Chapter 1030: Swift and Decisive
After skimming through it, Zu An put the booklet away and left in a hurry.
After he left, Qian Dong reported to the young lady, “First miss, that man has retrieved a case that was stored here.”
If Zu An were present, he would have discovered that the one Qian Dong was being extremely respectful to was actually the hostess he had met at the Hub of Freedom, Tang Tian’er.
Tang Tian’er frowned, asking, “He’s someone from here”
“I do not believe so.
We do not require names for items to be stored here.
As long as you have the key, anyone can retrieve the contents.” Qian Dong thought to himself for a bit.
“I do not think this person has come before.
I do not have any impression of him.”
“What was in that chest” Tang Tian’er asked out of curiosity.
Qian Dong looked troubled, saying, “First miss, you should know about our rules.
We do not privately examine the items stored here.
Otherwise, if news got out that we did, our long-term reputation would be completely ruined!”
“Then go and check to see who it was that deposited this case here.
I want to know why that guy’s investigation would take him all the way over here.” Tang Tian’er looked in the direction the other party had left in.
There was a bit of worry in her expression as she said, “For some reason, I have a bad feeling about this.”
“Understood!” Qian Dong quickly left.
He called over his subordinates to investigate the information about that case.
After both sides separated, Zu An quickly returned to the temporary residence.
He also sent some people to call back Gao Ying and Pei You.
They all examined the contents with grave expressions.
“Is this for real” Pei You gulped.
He wasn’t in the mood to visit Jasper Lane anymore either.
“I fear it most likely is.
Every single record is detailed and accurate.
It includes times, names, locations, and goods.” Gao Ying’s voice was grave.
Zu An sighed.
“I didn’t expect this at all… After investigating all this time, you end up finding out that your allies are actually the greatest villains.”
He couldn't help but sigh when he saw it.
What was written in the booklet was that Magistrate Zuo Su was colluding with the fiend races, that he was the one who had smuggled the ki stones and other goods that were strictly controlled by the court.
All this time, they had been investigating Jian Taiding, and they had viewed him as their final boss too.
But Jian Taiding didn’t get along with Magistrate Zuo Su, so they had all subconsciously treated him as someone on the side of the imperial court.
They had even wanted to borrow his power to deal with Jian Taiding at the crucial moment.
Now, it seemed the greatest villain was instead Zuo Su.
“But something’s not right.” Zu An frowned.
He said, “Chen Zhou went to the capital to denounce Jian Taiding.
Why is this book instead talking about Zuo Su”
Sang Hong said seriously, “Jian Taiding is at best fighting with his brother over the seat of dukedom, so in the end, it is only an internal conflict.
But for Zuo Su, strictly speaking, he has already betrayed our state and colluded with the enemy.
Compared to Jian Taiding, it is better to deal with Zuo Su first.”
“Do you think someone might have used fake information to mislead us” Zu An frowned.
He couldn't help but feel that the matter was a bit strange for some reason.
“We will know once we look into it.” Sang Hong got up and said, “Gao Ying, Pei You, the two of you are to arrest all of the people mentioned and interrogate them strictly.
Check to see if everything lines up with what is recorded in this booklet.
Ah Zu, you and I will visit the Civil Affairs Manor to arrest Zuo Su.”
Gao Ying was horrified.
He exclaimed, “Sir Sang, you absolutely mustn’t! Zuo Su has already operated his business in Cloudcenter Commandery for many years.
He has many disciples and followers, and he even has troops by the city gates.
If there were a huge uprising, the consequences would be too horrible to even think about.
Why don’t we investigate the other members in the booklet first If we find out it’s true, it won’t be too late to arrest Zuo Su then.”
Cloudcenter Commandery’s military was split up into two groups.
The Military Affairs Manor was in charge of the field army.
They fought off the invading fiend races or put down revolts.
Meanwhile, the Civil Affairs Manor had the troops that oversaw the city gates and bailiffs.
They were in charge of defending the city and maintaining public security.
If they weren’t careful and caused the other party to rebel, none of them would be able to leave this place alive.
“No!” Sang Hong shook his head and said, “If we investigate the others related to this matter first, with Zuo Su’s foundation here in Cloudcenter Commandery, this will not escape his ears.
If he really has been colluding with the fiend races, that will instead give him a chance to calmly scheme against us.
He can transfer over large amounts of forces to deal with us.
“If we instead act quickly to take him, the leader, down, to paralyze their entire group and not give them any chance to react, we can then take our time to slowly investigate what has been recorded in that booklet.
If it has been proven that we have wronged him, we can let him go then.
Nothing major will happen once we explain the entire story.
“If it is proven that he has colluded with the fiend races, we will have already detained him.
Even if there is some uprising, it will not create a huge disturbance.”
When they heard Sang Hong’s reasoning, Gao Ying and the others were convinced.
“Sir Sang is wise and has considered this from the bigger picture.”
Sang Hong and the others split up and went their respective ways.
They headed to their respective targets.
When they saw troop after troop of the Armed Escort Army move out, the spies from various parties who had been observing them knew that something major had happened.
They all went back to report to their respective masters.
Sang Hong couldn't be bothered with them.
They were moving out so many people, so there was no way to hide their traces.
What was more important right now was seeing who moved faster.
One group quickly arrived at the Civil Affairs Manor.
They didn’t wait for the gatekeeper to inform those inside and charged straight in.
They were the imperial envoy, so none of the guards of the Civil Affairs Manor dared to stop them.
The guards could only back down one by one and stare at the vicious Armed Escort Army in alarm.
Magistrate Zuo Su rushed over when he heard the news.
When he saw what was happening, his heart sank.
However, he still forced himself to calm down.
He cupped his hands toward Sang Hong and asked, “Sir Sang, may I ask what the meaning of this is”
“You have committed a grave crime.
Please follow us.” Sang Hong remained expressionless.
He gestured for someone to remove the other party’s official cap and arrest him.
Zuo Su’s expression changed.
He asked, “Why do you say that, Sir Sang”
Many guards rushed over to protect him.
It was clear that after being the magistrate for so many years, he still had many trusted aides at his side.
Sang Hong narrowed his eyes and remarked, “Could it be that Sir Zuo plans to go against the Imperial Envoy’s orders”
“I do not dare.” Zuo Su’s fleshy face trembled.
He asked, “But Sir Sang needs to at least tell me what happened, right”
Sang Hong gave him a deep look.
He said seriously, “Someone has reported that you have colluded with the fiend races, smuggling ki stones and all kinds of military materials for many years.”
An uproar broke out when those words were spoken.
That was a great crime, sufficient to have one’s entire clan eradicated! The surrounding guards all turned around to look at Zuo Su, their eyes filled with shock and doubt.
“Slander! This is absolutely slander!” Zuo Su’s entire body was shaking intensely as he exclaimed, “Sir Sang, you must not believe the evil schemes of a vile character!”
Sang Hong said with an indifferent expression, “I have my own discretion and will investigate the truth earnestly.
I will not let down the innocent, but I will not let the guilty go either.
If Sir Zuo is innocent, we will let Sir Zuo go afterward, and we will offer our humble apology.
However, I must trouble Sir Zuo to come with us for now.”
After saying that.
he gave Zu An a look.
Zu An understood his intent and personally moved along with some men.
Zuo Su was a powerful magistrate.
If he really rebelled, the other guards wouldn’t be enough to detain him.
As such, Zu An walked over to Zuo Su’s side, on guard against any acts of desperation.
Even though several guards had already subconsciously lowered their blades, there were still some trusted aides present.
When they saw that, they all stepped forward, as if as long as Zuo Su gave the orders, they would attack.
Zuo Su waved his hand, gesturing for them to not act recklessly.
He said, “Fine; I trust Sir Sang’s integrity, that he is definitely not the kind of person to frame someone.
I am willing to come with you and cooperate with your investigation.” After speaking, he removed his official cap from his head.
“I apologize for offending Sir Zuo.” Zu An reached out his hand and swiftly sealed several major acupoints, preventing the other party’s ki from flowing.
Zuo Su was now no different from a normal person.
“Sir Zu is still so young.
Your cultivation truly leaves me amazed.” Zuo Su looked at him in shock.
Even though he had given up on resisting, for better or for worse, he was a powerful cultivator himself.
Those with lower cultivation couldn't possibly break through his defenses, let alone instantly seal up his cultivation.
“Sir Zuo overpraises me.
It was because of your cooperation.” Zu An smiled.
Zuo Su’s expression finally eased a bit.
At least this fellow knew how to talk and gave him some dignity.
Sang Hong had Zuo Su brought back to the temporary residence.
He also locked up all of the other officials who were related to the case, as well as Zuo Su’s trusted aides.
News of the major event in the Civil Affairs Manor quickly spread through all of Cloudcenter City.
The officials in the Military Affairs Manor were all incredibly agitated and anxious.
“Commander-In-Chief, Sang Hong dared to even arrest Zuo Su.
Doesn’t this mean he dares to capture you as well”
Jian Taiding’s expression remained calm.
Only after sipping on some tea did he say, “He does not dare.
No one needs to worry; everything is still within my grasp.”
In the Yu clan, an exceptional beauty sat half-reclined in her seat.
She sighed in amazement when she heard what Maid Xing told her, remarking, “That Sang Hong really is someone who either doesn’t act, or acts decisively.”
Maid Xing asked worriedly, “Should we make preparations ahead of time”
Yu Yanluo shook her head and said, “Let’s just watch the situation calmly for now.”
In King Qi’s hidden courtyard, when Han Fengqiu reported what had happened, Zhao Zhi sneered and said, “That Sang Hong is quite brave.
He doesn’t seem to be scared of a revolt at all.
Keep an eye on him and see if he might need your help.”
At the Zhenyuan Merchant Group, Qian Dong and several other managers politely greeted Tang Tian’er.
Qian Dong asked, “First miss, do you think this matter is actually targeting us”