In that instant, all of Zu An’s fine hairs stood on end. At this distance, there was no escaping from the killing intent of a pseudo-grandmaster.
Even though Zu An had fought against Yun Jianyue that evening in the eastern palace, she hadn’t been using her full strength, as she was hiding her identity. Later on, when Zu An fought her in the rock garden, she had already been seriously injured by the emperor’s attack, and was considerably weakened. Because of this, he had subconsciously begun to underestimate grandmasters.
Only now, having experienced it directly, did he understand how great the difference between them was. If it really came to blows, it would be a miracle if he survived three attacks.
Although he had already begun to sweat profusely, his reactions were fast. He forcefully suppressed any thoughts of retaliation and replied, “I’m sorry, Chief Commander, I don’t understand what you mean.”
Zhuxie Chixin sneered. His voice was incredibly sinister. “I’ve already investigated this matter on my own. Cheng Xiong did not suspect you without reason. That day, two golden-token envoys left through the palace gates. However, I know full well that the other golden-token envoys were on their own missions, so there was no way they would have been in the palace.”
Zu An felt his heart drop. However, his mouth had instinctively begun to deny this accusation. “I’m being wronged! That’s the one-sided testimony of those palace guards, and they are Cheng Xiong’s subordinates. Wouldn’t they say anything Cheng Xiong told them to say?”
“Is that so?” Zhuxie Chixin stared at him. “It’s easy to prove whether you are being wronged or not. Hand over all of your uniforms for me to inspect. Every single Embroidered Envoy uniform is special, and their use and distribution is strictly recorded. They cannot be counterfeited by anyone outside our organization.”
Zu An felt his breath catch in his throat. He hadn’t expected Zhuxie Chixin to actually demand the uniforms. One set had been taken by Snow. How was he supposed to produce it?
How was he going to explain that he was missing a set? No, Zhuxie Chixin was sure to suspect him, no matter how he tried to explain himself.
Zhuxie Chixin said, “I recall telling you that there is a small storage space in your command token, within which all the equipment of the Embroidered Envoy can be stored. Don’t tell me that you can’t produce your uniforms, or that one set was stolen.”
The command tokens of Embroidered Envoy were indeed special. Orders could be sent through them—although communication was only one-way—and they had storage capabilities as well. The higher one’s rank, the larger the storage space, but it was a maximum of a meter square. It was nothing compared to the space within the Brilliant Glass Bead.
Zhuxie Chixin’s killing intent intensified, and Zu An knew that his hesitation had already drawn suspicion. He braced himself and said, “I know I’m innocent. All I have to do is show the Chief Commander my uniforms.”
He slowly took out his uniforms, one set after another. The other party couldn’t tell that he wasn’t using the waist token, but the Brilliant Glass Bead.
Zhuxie Chixin slowly nodded as he saw Zu An take out the uniforms. “You were issued eight sets of uniforms—four for winter, four for summer. I see seven sets. Where is the last one?”
His gaze intensified, boring through Zu An’s skull. He seemed ready to act immediately, if the eighth set did not appear.
Zu An swallowed. “Of course it’s…”
He paused for a moment, and then he said, slowly and deliberately, “The eighth set of the Embroidered Envoy uniform is in the storage space of my command token.”
Zhuxie Chixin frowned. Why did his tone become so strange?
However, his furrowed brows slowly relaxed, as the other party slowly took out a final set of uniform.
He examined this last set, still feeling slightly suspicious. However, it was indeed the uniform of a golden-token envoy. These uniforms were specially crafted, with many secret markings that not even a golden-token envoy could know about. That was why no one could create a counterfeit.
Satisfied, he smiled and said, “I was just going to say that there was no way you could have been colluding with the assassins. It was definitely Cheng Xiong trying to frame you.”
Zu An felt the pressure ease, and the killing intent surrounding him instantly disappeared. He secretly berated the man in front of him. You almost killed me just now. Why do you now look as though you’ve always trusted me?
You bastard, what happened to that look of absolute confidence you showed me the last time when you were under my roof? Look at you now, turning against me so quickly.
Of course, he did not let any of his annoyance show. He smiled instead. “It’s natural for you to be suspicious, Chief Commander. It’s true that we must investigate every possible suspicion. I’ve learned quite a bit from this matter.”
He’d managed to produce the missing uniform because he used his ‘Keyboard, come!’ ability. He hadn’t actually expected to be able to create an identical uniform out of thin air!
This shouldn’t be too major, right? I hope the rebound isn’t too serious.
Zhuxie Chixin’s expression grew more gentle. This junior knew how to speak well, and he was tactful as well. He’s a capable man. “It seems like Cheng Xiong is trying to frame you. Brother Zu, is there anything you need help with? As a big brother, I will do all I can to help you out.”
Since he had suspected the other party just now, he obviously needed to ease the relationship. This kid is a smart person, so he should be able to figure out what to do.
Sure enough, Zu An beamed. “Thank you, Chief Commander! There really are some matters I need your help with.”
“Please, speak freely.” Zhuxie Chixin’s expression eased even more. He remembered what he had shared with Zu An in private, so he definitely did not want to tarnish this friendship.
“I’d like to ask the Chief Commander to help me keep an eye on Cheng Xiong and his clan. I wish to know everything about him in detail.” Zu An wanted to take down Cheng Xiong, but he didn’t know enough about this person. He had to conduct some investigating of his own, to find out any possible avenues which he could exploit.
His dual roles as an Embroidered Envoy and the crown prince’s secretary overloaded him. Where would he find the extra time to pay attention to this as well? He had to seek out others for help.
Unfortunately, even though he was a golden-token envoy, it was only a nominal position. The emperor hadn’t actually assigned him any subordinates, so he could only ask Zhuxie Chixin for help.
Zhuxie Chixin agreed immediately. “That’s not an issue at all. Keeping an eye on someone is the Embroidered Envoy’s specialty. We will send a silver-token envoy and several other subordinates to take care of this matter.” It wasn’t a difficult matter, and it would further strengthen their relationship. Besides, if something really came of this, His Majesty would credit him with it as well, so everything worked out.
Zu An sighed in relief. Perhaps out of some lingering guilt on Zhuxie Chixin’s part, he asked Zu An to stay for some tea, and they chatted for a while. When he sensed that the tension in their relationship had eased, he let Zu An go.
Zu An’s smile vanished the instant he left the Embroidery House. His complexion was incredibly pale, and he felt a piercing pain in his brain. He also sensed a slight chill in the back of his head, as if something had been fished out.
He felt like vomiting. The feeling was similar to the nausea caused by playing a 3D-game for too long.
Zu An immediately realized that this was the backlash of using the ‘Keyboard, come!’ skill. Since it used up his soul force, it was equivalent to suffering a wound to his soul.
His breathing became more and more ragged. He didn’t want anyone to notice that something was wrong, so he quickly returned to his own residence.
His hands were shaking as he unlocked the door. A wave of dizziness came over him, and he collapsed.
I’m done for… my handsome face is going to be ruined if I fall flat on it… I depend on this face to make a living…
Huh? What is this? So big… so soft…
He felt as though he had fallen into a warm embrace. A lovely fragrance surrounded him, and he heard a cry of alarm. Then, he didn’t remember anything else.
Yun Jianyue was relaxing in the room when she heard a noise outside. Zu An had returned.
She couldn’t be bothered to move. After all, why would the dignified sect master of the Holy Sect greet a man returning home as though she were a married woman?
However, she heard the unsteadiness in Zu An’s steps and frowned. He seemed to have been injured.
Why would he be injured though, and so injured that his gait would grow unsteady?
Her expression turned serious. She was well-versed in Zu An’s level of cultivation. Even though his rank wasn’t high, he possessed a good amount of actual strength. Despite her injuries back then, which prevented her strength from being evaluated by conventional means, she had almost been killed by him.
Given his cultivation, there were few who could hurt him.
Could Zhuxie Chixin have done something to him?
When this thought crossed her mind, she couldn’t sit still any longer. She quickly rushed out to greet him. After all, her own safety was tied to Zu An’s.
When she opened the door, he fell right into her arms, and his face fell straight into her soft chest.Previous Chapter Next Chapter