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Chapter 400: Centennial Jubilee
Chapter 400: Centennial Jubilee
Five days later, Tianyu’s emperor held his centennial jubilee. The world was at peace, the clans were attending, the Quanrong delegation came bearing gifts and the Eight Noble Houses were present. The entire nation was in celebration.
Zhuo Fan, who hardly ever cleaned up his act, was positively radiating, looking handsome and charming. Though one thing he couldn’t get rid of was his trademark evil smile.
[The celebration is the beginning of the end. Just wait and see, humph…]
Zhuo Fan’s eyes flashed and he left the house. Luo clan’s members were already waiting and their eyes lit up on his arrival.
With Zhuo Fan being so lazy and uncaring of his image as usual, seeing him all freshened up and dressed was a remarkable sight.
Luo Yunchang and Yun Shuang’s eyes sparkled.
“He-he-he, Steward Zhuo, are you going on a date? Looking at you all spruced up, I wonder how many ladies’ hearts are you gonna steal?” Captain Pang laughed.
Luo Yunhai nodded while Zhuo Fan had a vague smile, “It is His Majesty’s anniversary today. How could I not dress the part to show my utmost respect? Anyhow, he did make me the Best Steward Beneath Heavens.”
“Brother Zhuo, you don’t usually mind such niceties, how is it that today…” Captain Pang was lost.
Zhuo Fan shook his head, turning to Luo Yunhai, “Yunhai, no matter what happens, you mustn’t panic. As a Clan Head, the least you must have is a steady mind.”
Luo Yunhai nodded, clueless as he was.
“As for you, dwarfs, do you still remember what I told you last night?” Zhuo Fan snapped to the Four Scheming Demons.
Laughing, the four pygmies were determined, “Steward Zhuo, if there’s one thing we’re good at, it’s that, ha-ha-ha…”
“What’s that? Zhuo Fan, what are you up to now?” Luo Yunchang asked.
Zhuo Fan shook his head with a smile, “It’s nothing. Come on.”
Luo Yunchang could only look at him in suspicion, following the others. When the time came to take the carriage to Imperial Palace, instead of taking a ride with Yunhai and her, like usual, he shared one with Yun Shuang.
This left her stunned and crestfallen.
Yun Shuang jerked, her cheeks blushed and she was about to refuse. But the jerk that Zhuo Fan always was, entered the carriage without a care and even pulled her close with an evil grin, “Shuang’er, is something wrong or do you not like my company?”
“Uh, not at all. But shouldn’t you go with young miss…” She neither had been on the Luo clan’s premises for a couple of days, nor was born yesterday. It was obvious to her that Luo Yunchang was carrying a torch for Zhuo Fan.
While Zhuo Fan being the steward and Luo Yunchang being the master, complemented each other. While she, the outsider, felt quite awkward getting so close with another’s man.
Zhuo Fan didn’t mind it in the least, wearing the same snickering smile, “You should get used to it then. We will be spending many days together in the future!”
Yun Shuang stared at Zhuo Fan, cheeks blazing. She couldn’t make sense of his words and her heart was jumping to conclusions one beat at a time.
Her heart got so fast that it felt like it’d burst out of her chest.
Zhuo Fan sat there calmly, wearing the same all-knowing look.
Luo clan’s convoy was going down the imperial capital’s main street en route to the Imperial Palace. The Crown Prince was waiting at the gates along with his two brothers.
Yuwen Yong grinned, Crown Prince nodded and the second prince’s face twitched. There was a distinct possibility that he recalled a particularly painful event for his mood to sink.
The other two knew why, of course, choosing to ignore him and proceeding to welcome the guests.
Luo Yunhai and Luo Yunchang came out of the first carriage. The princes looked inside at the empty ride and wondered, [Where’s Steward Zhuo?]
Zhuo Fan walked out of the second carriage, leading a blushing Yun Shuang by the hand.
The two princes jumped to conclusions on the spot. Luo Yunchang was staring daggers at the couple, her heart consumed by jealousy. [When did they get so close?]
[Sigh, some outstanding men have so much appeal, everyone wants them.]
Nobody noticed the second prince in the corner showing an odd look seeing the two princes so close to the couple…
“Brother Zhuo, you’re an eminent romantic! Every time I see you, you’re holding a belle in each arm. Mind letting this bachelor in on your little secret?” His largeness sighed.
Zhuo Fan merely waved, “Fatty, I’ll be frank here. Everything before was a lie, while only today is real.”
Yun Shuang blushed harder, her heart frantic. [When did Steward Zhuo have such feelings for me?]
Luo Yunchang shuddered, her mind blown. It was the first time Zhuo Fan was open about his feelings, never speaking of them even in front of Chu Qingcheng.
[Why is he suddenly baring his soul for a lady he had met not a month ago?]
[Is it because she bears a striking resemblance to Ning’er?]
Luo Yunchang felt bitter as the Crown Prince laughed, “Congratulations, Steward Zhuo. Holy Maiden and a hero make for a match made in heaven, ha-ha-ha…”
Zhuo Fan held his head high, with a confident smile. Yun Shuang was already riper than a tomato, lowering her head in confusion.
She still didn’t understand what had just happened. [When did I and Steward Zhuo become an item?]
“Please, this way!” The Crown Prince flourished.
Zhuo Fan led Yun Shuang in front, entering the grand hall. He noticed the other houses, and Zhuge Changfeng and Dugu Zhantian were all there. Even the Quanrong delegation was present.
Glancing at the still pale Zha Lahan and Zhe Bie, Zhuo Fan put on a savage smile, bringing out the fear in their eyes.
Han Tiemo and Tuoba Liufeng scanned him, getting shocked by the second.
It was hard to fathom how a young man like Zhuo Fan possessed such godlike power. He had to be taken out yesterday!
The problem was finding the means to carry this act out.
“Steward Zhuo, a new fling, I see!” An odd voice jarred Zhuo Fan’s eardrums. It was Drifting Flowers Edifices’ Peony Overseer.
She took Chu Qingcheng’s place in expressing her total objection with fiery and angry eyes.
“Peony, silence. Don’t be rude!”
Grandmother glared at her and then smiled at Zhuo Fan, “Ha-ha-ha, Steward Zhuo, don’t mind her temper.”
“How could I? She is right after all. I do have a new fling.”
Zhuo Fan pulled Yun Shuang’s hand for emphasis, flashing past the people and towards the Luo clan’s lavish seats, making sure to seat Yun Shuang right next to him.
His act made all the girls frown with envy. Secondly, Yun Shuang was blushing even harder being showered by the Drifting Flowers Edifices’ stares. She couldn’t meet their gazes, feeling shameful for doing something she shouldn’t. Like snatching Zhuo Fan away.
The thing was, she was clueless towards whatever that was going on here. Zhuo Fan being the main perpetrator.
And so, Yun Shuang sat on pins and needles, looking crushed next to Zhuo Fan. Her eyes were even tearing up.
The houses, officials and the delegation took their seats soon after, followed by the princes going in front. The Crown Prince smiled, “Ha-ha-ha, today is my imperial father’s centennial jubilee, a national holiday. All of you coming here, especially Quanrong’s delegation coming from afar, have brought much honor with your presence. A grand occasion for Tianyu and Quanrong to join hands… “
Rolling his eyes, Tuoba Liufeng’s side wasn’t used to Tianyu’s customs, preaching hypocrisies and all that. [All I hear is that we’ve come to celebrate, that it’s you who are the winners in this. And you’re even thankful? What kind of joke is this?]
No one understood that in Tianyu, the emperor ruled supreme.
[You newcomers have come bearing gifts for the emperor, giving him prestige. Of course we’d take advantage of you. Why else do you think you’re standing here?]
Faced with such tangled logic, the terse Quanrong could never wrap their heads around it…
While the Crown Prince brushed up on his oratory skills, singing praises and all that, in the imperial study, the emperor in his best clothes was putting on a mean face, ready to join the festivities.
“Is everyone here?” The emperor’s eyes flashed.
A shadow kneeled, “Your Majesty, they are. Please give us orders!”
“Good, I can finally see the end of this game.”
With carefree steps, the smiling emperor walked up to his desk and did a checkmate, “The Secret Pearl Order from a thousand years ago is finally implemented. Tianyu is mine after all!”
Making a fist, the emperor turned and briskly walked towards the hall with the servants in tow.