Chapter 683: Even Someone Like You?

“Oh?” Within the carriage, the Madam felt a hint of surprise, but she did not enquire further. It was as if nothing in the outside world was that interesting to her.

However, the other party had stepped in to aid her, so she wasn’t about to leave immediately.

The driver with the missing tooth had served her for many years, and he could read her intentions. He leaned lazily against the carriage door, as though watching a play.

A look of contempt flashed across the young noble’s eyes when he heard what Zu An had said. However, he still clasped his fist and played along. “Forgive me for having rather poor eyesight. Respectfully, I truly do not know who you are.”

Zu An said, “I’m not really anyone special. I’m just a baron, personally appointed by His Majesty. I’m also the crown prince’s secretary, stationed in the eastern palace, but that’s not that big of a deal. Since we are both officials, why don’t we let the matter drop?”

He’d mentioned this chiefly because he wanted to find out whether this really was a coincidence, or if these people were purposely targeting him. If it was actually a coincidence, these individuals would have reservations in pursuing the matter any further.

The Phoenix Baron and the crown prince’s secretary weren’t considered outstanding stations. However, one title had been bestowed by the emperor, while the other was an official who worked closely with the future emperor. Any ordinary person was certain to trouble him no further.

“Hm?” A cry of surprise came from within the carriage. A crack appeared in the curtains, vaguely revealing several slender fingers. From her fingertips alone, it was easy to imagine how beautiful their owner was.

The driver with the missing tooth was taken aback. The Madam never showed much interest in anything. What had happened to her today?

The young noble chuckled. “The crown prince’s secretary? And a baron as well? You’re a rather important official, aren’t ya? I’m so scared!”

The other cavalrymen roared with laughter as well, and they began to mock him.

“You're just a petty official. How dare you boast about your station?”

“I’m afraid he’s just a country bumpkin. If a rock fell out of the sky and hit someone in the capital, eighty percent of them would probably be at a higher rank than him.”

“That’s what I’m saying. Even many of us here are higher-ranking than a mere crown prince’s secretary.”

Even though the crown prince’s secretary worked closely under the crown prince, he wasn’t considered a high-ranking official. They were speaking the truth.

However, his social standing couldn’t be determined by the rank of his station alone, since he worked closely with the crown prince. Secretaries such as these often became high-ranking officials in the future. It was a similar situation when it came to secretaries of leaders in his previous world. Though they weren’t considered of high social status, no one would dare to offend a bigwig’s secretary.

Zu An calmly observed the ones confronting him. He already had a rough idea of what was going on. These people were indeed targeting him, and they definitely did not belong to the crown prince’s faction. If they did, they had to at least show him some level of courtesy.

Therefore, this had to be someone from King Qi’s faction. No wonder this situation with the startled horse seemed so bizzare. These fellows had set it up deliberately.

The young noble waved his hand, calling for everyone to quiet down. Then, he said to Zu An, “Which column and which row do you occupy when in the throne room, my Lord?”

When the court was in session, only those of higher ranks were qualified to stand close to the emperor.

Lower-ranking officials had to remain outside the throne room, lining up in terms of rank. They were not allowed to see the emperor unless under very special circumstances, and had to observe the happenings within the throne room from a distance away.

The lowest-ranked officials would be even further away, stationed near the palace entrance. They wouldn’t be able to see a thing beyond the roof of the grand throne room.

That was why the position one stood in while the court was in session could be used as a measure of rank and preference.

“I do not need to attend the court sessions,” Zu An replied indifferently.

That young noble roared with laughter. “So, this lord doesn’t even have the standing to participate in the court sessions!”

His smile disappeared immediately, and he spat on the ground. “You still dare to claim that you’re an official like me? Someone like you?”

The cavalrymen went along with their young master, mocking Zu An one after the other.

“You’re all too damned noisy!” With a snort, Zu An summoned Hundredwarble. An invisible sound wave spread out. The cavalrymen felt a stabbing pain in their heads, and many of them momentarily lost the power to speak.

Some with lower cultivations even fell off their horses, landing in crumpled heaps on the ground.

Zu An didn’t put all his strength into this blow. If not, these horsemen might have turned into idiots on the spot.

As an elite, top-drawer keyboard warrior, he knew that revealing all of one’s trump cards right from the start wasn’t a good decision.

The surrounding civilians turned and fled when they saw both sides had commenced hostilities, and the street quickly emptied.

That young master narrowed his eyes. “I was wondering why you were so confident. It turns out you have some cultivation. What a pity that you only have six ranks. How dare you behave in such a manner within the capital with such meager strength?”

The strength that this man just displayed matched what he knew. The intelligence on him stated that he possessed around five or six ranks of cultivation, although his real fighting strength was higher—equivalent to the peak of sixth rank, or perhaps even just touching the seventh rank.

However, even if he was at the seventh rank, it was of no consequence. He was still an ant in this young noble’s eyes.

Zu An looked at him with an ambiguous smile. “Respectfully, then, could you inform me of your rank as an official? At the very least, you can allow me to die with the knowledge of what happened to me, right?”

The young noble snorted. He raised his chin proudly, his nose pointing towards the sky.

He would never stoop to the level of introducing himself. The cavalryman next to him understood this and said, “Open your damned eyes and take a good look. This is King Qi’s heir, a Captain. How dare a trivial official like you offend him? Do you know how serious a crime it is to offend a higher-ranking official?”

Even though the title of Captain didn’t sound terribly amazing, the rank of captain was not the same as the rank in the armies of the modern world. In reality, he could be considered a high-ranking general in the army.

The imperial palace had the Vanguard, Rear, Left, Right, Cavalry, and Guerilla Warfare armies. Apart from this, the capital city had armies stationed along every cardinal point—the East, West, North, and South armies.

These troops were there to ensure the safety of the imperial palace and the capital city.

Meanwhile, six great and high-ranking officers—the aforementioned Captains—were stationed on the outskirts of the city, each controlling their own army: the Garrisoned Rider, Infantry, Monster Rider, Eternal River, Roaring Fire, and Reserve armies. These were the empire’s central field army, the elite of the elites.

Each Captain held a sixth of this army’s total power. Each of them had at least eight ranks of cultivation, and it was easy to imagine how high this position was.

Zu An was taken aback. So this is what’s going on. He had just offended King Qi, and since the elder couldn’t make a move out of consideration for his status, his juniors had stepped in instead.

This trap had clearly been set up to cause his death. A military horse had been slaughtered, and he had gone against a high-ranking official—a very dangerous situation. Even if the higher-ups looked into this matter, these men would have reason enough to defend their actions.

From how smooth everything was going, this was probably not their first time doing this.

An urgent voice called out from the side. “Young master, my brother-in-law has just arrived at the capital city and doesn’t know many of the rules! He didn’t offend you on purpose. On behalf of the Qin and Chu clans, please let him go!”

A young man, whose features were even prettier than a girl’s, slowly emerged. This was none other than Chu Youzhao.

This person was accompanied by a fierce, leopard-like beauty with tanned skin. Who else could this be but Murong Qinghe?

Chu Youzhao and Murong Qinghe were only out to have some fun. They had both rushed over to observe the commotion, as they were both the curious sort. However, they were now embroiled in the drama that they had come to watch.

When Chu Youzhao saw that it was Zu An, she quickly stepped in to try to ease the situation.

“Young master Chu, Lady Murong.” King Qi’s heir Zhao Zhi nodded slightly in greeting. These two were part of clans that formed the core of King Qi’s faction, so he didn’t dare treat them with contempt. “If I understand you correctly, young master Chu, this has to be the infamous drafted son-in-law of the Chu clan, Zu An. Back when Chu First Miss chose some random rascal off the streets as her husband, many young masters in the capital were left sighing in disappointment. I assumed that, given the extraordinary vision of Chu First Miss, this drafted husband of hers might have something special about him.

“Now that I’ve met him, though, I can only say that Chu First Miss doesn’t seem to have such a good eye for men.”

Chu Youzhao was rather upset by this. However, she needed this person to let Zu An go, so she had no choice but to tamp down on her rage. “My brother-in-law is a newcomer. If he has offended the young master in any way, I will apologize in his place.”

“Youzhao, come back over here,” Zu An said indifferently. “Why do I need you to apologize in my stead? He should be the one apologizing to me.”

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