Chapter 257: All Ulterior Motives Ruined

Zu An hadn’t expected Qiu Honglei to flee just like that, either. However, her strength was formidable, even exceeding his raw strength without the effects of the Phoenix Nirvana Sutra.

Caught off guard like this, he was unceremoniously dragged into the water after her.

As soon as they entered the water, Qiu Honglei’s waist moved like a mermaid’s. Her legs swayed gently, swiftly propelling the two of them far away.

Worried that the bandits of the Blackwind Stockade might notice them, she pulled Zu An deeper into the water, staying away from the surface of the river.

Sure enough, the other Blackwind Stockade members who were searching for them on the water’s surface quickly lost track of them.

Zu An was dejected inside. Sis, could you have at least told me to prepare myself? Also, if I had stayed behind and worked with Pei Mianman, we should have been able to beat that Chen Xuan.

However, as soon as he opened his mouth, everything became gurgle… gurgle gurgle…

I’m done for. Am I going to end up like Snow did?

Even though he knew how to swim, he had never tried freediving for long periods before. Not only that, he hadn’t been mentally prepared for this. If he’d at least taken a full breath beforehand, he wouldn’t have been in such a sorry state.

Noticing his choking and struggling, Qiu Honglei gently swam over to him. Pressing her lips against his, she gave him a mouthful of air.

Zu An’s eyes immediately grew wide as dinner plates. He had seen scenes like that before in TV dramas! Back then, he had even complained that this was unrealistic. Who knew that he would personally experience it one day?

As the air flowed from her lungs into his,  Zu An’s panicked struggling gradually stopped.

His hands automatically moved to encircle her waist and bottom, and he could feel the other party’s exquisite figure under his fingers. His resentment of her instantly vanished without a trace.

I want more of this!

When she sensed his movements, Qiu Honglei gently pushed him aside. She glared angrily at him, then began to swim towards the riverbank.

They continued on for a while before Zu An began to flop around again. He continuously pointed at his mouth, frantically gesturing that he needed air.

Even in the dim lighting underwater, he could see Qiu Honglei’s face turn red. Resolutely ignoring him, she picked up her pace. 

Finally, the two of them broke the surface. Zu An greedily sucked in large gulps of air, as if he had just been born.

Qiu Honglei had a slightly apologetic look on her face. “Are you all right?” she asked in concern.

“You still have the nerve to ask me this?!” Zu An’s voice was loud and indignant. “I was gesturing madly at you for help, but you completely ignored me!”

Droplets of water slid down Qiu Honglei’s face, her face reddening. “It’s your fault for being up to no good.”

“Is instinctively hugging you considered as being up to no good? I didn’t even stick out my tongue!” Zu An said resentfully.

Qiu Honglei was speechless.

Honestly, she felt slightly regretful. Did she sacrifice too much for the sake of completing the mission?

However, if she hadn’t given him some air just now, he might have already drowned.

After Zu An had vented his frustrations, he hurriedly turned to look into the distance. Flashes of light burst out from the centre of the river, lighting up the night sky and illuminating the two darting figures tangling with each other.

Hm? Was Pei Mianman hiding her strength before? Is she actually strong enough to fight on equal footing with Chen Xuan?

As if she had read his mind, Qiu Honglei’s scarlet lips parted slightly. “Don’t worry, that girl wields the flame element, while Chen Xuan uses the metal element. Fire subdues metal, so she has a natural advantage.”

Zu An relaxed slightly, but still couldn’t help but remark, “Even if she has a natural advantage, that Chen Xuan’s strength is still at the sixth rank. Moreover, they are in the middle of a river, which is unfavorable to a fire element cultivator. That friend of mine is still in danger!”

“This is still the wealthy district of Brightmoon City. The City Defense Army will surely dispatch soldiers here to investigate such a huge disturbance. That Chen Xuan won’t dare stay for too long.” Qiu Honglei observed with a tight smile, “It seems like young master and that friend share more than just a passing friendship. She risked danger in order to save you, and you have been worried about her safety all this time.”

Zu An smiled faintly. “If the lady is in danger, I will also be worried.”

Qiu Honglei puffed out her cheeks indignantly. “I had pegged the young master as an honest and sincere person. However, it seems that you’re just another smooth talker with a slick tongue.”

There really is more to this fellow than meets the eye! Even a woman with such beauty and strength showed up to help him… it seems like I am not the only one who has noticed him.

“I’ll have to disagree with you here.” Zu An’s tone was deadly serious. “You said that I have a slick tongue, but when we kissed just now, there were no tongues involved at all. It’s not as if either of us had the chance to feel the other’s tongue,” he corrected earnestly.

Qiu Honglei was, yet again, at a loss for words.

In all her years in the Immortal Abode, she had always been the one who teased other men. She had never expected to be left so speechless today.

She gave him a level look instead. Not deigning to reply to him, she instead began to climb ashore.

The water had hidden her body from his sight earlier. Now that she left the water, endless droplets of water slid down her bare skin, tracing an exquisite figure. Every inch of her body offered up endless temptation.

Zu An felt his nose becoming warm. He discreetly brushed it, and was glad that his nose wasn’t bleeding. It would have been too embarrassing otherwise.

“Young master, please hurry ashore… ah!” Qiu Honglei had just turned around to help him up when she suddenly noticed his expression. Lowering her head, she realized what he was looking at. She yelped in alarm, and hurriedly covered her chest with her arms.

Zu An’s face reddened. He didn’t know what to say either. He clambered ashore with a guilty conscience.

To cover his embarrassment, Zu An said, “I’ll escort the lady back to the Immortal Abode first, so that you can change your clothes.”

He hadn’t expected that Qiu Honglei would shake her head. She said in a somewhat troubled manner, “How many prying eyes are there in the Immortal Abode? My current appearance will surely cause a huge disaster.”

Zu An was stunned. “Then what do we do?”

Qiu Honglei bit her lips coyly and said, “It might be better to go to young master’s home instead. I could borrow some of your clothes once we get there.”

This right here is the textbook example of seduction!

Qiu Honglei’s exceptional appearance, the emotions that were on display, the situation that they were in, filled with suggestive connotations… surely no man in the world could refuse such a request, could they?

It was a pity, then, that Zu An wasn’t an ordinary man. He refused. “This place is too far from the Chu Estate, and the chances of being discovered by others there are also quite high. I believe you should also be familiar with my standing in the Chu clan, and so it’s obvious why it isn’t a good idea to bring you back with me.”

“You are the respected young master of the Chu clan young master. Can’t you bring home even a single guest?” Qiu Honglei smiled faintly. This was exactly the type of situation she’d hoped to engineer. She wanted him to realize just how unfavorable his current position in the Chu clan was. The dissatisfaction he felt would surely spur his desire to climb up the Chu clan ladder. Things would then proceed smoothly according to her tempo.

Zu An rolled his eyes. Do you consider yourself a normal guest? You are the most famous courtesan queen in all of Brightmoon City! If I even thought of bringing you back with me, if Madam didn’t blow her top, even lil’ Huanzhao might stop talking to me.

Besides, this girl’s background is questionable, and her motives are impure. On top of that, Chuyan’s condition is still poor. Bringing this girl back really isn’t a sensible choice.

He ignored her attempts at manipulation and said, “How about this? Why don’t the two of us just get a room?”

“Get a room? What does that mean?” Qiu Honglei was confused.

“It’s the same as finding a room in an inn. I’ll find you a set of clothes for you to change into.” Zu An explained, his expression completely earnest.

“I think I’ll pass. I can’t help but feel like you’re suggesting something fishy,” Qiu Honglei said with a smile.

Just then, a clamor approached them from a distance away, and soon, a group of people rushed over with torches in hand.

Qiu Honglei gave them a look, hesitation arising in her heart. “These seem to be people from the Immortal Abode.” 

“Perfect! I would be perfectly at ease if you went back with them,” Zu An said with a smile.

“But I don’t want anyone other than young master to see my current appearance!” Qiu Honglei looked at him with large and pitiful eyes.

Zu An inwardly praised her formidable powers. This woman really didn’t let a single opportunity to tempt him go! She was a true queen of this field!

He removed his outer robe and wrapped it around her. His nostrils were filled with her enchanting fragrance as he stepped closer to her. “This should be enough.” 

His jacket was extremely long, and he was also taller than her to begin with. It was more than enough to completely conceal her figure from any impure eyes.

Qiu Honglei tightened the robe around her with a conflicted expression. “Does young master know how much of a commotion my current appearance will create?” she asked.

Zu An chuckled. “Weren’t you already planning to become my concubine? This would be the perfect chance for you to proclaim that you are already taken. Wouldn’t that do?” he replied.

Qiu Honglei stared blankly at him. She hadn’t expected the other party to throw her schemes right back at her. She couldn’t find a fitting response.

“I’ll be taking my leave!” Zu An waved a hand in farewell. Only when she had brought up the Chu clan did he suddenly remember that the frost afflicting Chu Chuyan had to be personally adjusted every day. These first few days were vital. If she missed a single treatment, the frost could easily flare up again and cause even more harm.

As such, his heart had been set on speeding home immediately.

Sensing his hurry to leave, Qiu Honglei tried one last time to stop him. “Ah Zu~”

Zu An had just begun to leave. Hearing her calling after him, he stopped and turned back around. “What’s wrong?”

Qiu Honglei’s expression was full of wounded indignation. “Do you hate me? Why are you in such a rush to leave?”

“I have something urgent to take care of. I’ll meet with the lady again another time!” Zu An waved a hand in farewell, and his figure slowly disappeared under the night sky.

...

Brothel Keeper Hua rushed over her with a large contingent of guards. “Honglei, are you all right?”

“I’m fine.” Qiu Honglei shook her head absentmindedly, her gaze still lingering in the direction Zu An had disappeared off to.

Hua Weimian wanted to say something else, but when she saw Qiu Honglei wrapped in a man’s robe, her expression grew serious. She immediately shouted out orders to her guards. “All of you are not permitted to speak about today’s matters to anyone. If I hear even a single rumor, I won’t care who it was that leaked it. All of you will be beaten to death!”

The guards’ hearts were chilled by her pronouncement. They immediately nodded in acknowledgment.

They had come ashore not far from the Immortal Abode. The group of them swiftly escorted Qiu Honglei back to the establishment.

When she returned to her room, a maid had already prepared a tub of warm water. Qiu Honglei removed her drenched jacket, revealing a stunning figure that would make any man go crazy. She slowly entered the bathtub.

As she soaked herself in the warm water, she reached out a smooth, snow-white arm. Zu An’s robe, which had been hanging on the screen, flew into her hands. She rifled through the pockets, then snorted. “That fellow really is a miser. He didn’t even bring a single banknote with him.”

Even though she didn’t find any bank notes, she did find a pretty conch.

“Eh~” With her knowledge, she naturally knew that this thing could store music.

She fiddled with it and the classic God of Gambling BGM blared out!

Qiu Honglei felt her heart start to race passionately. It was only a long time later that she finally let out a long sigh. “Stinky Ah Zu, how could you still insist that you didn’t create that ‘Smiling, Proud Wanderer’? You really love lying.”

Suddenly, a slight sound came from outside the window.

Qiu Honglei’s relaxed expression vanished. Getting up, she hurriedly covered her body with Zu An’s robe. She glared fiercely at the figure on the other side of the screen. “Who told you to come in?”

“I only came out of worry for junior sister’s safety… I didn’t expect you to be bathing.” it was the sound of Gu Yueyi’s voice. Despite his words, he showed no signs of halting. Even the sound of him swallowing could be heard.

Qiu Honglei’s expression grew cold. With a movement of her hand, a delicate bamboo pole with a small and exquisite lantern on one end appeared out of thin air. Bathed in the bright yellow light of the lantern, Gu Yueyi discovered in alarm that he couldn’t move at all.

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