Zu An secretly snickered at how Zhuxie Chixin seemed too embarrassed to ask his question. His own initial panic had already subsided.
Zhuxie Chixin had clearly been lying when he said he was just passing by. He had a specific objective in mind. His hesitancy, and the strange look that he had given Zu An before leaving the imperial study, led him to believe that these two were related.
Therefore, he spoke first. “His Majesty was extremely angry at the way the assassins managed to storm the imperial palace. He also found it exceedingly strange that they had found the perfect time to attack, just when he happened to be away.”
Zhuxie Chixin came to a sudden realization. “This matter is strange indeed,” he continued, following Zu An’s lead. “Only a small handful of people would have known that the emperor was not in the palace.”
Zu An sighed. “That’s why His Majesty instructed me to find out who leaked out this information.”
Even though Zhuxie Chixin had surmised as much, his expression still flickered slightly. The fact that the emperor didn’t order him and his subordinates to investigate this matter meant that he already suspected him.
Even though he knew that his master was a suspicious man, finding out that he was now the target of that suspicion made him question his loyalty just a little.
“I’m one of the suspects as well. Since you’re telling me this, I’m assuming that you aren’t afraid that I could be one of them?” Zhuxie Chixin looked at his new subordinate with amusement. He admired how calm this fellow had been on their way to the capital, and what transpired later on had left him even more amazed. That was why he hadn’t had the slightest objection when he heard that the emperor was going to make him a golden-token envoy.
Zu An forced a smile. “Your devotion to His Majesty is known by all those under the heavens. Furthermore, Chief Commander, you took good care of me on the way to the capital, so I obviously understand your moral character. Why would you ever secretly collude with assassins?”
Yun Jianyue, who was hiding behind the curtains, rolled her eyes. This fellow really was a bootlicker. Just listening to him made her cringe.
Even though he knew that Zu An was just paying him lip service, it was still music to Zhuxie Chixin’s ears. “Indeed, I have a clear conscience. I am sincerely grateful to have the trust of a fellow brother.”
At the same time, he sighed inside. Even this Zu An, whom he had only known a short time, trusted him. And yet, the emperor, to whom he had remained loyal to for so long, already suspected him.
Zu An was pleasantly surprised. Flattery really was a powerful tool after all! This guy had called him Eleven a moment ago, yet he now even called him brother.
He definitely had to cling onto such a powerful fellow! His words may have been seen as flattery, but they were also sincere.
The emperor clearly wants us to keep each other in check, but I’m not someone who has blind faith. Why would I devote myself to someone who might kill me on a whim?
We should all gang up… Ahem, I mean, let’s all just get along. The most important thing in life is happiness.
That was why he didn’t hesitate to tell Zhuxie Chixin about the emperor’s task. Whether or not this man leaked out the information was of no consequence. The most important thing was to draw them closer together.
If he really was with the Devil Sect, they would be on the same side anyway.
Of course, there was no way he would tell any of the others this. He wasn’t friends with any of them, nor did he understand their character. It would be too risky to speak about such intimate things with absolute strangers.
He coughed and said, “Big brother, you’re too polite. I actually wanted your opinion on how to handle this case. You are the professional, after all.”
Yun Jianyue had a strange expression on her face. This guy really is way too casual with his own life. He even called Zhuxie Chixin ‘big brother’! He’s probably the only person in this entire world who dares to call Zhuxie Chixin that. 
Was Honglei fooled by this fellow’s skin, which is thicker than a damned city wall?
Zhuxie Chixin tapped his fingers lightly on the table. He was clearly turning something over in his mind. To Zu An’s request, he replied, “Since His Majesty put you in charge of this investigation, he clearly doesn’t wish for me to interfere. I have a certain way of doing things that might not be beneficial to you, as His Majesty will undoubtedly find out. Carry out your investigation boldly, and without fear. Let me know in the future if you need any help.”
When he didn’t call him ‘brother’ this time, Zu An knew that the other party had only forgotten himself briefly earlier on. Growing a friendship was a long process after all… I suppose I have to find a chance to invite him to a brothel in the future. As the proverbs say, men should jump, fight together, flee together, and…
But this guy’s face is so white and pale. What if there’s something wrong with him down there… I’d only be shooting myself in the foot.
Zhuxie Chixin sighed. “I’ve spoken too seriously. We’re comrades, after all. It’s only natural that we help each other out. You find your task a pain, but I have a huge headache as well. His Majesty wants me to find out where that female assassin is, yet I don’t have the slightest clue. That woman seemed to have vanished into thin air.”
He was despondent over all that had happened so far that day, which was why he was conversing so freely with Zu An. He would never usually do such a thing.
A thought came to Zu An. “Did you say that the long-haired woman’s name was Yun Jianyue earlier, and that she was the Devil Sect’s sect master?”
“Indeed.” Zhuxie Chixin nodded. “I’ve been so proud of my own cultivation all these years, believing that, aside from His Majesty himself, no one was my equal. I looked down on everyone, yet I actually ended up being defeated by a woman.”
Zu An was quick to console him. “There’s no need to feel so dejected, big brother. She’s the sect master of the Devil Sect,, after all, and might have lived several decades longer than you. There’s nothing wrong with losing to an old hag.”
Behind the curtain, Yun Jianyue raised her eyebrows. Her expression was slightly strange.
You have successfully trolled Yun Jianyue for 333 Rage points!
This guy is a scoundrel! Even though she had already tempered her mind over the years, she still erupted in anger.
Zhuxie Chixin gave him a puzzled look. “Old hag? No one knows the Devil Sect’s master’s true age, but she has to be younger than me, so how could she be an old hag? If she really was older than me, I wouldn’t feel so bad being defeated by her.”
Yun Jianyue’s lips curled upwards. She was much more satisfied with Zhuxie Chixin’s words.
Zu An sighed with relief when he learned that she wasn’t an old hag. That’s good, that’s good.
However, he didn’t give up this perfect opportunity to gather information. “By the way, you mentioned that she was seriously injured. Will her lover come looking for vengeance? Big brother, you cannot lower your guard when you capture her.”
Lover? Yun Jianyue felt her hands itching. She was definitely going to give this fellow a good beating once she recovered.
A faint smile appeared on Zhuxie Chixin’s otherwise-serious face. “How could such a ferocious woman have a lover? Which man in the world would dare take her as his lover?”
Yun Jianyue’s breathing hastened, causing her ample chest to wobble. If not for her ability to maintain her Mirror Mirage perfectly, she might have already been noticed by Zhuxie Chixin.
He spoke well earlier on, but he’s the same type of fellow as Zu An!
Zu An resisted his urge to turn around. “If Yun Jianyue heard you slandering her behind her back like this, she might just twist your head off.”
Zhuxie Chixin harrumphed. “Even though I am indeed slightly weaker than her, it won’t be easy for her to defeat me. Besides, His Majesty himself had dealt her an injury. Who cares if she hears this?”
Yun Jianyue’s face remained expressionless. She wasn’t the type to act rashly upon her emotions. She wouldn’t fight him to the death in her current situation.
Hmph, I’ll remember this debt.
Zu An resisted the urge to laugh. “Is she really that fierce? She seemed rather gentle and refined when she was in the eastern palace earlier. Even when she was masked, I could sense that she was a great beauty. Hmm… Her figure seemed pretty good as well.”
Zhuxie Chixin frowned. “It’s all right to say such things in private, but you can never utter them in public. If either the Devil Sect or the imperial court finds out, you’ll definitely suffer for it.”
He got up and walked over to the window, looking off into the western horizon. “You might not know about the terror that is Yun Jianyue because you’re too young. Back in the day, the Devil Sect was under attack on all fronts. The previous sect master was killed by His Majesty, leaving the Devil Sect leaderless. There were many factions in the Devil Sect, and none of their leaders were willing to bow down to another. This resulted in a bloody power struggle to determine who would assume the role of sect master.
“It was then-Lady Saint, Yun Jianyue, who emerged victorious, quickly subduing the other factions. She wiped out all those who were not loyal to her. The imperial court was overjoyed by this outcome. We assumed that this prolonged internal strife would wipe out a lot of powerful experts, and that they would be easily defeated. With Yun Jianyue in command, however, the great army of the imperial court was completely wiped out. That battle was a true bloodbath. Countless experts who had been dispatched by the imperial court perished at her hands, thus granting her the infamous reputation of a powerful devil.
“Your brief glimpse of her may have left you feeling that Yun Jianyue is a goddess, but the elders who had witnessed that battle all muttered the same words: ‘Blood moon rises, hell is unleashed’.”
Zu An was alarmed. Was that woman truly that terrifying?
He had embraced her, and even teased her on occasion. He’d even enjoyed the feeling of her breasts. Wasn’t he dead for sure?