“Then again…” The green-clothed man grew hesitant.
“Even if I can find a way to bring the Chu clan under my control, theres no way I can deal with Chu Zhongtian once he returns.”
Chu Zhongtian was a powerful eighth-ranked expert! Schemes and trickery were useless in the face of absolute strength.
“You dont need to worry about that,” Sang Hong said seriously.
“As long as you can seize full control over the Chu clan, there wouldnt be a need to return Chu Zhongtian.”
The green-clad man was shocked.
“Esteemed governor actually plans to…”
Sang Hong stopped him from saying any more.
“Ive already presented you with this chance.
Whether or not you can seize it will be up to you.”
A flicker of joy flashed across the eyes of the green-clothed man.
“Fine, lets do it!”
Sang Hong walked over to the window and looked in the direction of the Chu Estate.
“Are you certain that the Chu clan has nothing to do with the black market” he asked in a serious tone.
The green clothed man shook his head.
“Even after so many years, Ive never heard of any connection between the two.
You know full well that Chu Zhongtian is a noble and virtuous person.
He wouldnt go near these dishonest businesses.
Of course, theres a chance that all of this is fake and that hes had some private dealings with them.
However, the odds of that are pretty low.”
“Then how did Qin Wanru get her hands on those salt permits” A vicious look flashed across Sang Hongs eyes.
The thought made him even more furious.
The salt permits shed obtained were the same salt permits that those black-clad individuals had wrestled out of his sons hands.
It was difficult for him to believe that the two groups had absolutely no relationship with each other.
Therefore, he had to deal with the Chu clan, whether publicly or privately.
His only son lay in critical condition, which served only to fuel his anger further.
Now was the time to employ his most extreme methods.
“I… do not know either.” The green-clothed man scratched his head.
“The rest of the Chu clan members are also baffled over this matter.
When they asked Qin Wanru about it, she insisted that this important matter be kept private.”
“Heh, shell croak sooner or later.” Sang Hong snorted coldly.
“Ill lend you a helping hand today.
After this, you should…”
The green clothed man moved closer.
He nodded repeatedly when he heard what Sang Hong said.
Joy filled his eyes.
“Esteemed governor truly has great vision!”
Meanwhile, back in his staff residence, Zu An was busy with Zheng Dan.
Suddenly, an urgent knocking came from the entrance, followed by Chu Huanzhaos voice.
“Huh Why isnt the key working Brother-in-law, brother-in-law, open the door for me already!”
The sudden voice scared Zheng Dan out of her wits.
She latched tightly onto Zu An, her body shaking uncontrollably.
The sudden stimulation was just too much for Zu An…
“Brother-in-law, brother-in-law, what the heck are you doing Come out here at once! Something bad has happened!” The pounding grew more frantic.
Chu Huanzhaos voice was full of panic.
A while later, Zu An cracked open the door halfway, standing in front of the entrance to block it.
“Whats wrong What are you hollering for” he said.
“Why cant I open the door with my key anymore” Chu Huanzhao pouted in anger.
You have successfully trolled Chu Huanzhao for 233 Rage points!
Zu An laughed awkwardly.
“Something happened to the defensive formations around this residence a while back.
The academy changed the locks for me.”
“Really Why is your face so red Is that sweat I see on your forehead” Chu Huanzhao stood on her tiptoes and peered inside skeptically.
“Are you doing something bad inside”
Zu Ans heart pounded in nervousness, but there wasnt a hint of it visible on his face.
“I was just working out.
Wow, I worked up quite a bit of a sweat!” Zheng Dan, who was hiding behind the door, snorted. What do you mean,working out You were clearly working away at my body just now…
Zu An was afraid that Chu Huanzhao wouldnt drop the issue, so he asked a question of his own instead.
“Huanzhao, why did you come looking for me in such a panic You were saying that something bad happened”
Chu Huanzhao finally remembered that she had something important to tell Zu An.
“Yes! Something bad has happened at home.
Follow me home.”
She grabbed his hand and began to run.
“Wait, tell me what happened first!” Zu An said as he tossed Zheng Dan the keys.
Clearly, he was telling her to get some proper rest.
Zheng Dans face went red. I still have maids waiting for me by the gate.
How can I possibly stay here
She quickly straightened out her clothes.
She had only taken a single step when her eyebrows suddenly came together in a frown.
She clasped her legs together and leaned against the door.
It took her a long while to catch her breath again.
Why does he always leave me like this…
Zu An listened to Chu Huanzhaos explanation along the way.
A large group of soldiers had marched over to search the Chu Estate.
The people in the estate had quickly sent men to the academy to contact the second miss and young master.
They located the second miss easily, but they couldnt find the young master at all.
Chu Huanzhao suspected that he might have been in his dorm, so she volunteered to go look for him.
As a result, she almost discovered his affair with Zheng Dan.
Zu An counted his blessings.
He was so glad that hed made the smart decision to change the locks after learning from his previous lesson.
“Why would anyone dare to search the estate of a respected duke” Zu An was shocked.
Even though Chu Zhongtian had been detained over the issue of the salt permits, that hardly explained why soldiers would be allowed to search the estate as well.
“I heard that Sang Hong led the men over personally,” Chu Huanzhao said, her voice clouded with worry.
“Sang Hong” Zu An was stunned.
Were they going to be openly hostile from now on “What pretext did they use”
“I think they said that they were hunting down a fugitive,” replied Chu Huanzhao.
“A fugitive” Zu An was stunned.
By this time, they had already arrived at the gates to the academy.
Overhearing his questions, a Chu clan guard answered him, “Sang Hong came carrying an imperial order, and he was accompanied by military officials of the River Patrol Army.
Their soldiers were attacked in the middle of the street, and even Commander Sang almost lost his life.
This is definitely a huge case, and every lead needs to be investigated.
The governor has used this as a reason to search every clan.
Our Chu clan was only one of them.”
Another guard agreed with his explanation.
“I heard that the City Lord took the initiative, and let the governor examine his own estate first.
Besides him, the Zheng clan and Yuan clan have also cooperated with their inspection.”
Zu An snorted.
“Sang Hong might look like hes treating everyone equally on the surface, but hes actually targeting the Chu clan specifically.”
The Zheng clan and Yuan clan were on good terms with the Sang clan to begin with.
There was no doubt that they would cooperate with his request.
As for the Xie clan, Xie Yi was a cunning man.
He probably wanted to use Sang Hong to drive the Chu clan further into a corner.
That way, they would have no choice but to stand with King Qi.
When their group returned to the Chu clan, they discovered that Sang Hong had already begun a search of the Chu Estate.
When Zu An saw how they had overturned and made a mess of everything in their search, he secretly thanked the heavens.
It was a blessing that hed already stored most of his stuff into the Brilliant Glass Bead.
It would have been hard to explain himself if they had been discovered.
“Mom!” Chu Huanzhao caught sight of Qin Wanru, and ran into her embrace.
“Good girl, Huanzhao…” Qin Wanru gently patted her daughters back.
Then, she gave Sang Hong a cold look.
“Lord Sang, have you completed your search”
“The Chu Estate is comparatively large, so it will take a little longer.
I hope Madam doesnt mind,” Sang Hong said with an apologetic expression.
Qin Wanrus face grew colder.
“Lord Sang, I hope youre not bullying this woman while her husband isnt home.”
“How can Madam say such a thing We are tracking down a great criminal, so we have to search every clan.
Your clan isnt the only one,” Sang Hong replied in a natural manner.
However, the more he behaved this way, the more angry Qin Wanru became.
“Fine! Ill remember this transgression.”
Sang Hong smiled, but offered no further defense.
To him, he was clearly severing any relationship to the Chu clan.
There was no need for such superficial padding anymore.
Just then, a clamor came from the rear courtyard.
“What happened Did you guys find something” Sang Hong asked in a serious tone.
A subordinate came to offer a report.
“Sir! Weve searched all of the other areas, but we arent being allowed to search three areas.”
The guards of the Chu clan spoke up immediately.
“These are the rooms of Master and Madam, and the chambers of the First and Second Miss.
How can we allow these men to enter”
Qin Wanru was furious.
“Lord Sang, arent you going a little too far”
Sang Hong smiled.
“This is merely a formality, and it is for your own safety as well.
If a criminal just happens to be hiding among you, wouldnt that bring harm to you all Besides, weve already conducted a thorough examination of the other clan estates.
If we dont conduct a full investigation, wouldnt I be bending the law for you”
Qin Wanru was both furious and anxious.
However, if this man persisted with using his official duty as an excuse, there wasnt much else she could say in rebuttal.
Zu An stepped forward and asked, “Sir Sang, if I may ask, are you looking for a person, or an object”
Sang Hong frowned.
“A person, of course.”
“In that case… I saw many rooms which have been completely trashed in your search.
Nothing has been spared, not even the places where its obvious no one can hide in.” Zu An chuckled and said, “Those who dont know better might think that Lord Sang is using this search for criminals as an excuse to look for something else.
For example… an account book”
Sang Hongs expression twitched slightly.
Everyone in the Chu Estate looked at him with even more suspicion.
Sensing the tension mounting, Sang Hong laughed and said, “I didnt expect to cause such a misunderstanding today.
Forget it, then.
I reckon the Chu Estates security has always been tight, so these criminals wouldnt have been able to enter anyway.
Theres no need to search the remaining places.
Call our men back.”
He could only carry out a search in the dukes estate because he had a righteous reason to do so.
The smallest flaw in this reasoning would give the Chu clan an excuse to retaliate.
He certainly didnt want to take that risk.
Either way, he had more or less achieved his objective for the day.
The account book could only be hidden in those three places.
He would leave the rest of it up to that individual.