Chapter 645: Mysterious Master

Soon, the two of them arrived at the imperial study. Eunuch Wen bowed respectfully at the entrance. “Your Majesty, Lord Eleven has arrived.”

“Let him in,” came a dignified voice from within.

Eunuch Wen moved to the side and gestured for Zu An to enter.

Zu An nodded back with a smile, but he was panicking inside. Could the emperor already be back? That means that big sis sect master is in danger!

Zu An immediately sighed in relief when he saw the giant mirror on the dragon throne inside. Thankfully, it was just an image of the divine will.

Why does it look so strange, though? It looks like a portrait of the deceased. Isn’t he afraid of this being inauspicious?

There was another person in the room. Cheng Xiong was standing respectfully to the side, but he was looking at Zu An with a sneer, as though he had foreseen the miserable end awaiting him.

Zu An didn’t pay him any attention. He greeted the emperor. “I pay my respects to Your Majesty!”

The man in the dragon robes within the mirror opened his eyes. He went straight to the point, without any preamble. “The Left Guard General has claimed that you colluded with the assassins. Is this true?”

Zu An had expected as much, so he didn’t panic. “Your Majesty, I, your humble subject, am being wronged. How could I possibly collude with the assassins? General Cheng is slandering my good name.”

“Slander?” Cheng Xiong sneered. “Didn’t you seek out soul-healing medicine from the imperial hospital not too long ago?”

Zu An felt his heart drop. So this was where the issue lay.

He replied, “That’s right, I did.”

There were many eyewitnesses, so he could not deny it.

“Why would a grandmaster bother attacking the soul of a nobody like you?” continued Cheng Xiong. “Furthermore, the female assassin only displayed the strength of a master rank cultivator at first. There was no way she would have employed any soul attacks. How could your soul have been damaged? The way I see it, you were seeking the soul-healing medicine for the wounded female assassin.”

Zu An almost gave this man a thumbs-up. This fellow had almost deduced everything on his own.

Of course, there was no way he would admit it. “General Cheng is not a grandmaster, so how do you know how a grandmaster thinks? What difference is there between what you just said and a random countryside wife claiming that the empress eats flour cakes as well?”

“You…!” Cheng Xiong’s entire body was quivering in anger. This fellow’s mouth really was too formidable. He always felt two steps behind.

You have successfully trolled Cheng Xiong for 311… 311… 311…

“Impudent!” The emperor’s dignified gaze landed on Zu An. He was clearly unhappy with his use of the empress in his analogy.

Only now did Zu An realize that there was actually an empress in this world. These habitual phrases from his previous world were second-nature to him.

Fortunately, the emperor did not take him to task. His eyes were like burning torches as he looked at Zu An. “I don’t recall your soul being injured the last time you were here in the imperial study.”

The corners of Cheng Xiong’s mouth had almost reached his ears. Now that His Majesty had said it, the matter was settled. All he had to do now was sit back and watch a good show.

Zu An’s heart sank. He did his best to explain himself. “Back then, I didn’t realize that I was injured. Only after I left the imperial study did my soul injuries erupt.”

The emperor frowned. Grandmasters indeed possessed such abilities.

Cheng Xiong sneered. “Lord Eleven, these lies are meaningless. Given His Majesty’s cultivation, all he needs is one glance to tell whether your soul is injured or not.”

He bowed towards the emperor. “Your Majesty, please preside over this matter!”

The emperor nodded, then fixed his sharp eyes on Zu An. Two faint streaks of golden light surrounded Zu An, seemingly almost tangible. He wasn’t given the slightest chance to defend himself.

Let’s see how you make it out of this one! Cheng Xiong was quivering with joy. This fellow had been awfully difficult to deal with. He had tried scheme after scheme to no avail. Fortunately, they had such a powerful emperor. No one could deceive him.

Zu An had a strange look on his face. This had to be a miraculous coincidence. He’d just used ‘Keyboard, come!’, which had inflicted an injury to his soul, and he had even used the Five Aggregate Root to treat himself. Now, he was being examined precisely for this. It was almost as though he was taking an open-book exam!

The emperor looked him over once, then calmly said, “His soul is indeed injured, and there are traces of the aura from a Five Aggregate Root.”

“What?!” Cheng Xiong’s smile immediately froze.

How can this be?!

“Perhaps there’s a mistake…” he started to say.

The emperor cut him off immediately. “Are you questioning my judgment?”

Cheng Xiong was covered in cold sweat. “This subject doesn’t dare! However, when the assassins swarmed the palace, the palace gate guards reported two golden-token envoys leaving the palace. My investigations have determined that there couldn’t have been any other golden-token envoys in the palace besides Lord Eleven. This is proof that he used one of his uniforms to sneak an assassin out of the palace. We will find out the truth if we investigate his uniforms.”

“Oh?” The emperor looked at Zu An again.

Zu An grew alarmed. Even though he had used ‘Keyboard, come!’ to make a uniform appear out of thin air, some time had already passed, and the uniform had already disappeared.

The effects of ‘Keyboard, come!’ were only temporary, and would disappear after a while. Otherwise, he could just brag that he was number one in the world, and that his soul was invincible, preventing him from taking any damage to his soul.

At this moment, a quiet voice cut in. “There is no need for further investigation. I’ve looked into the matter myself. Lord Eleven has a complete set of uniforms, and there were no signs of them having been worn by anyone else.” Zhuxie Chixin walked in, his long, narrow eyes fixed on Cheng Xiong.

Cheng Xiong began to panic. “Your Majesty, the Embroidered Envoy might be shielding each other…”

Zhuxie Chixin’s face darkened. “Please watch what you say, General Cheng. When have I ever shielded a subordinate in all these years? I do know a certain someone who loves to frame others, though.”

“Enough. There will be no more discussion of this matter. Do not fight amongst yourselves in private, and focus on your investigations. Zhuxie Chixin, stay behind. Everyone else can leave.” The emperor said coldly, then he closed his eyes. He seemed to have said all he wanted to say.

“Understood!” Cheng Xiong didn’t dare say anything else, and quickly withdrew.

Zu An gave Zhuxie Chixin a grateful look, and left as well. He hadn’t dared to say anything while inside, but once they were outside, he said, “General Cheng, why are you continuously targeting me? How have I offended you?”

Cheng Xiong’s voice was unnaturally light. “I don’t know what you mean, Lord Eleven. This general never acts based on personal grudges. I always act impartially.”

Zu An had to admire this guy’s shamelessness. He obviously wasn’t keeping him here to reason with him, but to collect Rage points. “I really appreciate how, even though the general clearly hates me, you’re helpless to do anything about it. Hahaha!”

With that, he strutted off.

Cheng Xiong was left alone.  His face began to twist, and smoke began to rise from the top of his head.

You have successfully trolled Cheng Xiong for 999… 999… 999…

Cheng Xiong’s trusted aides quietly walked over. “General, why do we keep going after him? He is a golden-token envoy after all. It won’t be that easy to deal with him.”

A golden-token envoy on his own was already difficult enough to deal with. Now, this one even had Zhuxie Chixin’s backing. They all felt as though Cheng Xiong had miscalculated this time.

Cheng Xiong snorted. “You all know nothing! His Majesty has been gunning for King Qi’s faction for a while now, and these assassination attempts give him the perfect excuse. He clearly plans to remove me first. I need to strike first by finding a scapegoat. That will get me through this ordeal.”

The truth did not matter at all. Most importantly, he needed to find someone to shoulder the blame.

Golden Token Eleven looked like the most suitable candidate. He was of a high enough status, but his foundations weren’t firm. Not only that, his relationship to the assassins was suspicious. He was the perfect scapegoat!

Having left the imperial study, Zu An was just about to return to his big sis sect master to discuss Cheng Xiong. However, a servant girl suddenly approached him. “Lord Eleven, my master invites you for a meeting.”

“Who is your master?” Zu An asked curiously. Who else did he know among the harem chambers?

That maid didn’t answer directly. “You’ll find out once you arrive, Lord Eleven.”

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