Chapter 583: Kindred Spirits

Chapter 583: Kindred Spirits

“Sure.” Zu An had his own staff residence back at Brightmoon Academy, so he was familiar with the unlocking mechanism. He opened the door and took in the rather sizable courtyard. There were even several different rooms within. The environment and layout were rather nice, but of course, it emphasized safety and secrecy. This was probably an occupational hazard of the Embroidered Envoy.

“Where are the other embroidered envoys?” Zu An asked curiously.

Zhuxie Chixin replied, “This is your personal residence. Why would there be any other embroidered envoys here?”

“My personal residence?” Zu An was stunned. Are the benefits really this good? He assumed that he was going to be thrown into a common barracks with other envoys.

Zhuxie Chixin gave him a strange look. “Of course you’ll be living alone. The identities of embroidered envoys are wrapped in mystery. They are almost always masked while on the job. Aside from the emperor, even I do not know the true identities of some of them. Of course it’s not possible for us all to live together.”

“Then where do the others live?” Zu An probed further.

“Their residences are scattered throughout the palace, like your own,” replied Zhuxie Chixin. “However, not many embroidered envoys are qualified to live within the palace… In short, if others come by, you absolutely cannot show your real face to them. You must wear a mask. Masks, uniforms, and other equipment can be found inside. You can look through them later.”

Zu An gasped. “Everything was prepared so quickly? It seems His Majesty had already made these arrangements a while ago.”

Zhuxie Chixin clasped his fist in the direction of the imperial study. “We subordinates cannot presume to know His Majesty’s thoughts.”

Zu An curled his lips in disdain. Why are you sucking up to him all the way over here? There’s no way the emperor can hear or see you.

“By the way, where are the residences of the other embroidered envoys in the palace? I should pay them a visit. It’s better to get to know them sooner rather than later, right?” Zu An asked.

Zhuxie Chixin frowned. “The embroidered envoys usually prefer to remain independent. It’s best if you do not mingle amongst yourselves privately. Furthermore, almost all of them are out investigating cases. They do not spend much time in the palace.”

“They don’t spend much time in the palace?” Zu An was momentarily shocked, but a thought struck him. Investigating cases was probably a secondary reason. The main reason was probably the restrictiveness of living within the palace. None of them would be allowed outside their own residence, and spending all day in this small space was akin to imprisonment.

It would be a disaster if they accidentally ran into a concubine or princess. That was a transgression that would result in the eradication of their entire clan.

Clearly, no other embroidered envoy would wish to live in the palace. Zu An was probably the only one who was this excited.

Zhuxie Chixin was beginning to grow annoyed. “Are you done looking around yet? If you are, we’ll be leaving the palace. I’ll show you to your residence outside the palace.”

“I have another place outside the palace?” Even Zu An was beginning to feel embarrassed. Not only were they distributed tasks, they were distributed houses as well! He had received two of them in one go, one within the palace and one without. He would have been incredibly rich if he’d been given two houses like this in his previous world.

“Of course. We of the Embroidered Envoy have to assume different identities when carrying out our respective tasks. Besides, you also hold the position of the crown prince’s secretary, and have no relatives in the capital. We can’t just have you sleeping on the streets,” said Zhuxie Chixin.

Zu An looked as though he was moved to tears. “The emperor has truly taken good care of me. I will never be able to repay this kindness even in a thousand lifetimes!”

“As long as you have this mindset, then the emperor’s trust in you was not in vain.” Zhuxie Chixin’s expression eased slightly.

It seemed to Zu An that Zhuxie Chixin really was one of the emperor’s most loyal men after all. He didn’t have enough information earlier on, which was why he had suspected this guy of setting him up.

The two of them swiftly made their way to the palace gates. Along the way, they crossed paths with a lavishly-dressed beauty. Zhuxie Chixin immediately pulled Zu An to the side and lowered his head in greeting.

Even though the commander was devout and respectful, Zu An wasn’t so honest. He secretly raised his head to take a peek. He saw a group of maids and eunuchs escorting a beautiful woman past them.

She had a charming and graceful figure, and there was a natural sway to her gait. Oddly enough, she did not give off an aura of seduction. Rather, he only sensed a pure, gentle and graceful bearing.

Hm? It’s actually her.

He’d met this woman not too long ago. It was Concubine Bai.

This lavishly-dressed beauty was actually bored to death, and was out for a stroll. She paid no heed to the guards bowing towards her, since it was a habitual sight.

However, she quickly noticed that one of them was actually sneaking looks at her. She was shocked. Did this little guard not understand the rules, or was he truly so brazen?

She was kind-hearted by nature, so she was not about to make a huge fuss over it, in case she harmed his prospects.

She was just about to pretend that she hadn’t seen anything when she suddenly exclaimed in surprise. She had already recognized the guard as Zu An. “It’s you?”

Her voice was warm and moving, flowing like a gentle stream.

Zu An smiled. “I did not expect that we would meet again so soon.” 

His words caused a tinge of rosiness to appear on this beauty’s cheeks.

Zhuxie Chixin frowned. He had just warned this fella not to interact with the palace concubines, yet an incident had occurred so quickly, and right in front of him as well! 

Wait, why does this guy sound so flirtatious?

He could only do his best to remedy the situation. “If I may speak, Concubine Bai. He has just been granted the title of Phoenix Man by His Majesty, and will also serve as the crown prince’s secretary. This subordinate is escorting him out of the palace.”

Bai Rouxue was completely bowled over by this news. She was familiar with the matters surrounding Zu An. She thought that he was dead for sure, but he had not only been granted a noble title, he was now the crown prince’s secretary! How did he manage to accomplish this?

She quickly put aside these thoughts and said with a sweet smile, “This young master has truly been blessed. I’ll leave you to take care of the crown prince in the future.”

These were appropriate remarks from the crown prince’s concubine.

“That is my duty,” replied Zu An. “The crown prince and I felt a strange familiarity when we first met. I believe we can become kindred spirits.”

“I thank you again for your trouble.” His words stirred a strange feeling within Bai Rouxue, but she did not pay them too much heed. She nodded her head and smiled faintly, before the palace maids and eunuchs escorted her away. It was clear that they did not want her conversing with another man for too long.

Zu An breathed in the faint fragrance lingering in the air. Suddenly, it seemed as though he wasn’t in such a bad spot after all.

When Concubine Bai left, Zhuxie Chixin frowned. “I warned you before. Why did you take the initiative to talk to her? Thank goodness I was by your side today. If news of this circulates to the wrong people, you won’t be able to bear the consequences alone.”

Zu An disagreed privately. After all, the emperor still needed him to take down King Qi. Why would he blow up over something this petty? “I was almost punished by the crown princess earlier,” he replied, “and I was only able to get out of it thanks to Concubine Bai. I only wanted to express my gratitude to her.”

Zhuxie Chixin nodded. He had heard a little about Zu An’s encounter with the crown prince and princess. “We’ll ignore this for now. Don’t do something like that again. You need to be careful while you are in the eastern palace. It’ll be bad enough if you provoke the crown prince’s other concubines, but you absolutely must not provoke the crown princess or Concubine Bai.”

Zu An was stupefied. That damned fatty seemed rather slow, yet he actually had so many girls around him!

Who the hell said that I was fickle in love? I’m not even worth mentioning when compared to these nobles.

“I can understand why I should be wary of the crown princess, but Concubine Bai is only a concubine. Why do I have to be so careful around her?” asked Zu An curiously.

Zhuxie Chixin hesitated, but he knew that the two of them were going to be working together in the future, so he offered Zu An an explanation. “Concubine Bai was personally bestowed to the crown prince by His Majesty. Furthermore, she was the one who gave birth to the crown prince’s only son. Naturally, she enjoys special status.”

Zu An suddenly felt an urge to gossip, and he fired off a series of questions. “I’ve heard that Concubine Bai used to be His Majesty’s concubine. Is that true? Did His Majesty show her a lot of affection? She and the crown prince…”

The torrent of words caused Zhuxie Chixin’s eyelids to twitch uncontrollably. “Shut up! You shouldn’t be asking about these things!”

The Embroidered Envoy was traditionally made up of reserved individuals who quietly got things done, yet this fellow had suddenly popped out of nowhere to shatter that custom. It made him doubt the emperor’s arrangements for the first time.

His face was gloomy as he led Zu An out of the palace. He stopped in front of a residence outside the capital city. “This residence will be yours.”

Zu An saw the characters ‘Ding Manor’ on the plaque outside the entrance, and peered through the gates. “But there’s still people living inside…” he said hesitantly. 

“Not for long.” Zhuxie Chixin waved his hands. Several embroidered envoys wearing masks appeared, seemingly out of thin air, and rushed into the residence. Several screams erupted, but they were quickly silenced.

“From today, this will be your home,” announced Zhuxie Chixin.

Zu An could only stare at him in shock.

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