When she saw Zu Ans stupefied appearance, the crown princess asked unhappily, “What, do you think Im being too vicious again”
Zu An sighed.
“I do think youre being a bit too merciless.”
The crown princess said coldly, “This imperial palace is a cruel place.
Its kill or be killed.
Those who couldnt do heartless things have already packed the cemeteries.”
Zu An couldnt help but reply, “Why is there a need to do this The two of you are allies.
If youve guessed her intentions incorrectly, then you might instead help King Qis people.”
“I wont place my own safety in the hands of others.” The crown princess gave Zu An a sidelong glance.
“What, do you feel bad for her Dont forget that the two of us are bound together now.
If she ends up doing something, Ill be finished, and youll be even more dead.”
Zu An fell silent.
He knew that what she had said was true.
When she saw his reaction, the crown princess tone eased.
“If it werent because we had no choice, I wouldnt want things to be like this either.
However, the only one I can trust right now is you.
I cant entrust this matter to anyone else.
Thats why you cant let your emotions affect your decisions.”
Zu An said quietly, “I know what I need to do.” Still, even though her plan was the safest one, he didnt want to become her blade.
The crown princess nodded in satisfaction when she saw that he didnt directly oppose her.
When their group returned to the eastern palace, she returned to the inner chambers to rest.
Zu An was met with congratulations from his colleagues, but inside, he had too many things to think about.
Suddenly, a lesser eunuch told him that his majesty had summoned him.
Everyone else in the eastern palace had envious expressions on their faces.
Apart from some great subjects with tremendous authority, there probably werent many others who were able to meet with the emperor again and again.
They even wondered if the concubines met his majesty as much as Zu An.
But Zu An knew that this wasnt a blessing at all.
The pressure he experienced during each meeting was great.
That fellow was incredibly moody and equally paranoid.
With a single mistake, Zu Ans life would be forfeit.
The reason he had been summoned this time was most likely due to the rumors involving the crown princess.
Sure enough, when Zu An arrived at the imperial study, the gloomy-looking emperor looked at him with an unfathomable gaze.
“I heard that the crown princess promoted you to chamberlain”
Zu An shivered inwardly.
So little time had passed, and yet the emperor already knew He had eyes and ears everywhere in this palace after all.
He answered, “Replying to your majesty, the crown princess indeed promoted me to chamberlain.”
The emperor said emotionlessly, “I heard that the crown princess even talked with you in private, and the eunuchs and maids were made to wait outside”
Zu An replied, “The crown princess heart is pure and clear like the moon.
She only had official matters to discuss with me, so there was no reason to avoid each other.”
“Shes surprisingly smart.
She knows that the more things like this, the more it will shut others up.” The emperor suddenly changed the topic.
“However, this emperor still suspects that something happened between the two of you.”
Zu Ans expression changed a bit and he quickly said, “Your majesty is wise and brilliant.
The crown princess and I are innocent.
We were completely slandered and framed.
This matter has already gone through much investigation, and even Sir Libationer was invited to question me.
All of them can attest to my innocence.”
The emperor harrumphed.
“I heard that you all just went to the Hundred Flower Palace; is that right”
Zu An thought to himself that this fellows thoughts really jumped around quickly.
Of course, his expression still remained respectful on the surface as he answered, “Yes.”
“Why did you head there first Did something happen there” The emperor was seated high up on his dragon throne, so it was hard to see his current expression.
Zu An thought to himself, Could it be that the emperor already knows something However, he still looked rather calm on the surface.
“The crown princess suspected that the one behind the scenes was Concubine Bai.”
“Then why did they sound as if they were getting along so soon afterward” The emperor brought some tea to his lips.
Zu An couldnt be bothered with the fact that the emperors intelligence was so precise.
“Thats because Concubine Bais nature is kind, and she quickly explained the misunderstanding.
Furthermore, the crown princes test is imminent, so they wish to cooperate through this trial and avoid further complications.”
The emperor harrumphed.
“At least they know to think about the bigger picture.” Then he continued, “Then who do you think is framing you”
Zu An said sullenly, “I am not sure.”
“Youre not sure” The emperor sneered.
“You even said that it was the Shi clan who harmed you in the imperial prison.”
Zu An explained, “That was just a random guess.
I could say that to those three ministers, but I have no proof, so I dont dare to make random claims to your majesty.”
The emperors mood improved when he saw how tactful Zu An was.
“Do you know why this emperor decided to keep you alive this time”
Zu An asked probingly, “Because Sir Libationer proved my innocence”
The emperor sneered.
“Theres something you dont understand.
The libationer wasnt here to prove your innocence, but rather the crown princess.
The fact that a subject was involved in this sort of rumor with the crown princess is already a crime that even death cant atone for.”
“This subject was wrong!” Zu An broke out into cold sweat.
It seemed he had still underestimated this emperor. Mother**er… I was an emperor myself in Yinshangs secret dungeon! But when did I ever make decisions unjustly like you!
The emperor then said, “You did well with the Devil Sects case last time, and you also managed to find out who was colluding with the assassins in the palace.
As you have some talent, Ive decided to leave you alive for now.
Youll be the one in charge of finding the one who framed the crown princess as well.
You have until the crown princes exam to find out who the mastermind is.
If you cant find anything, there will be no use in keeping you alive anymore.”
Zu An was speechless. Bro, there should be a good cop and a bad cop, but youre only using the bad cop side! What the hell But even though he was cursing inside, he could only smile on the surface.
“Understood; this subject will do everything I can to find the perpetrator.”
“Remember to investigate with your Golden Token Eleven identity,” the emperor reminded him.
Then, he closed his eyes and indicated that Zu An could leave.
Zu An was surprised.
He used this chance to ask, “Your majesty, something strange happened earlier.”
“Speak.” The emperor seemed to be meditating.
Zu An said, “I discovered that someone has been secretly investigating me all this time, but no matter what kind of method I try to use, I still cant find out who he is.
That person seems to be extremely proficient in stealth techniques.”
He paid close attention to the emperors expression while asking this.
Previously, he had suspected that it was the emperor who had sent that mysterious person.
But over time, he grew more and more convinced that that was impossible.
Of course, he didnt lower his guard.
He wanted to obtain some information from the other partys expression.
“What” The emperors eyes suddenly widened.
In that instant, his expression became extremely sharp.
“Since you know this person is extremely proficient in stealth techniques, then how did you discover him”
Zu An replied, “I have a special ability that lets me see people within a certain distance around me.
I could sense that he was nearby, but I just couldnt find him.”
He had already told the emperor that hed obtained all of Old Mis skills.
As such, the emperor knew that he was already a powerful expert, so there was no need to hide anything.
Either way, such a skill was still nothing much before the emperor.
Sure enough, the emperor didnt ask more about it and instead began to think to himself.
“With your current cultivation, the people who could evade your detection…”
A while later, he seemed to have thought of something.
He said seriously, “You dont need to worry about this matter anymore.
Ill send someone to take care of it.”
“Understood!” Zu An had already obtained the information he wanted, so he left, satisfied.
When he walked out, Eunuch Wen came to accompany him.
He said with a smile, “Sir Zu truly is impressive! This one hasnt seen anyone who has received the appreciation of the emperor like Sir Zu in all these years.”
“Eunuch Wen is too polite,” Zu An replied, but inwardly, he cursed endlessly. Like hell this is appreciation! That bastard is ready to kill me at a moments notice.
Hmph, Ill make sure those concubines of yours have a taste of my viciousness in the future too.
After chatting with Eunuch Wen for a bit longer and thanking him for taking care of Chu Chuyan, he left while the mood was still pretty good.
He changed into his Golden Token Eleven clothes in his courtyard, and then went to meet with Right Guard General Guo Zhi.
Guo Zhi cupped his hands when he heard of Zu Ans arrival.
“Sir Eleven, please tell me if there is anything I can help you with.”
Even though his rank was higher, the Embroidered Envoys had a special status.
Furthermore, the golden token envoys were all deep and immeasurable existences.
This person was acting directly under the emperor, so he obviously didnt dare to offend the other party.
Zu An asked, “I wish to look through the records of everyone who has entered and exited the palace these past few days.”