“Why” Qin Wanru was in a state of complete shock as she stared at the old man with his meticulously-combed hair.
He looked the same as he always did, yet he suddenly seemed so unfamiliar.
Hong Zhong sighed.
“I truly must apologize.
Madam, the one thing you should never have done was to run to me.”
“Why” Qin Wanru stared at him.
Her eyes were filled with anger.
Countless possibilities had crossed her mind, but she had never expected that Hong Zhong would betray her.
She was completely baffled.
Why would Hong Zhong do such a thing
She had been drugged by Chu Tiesheng, and her acupoints had now been sealed as well.
It was all over.
The only thing on her mind right now was a desire to know why.
“I had no choice either…” Hong Zhong shook his head.
“Its meaningless to talk about these things now.”
“But I want to know!” Qin Wanru said coldly.
“The Chu clan has always treated you well.
My husband and I have always considered you our friend.
What could you possibly gain from siding with Chu Tiesheng Was what he offered you more than everything weve ever given to you”
“Chu Tiesheng…” A mocking smile graced the corners of Hong Zhongs lips.
“That fellow is quite unreliable.
If I hadnt transferred the guards away from your residence, the whole estate wouldve already learned about what he did to you in your room.”
“So it was you!” The truth struck Qin Wanru like a hammer.
No wonder no one had rushed to her aid, even though such a huge commotion had broken out.
“If it wasnt Chu Tiesheng, then was it Sang Hong who bribed you I still dont understand! We can match anything that Sang Hong could possibly offer you.
From what I know about you, I cant possibly imagine anything that could tempt you!”
As she continued to speak, her eyes suddenly lit up.
A name came to her mind.
A trace of bitterness appeared between Hong Zhongs brows.
“Madam, you know that I am already in my later years.
There arent many things in this life that I am fond of either.
The only thing I cannot let go of is that disappointing son of mine.”
Qin Wanru couldnt help but say, “Hong Xingying is quite an excellent child! He has done much for the Chu clan over these years, and the Chu clan has always treated him well.
What could possibly make you give up a lifetime of honorable service”
Hong Zhong sighed.
“Could it be that the Madam is truly completely unaware Why did Hong Xingying do so much for the Chu clan all these years I believe Madam should have a good idea why.”
Qin Wanru bit her lower lip.
“I know that hes been attracted to Chuyan ever since he was little.
I was quite fond of that child as well, and even planned to take him in as a son-in-law.
But Chuyan herself chose Zu An.
What could I have done”
She paused for a moment.
Then, she said, “It seems like Chuyans eyes had been far clearer than mine back then.”
“You are a great beauty yourself, and the first miss is no exception.” Hong Zhong seemed to be reliving certain painful memories.
“Xingying likes the first miss, but he could only watch as his beloved girl married another man.
“It would have been one thing if shed ended up marrying someone more outstanding than him.
However, she ended up marrying someone who was inferior to him in every way, which mentally unsettled him.
At that point, all it took was a single taunt to drive him to commit an unworthy act.
Many times, a single wrong step is all it takes to lead one down a path of no return.”
“What was this wrong step that prevented him from turning back” Qin Wanru was shocked.
“Was he the one who defiled the spiritual creek”
Too many things had happened since that night.
First, the spiritual creek was destroyed, and then Zu An had been discovered in Chu Huanzhaos bed on the night of his wedding.
A thief had even broken into Chu Estate shortly after.
It had been a complete disaster.
The chaos caused by the defilement of the spiritual creek was the source of all of this.
Hong Zhongs voice was grave.
“There was no way he would allow the first miss to truly consummate her marriage with Zu An.
To prevent that, he sought a way to destroy everything.
Of course, he wasnt the only one who came up with the idea to defile the spiritual creek.
He just happened to be at the right place at the right time.”
Qin Wanru wanted to ask him who it was that masterminded the defilement of the spiritual creek.
However, given her current situation, she knew that this was already no longer important.
“Even if we found out he had destroyed the spiritual creek, we would still have been lenient with him, out of respect for all of your contributions to the clan.
Was this the only thing that made it impossible for him to turn back”
Hong Zhong shook his head.
“Many times, once something occurs, it tends to happen again.
Does Madam remember the time one of our caravans was suddenly attacked”
Qin Wanru was shocked.
“Dont tell me that was also Hong Xingyings doing…”
Hong Zhongs expression grew pained.
Someone incited him to cause that disturbance, suggesting that it could help him bait out the first miss, and give him a chance to interact with the first miss alone… How could that silly child possibly have known that hed waltzed right into their trap Once the guards of the caravan had been wiped out, he crossed the point of no return.”
Qin Wanru was speechless.
Chu Zhongtian has always been a kindhearted and forgiving person, but there were a few family rules that he strictly enforced.
One of them was that selling out the lives of others in the clan was punishable by death.
Even though the defilement of the spiritual creek was a serious matter, they would have been willing to drop it, considering the Hong clans contributions.
However, with the deaths of so many clan members during the attack on the caravan, all the Hong clans contributions would have counted for nought.
Hong Zhong looked at her, his eyes burning with emotion.
“Im already so old, and its only at this late stage of my life that Ive managed to produce a son.
His mother died in a difficult birth.
How could I stand aside and watch him destroy himself like that Can Madam understand my sorrows”
Qin Wanru resisted the strange feelings within her body.
With the last burst of mental clarity, she said, “Its meaningless to tell me all of this now.
All I know is that my husband and I have placed our trust in the wrong person.”
At this time, Hong Zhong noticed that something was wrong with her body.
His voice grew somber.
“Madam has been afflicted withBulls Cream.
This drug is extremely sinister.
In light of all Master and Madam have done for me, Ill see Madam off myself.
I will not let you be defiled by someone like Chu Tiesheng.”
A small, relieved smile spread across Qin Wanrus reddened face.
She knew that she had already lost completely.
Dying with dignity would be the best she could hope for.
While all of this was happening, Zu An was busy cultivating in his own room.
Suddenly, a figure appeared in the room.
He didnt know how this person had come in, but had long grown accustomed to his sudden appearances.
He immediately clasped his fist and said, “Elder!”
“I didnt expect a slippery brat like you to actually be so hardworking in private.” Old Mi nodded in satisfaction.
“What rank have you cultivated the Phoenix Nirvana Sutra up to”
“Around the third rank, I believe.” Zu An felt his heart leap into his throat.
He knew that it was nearly impossible to hide anything from him, considering the huge gap in cultivation between them.
However, another voice inside him whispered that he couldnt reveal his true level of cultivation to the other party.
It would be too dangerous.
He couldnt explain where this thought had come from—it was just intuition.
He had always been a cautious person, and it was always better to be safe than sorry.
Fortunately, he was able to hide his aura with the Mirror Mirage technique that Qiu Honglei had taught him, and it was worth a gamble.
Old Mi sighed in amazement.
“I didnt expect a brat like you to be a cultivation genius! Youve managed to cultivate to this level in such a short amount of time! It seems like its almost time.”
“Almost time for what” Zu An was stunned.
“Nothing.” Old Mi smiled.
“Leaving your cultivation aside, Im much happier about the fact that you havent deceived me.”
Zu An shivered inside.
He immediately smiled and said, “Elder has shown me such kindness.
How could I dare to hide anything from you”
Thank heavens this Mirror Mirage is so reliable! I really have to shower Qiu Honglei with kisses the next time I see her as thanks!
“Good, very good.” Old Mi nodded in satisfaction.
“Ill give you another chance to do a good deed.”
“What chance are we talking about” Zu An said curiously.
Old Mi looked off towards a certain direction within the Chu Estate.
“Something has happened to Qin Wanru.
You should rush over to help her right now.”
He planned to seize Zu Ans body and take over his existence.
If Chu Tiesheng successfully seized power, what status would Zu An have left
He would be chased out of the clan immediately.
If that happened, then all his plans to become the Chu clans young master, enjoy a beautiful wife, and obtain endless glory and splendor would all go up in smoke.
He obviously couldnt allow something like that to happen!
However, Wei Dan was in Brightmoon City right now, so there was no way he could reveal himself.
His only option was to send Zu An.
Once he dealt with this uprising, Zu Ans position in the clan would strengthen tremendously.
Zu Ans glory was his glory, and Zu Ans wife was his wife.
Everything of Zu Ans would be his!
Zu An had no clue about all of this.
To him, Old Mi was just staring at him weirdly.
However, once he heard that something had happened to Qin Wanru, he knew that there wasnt a second to waste.
He rushed off at once.