The jailers were all bunched up together. When Zu An saw how high the tents around their trousers were, he idly wondered if their butts would get hurt once they regained consciousness.
He suddenly noticed something. The trousers on one of those guys seemed rather flat. He felt great sympathy for that man. If even one of the world’s most powerful aphrodisiacs doesn’t work on you, what’s the point in carrying on with life?
After completing these tasks, Zu An went to work on the golden-armored guards, stripping them of their clothing and armor. He stored their corpses into the Brilliant Glass Bead.
He hadn’t resorted to using weapons earlier because he had been worried that the blood might splatter onto the armor and stain them. This might cause unnecessary trouble if they met with any inspections when they tried to leave the palace later on.
After all this was done, he opened the prison cells and roused the members of the Devil Sect.
“What happened just now?” Gu Yueyi asked, looking around in confusion.
Sun Luzhen and Solitary Fire were more collected. They could both sense that it had been a spiritual attack.
Zu An did not bother with a proper explanation. “I knocked them out. Hurry up and change into these clothes. I’m getting all of you out of the palace.”
The members of the Devil Sect snapped out of their daze, renewed hope in their survival spurring their excitement. All of them hurried to change into the outfits offered to them.
Even though many members of the Devil Sect had been captured, most were wounded on the day of the attack, and more had perished at the brutal hands of the jailers and interrogators. Now, only seven remained, including Sun Luzhen.
Eight golden-armored guards had entered the prison, which suited them perfectly.
Zu An quickly helped them undo the Embroidered Envoy’s seals. All of them were incredibly weak from torture. It would take a long time for them to recover their original strength.
When he noticed that some of them were having trouble even walking, Zu An sighed, then took out some of the medicine he’d previously acquired from Divine Physician Ji.
Swallowing the pills sent warm flows of energy through the bodies of the prisoners, and they quickly regained a substantial amount of strength. Even the weakest one among them could walk again.
Sun Luzhen was the first to clasp his fist towards Zu An. “Lord Zu, you have shown us great favor. We will engrave this gratitude on our hearts forever. Even if we have to cross mountains of daggers and seas of flames, as long as Lord Zu requests it of us, we will not show any hesitation.”
Zu An chuckled in reply. “There’s no need for such serious words. We’re not out of danger yet. Let’s keep our guard up.”
He did not take these words to heart. They might truly be speaking these words out of the sincerity of their hearts right now, but people always changed. It was unlikely that anyone in this world would be willing to cross mountains of daggers and seas of flames.
He was only doing this to gain favor with Yun Jianyue and Qiu Honglei anyway. The gratitude of these fellows was merely a bonus.
The Devil Sect prisoners snapped back to reality and grunted their acknowledgement. They were still within the palace, and it was too early to rejoice.
After they donned the armor, Gu Yueyi raised a blade to end the jailers’ lives. These men had tormented them day and night. Now that the tables were turned, how was he supposed to leave them alive and let go of this grudge?
Zu An quickly stopped him. “Brother Gu, I still have a use for these people.”
“But many of our brothers died at their hands during interrogation!” Gu Yueyi replied, his voice full of reluctance.
Zu An made his tone more serious. “The top priority is to rescue all of you right now. I need them alive in order to deal with the aftermath.”
Sun Luzhen frowned. “Yueyi, don’t cause young master Zu trouble,” he said.
He was an elder with great status in the sect. Gu Yueyi had no choice but to sheath his weapon resentfully.
Zu An sighed in relief. He beckoned them to follow, and led them out of the prison.
They didn’t meet anyone along the way, since he already had them transferred away beforehand.
All the prisoners were overcome with emotion when they finally exited the imperial prison and saw sunlight once more. They had believed that their deaths were inevitable, yet they were now able to see the light of day again.
All of this was thanks to young master Zu!
Their eyes shone with gratitude as they looked at Zu An. The wave of positivity was even enough to overcome Gu Yueyi’s previous distaste for Zu An.
“I’ll take you guys beyond the palace gates,” Zu An said quietly. “You all have King Qi’s command tokens, and you’re wearing this set of armor. It shouldn’t be that hard for you to leave.”
“Thank you, young master Zu.” All of them clasped their fists.
Not long after they left the prison, however, a gentle voice called out. “Wait!”
Zu An’s entire body stiffened. He felt as though he’d sunk straight into a frozen sea.
How was he this unlucky? He’d actually run into King Qi!
He noticed that Sun Luzhen and the others had silently moved their hands to their sword hilts. He quickly sent them voice transmissions. “Don’t act rashly. It’s King Qi. He has grandmaster-rank cultivation.”
He didn’t need to say anything else. When they realized who it was, they gave up on the idea of taking down this person.
They were well aware of King Qi’s reputation. His cultivation was at the grandmaster rank. Even if they were at their peak, they wouldn’t even be able to scratch him, let alone now, when they were all seriously injured.
“Where are you all going?” King Qi asked with a frown.
He had noticed that the emperor’s divine will had fallen on this place, and was curious as to what had happened here that drew his attention, so he decided to come take a look for himself.
It was mere coincidence that he’d run into Zu An’s group.
Zu An’s mind moved quickly, throwing up various options to deal with him. In the end, he said, “Didn’t King Qi invite me to a meeting?”
He thanked the heavens that he hadn’t made any of the prisoners don the uniform of the guard with the big nostrils. He wouldn’t be able to bluff his way through otherwise.
King Qi probably didn’t know what the ordinary guardsmen looked like, right?
He had no choice but to gamble.
If things really fell through, he could always call on the emperor. If his plan to infiltrate the Devil Sect failed, so be it. He wasn’t about to throw his life away.
“Oh,” replied King Qi. “Indeed, I was looking for you. The rest of you are dismissed.”
The first half of his comment was for Zu An, and the latter half was for the guards.
Zu An sighed in relief. Thank goodness the other party didn’t recognize them. The consequences could have been horrifying.
His eyes flicked to Sun Luzhen and the others, clearly instructing them to leave. Now that King Qi was so close, he didn’t even dare send a voice transmission. He could not let King Qi suspect that anything was amiss.
He’d already told them everything they needed to know. As for getting out of the palace, if they’d managed to infiltrate the palace that day, it probably wouldn't be an issue.
Sun Luzhen’s group didn’t even dare lift their head. They clasped their fists and turned around to leave.
“Wait!” King Qi suddenly frowned. “Why don’t I see Liu Chenyu?”
Sun Luzhen and the others felt their hearts begin to pound. They didn’t even know who Liu Chenyu was, so what were they supposed to say?
Zu An had received Rage points from him before, so he knew that this was the leader with the big nostrils. His mind raced for a solution, and he said, “Leader Liu was summoned by the emperor earlier on.”
“Summoned by my brother, the emperor?” King Qi’s expression flickered. Could Liu Chenyu be the reason why the emperor’s will descended on this place?
That doesn’t seem right, though. He doesn’t seem capable of doing anything that would draw the emperor’s divine will.
He studied Sun Luzhen’s group. “Hm? Why don’t I see leader Wang either? All of you, raise your heads.”
The prisoners felt chills run through their bodies when they heard this command.
Zu An was panicking inside. He didn’t know how to explain himself now either.