Chapter 1117: The Fate of the Commandery
Zu An had been wondering whether to hand Han Fengqiu to Sang Hong as proof.
But now that he was in front of the grave of Chen Zhou’s wife and son, and he thought about all the lives of the villagers that had been lost, he decisively gave up on that thought.
He didn’t think he had the right to decide whether the perpetrators deserved to be forgiven or not.
All he could do was to send the killers over and let the victims decide for themselves in the afterlife.
As for dealing with King Qi, having Han Fengqiu as proof wouldn’t make much of a difference compared to not having him.
After paying his respects, Zu An returned to the temporary official residence.
When he got back, he saw that the Armed Escort had already made quite a few arrests.
Sang Hong was nervously busying himself with tasks.
He had to interrogate the criminals, look over the account book, and do several other things.
Zu An finally found a chance to talk to him.
He asked, “Respected uncle, is there something wrong with the account book we got”
“There are some parts that do not line up.
King Qi’s forces have definitely done some things to cover up the truth all this time, but I am confident that after some careful investigation, we’ll be able to quickly find out the truth.” A smile appeared on Sang Hong’s face as he continued, “King Qi is the one who will be trying to get himself out of trouble this time.
Right, I heard that a battle took place in a courtyard inside the city and that quite a few deathsworn soldiers passed away.”
Zu An naturally knew what he was referring to.
He nodded and replied, “There were some who had to pay the price for the slaughter of the innocent.”
Sang Hong left it at that, saying, “I will entrust the investigation to the officials.
Since they were deathsworn soldiers, it was probably a battle for revenge in the martial world.
The case will probably be wrapped up quickly.”
Zu An felt warm inside.
He knew that Sang Hong was helping him deal with the aftermath.
He said, “Thank you, respected uncle.”
“This matter has nothing to do with you; why are you thanking me” Sang Hong had a slight smile on his face as he replied.
The two of them discussed some more details regarding King Qi’s case.
Then, Sang Hong continued his investigation of the related personnel, while Zu An used some free time to visit Pei Manor.
When it came to the Pei clan’s guards and building layout, they no longer posed any threat to him.
He quickly arrived at Pei Mianman’s small courtyard, and bumped into Hong Zao in front.
He pinched her chubby cheeks, then gave her some snacks he brought.
In the past, Hong Zao’s eyes would always light up when she saw the snacks, and she would even call Zu An ‘young master’ sweetly, but this time, she instead harrumphed.
She turned around and went back to doing what she was doing, as if she hadn’t even seen him.
Zu An was confused.
When he went upstairs, he saw a wonderful figure playing the zither by the window.
Her dress was fiery red, making her seem even more stunning.
Her waist and back were perfectly straight, and her posture was dignified and relaxed.
But unlike other distinguished daughters, as if to ease the burden on her body, she was resting her heavy chest on the table.
Her curvaceous chest was absolutely alarming; anyone who saw it wouldn’t be able to look away.
Zu An didn’t bother her.
He calmly listened to the rest of the piece, then said in praise, “The music is beautiful; the person even more so.”
“Oh Our young master Zu probably uses these sweet words to fool other girls, right” Pei Mianman had already known of Zu An’s arrival for some time.
Her fingers gently moved across the strings and she didn’t even turn around.
Zu An knew what was going on when he heard her tone.
He moved over and sat down next to her, asking with a smile, “What, are you jealous” No wonder Hong Zao had given him the cold shoulder too.
He had been so busy recently that he forgot he had been caught with Tang Tian’er wrapped around his arm previously.
“How could I dare You have so many beauties at your side.
If I were jealous of all of them, wouldn’t I die from jealousy” Pei Mianman replied.
However, she still didn’t look at him and instead seemed to be focused on playing the zither.
Zu An said, “I really was investigating a case last time.
Only through Lady Tang did I learn that the owners of Jasper Lane were actually the Pegasus Merchant Group.
So, we then went to investigate the Pegasus Merchant Group.
Then, we discovered that the Pegasus Merchant Group was related to the Devil Sect and King Yan… After that, the deeper we went, the more complicated things turned out to be.
It was all actually a scheme King Qi created…”
Pei Mianman harrumphed when she heard him mention Tang Tian’er, but as she listened, her attention quickly shifted.
When she heard everything that had happened, her little mouth was left wide open.
How could she still remember her slight jealousy She exclaimed, “I didn’t expect King Yan and the Devil Sect to actually be working together! King Qi really has rigorous schemes and deep foresight, to have played all of us.”
Zu An sighed and said, “What I’m more worried about right now is you.
One of the representative King Qi chose for Cloudcenter Commandery is your father, but the emperor is determined to get rid of King Qi.
Furthermore, the Imperial Envoy has already gathered enough proof.
King Qi likely doesn’t have many good days left, and at that time, your father will be involved too.”
Pei Mianman harrumphed.
“Since he likes to kiss up, he can just go down with the rest of them.”
Zu An advised her, “He is still your father.
And if he’s punished, the blame will definitely carry over to you.”
“He’s only my father in name.
Has he ever treated me like his own daughter all these years Furthermore, how did he treat my mother back then” Pei Mianman’s expression was cold.
She definitely carried great bitterness inside.
Zu An obviously knew what kind of a childhood Pei Mianman had gone through.
It was only because she had become more and more beautiful as she grew up that the Pei clan had taken interest in her again, wishing to use her for marriage.
That was why she had begun to be treated a little bit better.
But all they had done was give her a sickly maid and the manor’s most ordinary and shabbiest courtyard.
Forget about the treatment of a city lord’s distinguished daughter, even an ordinary family’s young miss might have been treated far better than that.
“I don’t care whether he lives or dies, but I’m scared that something will happen to you,” Zu An said as he held her hand.
The jealousy Pei Mianman had felt was already completely gone when she felt his concern.
She leaned into his embrace naturally, saying, “Based on what you told me, King Qi has also chosen Yu Xuansu as a representative.
He’s my stepmother’s father.
I understand that woman’s nature well.
With that level of relationship, my father wouldn’t be able to back out even if he wanted to.
“I know you’re doing this for me, but if we let him know, it will instead put you in a dangerous position.
After all, that father and daughter pair, as well as King Qi, have definitely made precautions.
They might even act against you.”
Zu An chuckled and said, “People say a woman is born to leave her family.
It seems that really is the case.
My Big Manman cares more about her lover after all.”
“You really are a rascal!” Pei Mianman exclaimed, biting down on his shoulder in annoyance.
Hong Zao covered her ears when she heard laughing and teasing upstairs.
She mumbled, “The young miss really doesn’t have a moral backbone! How can she get along with the young master again so quickly”
She turned her eyes toward the snacks Zu An had brought and couldn't help but swallow her saliva.
She said to herself, “Hmph, this isn’t my fault anymore! If even the young miss has forgiven the young master, what can a maid like me do”
Afterward, the burden she had carried seemed to disappear.
She quickly opened up the case and began to gorge herself, exclaiming, “Mmm, it tastes so good! Young master is the best!”
Meanwhile, after Zu An and Pei Mianman exchanged their affection, he still went to see Pei Shao in the end.
Even though Pei Mianman hadn’t said it outright, Zu An knew that she still cared about her family.
Even if they couldn’t stop Pei Shao’s ambitions, they had to prevent him from getting on the same war chariot as King Qi.
“Sir Zu, which wind carried you here today” Pei Shao asked, a bit surprised to see Zu An.
The most important part was that Zu An hadn’t come through the main gate and hadn’t contacted him ahead of time.
It was a completely abrupt visit.
He said, “Servants, bring in some tea.”
“There’s no need.
I have some things I wish to discuss with the city lord in private,” Zu An said, stopping him.
“May I ask what kind of guidance Sir Zu has for me” Pei Shao could tell that Zu An didn’t want anyone else present.
He couldn't help but feel shocked. This guy is not here to assassinate me, is he
He had heard quite a few rumors about this young man recently.
He didn’t have any confidence in defeating Zu An one on one.
“City Lord should have already heard that many people were arrested today, I believe” Zu An asked, getting straight to the point.
But Sir Sang has maintained secrecy about the entire matter, so I do not know what kind of crime these officials have committed,” Pei Shao replied.
“Does the city lord really not know, or are you pretending not to know” Zu An asked with an ambiguous smile.
Pei Shao’s expression changed.
He exclaimed, “What is Sir Zu trying to say!”
Zu An chuckled and remarked, “I heard that Sir City Lord has been planning to be joined to King Qi in marriage.”
Pei Shao said with an embarrassed chuckle, “Sir Zu must be joking.
What kind of a person is King Qi’s heir We would not dare to think so highly of ourselves.”
Seeing that he was still playing dumb at that point, Zu An sneered.
“Sir City Lord is a smart person; you should be able to guess what the capture of those people signifies.
With the Pei clan’s status and background, you can choose to stand on the sidelines and watch first before you make your decision.
If you join hands with someone too early and something really does end up happening, it will be too late to state your innocence then.”
Pei Shao’s expression changed several times.
He had already been losing confidence and having second thoughts, but then he heard that everyone who had been arrested had something to do with King Qi.
When he heard what Zu An said, he immediately thought of a potential regret.
He asked grimly, “Why is Sir Zu telling me these things Are you… acting as a messenger for someone”
Zu An chuckled and replied, “City Lord thinks too highly of yourself.
His majesty is all powerful; I fear he wouldn’t have the time to show the city lord such consideration.”
Pei Shao’s expression was unpleasant, but he knew what Zu An said was the truth.
Zu An sighed and said, “It’s mainly because Miss Pei helped me out a lot back in Brightmoon City, so I owe her a favor.
City Lord is a smart person, so I’ll leave the ultimate choice to you.” He didn’t wait for a reply and disappeared through the window.
Pei Shao quickly called over a servant, saying, “Call over the madam and contact my father-in-law.
Tell them there is something urgent to discuss!” However, just as the servant was about to leave, Pei Shao instead called him back and said, “Forget it; there is no need to call them.”
Pei Shao’s subordinate looked at him with a dumbstruck expression.
He remained silent for a while, then ordered, “Have the manor’s people postpone purchasing the dowry and tell them to wait for further orders.”
Zu An paid close attention to the Pei Manor’s activities.
When he learned that Pei Shao had delayed the dowry purchase and seemed to have even fought with the madam over it, he sighed in relief.
He knew what he had done had worked.
Pei Mianman felt a huge pressure disappear from her chest when she learned she wouldn’t have to marry King Qi’s heir anymore.
She was very grateful toward Zu An and fully expressed it.
Unfortunately, Hong Zao alone had to listen to their noise day after day and couldn't sleep.
She always had huge black rings around her eyes then.
After a few days of blissful life, the Vice Magistrate Xu Yu suddenly informed all of Cloudcenter Commandery’s higher officials that something related to the very fate of Cloudcenter Commandery needed to be discussed.
Zu An and Sang Hong were completely baffled.
They didn’t know what had happened even after checking their information sources.
But judging from how grave Xu Yu sounded, they could only brace themselves and accept the invitation.