Chapter 53: Framing

Seemingly sensing Zu An’s look of disdain, Chu Huanzhao’s face reddened in frustration as she exclaimed, “Why in the world did you borrow so much money from him?!”

You have successfully trolled Chu Huanzhao for +241 Rage!

Plum Blossom Thirteen heaved a deep sigh of relief. To be honest, he was really worried for a moment there that Chu Huanzhao would repay his debt. His goal here was not money but Zu An’s life, after all!

“We visited a gambling den a while ago to try our luck, and he ended up losing more than what he has.”

Plum Blossom Thirteen felt that it was best to expose Zu An’s true colors to this beautiful lass so that she wouldn’t really repay his debt in a moment of hot-bloodedness. But speaking of which, this lass does look quite familiar to me.

“Zu An, you son of a bitch! You actually gambled? Don’t you know that that’s a huge taboo in our Chu clan? Just last year, one of my cousins visited a casino and ended up getting his leg broken!” Chu Huanzhao lashed out furiously.

You have successfully trolled Chu Huanzhao for +333 Rage!

Plum Blossom Thirteen’s heart skipped a jolt as realization finally struck him. This beautiful lass before him was no other than the Second Miss of the Chu clan! This is weird… I thought that the wastrel Zu An isn’t welcomed in the Chu clan, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.

Zu An also felt a huge headache setting in too. It was incredibly irritating to have Plum Blossom Thirteen haunting him day in day out. “Stop following me around like a vengeful spirit. I’ll pay you back what I owe you, alright?”

As he spoke, he reached into a pouch in his robe and said, “I have 7 ki stones. This stuff can’t be bought out there in the market, so they should be at least worth 800 silver taels. I have another 100 silver taels here too…”

Cheng Shouping’s eyes nearly bulged out of his eyes. He was certain that the young master was still a poor bloke earlier in the morning, but just by spending a few hours in the academy, he suddenly emerged with plenty of money on hand.

Meanwhile, Zu An was in an awkward position. Putting together everything of value that he had, he was still tens of silver taels away from fully repaying his 1000 silver taels debt. It was fortunate that Chu Huanzhao suddenly took out a ki stone and tossed it over at this moment. 

“I have one more here. Keep the change as a tip, and you can get lost now!”

Plum Blossom Thirteen doubtfully opened up the pouch Zu An had passed to him and verified that its contents were indeed real ki stones. He frowned in confusion and asked, “How did you get so many of them?”

“Is that any of your business? Hurry up and give my debt note back.” Zu An demanded with his outstretched hand.

“That won’t do. What if you stole these ki stones in the academy? We don’t accept stolen goods,” Plum Blossom Thirteen exclaimed in a fluster. His true purpose was to take this fellow’s name, and things were currently going awry right now. How was he to know that Zu An would actually have the means to repay the debt?

“I’m good looking, so people gave it to me on their own accord. If you don’t believe me, you can enter the academy yourself and ask around,” Zu An harrumphed in disdain. “You keep on finding excuses to avoid returning my debt note to me; just what kind of intention are you harboring? Huanzhao, let’s head back and tell our father about it. The Plum Blossom Sect is really trying to climb over our heads.”

Plum Blossom Thirteen was utterly distressed right now. Typical drafted sons-in-law were usually embarrassed to admit their own identity since it was considered shameful to marry into the bride’s family. Yet, Zu An had no qualms with identifying himself as a fellow member of the Chu clan, and the way he addressed Chu Zhongtian as father was so ironically natural.

Shameless!

That being said, he was indeed worried about the Brightmoon Duke getting involved in this matter as well. It was one thing if Zu An still owed them money, but he had already repaid his debt here. If he continuing clinging onto this matter, even a fool would be able to tell that they harbored malicious intentions in mind.

“Enough, enough! I’ll return you your debt note, happy?” 

Plum Blossom Thirteen took out his debt note and passed it over. He had brought it over in case Zu An accused him of causing trouble in the vicinity of the academy, so he was intending to silence the spectators with the debt note. Yet, who could have thought that he would end up shooting himself in the foot?

Zu An took the debt note and took a close look at it. It was indeed the one which he signed. “Speaking of which, didn’t you mention that you have made copies? Take them out as well.”

“I said that to pressure you. How can something like a debt note be copied that easily? Besides, a copied debt note carries no legal power at all,” replied Plum Blossom Thirteen grudgingly.

Zu An passed the debt note over to Chu Huanzhao to have the latter take a look at it. After ensuring that Plum Blossom Thirteen wasn’t lying, he quickly tore the debt note into pieces before rubbing it between his both hands, reducing it into dust.

One must know that he currently wielded the strength of 143 grown men. Crushing a piece of paper into dust posed no difficulty at all.

However, he still wasn’t satisfied with that. He couldn’t help but think about the suave black flame Pei Mianman summoned previously. All she had to do was to snap her finger, and the problem automatically resolved itself. On the other hand, he still needed to squeeze the paper with all his might like a fool.

“Since the debt note has been erased, I’ll be leaving now.” 

Plum Blossom Thirteen was just about to take his leave and inform the sect master that he was unable to deal with Zu An through the debt note when a twist in the situation occurred.

“Wait, don’t go!” Zu An suddenly exclaimed. Before Plum Blossom Thirteen could make sense of the situation, he continued shouting out loud, “Help me! Save me! The Plum Blossom Sect is trying to rob me here!”

Plum Blossom Thirteen looked at Zu An as if he was an idiot, wondering what the latter was up to.

However, he didn’t need to ponder for long because the answer soon made itself apparent. 

A slight breeze brushed across them as a middle-aged man with a bald spot in the middle suddenly appeared before them. This middle-aged man gazed down at the three of them with a dark look on his face.

“What’s happening here?” 

Needless to say, the one who had just arrived was no other than discipline master Lu De. He was in the midst of patrolling around the area when he heard the commotion occurring over here, so he quickly rushed over.

Zu An had intentionally shouted out loud because he knew that Lu De was in the vicinity, and he was gladdened that the latter really rushed here right away. Without any hesitation, he began sharing his sob story, “Teacher, this man stole the ki stones we received from the academy!”

Plum Blossom Thirteen nearly spurted blood on the spot. He hurriedly waved his hand and exclaimed, “You’re lying! I didn’t take your stuff!”

You have successfully trolled Plum Blossom Thirteen for +666 Rage!

“Teacher, if you don’t believe me, you can check his pouch. The ki stones he stole from us were distributed by the academy, so there’s an index number inscribed on every single one of them.”

In order to prevent corruption within academies, the royal court had a strict quota as to how much cultivation resource each student was entitled to. This was enforced by inscribing an index number on each of the ki stones so that they could trace it down if anything were to occur.

In order to avoid trouble, whenever the black market dealt with such ki stones, both parties would sign an agreement to ensure that it was a fair trade. Otherwise, they would at least make sure to erase the index numbers on the ki stones. However, Plum Blossom Thirteen wasn’t familiar with the ki stone market, and he was also too preoccupied with discussing the failure of the debt note plan with his sect master that he ended up getting careless.

“Bastard, you scammed me!” 

With things coming to this point, there was no way Plum Blossom Thirteen wouldn’t get what was going on. This explained why that fellow was so forthright with handing his money over to him. As it turned out, he had just plans in mind!

You have successfully trolled Plum Blossom Thirteen for +777 Rage!

Zu An was tempted to rebut with a ‘You aren’t as dull-witted as I thought’ to earn another wave of Rage points, but in view that Lu De was still standing right beside him, he put on the looked of a wronged victim and cried, “Are you saying that I’m lying? How awful! I’m lucky that there’s an eye-witness here who saw everything that happened earlier! He can testify for me!”

He grabbed Cheng Shouping’s arm and pulled him forward, “Am I right?”

Feeling the immense force on his arm, Cheng Shouping immediately reacted. “Indeed, this fellow stole our young master’s ki stone! Uwaa, young master, why do you lead such a tough life? You get bullied no matter where you go!”

Cheng Shouping’s convincing act surprised Zu An. He was still worried that Cheng Shouping would let him down at this critical moment, but this fellow was really a born actor! 

I shall add a chicken drumstick for him for dinner!

“Of course he’s going to speak up for you; he’s your servant!” Plum Blossom Thirteen cried out anxiously. This master-servant pair is really the very embodiment of shamelessness!

A tight frown formed on Lu De’s forehead. Instead of questioning Cheng Shouping, he turned o Chu Huanzhao and asked, “Chu Second Miss, is that really the case?”

Lu De could still address Chu Huanzhao directly by her name in the academy, but now that they were outside, he had to show some respect to the Brightmoon Duke.

“That’s right! Not only did this Plum Blossom-something steal his ki stone, but he also stole mine as well! Teacher, if you don’t believe my words, you can check his pouch. One of the ki stones in there should have my index number…” Chu Huanzhao further fanned the flames with her sharp words. Her beautiful appearance was much more efficient at evoking pity than Zu An, allowing her to easily rile up a man’s desire to protect.

A couple of students who had just gotten off classes heard what Chu Huanzhao said, and they suddenly felt a strong urge to dash forward and tear the vile criminal, Plum Blossom Thirteen, into shreds.

Zu An’s lower jaws nearly fell right onto the ground. Out of fear that things would go awry, he prepared a long, passionate monologue to convince Lu De, but his partners turned out to be much more reliable than he thought.

As Chu Huanzhao pitifully complained to Lu De about how he got bullied, for a moment there, Zu An thought that he saw a pair of devil’s horns on top of her head. He told himself that no matter who he offended in the future, he must make sure to never offend this lass.

Meanwhile, Plum Blossom Thirteen found himself feeling so stifled that he felt that he was going to suffer from a hemorrhage soon. 

Despite this Miss Second Chu's innocent appearance, she’s able to lie so smoothly without batting an eyelid! Aren’t ladies of noble clans supposed to be upright and dignified?!

My godfather was right! Nobles are all downright scums who engage in deception and debauchery!

Sensing Lu De’s gaze turning to him, Plum Blossom Thirteen felt a shudder run down his spine, and he hurriedly explained, “It’s not like that…”

But before he could explain everything, Lu De had already cut him short. “There’s no need for words here. The truth will be out once we check your pouch.”

Plum Blossom Thirteen still had words to say, but a ruler that felt as heavy as a mountain suddenly pressed down on his shoulder, squeezing the air out of his lungs. Even breathing was difficult to him, let alone explaining himself.

Such a situation alarmed him.

One must know that he was the strongest one of the Thirteen Guardians of the Plum Blossom Sect. He was the Plum Blossom Sect’s sharpest knife when it came to fights in the underworld, and rarely had he ever failed his mission. Yet, this bald man was actually able to render him completely powerless with just a ruler. 

It was no wonder why the sect master had warned him strictly not to mess with those in the academy.

But I didn’t do anything at all!

Plum Blossom Thirteen had done a lot of bad things in his lifetime, and he was prepared to face any enemies who tried to get back at him. Yet, this was the one time that he was left feeling so frustrated. It was all that scoundrel’s fault!

You have successfully trolled Plum Blossom Thirteen for +888 Rage!

Zu An noticed that Plum Blossom Thirteen was glaring at him furiously, so he responded with an embarrassed smile, which only brought about another offering of Rage points.

Meanwhile, Lu De examined the 8 ki stones in the pouch carefully before casting them aside angrily. He eyed Plum Blossom Thirteen coldly and harrumphed. “These ki stones are from our academy, and the index numbers indicate that they have only been issued earlier today. What do you have to say for yourself?”

The ruler pressing his shoulder down finally loosened a little, giving Plum Blossom Thirteen a chance to catch his breath and explain himself. “I was wronged! The two of them gave the ki stones to me on their own accord! Zu An owed me 1000 silver taels from gambling, and they were using the ki stones to offset the debt!”

Zu An immediately refuted his argument with a cold sneer, “Don’t you think you should at least try harder when searching for an excuse? Who in the entire Brightmoon City doesn’t know that the Chu clan punishes their clan members harshly for gambling? Just last year, there was a fellow who got his legs crushed by the Brightmoon Duke for fooling around in the casino. As a drafted son-in-law, no matter how brazen I might be, there’s no way I would dare to dabble in gambling, let alone incur a debt of 1000 silver taels!”

“Indeed! Who doesn’t know that our Chu clan is extremely strict on gambling?” Chu Huanzhao placed her hands on her waist as she agreed sassily. “You should at least do your homework first before coming up with a lie!”

“Bloody hell!” Plum Blossom Thirteen nearly suffered a stroke right there and then. This pair of adulterous couple!

You have successfully trolled Plum Blossom Thirteen for +999 Rage!

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