Chapter 1904: Transaction
Zu An was a bit shaken up. He likely wouldn't have such a huge reaction if it were another charming and beautiful woman who threw herself at him. However, when a little pure white flower suddenly acted so lovable, it really was a bit hard for him to handle.
He managed to collect his thoughts with difficulty, asking, “Is the so-called revenge referring to that Zu An?”
Madam Jin nodded, saying, “That’s right. Even though I know he might also be a victim in this entire affair, my husband did die because of him. There wouldn’t have been so many issues if he had adhered to a minister’s etiquette, and I wouldn’t be all alone now.”
She knew that Zu An was a popular person in the crown princess’ faction. She understood her sister-in-law too well. That woman always made the most rational decision and always looked at things from the perspective of benefits and interests. How could a dead sibling of the crown prince be worth as much as a mighty general of hers? Judging from the Embroidered Envoy’s tone, she already sensed the palace’s attitude. She knew that if she let the natural course of events play out, not much would probably happen to that Zu scoundrel, and he would likely just get a slap on the wrist at most. If no one in the imperial palace made a big deal out of it, what could a pitiful widow like her who had just lost her husband do to get revenge? She didn’t come from a famous family, and it was hard to say if she could even protect herself now, let alone being able to get any help.
Zu An felt rather vexed as he listened. Just what kind of thing is this? How was he going to get revenge on himself?
Madam Jin really isn’t easy to deal with…
That haughty little tyrant King Jin was already dead, so that was that, but this woman was also potential trouble. It was fine that she was asking for his help, but if she ended up asking for someone else’s help, that would create a lot of enemies for no reason.
It might be better in the long run if I just get rid of her…
He was shocked when he thought of that.
What is going on with me? Why did I suddenly have such a vicious thought?
In the end, Madam Jin was an innocent woman, so none of this could be blamed on her.
Madam Jin had no idea that she had just brushed past the gateway of hell. She continued, “Apart from that Zu guy, I also want revenge against the mastermind who harmed my husband behind the scenes, namely, Madam Dai.” She was even clenching her teeth as she spoke. There was an expression of hatred on her delicate face.
“Madam Dai?” Zu An asked, stunned. He had never expected the one she hated the most to be that person. Shouldn’t it have been King Dai or the Meng clan?
When she saw the puzzlement in his expression, Madam Jin said, “That Madam Dai is the most despicable. On the surface, she always said we were good sisters, but she turned around and immediately aimed a knife at us. This was probably all her scheme. That woman is crafty and cunning. I thought we didn’t have much of a clash of interests and didn’t mind being her friend, but how could I have expected her to do this to me?!”
Zu An understood the hatred she felt a bit. That kind of hypocritical and vicious person was quite detestable. However, he didn’t agree. This was a grudge between them, so why did he have to get involved? He merely replied casually, “The repayment madam mentioned earlier, what exactly does it entail?”
He figured that the amount of gambling chips Madam Jin could bring to the table was limited, and he could just find some random pretext to refuse her later.
When she sensed that he lacked interest, a hint of a conflicted expression appeared on Madam Jin’s face. Of course she understood that she didn’t have much to offer. Even though she was a madam in name, her husband’s condition had never been good, dooming him to pass on early. It was only because the daughters of the capital’s top-level clans hadn't been willing to marry him that they chose her. When her husband was still alive, she had been able to bask in his glory a bit. After all, King Jin was the son who was most doted on among the princes. But now, it seemed that his majesty had already passed away, and King Jin was also dead. What else did she still have left to rely on?
As someone from a small clan, she was fully aware that even though the capital was prosperous, it was still a vicious and greedy place. Now that she was a madam without her husband, not even the servants in the manor would treat her like a big deal. Furthermore, she was more worried about her clan back home. Without her own backing, her family could get involved too. She clearly didn’t want much at all, and all she wanted was to spend the rest of her life in peace, but fate loved to mess with people like that. She and her family had ended up mysteriously being caught up in the struggle for the throne. More importantly, the real mastermind had only targeted the He clan to smear that Zu An’s reputation. They hadn’t even considered that the He clan could be destroyed as a result.
When she thought about how she not only hadn't been able to bring her family glory, and had even brought them a huge disaster, Madam Jin was wracked with grief. She thought about her parents who loved her dearly, and about her adorable younger siblings; her expression grew firm. Her life was practically over, so she had to do something for them.
When he saw that she remained silent, Zu An cupped his hands and said, “I’ve already told you what needed to be said. I offer my condolences to the madam.”
Afterward, he turned around to leave. For some reason, he just felt as if something wasn’t right today. The scenes he had seen on his previous world’s computer screens kept showing up in his mind.
I need to leave this blasted place as quickly as possible and properly cool off.
Suddenly, Madam Jin said with a trembling voice, “Wait. Take a good look at me.”
Zu An frowned.
Did this woman cultivate some mental attack skill that's activated through the eyes?
Heh, you actually vainly want to use that type of skill on me? You really are courting death.
He coldly turned around, expecting her attack. Then, he would properly teach her what a real mental attack was.
However, what he didn't expect was that what met his gaze wasn’t a spiritual attack, but rather a pair of exceptionally gentle and misty eyes.
While Zu An was confused as to what she meant, Madam Jin undid her collar, and her clothes slid off of her body just like that. In that instant, the entire room became a bit brighter.
Zu An began breathing hurriedly. He directly turned around, asking, “What is the meaning of this, madam?”
Madam Jin’s face blushed. She was also a bit flustered. She had always followed the rules and was an obedient woman in people's eyes. Why had she done something so daring today? Even so, she quickly recalled what had happened and her expression became firm. She walked over to Zu An’s side and tightly held him from behind, saying, “This is the repayment I spoke of earlier.”
Zu An’s entire body instantly grew hard. His voice was a bit hoarse as he asked, “Does the madam understand what you're doing?”
“I do,” Madam Jin said; a clear trickle of tears couldn't help but fall down her face. “This humble one is all alone with no one to depend on from now on. All I wish for is someone to lean on for shelter.”
Zu An became silent. He was actually shaken up with emotions. In that instant, he engaged in countless mental battles.
Madam Jin took a deep breath and said again, “Chief Commander, don’t worry. Only the two of us will know about this, and no one else will find out. I won’t bother Chief Commander about anything else, and only ask the Chief Commander to help me get revenge. From today on, Chief Commander… can come any time he wishes.”
“This is just a transaction?” Zu An asked, raising his brows. This was the first time he had found the Embroidered Envoy clothes so unnecessarily thick. He was feeling really stuffy and hot all of a sudden.
“Yes!” Madam Jin felt as if her heart were being cut out as she replied. She was a madam for better or for worse, so why did she need to degrade herself like this?
For some reason, however, she didn’t feel all that terrible. Instead, her heart was beating really quickly, and she even felt mysteriously expectant. That man's tall and straight figure, and the entirely different sense of masculinity he gave off, both made her feel a mysterious urge. She only acted bright and neat on the surface, but in reality, she had always felt like an elder with one foot already in the grave. And yet, in the moment, she felt as if she had come alive again and become a lively young lady who was full of youthfulness. She was full of beautiful imagination toward the future.
She was worried that the other man would storm off in a huff. Then, she would really be too embarrassed to go on living. So, she didn’t wait for his reply and ran into his arms. She got up on her tiptoes and kissed him.
An explosion went off in Zu An’s mind. With his current level of self-control, if it had been a pretty and flirtatious woman who tried to seduce him, he wouldn’t even give her a second glance. However, it was actually this kind of good-natured madam who was awkwardly throwing herself at him. The destructive power of that was many times greater. Furthermore, perhaps because of the unusual setting they were in, he felt many times more sensitive than usual. What man could endure such temptation?
Soon, these two young and vigorous bodies were wrapped tightly around each other.
In King Jin’s private garden, several lesser maids were sweeping a small path between the flowers with their brooms.
“It’s been so long since anyone visited this place. I have no idea why the head maid told us to clean up this place…”
“Exactly! Even the master didn’t really come here even when he was still around. The last time he came to admire the flowers was when the madam had just married into our clan. Now that the master is dead, there’s even less of a chance of anyone coming here.”
“Lower your voice! If the head maid hears you, she’s going to punish you again. She has good intentions for telling us to do this too. The Embroidered Envoy is ferociously interrogating the servants of the manor right now, so she probably moved us here to protect us.”
“Tsk, why isn’t she here herself then? It’s been so long since this place has been cleaned that it’s completely overgrown. This path has even become much narrower, and you have to cram your way through with every step. Even my hand was scraped just now.”
“Yeah, that’s right! The ground is slippery and wet. I almost fell many times already.”
“There was a light shower earlier, so that's why there are dewdrops everywhere. Everyone, be careful. Once the Embroidered Envoys leave, we should be allowed to go back.”
Meanwhile, in the front courtyard, Dai Seventh and Chen Eighth were questioning who had come and visited King Jin recently, and what they could have told him. At first, none of the servants were willing to say anything to avoid unnecessary trouble. They were scared that they would say some things they weren't supposed to and end up in a disaster. However, the two finally couldn't take it anymore. They took one of the glib-tongued servants and pressed him down against the table.
Smack! Smack! Smack!
Dai Seventh grabbed his subordinate’s rod and brought it down fiercely on the servant's bottom. The servant screamed bitterly and struggled in pain.
“Lie down properly!” Dai Seventh shouted, and another round of beating ensued.
The servant’s entire body trembled and he grabbed the edges of the table nervously. He didn’t dare to move around randomly anymore. His face was full of tears as he begged for mercy. “Please be more gentle, please! It hurts!”
“It should hurt. Look at this good-for-nothing, you just had to have force used on you first. Have you remembered now?” Chen Eighth sneered from off to the side.
“I do remember, I do!” the servant exclaimed tearfully.
Why did I have to talk back with an attitude? The Embroidered Envoy has always been a terrifying group!
“Tell us about every single person who has come and gone through King Jin Manor as of late. I'm sure all of you have heard a bit of what they said while bringing tea and refreshments. Those who speak will be rewarded, and those who can't tell us anything will follow us back to the Embroidery House so we can properly help you jog your memories,” Dai Seventh said with a sinister tone.
The servants were all horrified. What kind of place was the Embroidery House? They'd heard that even the high officials of the court weren’t able to leave that place alive.
“I’ll talk, I’ll talk!” The servants were all striving to be the first to speak, as if they were scared that one of their colleagues would say what they knew first, so they would have nothing else to say.
Dai Seventh said seriously, “Have them interrogated separately and do it one at a time. You'd better not make things up, because if we find out that you are, we'll teach you what it means to wish you were dead instead.”
“We wouldn’t dare, we wouldn’t dare…” the servants immediately said with apologetic smiles. Only then did they speak about everything they’d heard and seen.