Chapter 39: The Thief In the Flower Field

Chapter 39: The Thief In the Flower Field

“I thought things through yesterday, and I felt that you were sending me to the academy for my own good too.” It was then that Zu An noticed Hong Xingying standing behind the two of them. The latter had a nonchalant look on his face, and he wasn’t even looking him in the eye at all. Why does this fellow keep putting on such a cold look before me? It’s almost as if I owe him hundreds of silver taels!

“You have wisened up quite a lot,” Chu Zhongtian remarked in a good mood as he stroked his beard. “Chuyan will be delighted to hear this too.”

The word ‘Chuyan’ brought a slightly zealous look to Hong Xingying eyes for a moment, but he quickly concealed it.

Qin Wanru told Zu An, “Since you have decided to go to the academy, you should have Xingying accompany you. He’ll also be attending the academy from today onward too. It’ll be good if the two of you can look after one another. Xingying is a smart and mature child, so I’m sure you can learn a lot from him.”

Hong Xingying quickly lowered his head and said, “Madame, you’re flattering me. I’ll do my best to take care of him.”

Zu An clicked his tongue quietly. It is ‘looking after one another’ if you put it in a good way, but if you put it crudely, you’re basically using him to keep an eye on me. They must be quite worried after I played truant yesterday, so they sent someone here to prevent such things from happening again.

At the same time, Zu An also realized why Hong Xingying was so angry earlier on. It wasn’t easy for the latter to get an opportunity to attend the academy, but due to him getting injured, the latter nearly couldn’t go anymore. It was only natural for him to get angry. 

While the academies here preached education without discrimination, it wasn’t that easy to get into an academy. At the very least, they would have to prove their talent. In a sense, Zu An got an easy pass into the academy through the connections.

Others like Hong Xingying and the other servants of the Chu clan, as long as their master refused to give their approval, it would be nigh impossible for them to get into the academy.

Shouldn’t Hong Xingying be thankful to me then? If not for me, how could he get a chance to attend the academy?

While Zu An had earned quite a bit of Rage points, he was still a bit displeased about this. He felt like he had lost more than he had earned on this.

Chu Zhongtian and Qin Wanru continued lecturing him a bit longer before taking their leave. Hong Xingying also flung his head around and left the room too.

Following that, Zu An began to wash up and prepare himself. Someone delivered breakfast to him at some point in time, so he had Cheng Shouping sit down and eat together with him.

Unexpectedly, his thoughtless action caused the latter to tear up. 

Young master, even though you’re a little dumb, boastful, and incapable… you treat me really well! You don’t think of me as a subordinate. Yes, I’ve decided. I’ll help you to gain a footing in the Chu clan no matter what!

If Zu An were to be aware of his thoughts, he would probably send a kick right in his face.

“Cough cough!” A hunched back passed by the window then.

Zu An, who was in the midst of his meal, heard a voice in his ears, “Don’t you play truant today. Remember to look for Wei Hongde.”

By the time Zu An raised his head to take a closer look, Old Mi’s figure was already nowhere to be seen.

“Did you hear a voice earlier?” Zu An nudged Cheng Shouping and asked.

“I didn’t hear anything at all. Burp~” Cheng Shouping was too engrossed in his food that his line of sight had never left the table.

“Aren’t you afraid of choking to death?” Zu An rolled his eyes in disdain. However, thinking about the earlier words he had just heard made a shiver run down his spine. For some reason, he was a little afraid of this mysterious old man. Chu Zhongtian and Qin Wanru felt docile in comparison to him.

It seemed like he would do well to take a good look around the academy today.

After finishing his meal, Cheng Shouping helped Zu An pack some daily necessities. By the time they walked out of the door, Hong Xingying was already waiting outside with a sword in his arms. Upon seeing the duo, he asked impatiently, “What took you so long?”

You have successfully trolled Hong Xingying for +99 Rage!

Is there a problem with this lad?

Zu An couldn’t stand it any longer. “Are you the young master or am I the young master? What’s wrong with waiting for a while?”

“So what if you’re the young master? There’s no one in the Chu Estate who doesn’t know of your background. You think that you can scare me?” Hong Xingying sneered coldly.

Zu An assessed him from head-to-toe. “Do I owe you money?”

Hong Xingying was stunned by the abrupt question. “I don’t think so.” 

“Then why do you carry such great enmity toward me?” Zu An asked.

Hong Xingying’s body stiffened. He didn’t expect Zu An to actually confront him directly. He took a glance at Cheng Shouping, and in the end, he chose to approach the matter carefully, “I don’t carry enmity for you. I just think that it’s a huge pity for the First Miss. The First Miss is such a talented and wonderful person. A man like you will never be a match for her!”

Cheng Shouping protested weakly upon hearing those words, “This… He’s the young master after all. It isn’t appropriate for you to say such words.”

Zu An was amused by Cheng Shouping’s response. I didn’t think this lad would stick his head out for me before someone else.

Hong Xingying glanced at Cheng Shouping coldly. “Is there anything wrong with I have just said? Why don’t you point out his strengths to me then?”

Cheng Shouping was stifled for a long time before he finally came up with a response, “While the young master doesn’t have any talents, at least his appearance is passable!”

The infuriated Zu An immediately shoved Cheng Shouping aside. He really thought that it was a miracle that this fellow could survive in the Chu clan to this day with how foul his mouth was! “Ah, I get it now. In other words, you’re Chuyan’s admirer!”

Hong Xingying’s fair face immediately reddened upon hearing those words. “Who says so! I’m not her admirer! Stop talking nonsense!”

Seeing the triple denial combo coming from Hong Xingying, Zu An couldn’t resist prodding on. “A capable servant and a beautiful mistress; what a beautiful yet tragic love story! Still, don’t you think that you’re shameless to actually covet another man’s wife?”

“You!!!” Hong Xingying glared at Zu An before turning his head away with a harrumph. He didn’t want to waste his breath arguing with the latter anymore!

You have successfully trolled Hong Xingying for +100 Rage!

Unfortunately for Hong Xingying, Zu An had no plans on letting him off so easily. He walked up to Hong Xingying and placed his arm around his shoulders. “Fine fine, let me put it in another way then. It’s the woman you love who became my wife. That makes you sound less like an asshole for coveting my wife, right? Do you feel better now?”

You have successfully trolled Hong Xingying for +333 Rage!

Hong Xingying gnashed his teeth in anger as he gripped the handle of his sword tightly. However, he managed to hold himself back from drawing his sword in the end. Taking a deep breath, he said, “All you’re capable of is running your mouth! Hah, just you wait! The academy treats everyone equally. By then, I shall have you know the gap that stands between you and me!”

Zu An chuckled softly. “I admire your confidence. You put on one face before my father-in-law and mother-in-law, only to act in a different manner behind their backs. Aren’t you afraid that I would report this matter to them?”

Hong Xingying was unfazed by the threat. “Go ahead and tell them then. Let’s see whether they’ll believe a trash like you or a capable servant like me.”

Zu An pulled Cheng Shouping over and said, “I have an eye-witness here.

Cheng Shouping immediately shook his head frantically. “I didn’t see or hear anything at all.”

Zu An felt like something was going to snap in his head. “Why are you acting so cowardly?”

Seeing this farce, Hong Xingying sneered coldly. “Force him all you want to, but it’s futile. If there’s one person that the old master and the old mistress trust the least in this estate, it’s him.”

After saying his piece, Hong Xingying walked ahead of them, pulling some distance between him and Zu An. It was almost as if he felt disgusted just by standing next to trash like them.

Zu An and Cheng Shouping were left staring at one another speechlessly at the back. Sighing deeply, Zu An couldn’t help but remark, “How in the world did you end up in such a miserable position? You should consider just smashing your head into that pillar over there and ending your life.”

Cheng Shouping retorted indignantly. “You have fallen so low that even a servant dares to criticize you, and you still dare to pick flaws with me.”

Zu An harrumphed coldly before turning his gaze to the young man, who was walking away from them. A smile slowly formed on his lips. It wasn’t easy for me to stumble before a perfect prey like you. I should take my time milking you, or else you might just collapse before I have my fill of Rage points. 

The group of three soon arrived at the entrance of Brightmoon Academy. Zu An couldn’t help but glance in the direction of the path branching to the side, and the image of a carefree woman swirling a gourd of wine flashed across his mind. He wondered if he would be able to meet her once more in the future.

There were fewer people queuing up at the entrance of the academy as compared to yesterday. Zu An was bored while waiting for his turn to enter, so he began looking around. Very soon, he noticed a pair of guy and girl tugging one another, seemingly chatting about something.

The man was quite good-looking, but he smelled of powder and perfume. His skin was fairer than most women, and from time to time, his eyes would twinkle seductively. Zu An wondered if this was the stereotypical cross-dressing plotline that he often saw in historical dramas.

I’m not as foolish as Liang Shanbo. There’s no way I’ll let something as good as this slip past me!

So, Zu An walked over and wrapped his arm around that ‘man’s’ shoulders. “Hey bro, have we met each other before?”

You’re the one who wants to cross-dress as a guy, so you can’t complain even if I take advantage of you a little. Hahaha~

“You are…?” That ‘man’ was a little confused. He was clearly trying to recall if he had ever met Zu An before.

Zu An was a little taken aback. He didn’t expect this ‘man’ to respond so nonchalantly. His gaze slowly moved downward, and he soon spotted the Adam’s apple on his throat. In an instant, he felt something churning in his stomach. Shit, it’s just a guy who looks like a girl!

As if he had been shocked, he immediately retracted his arm and said, “My bad, I got the wrong person.”

The woman standing opposite to the man glared at Zu An as if he was an idiot, displeased that he had suddenly barged into their conversation. “Sigh. Where did we stop?”

“Ah yes, I remember it now. Big brother Xiu, just what did I do wrong for you that irked you so much? Tell me, and I’ll change! Why must we break up with one another?” The woman had a beautiful appearance, and she looked incredibly pitiful with tears glistening in her eyes.

Zu An assessed the feminine man closely. Is this sort of man considered charming in this world? Even if I were to be compared with him… Sigh, let’s not talk about such a depressing topic. 

The man reached out to grab the woman’s hand, and he spoke with a voice brimming with emotions. “This isn’t your fault. I’m just scared that… I won’t love you anymore in the future. So, I want to break up while we’re still in love with one another. I shall bear all of the pain and heartache alone.”

Zu An froze up upon hearing those words. This must be one of the trashiest break-up excuses I have ever heard! Holy shit, is this fellow the ancestor of the Scumbag Sect?

Those words made the woman burst into tears. “Big brother Xiu, I didn’t know that your love for me runs so deep! It’s all my fault. I shouldn’t have kept forcing you. They always say that distance makes the heart grow fonder. Perhaps, you’ll love me once more if we part for one another temporarily.”

Zu An’s eyes widened in disbelief. Are the women in this world so gullible? I see… Looks like this is really a haven for me!

“I’m glad that you understand me so well!” the man replied with an agitated tone. It was then that the scene took a 180-degrees turn. “Now that we have broken up with one another, can you introduce your close friend to me? I’m referring to the young miss from the Liu clan that you have been…”

Pah!

There was a limit to how dumb a human could be. The woman slapped the man’s face before running away tearfully.

On the other hand, the man opened up his fan as he lightly stroked the cheek which he had just been slapped on. Wistfulness surfaced on his face as he remarked deeply, “The tender hand of a beauty; how it entrances me so.”

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