Chapter 568: Pretty Features

Zu An was taken to a secluded residence to spend the night. It wasn’t far from the imperial palace, and he could vaguely make out the vermillion walls and bright yellow glazed roof tiles of the imperial palace from where he was.

This place was probably chosen as it provided quick access to the imperial palace the next morning.

The security was rather tight, even though King Liang and Liu Yao both left, most likely returning to their own duties.

Zhuxie Chixin left as well, presumably to report to the emperor.

Zu An was a bit confused by the remaining guards outside. Was Zhuxie Chixin really that confident? Even though these guards weren’t terrible, the top three experts had all left. Did they not fear that someone might seize this opportunity to make a move?

He even wondered if Zhuxie Chixin had been bought by a certain faction. However, both the members of the Sang clan and Chu Chuyan seemed fully convinced that Zhuxie Chixin was the emperor’s most trusted subordinate.

If even such a confidante could be bought, it would only prove the emperor's incompetence. There was no way such a person could have risen to become the world’s most powerful expert!

Zu An really couldn’t figure out why they would make him wait a whole night before entering the palace. He felt like a sick person waiting for his shots. The needles weren’t even that bad—what was most agonizing was the wait.

He was also curious why Chu Chuyan hadn’t appeared. She promised to meet up again at the capital. Shouldn’t they already be together again?

Chu Chuyan was currently in the Qin Manor, a panicked expression on her face. “My respected grandfather, I have never asked you for anything in my life. But if you refuse to do anything now, Ah Zu will die for sure!”

Across from her was a tall and valiant-looking elder. Even though his hair was streaked with silver, he did not seem frail or aged, but gave off an aura of authority and power.

Despite his advanced age, his brows were sharp and his eyes were clear, and his complexion was excellent. It was easy to imagine how handsome and suave he had been in his younger years.

This was none other than Chu Chuyan’s grandfather, the number-one ranked official in the imperial military, Vanguard General Qin Zheng.

At the moment, he was focused on the paper in front of him, his brush making meticulous strokes as characters slowly took form. He seemed completely deaf to Chu Chuyan’s pleas.

Chu Chuyan bit her lip. Her anxiety was killing her. Her grandfather was clearly a military leader, yet he loved to act like a cultured snob. He loved it when others praised him for his scholarly side.

His calligraphy was clearly average, yet he just had to act as though he was some sort of master.

Of course, Chu Chuyan would never speak such thoughts out loud. Her grandfather was rather open-minded when it came to other things, but he would immediately lose his temper if anyone brought up this touchy subject.

The standard of his calligraphy was far below that of any master, but there was a certain grace to his movements with the brush.

This was the first thing that made people take notice and praise him for, but it soon got out of hand. Over time, their praises ended up making this man think that he really was some reincarnated master of calligraphy.

Qin Zheng finally completed the piece in front of him, and brought out his private seal to mark it. There was a satisfied expression on his face. “Chuyan, come over here and tell me what you think of this piece.”

Chu Chuyan’s eyelids twitched when she saw the words: ‘tranquility yields transcendence’. This was clearly a warning for her to guard against pride and impatience, and to calm her mind first.

But Zu An had already arrived at the capital! How could she remain calm?

Chu Chuyan forced herself to utter some faint praise, since she truly needed his help.

Qin Zheng snorted. “Aren’t you being too obvious with your false flattery? Hmph. I remember that you were never a liar before. You’ve picked up a pile of bad habits after marrying that hoodlum.”

Chu Chuyan became unhappy. “Zu An is not a hoodlum.”

“He’s just a local rascal from the streets. What else can he be but a hoodlum?” Qin Zheng was clearly unhappy. “I really didn’t know what your useless father was thinking. He actually picked a random hoodlum from that small place as his son-in-law! It’s utterly preposterous.”

Chu Chuyan knew that her grandfather still resented her father. As someone from the younger generation, though, it wasn’t her place to butt in, especially on this topic.

Qin Zheng was clearly not done. “Given your beauty and cultivation aptitude, every outstanding man would desire to be with you. Yet that disgraceful father and muddle-headed mother of yours ended up letting you marry that piece of trash. Now, you’re even a widow!”

Chu Chuyan forced her voice to remain calm. “Ah Zu is not trash. In my view, no other man in this entire world can compare to him.”

“What the hell did that fellow do to your head?” Qin Zheng frowned. “You and your mother are of the same breed after all.”

Chu Chuyan bit her lip. Things were clearly not going well. But for Zu An’s sake, she held her temper and tried to reason with him. “Which other man can cause His Majesty such concern? The fact that Ah Zu was able to obtain the Phoenix Nirvana Sutra alone proves that he is extraordinary.”

Qin Zheng sneered. “I was still feeling fine until you mentioned it, but now that you’ve brought it up, I’ve grown annoyed. All was well for King Qi’s faction, but now, some stupid brat has appeared with the Phoenix Nirvana Sutra, which supposedly grants immortality! We have no choice now but to lay low.”

Chu Chuyan couldn’t help but say, “Grandfather, I don’t understand why the Qin clan insists on joining this feud. Even though my great-aunt is King Qi’s mother, that alone isn’t enough for the entire Qin clan to be tied to the same ship! A single mishap will lead to the entire clan’s eradication!”

Qin Zheng grew serious. “You are a cultivator as well, so you should understand the reasoning behind my belief that stagnation is equivalent to regression. Even though the Qin clan is the top military clan right now, can the same be said in the next one or two decades? There are many clans eyeing our position, waiting to take our place, wishing to enjoy the glory and honor that we do, and to seize our resources. How can I do nothing about this?

“It is all your mother’s fault!” Qin Zheng grew more and more worked up. “Back then, your great-aunt was married to King Qi’s father. Our plan was to marry your mother into the palace as a concubine. This way, we would have our feet in both puddles, so it wouldn’t matter which side won and lost. We would have come out ahead either way. However, your mother was possessed by a pig, and insisted on eloping with that trash Chu Zhongtian, leaving us with no choice but to throw our lot in with one faction.”

Chu Chuyan was speechless.

This was the first time she was hearing about this. Her father was truly formidable, to be able to steal away the emperor’s woman!

I wondered why His Majesty was always out to get our Chu clan. I never knew this angle existed.

Qin Zheng grew increasingly unhappy when he saw the corners of her lips lift upwards. “What are you smiling about? Giving birth to daughters is truly equivalent to losing money! Your mother acts like this, and you as well!”

Chu Chuyan knew that he was only saying this because he was angry, not because he really bore her malice. She helped him back into his chair. “Grandfather, please drink some tea to ease your mood.”

Qin Zheng took the teacup from her to quench his dry throat. “You used to be so cold to everyone, but now you’ve actually learned how to curry favor for that Zu An’s sake. Now, even I am growing a little interested in seeing what kind of person that kid is for myself.”

Chu Chuyan was delighted. “Grandfather, are you agreeing to save him?”

Qin Zheng shook his head. “This is the emperor we’re talking about. If he wants someone dead, who can save that person? Let alone the fact that it isn’t just the emperor who wants him dead.”

Chu Chuyan’s expression changed slightly. She was just about to probe further when Qin Zheng flicked out his hand to strike her acupoint. “Take the young miss away. She is not permitted to even take half a step out of her room for the next few days.”

“Grandfather!” Chu Chuyan cried out in alarm. However, Qin Zheng remained unfazed no matter how she implored him.

After she was brought away, Qin Zheng looked in the direction of the imperial palace and sighed. “Back then, I was too tenderhearted towards your mother, and ended up ruining the rest of her life. I will not repeat that disaster this time.”

As all this was going on, Zu An was meditating in his room, when the door suddenly flew open. He opened his eyes, and was stunned by what he saw.

He expected to be faced by some vicious assassin, but he was instead greeted by an extravagantly-dressed young man. This young man was handsome and had a slim build. He looked a little frail, but his bearing was perfect, and his suave appearance left a deep impression.

This young man would surely be idolized by all the young girls in any school in Zu An’s previous life. Even the hottest stars would pale in comparison.

After arriving in this world, the most handsome man he had seen was Xie Xiu. Of course, this was putting aside what he saw in the mirror every day. However, this world actually had someone who was even more beautiful, and even more feminine Xie Xiu!

Zu An glanced at his chest. There was nothing outstanding there.

He then looked at his throat, and could vaguely make out an Adam’s apple.

Zu An’s mouth twitched. It wasn’t a woman masquerading as a man. How boring.

The young man was also sizing him up curiously. When he noticed Zu An’s rude and intrusive eyes, he immediately grew angry. “What the hell are you looking at? I have no idea what the heck my big sister sees in you!”

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