Chapter 1017: The Dead Won’t Lie
Zu An put away the paper strip and said, “Cloudcenter Duke had six personal guards who died in their line of duty.
I had my subordinates look into their respective situations.
“Three of their deaths weren’t suspicious at all, and their remains have already been investigated.
However, the other three’s deaths are fishy.”
“How so” Pei Mianman asked curiously.
Zu An explained, “For example, one was attacked by the fiend races and was beheaded.
In the end, his colleagues were only able to bring back a headless corpse.
“Another guard was investigating a drug smuggling case.
In the end, the storeroom he was investigating caught fire.
His entire body was burned to a crisp.
“Thhe third had all of his blood essence sucked away, leaving behind only a shriveled corpse.”
Pei Mianman was intelligent.
She quickly reacted, saying, “The common point between these individuals is that it’s difficult to discern their identities.”
“Indeed.” Zu An nodded, continuing, “What I suspect is that others actually replaced the real bodies with fakes.
These corpses might not be the ones I’m looking for.”
“But how do you investigate something like that” Pei Mianman was a bit worried.
“After all, it’s already hard to even discern those people’s identities.”
“Anyone in this world will inevitably leave behind all kinds of traces.
Even the most careful murderer will unknowingly leave behind holes they didn’t pay attention to,” Zu An said.
He paused for a moment, then said, “Furthermore, the living might lie, but the dead won’t.”
Pei Mianman’s expression changed slightly.
She began, “Don’t tell me you…”
Zu An nodded with a smile and said, “My love, since we have some leisure time, will you join me on a graveyard date”
“Hmph, what sane person goes on a date in the cemetery” Pei Mianman shot back.
After all, she was a girl.
She had an instinctive rejection toward those kinds of things.
Zu An knew it was a bit awkward for her, so he said, “It’s fine; you should go back first.
I’ll look for you after I’m done.”
Pei Mianman experienced a bit of an internal struggle, but she still didn’t want to leave her lover.
As such, she insisted, “No, I still want to go with you.”
Wasn’t the Pei Manor the same as a graveyard anyway If she could be with her lover, wasn’t that home wherever she went
Zu An was a bit reluctant to leave her.
He held her hand and said with a smile, “That’s good too.
When husband and wife are of one mind, we can do anything.”
“Who wants to be your wife” Pei Mianman pouted playfully.
However, she still let him hold her hand in the end.
Zu An got on his horse, saying, “The graveyard is outside of the city.
It’s still a distance away from here.
It’ll be more convenient to go by horse.” He patted the spot in front of him, gesturing for her to get on.
Pei Mianman blushed.
If they were in a private place, she would happily sit there.
But right now, they were in the city, where people came and went.
Sitting there pressed up against him really would be a bit too bold for her.
She wasn’t so well known that everyone knew who she was, but with her appearance and her identity as the Pei clan’s young miss, many people still recognized her.
If someone saw her and the news went back to her parents, things would become a bit troublesome.
As such, she kicked off the ground and instead sat behind Zu An.
“Hold on tight,” Zu An reminded her.
Pei Mianman pursed her lips.
If they were in private, forget about holding onto him, she would be willing to do a thousand other things.
But holding onto the waist of her man in broad daylight in the streets was still awkward for her as a reserved young lady.
But who would’ve thought that Zu An would pull on the reins and cause the horse to sprint forward He exclaimed, “Giddyup!”
Pei Mianman lost her center of gravity and almost fell off of the horse.
Fortunately, her cultivation was high enough for her to react quickly.
She wrapped her arms around Zu An’s waist to steady herself.
Zu An’s expression became somewhat strange when he felt something press against his back.
Big Manman wasn’t Big Manman for nothing!
“You did that on purpose, right” Pei Mianman beat his back with her fist, but she couldn't bear to really use any strength.
Zu An laughed.
He swung the reins and they quickly left the city.
Riding his steed with a beauty by his side really was an incredibly blissful thing.
“Ah, slow… Slow down, I can’t take it anymore…” Pei Mianman was almost thrown off several times.
She could only hug the man in front of her tightly.
“Swiftness and decisiveness are the keys to success! I’ve already begun to investigate these guards, so the powers that are in hiding might already be on guard.
It’ll be troublesome if they end up destroying all of the evidence,” Zu An explained.
“Oh…” Pei Mianman pressed tightly against Zu An’s body.
Even though there were clothes separating them, she could still feel the comfortably warm heat coming from his wide and sturdy back.
She suddenly felt an incredible sense of peace and bliss fill her.
This was something she had only imagined as a fantasy with her sweetheart before.
She had never expected it to really come true today.
“Ah Zu, do you know why I looked for you today” Pei Mianman asked, her face pressed tightly against his back.
Having someone to block the wind and snow for her really was a great feeling.
“Wasn’t it because you missed me” Zu An replied with a smile.
“Hmph, that’s only part of it.” Pei Mianman wasn’t too shy this time and said, “It’s also because King Qi’s heir wants me to investigate your Imperial Envoy’s progress.”
“Oh” Zu An’s brow rose.
Pei Mianman gave him a rough summary of Zhao Zhi’s visits.
Zu An said with a sigh, “There really is something wrong with the heads of men in this world.
Why do they always like to send their own fiancees to other men”
Zu An recalled the situation with Sang Qian.
But then again, he had ended up taking advantage of Sang Qian’s younger sister, so he was a bit embarrassed to argue about it.
Still, he actually didn’t mind that kind of behavior at all.
In fact, the more people he met who were like that in the future, the better. Please don’t pity a delicate flower like me; just come at me! Beautiful women, please come and trample all over me!
“Hmph, who’s his fiancee I’ve never agreed to such a thing.” Pei Mianman bit down on Zu An, expressing a bit of resentment.
“Of course you’re my woman.
That toad Zhao Zhi even wants to get together with someone like you He thinks he’s being smart, but he’s not only going to give away his bride; he’s also going to lose his army on top of it!” Zu An exclaimed while laughing.
Pei Mianman felt that Zu An’s words sounded strange.
But when she heard him loudly proclaim that she was his woman, she hugged him even tighter and didn’t say anything else.
Zu An felt as if his entire body were leaning against a ball of cotton the entire time.
He thought to himself, No wonder those bikers from my previous world all made their women sit behind them.
I actually automatically asked her to sit in the front! I’m still too naive…
Just like that, the two of them were immersed in their own thoughts, neither one of them wishing to interrupt such a beautiful feeling.
They unwittingly arrived at the city outskirts’ cemetery.
Even though the world was big, there were still designated burial areas.
One couldn't just bury someone wherever one wanted to, because the land might not be theirs.
There wasn’t even enough land for growing crops.
A single disaster and one might not be able to pay back one’s loans.
Then, one’s land would be seized by another landlord.
The authorities would often assign a piece of wasteland to people who had no other places for a burial.
However, the ones buried there often didn’t have many family members left.
After a few generations, there would be no one there to pay their respects anymore.
Thus, the place would turn into an abandoned graveyard over time.
Cloudcenter Duke’s trusted guards were clearly treated much better than that, however.
Cloudcenter Duke had set aside a piece of land for the burial of those who had passed away in the line of duty within his own land.
Even though he had gone missing, the system still continued.
There were several pine and cypress trees nearby, with an assortment of flowers and plants sprinkled throughout.
Of course, there weren’t many flowers in the current cold season.
The cemetery had gravekeepers who were normally in charge of pruning the flowers and plants, as well as preventing beasts from destroying the graveyard.
But at the moment, it was snowing, so all of them were hiding inside and warming themselves by the fire.
None of them would come out to check the graves in such a situation.
Zu An and Pei Mianman entered the graveyard without any issues.
They quickly located the locations of the guards’ graves by following the information Zu An had received from his subordinate.
“Are we really going to dig up graves” Pei Mianman turned around stiffly.
The ride had been too bumpy, and the two of them had been pressed up against each other the entire time.
Her body was still feeling numb.
She didn’t want Zu An to see such a poor side of her.
Zu An voiced his confirmation, saying, “You can just stay over there.
I can do this alone.”
Pei Mianman opened her mouth and wanted to say she was going to help.
But when she thought about what he was going to do, she still gave up on that idea in the end.
“Courageous heroes, this humble one doesn’t wish to disturb your rest, but I want to bring justice to all of you.
After all, there really was someone who harmed you, and I don’t think all of you wanted to die such tragic deaths either…” Zu An took out several sticks of incense he had prepared beforehand, lighting them and bowing to all the graves.
Then, he began to do what he had to do.
This was a world of cultivators; each cultivator was practically an excavating machine in human form on their own.
Digging up a grave wasn’t as difficult as it seemed, and a coffin quickly emerged.
“This person’s name is Cheng Ba.
He was ambushed by the fiend races and beheaded,” Zu An explained as he opened the coffin.
A wave of stench spread outward.
“Be careful of the corpse toxins.” Pei Mianman pointed with her hand, and a strand of black flame flew over and burned away all of the toxic air.
“You’re as meticulous as always,” Zu An said with a chuckle.
Then, he began to examine the corpse inside.
Only the body was present.
The head had been replaced by a wooden carving.
Even though it had already been several months since the person died, Cloudcenter Commandery’s temperature was cold, so the body hadn’t completely turned into a skeleton yet.
“There isn’t even a head left; what can you even investigate at this point” Pei Mianman covered her mouth and nose with her handkerchief.
She also handed Zu An one.
If it weren’t because of her lover, she would never stay in such a place.