Chapter 33: Hong Yuan

Chapter 33: Hong Yuan

Mei Chaofeng laughed heartily upon hearing the news. “What did I tell you earlier? There’s no way a mere Tan Wei could have been Twelve’s match.”

His arrogant laughter was mixed with muffled weeping sounds coming from beneath the table. Without any hesitation, he sent a slap over. “What are you crying for? Now that Tan Wei is dead, you’ll be following me from now on. I guarantee you that you’ll have a much better life than before!”

Plum Blossom Thirteen gulped down his saliva. I think I better marry an ugly wife in the future just to be safe. If I really want to have pretty ladies, I can just head out to find them on the streets.

“Report!” Another flustered sect member arrived at the entrance of the study room. “Sect master, we have found traces of Lord Twelve’s clothes in the vicinity of the Wolf Valley. It’s stained with blood.”

“What?!” The agitated Mei Chaofeng rose to his feet and slammed his palm on the table.

Plum Blossom Thirteen subconsciously averted his eyes. The sight before him was simply a little too jarring.

Mei Chaofeng immediately pulled up his pants and walked over to the doorway. He snatched over the tattered bloodied fabric from the hands of the sect member and examined it closely. There were bits of an incomplete embroidery of the word ‘Twelve’. “It really belongs to Twelve!”

“The culprit must be Zu An! I’ll kill him right now!” Plum Blossom Thirteen bellowed in rage. He grabbed his dagger as he began rushing out of the room.

“Nonsense! No matter how useless and trashy that fellow is, he’s still the son-in-law of the Chu clan in name. Do you not want your life anymore, killing him in the city?” Mei Chaofeng glared at Plum Blossom Thirteen coldly. “Besides, how could Twelve possibly get done in by that trash?”

Plum Blossom Thirteen regained his composure after hearing those words. No matter how little the Chu clan thought of this son-in-law of theirs, if he were to publicly kill Zu An in the city, they would still exact vengeance in order to uphold the reputation and honor of the Chu clan.

And the Chu clan’s vengeance wouldn’t just stop at Plum Blossom Thirteen. It would likely implicate the entire Plum Blossom Sect too.

That was also the reason why Plum Blossom Twelve initially duped Zu An out to the suburbs and tied him onto a tree to get him struck by lightning. It was a perfect plan, but who could have thought that Zu An would be so lucky as to survive that ordeal?

All of a sudden, Plum Blossom Thirteen thought of a possibility. “Godfather, could it be possible that Zu An has been feigning weak all this while? Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense why the First Miss of the Chu clan would be interested in useless trash like him.”

Mei Chaofeng waved his hand in denial. “Impossible. I have insider news that that fellow is utter trash from head-to-toe. As for why the First Miss of the Chu clan chose him as her husband, there’s a complicated reason behind that which can’t be explained concisely.”

“If he wasn’t the culprit, that leaves only one last possibility,” Plum Blossom Thirteen said deeply.

“When in the world did you catch the bad habit of halting your sentence halfway? Hurry up and spit out whatever you want to say!” Mei Chaofeng hollered impatiently.

Plum Blossom Thirteen hurriedly replied, “I think that Zu An might have powerful experts guarding him by his side. It’s too much of a coincidence for him to survive the lightning strike a few days ago and overcome Twelve’s assassination this time around. There must be an expert helping him from the shadows!”

“An expert helping him?” Mei Chaofeng frowned. “That’s impossible. You should have seen that useless trash’s information. There’s no way he could be acquainted with any experts.”

“But earlier today, I saw him together with someone in the academy…” Plum Blossom Thirteen leaned closer to Mei Chaofeng’s side and told him about the woman he had encountered in the academy earlier on.

“You did well. While Shang Liuyu isn’t known for her cultivation, she has the academy behind her back. Furthermore, that woman is an enigmatic one, so it’s best not to cross her wherever possible.” Mei Chaofeng pondered for a moment before shaking his head. “However, based on her personality, it’s unlikely for her to get involved in this kind of matter.”

“If it isn’t from the academy, could it be that the Chu clan has assigned a guard to protect him?” Plum Blossom Thirteen asked.

“It’s a waste of resources to protect useless trash.” Mei Chaofeng harrumphed. “But what you have just said isn’t entirely possible. The Chu clan might have assigned someone to protect him secretly. I’ll find some time to ask the client about this. Before then, we have to make sure to proceed carefully. We need to kill him using our wits, not force.”

Plum Blossom Thirteen smiled sinisterly as he took out a debt note. “I thought that this was useless, but who could have thought that it’d play a crucial role in our mission? I’ve already issued him an ultimatum. If he doesn’t fork out the money within three days, even the Jade Emperor won’t be able to stop us from chopping away his hands!”

Mei Chaofeng found his mood lifting in an instant. “As expected of someone whom I groomed with my own hands. You did well! The Chu clan has strict rules that forbid any of their clan members from gambling. I reckon that Chu Zhongtian wouldn’t stand up for that useless son-in-law for a matter like this!”

Oblivious to all of the scheming occurring behind his back, Zu An had finally arrived at the Yu clan’s villa after asking a few passers-by for directions.

In terms of scale and magnificence, it paled slightly in comparison to the Chu Estate. However, it had a serene and peaceful environment that the Chu Estate couldn’t compete with.

“Is Second Old Master Jian in?” Zu An approached the guards by the entrance and enquired.

He had already looked into it beforehand. Yu Yanluo’s husband, the Cloudmidst Duke, went by the surname of ‘Jian’. Naturally, the brother-in-law who journeyed into the valley back then to fetch Yu Yanluo also bore the ‘Jian’ surname.

“Who are you?” The guard assessed Zu An warily.

Zu An tossed a piece of silver crumb over. This was one of the loots he had obtained from Plum Blossom Twelve.

The guard’s expression clearly became gentler upon receiving the silver crumb, and a slight smile formed on his previously austere face. He leaned in closer and replied, “The Second Old Master is out at the moment. He isn’t in the villa.”

Zu An heaved a sigh of relief. It was clear to him that there was internal strife within the Yu clan, and the Second Old Master Jian appeared to be on bad terms with Yu Yanluo. What if his act of saving Yu Yanluo had actually foiled Second Old Master Jian’s plan? If so, by visiting this place, he would be walking into the other party’s trap.

So, the first thing he did was to check if Second Old Master Jian was in. Upon learning that he wasn’t around, he heaved a sigh of relief before continuing on, “I wish to meet your Madame.”

The guard was amused. “There are plenty of men in the world who wish to meet our Madame. I’m afraid that this bit of money isn’t enough.”

Instead of wasting his words on the guard, Zu An took out the jade token he had obtained from Yu Yanluo. “Do you recognize this? I am a friend of your Madame. Relay my presence to her, and I’m certain that she’ll meet me.”

Seeing the huge ‘Yu’ word inscribed on the jade token, the pupils of the guard dilated in astonishment. “My apologies for failing to recognize an esteemed guest! Milord, how should I address you?”

Zu An replied impatiently, “Don’t bother with unimportant matters. Hurry up and report my presence!” It went without saying that he wouldn’t be so foolish as to leave behind any information for Second Old Master Jian to look into his identity.

“Unfortunately, our Madame has gone to the neighboring commandery to handle some affairs,” the guard replied bitterly.

Zu An was stunned. “When will she return?”

“It’ll take at least ten days to half a month,” the guard replied.

With a ‘What a waste of my time’ look on his face, Zu An turned around and left the area. He felt a little vexed to hear that Yu Yanluo was actually not around. Could it be that she was hiding from him so as to avoid paying the compensation?

As Zu An walked away, he suddenly realized something. He quickly returned to the entrance of the villa and stretched his hand out demandingly. “Return me my silver crumb!”

The guard looked as if he had eaten a fly. How can there be such a stingy person in the world? To actually take back the money you have already given out! Had it been anyone else, the guard would have surely paid him no heed. However, this man was likely the Madame’s friend, so the guard didn’t dare to offend him. He could only unwillingly give the silver crumb back.

You have successfully trolled a guard for +66 Rage!

So few Rage points… It’s no wonder why you don’t even deserve to have a name! One must know that Zu An was someone who had once collected over 20,000 Rage points. He felt that it was almost beneath him to collect such pocket change.

After leaving the Yu clan, Zu An spent some time strolling around Brightmoon City to familiarize himself with the surroundings. Good decisions could only be made with a good understanding of the context, and he knew that his knowledge of his surroundings was too limited.

He spent half a day observing his surroundings carefully while walking through the streets and the alleys. Through his effort, he managed to gain a rough understanding of the layout of Brightmoon City and the locations of some major facilities. At the very least, he wasn’t utterly ignorant anymore.

The sky soon darkened. Zu An thought that it was about time, so he returned back to the Chu Estate.

He asked the servants and found out that Chu Chuyan wasn’t back yet. From the looks of it, it didn’t seem like she would be returning anytime soon. This left him feeling a little distressed.

He was initially planning on borrowing some money from her to tide through this crisis. After all, she was quite forthright in lending him 300 silver taels back at the ancestral hall.

Don’t I feel embarrassed asking money from a woman, you might ask? Impossible! A ladymooch should have some self-awareness of his own position. Since I received so much scorn and disdain by becoming the drafted son-in-law of the Chu clan, it’s only natural that I should enjoy the privileges that come with it!

In truth, when Zu An watched the National Geographic Channel in his previous life, he was really envious of those male lions on the grasslands of the African Continent. Other than fighting one another from time to time, they barely needed to do anything at all. They could count on the huge harem of lionesses behind them to hunt for them while they idled in their den.

Alright, I’ve made up my mind. I can’t just be content with mooching off the Chu clan; I need to be more ambitious than that. I shall become the Moochlord of this world!

However, when Zu An thought about that disappointing little brother of his below, tears of bitterness began flowing from his cheeks.

“Why are you crying?” an old voice suddenly sounded from behind.

Zu An jolted in shock. He turned around and saw Old Mi standing by the doorway. “Are you a ghost? Do you not make a sound when you walk?”

Old Mi ignored Zu An’s questions and, instead, posed one of his own, “You just returned from the academy?”

“Yeah.” Zu An replied. I’m not really lying anyway. I did go to the academy earlier in the day; it’s just that I left right away.

“Did you meet Wei Hongde?” The hunched over Old Mi looked at Zu An as he patiently waited for a response.

Zu An replied, “It was my first time there today. I couldn’t find him.”

Old Mi nodded in response before reminding him, “You need to hurry up.”

“Got it!” Zu An felt a little embarrassed about this matter. He reminded himself to look into that fellow so that he could at least be accountable to Old Mi for this.

“Alright. You should take a rest,” Old Mi said before he turned around and left the room.

It was then that a fiery red figure suddenly rushed in like a fire spirit. “Oi, Zu An! Why didn’t I see you in the academy today?”

Needless to say, it was the Second Miss of the Chu clan, Chu Huanzhao.

Hearing those words, Old Mi immediately turned around to eye Zu An intently.

“Where did your manners go? You should be calling me brother-in-law instead!” Zu An’s heart skipped a beat, but he put on his bravado and glared back at Chu Huanzhao.

You have successfully trolled Chu Huanzhao for +24 Rage!

Chu Huanzhao was going to blow her top, but she suddenly remembered the bet they had with one another that night. In the end, she could only reluctantly obey him. “B-brother-in-law, why didn’t I see you in the academy today?”

Noticing the look Old Mi was shooting at him, Zu An laughed sheepishly. “The academy is that big. It’s only normal that you aren’t able to find me.”

Chu Huanzhao shook his head. “That’s not right. I searched all of the first grade classes, but I couldn’t find you. You can’t possibly have been assigned to the higher grades when you have just joined the academy, right?”

You have successfully trolled Mi Lianying for +99 Rage!

From the sharp glare that Old Mi was directing toward him, It was clear that he had already figured out the truth. Zu An couldn’t help but worry that he was going to get beaten up very soon. At this tense moment, yet another figure barged into the room.

“Damn you, Zu An! We were kind enough to send you to the academy so that you can get yourself educated, but you actually dared to play truant!”

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