li’s beautiful eyes gazed deeply into his. “Remember, if you want to become strong, you can never subconsciously rely on someone else. In the end, you have to face all challenges and dangers alone.”

“When will we meet again?” Zu An had begun to mock her inwardly. If you were so worried about the poison, why did you still waste so much time watching me suffer earlier? However, when it struck him that he wouldn’t be able to see her again for a long time, he immediately felt regretful.

“That’s hard to say. Perhaps a few months, perhaps a few years.” Mi Li’s fierce expression mellowed as well. “You must take care of yourself during this period. Don’t go courting disaster. The movement technique I taught you should be more than enough for you to take care of yourself.”

“Hahaha, do I really look like someone who’ll court disaster?” Zu An patted his own chest to reassure her.

Mi Li only blinked at him.

Why did she feel like this brat’s words weren’t at all reliable?

Mi Li sniffed lightly. “I hope you keep your word. Otherwise, it’ll be one corpse but two lives.”

With a flicker of flowing light, she disappeared into the Tai’e Sword.

“Young master, young master!” Cheng Shouping’s knocking grew louder and more insistent.

Zu An put away the Tai’e Sword. When he opened the door, a figure immediately tumbled into his embrace.

With his hand pressed against those two hair buns, Zu An issued a stern warning. “Don’t touch me!”

“What…” Cheng Shouping backed up slightly, a hurt look on his face. “Young master, do you not dote on me anymore?”

Zu An resisted the urge to slap him.

“You had better stop using those weird words with me. This young master is a straight man through and through.” Zu An’s expression grew uglier by the second. “You don’t have a thing for my body, right?”

Cheng Shouping giggled and said, “It’s a pity that this humble one isn’t a girl, or else I’ll definitely keep young master company every day.”

Zu An snorted at his wanton flattery. “What did you come yelling about so early in the morning for? What does Divine Physician Ji’s arrival have to do with me?”

Cheng Shouping shuffled over, lowered his voice and said, “Young master, don’t you want to pay the young miss a visit to express your concern? After all, the first miss is the one Master and Madam loves most dearly. For better or for worse, if young master plays his part well, Master and Madam might just pair you with the second miss out of a moment of happiness.”

Zu An let out a resigned sigh. “The Chu clan is truly blessed to have a servant like you!”

“Young master is too kind with your praise.” Cheng Shouping rested his chin on his balled-up fists, a happy expression on his face.

All jokes aside, Zu An figured that it would be good to take a look, whether it was out of affection or for any other reason. While he knew that there would be no complications as long as Chu Chuyan underwent his acupuncture treatment each day, Qin Wanru was not privy to that information.

Given Qin Wanru’s lack of fondness for him, he knew that, if he didn’t head over, this would be yet another reason for her to yell his ears off. 

Zu An arrived outside Chu Chuyan’s residence. After the previous night’s disturbance, the security along the way was much more strict.

The residence itself was lightly guarded. It was clear that Madam didn’t want news of Chu Chuyan’s state to leak out.

Two other people were waiting at the entrance. One of them had huge bags under his eyes that any master of time management would be proud of, and the other was elegant and polished, but stout. These were none other than Chu Tiesheng and Chu Yuepo, of the Chu clan’s second and third branches respectively.

“I pay my respects to second and third uncles.” Zu An clasped his fist in formal greeting. Even though, back in the ancestral hall, these two had kicked him while he was down, etiquette still had to be maintained.

Chu Tiesheng acknowledged him with an indifferent grunt. On the contrary, Chu Yuepo was much more cordial, his chubby face full of smiles. “Ah, so it’s little An…”

Before he could finish, Zu An interrupted, “Please call me Ah Zu.”

“Ahem…” Chu Yuepo was momentarily startled, but recovered quickly. “Ah Zu, what exactly happened to Chu Chuyan? Why was there a sudden need to invite Divine Physician Ji over?”

Zu An’s heart skipped a beat. He hadn’t expected Qin Wanru to hide the truth even from the two of them. In that case, he was clearly not dumb enough to reveal it. “I don’t really know either.”

“How could you not know? Aren’t you two husband and wife? Since both of you came out of the dungeon together not too long ago, you should at least know something.” Chu Yuepo pulled him to one side. Even Chu Tiesheng pricked up his ears.

Before Zu An had time to reply, a gentle voice called him from not too far away. “Ah Zu, you’ve arrived! Hurry up and come inside.”

The three of them turned towards the sound of the voice, and saw a graceful and beautiful woman walk out from the residence. Who else could this be but Qin Wanru?

“I pay my respects to Madam.” Zu An was slightly overwhelmed by her sudden kindness. He had never seen Qin Wanru treat him so pleasantly before.

An abnormal glint flashed across Chu Tiesheng’s previously-listless eyes as he caught sight of Qin Wanru’s wonderful figure, but he concealed it instantly. He walked over to her in a leisurely manner and said, “Sister-in-law, what exactly happened? Why can’t we enter?”

“Exactly,” Chu Yuepo echoed. “We received news that Chuyan had fallen ill so we came to take a look, yet the guards outside the gates wouldn’t even let us in.”

Qin Wanru smiled faintly. “I was the one who ordered that no one be allowed inside. Chuyan is experiencing some feminine ailments, and it isn’t appropriate for others to visit her.”

These words stopped them from persisting further. They took out some ancient medicinal mushrooms and offered them to her. “Since the two of us can’t help personally, the best we can do is offer these to speed Chuyan’s recovery.”

Qin Wanru bowed slightly, and gave Zu An a sharp look. “Many thanks to you both. Ah Zu, why aren’t you receiving them?”

With a start, Zu An hurriedly collected their offerings and thanked them.

“I must ask brother-in-laws to take their leave. Chuyan isn’t suffering from anything serious, and we have Divine Physician Ji with us.” Qin Wanru’s dignified and graceful appearance soothed their hearts, as if they had been caressed by a cool autumn breeze. As expected of a duchess, they thought.

Zu An scoffed inside. Why do you always show me a completely different side?

After sending the two of them off, Qin Wanru brought Zu An into the residence.

Zu An followed behind her, admiring her swaying figure. He contemplated making Chu Chuyan eat a little more, just so she could also develop this type of feminine charm.

Just then, he heard Qin Wanru’s ice-cold voice right next to his ears. “You didn’t say anything unnecessary to them just now, did you?”

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