Zu An hadn’t expected to run into Xie Daoyun here. “Where did Miss Xie just return from?” he enquired hurriedly.
Xie Daoyun slowly walked over to him and said with a smile, “There was a poetry exchange in the neighboring commandery. I’ve just returned from there.”
The poetry exchange hadn’t actually ended yet. However, she hurried back once she heard that something major had happened to the Chu clan.
This young woman really had to be praised for pursuing the arts so whole-heartedly. He would have teased her a little under different circumstances, but he wasn’t in the mood right now.
“Miss Xie, please step aside. Blades have no eyes, and I fear that you might accidentally be injured,” warned Zu An. The Red Cloak Army and the city defense were already on the verge of battle. If they really engaged each other, a delicate girl like Xie Daoyun might well be ripped apart.
Xie Daoyun instead suppressed her voice and said, “Are you stupid? Why aren’t you capturing me to force them to open the gates?”
She staggered, throwing her straight into his arms. Then, she let out an absolutely terrified scream. “Oh my! What are you trying to do? I’m so scared!”
Zu An stared blankly at the young woman who had flopped in his arms.
Chu Yucheng and Chu Hongcai were left in a daze, as were the three thousand members of the Red Cloak Army
Even Pang Chun and the defenders of the city gates couldn’t believe what they had just witnessed.
Miss Xie, do you think we’re blind?
Zu An was incredibly amused. If she had been part of the entertainment industry in his previous world, everyone would have been cursing her for being just another pretty face! She was sure to win the Worst Actress Award.
However, he quickly went along with her. In a flash, he brought a blade up to her neck and shouted loudly towards the city gates, “I am holding Miss Xie hostage! Open the gates if you don’t want anything bad to happen to her!”
At the same time, he leaned closer to Xie Daoyun and whispered into her ear, “Thanks.”
Xie Daoyun had never been carried in a man’s arms before. She had been in such a hurry to help out earlier, and had given it little thought. However, just by being carried like this, and feeling the warm air from his lips caressing her ear, she felt all the strength drain from her. Her face reddened, and she said quietly, “You owe me two favors now.”
This man had promised her a song the last time she helped him, yet she had never received anything after all this time.
Zu An chuckled and said, “I’ll never be able to repay my debt of gratitude. How about I compensate with my body?”
Xie Daoyun had no reply.
Why is this man so shameless? Does Chuyan know about this?
Pang Chun yelled, “Zu An, you and Miss Xie can be considered friends, yet you dare use her as a hostage? Isn’t this going too far?”
Zu An said with a smile, “I will definitely pay City Lord Xie and Miss Xie a visit in the future to apologize. Vice Magistrate, I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you to make a compromise today.”
He chose his words carefully, tacitly choosing to not expose the situation.
Pang Chun’s expression darkened. In the end, he gestured for his men to open the gates. He knew that he wouldn’t be able to stop Zu An and his men if they fought. Now that he had been offered an excuse to back down, there was no point in stubbornly persisting with it. He was sure that the Xie clan would back him up if he was somehow made accountable for his actions.
The other soldiers had long since pissed their pants in fear. They heaved a collective sigh of relief when they heard this, and quickly opened the gates.
In his mind, Pang Chun berated these soldiers for being so cowardly, but he continued to act tough on the surface. “Zu An, you will definitely regret what you've done today.”
Zu An didn’t seem to mind at all. “I’m someone who only cares about the now. I won’t ask too much of the future.”
As the gates slowly swung open, Zu An said in a clear voice, “Our objective is to protect the Chu clan. Do not harm any civilians. You are not permitted to act against any of the city’s soldiers without my order.”
“Yes, sir!” his troops responded in unison. There was no unnecessary noise or chatter. They all had extremely serious expressions, as if they were all machines built for war.
Pang Chun envied them intensely. These are real elites! My subordinates are all useless idiots!
Xie Daoyun’s fragile heart was shaken. No wonder her father had always harbored reservations towards the Chu clan! No matter where, this army of theirs was a power that couldn’t be overlooked.
“Enter the city!” Zu An commanded. The Red Cloak Army entered through the city gates in formation. A few soldiers formed a rear guard, their bows at the ready, prepared to defend the advancing column from an ambush.
Zu An felt an intense admiration. Just how much time and resources did the Chu clan invest to raise such an army? No wonder the Chu clan was still in the red despite their massive salt business.
This kind of army of elites could even make an inexperienced bum like him seem like a famous general!
Chu Yucheng nudged his horse over with a grin on his face, his expression full of admiration. “Ah Zu, since you still need to command the troops, how about we put Miss Xie on my horse instead? I’ll take care of her, and I guarantee that I won’t let her escape!”
Xie Daoyun darted behind Zu An immediately and rejected his proposal right away. “I don’t want to!”
Chu Yucheng stared blankly at her.
Miss Xie, he’s your kidnapper… What the heck are you doing, hiding in his arms? Can’t you show even a little professionalism?
Chu Hongcai laughed in delight. “Fatass, you’re about to crush your horse to death all on your own. How do you still have the nerve to approach Miss Xie?”
“Piss off! I don’t wanna hear that from your monkey-lookin’ ass. This is called being ‘thick’, okay?” Chu Yucheng was pissed.
As the two of them argued noisily off to the side, Zu An said to Xie Daoyun, “I’ve really wronged Miss Xie this time.”
Xie Daoyun kept her head lowered but grunted in acknowledgement. Her face was slightly red.
Zu An jumped off and carried Xie Daoyun onto his horse. With a flick of the reins, he urged the horse forward.
Pang Chun found a chance to approach Xie Daoyun as they entered the city. “Miss Xie, what are you trying to do? Does the City Lord know what you’re doing?” he asked via ki transmission.
Xie Daoyun’s lips remained still as she replied. “Were you really going to battle the Red Cloak Army if I hadn’t given you an excuse to step down? For starters, this is a battle between the Chu clan and the empress. Why are you getting involved?”
Pang Chun was stunned by her revelation. Only now did it all make sense to him. Oh yeah, I’m on King Qi’s side. Why am I getting all excited?
Of course, he would never say that out loud. He was still an official of the court after all, and his duty to his station had made the earlier situation almost impossible to sort out.
“Thank you Miss Xie!” Pang Chun chuckled. Miss Xie had a truly sharp mind. Not only had she defused the crisis, she’d taken personal responsibility for it.
“Contact my dad for me. Maybe this matter will finally make that old fart come to a decision,” Xie Daoyun sent. Zu An set a quick pace, rapidly leaving the city gates far behind, and she was only able to get this final message in.
After being in his arms for a while, Xie Daoyun suddenly frowned. “Can you shift your sword behind you? It’s poking me.”
Zu An’s face reddened. He adjusted the thing in his lap a little. “Okay.”
This really wasn’t his fault! Xie Daoyun’s body was so soft, and she was giving off a nice fragrance. The two of them were riding so close to one another. It would have been weirder if he’d had no reaction at all.
After a while, a tinge of redness appeared on Xie Daoyun’s neck as well. She had clearly realized what that thing had been.
However, neither of them opened their mouths to broach this topic.
Just like that, the two of them quickly followed the Red Cloak Army to the Chu Estate.
Liu Yao had received the news a while ago. He led his contingent of imperial guardsmen out to face them. “What are you all trying to do? Are you thinking of rebelling?”
Zu An said coldly, “General Liu must have misunderstood. A lot has happened in Brightmoon City recently, and we were worried that some hoodlums might start some trouble while you guys are carrying out your investigation. I’ve brought these men with me to ensure the safety of all of our esteemed guests from the capital.”
After saying this, he gave an order to the Red Cloak Army. “Surround the Chu Estate. Do not allow anyone to disturb General Liu’s investigation of this case!”
Meanwhile, still seated in his lap, Xie Daoyun blinked. Everyone said that this kid was from the streets. Then why did his methods seem like something a wily old fox would cook up? Who in the world had taught him these things?
He and the general were clearly enemies, and yet he’d found a just and honorable reason that the other party couldn’t argue against!
This guy was a veteran in this arena!
“You little bastard, do you think that I, or these imperial guardsmen with me, need your protection?” Liu Yao was furious. “Get the hell out of my sight!”
As soon as he finished his sentence, a translucent projection of a large palm materialized in the air, reaching towards Zu An. This fella had managed to get away once, and because of that, he had managed to whip up this mess. He had to capture this brat!
He wasn’t about to underestimate the three-thousand strong Red Cloak Army. While they were yet to find a stable footing, he would take the opportunity to capture their leader. With him gone, the leaderless army wouldn’t be a problem at all.
As for this bloody Zu An, he would show him what proper torment looked like. How dare an ant like you dance in front of me?Previous Chapter Next Chapter