Chapter 663: Grandmasters Should Not Be Provoked

Zu An replied, “As the crown prince’s great tutor, the crown prince and princess should indeed be respectful towards you when you are teaching.”

Off to the side, the fatty nodded his head stupidly in agreement. “Exactly, exactly!”

The crown princess’ brow furrowed. She’d been happy with this fellow’s performance a moment ago, but was this all he had? Not only that, but the stupidity of the crown prince was truly exhausting as well. 

King Qi alone remained quiet. Given his status, he could clearly tell that this person had more to say.

Sure enough, Zu An continued. “However, King Qi no longer holds the status of teacher before or after the lesson. There is a reason why a ruler is distinct from his officials. When you aren’t teaching him, aren’t you to greet him respectfully when you see him?”

King Qi’s eyebrows lifted slightly. This fella had a rather sharp tongue. However, this left him in a tricky situation.

Zu An immediately looked at the crown prince. “Your Highness, Crown Prince, are your lessons with King Qi over for the day?”

The crown prince scratched his head and replied feebly, “I think so. Are you going to take me outside so we can play with the frogs together?”

Zu An was well aware that the crown princess’ face had darkened. Like hell I’ll go frog-catching with you. You almost destroyed what little air of competence I managed to carve out for myself.

He cleared his throat and calmed himself before saying, “Since the classes are over, then it should be King Qi’s turn to show the crown prince respect.”

When he noticed that King Qi remained expressionless, he added fuel to the fire. “King Qi seems unwilling to pay respects to the crown prince. Perhaps you’re having thoughts of taking his place?”

King Qi’s expression finally cracked. Even though the struggle between himself and the crown prince over the throne was reaching its climax, the two still maintained an appearance of civility. This was hardly something that should be brought up so directly.

You have successfully trolled Zhao Jing for 666 Rage points!

His rage was truly stirred to life, and he glared at Zu An coldly. In that instant, Zu An felt as if he had fallen into a frozen lake, and that he might die at any second.

So this the power of a grandmaster… Zu An had a bitter smile on his face. What sin had he committed this time? He’d cheated his way to becoming ridiculously strong when compared to his peers, and now he’d provoked the second-strongest cultivator in this world.

He’d only just been intimidated by the emperor, and now, King Qi was bringing his full pressure to bear as well.

King Qi was surprised that Zu An still remained unfazed, his expression calm. After all, most ordinary cultivators would not be able to withstand this pressure at this distance. Most of them would be kneeling on the ground right now. He wanted to teach this sharp-tongued brat a lesson, and also whittle away some of the influence his words had just won him. However, he never expected that his actions would be fruitless.

As a grandmaster, pride dictated that, if a junior survived one of his attacks, he shouldn’t make another move. However, King Qi was also a politician who valued pragmatism above all. He decided to release his aura again. This time, he would hold back nothing. He had to make sure that this fellow learned a harsh lesson.

Right at that moment, the crown princess stepped in front of Zu An. Even though her expression was slightly pale, she still held her head high. “He hasn’t been in the eastern palace long, so he does not understand many of the rules of etiquette. King Qi, please be magnanimous and forgive him if he has offended you in any way.”

Zu An was surprised to see her frail figure standing in front of him. After all, the crown princess always hated his guts. Now, though, she was standing up for him.

King Qi looked at her and chuckled. “You’re too serious, Crown Princess. Why would this king lower myself to his level?”

He turned to the fatty next to him. “Crown Prince, do you want me to greet you respectfully?”

The crown prince waved his thick hands vigorously. “There’s no need. No need.”

This teacher of his scared him, and he did not dare to force him to bow to him.

The crown princess glared at him angrily. She really hated this stupid and cowardly side of him.

However, she also knew that King Qi’s status was unique. Pressuring him wasn’t a sensible decision.

After this interruption, King Qi had no desire to stay any longer. Continuing to target Zu An would also be demeaning for someone of his status. He quickly found a reason to bid the crown prince and princess farewell.

The crown princess was glad to clear this huge headache away as soon as possible, and did not try to make him stay.

Just as King Qi was about to walk out the door, he paused beside Zu An, then said ambiguously, “Lord Zu, you’re quite something.”

“Thank you, King Qi, for your praise.” Zu An’s attitude was perfectly respectful. He did not want the other party to find any reason to act against him.

King Qi choked on his breath. Do you think I’m praising you?

He snorted, then with a flick of his sleeves, he left.

Once he had left, everyone in the eastern palace sighed in relief. It had been way too suffocating just now.

Even though King Qi was the crown prince’s great tutor, he only made the occasional appearance. The lesser tutor was usually the one who conducted lessons. Most of the people in the eastern palace were the crown prince and crown princess’ men.

Everyone looked at Zu An with admiration as he greeted the crown princess. “I greet the crown princess.”

As for the crown prince, he had already dragged his eunuchs with him to go play. He couldn’t be bothered with Zu An.

The crown princess looked at her idiot husband, then back at the man before her. She sighed. Forget about Lord Eleven. The crown prince can’t even compare to this fellow!

She quickly smoothed out her thoughts and flashed Zu An a smile. “Thank you for what you did today, Lord Zu.”

“I’m a subordinate of the eastern palace. It’s my duty to help the crown princess with her troubles.” Zu An deliberately left out any mention of the crown prince.

Everyone knew that the real head of the eastern palace was the crown princess. No one found his comments unsuitable.

More tension drained from the crown princess’ face. His loyalty had clearly pleased her. “You should be careful in the future.”

She was warning him to beware of King Qi’s retaliation.

Zu An smiled. “I’m under the protection of the crown prince and crown princess, who enjoy good fortune. I believe I’ll be fine.”

The crown princess looked at him disdainfully. “You only know how to say flowery words. What sort of fortune do I possess?”

Zu An said with a deadly earnest expression, “The crown princess will become the mother of this empire. How could you not be blessed with fortune?”

The princess’ maid was stunned when she saw how shaken the crown princess was. Wasn’t this fellow’s tone a little too flirtatious?

To her greater shock, the crown princess did not seem annoyed at all. I only took a few days off. Did something happen while I was away?

Zu An took this opportunity to say, “Crown princess, I’m taking some time off. I need to go to the imperial prison.”

“The imperial prison?” The crown princess frowned. “Why are you going there?”

Cheng Xiong’s case had already been settled, so the criminals there were already meaningless to her.

“I’d like to interrogate those assassins further to see if I can get some more information about him,” replied Zu An.

The crown princess knew that he was talking about King Qi. “Fine,” she replied. “However, if you discover anything, do not act rashly. Discuss it with me first.”

When Zu An left the palace, the crown princess’ maid, Rong Mo, couldn’t help but ask in a hushed voice, “Your highness, why are you treating that brat so well? Didn’t you find him really annoying before?”

The crown princess sat down leisurely, accepting the tea that her maid had brought over. “I don’t mind someone who’s annoying,” she replied, “but I cannot stand incompetence. Even though this Zu An is rather annoying, he’s a talented individual. I just happen to lack someone like that under me.”

The main forces in the struggle against King Qi were His Majesty’s trusted aides, the Liu clan, which backed the empress, as well as her own father. She, however, had too few trustworthy men under her.

From where she stood, King Qi wasn’t the only enemy. Once she defeated King Qi, she had to worry about the empress’ family.

Even though her first meeting with Zu An had been rather disagreeable, he’d done rather well after that. Having someone like him on her side would definitely be of great help.

She sighed inside. It’s all the crown prince’s fault for being so useless. I have to take care of everything.

Meanwhile, King Qi was sipping his own tea in another gazebo within the palace. A troop of golden-armored imperial guards approached him quickly and greeted him. “We greet King Qi. We await your orders.”

If he could have the Left Guard General in his pocket, placing some of his own men within the imperial guards was just too easy.

King Qi stared at the golden fish swimming about in the lake nearby and smiled. “Invite Zu An here,” he said.

How many years had it been since someone dared to provoke him like this?

The last time was probably a few years ago. Several guards had acted arrogantly towards him because they were the crown prince’s personal guards. In the end, weren’t their heads all placed in little wooden boxes?

He was a king and a grandmaster. He would never tolerate being humiliated by a nobody.

Besides, many of those in his faction were furious by what had happened to Cheng Xiong. They needed something to appease them. It was this kid’s fault for being so unsightly.

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