Chapter 654: Betraying Your Own

The Embroidered Envoy had not been pleased by Cheng Xiong targeting them. How could they let this chance go?

The Embroidered Envoy quickly arrested Cheng Gang. At first, Cheng Gang insisted that he knew nothing, but it was common knowledge that he was close to the courtesan queen Shuangyue, and spent almost every night at her side. Who would believe him when he said that he had nothing to do with her?

The Embroidered Envoy thus carried out torture, their specialty, to teach Cheng Gang a lesson.

Under torture, ‘confessions’ were quickly obtained from Cheng Gang. He admitted to leaking out information to the assassins, which helped them to invade the palace with such ease.

Zhuxie Chixin did not let him go, but continued his investigation. Soon afterwards, he ‘found out’ that Cheng Xiong was the one who had incited all of this, and that he had been bought by the assassins.

Zu An clicked his tongue in wonder when he heard of all of this. This fellow is really quite vicious! Cheng Xiong had targeted the Embroidered Envoy, and now, he got his revenge ten times over.

Having an ally like this gave him a strange sense of peace.

Of course, having such a person as an enemy would also be a huge problem.

Cheng Xiong was both shocked and furious, yet there was no way for him to interfere with the Embroidered Envoy’s investigation. As such, he immediately made contact with all of his connections.

After all, he was one of the main men in King Qi’s faction. Even though the brothers in charge of the Qin clan were rather upset at what had happened in the government brothel, they couldn’t allow Zhuxie Chixin to harm King Qi.

As such, King Qi’s faction rose up in protest. Many of them brought up the grudge between Cheng Xiong and the Embroidered Envoy, and pointed out that letting them continue the investigation was a miscarriage of public justice.

In heated debates within the imperial court, members from King Qi’s faction and the crown prince’s faction recited endless quotes from the classics. They were clearly on the verge of cursing each other to hell, yet they somehow maintained civility on the surface. It really was quite impressive.

In the end, even the emperor grew frustrated by the constant furor. He ordered for the Commandant of Justice and Security Officer to investigate the matter alongside the Embroidered Envoy, resulting in three departments becoming involved.

The Commandant of Justice was one of the nine ministers in charge of administering punishments and running the prison, and held the highest judicial authority amongst the central authorities. It was similar to the modern world’s Supreme Court.

The Security Officer was in charge of public security within the capital, and was in charge of overseeing the officials within the capital and its surrounding areas. This was equivalent to the modern world’s Ministry of Public Security, prosecutor’s office, discipline inspection commission, and other similar organizations.

Meanwhile, the Embroidered Envoy was the royal family’s intelligence organization, equivalent to ancient China’s infamous Embroidered Uniform Guard and Eastern Bureau.

These three groups were now working together, which had never happened before.

The Commandant of Justice quickly took custody of Cheng Gang. Unlike the Embroidered Envoy, they did not apply torture, but treated him rather civilly. Not only did they treat his wounds, they even brought him food and drink.

After all, Commandant of Justice Jiang Boyang was a part of King Qi’s faction.

Soon afterwards, the Commandant of Justice overturned the Embroidered Envoy’s judgment, and further criticized the Embroidered Envoy for extorting confessions in order to settle their personal grudges.

Zhuxie Chixin obviously claimed that this was all slander. At the same time, he bit back, claiming that they were colluding out of personal interest, since Cheng Xiong would often bend the law in their favor.

These two departments clashed in the imperial courts, resulting  in a third investigation, conducted by the Security Officer.

All authority was transferred from the Commandant of Justice to the Security Officer, and once again, Cheng Gang fell from grace and into the clutches of hell.

Having been in the care of the Commandant of Justice for a few days, he’d been treated with all manner of medicines, and his injuries at the hands of the Embroidered Envoy had pretty much healed. However, as soon as he was transferred into the Security Officer’s hands, he was mercilessly beaten again.

His wounds, which were freshly scabbed, tore open again, and he screamed for mercy.

After his hellish experience at the hands of the Embroidered Envoy, he knew that gritting his teeth and bearing the pain was useless. He would still have to open his mouth in the end.

The only difference was whether he was going to confess only after he could take no more, or if he would save himself the pain.

Very quickly, the Security Officer obtained an oral confession from him, stating that he had colluded with the assassins, and that he was acting under his father’s direction.

King Qi’s faction was up in arms. After all, one of their own men used to hold the post of Security Officer, but the assassination attempt on Zu An when he first entered the palace had caused him to be stripped of this role, and he was transferred instead to the position of Supervisor of Attendants.

The newly appointed Security Officer was Cao Xing, the father of the crown prince’s lesser tutor, so he was definitely on the side of the crown prince. Now that he had been given this opportunity, he made full use of it.

However, there were still many supporters of Murong Tong, the previous Security Officer, within the department. Very quickly, several of them denounced Cao Xing’s investigation, as the confession had been obtained under duress. Yet another uproar engulfed the court.

After listening to Zu An’s recount of all that had happened, the long-haired Yun Jianyue walked over to the window and gazed towards the distant throne room, a sneer on her face. “Those court officials all speak of compassion, duty, propriety, and integrity, yet all of them act with selfish interests in mind. Such chaos will one day lead to calamity.”

Zu An said, “Even if they bicker, so what? With the most powerful person, the emperor, overseeing them, what sort of calamity can ensue?”

“The emperor will still perish one day,” Yun Jianyue intoned.

Zu An was startled. “How can you be so certain?” he asked.

Yun Jianyue replied, “It’s been rumored that the emperor suffered a terrible injury in his battle against the Fiend Emperor, and that it was serious enough to have shortened his lifespan. However, no one knows if this is real or not. When I fought him, though, I became certain that he had indeed been injured.”

“But that was what, just a split second?” Zu An said dismissively.

You have successfully trolled Yun Jianyue for 444… 444… 444…

Yun Jianyue glared at him. Why was this guy so annoying sometimes?

She took a moment before replying. “Considering the emperor’s cultivation, it would have been impossible for me to escape if he wasn’t injured.”

Zu An was shocked to hear this. “Impossible to escape? Aren’t you already a grandmaster? Is the difference really that great?”

“Why do they call him an Earth Immortal? To a certain extent, he is already half-immortal. Even the very best of the rest of us are still mortals. There’s obviously a huge difference.” Yun Jianyue’s tone carried a slight helplessness. At the same time, though, her eyes seemed full of longing towards that far-off cultivation realm.

It took her a moment to snap out of it, after which, she gave Zu An a meaningful look. “Thankfully, your Phoenix Nirvana Sutra cannot grant him true immortality. If the emperor truly did not die, then people like us will never have a chance to rise up.”

Zu An knew that she was still trying to squeeze information out of him. As such, he replied, “Relax, he can’t gain immortality through my Phoenix Nirvana Sutra.”

Of course, whether or not he could obtain it for himself was a different story.

Yun Jianyue sighed in relief at his confirmation.

Zu An’s mind was drawn back to the present. Whether or not the emperor was going to die or not wasn’t something he should be concerned about right now. He had to focus on Cheng Gang. “By the way, even though Cheng Gang’s father has been pronounced guilty by both the Embroidered Envoy and the Security Officer, the Commandant of Justice will insist that there is no crime. Even though Cheng Xiong has already been taken into custody, we’re still missing the conclusive evidence to settle this stalemate.”

Frankly speaking, his retaliation against Cheng Xiong had been incredibly successful. He had almost instantly brought down a glorious Left Guard General, and had him thrown into prison. However, King Qi’s faction wielded substantial power, so he didn’t know whether or not Cheng Xiong would truly be found guilty when all was said and done.

A mysterious smile glinted in Yun Jianyue’s eyes. “I don’t think it’s that difficult.”

Zu An was listening with full concentration. He grew impatient at her response. “Big sis sect master, please tell me! I’m dying from the suspense!”

Yun Jianyue was pleased to see him so anxious. She had suffered way too much during these days spent with him, and it was even beginning to affect her thinking.

“Have you forgotten about all those Holy Sect members that were captured?” asked Yun Jianyue. “The proof has always been there. We’ll just have to see whether or not you’ll make use of it.”

Zu An felt a spark of electricity run through his mind. He was just about to grasp it, yet it seemed to slip past him. He had no choice but to turn to Yun Jianyue again. “I hope you can grant me your wisdom, big sis sect master.”

Yun Jianyue seemed satisfied with his attitude. “Find a way to contact them. As long as they admit to colluding with Cheng Xiong, then Cheng Xiong will surely be executed.”

Zu An gave Yun Jianyue a complicated look. This woman was so vicious that she would even throw her own people under the bus! Those captives were already doomed, yet she wanted to squeeze every last drop out of them before they died.

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