Chapter 606: The Sorrow of Parting

“Follow me!” Zu An pulled her into an alley.

Qiao Xueying suddenly felt at ease when she felt his hand around hers. With him beside her, nothing seemed that dangerous anymore.

She had already made her decision. If she really couldn’t get away, she would find a way to cut off all relations with him, so that she wouldn’t drag him down with her.

As she was pondering her future moves, she found herself led along a very complicated route. She was shocked. “Ah Zu, how are you so familiar with these roads?”

“Have you already forgotten that I’m now a palace official?” Zu An said with a chuckle. They were already in front of a residence.

Qiao Xueying was completely dazed when she saw him open the door casually. Her lover was becoming more and more incredible!

Zu An closed the door behind her and took out a set of clothes. “Change into these clothes and wear this mask.”

Qiao Xueying was shocked when she saw the unique embroidery. “This is an Embroidered Envoy uniform!”

Zu An smiled. “What did I just tell you? Is your memory that poor?”

He had more than one set of the uniform. They were slightly too large for Qiao Xueying, but with some adjustments, it would look all right. With guards running about everywhere in the palace, it was difficult for her to leave. However, dressing as an embroidered envoy would make it that much easier to escape.

Snow stuck out her tongue. “There was so much going on that I forgot, all right?”

She picked up the clothes, and her face suddenly turned red. “Can you turn around?”

Zu An laughed. “We’re already partners. What is there to be embarrassed about?”

“Who are you calling your partner?” Qiao Xueying said with a huff. She was still shy about it, though, and ran behind a screen to change. 

“Why did you guys try to assassinate the empress?” asked Zu An from the other side of the screen “Don’t you know how dangerous that is?”

In his opinion, it was suicidal. They might have been able to catch the palace unprepared, but once the guards reacted, the assassins were most certainly dead.

“This was a massive mission that the Shadow Group accepted. The client offered a great reward for this mission. As long as the price is high enough, the Shadow Group is willing to even kill a deity. That is their creed,” explained Qiao Xueying. “This was my final task that the Shadow Group assigned to me. I didn’t know what the mission was either. I only realized what was going to happen after I was brought into the palace, but by then, it was already too late. I could only brace myself and follow through with it, since it was a chance at a new life. Who would’ve thought that I would find you fooling around with that empress? Hmph!”

You have successfully trolled Qiao Xueying for 23… 23… 23…

“It’s not what you’re thinking!” Zu An finally had some room to explain himself. “I had no choice, I had to do it in order to protect myself in the future…”

He gave her a rough explanation of the events that had transpired.

Qiao Xueying was stunned. She poked her head out from behind the screen, her fair collarbones faintly visible. “You said that you spanked the empress and kissed her? And in the end, not only were you not punished, she even had to protect you?”

“I think so.” Zu An had a strange look on his face. “I actually have to thank you. If you hadn’t frightened her, she might not have reached that decision.”

Qiao Xueying gave him a long look. She had so many thoughts in her head that she didn’t know where to start. “That's you, all right,” she said in the end.

Zu An smiled in embarrassment, then quickly changed the topic. “Didn’t I tell you the last time to let me know before you go on your last mission? Thank heavens I just happened to be in the imperial palace as well. The consequences might have been too tragic otherwise!”

Qiao Xueying disappeared behind the screen again. “I didn’t see you at your place, and there wasn’t enough time. I had to set out together with the rest of the Shadow Group.” She laughed. “The fact that you saved me in the palace means that we really are destined for each other after all.”

“We might not be that lucky next time.” Zu An shook his head when he glimpsed her smile. It seems all women care about this stuff about destiny. “So, do you know who the client is?”

Qiao Xueying shook her head. “I don’t know. Shadow Group always maintains absolute secrecy when it comes to their clients, especially for such a massive undertaking."

Zu An knew that this was a pointless line of questioning. “After today’s affair, the imperial court will surely go after the Shadow Group. You shouldn’t go back to them.”

“Okay. I’ve already fulfilled my agreement with them, so I’m now completely free.” Qiao Xueying said this as she tidied up her clothes.

Zu An’s eyes lit up. Qiao Xueying was an attractive person to begin with, and these clothes lent her a slightly heroic air. The words ‘cosplay foreplay’ suddenly appeared in his mind.

Qiao Xueying immediately looked down at her outfit when she noticed his stare. “What’s wrong? Did I put them on wrongly?”

He replied with a firm hug and a deep and passionate kiss.

Only after a long moment did Zu An reluctantly separate from her. He looked at the young lady in his arms and said, “Snow, you really are beautiful.”

The young lady was extremely happy to hear his praise. Her eyes sparkled as she looked at him. “Ah Zu~”

Zu An felt extremely moved. He picked her up and moved her to the desk, then swept everything off it.

Qiao Xueying’s heart began to pound even harder. “I just finished putting on these clothes…”

“That’s just how I like it.” Zu An kissed her.

“Mmm…”

...

A while later, a mass of hurried footsteps sounded outside, followed by the raised voice of a guard. “The assassin seems to have escaped in this direction. Everyone, search this area carefully.”

“Ah!!” Qiao Xueying cried out in alarm and quickly pushed her lover away. Her face was red as she smoothed out her messy clothes.

Zu An was irritated. Why did these guys have to come now? However, he knew that proper business was their top priority, so he didn’t whine about it.

He put on an Embroidered Envoy uniform as well, and helped Qiao Xueying put on her mask. In moments, there were two Embroidered Envoy inside the room.

Zu An looked at her and nodded in satisfaction. Although she was slightly smaller in stature, she didn’t look much different from other Embroidered Envoy.

There were short men in this world too, so it wasn’t a big deal.

When they were ready, he and Qiao Xueying walked out.

“Show yourself!” Guards quickly surrounded them.

Zu An fished out a command token and waved it in front of them.

“Golden Token Embroidered Envoy!” The shocked guards immediately greeted him respectfully. After all, the Embroidered Envoy was a mysterious group to begin with, enjoying great status, and those that held golden tokens were second only to Zhuxie Chixin.

Only ten Embroidered Envoy were granted golden tokens,  and every single one of them had a large number of silver- and bronze-token envoys beneath them. These golden-token envoys were of extremely high status, and these guards did not dare provoke one of them.

The guard leader mustered up the courage to ask a question. “If I may ask, My Lord, have you seen an assassin running past?” 

Zu An’s voice was stern. “I did not. I don’t believe any assassins have appeared within several zhang of this place.”

The guard felt relieved. “If you say so, My Lord, there is no mistake. We’re leaving!”

With a wave of his hand, he led his group in a different direction.

Zu An and Qiao Xueying both walked towards the entrance. Qiao Xueying was bouncing. “I didn’t expect your status to be so useful!”

Zu An chuckled. “Your lover is extremely capable, you know?”

Qiao Xueying snorted. “Hmph, rascal.” However, there was no trace of annoyance in her voice.

The departing guards also began to discuss amongst themselves. “Leader, something doesn’t seem right with those two. I’ve never heard of two Embroidered Envoy exiting from the same room before.”

That guard snorted. “I know what you are trying to say. I might have suspected something if it was any other Embroidered Envoy, but he had a golden token! Those with golden tokens all have tremendous cultivations. How could an assassin pass off as one of them?”

The others chuckled. “You are right, sir.”

“Although, I have always heard that each embroidered envoy lives alone. It feels weird to see two of them living together.”

“Did you notice that the one next to the golden-token envoy was slightly shorter?”

“Was she a woman? Are there women among the Embroidered Envoy?”

“Even if she isn’t a woman, he has to be the petite and pretty type. Many high-ranking officials love that type. He is a golden-token envoy, so it’s expected that he would pick up a subordinate like that.”

“Leader, why do you sound so excited when you’re discussing this matter? Please don’t have those thoughts about us!”

“Pah! You should take a good look in the mirror first!”

Zu An had already led Qiao Xueying to one of the palace entrances. Even though the security around the imperial palace was strict, the golden token of the Embroidered Envoy was too powerful. The guards did not ask a single question when they saw his attire and token, and let them straight through.

“Ah Zu, we have to part ways. I need to bring my clansmen home,” said Qiao Xueying reluctantly.

She had only stayed in the capital, and even worked for the Shi clan, in order to rescue her elven clansmen that had been trapped inside from the previous war.

Later on, she found out that, even though the Shi clan promised to help her rescue her clansmen, they had only used it as a leash around her neck. They did not do much, and even took part in the elven slave trade themselves.

After she turned against them, she used the strength she had accumulated over the years and the strength of the Shadow Group to successfully rescue many of her clansmen.

She had already sent several batches out of the capital. This was the final batch, and she was going along with them. The human world wasn’t her home, after all, and she held special status among her clan. The clan had continuously urged her to return to complete an important ceremony.

Zu An felt a great reluctance. “Snow, I really don’t want to part with you, but I have too many things to take care of. I can’t leave with you.”

Qiao Xueying snorted. “You’re making it sound as if you’re actually willing to leave behind Chu First Miss and the others… I won’t be unreasonable and make you give up everything to return home with me. But if you have a chance, please visit me. I’ll be with the elven clan.”

“I will surely come looking for you,” said Zu An seriously.

Qiao Xueying beamed. She got on her tiptoes and kissed him on the cheek. “Ah Zu, you’re the best!”

Zu An sighed. Separation always hurt the most.

All sorts of conflicting emotions rose up within him. He was about to say something, but his Embroidered Envoy golden token flickered with radiance, transmitting a strand of divine will. “All Embroidered Envoy near the palace are to cease whatever they are doing and render aid to the eastern palace at once!”

Previous Chapter Next Chapter