Chapter 1102: Predicament
Zu An’s expression stiffened.
When he saw Yu Yanluo’s look of suspicion, his mind moved faster than ever before.
He said, “It might’ve been because I was just too poor when I was little, so I had no choice but to help out in the local restaurant.
I didn’t expect my resentment from my childhood to be so strong and become a vice.”
Yu Yanluo had also looked into Zu An’s background, so she knew that he had been without parents growing up.
He and his aunt and uncle had been mutually dependent on each other for survival.
Not long afterwards, even those relatives had passed away.
His childhood really had been bitter and difficult.
She was filled with a motherly impulse and subconsciously wanted to take him into her arms to hug him.
But she knew it was inappropriate as soon as she raised her arms, and pulled back awkwardly.
Instead, she said, “Those unhappy memories are already in the past.
Everything will be better.”
“Thank you, madam, for comforting me.” Zu An felt a bit guilty as he replied.
He hadn’t expected her to believe him so easily.
“Since there is nothing else, you should hurry and rest.
It is not early anymore.” Yu Yanluo covered her mouth and yawned.
She had been seriously injured to begin with.
After spending so long about Zu An, she had used up a lot of mental fortitude and felt extremely tired.
Goodnight, madam,” Zu An replied with a nod.
Yu Yanluo lay down again, facing away from Zu An.
Then, she secretly rubbed her chest under the covers. This brat really is unreasonably strong.
Zu An’s soul had already formed, so her secret movements didn’t escape his detection.
He couldn't help but feel utterly embarrassed.
Meanwhile, Yu Yanluo really was tired.
She was still a bit tense at first, but she fell soundly asleep soon afterward.
But Zu An wasn’t so lucky.
There was a faint lingering aroma, and the covers didn’t do much to hide Yu Yanluo’s stunning figure.
He couldn't fall asleep no matter what he did…
The next morning, Yu Yanluo woke up.
She jumped in fright.
When had she fallen asleep last night She lowered her head to look at her clothes.
She sighed in relief when she saw that everything was still in order.
She pursed her lips.
She had actually shared the bed with another man, and she had fallen asleep Just a few days prior, that would have been something unimaginable for her.
She secretly turned around to look at Zu An.
However, what she saw was a pair of reddened eyes.
She jumped in fright and asked, “What’s wrong Why are your eyes so red”
“I couldn't sleep at all…” Zu An sighed. This woman really is unguarded.
She just slept right next to me.
Is she trying to test me
“Huh Why couldn't you sleep” Yu Yanluo asked, puzzled.
“The world’s number one beauty was lying down next to me.
I don’t think any man in this world could fall asleep in that situation.” Zu An sighed.
Yu Yanluo blushed.
“Look at you… If I had known it would be like this, I wouldn’t have called you over to sleep in this bed.” She started to get up, but she immediately lay back down with a startled cry.
“What’s wrong” Zu An exclaimed, alarmed.
He thought she had been hurt somewhere.
Yu Yanluo gave him a resentful look and replied, “You’re on my hair!”
Zu An was alarmed and immediately moved aside.
Maid Xing was outside, but she could hear the activity inside.
She was about to enter, and ask if the madam needed help getting dressed and cleaned up, but she heard ‘You’re on my hair!’ and jumped in alarm. The madam and the duke slept together
As Yu Yanluo’s personal maid, she obviously knew that the madam and the duke were only husband and wife in name.
Why had they suddenly slept in the same bed
Could it be that the madam’s feelings changed with the duke’s return, and she decided to sincerely accept him
But that cannot be! I have already served the madam for so long.
The madam should have no romantic feelings for the duke!
She didn’t know what was happening inside.
After a bit of hesitation, she decided to stay outside to prevent any awkwardness
A while later, the door opened from inside, and Yu Yanluo emerged alone.
Maid Xing quickly greeted her when she saw her.
Suddenly, all of the officials who had been waiting outside swarmed over.
They all cried out, saying they wished to meet with the duke.
At first, Maid Xing and Gong Pan could still hold them back.
However, as Sang Hong, Xu Yu, Pei Shao, and the others rushed over, the situation quickly grew out of control.
“Madam Yu, we didn’t pressure the duke because he was injured.
But after a night to rest and recover, is the duke still unable to speak” Pei Shao harrumphed.
“Is he really unable to talk because of his injuries, or did you tell him not to speak Or was he an imposter to begin with”
The other officials began to whisper among themselves when they heard what he said.
When they looked at Yu Yanluo, their gazes were full of alarm and suspicion.
While Yu Yanluo was at a loss for what to do, Zu An walked out and called out, “Who wishes to meet with me”
Zu An had already used Face of a Thousand Identities to regain Jian Yanyou’s appearance.
The onlookers were shocked when they saw him.
They hadn’t expected it to really be the duke!
The officials who were closer to the Yu clan immediately began to greet him.
Pei Shao and the others were still suspicious, asking, “Are you really the duke”
Zu An laughed and retorted, “If I am not, could it be that you are”
A wave of aura swept out, and those present felt a powerful divine will sweep over them.
They immediately trembled in fear.
The onlookers were all intelligent.
They quickly realized that was a power only master ranked cultivators could have.
They were all horrified, convinced that the person before them really was the duke.
Even though he was injured and his strength had regressed a bit, the pressure that originated from his soul still remained.
Pei Shao obviously didn’t dare to question him anymore, but Sang Hong wasn’t convinced.
He spoke out again.
“Last night, Madam Yu said that it was Uncle Ming who incited Jian Taiding to do those things.
Does the duke acknowledge what she said”
Zu An sighed and replied, “Indeed.
It is just a pity that Taiding was fooled by a villain.
Fortunately, he was able to return to the right path at the last minute, fighting together with us.
He is worthy of his status as a member of the Jian clan, worthy of being my younger brother…” As he spoke, he sounded incredibly emotional, as if he were filled with grief.
Yu Yanluo was shocked. This brat’s acting skills really are something else! Was he also just tricking me before But when she remembered all of the things that had happened, she still discarded that thought.
Now that they had confirmed the identity of ‘Jian Yanyou’, and that his brotherly affection for Jian Taiding wasn’t fake, those gathered were fully convinced.
Even those who had come to criticize Jian Taiding didn’t suspect anything anymore, only cursing Uncle Ming.
After all, as far as they could tell, Jian Taiding had been quite close to Uncle Ming for some time.
However, It turned out Uncle Ming was a deceiver who was concealing malice.
Then, Yu Yanluo took out the edited recording stone for the others to see.
When they saw Uncle Ming’s confessions, their last hints of suspicion also completely disappeared.
All that was left was for Yu Yanluo to deal with assorted details of the aftermath.
Zu An excused himself, saying that he was injured and was entering seclusion.
He didn’t draw much suspicion.
However, being left alone all of a sudden made him feel like he had nothing to do.
For some reason, though, he just felt that he had forgotten something.
What did I forget
He couldn't think of what he had forgotten even after a long time.
Everything was taking a turn for the better, so he didn’t think too much about it either.
He found a chance to change his appearance and secretly return to the imperial residence.
It just so happened that Sang Hong knocked on his door, looking for him not long after he had just snuck back in.
When Zu An opened the door, Sang Hong said somewhat apologetically, “Ah Zu, it isn’t that I want to disturb your rest, but rather that I really have some things I need to discuss with you.”
“Respected uncle is too courteous.
Hurry, come in,” Zu An replied.
They naturally had to address each other a bit more intimately when it was just the two of them.
Sang Hong sighed several times after he came in.
He seemed about to say something, but couldn’t bring himself to speak.
Zu An chuckled when he saw that and said, “Respected uncle, just tell me if you have anything to say.
With our relationship, there’s no need to feel any reservations.”
Sang Hong felt warm inside when he heard that.
He said, “Ah Zu, you aren’t an outsider, so I won’t beat around the bush.
I’ve just received a decree from the capital.”
“Oh What did his majesty say” Zu An asked.
He knew that there was a way for the capital and the Imperial Envoy to quickly communicate with each other.
Sang Hong sighed and replied, “His majesty berated me quite ruthlessly, telling me to focus on my own mission.”
“Why would he berate you” Zu An asked with a frown.
“Even though his majesty didn’t say it outright, according to all of the information I’ve gathered, King Yan’s troops have already stopped in Yi Commandery.
I reckon his majesty wasn’t happy that I privately transferred a king’s troops,” Sang Hong said with a bitter smile.
Zu An felt some injustice on Sang Hong’s behalf.
He remarked, “His majesty is just being an armchair expert right now.
The tension in Cloudcenter Commandery was at its worst and on the verge of erupting, and was at its most dangerous.
That was why respected uncle transferred over King Yan’s troops.
Who could have known that things would be settled afterward like this”
Sang Hong laughed in self-mockery and replied, “His majesty doesn’t care about that very much; he only cares about the results.
What can we do as subjects Of course we can only endure the criticism.
“The key is that our mission still hasn't been completed yet.
What his majesty wanted was to reclaim the Yu clan’s authority and clip one of King Qi’s wings.
But now that Jian Taiding has already died and Cloudcenter Commandery has stabilized, I can’t do anything to the Yu clan even if I want to,” he continued.
That was what he was the most distressed about.
The reason why he had called over King Yan’s troops was because he had planned to take out the Yu clan at the same time.
However, his plans couldn't keep up with reality.
Zu An knew that Sang Hong had always been on the emperor’s side.
Even though Sang Hong had felt a bit of dissatisfaction and had certain thoughts after Sang Qian’s death, it wasn’t to the point that he would fully betray the emperor.
That was why Zu An couldn't tell him to just spare the Yu clan.
But he couldn't completely ignore the matter either.
After all, Sang Hong had been acting as the Imperial Envoy to redeem his past sins through achievements in the first place.
If he messed things up, the Sang clan would most likely be done for once he returned.
And whether it came to Zheng Dan or Sang Qien, the downfall of the Sang clan wouldn’t bring Zu An any benefits.
Zu An remained quiet for a while.
Then, he said, “I have a solution!”