Face-Slapping the Son of a Concubine and a Transmigrating Girl (10)
The third prince somewhat valued Zhou Zong Han. When he found out about Zhou Zong Han and Zhou Xu’s conflict, he valued Zhou Zong Han even more. The third prince had always seen Zhou Xu as a thorn in his flesh. Initially, the third prince wanted to attract the Zhou family to his faction, but Zhou Xu’s one sentence made him leave: “Third prince, you are too ugly to be emperor; you would only hurt the country’s majesty and dignity.” It remained fresh in the third prince’s memory to this day.
The third prince had already guessed that assassinating the crown prince would have difficulties. However, he hoped to eliminate him as soon as possible. If he really could not get rid of the crown prince, then he needed to take action. In any case, he must take the throne.
Zhou Zong Han was sent by the third prince to Min Nan. The province held his personal army and his ally, the Zhennan King. Even if anything out of the ordinary happened, the third prince would have nothing to fear.
Zhou Zong Han hurriedly set out for Min Nan while Zhou Xu and the crown prince finally reached Chen Zhou’s prefectural government office.
Chen Zhou’s’s situation was the most serious‒it was hit the worst by the disaster. It was followed by Qin Zhou and the two region’s victims added up to over a million.
The court had sent an initial disaster-relief fund of one million taels to Chen Zhou. Then, what had happened to the money?
Chen Zhou’s magistrate Chen Fu Min carried his large belly to receive the crown prince. He bowed while all smiles, greasily saying, “Respectfully welcoming your highness.”
“Daring to not kowtow to the crown prince! You…” An imperial guard could not restrain his anger. He wanted to continue, but the crown prince stopped him. Since this person did not respect him, he must have someone behind him. This was an opportunity for him to follow the vine to the melon. The crown prince welcomed this kind of opponent the most.
“Magistrate Chen Fu Min, this prince has been looking forward to meeting you for a long time. This prince was present when you were awarded third place in the imperial exam. Your essay was very impressive and no one in the court did not cheer in admiration.”
“Your highness is too polite. Quickly come inside.” Chen Fu Min smilingly said. He raised his head and saw Zhou Xu standing behind the crown prince. There was a glint in his eyes for a split second, but Zhou Xu had seen it.
Laughing coldly in his heart, Zhou Xu believed this degenerate definitely knew him. This implied that there were people who had sent him information before they had arrived. Since this was the case, then the evidence of his embezzlement was likely hidden away. But it did not matter; if it was hidden, he just needed to find it. It was a simple matter.
Zhou Xu smiled faintly towards Chen Fu Min, appearing even more bewitching.
Chen Fu Min was in a daze before laughing, “This must be General Zhou’s beloved son Zhou Xu, Deputy Minister Zhou, right? Excuse me for my lack of manners.”
“Ha ha, Magistrate Chen is too polite. Your essay from that year is revered as a classic by students. Being able to meet you personally is this scholar’s good fortune.”
“You flatter me; the present top scholar’s essay is still better.”
“Ha ha ha….”
“Ha ha ha…”
The two chatted and laughed. Unknowingly, they had entered the office. The office was indeed too dilapidated; even the table was missing a corner.
Zhou Xu and the crown prince both thought in their hearts: Chen Fu Min really knew how to act. It was a pity that this would not fool a person who was deliberately examining. The brand new plaque that read “明镜高悬”* had long sold him out.
However since he was acting, the crown prince and Zhou Xu would also act alongside him.
“Magistrate Chen, how did the office become this dilapidated?”
In front of the table, Chen Fu Min raised his hand to cover his face, seemingly embarrassed, “Ai, Crown Prince, Chen Zhou experienced a disaster. The state of this office already cannot be considered to be too bad. The common people may even lack a roof over their heads.”
The crown prince said, “It is the common people’s fortune for Magistrate Chen to be this honest and upright.”
“Ai, I am ashamed to be Chen Zhou’s magistrate. At present, the damage caused by the disaster has not yet been controlled. Adding the recent plague, ai….” Chen Fu Min had a pained expression.
Disgusted, the crown prince turned away from him, speaking, “The plague is not your fault. It is sufficient that you do your job well.”
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
“Ai, looking at the common people leaves my heart in pain.”
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“Ah, so that’s how it is. Since this is the case, Magistrate Chen has suffered. We are tired from our travels, could you prepare a courtyard for us? We will take a short rest before continuing this discussion.”
Chen Fu Min fawningly replied, “Naturally, naturally. The courtyard is a bit damaged, but it can still house people. Come, follow me.”
They followed Chen Fu Min to a courtyard. The troops that carried the relief fund and food aid did not follow the crown prince; Chen Fu Min brought them to another courtyard. Since the distance between courtyards were not too great, the crown prince did not mind.
Both the crown prince and Zhou Xu knew that Chen Fu Min currently did not dare to make any moves. He was clear that he and the crown prince belonged to different factions and he ought to be quieter if he could. Although he acted a bit arrogant, if the crown prince got ahold of his weakness, the consequences would be unpleasant.
Placing their luggage down, Zhou Xu sized up the courtyard that Chen Fu Min had prepared for them. It could only be described as “simple”.
The living hall was empty apart from a few chairs and a table, and the rooms to the left and right only had a bed. The bed was not even covered with sheets; it only had a straw mattress, a wooden pillow, and a worn out quilt.
After looking at the living hall and rooms, Zhou Xu went to check out the firewood room and the kitchen. As expected, they were just as simple and crude, even the pots and bowls were cracked here and there.
Smiling faintly, Zhou Xu said to the crown prince, “This Chen Fu Min is really accomplished, this is indeed the level of “can house people”.”
The crown prince took off his dirty outer garments and placed it on a chair, saying, “It’s nothing. There will be a time when he will regret. For now, I’ll have to inconvenience you.”
Zhou Xu did not say anything. He did not feel inconvenienced. He had already experienced an apocalyptic world, what would he be scared of?
The crown prince called for a few imperial guards to tidy up the rooms. When they had finished, Chen Fu Min’s servants sent the food over. Looking at the bowls of plain porridge, the crown prince said to Zhou Xu, “I’ll get people to cook you something else.”
Waving his hand, Zhou Xu replied, “No need, don’t give Chen Fu Min an excuse to nitpick at us. First thoroughly investigate the situation.”
“Don’t follow me when i go out tomorrow. The plague is infectious.”
Zhou Xu raised his head, revealing his slightly pale face and bright red lips. There was a flash of tenderness in his gaze before changing to its usual clearness. His appearance was seductive and bewitching but carried some arrogance.
Zhou Xu was satisfied that the crown prince’s ears had reddened. Smiling evilly, Zhou Xu asked, “What if I insist on going?”
“Not allowed to go!”
“What if I use this in exchange?” Zhou Xu came closer to the crown prince.
His bright red lips pressed against the crown prince’s. Taking advantage of the crown prince’s momentary daze, Zhou Xu firmly grasped the upper hand.
His tongue occupied a bit of space in the crown prince’s mouth. Zhou Xu indulged in the soft feeling. Slowly, his initial provocation became a fight, then he was suppressed by the crown prince. However Zhou Xu really enjoyed his forcefulness.
After finishing the kiss, Zhou Xu’s eyes narrowed slightly as he smilingly asking, “How about it?”
The crown prince’s thumb brushed across Zhou Xu’s lower lip, wiping away the wetness. Gently smiling, he answered, “No.”
The crown prince then returned to his own room, leaving Zhou Xu standing at his original spot.
A few seconds later, Zhou Xu laughed heartily. He finally saw the crown prince smile. Although it was only for an instant, that smile was carved into Zhou Xu’s mind. It was too bright, too warm, and even too handsome; it was like the melting of snow.
The next day, Zhou Xu still met the crown prince at the plagued region. Zhou Xu smiled slightly and said, “Your highness, you are unable to control me.”
The crown prince was out of ideas. Eventually he laid down an absolute order, “You must not come into contact with the infected.”
As a result, Zhou Xu slightly smiled again, taking out a prescription, “If we prescribe this, the sick can recover in three days.”
The crown prince looked at it and asked in amazement, “You wrote this?”
“Good, I will find people to handle this.”
“No need, I trust you.”
When the physician first looked at Zhou Xu’s prescription, he held some doubt. The medicinal ingredients required were much too simple and cheap, and some were even poisonous – if left in a person’s body, it could give rise to other illnesses.
However, the reality was that the people who drank Zhou Xu’s prescription had their symptoms gone on the first day, regained their ability to move with ease on the second, and were fully recovered by the third. Thus the initial voices of doubt became songs of praise. The crown prince again had a whole new level of respect for Zhou Xu.
Three days later the crown prince sent the prescriptions to the various prefectures, as well as free medicine. The plague was effectively controlled not only in Chen Zhou, but in other regions as well.
After this was resolved, the problem of starvation arose again.
The crown prince remained in Chen Zhou, but when solving this plague crisis, he also began taking action in other areas.
Unwilling to avoid the topic in front of Zhou Xu, the crown prince called for Ye Qi while he and Zhou Xu were eating dinner.
“Ye Qi, scout out Magistrate Chen’s house. See if there is any evidence.”
Zhou Xu was drinking the light but not bland porridge. Hearing the crown prince’s words, he added, “There is still the dilapidated office. I suspect there is something inside too.”
The crown prince nodded, “When we first arrived, I also felt something, likely behind the table. Magistrate Chen had unconsciously protected the table, hence I found it weird. Under normal circumstances, an ordinary long table would not have any problems. But from the start to the end, he had his back facing it. It was clearly very obvious, but he kept saying that the office was in a bad state yet never looked at the broken table.”
Zhou Xu nodded and looked at Ye Qi, “Pay attention to the bottom of the table. I’m guessing there are secrets hidden there.”
“Bring all the shadow guards. Chen Fu Min is no fool; there will definitely be an ambush.”
“Then who will protect the crown prince and Young Master?” Ye Qi’s voice was slow and deep as usual, as if his foolish character would never change.
“Don’t worry. Young Master Zhou and I can finish our meal in the time an incense stick finishes burning. Bai Yang and Bai Zhang are still at the door.”
Ye Qi nodded his head and disappeared in a blink of an eye.
The moment Ye Qi left, Zhou Xu had a sudden burst of intuition. Without any time to think, he kicked the leg of the table.
The table was turned over. The crown prince nearly fell as a result. After he stood up, he immediately drew the sword beside the table.
At the same time, Zhou Xu’s rapier was also unsheathed.
There were not many masked assassins, only six. Five of them chased the crown prince while one entangled with Zhou Xu in a fight.
The rapier moved quick like a snake as Zhou Xu controlled it with incomparable exquisiteness.
The masked attackers were not weak. In the middle of a fierce fight, Zhou Xu realised that the crown prince was unexpectedly not disadvantaged fighting five people alone.
Zhou Xu’s moment of distraction let the masked attacker grasp an opportunity. With a flash of his sword, it appeared at Zhou Xu’s side, aiming for his neck.
Zhou Xu hastily wielded the sword to block, but was slower by a beat.
Zhou Xu started to shout in his heart; he was very clear on how painful it was for a sword to pierce a person’s body.
However, just as the masked attacker’s sword grazed Zhou Xu’s skin, it was stopped by another sword. The attacker’s sword unexpectedly fell to the ground with a clang.
Zhou Xu took advantage of this and pierced his rapier into his neck. With a pull, the masked attacker’s blood splattered out. His neck had a clean cut, letting blood flow out.
After taking care of one attacker, Zhou Xu went to help the crown prince. The crown prince signaled Zhou Xu not to join the fight. At this time, Zhou Xu noticed an abnormality – the swords of the masked attackers had poison.
His neck began hurting. The skin that was broken by the sword was starting to slowly redden.
He lost strength in his body. Zhou Xu shouted a warning to the crown prince, “Careful, their swords have poison.”
He could not support his body. Zhou Xu slid down against the wall while the crown prince continued clashing with the five attackers.
The sounds of the clashing of swords resounded in the quiet room. The masked people started to have a better tacit understanding, but no matter how amazing they were, they could not match up to a real expert.
The crown prince leaped. The sword in his hands drew a flower in the air, accurately knocking a masked attacker’s sword down.
As he was falling, the crown prince swiftly switched his sword from his right to his left hand. This surprise move made the attackers to his left lose the initiative in an instant.
The crown prince took advantage of their mistake to turn his hand, piercing towards the people on his right.
The masked men continued attacking. The crown prince quickly evaded their counterattack and again leaped into the air.
Zhou Xu could only see his pale blue robes that followed his whirling movements. It spun to appear like a beautiful flower. Looking closer, the several people who chased the crown prince could not match up to his speed nor the height his leaps reached.
When they landed on the ground, three masked men could not get back up. The crown prince turned to look at Zhou Xu. As a result, the people who had their swords stolen by the crown prince stealthily attacked from behind.
The crown prince had been wholly focused on Zhou Xu, thus he did not notice in time. When he did, the attackers had already had their throats sliced by Zhou Xu.
Expending the last of his energy, Zhou Xu spoke, “You didn’t get injured, right?”
The crown prince touched the cut he got from the sneak attack. He slowly sank into unconsciousness. Zhou Xu followed, unable to support himself.
The room was in pin-drop silence. With a squeak, the door abruptly opened. Two people entered, one was Chen Fu Min and the other was precisely the crown prince’s imperial guard, Bai Zhang.
Turning to close the door, Bai Zhang asked, “How does one cure this poison?”
Chen Fu Min’s greasy face was lit with joy, “They will die if they don’t eat the antidote within three days.”
“How should we dispose of them?”
“Kill the crown prince. Bring this one to my room; I want to play with him. Ai ya ya, his appearance is really too good.”
As Chen Fu Min spoke, he raised his hand to touch Zhou Xu’s face. However just as he was about to touch it, he felt a sudden, sharp pain. When he looked, he found out his hand was already gone.
“Ah!” his mournful wail resounded, disrupting the courtyard’s tranquility.
tsk, that’s what you get for lusting after our precious ZX! god bless i translate romance novels because fight scenes are really hard *sobs* big respect for wuxia translators orz
(mild spoiler?) poll: in the next arc there will be an army name! should i leave it as the Chidai army (赤带军) or translate it to english? let me know your suggestions 🙂