Chapter 670: Looming in the Shadows

Goddammit! I shouldn’t have said what I said!

Zu An felt like an absolute fool. I’m so stupid. I’m so, so stupid. I’ve met this emperor so many times already, but I still haven’t figured out how low his morals are!

If he could receive his own Rage points, he’d be getting a string of 1024s right now.

The emperor was incredibly pleased by Zu An’s expression. Given his status and cultivation, it had been way too long since he’d felt this way.

He coughed and said, “You don’t have to worry so much. This seal won’t activate for some time. As long as you perform your tasks adequately, I will help you remove it once the matters have been settled.”

Zu An furiously cursed this man in front of him. Like hell I’d believe your stupid ass! This guy is just too evil. 

He knew that even if he completed those tasks, the emperor still wouldn’t remove the seal. He would probably be made to do more and more tasks, until all the value had been squeezed out of him… 

Despite these thoughts, he still pretended to be moved to tears. “Thank you so much, Your Majesty!”

The emperor nodded in satisfaction. He loved the feeling of holding the lives of his subjects within his grasp. “You’re dismissed!”

“Understood!” Zu An bowed respectfully, but left with a bellyful of curses.

As he left the study, Eunuch Wen nodded towards him with a smile. To Zu An, though, this smile appeared especially sinister.

Sigh. I wonder who this Eunuch Wen really is.

A moment later, he frowned. The feeling of being tailed had resurfaced.

He took control of the little birds nearby, but still didn’t notice anyone suspicious.

Am I being paranoid?

Zu An shook his head. He had been under so much pressure recently, it was likely that he’d started to develop feelings of paranoia as well.

However, he still didn’t dare let down his guard. He wandered around the palace several times, using different animals to observe those around him, yet he still didn’t see anyone monitoring him.

He sighed in relief and headed towards his residence, the one belonging to Golden Token Eleven. He had to let Yun Jianyue know about Sun Luzhen, and also escort her out of the palace.

Even though he didn’t want to part with a beauty like Yun Jianyue, the emperor posed far too great a danger. If he found out about her, he would be a dead man for sure. He wasn’t about to take any chances, not after what had just happened in the imperial study.

Zu An approached the residence hidden within the forest. It almost felt like he was coming home, and that there was a woman waiting for him within. This thought made him feel extremely blessed.

However, he remembered the sensation of being tailed, and just to be sure, he did  not walk straight in, but pretended to walk past it.

He circled the area for a while, but did not notice anything amiss. He was just about to head back in when he heard Yun Jianyue’s voice. “Don’t turn around. Someone’s following you.”

What?

There really was someone following him! But then Yun Jianyue was a grandmaster, and now that she’d recovered some of her strength, her senses were much sharper than his own.

“Do you know who it is? Is it a fat eunuch?” asked Zu An.

“He is very skilled in his concealment technique. I haven’t fully recovered from my injuries yet, so I can’t tell exactly he is, nor can I see him. However, I know that he’s there.” Yun Jianyue’s voice was cold, yet carried a hint of elegant charm. It really was pleasant to listen to.

However, Zu An wasn’t in the mood to enjoy anything at all. His goosebumps were rising all along his arms.

After all, he’d tried so many different ways of finding out who it was, yet he hadn’t seen a thing. This person was clearly formidable.

As someone with way too many secrets, having such a terrifying presence monitoring him was frightening.

“How about we bait him out, then take him down together?” Zu An rejected this idea as soon as he proposed it. The emperor was overseeing the palace right now. He would be alerted to any strange activity immediately. If Yun Jianyue got involved, her aura would give her away.

“I have an idea. Hang on a moment.” After this, Yun Jianyue fell silent. In a moment, the door creaked open.

Zu An was stunned. What’s going on?

A masked golden-token envoy walked out from inside.

Did another golden-token envoy enter my residence? Zu An couldn’t believe what he was saying. However, he quickly realized that those were his clothes. It went without saying who this person was. No wonder Yun Jianyue had asked for a set of his uniform previously.

Yun Jianyue was tall and slender, and the uniform had originally been designed to hide one’s identity anyway. She did not seem out of place, pretending to be Golden Token Eleven.

Zu An watched her as she walked. He really didn’t know how she had managed to hide her long hair. Although the clothes did not reveal much, he couldn’t help but imagine her graceful curves.

The uniforms of golden-token envoys were already eye-catching, but they had always been worn by men. Now that a woman was wearing it, she lent it a different sort of charm.

Is this what it’s like to be seduced by someone in uniform? Like a female police officer?

Random thoughts swam into Zu An’s mind, but he shook his head to clear it. Now was not the time to be thinking about such things.

Zu An quickly caught on. He walked up and said, “Lord Eleven! Thank you for rescuing the crown prince and princess during the attack.”

Yun Jianyue looked at him. This fellow really knows how to play his part. She mumbled back in acknowledgment, keeping her voice low.

From her experience, she knew it would be difficult to tell that she wasn’t a man as long as she did not speak too much.

Zu An clasped his fist. “I see you have matters to attend to, my Lord. I won’t disturb you then. Please, carry on.”

Yun Jianyue nodded, and walked off in a different direction.

She spoke to him through voice transmission. “I’m going to walk around and see if I can find that person.”

Zu An replied, “Head towards the palace gates. I’ve already rescued Sun Luzhen and the others. You should use this opportunity to leave as well.”

Yun Jianyue was overcome with joy. She hadn’t expected that he would actually rescue them from the imperial prison. She was curious as to how he’d done it, but she knew that now wasn’t the time. Instead, she replied, “What will you do once I leave? There is an expert tailing you.” Her voice was tinged with worry.

“You won’t be able to help me fight him even if you stay,” Zu An replied with a slight chuckle. “Don’t worry, this is the imperial palace. With the emperor overseeing things, this mysterious expert won’t dare try anything besides tail me for a while. You’re my biggest secret right now. Once you leave, I won’t be afraid of him following me.”

When she heard him say that she was his biggest secret, Yun Jianyue’s expression became strange. For some reason, those words made her heartbeat hasten. However, she quickly collected herself and said, “Very well. I’ll take my leave. Let’s find a chance to meet up later.”

As the two of them moved off in different directions, a figure slowly emerged from the shadows of a large tree.

Anyone staring at that exact spot would have rubbed their eyes in disbelief. They would have sworn that nobody had been standing in the shade of that tree previously. This person seemed to have materialized out of thin air.

“Hm? They are two different people. It seems King Qi guessed wrong,” that person muttered. He looked about. After a slight hesitation, he followed after Yun Jianyue.

Yun Jianyue’s voice sounded in Zu An’s ear. “That person is following me.”

Zu An was alarmed. “Be careful!”

This development confused him. He’d assumed that whoever it was had been after him, but now, it didn’t seem like that was the case. Who was this person, and what was he after?

Yun Jianyue chuckled. “He’s the one who needs to be careful..”

Zu An realized what she meant. Yun Jianyue was a grandmaster, after all, despite her injuries. The one in the shadows thought that he was catching small fry, but he’d landed a huge shark instead.

The two of them grew further and further away from each other. Soon, they were beyond the range of ki transmission.

Yun Jianyue could continue to transmit her voice, but she would have to use a greater amount of ki to do so, which would easily draw the emperor’s attention. It wasn’t worth the risk.

Zu An carried on walking along his chosen path for a little while longer, then secretly turned around and followed her. He had to see Yun Jianyue leave the palace with his own eyes in order to feel at ease.

Now that the sensation of being followed from the shadows had disappeared, he wasn’t afraid of being noticed.

He followed her to the western gate of the imperial palace. Yun Jianyue wasn’t walking too quickly, or too slowly. Her gait was the measured gait of an expert.

I should make her wear these clothes again if there is a chance… All manner of perverted thoughts filled his mind, and a stupid smile unknowingly appeared on his face.

Yun Jianyue arrived at the gate. She displayed his Golden Token Eleven command token, and the imperial guards quickly let her through.

Golden-token envoys were all individuals of great status, and this one had even saved the lives of the crown prince and princess. He was a popular fellow in the eastern palace. No one wanted to offend such a great person.

Just as she was about to walk through the gate, a melodious voice rang out. “Wait!”

Yun Jianyue frowned, and Zu An also let out a despairing cry. Why did they have to run into this woman at such a time?

The sound of jade ornaments jingling together was followed by a gorgeously-dressed woman, who was walking slowly towards Yun Jianyue. Who else could this be but the crown princess?

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