T/N: Extra chapter dedicated to ko-fi donators Gabrielle, Kim and fettuccine! Sorry for the late upload. My laptop was lagging really bad so I had to buy a new RAM stick last weekend and install it. >.<
During a certain night, Chu Jiao was awakened by the slight movements of the person beside her. Shen Zhen was carefully putting on his clothes, his black clothes melding together with the dark scene before her, forming one entity.
“Hm? What’s going on?” She sleepily rubbed her misty eyes and inquired.
“It’s nothing. Be good and continue sleeping.“ Shen Zhen saw that he had roused his girl with the small shifts that he made and gently pecked her lips, “I’m going to carry out some errands.”
Chu Jiao promptly recalled that when she had arrived in this world, the male lead had also worn a set of night clothes, and after carrying out some errands, he had returned with some grave injuries. With this in mind, all her drowsiness immediately wore off.
“Where are you going? And what errands?!”
She quickly propped herself up, appearing like a little wife who harbored suspicions.
“Tonight is the senior provincial officer’s birthday banquet,” Shen Zhen saw the young girl’s nervous appearance and felt his heart soften. He explained to her in a low tone, “A lot of important people are going to be attending, so I need to check the situation…”
“Then I want to go too!”
“Be good and don’t make any trouble.” Shen Zhen rubbed Chu Jiao’s silky hair. “You’re such a weak girl, you’re going to make me worry the whole night.”
“I can protect myself!”
Taking advantage of when Shen Zhen had let his guard down around her, she stubbornly seized the sword by his waist and deftly drew a pattern in the air with the sword.
What a joke. She hadn’t spent more than 10 years in the cultivation world for nothing. Although this body hadn’t practiced any martial arts before and that its constitution was a little weak, she could still rely on her memories and display a flashy yet insubstantial appearance, acting as a third-rate expert.
“Where did you learn that?” Seeing Chu Jiao’s moves, Shen Zhen was a bit stunned and felt that it looked vaguely familiar.
However, since he was worried that Chu Jiao would hurt herself, he quickly put down his doubts and grasped the wrist that held the sword, gently kneading her muscles and bones.
The two veins weren’t opened, and the bones were fixed. How could this be the physique of someone who had practiced martial arts before?
“Hmph, I’m not telling you!” The image of Ling Yue suddenly appeared in Chu Jiao’s mind, however, her heart, which had pounded for her master in the beginning, was now calm without any troubling ripples. The man’s clear and melodious figure flashed by as though he was just a passing traveler.
“Oh come on, please let me go with you.” Since Chu Jiao saw that her ‘powerful’ approach didn’t work, she simply switched her act to being spoiled. “I’m always waiting at home, and I’m always dying of boredom here by each passing hour. Besides, I’m also worried about your safety!’
Without her realizing it, Shen Zhen had already quietly stepped into her heart, no longer becoming the male lead nor merely her father-in-law, but as someone who loved and pampered her. He was the man that made her heart beat fast.
“I have no choice then.” Provoked by Chu Jiao’s words, Shen Zhen genuinely wanted to push her down and ruthlessly kiss her. However, because he was pressed for time, he could only restrain his surging feelings and settle this business properly first, “Then, you have to promise me that you will absolutely listen to what I say later!”
“Ok!” Chu Jiao saw that Shen Zhen had finally acceded to her pleas and excitedly leaped up to give a big kiss on his cheek before swiftly changing out of her clothes.
“Lord Zhang, your good governance is a blessing to the common people. Let me finish this cup of wine on your behalf!!”
Inside the room, amid the big drinking party, a big-bellied man turned to praise the Wu County Senior Officer Zhang Feng, who was sitting at the main seat.
“Haha, nonsense nonsense, it’s all thanks to everybody’s efforts and support.” Zhang Feng humbly said, “We Wu County people are wise and able. The people sitting here right now are also people with great talent! Haha!”
“Lord Zhang has always been such a modest person,” Du Qi put up another toast again, “This little one has been a subordinate of Lord Zhang before and has personally seen with his own two eyes what being a good official and who puts his people first looks like!”
“That’s right. That’s right.” The other people also strove to flatter him, “With the harsh snowstorm in the beginning of the year and the big drought in the middle of the year, only our Wu County remained unaffected. If this was not senior officer’s achievement, then what is!?”
“That’s right, Lord Zhang even helped the neighboring two counties by providing disaster relief. He is truly a perfect example of what we officials should strive to be like!”
“Hahaha! You praise me too much! You praise me too much!” A wide smile quickly bloomed on Zhang Feng’s face from hearing this string of praises piling on. However, he remained prudent, saying, “This is all because the emperor is wise and brilliant. Though we are situated in far Jiangnan, we work for the imperial government and for the common people!”
“Lord Zhang is right!”
“Truly so! Truly so!”
”You group of bootlickers!“
The people, who were busy toasting and exchanging cups, were completely unaware that at the roof beam right above their heads, were two people watching and eavesdropping on their loud conversations.
“Officialdom is always filled with such pretense.” Shen Zhen hugged Chu Jiao and accompanied her as he spited them. His palm securely padded the young girl’s body, afraid that the rough roof tiles would chafe his pampered little girl.
“Then, are you also like this?” Chu Jiao cast him a side glance.
“Heh,” Shen Zhen released a deep chuckle, “I may treat them with pretense…but towards you, my words and actions are filled with sincerity.”
“…..What a glib-tongue!” Although Chu Jiao said these words, a satisfied smile still graced her face without her knowing.
The guests that Zhang Feng had invited to his banquet were these big figures, who had status and prestige in the Wu County. Not only did it include their students and their trusted subordinates, but there was not a lack of scholarly rich merchants in this celebration as well.
By the time Shen Zhen brought Chu Jiao to the banquet, the party was already nearing its end. Chu Jiao attentively listened for a long time but didn’t manage to catch any useful information, and as a result, drowsiness started to rear its head again.
“I told you not to come,” Shen Zhen pinched Chu Jiao’s nose in a doting manner, “You came to get punished, didn’t you?”
“Hmph, what does this count as,” Chu Jiao merely felt bored, “These people speak in such roundabout ways that listening to them makes me feel tired.”
On the other hand, Shen Zhen had managed to obtain some useful information, which was that Zhang Feng had acted as a medium to smooth out the relationship between the Wu County officials and merchants.
“Zhang Feng is a prudent person. He definitely wouldn’t let anything slip in the banquet, but he would certainly lose his civilities later on…”
These celebratory gatherings were only just for show. Important matters wouldn’t be discussed until later on.
As expected, not too long after, the banquet had finally reached its conclusion. Everyone departed in succession whereas only a few people remained behind and entered the side courtyard, using the side door of the main hall in unison.
Shen Zhen had already made discreet inquiries regarding the senior officer’s manor. Seeing the direction everyone was headed towards, he carried Chu Jiao and utilized Qigong to slip away to another room.
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