Chapter 34: Infiltration

Chapter 34: Infiltration

The voice resounded loudly even before the person herself was present. It was no other than the matriarch of the Chu clan, Qin Wanru! As soon as she stepped into the room, she directed eyes blazing with fury toward Zu An.

You have successfully trolled Qin Wanru for +478 Rage!

Zu An’s heart nearly leaped out of his chest from fright. How did she know that I played truant so quickly? But when he noticed Cheng Shouping hiding meekly behind her, he suddenly felt his blood gushing into his head out of anger.

This dog bastard! He sure knows how to tell on others!

“I don’t want to go to the academy.” Faced with Qin Wanru’s killer glare, Zu An could only buck up his courage and speak up for himself. If he wanted any rights in the Chu clan, he would have to make sure to fight for it… even if it was an impossible battle.

“This is not up to you to decide!” Qin Wanru bellowed with an utterly chilling face. “You better be there tomorrow. I’ll send someone to watch you by your side. If you dare to pull anything again, don’t blame me for getting nasty!”

With a cold harrumph, Qin Wanru turned around and stomped out of the room. Maybe it was because she felt too infuriated to let things rest so easily, she turned back after a few steps and ordered, “Go to the Reflection Room and copy our Chu clan’s family rules a hundred times. I’ll check on it, so you better make sure that you don’t miss out on even a single word!”

“Family rules?” Zu An’s face immediately darkened. He never thought that the usual scene he saw in historical dramas in his previous life would actually happen to him too!

Meanwhile, Cheng Shouping giggled secretly by the back, rejoicing over Zu An’s bad luck. However, Qin Wanru caught sight of his actions and harrumphed coldly. “You have failed in your duties by allowing your master to play truant, yet you don’t seem to be reflecting on your actions at all. Since that’s the case, I shall have you copy the family rules together with him!”

Cheng Shouping: “???”

He felt wrongfully implicated in this matter. He was supposed to be just an onlooker here!

Chu Huanzhao stuck out her tongue at Zu An before running over to her mother’s side. She pulled her mother’s arm and said, “Mother, I reckon that my brother-in-law is just having difficulties trying to adapt to the academy. Give it a few days, and he’ll do better by then.”

“What did you call him?” Qin Wanru’s frown emerged once more.

“B-brother-in-law…” Chu Huanzhao’s face reddened. She was embarrassed because it was unseemly for her to have lost a bet against Zu An.

“How can this useless fellow be worthy of being your brother-in-law? You aren’t to call him like that anymore, got it?” Qin Wanru glared at her daughter. She was already very frustrated right now, but her daughter was only vexing her more.

“Orh~” Chu Huanzhao pulled a face at Zu An, as if saying that it wasn’t that she didn’t want to acknowledge the bet they made. It was her mother’s edict that she had no choice but to go against that bet.

Qin Wanru pulled her daughter out of the room together with her. “Come with me. Make sure not to hang out with people like that in the future. You’ll only be led astray.”

Watching the departing Madame Chu, Zu An simply couldn’t understand why that tigress allowed Chu Chuyan to bring him into the Chu clan when she was so displeased with him. Judging by her ferocity, it was no wonder why Chu Zhongtian had never taken in any concubines over the years. He was starting to feel sympathy for his father-in-law for having to spend his life with a tigress.

At the same time, he wondered if Ji Dengtu had a masochistic streak in him. Just what in the world was he thinking to actually be interested in such a woman?

It was then that Old Mi’s voice snapped him out of his thoughts. “If you continue playing truant tomorrow, I’ll break your legs.” After saying his piece, he left the room too.

Those words really gave Zu An the fright of his life. Old Mi’s tone was so livid that he had no difficulty believing that Old Mi would really carry out his words.

Once everyone was gone, Cheng Shouping immediately began hollering, “That old man must be out of his mind! How dare a mere gardener threaten our young master? Young master, you need not worry. I’ll report this matter to the Madame right away and have her teach Old Mi a lesson right away!”

Just as Cheng Shouping was about to make his escape, Zu An grabbed him by his collar and dragged him back into the room. “Looks like you’re quite accustomed to making little reports to my mother-in-law, huh?”

Cheng Shouping immediately kneeled down and hugged Zu An’s thighs. “Young master, I was wronged! It was because I didn’t see you coming out of the academy even after everyone else has been released, so I feared that you were in danger. Thus, I ran all the way back to the Chu Estate to inform Madame so that she could rescue you. My loyalty for you is like the unceasing flow of a river; the stars and the moon above can vouch for that!”

Zu An sneered coldly. “So, I should be thanking you for this, huh?”

Cheng Shouping immediately put on a fawning smile and said, “How can this humble one is worthy of young master’s gratitude? I’ll be satisfied as long as you’re willing to quell your anger."

“Given your bootlicking skills, you shouldn’t have ended up in such a pitiful plight. Did you do something to offend my mother-in-law?” Zu An remembered how Madame Chu ordered Cheng Shouping to copy the family rules as well before leaving, and he couldn’t help but think that there was something deeper to it.

“Of course not! How could this humble one dare to offend the Madame?” Cheng Shouping shook his head vehemently. “Back then, when I heard the Madame telling the Master that she was going to bring in some concubines for him, I immediately went around to find suitable women for the Madame to pick from. Given my loyalty, how could I possibly offend her?”

Zu An finally realized what was going on. Qin Wanru was just saying for the sake of it, but you actually brought women back for her to pick from. You should be glad that she didn’t have her servants beat you to death on the spot!

“Young master, let’s hurry to the Reflection Room to copy the family rules. Otherwise, the Madame is going to punish us for disobeying her orders again,” Cheng Shouping said bitterly.

“What are you in such a hurry for? It’s just a mere family rules. How long could it possibly take?” Zu An remembered his younger days, where his teacher punished him by having him copy down the classroom rules. How difficult could it be to copy a couple of rules? With his hand speed, it was a walk in the park!

If I have a computer here with me, I can easily copy it a thousand times even… Oh, wait a moment, there isn’t any difference between copying it once and a thousand times on the computer. I nearly forgot about Ctrl-C Ctrl-V.

I wonder if my keyboard will have similar functions in the future too.

While Zu An thought little of the punishment, he eventually caved in to Cheng Shouping’s incessant pleading. With a deep sigh, he began making his way toward the Reflection Room. After all, since Madame Chu was punishing him here, the least he could do was to appear repentant.

The Reflection Room was a place to punish members of the Chu clan who had erred. It was a bit similar to those isolation cells in the prisons in his previous life, just that the environment was much better than that.

“This room doesn’t look as bad as I thought,” Zu An murmured.

“Young master, let’s quickly get to work. Otherwise, we won’t be getting any sleep tonight,” Cheng Shouping said tearfully.

“Isn’t it just copying a hundred times? What’s so hard about that?” Zu An rolled his eyes. This fellow really is a countryside bumpkin. One must know that in his previous world, there were even books that had reached a word count of 10 million!

“Where are the family rules?” Zu An looked through the bookshelves, but he couldn’t find anything related to that.

“It’s all there.” Cheng Shouping pointed to the wall. Looking at how leisurely he looks, he must be unaware of how huge a punishment this is.

Zu An turned his head over to take a look. “Holy shit!”

There was a huge stone tablet placed right in front of the wall, and it extended from the ceiling to the ground. There were many small words inscribed on the stone tablet. Even with a quick estimate, there had to be at least several thousand words there.

The hell! What does the Chu clan need so many family rules for? Aren’t they just trying to make things difficult for the later generations?

With a face that was on the verge of tears, Cheng Shouping passed paper and brush over to Zu An as he said. “Young master, let’s start now.”

Zu An’s eyes flickered around contemplatively before he finally turned to face Cheng Shouping. “Little Pingping, you said that you were loyal to me earlier?”

Cheng Shouping immediately puffed out his chest and said, “Of course! My loyalty to young master is unwavering, nothing can…”

Zu An interjected right in, “You don’t need to say it out loud. You can prove your loyalty to me through your actions instead.”

He pushed the paper and brush back toward Cheng Shouping before patting his shoulder. “I’ll be counting on you.”

Cheng Shouping: “???”

Looking at the stone tablet that was completely filled with words, Cheng Shouping was utterly horrified. “Young master, this won’t do. I can’t possibly copy all of it by myself!”

“A man should never say that he can’t do it,” Zu An encouraged him. “Trust me, you definitely can do it.”

Faced with the tearful Cheng Shouping, Zu An knew that he had to find something better in order to motivate him. He quickly racked his mind and an idea came to his mind. “As long as you copy the family rules in my stead, I’ll create an opportunity for you to interact with Snow alone in the future.”

“Is that true?” Cheng Shouping’s eyes lit up.

Zu An nodded in response. “Of course! Just think about it. There are times when I would need some privacy together with my wife, so naturally, you’ll be left alone with Snow.”

The moved Cheng Shouping sniffed up his snot as he grabbed Zu An’s hand and said, “Young master, you are really the best to me!”

The disgusted Zu An retracted his hand from Cheng Shouping’s grasp and said, “Let’s not get touchy here. Alright, do your best then! I’ll head out for a walk.”

Speaking of Snow, Zu An suddenly remembered that Chu Chuyan was out at the moment. It was likely that Snow wouldn’t be around too since she was Chu Chuyan’s personal maidservant, thus making it a good opportunity for him to search her room. Perhaps, he could find some clues as to who the culprit out for his life was.

Even though there were a lot of people who looked down on him in the Chu Estate, he was still the young master of the Chu clan. No one would dare to block his way.

Soon, he arrived in the courtyard where Chu Chuyan’s residence was located. It was fortunate that she appreciated a quiet environment, so the only one waiting on her was Snow. This made it much easier for him to sneak into her room.

He walked up to the door and tried to push it open, but it wouldn’t budge. Just as he had expected, the room was locked.

“Who is she guarding against?” Zu An muttered. However, this bit of obstacle couldn’t possibly stop him. 

He scanned the surroundings to verify that there was no one around before taking out a black cloth to conceal his face. He couldn’t afford to be caught sneaking into his wife’s room—that would be too embarrassing!

He first circled around the residence before stopping before one of the windows facing a remote location. He took out a dagger, slipped it through the cracks of the window, and pushed the latch open.

“Heh, it doesn’t take a genius to figure this out.” Zu An recalled all of the nifty tricks he had seen in the historical dramas from his previous life and smiled gleefully to himself.

He pushed the window open and leaped in. He immediately found himself surrounded amidst the intoxicating fragrance of his wife, and it smelled rather pleasant. It was just a pity that he couldn’t touch her.

He had been here once before, so he was familiar with the surroundings. He quickly took a look around the study room, but there was nothing worthy of note there. So, he swiftly moved on to her bedroom.

He started off by searching around the bed. There were usually some secret knobs that opened a secret compartment in the bed, or at least that was the case in the dramas he watched.

In the end, he didn’t find any secret compartments, but he did uncover a book hiding beneath the pillow. The title of the book was [Sweet Pampered Wife: Dominating Sword Immortal’s Ninety-Nine Days of Searching For Love].

Zu An: “…”

He remembered seeing Chu Chuyan secretly reading the book back in the carriage. Out of curiosity, he picked it up to take a look, and its contents were strikingly similar to those female romance web novels in his previous life. 

While flipping through the book, he noticed that on one of the pages, there was a note written in elegant handwriting, ‘Love arises from nowhere, and it grows deeper and deeper…’ 

Zu An’s lower jaw was on the verge of dropping down. He didn’t expect that cold-faced wife to actually have such a… such a youthful side to her. 

“Tsk tsk tsk~” Zu An quickly put the book back into the same position according to how he remembered it before heaving a sigh of relief. If that woman were to know that he had looked through this, she would surely skin him alive.

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