Chapter 573: Entering the Palace

“It’s all your fault!” The next morning, Qiao Xueying could scarcely contain her embarrassment and anger. She pummeled Zu An in the chest continuously.

Zu An had a strange look on his face. “There was a screen between us. He couldn’t see anything.”

“But I feel weird!” Qiao Xueying spun around. She felt really uncomfortable. If it had been First Miss Chu, things might have been different, but this was the heir of the Chu clan!

If not for her friendship with Chu Chuyan, she might have just silenced him forever.

Zu An moved his hand through her elaborately-braided hair. “You knocked him out, right? Besides, even if he saw anything, he would have seen me. I was the one closer to him.”

Qiao Xueying pulled her braid out of his hands. “Right, what was that ‘steering wheel’ you mentioned last night?” she asked, a strange look on her face.

Zu An coughed noisily, almost choking on his own spit. “Nothing! Haha…”

“It’s definitely not good.” Qiao Xueying’s face was completely red. She didn’t know how this fellow came up with such things. Miss Chu was always such a cold and aloof woman. Did she let him get away with all of this as well?

Zu An looked out the window. “The sun’s almost up. It’s about time I went back. I still have to get into the palace.”

Qiao Xueying immediately put everything else out of her mind. Her expression grew serious. “Ah Zu, are you sure you can succeed? Why not just stick with my plan and leave when the gates open?”

“Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing.” Zu An was incredibly touched by her concerned expression. He kissed her delicate red lips again.

Qiao Xueying quickly pushed him away, her face full of fear and embarrassment. “Stop… I really can’t take it anymore…”

The bodies of elves were more delicate than humans, and Zu An was much stronger than an ordinary man. Her body felt on the edge of falling apart after being tossed and turned about by him all night.

Zu An laughed. “I’m no beast. I just wanted to kiss you.”

“Didn’t you say that last night?” Qiao Xueying grumbled.

Zu An had no reply to that.

The two of them embraced each other affectionately for a few more moments. Then, Qiao Xueying got up to help him get dressed.

Zu An sighed in amazement. “You’re very skilled with your hands.”

“I didn’t know how to do any of this before. But as a servant of Miss Chu, I had to pick this up.” Qiao Xueying sighed. “I must’ve owed you lovers a debt in my past life. Not only did I fail to complete my mission, I even ended up suffering a huge loss.”

Zu An pinched her cheeks. “We’re lovers too.”

The gloom hanging over Qiao Xueying immediately disappeared when she heard what he said, and she smiled so broadly her eyes turned into crescents.

Zu An was still worried about Chu Youzhao, but Qiao Xueying assured him that she would escort the Chu heir back to the Qin clan.

He knew that she was more familiar with the capital. Furthermore, she had some connection to the Chu clan herself, so he was willing to trust her with this task.

He returned to the residence he had been staying at the night before. He could hear Zhuxie Chixin’s furious bellowing even from a distance away. “Have you found him?”

“Not yet…”

“You can’t even figure out if it was the assassins who captured him or if he ran away himself?!”

“Things were too messy last night, so one was able to see clearly...”

“All of you are trash! Give the order to post arrest warrants everywhere! Also, seal up the city gates! No one is allowed to enter or leave until we find him!”

Zu An knew that it was about time. He cleared his throat. “Is the Chief Commander looking for me?”

Everyone in the residence whipped around, and all their eyes lit up when they saw him. After all, if they had really lost the person most wanted by the emperor, not a single one of them would have lived. How could they not be happy to see him return?

Zhuxie Chixin was the one most shocked. “You’re okay?”

Zu An chuckled. “Was the Chief Commander hoping that something would happen to me?”

Zhuxie Chixin’s face darkened. “What are you saying? Why would I want something to happen to you? Are you injured? Do you need treatment?”

“I’m fine.” Zu An said, refusing his offer. Who knew what manner of strange things might happen now if he asked for treatment.

“Then let’s head for the palace immediately. I do not want anything else to happen.” Zhuxie Chixin waved his hand and ordered his subordinates to make preparations.

Zu An was perturbed by the hurry that Zhuxie Chixin was in. Could my hunch have been wrong?

Zhuxie Chixin escorted him into the palace with a group of guards.

“We won’t run into any more assassins along the way, will we?” Zu An pondered aloud.

“If they come, then they will die.” Zhuxie Chixin’s reply was extremely straightforward. He was clearly full of confidence.

Zu An seemed to fall into deep thought, while it was Zhuxie Chixin’s turn to grow curious. “Where did you go last night?”

Zu An smiled. “There were so many people gunning for my life, so I decided to hide for a bit.”

Zhuxie Chixin’s expression grew slightly strange. “To be honest, there are very few people who I’m unable to comprehend, and you are one of these few. You could have easily run away, yet you came back. Furthermore, you’re even cooperating with us as if you’re in a hurry to meet His Majesty.”

“Could it be that the Chief Commander does not wish for me to meet the emperor?” Zu An asked in return.

Zhuxie Chixin stared at him. “Do you know what awaits you once you meet His Majesty?”

“I do.” Zu An smiled. He looked completely calm.

Zhuxie Chixin stared at him uncertainly, then chuckled to himself. He’s a weird one indeed.

He did not ask any further questions. The group of them headed straight to the palace.

Zu An was slightly awestruck when he saw the red walls and golden tiles of the structure in front of him. The Forbidden City of his previous world was already incredibly grand, but this imperial palace was far more majestic.

From the height of the palace walls to the aura that their gates gave off, all of it was far greater than those of the Forbidden City.

He supposed that it made sense. This was a world of cultivators, after all, where strength ruled above all. The imperial palace would have to be much more intimidating.

Every guard here had to have at least four ranks of cultivation, and many were even at the fifth rank.

Outside the palace, each one of them would be considered individually outstanding. Moreover, these soldiers had been trained in the use of army formations, which would sharply  increase their collective strength.

This imperial palace was probably the safest place in this world.

With Zhuxie Chixin leading the way, no one dared obstruct them. After walking for what seemed like an age, they finally arrived at a majestic gate. There was already an old eunuch waiting for them.

Zhuxie Chixin spoke to Zu An. “I cannot accompany you further. Follow Eunuch Li. He will take you to meet His Majesty.”

Zu An was stunned. Most likely, the inner palace lay beyond this gate. The ones who lived within were either imperial concubines, or other women. Ordinarily, other men would not be allowed in.

By letting him go in, it was clear that they did not plan to let him leave alive.

Given the situation he was in, though, he could only deal with whatever happened as best as he could. He hoped his plan would go smoothly.

“Thank you, Chief Commander, for your trouble.” After the old eunuch completed the handover with Zhuxie Chixin, he said with a sharp voice, “Follow me.”

Even though Old Mi’s voice was unpleasant to listen to, at least it wasn’t this bad. Zu An was rather disdainful. This old man matched the stereotype of a palace eunuch perfectly. Old Mi probably covered up his deficiencies with his powerful cultivation.

He followed the old eunuch further inside. He wanted to joke around with this old eunuch for a bit, but he did not expect him to be this arrogant. He quickly lost interest in exchanging barbs with the old fellow. After all, the emperor was still the key to all this.

The further in they went, the quieter it became. It was as if they were strolling through a private garden.

The two of them walked along a long promenade that stretched across a stream, and finally stopped under a pavilion. “Wait here,” the old eunuch said.

Zu An was stunned. “I thought I was going to meet His Majesty?”

“His Majesty is currently attending the morning court session,” the old eunuch replied, “so you are to wait here first. Don’t do anything foolish.”

With that, he left Zu An alone.

A strange expression spread across Zu An’s face. This emperor seemed rather lax! Was he really going to be left alone in the inner palace? Wasn’t the emperor worried that he might cause a ruckus?

Some pastries were laid out on a table under the pavilion. Zu An had been busy all night, and Zhuxie Chixin hadn’t given him any breakfast. He was actually feeling a little hungry.

Of course, he didn’t dare eat any of it.

He tried his best, but eventually, he couldn’t sit still any longer. Those pastries were right in front of him, yet he couldn’t eat them. What an awful test of willpower.

He decided to take a walk instead. It was always good to familiarize oneself with one’s surroundings, after all.

The palace layout was extremely complicated, and he started to feel lost after walking around for a bit. He was just about to turn around when he heard a rather simple-minded voice. “I want you guys to learn to jump like frogs. Do you see any frogs jumping while wearing pants?”

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