The disturbance caused the remaining jailers to draw their weapons. Who dared act so brazenly in such a place?
When they heard the words ‘King Qi’, though, they sheathed their blades again.
King Qi enjoyed tremendous prestige within the imperial court, and had always maintained a decent reputation. None of these jailers dared to offend him.
The golden-armored guards were extremely satisfied by the fear in the jailers’ eyes. With King Qi backing them, they could walk proudly wherever they went.
They arrived in front of Zu An, their demeanor so arrogant that their noses were pointing almost to the sky. “Are you Zu An?”
Zu An sized them up. He wasn’t interested in their appearances, but their auras. The leader was at the sixth rank, while the rest were at the fifth rank. Utilizing the style of formation combat that all imperial guards were familiar with, they could easily take down a seventh rank cultivator.
Besides, they were still within the imperial palace. No one had ever refused the summons brought by an imperial guard.
“I am. May I ask why you’re here?” asked Zu An.
“King Qi invites you for an audience.” The leader with the big nostrils said, clasping his fist casually.
His demand alarmed the imprisoned Devil Sect assassins. They had patiently waited for Zu An’s arrival, yet now that he was here, he was going to be whisked away by someone else?
Zu An looked rather troubled. “The crown prince and crown princess have requested that I question these prisoners. Can I go over once I’m done here?”
The one with the big nostrils sneered. “If King Qi wishes to meet with anyone, they would immediately rush to answer his summons, out of fear and respect. Who would dare put him off with all manner of excuses, like you’re doing now?”
“Are you saying that the orders of the crown prince and crown princess are meaningless? Perhaps, in your eyes, the crown prince and crown princess are less worthy of respect than King Qi?” replied Zu An.
The jailers stood silently to the side, their eyes fixed on the ground in front of their toes. They didn’t dare participate in such a conflict as this.
The one with the big nostrils almost choked on his breath. When he recovered, his voice was full of annoyance. “Don’t try to instigate anything. King Qi is both the crown prince’s senior and his teacher. Even if the crown prince were here, he would order you to meet with King Qi first. If you don’t believe me, you can seek out the crown prince and ask him.”
You have successfully trolled Liu Chenyu for 444 Rage points!
The jailers subconsciously backed away several more steps, grumbling inwardly. Why did they have to be caught up in all this?
Zu An sighed and shook his head. “King Qi is King Qi, but you are merely an imperial guard. Even though the crown prince and crown princess do not dare to raise a hand against King Qi, do you think that they cannot take care of a mere guard like you? Once your words reach their ears, do you think they will let this matter slide?”
The one with the big nostrils was slightly shaken. He was beginning to regret his words. It was all Zu An’s fault. How else could he have been led to speak in such an inappropriate manner?
Hmph, whatever. This brat won’t be able to act smug for long. Once he falls into King Qi’s clutches, he would probably lose his head immediately.
You have successfully trolled Liu Chenyu for 567 Rage points!
Zu An had been waiting for the precise moment when the guard became distracted. He dashed forward and stabbed a finger into his forehead.
His current level of cultivation could not be compared with that of an ordinary seventh rank. Furthermore, with his instantaneous movement skill, there was no way for his opponent to dodge the attack.
With a loud bang, a gush of blood shot out of his forehead. Liu Chenyu was so shocked that his eyes were completely wide open. He hadn’t expected the one facing him to attack him, let alone go straight for a killing blow.
The imperial guards following him were all stunned. They scrambled to draw their blades and surround Zu An.
Right at that moment, they felt a tremendous suction force, and all their ki suddenly seemed to vanish into thin air.
They lost their balance and staggered towards the center, where Zu An was. Zu An’s finger thrusted out repeatedly, instantly ending their lives.
All of this happened too quickly for anyone else to react. By the time they realized what was happening, the golden-armored soldiers were already sprawled on the ground like so much dirt.
Elder Sun Luzhen was shocked. The reactions and cultivation Zu An had displayed were shocking. He even wondered if he could have dispatched all of these guards this efficiently on his own.
Solitary Fire’s eyes widened. This kid’s cultivation was much higher than when he was on his way to the capital. Just how little time has passed since their last meeting?
Gu Yueyi was incredibly jealous. After all, Zu An was nothing but a drafted son-in-law whom everyone looked down on. Even though he’d displayed his talents during the Clans Tournament, he never took Zu An seriously. However, in such a short amount of time, Zu An had already risen to this level, far surpassing himself! No wonder his junior sister liked him.
Pah! That junior sister will be mine one day!
The surrounding jailers all drew their blades and faced Zu An as though he was a dangerous foe. “Lord… Lord Zu, what is the meaning of this?” they stammered.
They were clearly terrified by what they had just witnessed.
Zu An chuckled and said, “Don’t worry. This is between me and King Qi. It has nothing to do with you guys.”
The jailers exchanged silent glances, then sighed in relief. However, they secretly cursed him in their hearts. Is this guy an idiot? How dare he publicly offend King Qi in such a manner?
The instant they let down their guard, Zu An summoned Hundredwarble, and an invisible sound wave rippled outwards.
He’d requested that Guo Zhi transfer away all the experts from the prison, so these jailers were all ordinary individuals. How could any of them withstand such power? All of them fainted.
The jailers weren’t the only ones knocked out. The members of the Devil Sect fainted as well.
Sun Luzhen and the others had high cultivations, but their strength was being sealed away by the Embroidered Envoy’s seals. The torture they had suffered also left them severely weakened.
Zu An moved quickly to strike the jailers’ acupoints. Suddenly, he sensed an incredibly powerful divine will sweep over him.
Zu An paled. This power was extremely familiar, as he had already experienced it several times. Only the emperor possessed this sort of power.
Meanwhile, King Qi, who was enjoying his tea in his gazebo, suddenly stiffened. He looked curiously towards the prison and muttered, “What’s happening there that has even gotten my brother startled?”
The divine will departed as quickly as it arrived. Zu An figured that it was probably because the emperor realized that it was only him, and moved his attention away.
Zu An sat down on a stool nearby, gasping for air. His entire body was soaked in sweat.
No wonder everyone said that the emperor’s will stretched across the entire palace. He finally understood what they meant.
The emperor obviously didn’t care about the conversations of ordinary people, but he could immediately detect if any strange auras erupted within the palace.
No wonder Yun Jianyue had chosen to attack when the emperor wasn’t around. The emperor would have immediately dealt with the situation as soon as they tried anything.
Zu An looked at the jailers again. He’d made sure everyone else had been transferred away, so no one else should have been able to figure out what had happened yet.
However, there was one last thing that he had to take care of. He took out a bottle from his Brilliant Glass Bead and poured a few drops of the liquid it contained into a teapot. Then, he fed the tea to the jailers.
Ever since the emperor had assigned him this mission, he had been devising a plan of action. Breaking the prisoners out of the imperial prison wasn’t that difficult. Dealing with the aftermath was the real problem.
He couldn’t make the Devil Sect suspicious of him, nor could he cause anyone from the imperial palace to suspect him.
What he needed was a scapegoat.
In the end, King Qi was the only one he could think of who had both the ability and the motive to break the prisoners out.
Furthermore, by pinning it on King Qi, the emperor could easily suppress the matter once it was reported afterwards. After all, if King Qi was implicated, the two sides would not enter into open hostility unless they absolutely had to.
Neither Guo Zhi nor the others would have reason to grow suspicious.
That was why he had deliberately provoked King Qi earlier on. He wanted King Qi to send his people to act against him. He just hadn’t expected him to respond so well, and dispatch his men so quickly.
Of course, another issue had cropped up. He couldn’t let himself be exposed by the jailers’ confessions.
Killing them was the easiest way, but he did not want to kill innocents for no reason. Furthermore, he had just asked Guo Zhi to transfer his cultivators away from the prison. If those that remained behind were found dead afterwards, even an idiot would be able to guess that he was the culprit.
That was why he needed these jailers alive, to serve as witnesses to the arrival of King Qi’s men.
As for what he did after that, he needed these jailers to forget about them.
The ‘Worries Be Gone’ that he added to the tea was something he’d obtained during the internal strife within the Chu clan, a drug that was originally to be used on Qin Wanru. This drug could make whoever who ingested it forget the things that happened within a set period of time.
“I really am a genius.” Zu An was rather amazed at his own work. However, he was hurting inside, because he’d just used one of the world’s strongest aphrodisiacs on a group of ugly men.
1. Editor’s note: The author seems to have mixed up his drugs. ‘Worries Be Gone’ was never intended to be an aphrodisiac. It was ‘Bull’s Cream’ that was supposed to stimulate Qin Wanru, while ‘Worries Be Gone’ would erase her memory of whatever Chu Tiesheng had done to her.