“What?!” When they heard that Zu An had even carried Bi Linglong before, the Gu clan brothers were shocked and furious.
After all, they were childhood friends. These two brothers actually liked their beautiful little sister. Unfortunately, there was a difference in status between their clans, and she had even become the crown princess afterwards=. Their past affection had finally begun to fizzle out, but it was only buried in their hearts and had never completely disappeared.
They had grown up together, and yet had never even touched her finger. However, this Zu An had even hugged her?
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Zu An was startled. What the heck was up with these two? Why would they suddenly give him so many Rage points? The Gu clan brothers weren’t looking at him, but rather staring stupidly at the crown prince in a daze. What kind of freaking reaction was this?
Your wife is so close to another man, and you’re even adding that this man held your wife before? Can someone really live so simple-mindedly for that long? Or maybe this fella has some other weird type of fetish?
The Gu brothers’ breathing immediately became hurried when they had such a thought. Their originally calm hearts began to stir. Then didn’t that mean the two of them could also…?
When they saw that the crown prince didn’t care, they quietly withdrew for fear that Bi Linglong would notice the strangeness in their reactions. As they looked at Bi Linglong’s graceful and fair figure, their eyes began to burn with desire.
Suddenly, a disturbance appeared up ahead. Various elemental skills flew outward before the area became calm again. As it turned out, a group of vicious beasts had just arrived. There was a great deal of tension in the group’s minds, so they immediately attacked with everything they had. They quickly dealt with the beasts.
Zu An couldn't help but chuckle. These were a group of old friends—a pack of Assrip Wolves. Back then, he had really been put in a difficult spot from these damn wolves, and he had only gotten away by relying on his wit. Now, he didn’t even have to lift a finger; there were others who easily dealt with them.
But that made sense as well. Assrip Wolves were only around the third rank in strength. They were only hard to deal with because they usually moved in a pack. The crown prince’s exam consisted of a group of fifth and sixth rank experts, and there were quite a few of them. A one-sided massacre was unavoidable.
They ran into some more beasts along the way, but they were all small-scale threats. They weren’t that much trouble and were easily dealt with by Zhao Xi. The young masters immediately received a huge morale boost. They felt the place wasn’t as dangerous as Zu An had said, and that it wasn’t a big deal at all.
Meng Pan sneered. “That fella is only barely at the sixth rank. Of course these situations would seem dangerous to him.”
“Indeed, we didn’t even need Zu An for this mission,” Pei You said unhappily. He could clearly track the Jade Moon Serpent’s whereabouts, so he should have been in charge of their itinerary. However, he still had to ask Zu An for his opinion on everything. Later on, during the awarding ceremony, wouldn’t Zu An be awarded the most when he hadn’t even done anything?
The Liu clan relative Gao Ying couldn't help but say, “But the crown princess said that Zu An’s real strength is far above this level. Furthermore, you saw how well those teachers from the rear mountain treated him. At the very least, we can’t deny that happened, right?”
Liu Xian chuckled and said, “Who knows; maybe he paid off those teachers to act that out. The Chu clan has their salt and iron businesses, so they have more than enough money.”
“That isn’t possible!” the others exclaimed, united for the first time. “Those teachers from the Royal Academy all have extraordinary status and aren’t people who can be bought through wealth. Even King Qi tried before, and yet he failed, so how could a single Zu An do it?”
“But the respect and adoration they showed Zu An was truly there. So what’s going on here?” Liu Xian asked in confusion.
Meng Pan said, “According to what I know, those teachers from the rear mountain are all extremely formidable. They’re all at the forefront of their respective fields. For example, Hei Baizi is good at Go, Yin Shi at debates, Wang Weiyang at farming… Since Zu An came from the streets, he probably dipped his feet in different things that seemed to perfectly suit their tastes. That’s why they regarded him so highly.”
“I think that’s it! Meng brat, who would’ve thought that you would say something good for once?” Zhao Xi clapped his hands and laughed heartily.
“Uncouth.” Meng Pan harrumphed.
Gao Ying frowned. “Those teachers don’t even have enough time to research their own fields of specialty; why does Zu An know about so many things?”
“Jack of all trades and master of none.” Pei You sneered. “That’s why his cultivation is so ordinary.”
The others nodded. They figured that was probably the case. Their misgivings toward Zu An because of the academy teachers and Bi Linglong’s serious statement gradually disappeared.
A while later, night gradually descended. It was common knowledge that the mountains became more dangerous at night. As such, they didn’t continue their advance and instead set up camp. They would continue the journey once the sky became bright again.
Piao Duandiao and Jiao Sigun were Eastern Palace guards who had experienced strict training. That was why Zu An had them arrange for the clans’ experts to be stationed on alert around them.
As for the young masters, they obviously didn’t need to do such grunt work. They surrounded the crown prince and princess, blabbering away about how they easily defeated the beasts they had encountered during the day. The crown prince was excited by their stories and said that they had to catch a vicious beast tomorrow for him to kill it himself.
The Gu clan brothers both used this chance to bring a carefully roasted chicken to Bi Linglong.
“Linglong, you must be tired after everything that happened today. Please enjoy this chicken.”
When they saw the roasted chicken in each others’ hands, their eyelids couldn't help but twitch. These brothers really were on the same wavelength!
“Thank you!” Bi Linglong replied. Compared to the crown prince, who was amazed by all the stories and completely carefree, she was far from being so relaxed. She received the roasted chickens and handed one of them to Zu An. “You must be hungry too. Here.”
Zu An didn’t refuse her and began to eat. He cultivated the Primordial Origin Sutra, which granted his body greater toughness and regeneration than a normal person, but also increased the amount of food he consumed. He needed to constantly replenish his energy. These two brothers might be annoying, but their skill at roasting chicken didn’t seem half bad.
Bi Linglong smiled when she saw Zu An enjoy it that much, saying, “Eat slowly, there’s still more. You can have this one too.”
The Gu clan brothers were completely speechless. They wanted to cry. The two of us worked so hard on those chickens for you!
Zu An couldn't help but chuckle. This scene made him remember a post from his past world, where a guy had lived frugally for several months to buy a precious gift for the girl of his dreams to see her smile, only for her to immediately give his gift to the guy she liked. Sure enough, no matter what world it was, there was no future for bootlickers.
When he recalled all of the things these brothers had said about him along the way, he wouldn’t be Zu An if he didn’t use this chance to get some revenge. He picked up the chicken bones and waved them in front of the two of them, saying, “Your skills aren’t bad at all! How about you roast two more for me? I’m afraid these two aren’t enough for my appetite.”
“Do you think we’re chefs?” The Gu clan brothers stormed off in a huff.
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Bi Linglong rolled her eyes, saying, “You just had to annoy them on purpose.”
“What’s so bad about chasing away two flies?” Zu An replied with a chuckle.
Bi Linglong blushed. This guy was getting more and more brave! She thought to herself that she had to find a chance to teach him a lesson.
As time went on, the night deepened. One after another, the young masters returned to their tents to rest. As for the crown prince, after he ate his fill, he had already been snoring loudly in his tent.
Bi Linglong thus sat down with Zu An to discuss the details of the next few days. However, she had barely gotten any sleep the previous night, so drowsiness was starting to overtake her. Her head unwittingly leaned against Zu An’s shoulder, and she fell asleep.
When he smelled the faint fragrance coming from the young lady’s body, Zu An began to focus on his cultivation. His cultivation had quickly jumped two ranks and urgently needed consolidation.
Piao Duandiao and Jiao Sigun had just finished their patrol and were about to come back to chat with Zu An. They returned with smiles on their faces, but when they saw the scene, their smiles immediately froze on their faces. They gave each other a look, and then quickly withdrew outside.
Piao Duandiao broke out into cold sweat. “Oh no, we’re done for. What do we do now?”
Jiao Sigun’s face was deathly pale as well, but he was comparatively more calm. “What do you mean done for? It’s not as if anything really happened between the two of them.”
“This doesn’t even count? If someone else finds out, then forget about big bro Zu, not even the crown princess will come out unscathed!” Piao Duandiao muttered to himself, “What is big bro Zu thinking? How can he touch the crown princess?”
“I don’t think it’s as serious as you’re making it out to be,” Jiao Sigun replied. “I think it’s because they were just too tired and fell asleep unconsciously.”
“You really believe that?” Piao Duandiao gave him a look.
Jiao Sigun forced a smile. “We have to believe it even if we don’t. Once this gets out, big bro Zu will be done for.”
Piao Duandiao hesitated. “But if we know the truth and don’t report it, that’s a crime big enough to have our families executed!”
“Big bro Zu treated us so well, so how can we harm him? How about this? Nothing happened between them anyway, so we’ll just pretend that this never happened. We’ll try to advise him again afterward,” Jiao Sigun said.
“That’s all we can do.” Piao Duandiao thought for a bit, and then got up. “I’ll transfer the guards a bit further away. You should continue to stand guard here to prevent anyone else from seeing anything.”
The two of them spent the night in utter fear.
The next morning, the rays of dawn scattered across the mountains and trees. Suddenly, a terrified scream echoed through the camp. “There’s a dead body!”