Concubine Bai seemed worried to the brink of tears. It was enough to melt any man’s heart.
Isn’t this girl giving off green-tea bitch vibes? I suppose guys really do fall for this stuff, huh…
He quickly consoled her. “Don’t worry, Concubine Bai. Even though the female assassin has yet to be captured, she has been seriously wounded by His Majesty. Even if she isn’t dead, she has already been badly crippled. There’s no way someone in her state could cause trouble.”
“His Majesty is indeed the most powerful,” Concubine Bai muttered to herself, her expression slightly distant.
“Besides,” continued Zu An, “Lord Zhuxie has already ordered a full-scale investigation, with the aim of arresting her. That female assassin is on the run and in hiding. She wouldn’t dare to stir up trouble within the palace.”
Big sis sect master probably couldn’t hear him right now, so it was probably okay to say these things.
Concubine Bai smiled. “Thank you, Lord Eleven, for your consoling words. I feel much better now.”
They were interrupted by the sound of an infant crying. Concubine Bai quickly got to her feet. “I apologize, but the imperial grandson might be hungry. I’m going to take a look.”
Zu An subconsciously glanced at her large breasts. Aren’t there specialized wet nurses in the palace? Why does the concubine need to feed him herself?
Concubine Bai’s face reddened when she noticed his gaze, a hint of shyness in her expression.
“Then I will take my leave as well.” Zu An rose.
Concubine Bai said, “I will have the maids and eunuchs deliver these goods to your residence.” After saying this, her beautiful figure quickly retreated.
The maid who had escorted him to the palace led a group of eunuchs bearing several large chests to Zu An’s residence.
“What is your name, pretty miss?” Zu An asked, looking at the maid. He didn’t actually have any thoughts about her, but only wanted to build relationships with the subordinates of these important persons within the palace.
Important figures usually did not care about these lowly servants. Having these people on his side would be extremely useful.
“My name is Xin Rui, Lord Eleven.” The maid replied bashfully.
“It’s a good name.” Zu An smiled. “You share your master’s temperament. No wonder Concubine Bai trusts you.”
Concubine Bai loved flowers after all, and even her servant’s family name was related to a flower.
“I do not dare to be compared with my master,” Xin Rui replied quietly.
Zu An unleashed the full power of his smooth-talking skills that he had groomed in his previous world along the way, leaving Xin Rui shaken.
He learned quite a bit about Concubine Bai along the way as well. She did not normally reside in the eastern palace, and wasn’t that familiar with those around the crown prince. She kept to her private residence in the palace, and her favorite pastime was cultivating all manner of plants and flowers.
Neither the crown prince nor the crown princess visited her, and she rarely visited them as well. They seemed to live completely independently.
Isn’t this crown prince a willing cuckold then?
How can a stunning and elegant woman like Concubine Bai favor an idiotic fatty like the crown prince? But other than the crown prince, who else could it be?
Could it really be the emperor himself?
Sigh, I don’t have enough information. It’s hard to say…
Xin Rui and the eunuchs with her departed, leaving the chests behind. Only after Zu An closed the door did Yun Jianyue appear from her room. She looked at him coldly. “You really are a playboy. You can’t even leave a lowly maid alone.”
Zu An’s flirting had clearly not escaped her ears.
“You understand nothing. Danger lurks around every corner in this palace, and I obviously have to be on my guard! I need to do my best to get more people on my side.” Zu An huffed angrily and proceeded to ignore her.
Yun Jianyue agreed with his reasoning, and dropped the subject. She examined the contents of the chests and exclaimed in surprise. “You really do have great luck with women. Both the crown princess and Concubine Bai are so eager to send you gifts.”
“That’s because I’m special,” said Zu An, “Oh, by the way, I need to make a trip outside the palace. I can’t let Cheng Xiong continue acting against me like this. I have to retaliate.”
“All right.” Yun Jianyue nodded, but said nothing else. She hopped back onto her silk ribbon and closed her eyes.
Zu An was speechless. This girl really was taking the Xiaolongnu act a little too seriously.
Zu An ran into an embroidered envoy as soon as he walked out. “Lord Eleven, here is the information Chief Commander Zhuxie ordered me to deliver.”
Zu An took the report and gave it a look. It was a report on Cheng Xiong. He was shocked. “All of this was put together so quickly?”
Only half a day had passed since he’d spoken with Zhuxie Chixin.
The embroidered envoy smiled. “The Embroidery House carries detailed information on every official, we’ve only compiled the information that was available so far. Please take your time to look through it, My Lord. This subordinate will take his leave.”
“Thanks!” Zu An remembered that the Embroidered Envoy was the intelligence branch that the emperor used to monitor all his officials. It was natural that they would have such resources at their disposal.
He began to read through the information carefully.
Cheng Xiong came from a poor family, and rose up the ranks on the battlefield. Later on he obtained the favor of Defense General Qin Se, and was promoted quickly. Eventually, he became the Left Guard General, as well as an important member of King Qi’s faction.
Zu An’s head hurt when he saw the name Qin Se. He hadn’t expected to run into Chuyan’s granduncle at the end of all of this.
As he continued to read, his brow gradually furrowed.
Once Cheng Xiong set himself apart from his peers, he completely forgot about his humble upbringing, instead diving headfirst into a life of corruption and abuse of the law.
The Embroidered Envoy recorded many instances of him forcefully seizing the property and assets of the common people. Once, to take another man’s wife for himself, he manipulated the head of that particular clan until the poor fellow was left bankrupt and homeless. Then, he seized that man’s wife.
His son, Cheng Gang, was also an infamous good-for-nothing in the capital. There were quite a few instances of him oppressing the populace as well.
Zu An’s eyelids twitched as he read through the information. At the end of it all, he gave an angry snort. “Absolute filth!”
At the very bottom was a small line of red text. The handwriting was elegant and dignified, and he could tell right away that it was Zhuxie Chixin’s handwriting.
These crimes are not enough to take down a high ranking Left Guard General. Do not act rashly.
Zu An frowned and quickly realized that these tyrannical actions were common among the nobles and high officials. It was just like how the people of his age would often visit whorehouses and government brothels. These were all common practices, and no one found it strange.
In the eyes of the emperor and court officials, all these were harmless. They would earn Cheng Xiong a verbal reprimand at most, but would not be sufficient to remove him from his position.
Zu An felt incredibly frustrated. Although the people of this world might be used to it, as a transmigrator and a citizen of the modern world, there was no way he would share their views.
The nobility might not care about these common folk who were left penniless and destitute because of their actions, but Zu An knew that these wronged individuals would find their plight difficult to swallow.
Something else in the report suddenly jumped out at Zu An. It was mentioned that Cheng Gang had recently become enamored by a courtesan queen in the government brothel.
Unlike the Immortal Abode of Brightmoon City, the government brothel was run by the state. The women inside were the female clan members of ruined officials, or prisoners of war. Of course, others were funneled in through more ordinary channels, such as a young girl sold off by her poor family…
In general, though, the girls in these government brothels were considered of better quality than those of regular, privately-run brothels.
The most famous courtesans of history, such as Dong Xiaowan, Li Xiangjun, Bian Yujun and Chen Yuanyuan, had all come from such brothels.
In a place like Brightmoon City, the Immortal Abode was already one of the greatest brothels. However, in the capital, the best whorehouse would always be the government brothel.
“Government brothel…” Zu An had an idea. The information stated that Cheng Gang would be paying it a visit this very night.
Zu An had originally planned to visit Chu Chuyan to clear up their misunderstanding. After all, she was surely still unhappy about what had happened the day before.
Now, however, it was clear that he had more important business. Besides, she was probably still fuming about it, and it would be better to give her some time to cool off.
Zu An arrived at the government brothel at nightfall. There were no girls leaning over the balcony and calling out to ordinary men, like in ordinary brothels.
After all, this was a government-run facility, and everyone had their own pride.
The worker at the entrance noticed that he was dressed properly, and was carrying himself decently. He greeted Zu An with a quick smile. “Young master, is there anyone you’re interested in?”
“I’ve admired Lady Shuangyue’s grace for quite some time. She is the reason for my visit today,” Zu An replied. Lady Shuangyue was precisely the courtesan queen that Cheng Gang was interested in.
The name seemed familiar to him as soon as he said it. Where had he heard this name before?
That worker’s expression changed in an instant. “I’m sorry, young master. Lady Shuangyue’s residence has been reserved by someone else today. She won’t be taking any other customers.”
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