Chapter 622: Toying With the Heart

Zhuxie Chixin’s voice startled Zu An. Yun Jianyue’s expression changed as well.

She faced certain death if Zhuxie Chixin caught her in her current state.

How did he find me? Did Zu An inform him? The Embroidered Envoy may have some private means of communication… 

She quickly shot down this suspicion. If he really wanted her dead, he could have done so when he was siphoning away her cultivation. Why would he go through all this trouble?

Zu An’s head was awash with thoughts. He considered pretending to be away and ignoring Zhuxie Chixin, in hopes that the commander would give up after calling out a few times.

However, he realized that that wouldn’t work. His timing was too perfect for this visit to be coincidental. He probably knew that he was home.

Could it be that he saw me bringing Yun Jianyue back with me?

This suspicion gave him a terrible fright.

He quickly analyzed the possibility. No, I don’t think so. I was extremely careful the entire time, and had all those small creatures keeping watch for me. Zhuxie Chixin would have to be an actual deity in order to catch me.

He looked down at his command token. He could sense a slight warmth to it. Was this what had given him away?

“Eleven?” Zhuxie Chixin’s voice carried a hint of impatience.

“Coming, coming,” replied Zu An immediately.

He sent Yun Jianyue a voice transmission. “Be on your guard. I’m going to deal with him.”

Yun Jianyue nodded. She didn’t even dare to reply.

Zu An hurried out. Zhuxie Chixin was standing outside in the courtyard.

I don’t see any guards with him… I don’t think he’s here to arrest me.

Zu An opened the door and greeted him. “Greetings, Chief Commander.”

“Why did it take you so long to come?” Zhuxie Chixin said with a frown. His pale face carried a trace of displeasure.

He did know I was here!

Zu An felt his heart pounding and quickly said, “I did a lot of fighting today, and I was quite frightened through it all, which tired me out. When I lay down on my bed, I unknowingly fell asleep. I thought I was dreaming when I first heard the Chief Commander’s voice.”

“You’re probably the only one in the entire imperial palace who dares to sleep right now,” said Zhuxie Chixin impatiently.

“Sorry, Chief Commander.” Zu An smiled apologetically, then asked, “Why have you come looking for me?”

“It’s nothing important. I sensed that you were inside while I was patrolling nearby, so I wanted to have a chat with you.” Zhuxie Chixin pointed at his own token. His token was different from the ones the other embroidered envoys carried. It wasn’t gold or silver, but made of jade. “This thing lets me sense other embroidered envoys within a set range. This saves me a lot of time.”

So it was the command token after all! Of course, given Zhuxie Chixin’s status, this wasn’t too surprising.

But why did he suddenly come here to talk to me?

“We’ve been busy all night and haven’t had much time to rest,” said Zhuxie Chixin. “Could I have some tea inside?”

Zu An immediately panicked. If he invited Zhuxie Chixin in and he saw Yun Jianyue, it would be a disaster.

However, how could he refuse a superior when he came around asking to be invited in for a drink?

“Uh… Chief Commander, you’ve really put in a shift today…” His mind was working, lightning quick. He was just about to find an excuse when Zhuxie Chixin walked right in.

Zu An was speechless.

His heart was in his throat. He even wondered if he and Yun Jianyue could take Zhuxie Chixin down together.

He quickly dismissed this thought. Leaving aside the fact that Yun Jianyue was seriously injured and almost powerless, even if she could fight, the chances of them defeating a soon-to-be grandmaster were exceedingly slim.

Besides, Zhuxie Chixin could summon palace reinforcements at any time. Fighting him was definitely a bad idea.

With no other options, he said, “Of course I would welcome the Chief Commander into my humble abode! However, I just moved in and haven’t tidied up the place yet. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to accommodate you as well as you’d like…”

He deliberately raised his voice as a warning to Yun Jianyue. She was a grandmaster, so he didn’t think she was dumb.

“There’s no need for such politeness. We’re colleagues, not strangers.” Zhuxie Chixin turned around and looked at him curiously. “Hm? Why are you sweating so much?”

Zu An had removed his mask, and was yet to put it back on. Either way, Zhuxie Chixin already knew who he was, so there was nothing to hide.

“It’s probably because I’m still worried,” replied Zu An hurriedly. “So many assassins made it into the imperial palace, despite all the restrictions around it. Just thinking about it makes me afraid.”

“What happened today is indeed absurd.” His statement resonated with Zhuxie Chixin. At the same time, he reminded him, “Make sure you wear your mask when in uniform. Your true identity cannot be exposed.”

Zu An clasped his fist. “Thank you for your reminder, Chief Commander.”

This guy does seem to care a little bit about me. I’ll try not to harm him if I don’t have to.

He rushed in ahead of Zhuxie Chixin. Sure enough, he didn’t see Yun Jianyue inside. He sighed in relief. Her Mirror Mirage could completely hide her aura. As long as Zhuxie Chixin didn’t see her with his own eyes, she was practically invisible to him.

He swept his eyes over the entire interior, and his eyes eventually landed on the bed. The curtains were lowered and the bedding was messy, as if someone had just gotten up.

Zu An praised Yun Jianyue for her attention to detail. He had told Zhuxie Chixin that he had fallen asleep, and she had helped him to make it seem more realistic.

Furthermore, she had lowered only one side of the curtains around the bed. If she had lowered all of it, it would immediately seem as though he was hiding someone. Having them half-open made it seem more natural.

Zu An already suspected that Yun Jianyue was hiding behind the half that had been lowered.

He quickly poured a cup of tea for Zhuxie Chixin. “Chief Commander, please.”

As he said this, he stood between the bed and Zhuxie Chixin to block his line of sight.

“Take a seat. There’s no need to be so polite.” Zhuxie Chixin picked up the teacup and took a sip before putting it back down.

Zu An’s heart skipped a beat. This man was clearly not just here for some tea.

Just as Zhuxie Chixin was about to say something, he hesitated. He was clearly trying to sort his thoughts out. Suddenly, he sniffed. “Hm? Why does it smell like a woman in here?”

Zu An felt his scalp beginning to itch madly. When he saw the other party start to look around, he had no idea how his mind moved so fast, but he quickly said, “It’s probably because I had to hold the crown princess earlier on while rescuing her in the eastern palace. Some of her fragrance must have rubbed off on me.”

Zhuxie Chixin frowned. “It doesn’t smell like the crown princess to me.”

Zu An cursed. Everyone knows that women are extremely sensitive to the scents of other women, but why the hell does this apply to a big fellow like you?!

He tried to remedy the situation. “I was in the Palace of Peace for some time as well, and saved the empress’ life as well. It might be a mixture of several smells.”

Zhuxie Chixin nodded, accepting this explanation. He knew that the empress was fond of mixing different fragrances together. Once they were mixed, it was difficult to tell them apart.

Zu An was afraid that he would keep asking questions, so he seized the initiative. “Chief Commander, you seem to be quite familiar with the crown princess’ fragrance.”

“Those in our trade are naturally a bit more sensitive to scents.” Zhuxie Chixin’s face went rigid, and his voice grew dark. “You can’t say this in front of other people. These questions of yours are going to cost me my life.”

Zu An laughed awkwardly. “That’s definitely not my intention, Chief Commander.”

Zhuxie Chixin’s sudden fear helped to lighten Zu An’s mood significantly. You’re always the one scaring me all this while. I should have a turn too, shouldn’t I?

Zhuxie Chixin snorted. “You’re a lucky fellow. You managed to save the lives of both the empress and the crown princess today. You seem to have bright prospects.”

Zu An smiled bitterly. “Please, don’t continue speaking about this matter. I almost lost my head over it.”

Zhuxie Chixin was taken aback. “What do you mean?”

Zu An said, “I was held back by His Majesty earlier on because he heard that I touched the crown princess. He wanted me to cut off my own arm…”

Zhuxie Chixin had a weird expression. “You should be content with your situation. It’s because of His Majesty’s grace that you are still doing all right.”

“If only it was that easy. His Majesty wanted me to make up for my transgressions through further contributions. If I cannot complete my investigation, then I’m probably still dead.” Zu An deliberately shifted their conversation in this direction.

“Oh? He wants you to make some contributions to atone?” Zhuxie Chixin’s expression changed slightly.

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