Chapter 656: Confession

The crown princess looked at him. “If even you are calling it an uproar, how can I not know about it?”

Zu An seized the opportunity to ask, “Does the crown princess believe that Cheng Xiong will be punished?”

The crown princess had paid close attention to this matter. After all, it had implications on the battle between the crown prince and King Qi. She remained silent for a moment, then shook her head slightly. “Even though the Embroidered Envoy and the Security Officer have deemed him guilty, the Commandant of Justice firmly believes that he was framed. There isn’t enough physical proof. At most, they can pronounce Cheng Gang guilty, but it will not be enough to bring down Cheng Xiong.”

King Qi’s faction was extremely powerful. They had the Qin clan at the head of the military, the Left Confidential Assistant of the Imperial Secretariat Yu Xuanchong, Secretariat Director Lian Yu, Chief Attendant Pei Zheng, and many more big shots serving in their respective important roles. They even had respected elders within the imperial clan who boasted superior moral standing supporting them. None of these would let Cheng Xiong, one of their own, be falsely accused.

Even though her father had contacted the Liu clan, the Meng clan, King Liang, and many others in the imperial court, and had mounted a fierce resistance, they still couldn’t convict Cheng Xiong.

Murong Tong had been removed from his strategic position as the Security Officer, which was already a fierce blow to King Qi’s faction. How could they idly watch their Left Guard General lose his post as well?

That was why only Cheng Gang would be convicted. This was the consensus, guided by the members of King Qi’s faction.

Just thinking about it caused her to feel annoyed, and she took it out on Zu An. “Why are you asking about all this?”

Zu An smiled in return. “Does the crown princess want Cheng Xiong to be found guilty, or do you want him to be found innocent?”

The crown princess’ expression darkened. “Why are you beating around the bush? Whether an important minister like General Cheng is found guilty or not is a matter to be decided by the court. What does it have to do with me?”

Zu An sighed. “Never mind. I assumed that the crown princess wanted to punish Cheng Xiong for his crimes, and I had a plan in mind to do so. It seems I was thinking too much.”

With that, he turned to leave.

The crown princess’ expression flickered as she watched him depart. In the end, she called out, “Wait. Do you really have a way?”

Zu An halted, then turned to look at her. “Crown Princess, do you believe I would waste my time joking around about such an important matter?”

The crown princess frowned. Even though she found this guy annoying, he was definitely not a fool like the crown prince. It would be out of character for him to do something so meaningless.

However, she still had her misgivings. “Why would you help me?”

Zu An chuckled. “What if I said it was because the crown princess was pretty?”

The crown princess exploded in fury. “Do you know that you’ve already committed a great crime of disrespect?!”

You have successfully trolled Bi Linglong for 700 Rage points!

Even though she was angry, Zu An noticed that she did not call for the imperial bodyguards. Thank goodness this is a woman who knows how to weigh the pros and cons… “Crown Princess, please do not get angry. My reason for helping you is very simple. Have you forgotten my status?”

“Your status?” The crown princess froze for a moment, then finally remembered that he was the crown prince’s secretary. Naturally, he would throw his lot in with the crown prince’s faction. After all, helping the crown prince would secure his own future.

The tension drained out of her. “Even though I trust your motives, I doubt your competence.”

Zu An lowered his voice. “All I need is for the crown princess to help me arrange a meeting with the captured assassins.”

Aside from keeping his identity as Lord Eleven from being exposed, the other reason why he met the crown princess as himself was because he wanted to improve his status within the eastern palace. He did not want to be known as the stupid fatty’s study companion forever. He had to let the crown princess and the powers backing her know his worth, which would ease the implementation of his future plans.

The crown princess was confused by his request. “You wish to meet the assassins?”

Zu An said, “The crown princess should have a means of convincing Right Guard General Guo Zhi to allow this, right? The captured assassins are under his charge, and he will not let ordinary individuals meet with them.”

The Left Guard General was already in King Qi’s faction. Unless the emperor suddenly lost his mind, there was no way he would let the Right Guard General be someone in King Qi’s faction as well.

The crown princess frowned. “What are you going to do with them?”

Zu An shook his head. “I can’t tell you right now, because if I do, then the plan won’t work. Everything will become clear later on, Crown Princess.”

The crown princess stared at him as she pondered the matter. A moment later, her red lips parted again. “Fine. I can arrange a meeting. However, if you’ve lied to me, I will report your rudeness to the emperor. Not even an immortal would be able to save you then.”

Zu An smiled. “I will not disappoint the crown princess.”

The crown princess arranged for her guards to lead Zu An to the prison. When he saw that the guard leading the way had dark circles around his eyes, Zu An was overjoyed. “Oh? Aren’t you Imperial Guardsman Piao and Guardsman Jiao?”

These two lesser imperial guards were none other than Jiao Sigun and Piao Duandiao.

Piao Duandiao couldn’t hold back a smile as well. “Lord Zu! It’s an honor to finally meet you.”

Next to him, Jiao Sigun couldn’t help but say, “You’ve never even heard his name before. What do you mean, ‘It’s an honor’?”

Piao Duandian’s face darkened. “Didn’t we meet him a few days ago? Stop bickering with me.”

Jiao Sigun snorted. “I’m not bickering. I just don’t want to see you put on an act.”

Piao Duandiao roundly ignored his companion. He smiled at Zu An instead. “I envy you, Lord Zu. You’ve only been in the eastern palace for a few days, but you’ve already gained the crown princess’ trust. We brothers have never been assigned to guard an important minister yet.”

He noticed that Jiao Sigun was about to say something again and immediately glared at him. “Shut up! If you don’t, I’m not bringing you with me to the government brothel again.”

“Who would dare to go to that government brothel after such a crazy thing happened there?” retorted Jiao Sigun. “Are you stupid?”

Piao Duandiao was at a loss for words.

Zu An couldn’t help but smile when he saw these two clowns. He didn’t know how the crown princess put up with them all these years.

He coughed lightly and said, “Brother Piao, you’re being too kind. I’m merely going there to get some information for the crown princess. The palace hasn’t been too peaceful recently. I’m counting on you both.”

“You’re too kind, you’re too kind.” Piao Duandiao’s chest puffed out a little more.

When they arrived at the imperial prison, the Right Guard General, Guo Zhi, was already waiting, having received the news earlier. He clasped his fist when he saw Zu An. “Lord Zu.”

Zu An returned the greeting with surprise. “General Guo, you’re being too courteous! Huh? General, why do you look like this?”

He was a glorious Right Guard General, after all, and his station and authority were much higher than that of the crown prince’s secretary.

Furthermore, it had only been a few days since their last meeting, yet the dark circles around his eyes looked as bad as Piao Duandiao’s. His hair was messy and greasy as well, and it had clearly been a while since he’d bothered to clean it. His beard was also scraggly. He seemed to have aged a decade.

Guo Zhi took him to the side. He sighed and said in a quiet voice, “His majesty ordered me to investigate the attack on the eastern palace, but I haven’t found any clues. Those assassins insist that they were acting under King Qi’s orders, yet when we ask how King Qi contacted them, they all claim not to know. They are clearly trying to frame King Qi, so there’s no way I can report this.”

There were no stupid people in the imperial palace, and he clearly knew that the assassins were trying to frame King Qi. If he dared to produce these oral confessions as proof, King Qi’s faction would retaliate immediately. However, he knew the emperor’s demands, so he couldn’t say that King Qi was completely innocent. He was caught in a terrible dilemma.

“Did the crown princess really say that you had a means of opening these assassins’ mouths?” He asked excitedly.

Zu An had a rough idea of what he was thinking. No wonder this man looked as though he’d finally met his savior. “I can give it a try.”

Guo Zhi was overjoyed. “Lord Zu, please hurry on in.”

When they saw how enthusiastically Guo Zhi ushered Zu An in, Piao Duandiao and Jiao Sigun, who were left outside the prison, looked at each other in dismay. “Why does the Right Guard General treat him so well? We might have to cling tightly to this patron in the future.”

“Seconded.” Surprisingly, Jiao Sigun didn’t argue about this.

Zu An followed Guo Zhi down into the imperial prison. When he entered the imperial prison, he clasped his fist and said, “General Guo, I wish to talk with these assassins in private.”

Guo Zhi nodded and said, “That’s fine. The crown princess has already given me instructions. However, Lord Zu, you must be careful. These assassins are all vicious people.”

Zu An grunted in acknowledgment. Guo Zhi was about to leave when a terrified and panicked voice sounded from nearby. “Don’t hit me anymore! I’ll confess everything! I want to meet Lord Guo!”

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