Zu An was dumbfounded. Whoever you are, you’re right. Frogs really don’t jump while wearing pants.
He traced the source of the voice, and saw a large fatty standing in front of a pool, pointing his finger at several young eunuchs and berating them. The young eunuchs were all lying on the ground, looking like Ouyang Feng practicing the frog technique.
From their miserable expressions, however, he could tell that they were being forced into this.
The big fatty’s face was completely round. From his appearance, he didn’t seem all that smart.
Who the hell could act so arrogantly within the inner palace? This fatty was scolding those eunuchs like an elder scolding their grandsons, and the eunuchs had their heads bowed, begging for forgiveness. Not a single one of them dared show defiance.
Zu An took a closer look at what the fatty was wearing. He was draped in apricot yellow, and dragons seemed to be embroidered on his clothing.
This couldn’t be the emperor, could it?
Zu An immediately rejected this thought. If the number-one expert in the world looked like a handicapped child, this world was done for.
He then remembered the rumors regarding the crown prince. A man who could freely move about in the inner palace and dressed in yellow, dragon-patterned robes… Who else could this be?
Chu Chuyan had mentioned to him that the crown prince was named Zhao Ruizhi. At the time, Zu An had thought that being given such a name was surely an omen for him to turn out mentally deficient.
“Huh? You, little eunuch over there. Hurry up and get over here.” By this time, the crown prince had noticed Zu An, and called him over.
Zu An was speechless. Are you blind? Look at my bold and mighty appearance! Who are you calling a eunuch?
Since he had nothing better to do, though, he figured that there was no harm in getting to know this crown prince.
He made his way over.
The other eunuchs stared at him. “What brazen behavior! Who are you? How dare you barge into the inner palace?”
The crown prince somehow couldn’t tell, but the rest of them knew that there was no way this person was a eunuch. Was he an assassin?
Then again, the imperial palace had so many powerful cultivators within its walls, and security was so tight. How could an assassin possibly get in?
Besides, it was possible that he was the heir of a certain minister who had entered with an imperial order, so they dared not openly call him an assassin yet.
Zu An was about to explain himself when that fatty said unhappily, “Shut up. Do frogs speak?”
The eunuchs quickly shut their mouths, bitter expressions on their faces.
The fatty continued, “What about your pants? Do frogs wear pants? Take them all off.”
Zu An added, “It isn’t just pants. Frogs don’t wear clothes either.”
The fatty was extremely pleased, beaming as though he had found his soul mate. “You’re right! Why didn’t I think of that? Little Xu, Little He, take off all of your clothes.”
The eunuchs glanced at Zu An resentfully. This fella was throwing stones at them while they were already down! Wait until we have a chance for revenge. We’ll make sure you’ll get what you deserve!
You have successfully trolled Eunuch Xu Kun for 444 Rage points!
You have successfully trolled Eunuch He Te for 444 Rage points!
You have successfully…
However, they couldn’t go against these orders. They knew that their master was moody. Um… wait, to be more precise, he has no concept of good and evil.
A companion of theirs, who had clearly never offended the crown prince, had been given a miserable beating. The crown prince had not felt as though this was an evil act—he just wanted to find out which was harder, a stick or a human skull. It was purely for his amusement.
On balance, though, the crown prince didn’t treat them that poorly. As long as none of them got on his bad side, they actually did pretty well for themselves.
Zu An was speechless as he watched the eunuchs bashfully take off their clothes. He really had no interest in watching eunuchs strip. It would have been much more interesting if these were palace maids.
That was strange, though. There were only eunuchs at the crown prince’s side. Not a single maid was in sight.
As he looked around, he asked idly, “Why were you asking them to learn how to jump like frogs?”
The fatty pointed at the frogs in the nearby pond, which was covered in lotus flowers. “I heard several frogs croaking when I was passing by just now. I asked them if the frogs decided to croak on their own, or if they made them croak to flatter me.”
Zu An stared blankly for a moment. It took him a moment to realize that he had referred to both the frogs and the eunuchs in much the same way, and was momentarily stunned. This fellow’s head worked in truly bizarre ways.
He followed up on the crown prince’s statement. “And what did they say?”
The fatty pointed at the thin, weak eunuch and said, “Little Xu said that those frogs croak like that whenever spring approaches.”
Zu An felt as though it was a completely appropriate reply, but the fatty said, “It’s utterly preposterous that these frogs did not croak in welcome when they saw me! That’s why I told Little Xu to learn how to croak like a frog when he greets me, but he just couldn’t learn to do so! That’s why I asked him to learn how to jump like a frog instead.”
Zu An had no reply to that.
He swallowed, then asked about the others. “What about the rest of them?”
The fatty replied, “Oh, I asked Little He the same thing, and he said that the frogs obviously croaked as a way of greeting me.”
Zu An figured that, since Little Xu’s answer had clearly displeased him, it would be even more stupid if the others didn’t change their answer. “Then why did you punish them too?”
The fatty replied angrily, “His reply made me happy, but I wanted to hear the frogs greet me again. Unfortunately, they couldn’t make the frogs croak. Doesn’t that mean that they were lying to me?”
Zu An was once again speechless.
Of course the frogs would run off when so many people showed up so suddenly!
He looked at the eunuchs with pity. Whichever reply they chose was destined to be the wrong choice. What a terrible plight.
Those eunuchs seemed to have sensed the meaning within his gaze. They nodded knowingly back at him. Finally, someone understands the depth of our suffering!
They were originally angry at him for throwing stones at them while they were down, but after seeing his sympathetic expression, their enmity towards him decreased.
The big fatty continued, “Oh, since you’re here, I want to hear your thoughts as well. Did those frogs croak on their own, or were they greeting me?”
Zu An wanted to hit his head against a wall.
If he had known this was going to happen, he wouldn’t have asked so many questions!
The eunuchs all took delight in his misfortune. Heh, look at how smug you were a moment ago. You’re about to be made to strip and jump with the rest of us.
The fatty was rather dissatisfied that Zu An had yet to reply. “Hello? I’m talking to you. Are you looking down on me by not replying?”
“Of course not.” Zu An gave the pond a look. A confident smile appeared on his lips. “These frogs are obviously croaking to greet you.”
The fatty was overjoyed. “Haha! I knew it! Can you make them croak a few more times, then?”
The eunuchs exchanged glances, and almost burst out laughing. Where did this idiot come from? You just had to keep talking and draw the crown prince’s attention. Look at you now!
“Sure.” Zu An chuckled. He walked over to the pond, then spoke as if he was addressing the frogs in the pond. “Fellow frog brothers, my friend wants to hear you greet him some more. Please show him some respect and croak for him.”
The eunuchs all laughed. Wasn’t this guy even dumber than the crown prince?
Of course, none of them dared give voice to these thoughts. However, they looked at Zu An the way anyone would look at the village idiot.
The big fatty seemed to have discovered a kindred spirit. He quickly rushed over to Zu An’s side. “You can talk to frogs?”
Zu An smiled modestly. “Only a little.”
Little Xu finally couldn’t take it anymore. “Master, you’re being fooled! No one in this world can talk to frogs!”
Little He nodded in agreement. “Exactly, Master…”
Before he could finish, the sound of croaking came from the direction of the pond. There were only a few frogs at first, but the croaking became louder and louder. Eventually, all the frogs were croaking in unison.
The eunuchs stared at the pond, all of them dumbstruck. Innumerable frogs were squatting on the lotus leaves, as though all of the frogs in the pond had appeared. They were all croaking at the crown prince, sitting in a proper stance, as though paying their respects.
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