Chapter 1014: In a Hurry to Marry Away
Even though there were usually a lot of guards assigned to such important individuals, the most trusted personal aides were usually set in stone.
It was usually just a small group of people who worked together.
Those people were carefully selected.
Cultivation was actually secondary; the most important thing was for them to have a clear background and for them to be devoted and reliable.
But of course, those who were chosen in the end wouldn’t have low cultivation levels.
After interrogating that nefarious cultivator in the capital’s outskirts, Zu An had learned that there was a guard who had run all the way from Cloudcenter Commandery to the capital to ask for help, but he was intercepted and killed along the way.
Even though he had gotten some information about that guard, unfortunately, that evil cultivator had only refined the other party’s fractured soul, and so they didn’t know that guard’s complete identity.
But if his suspicions weren’t wrong, that guard had to be one of Cloudcenter Commandery’s personal guards.
Regular guards wouldn’t have access to a secret on that level, nor would they have enough loyalty to devote their life to asking for help.
“The guards’ names” Gong Pan was stunned.
He was clearly curious as to Zu An’s objective, but he still nodded and said, “I’ll write them down for you.”
He fetched some paper and a pen.
Then he explained as he wrote, “After something happened to the duke, these people began to disperse as well.
After all, no one else would be comfortable employing them, so they all began to build up their own small groups…”
Zu An nodded in understanding.
It was just like some of the corporations of his previous world.
The rise of the next leader would often result in the disbanding of the previous leader’s cheerleaders.
Everything would be completely replaced…
Zu An received the name list.
He asked out of curiosity while looking it over, “Where are these people now”
“A small number of them followed me here to serve the madam, while another group returned home dejectedly to live in seclusion.
Some stayed in the Military Affairs Manor, but were then marginalized and assigned to other places,” Gong Pan explained.
Zu An patted his shoulder in consolation.
The formerly glorious Duke Manor was now in such a state… It was quite the tragedy.
Gong Pan suddenly took a knee respectfully, saying, “Sir Zu, please help us find out the truth regarding the duke’s disappearance and bring justice to everyone.”
“Please get back up!” Zu An quickly supported him to his feet.
“This is my duty, so I’ll definitely do everything I can!”
Whether it was because it was his mission, because of his friendship with Yu Yanluo, or to ease some of his own doubts, he had to find out the truth of the matter.
Lost in thought about the case, Zu An returned to the temporary residence without realizing it.
He discovered that Sang Hong and the others had already returned earlier.
When he saw Zu An walking silently, Sang Hong said in consolation, “Ah Zu, you don’t need to feel too bad about this.
We already investigated the Duke Manor.
According to what the people there said, Madam Yu hasn’t received any guests for quite some time already.
She isn’t acting against us, so it’s completely normal that she wasn’t willing to meet with you.”
Pei You had rarely seen Zu An so dispirited.
He actually felt a bit more confidence as a result.
He forced a smile and wrapped his arm around Zu An, saying to comfort him, “Brother Zu, we all know that you possess exceptional charisma, but that woman Yu Yanluo just doesn’t let anyone near her…”
Zu An shook his head and replied, “Indeed, she didn’t let anyone else in, but I got in.”
“It’s natural that you weren’t able to get in; none of us were able to get in either.” Pei You subconsciously continued to console Zu An.
He then suddenly realized that something wasn’t right.
His voice jumped up an octave as he exclaimed, “You got in! You… What… How… Where did you go”
Zu An was stunned.
He replied, “To Yu Yanluo, of course.
Where else would I be going”
“No way, right Madam Yu hasn’t met anyone for several months already, and she even refused to meet with the Substitute Commander-in-Chief Jian Taiding.
How could she possibly agree to meet with you” Even Gao Ying was now suspicious.
Was Zu An just saying things on purpose so he wouldn’t look bad in front of all of them After all, none of them could prove that he hadn’t gone inside, as no one could get in at the moment anyway.
Zu An shrugged and replied, “Didn’t I tell you guys she’s my friend We’re really close.”
Sang Hong was a bit suspicious at first, because he had heard that even the emperor had been given the cold shoulder by Yu Yanluo.
How could Zu An meet with someone like this just because he wanted to However, he then remembered that Zu An wasn’t the type to speak without thinking.
He quickly asked, “Ah Zu, you really met with Madam Yu Did you gain any valuable information”
“Her condition was indeed quite poor, and she needs a lot of rest.
That’s why she hasn’t been meeting with outsiders.” Zu An didn’t tell them that she feared the cold.
Yu Yanluo had trusted him and showed him that side of her, so he couldn't just tell people that secret.
What if someone with ill intent wanted to use that to harm her
“Also, she doesn’t seem to live with Cloudcenter Duke.
They usually live apart,” he added.
He even wondered if there was something wrong with the relationship between the husband and wife.
However, he didn’t voice those suspicions.
“You even learned something as private as that” The listeners were shocked.
They had investigated the duke manor all day.
Even though Yu Yanluo hadn’t been there, they had all assumed that she had only returned to the Yu clan after Cloudcenter Duke’s disappearance.
They hadn’t expected the two of them to have lived separately for so long.
“Furthermore, a portion of Cloudcenter Duke’s people follow Madam Yu now, while some of them were roped in by Jian Taiding…” Zu An explained the information he had gotten from Gong Pan.
Now, no one doubted that he really had met with Yu Yanluo.
Gao Ying wanted to say something, but he stopped.
Pei You was much more straightforward.
He grabbed Zu An and said, “Brother Zu! No, Master! Take me as your disciple, please!”
Sang Hong thought to himself, Didn’t the intelligence say this brat from the Pei clan was reserved and introverted Why is it that whenever Zu An is here, he always seems so… silly
However, Ah Zu’s affinity with women really left him shocked.
He hadn’t treated it as a big deal previously, but even a woman like Yu Yanluo was close to him He couldn't help but worry for his daughter when he thought of that.
Even though Qien’er was talented and good-looking, whether it was the Chu clan’s first miss or someone like Yu Yanluo, she couldn't compete against them! Looks like we need Dan’er’s help; only then will we have an unrivaled advantage!
When he saw so many people ask Zu An for girl advice, Sang Hong finally snapped out of his daze and said with a light cough, “We should talk about important matters first.
We visited Jian Yanyou’s butler in the Duke Manor.
The information he gave us matched up with what Ah Zu just said, but it was nowhere near as detailed.”
He became a bit dispirited when he thought of that.
There was no lack of capable people among their group, yet all of the information they had collected together couldn't even compare to what Zu An alone had gotten.
It really was embarrassing… Looks like I need to learn a bit from Ah Zu in this regard in the future.
“Sir Sang speaks too seriously.
All of you did great work too.
Some things can’t be investigated from a single direction to begin with, or else you’ll easily reach a biased conclusion,” Zu An replied.
The group’s smiles became more sincere when they heard his answer.
Sang Hong stroked his beard in satisfaction. This kid is so much better than that incapable son of mine.
I hope my grandson can inherit these good points from Ah Zu.
If that happens, my painstaking efforts will all have been worth it. He asked, “Ah Zu, how do you think we should approach this case from now on”
Zu An thought for a bit before saying, “I think we can divide ourselves into three groups.
One group will investigate Cloudcenter Duke’s place of seclusion, as well as various parts of the Duke Manor to see if any clues can be found.
“Another group will interrogate relevant individuals.
That means not only the maids, servants, and guards of the Duke Manor, but also the people from the Military Affairs Manor and Civil Affairs Manor.
Jian Taiding’s political enemies might provide us with some important information.
“Lastly, we need to investigate the guard who resolved to bring vital information to the capital, but was intercepted and silenced along the way.
Even though he’s already died, people who leave this world inevitably leave behind all kinds of imprints.
We’ll start investigating the people and places he’s been around to see if we can find anything.”
Sang Hong nodded inwardly.
Ah Zu’s plan was well thought out.
He had been able to neatly summarize the confusing matter.
As such, Sang Hong replied, “I like this plan.
Gao Ying and Pei You will be in charge of surveying the scene of the crime.
I will interrogate the various people related.
Ah Zu will be in charge of looking into the guard’s information.”
Gao Ying was meticulous in thought, and Pei You was quick-witted.
The two of them were perfect for exploring the location of the duke’s disappearance.
The second group had to associate with Cloudcenter Commandery’s officials, so if anyone other than him took charge of that task, their words wouldn’t possess enough weight.
He had to be the one to take charge of that matter.
As for the guard who had been silenced, that was something Zu An understood best to begin with.
He wanted to send some people to keep an eye on King Qi’s heir too, but Zu An told him that he had already sent Xiao Jianren over.
He was once again impressed and satisfied with this son-in-law, appreciating Zu An more and more.
In the following days, each group began their investigation and did their respective duty.
Meanwhile, In Pei Manor, a beautiful young lady was sitting in front of a table, applying makeup.
The maid behind her was helping her comb her hair.
The maid gave the young lady’s chest a jealous look and said, “The miss seems to have been really happy recently.
Your complexion has improved a lot too!”
“Is that so” Pei Mianman supported her chin and looked at the beautiful reflection in the mirror.
She couldn't help but chuckle.
“The miss has always been smiling and laughing like this for no reason.
You seem really satisfied with King Qi’s heir.” The maid thought to herself, The young miss’ hair really is soft. Combing through her hair didn’t take much work at all.
It wasn’t anything like her own dry and tied-up hair.
“Him” Pei Mianman harrumphed.
But she didn’t want to explain further, either.
The maid didn’t sense the disdain in her voice and continued, “That King Qi’s heir seems to be quite fond of the miss.
He keeps visiting the manor with all sorts of desserts, makeup products, and jewelry.
The miss has given him the cold shoulder for so long already, but isn’t it about time He is the young heir of a King Manor, after all.
It’ll be bad if he becomes offended.”
In her opinion, the young miss only refused to meet with King Qi’s heir to captivate the other party’s heart more.
But there was a limit to that kind of thing, right It was already about time to rein it in.
“I won’t meet with him!” Pei Mianman felt a bit annoyed.
She thought to herself that after taking advantage of her, that guy hadn’t come for several days. Men are all pigs after all! They don’t know how to treasure you anymore after they get what they want.
“Won’t you end up really offending King Qi’s heir Furthermore, the master and madam will be quite troubled too,” the maid advised her.
“What does that have to do with me” Pei Mianman’s expression turned cold when she heard the words ‘master and madam’.
She exclaimed, “What, did you receive some benefits from that heir Is that why you’re trying to persuade me right now”
“I didn’t, I didn’t!” The maid immediately waved her hands fearfully.
“The young miss has treated me so well; Hong Zao wouldn’t dare to go against you!”
Pei Mianman wasn’t the daughter of the first wife, so she hadn’t received much care in the manor during her earlier years.
She’d only had a weak and sickly little maid to help her.
Since the maid’s condition wasn’t the best, Pei Mianman would always share a portion of her leftover red dates for her.
Later on, she decided to just call the maid Hong Zao.
As Pei Mianman grew older and became more and more beautiful, Pei Shao began to treat her with more importance.
They wanted to give her more maids, but she refused all of them.
The two of them had relied on each other for survival for many years.
Hong Zao was a grateful maid as well, and always cared for her master.
Pei Mianman said, “Hong Zao, I know your intentions are good and that you want to help me escape from this wretched place.
King Qi’s heir is indeed an excellent candidate for most girls, but I don’t like him.”
Hong Zao asked worriedly, “Is the young miss still thinking about your lover from Brightmoon City But both King Qi Manor and the Pei clan seem to be pushing for this wedding to happen.
I fear…” As the miss’ personal maid, even though her master never said anything, the changes in her master didn’t escape her eyes.
“Don’t worry about it.
I have my own ways.” Pei Mianman had a big smile on her face when she remembered that rascal Zu An.
Hong Zao couldn't say anything else either when she saw her master like that, so she began to talk about the manor’s affairs.
“King Qi’s heir came over again today.
They seemed to be talking about the imperial envoy’s matters with the master and madam.
When I was passing by, they seemed to plan to invite the young miss to leave on a trip for something.
The master was a bit hesitant.
That young heir really is going a bit too far! The miss hasn’t even married him, and yet he already wants to use you for something…”
Pei Mianman had already stood up before Hong Zao even finished speaking.
She exclaimed, “What! Bring me to the lobby immediately!”
’Hong Zao’ means ‘red dates’. ☜