Chapter 898: King Manor’s Secret
Zu An felt something stir within him when he saw that she wasn’t her usual prideful and dignified self, but rather acting flirtatiously.
He said in a somewhat hoarse voice, “Woman, you’re playing with fire!”
“So what if I am You’re so weak right now.
Don’t tell me you can actually teach me a lesson” the empress said with a giggle.
Eunuch Lu became a bit absent-minded.
How many years had it been since he saw the empress so happy
This was how she used to smile at and tease me… But just because I was too passive back then, she was taken by another man…
Sigh, what’s the point of thinking about these things At this point, I’m happy as long as the empress is happy.
But why do I feel so awful This is all completely useless…
Suddenly, he heard a groan.
He turned around and saw that Zu An had pulled the empress into his arms.
The empress’ grand phoenix robes were even becoming messy from his groping.
This kid dares! Eunuch Lu’s eyelids twitched.
He really… really wished that the man in her arms was himself.
Unfortunately, he could only imagine that.
He had to stand guard outside for the two of them right now too, or else someone might see something they weren’t supposed to.
“I don’t like being teased.
Since that’s what you want, then I’ll satisfy you.” Zu An fiercely wrapped his arm around the empress’ waist and pulled her toward him.
The soft and full waist of a mature woman didn’t provide any resistance, completely different from the youthful and energetic feeling of a younger girl.
The empress felt something strange.
She lowered her head and immediately blurted out, “How dare you!” This fellow had already been injured so badly, and yet he…
Zu An laughed and remarked, “Why don’t you report this to his majesty then”
The empress looked at him with her vivid eyes.
“Why do we need to trouble his majesty about such things I can just call over two lesser eunuchs and have you flogged.”
“I fear that your highness won’t be willing to see that happen,” Zu An said while examining her phoenix robes.
Even though the two of them were already quite close to each other, this was the first time he had appreciated those robes so close up.
He had to admit that the material was excellent.
The phoenix embroidered in golden threads was also beautiful.
The empress’ heart pounded.
She hadn’t expected him to be this daring! She had wanted to control the pace and keep him in check, and yet now, her entire body was growing weak from his groping.
“There are still guards outside…” She wanted to get upset, but when she spoke, there wasn’t even an ounce of anger.
Her tender voice even gave her a scare.
Eunuch Lu felt more and more bitter inside.
And yet, at the same time, he felt strangely stimulated.
“I know,” Zu An said nonchalantly.
He obviously wouldn’t lose his head because of a woman that way.
That was primarily because his relationship with the empress was quite strange.
They already had a physical relationship, and yet both of them knew that there wasn’t the slightest bit of love or affection.
It was strictly an exchange of interests.
This was a battlefield, and once one side lost the advantage, they would immediately suffer crushing defeat.
That was why the two of them were constantly trying to seize the initiative.
The empress was speechless. What do you mean, you know What about afterward She felt as if she were falling into Zu An’s pace.
Her reason told her that she had to get out, but this entirely new feeling made her reluctant to do so.
Suddenly, Eunuch Lu coughed as he stood by the entrance.
The empress pushed Zu An away and stood up from his embrace.
She quickly sorted out her messy robes.
Eunuch Lu wouldn’t signal like this for no reason.
He was clearly warning her.
Sure enough, Zhuxie Chixin’s voice came from outside.
“Hm Why is Eunuch Lu here”
Eunuch Lu replied with a smile, “This old servant came with her highness to visit a worthy warrior.
It turned out Chief Commander was here; you really are everywhere.”
“I just came out of the imperial study, so I decided to walk around this area.” Zhuxie Chixin walked toward the entrance as he spoke.
He saw the empress inside and immediately greeted her.
“I pay my respects to your highness.”
He was a bit shocked.
The empress really did look glamorous today! She had been an incredible beauty to begin with, but it was because her mood hadn’t been great for the past few years that she had become a bit colder in appearance.
Recently, her mood seemed to have improved quite a bit.
Zhuxie Chixin thought, Looks like she feels at ease again now that the crown prince’s position has stabilized.
The empress said with a smile, “There’s no need for excessive courtesy, Chief Commander.
Since the Chief Commander has returned, then I’ll leave this place to you.”
Zu An sighed.
The palace’s women weren’t easy to deal with after all! That was true for both Bi Linglong and the empress.
The fact that they couldn’t fight for the Oscar award was truly a pity.
“This subject will see your highness out.” Zhuxie Chixin followed the empress out.
The empress raised her eyebrows, but she didn’t say anything.
After they walked out into the courtyard, she stopped and asked, “Speak; what did you want to say to me by following me out”
Zhuxie Chixin began, “Your highness’ sight is grand…”
The empress cut him off.
“Spit it out.” This was the emperor’s loyal dog.
She found him annoying to even look at to begin with, let alone the fact that she had been interrupted earlier.
She obviously wouldn’t treat him that nicely.
Zhuxie Chixin had to swallow his words back down.
But this was the empress, so he couldn't act out.
He said, “I’ll have to trouble your highness to not talk about the dungeon’s details to anyone.
His majesty hasn’t yet thought through how he wants to deal with this matter, so it must remain confidential.”
The empress was stunned at first, but she realized that this person probably thought that she had gone to Zu An’s room to gather intelligence, then contact the Liu clan.
She asked, “Are you teaching me how to do things” She didn’t bother explaining the misunderstanding.
On the contrary, this was better.
Zhuxie Chixin quickly lowered his head in apology.
“This subject doesn’t dare.
It’s just that his majesty has been a bit troubled over this matter recently…”
“Don’t try to use his majesty to pressure me.
I know what I’m doing,” the empress said coldly and turned around to leave.
Zhuxie Chixin had a bitter smile on his face as he watched her leave.
The empress’ temper had been growing stranger and stranger over the years.
In the end, it was still because of how his majesty treated her…
He left after exchanging some words with Zu An.
Before his majesty made a decision, he still had to keep his distance from these people.
Then, some guards came to congratulate Zu An.
The crown princess’ and empress’ rewards made them realize that he was definitely going to rise in status quickly.
When Zu An was done dealing with them, he lay down and began to think about all types of possibilities.
Then, he unwittingly fell asleep.
All this time, his vigilance had been so high that he almost hadn’t had any chance to sleep.
Once he fell asleep, time quickly passed.
Suddenly, he felt something.
He rushed out of bed and seized the neck of a black-clothed individual next to him, pressing them under his body.
“What’s wrong” asked a familiar voice from outside.
It was Eunuch Lu’s voice.
Zu An was alarmed.
He saw the noble yet flirtatious look in the individual’s eyes.
Who else could it be but the empress
“Nothing, keep watching outside,” the empress said when Zu An loosened his grip.
“Mm.” Eunuch Lu gave a vague reply.
He was clearly a bit upset.
Zu An tore off the black mask, revealing the empress’ mature and stunning face underneath.
He was surprised and asked, “Why are you dressed like this”
“Because someone kept saying that he’d come to the Palace of Peace, but never came.
That’s why I could only come here myself.” The empress lay down on the bed.
Her hands were raised casually above her head, putting her impressive figure in full view.
Zu An saw the black clothing she wore and he looked outside.
It turned out he had slept all the way into the night.
After blanking out for a moment, he reacted and said, “Your highness seems to have run around all night.
Are you not worried that you might have jumped into the wrong bed”
The empress’ charming eyes narrowed.
“You’re on this bed, so I didn’t come to the wrong place.”
Zu An screamed inwardly.
If not for Mi Li’s warning that this woman was trying to use his essence for her recovery, he might really have been fooled! He might really have thought that this woman was deeply in love with him.
“Then I really have to thank your highness for all the love.” He loosened his hand and got up from the bed.
He walked over and poured a cup of tea.
The empress was shocked when she saw that this man wasn’t in a hurry to pounce on her.
She supported her head with her hand and looked at him.
“Everyone in the palace is talking about how you’re at death’s door, but you don’t seem wounded at all.
Are you not scared that I’ll report this to his majesty”
Zu An drained the tea in one gulp.
“If you report this, I’ll tell him ‘your wife really is amazing’.”
The empress was speechless.
No matter how much she flaunted her strong will, she almost broke down under those words.
Zu An thought to himself, Don’t try these tricks with me.
If you knew I really said that in front of the emperor not too long ago, you might just faint from shock!
“Your highness, what’s happened in the capital while I was gone” he asked.
He had been brought into the palace and kept there ever since he left the dungeon.
He had no idea what was happening outside of the palace.
Without enough intelligence, it was easy to create errors in judgment.
But who knew better about what was happening outside the palace than the empress herself
“Is this empress not beautiful enough You can still afford to think about these matters” The empress harrumphed.
However, she still replied, “After you all went into the dungeon, King Qi Manor’s side seemed to be pretty confident, while his majesty’s side was struggling to look calm.
Even though I don’t know what kind of trump cards both sides were hiding, I’m more inclined to trust his majesty.
Zhao Jing can’t win against him.”
Zu An nodded in deep sympathy.
Zhao Han really was an old fox.
He had fooled everyone from start to end.
If not because they had just happened to encounter Westhound Tomb, Zu An would already be a pile of bones right now.
The empress said with a cold snort, “Then, something happened to the dungeon.
The libationer personally concluded that the elements inside collapsed.
King Qi Manor’s people appeared to be grieving on the surface, but they actually almost burst out laughing in joy.” As someone from the crown prince’s very family, she clearly didn’t have a good impression of King Qi.
“His majesty acted quite weirdly in that period.
I’ve never seen him so panicked before.
Even though he did everything he could to hide it, he could fool others, but how could he fool me” the empress remarked confidently.
After all, the two of them had been married for so many years, so she understood him best.
“His majesty’s mood has been quite poor.
Many of the lesser eunuchs who served him disappeared for some reason.
I heard that they were executed because of some small mistakes.” The empress frowned.
“Only when you all exited the dungeon safely did his mood improve a bit, but even then, it was just a bit.
I can still feel the wrath he’s holding in.”
Zu An thought, How can he not be mad His split soul was destroyed in the dungeon for some reason.
His eternal life project failed at the final step!
“Is there anything else Did anything major happen in the capital” Zu An asked.
“Your return was the biggest event already.” The empress didn’t really understand why Zu An was so concerned with that, but after thinking about it for a bit, she said, “Apart from this, there were several times where our men had conflicts with King Qi Manor’s people.
Zhuxie Chixin wasn’t there either, so many people died.
The Chu clan’s little young master kept asking after his brother-in-law day and night, as if he were some girl.
No wonder the Chu clan has declined; all of them are wusses.
The previous minister Sang Hong’s clan returned to the capital.
His majesty used to trust him greatly, and he seems to be summoning him from time to time to discuss some things…”
She talked about many of the things that had happened in the capital in the meantime.
Many of those things really were insignificant compared to the dungeon’s events.
Zu An was surprised and remarked, “So Sang Hong came back.” A bright and beautiful face suddenly appeared in his mind.
Didn’t this mean that Zheng Dan had also come back
“I almost forgot that the two of you had a bit of a grudge in the past.” The empress chuckled.
“Sang Hong helped the emperor take care of many dirty things back then.
It might be his reputation that he’ll have no successors.
But this might not necessarily be a bad thing.
When he was a subject, everyone wanted to get rid of him as quickly as possible.
Now that he has no one inheriting his legacy, they don’t think of him as much of a threat.
Furthermore, with a pretty daughter and a beautiful daughter-in-law, there are quite a few people who are paying more attention to them.”
“Sang Hong is the emperor’s trusted aide, after all.
He seems to be making a comeback now too.
Will those people really dare to act recklessly” Zu An asked with a bit of confusion.
The empress explained, “A rags to riches clan like the Sang clan doesn’t have as much backing as the other great clans.
After messing up his mission in Brightmoon City, the Sang clan suffered a fatal blow.
Furthermore, for some reason, the warriors the Sang clan raised for all these years disappeared overnight.
Without that force, why would those young masters fear the Sang clan
“Many people in the capital believe that Sang Hong has tacitly agreed to this as well, that he actually wants to marry his daughter off as quickly as possible.
This way, he can rebuild the Sang clan’s former glory.
“But those great clans aren’t stupid.
Sang Hong’s daughter comes from a family that isn’t all that impressive, and the Sang clan carries too many grudges with other clans.
No one wants to take the Sang clan’s young miss in as their main wife.
However, she’s just too stunning, so it doesn’t seem right to take her in as a concubine.
The reason why so many people are being so careful is because they want to get a buy one get one free deal.
After all, the Sang clan’s widowed daughter-in-law is also a genuine beauty.”
Zu An snorted.
“There’s no need for you to try and test me with these things.
The Sang clan and I were detained together on our way to the capital, and we developed some camaraderie along the way.
If I can help them, I’ll naturally help them.”
“Tsk, you’re probably thinking the very same thing as those clans.” The empress sneered.
Men were all up to no good.
“You’re overthinking it.
How can the Sang clan let those people get their way An upright gentleman like me obviously wouldn’t have those thoughts either,” Zu An said with a firm expression.
“You An upright gentleman” The empress had a strange look on her face.
She really had the urge to spit on Zu An’s face at that instant.
“Ahem…” Zu An felt a bit guilty himself.
He quickly changed the topic.
“Was there anything else that happened”
The empress slowly said, “There are some other things that happened.
Something strange happened in King Qi Manor…”
Zu An waited for a long time, but she didn’t say anything else.
He couldn’t help but ask, “And”
The empress smiled.
“Let me tell you a story first.”
Zu An was confused.
What kind of story was she going to tell him now But he still patiently listened.
“Once upon a time, there was a male dove and a female dove.
Underneath them was a young sheep that was eating grass.
Soon afterward, a big bad wolf came and ate the lamb.
What do you think the female dove said to the male dove” The empress’ eyes flickered with light.
There was a mysterious charm in her expression.
Zu An vaguely recalled hearing this story from somewhere, but he replied with an unsure tone.
“The lamb below has died”
Below… the lamb… died,” the empress repeated.
However, her tone changed a bit.
She laid down on the bed and hooked her fingers toward Zu An.
She looked at him seductively.
Zu An was speechless.
How could he hold himself back, though He pounced over.
Eunuch Lu’s eyes twitched as he listened to the moaning coming from inside.
Then, he released a long sigh, as if something had been satisfied.
He silently transferred his ki, sealing off the sound coming out of the room to prevent any guards from noticing anything.
Meanwhile, in the Eastern Palace, Bi Linglong tossed and turned about in bed.
Her personal maid Rong Mo rubbed her drowsy eyes and came inside to check on her.
“Crown princess, what’s wrong”
“It’s nothing, I just can’t sleep for some reason.
You should get some rest yourself,” Bi Linglong replied.
Rong Mo replied with an ‘oh’, then left while yawning.
Bi Linglong suddenly thought of something.
She called out to Rong Mo and said, “Right, you can’t come in no matter what you hear later.”
“Why” Rong Mo was a bit confused.
Wasn’t it normal for her to care for the crown princess
Bi Linglong blushed.
She pretended to be angry and said, “I’m already having trouble sleeping, if you keep running in and out, it’ll become even harder!”
When Rong Mo saw her master get angry, she stuck out her tongue and said, “Alright, alright.
I won’t disturb the crown princess anymore.”
Bi Linglong sighed in relief when she saw Rong Mo leave quickly and even close the door behind her.
She moved her blankets and looked at the lock.
After some hesitation, she still locked it.
However, after lying on the bed for a while, she suddenly reached out and unlocked it.
Just like that, sometimes it was open, and sometimes it was closed.
She gradually fell asleep during this endless wait.
Meanwhile, the storm seemed to have reached a calm.
There were fine beads of sweat hanging from the empress’ temples, and her hair was a bit damp.
There was a happy and sweet smile on her face.
When she sensed that her damaged meridians had obtained nourishment, that she hSad recovered a bit, her mood became even better.
“You really don’t know how to treat girls properly at all! I almost feel like I’m becoming a tool to vent your frustrations on.” Despite having said that, she didn’t sound angry at all.
“What, you don’t like it” Zu An also felt refreshed.
The pressure he had experienced while being chased by the emperor was so suffocating it was hard to even breathe, so he let everything go during this session.
“You’re really a bad man.” The empress laughed.
“But this empress likes that sort of roughness.” A young lady might like someone who was gentler, but for a mature woman like her, she knew what it was that she needed.
“What happened in King Qi Manor” Zu An didn’t want to talk about feelings with her for too long and immediately changed the topic.
“You still haven’t forgotten about that” The empress was a bit unhappy, but she still said, “Whatever.
Since you made this empress happy, then I’ll just tell you.
Just treat it as your fee.”
Zu An had a strange look on his face.
Judging from how proud she looked, he felt as if she were throwing some dollar bills at him after getting what she wanted.
“King Qi’s concubine suddenly lost her footing and fell into a pond a few days ago, drowning to death,” the empress said.
“How can that be” Zu An was stunned.
“What about the maids that were serving her”
Even though that woman was a concubine, for better or for worse, she was King Qi’s concubine.
Who knew how many people were serving her Why would something like this happen
“That’s what’s strange about it.
It was rumored that she ran over to the pond in the middle of the night, so there were no maids to serve her.” The empress seemed rather happy about that disaster.
“As for her death, there are a few rumors going around the capital.
Some say that she really did accidentally lose her footing; some speculated that she was doing something wrong and was caught.
Some others say that she saw a secret she shouldn’t have seen and was silenced… What do you think it is”
“An affair” Zu An asked probingly.
She had run out alone in the middle of the night, so he couldn’t help but think of that.
“That’s what I thought at first too,” the empress said with a smile.
“But Zhao Jing is pretty handsome and charming, so I really can’t imagine why his woman would look for someone else.
Furthermore, who dares to have an affair with King Qi’s concubine in King Qi Manor There’s definitely something more to this.”
Zu An suddenly had a strange look on his face.
“In the eyes of others, I reckon that they would never expect their graceful and dignified empress to be doing what we just did, right”
“You!” The empress was finally defeated.
She pounced over and bit him…
In Chinese, it sounds like ‘Below… itches… so much.’
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