The empress was extremely vexed. She had been prepared to use Zu An’s disrespect towards her as a bargaining chip to threaten him further, which would eventually allow her to control him completely.
However, Zu An just had to turn this phony ‘offense’ into something real. This made things much more troublesome.
Whether or not his earlier actions constituted an offence was up to her discretion, which left her some leeway as to how to proceed.
However, now that he had truly disrespected her, it was all in His Majesty’s hands. If the emperor really looked into this matter, Zu An would be dead for sure, but the emperor would forever loathe her.
She had only planned to use this little secret to keep Zu An on a leash, but it was now a secret that both of them were forced to keep.
If she only had herself to worry about, she might have risked it and tried to get rid of Zu An for this offence.
However, she wasn’t an island. She had the massive Liu clan riding on her shoulders, and she dared not take the risk. If something untoward happened, the entire Liu clan would go down with her.
Was she just supposed to swallow it down like that?
She was the glorious empress of this empire, yet she had to let this man kiss her and mess around with her?
She turned the matter over in her mind, but finally realized that there really wasn’t anything she could do.
The more she thought about it, the angrier she felt.
You have successfully trolled Liu Ning for 1024… 1024… 1024…
The incoming rage points were all Zu An needed to know that he had truly provoked the empress this time. However, there was nothing he could do. There was no better option that he could think of besides killing her.
The empress was about to say something, but was interrupted by a cold, mocking laugh. “What a spectacular pair of adulterers!”
The two of them turned and spotted a black-clad assassin staring at them from not far away.
The empress felt her head explode. She was still thinking of what to do about Zu An, but this new development required urgent attention. “Hurry… hurry and kill him!” she said instinctively.
This was something only she and Zu An knew about. Once they had hashed out a secret agreement, they could still keep it under wraps. However, things would get messy if a third party found out.
She had already subconsciously put Zu An in the same camp as her. After all, they were stuck in the same boat when it came to this affair.
Zu An was vexed as well. There was no way for him to escape execution if an assassin leaked out what had gone on in this inner chamber.
Without hesitation, he flew at the assassin.
The assassin reacted even more quickly, and took off immediately.
Zu An froze. Wasn’t this assassin here to kill the empress? Why did he flee?
The empress was already on the verge of tears. When she saw him staring blankly, she yelled, “Go after him! Once he gets away, he doesn’t even need his blades to kill us both!”
Zu An snapped out of his daze and ran after the assassin.
The situation outside was completely different from before. Guards from other areas of the palace had rushed over, and more and more assassins were being cut down. They were no match for these elite troops.
One of the Shadow Group assassins blew a whistle loudly, and the remaining assassins began to withdraw.
The one who had confronted Eunuch Lu was clearly the leader of this Shadow Group operation. He used the force of Eunuch Lu’s final strike to withdraw, retreating under the cover of his companions.
Eunuch Lu did not pursue, since the assassin was at the same rank as him. He was also carrying an injury, and he did not wish to fight someone of the same level at such a disadvantage.
Most importantly, he was worried about the empress’ safety. He saw a black-clad assassin and Zu An rush out, one after the other. He immediately charged in, a panicked expression on his face. I hope nothing happened to the empress!
Zu An sighed in relief when he saw Eunuch Lu rush inside. His biggest worry was that another assassin would sneak in and kill the empress while he was busy chasing after this one. That would be the absolute worst-case scenario.
Judging from the empress’ tone, a tacit agreement had been made. As long as they could maintain a certain degree of balance, neither one of them would dare mention what happened, and both of them would protect this secret.
The only thing he needed to do was to silence this Shadow Group assassin.
After pursuing the assassin for a while, Zu An began to frown. Why does this person seem familiar? He was certain that he had never heard this person’s voice before, though. That was why he kept up his pursuit.
He found his quarry rather strange. Even though he was slowly catching up, it would still take him some time to do so. Zu An began to panic. Just as he was about to pull out one of his trump cards, two guards rushed out.
The attire of the Shadow Group’s members was infamous. The two guards immediately drew their blades to confront him. “Stop!”
The two of them attacked the black-clad individual from two directions. The black clad individual tried to dodge, weaving about, but could not find an opening to flee. Instead, he was pressured into a dangerous situation.
Zu An was overjoyed. As expected, there were many hidden experts in the palace! These seemingly-ordinary guards were actually both at the fifth rank, and they had clearly practiced fighting together. They were much stronger when they coordinated with one another.
The black-clad assassin soon found himself in a compromising position. A palm struck his shoulder, making him groan.
The voice sounded slightly familiar! The voice that he had heard in the inner chamber had been that of a man, yet now, the assassin clearly sounded like a woman.
The two guards were not about to show mercy just because she was a woman.
The black-clad woman unleashed her true power. She suddenly raised her hand, and countless vines tangled around the two guards.
“Wood element?” The two guards panicked. Their blades were quickly wreathed in flame.
Ordinarily, it would have been easy enough for the black-clad woman to deal with these guards, given their respective cultivations. Unfortunately, she had just happened to run into fire element cultivators, which naturally countered her own element.
“Ah!!” The woman let out a cry of alarm. One of the guards’ blades had found their mark. Even though she evaded quickly, it still left a bloody cut left on her body.
How could Zu An still wait? He rushed over and said, “Guard brothers, let me help you!”
The two guards took note of the official uniform that Zu An wore. He had also been in pursuit of this assassin earlier on, so none of them were on guard against him. “Stay back and block off her escape route! You’ll get in our way if you join the fight.”
“Okay!” Zu An answered eagerly, continuing to charge at them.
“What are you doing?” These inner palace guards were extremely vigilant. They quickly noticed that something was wrong, and put their blades up in a guard position.
However, a black hole seemed to appear from nowhere, sucking their ki dry.
There was no way for them to have predicted such a thing. The sudden feeling of nausea almost caused them to vomit.
Zu An used this chance to strike out with his finger twice, once for each guard, ending their lives.
Even though he didn’t like to kill needlessly, he was never soft-hearted when someone he cared for was in danger.
After dealing with the two guards, Zu An turned towards the black-clad woman. “Snow, how are your injuries?”
“Huh? You recognized me?” The black clad woman removed her veil, revealing her delicate face. Who else could she be but Snow?
“I thought you looked familiar, but I wasn't sure because you had the voice of a man.” Zu An felt joy well up within him. He hadn’t expected to run into her in the palace.
Qiao Xueying removed a small jade pendant from her neck. “This is one of the Shadow Group’s artifacts. It can change your voice and conceal your identity to a certain degree.”
After offering the explanation, she huffed angrily. “Of course you wouldn’t have recognized me, though. You were busy fooling around with the empress.”
“That’s a misunderstanding…” Zu An broke out in cold sweat. How could he have predicted that sort of situation? He was just about to explain himself when he heard footsteps approaching. Clearly, more guards were on their way.
“The assassin is over there!” Some of them had noticed them.
Qiao Xueying’s expression changed. She was dead for sure if she was trapped here. She might even drag Zu An down with her.Previous Chapter Next Chapter