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The Second Empress replied, “I personally inspected the corpses that came back from the front lines. Those monsters were all strange and grotesque, but they shared one trait, which was that they were all massive. Even though our Fiend races are called fiends, we aren’t all that different from the human race. However, those monsters are different, and almost none of them can take human form. They're even as different as can be from the wild beasts we know of. All of them have monstrous appearances and are often disgusting to look at.”
Zu An nodded. He had spent some time on the Fiend races' side before. The Fiend races and human civilization were quite similar, and it was just their bloodline that was a bit different. They could still converse normally, and there weren’t even any issues reproducing. However, these monsters were different. They were an entirely different species and naturally had destructive tendencies. It was nearly impossible for both sides to communicate with each other, and usually, a confrontation meant one side or the other would die.
“Do they have any intelligence?” Zu An suddenly asked. If they didn't and were merely stronger beasts, that would be quite easy to deal with.
“They do,” Second Empress said with a nod. “After we looked into it, not only do they have intelligence, they even have their own language. Unfortunately, we don’t understand what they're saying. However, I've already sent a scholar to look into it. We should be able to obtain some results soon.”
Zu An began thinking to himself. If there was a language, it seemed that the monster society was pretty high-level. That made fighting trickier.
“Do you need me to come back and help?” he asked, looking at her worriedly. She was a widow with a child and had only just managed to get the imperial throne under control, and yet this kind of thing had happened.
“What, are you worried about me?” the Second Empress replied. She showed him a lovely smile and said, “Of course I want you to come back and keep me company, but I know you have many things you need to take care of on the human side. I can’t be that selfish. Don’t worry, though. The situation on this side is under control for now, and with danger comes opportunity. It's the perfect chance for me to get rid of a lot of people who haven't submitted to me and switch in my own people instead.”
“It seems I was worried for no reason,” Zu An said with a sigh. The Second Empress wasn’t just a pretty piece of porcelain. To a certain extent, she was similar to Liu Ning and Bi Linglong, a natural politician.
“Right, I heard that the human race’s Zhao Han died?” the Second Empress asked with a hopeful expression.
Zu An nodded, saying, “That’s right, he has indeed died.”
“That’s amazing!” the Second Empress exclaimed, jumping up excitedly from her bed. After all, the pressure Zhao Han had given the Fiend races was just too great. She asked, “Just how did he die? According to the analysis of our intelligence department, it seems that was eliminated by King Qi’s allied forces.”
After some hesitation, Zu An said, “That’s more or less it. However, the court on this side most likely won't acknowledge it, and they likely won’t convict King Qi for his crimes.”
“That’s to be expected. This kind of imperial clan conflict would end up affecting the image of the country, so how can the common people be informed of it?” the Second Empress remarked; her mood was extremely good. “Even so, our Fiend races will definitely spread this information to rouse the hearts of our soldiers. In the past year and a half, the Fiend races’ morale has been too low. The empire has even experienced a bit of turmoil.” When she saw Zu An frown slightly, she said in consolation, “There's no need to worry. All of this will only be done domestically. The ordinary people of the human race don’t have access to information from our side, and they won’t believe it even if they hear of it. It's the same for our Fiend races. Either way, it’s all treated as propaganda to slander the other side.”
Zu An figured that what she said was true. It wouldn’t affect the people who already knew the truth, while the common people wouldn’t believe the rumors of an enemy country. No one would get hurt in this situation and everything would be fine. Then, the two chatted a bit more about recent developments and shared plenty of endearment. In the end, they reluctantly shut off the recording mirror.
Those things really burned up money. Not even the Second Empress with her status could endure the costs. People normally only used them for the most urgent military intelligence. Using one for a casual video call was too extravagant.
Zu An was now more and more certain that he had to refine some communication jades and other items. Even if they didn’t have video call functions, being able to talk was still great.
After his talk with the Second Empress, Zu An called over Nan Xun. He asked, “By the way, are you fine being all alone after Kong Nanwu returned to the King Court by herself?”
According to what Kong Nanwu had said before, Nan Xun was something like a ‘tiger-devoured ghost’. She was only able to stay at Kong Nanwu’s side through the Tiger race’s secret skill.
“Is the young master worried about me? I’m so moved!” Nan Xun replied with a giggle. “Don’t worry, the princess left me with her life feather. As long as this feather isn’t destroyed, it's no different from being at her side. Nothing bad will happen.”
“That’s good then," Zu An said, although he thought to himself that Kong Nanwu had also given him a feather back then.
Will she go bald if she gives out her feathers so easily?
“The young master should stay here for the night. This humble one will serve you properly,” Nan Xun said, her eyes sparkling. Zu An had created ‘A Chinese Ghost Story’ for her, and she was always overwhelmed with emotions whenever she thought of it.
He's probably the one who understands me the most in this entire world.
“I still have other matters to tend to. I’ll seek out the lady another day," Zu AN replied.
When she saw him leave in a fluster as if he were running away, Nan Xun couldn't help but giggle. She said to herself, “The honorable Regent is actually so pure and innocent. I wonder if it’s because he has a woman back home keeping a close leash on him.“Sigh, when will he come to find me again? He didn’t even give me a date, so will he even come back…”
Zu An wiped away cold sweat when he left Scarlet Invitation.
As expected of the most beautiful courtesan queen of Scarlet Invitation. I almost couldn't hold it in anymore as she continued to throw herself at me.
It was mainly because of the fact that she was now a ghost, so he felt weird about it. Furthermore, their affection for each other still hadn’t reached that level. If they jumped straight into it, then…
His face heated up a bit when he thought of that. Such a thing seemed to have happened before…
As he continued walking, he suddenly heard a burst of noise up ahead. He looked in that direction and saw an imposing manor, but it was covered in white cloth. There were lanterns of the dead hanging around it too.
“King Jin Manor?” Zu An said, realizing what was going on. He hadn’t expected to have arrived there without realizing it.
He released his divine sense and scanned the surroundings. He suddenly frowned. One side of the dispute seemed to be the Embroidered Envoy, while the other was King Dai. Thus, he changed into his Golden Token Eleven outfit and put on his mask. Then, he walked toward King Jin Manor. When they saw his outfit, King Jin Manor’s guards didn’t dare to stop him, and allowed him to go straight through.
Soon after, he arrived near the mourning hall. Two groups of people were arguing, but the focal point was a single beautiful silhouette. A delicate madam was kneeling next to the mourning hall, silently shedding tears. Her skin was white and exquisite, her brows curved and her mouth small. She looked weak and lovable, and because she was teary-eyed, she really looked pitiful. There were maids consoling her, but she didn’t seem to hear any of it. She seemed a bit absent-minded.
That’s Madam Jin?
Zu An was a bit surprised when he heard how the maids referred to her. He had heard Bi Linglong mention that Madam Jin was pretty, but he hadn’t treated it as a big deal. Now, sure enough, she was a great beauty. Most importantly, her entire body gave off a sense of gentleness like water. She was dressed in white mourning clothes, which really made her look like a pitiful widow.
Zu An thought to himself, That brat King Jin really was quite blessed. It’s a pity that he was unwise and didn’t want to enjoy his life as a prince, and insisted on courting death instead.
He shifted his attention to King Dai.
This kid shot her over twenty-eight looks in just the brief amount of time I’ve been standing here. Isn’t he a henpecked husband? And yet he dares to have thoughts about Madam Jin?
“Sister-in-law, I’m here for you. Don’t be scared; no one will be able to bully you,” King Dai said while patting his chest.
The leaders of the Embroidered Envoy group, Dai Seventh and Chen Eighth, said, “We are merely here on imperial orders to investigate a case. We had no intention to cause offense.”
King Dai harrumphed. “My little brother King Jin is already lying peacefully in the coffin, and yet you still wish to open the coffin to inspect the corpse. What else could this be but offense?!”
“We need to confirm King Jin’s cause of death,” Dai Seventh and Chen Eighth explained. At the same time, they were getting a headache. The Embroidered Envoy normally didn’t need to fear anyone, but this was an imperial prince. They couldn't really offend him.
“My little brother King Jin was killed by that bastard Zu An and so many people saw it; what else is there to investigate? You are all just bored and looking for problems to cause. Hurry up and get out of here! Stop bothering Madam Jin already,” King Dai said; inwardly, he was a bit nervous. He had specially reserved this time to visit King Jin Manor with the excuse of offering his condolences precisely because of the widowed Madam Jin. He hadn’t dared to be so brazen in the past, but he had a great chance at the imperial throne this time. Furthermore, King Jin was a prideful person who had frequently ridiculed him in the past, so he still had pent-up resentment.
Madam Jin was famous for being mild-mannered. She was incredibly gentle, and she was in her weakest and most helpless state. If he didn’t strike while the iron was hot, there wouldn’t be such a good chance again. He knew that there was some risk here, though. If he became the emperor, it would be incredibly easy to cover up any schemes, but he really didn’t want to hold back rationally anymore. He wanted to be brave for once. He'd never dared to go out and mess around with Madam Dai watching him at home, after all. He hadn’t even dared to touch an agreeable maid. He already had enough of being on a leash all the time and wanted to do what he wanted for once.
He'd even specially brought some Worries Be Gone Rosemary, a treasure he had once stumbled upon. Its fragrance was colorless and odorless, but it could greatly magnify the hidden desires of men and women. Most importantly, they would even forget about what they had done after, as if everything were just a dream. It was simply the most ingenious invention for playing around. The drug had one flaw, which was that its activation was extremely slow. That wouldn’t have been a problem before, since he had made sure to mix it into the incense he had volunteered to exchange. Then, he had thought that he could use the time it took for the drug’s effects to kick in to slowly share his affection with Madam JIn. That way, everything that followed would go much smoother.
When he thought about how he was going to do King Jin's wife right in front of his coffin, he could feel all of the blood in his body boil.
Zhao Ruiyong, Zhao Ruiyong, in the past, you relied on the fact that you were the empress’ son to look down on me, the son of a concubine. You even cursed me as a bastard! You might have forgotten after saying it willfully, but you have no idea just how much humiliation that brought me.
You never expected this day would come, did you? Today, I'll return my past humiliation back to you a hundredfold!
I’m going to have you watch in your coffin, and see how much pleasure your gentle and lovely wife will have in this mourning hall!
More importantly, she won’t even remember it after!
Don’t worry, I'll take good care of this sister-in-law every day!
She's just lost her husband, so I'll make sure to take over the husband’s duties, hahaha!
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