Zu An was utterly stunned. Is she a dog? How in the world is she able to sniff people out through their smell?
Unable to believe it, he lifted his sleeves and tried smelling himself, but all he could smell was a faint fragrance. Don't all women pretty much use the same fragrances? I can’t tell the difference at all.
Chu Huanzhao unhesitatingly reached out to grab his ear. “Speak! What did you do with Zheng Dan? Did you do something that let me… I mean, my older sister down!”
“Let go, let go!” It was so painful that it nearly squeezed tears out of Zu An’s eyes. He thought that his sister-in-law was slowly becoming gentler and amicable, but it turned out that she was still a tyrannosaurus rex at heart. “I didn’t do anything at all! This smell is probably from this morning when she fell from the carriage into my arms.”
Their interactions caught the attention of the students passing by, and they began gossiping amongst themselves.
“I thought that Zu An would at least fare a bit better now that he’s a teacher, but it looks like his standing is still the lowest in the family.”
“Yeah, look at how he whimpers before Chu Second Miss, not daring to fight back at all.”
“Well, that’s the life of a drafted-son-in-law. Mooching is tough, y’know.”
“It doesn’t look too bad. It must be quite pleasurable to get held by such a beautiful sister-in-law.”
“Shoo, get away from me! What if your fetish is contagious?”
Whisperings could be heard from the students all around. Feeling his reputation falling into tatters, Zu An felt like bursting into tears.
“Are you sure?” Chu Huanzhao hesitantly released his ear, but she leaned inward to take another sniff of him. The doubt in her eyes refused to disperse. “Is there a fragrance in the world that lasts that long?”
Zu An replied sheepishly, “That’s not something I’d know.”
Chu Huanzhao brooded for a while before finally backing off with a cold harrumph. “Hmph, I guess the stench of vixens tends to linger!”
“…” Zu An frowned at her choice of vocabulary. “Really, where did you learn such crude words? You’re ruining your reputation like that.”
“Why? Does your heart hurt when I insult Zheng Dan?” Chu Huanzhao morphed from the kind sister-in-law into the little demon who used her whip to lash him. “My older sister rarely has time to come to the academy, so it goes without saying that I have to keep an eye on you in her place lest you do something that let her down!”
“I really didn’t do anything at all! Can you stop slandering me?” Zu An really wanted to burst into tears. Even if I wanted to do something, my current plight doesn’t allow me. Ahhhh, I really must get my hands on the Evanescent Lotus by hook or by crook, no matter what price I have to pay!
“That better be the case!” Chu Huanzhao harrumphed coldly before her complexion finally alleviated. “Brother-in-law, I’m really not making a big fuss out of this. You should also know that my older sister is the dream lover of many men, so it’s inevitable that she would stir the envy of other women. Zheng Dan is one of them. Don’t get fooled by her appearance; she’s approaching you because she wants to prove her superiority by stealing my older sister’s man.”
Zu An wasn’t too happy to hear those words. “Hey! Isn’t it possible that she’s simply approaching me because of my charm?”
Chu Huanzhao eyed Zu An from head to toe before finally shaking her head. With a perfectly earnest look on her face, she replied, “That’s absolutely impossible.”
That was a critical hit on Zu An’s pride. I really want to beat this fellow up. Can’t she at least lie to make me feel better?
“Eyyy. Brother-in-law, you need not get so angry. At least you’ve my older sister. Isn’t that enough?” Chu Huanzhao noticed the awful look on Zu An’s face and quickly placated him with a smile. “You don’t know how many people in the academy are envious of you. They would willingly trade twenty years of their lifespan as long as they could marry my older sister in their lifetime!”
Zu An rolled his eyes. “Others might not know better, but you should be aware of just what kind of relationship your older sister and I have.”
Chu Huanzhao smiled sheepishly. She had indeed heard about their peculiar relationship. “You have to give my older sister some time. You should also know that she’s a proud person. It’s inevitable that she’s unable to get used to you all of a sudden.”
Zu An’s face further darkened. “Is that how you console a person? Am I really that bad as you say?”
Chu Huanzhao replied with a nod, “In the past, even I wouldn’t have bothered sparing a second glance at you. However, after getting to know you, I realized that you are different from the rumors. You do have a lot of strengths. I believe that my older sister will slowly come to like you once she knows what kind of person you are.”
“Hopefully.” In truth, Zu An wasn’t too bothered about that. What he was the most concerned about at the moment was the Evanescent Lotus. Otherwise, even if Chu Chuyan really fell for him, it would still be for naught.
Zu An’s downcast tone and crestfallen silhouette made Chu Huanzhao’s heart feel heavy. My brother-in-law sure is pitiful. My older sister doesn’t like him; my parents scorn him; even the servants don’t show him respect either. He must be having a tough time in the Chu Estate. I must treat him better so that he can feel the warmth of a family.
With such thoughts in mind, she ran up to him and called out sweetly, “Brother-in-law~”
Taken aback by the abrupt sugar in her voice, Zu An jolted a little before asking, “What?”
“Nothing much. I just wanted to call you.” Chu Huanzhao’s eyes curled into beautiful crescent smiles.
Zu An felt that Chu Huanzhao was acting weirdly, but he was still too absorbed into his own affairs that he didn’t pay it much heed.
By the time they walked out of the academy, Cheng Shouping and the servants of the Chu clan were already waiting for them at the entrance. When Cheng Shouping saw Chu Huanzhao fluttering around Zu An like a butterfly, he was astonished.
The young master is truly amazing. Not only did he manage to marry the First Miss, but he managed to win over the unruly Second Miss too. I really need to get the young master to teach me a thing or two. If I could just pick up a sliver of what he knows, it’d be more than enough for me to get a beautiful wife!
It was a silent trip home. Shortly after they returned to the estate, Chu Zhongtian called the two of them over for dinner. Surprisingly, Chu Chuyan was present as well.
Zu An couldn’t help but feel a little perplexed. Chu Chuyan, as a student of Brightmoon Academy, should be expected to attend classes, but weirdly enough, the two of them had never encountered one another in the academy. Judging from Chu Huanzhao’s words, it would appear that she hadn't really been to the academy these few days.
He wondered what she was so busy with. It felt like she was constantly heading to all sorts of places. Cheng Shouping once mentioned that many of the Chu clan’s businesses were currently managed by her, which was why she was constantly busy.
When Chu Huanzhao saw Chu Chuyan around the dining table, she immediately rushed up to them joyfully. “Father, mother, big sister, you won’t believe what happened in the academy today. Zu An was…”
Qin Wanru cut her words short, “We can talk about that later. For now, there’s something more important we need to discuss.”
Chu Huanzhao turned to Zu An and shrugged helplessly. Her cheeky gestures were really adorable.
Zu An felt a surge of warmth in his heart. His sister-in-law did treat him well, though the same couldn’t be said about his mother-in-law. Qin Wanru had quite a domineering personality, and she had never bothered to hide her contempt for him. It was fortunate that her two daughters weren’t like her.
I really wonder what’s wrong with Ji Dengtu to actually lust over such a woman. Does he have some sort of weird fetish?
If Qin Wanru knew that Zu An thought of her in such a light, she would surely erupt like a volcano.
“Chuyan, due to the premature opening of the Ursae Dungeon, the tournament against the Yuan clan will be brought forward to two days later. How are your preparations coming along?” asked Qin Wanru.
“The tournament?” Zu An’s heart jolted.
This was a matter they had mentioned some time back. The Chu clan and the Yuan clan both dealt in the arms trade, resulting in intense competition between the two of them. However, as nobles, it was beneath them to resort to underhanded methods like common merchants; it wouldn’t look good on any of them. So, they decided to determine the market share by having their juniors fight one another in a tournament.
It was intended to be a friendly duel so as to avoid acrimony between the two clans. At the same time, the rivalry would also spur the juniors of the two clans to work harder on their cultivation.
Zu An didn’t expect the Clans Tournament to be coming up so quickly.
“There should be no problem,” replied Chu Chuyan. “I’ve been looking over the training of the juniors of our Chu clan, and they have been working diligently. Judging from our past experiences, they should be able to hold their own.”
Chu Zhongtian frowned. “We can’t use our previous experiences as a gauge. The Yuan clan has the backing of the Wu clan now, so the cultivators they dispatch are bound to be far stronger than previous years.”
Hearing those words, Chu Huanzhao couldn’t help but ask, “Since the Yuan clan is seeking external help, why don’t we do the same too? Aren’t we disadvantaged like that?”
“What do you know?” Chu Zhongtian harrumphed in response. “If I were to ask for external help like them, wouldn’t that mean that our Chu clan is really afraid of their Wu clan? Besides, I’ve lived my life proudly. I won’t lower myself to resort to such trickeries!”
Zu An scoffed at those words. Isn’t this the perfect example of someone who would suffer just to uphold his pride? It’s really hard to relate the word, ‘proud’, to this henpecked husband over here.
Chu Chuyan replied, “Even if they engaged the help of the Wu clan, there’s no way they would stand a chance against me.”
Zu An was a little shaken by those words. He never thought that his wife would actually utter such imposing words. On top of that, no one questioned her words at all, be it Chu Zhongtian, Qin Wanru, or Chu Huanzhao. It was almost as if it was natural for it to be the case.
She was a renowned prodigy of Brightmoon City, rumored to be at fifth rank.
Zu An had fought with two fifth rank cultivators thus far, and he nearly lost his life on both accounts. That being said, there were likely to be significant differences between fifth rank cultivators. Pei Mianman easily defeated Yuan Wendong in a battle back then even though they were both fifth rank cultivators. That bizarre black flame she summoned was a truly frightening entity.
He couldn’t help wondering whether Chu Chuyan or Pei Mianman was more formidable.
Now that he thought of Pei Mianman, his thought subconsciously drifted to the night when the two of them brawled with one another in Chu Chuyan’s bedroom. That woman’s figure is truly incredible…
“You might be able to win a match, but there’s a total of ten matches, and one of them is a sure loss. Honestly, I don’t have much confidence in the Clans Tournament this time around.” Qin Wanru shot a glance at Zu An as she shook her head.
It was a rule that the juniors in the main family had to participate in one of the ten matches. Other than that, the rules weren’t too strict for others. Regardless of whether one was from the branch family or a servant of the clan, as long as they were strong enough, they could be sent on the field.
The Chu clan’s greatest disadvantage was no other than Zu An. The rules dictated that he had to participate in the tournament, and that was a sure loss.
Tsk, you sure look down on me. As displeased as Zu An was, he maintained a composed expression and said, “Don’t worry, I’ll surely win my round.”
Unfortunately, there wasn’t anyone who took his words to mind. Even Chu Huanzhao, who usually supported him, didn’t think that he could win.
“Don’t think about such unrealistic stuff. Let’s go with our previous plan to pit you against Yuan Wendong. Even if you lose the match, you’d still be contributing significantly to the Chu clan. In order to ensure that Yuan Wendong would choose you, I’ll accompany you to the academy tomorrow. Try to find a way to rile him up,” said Chu Chuyan.Previous Chapter Next Chapter