“Oh no, Gu Santong is behind us!” Yun Shuang cried at the incoming small red light.
With her being the Holy Maiden and High Priest Yun Xuanji’s granddaughter, she knew of Gu Santong. He was truly a savage to push even the likes of Zhuo Fan back.
Now watching him dart over, panic overwrote everything.
Zhuo Fan only had a wide grin, slowing down and taking a dive for a glade. He put Yun Shuang down and waited for Gu Santong.
Yun Shuang looked at him lost, [Does he want to measure his fist with Gu Santong again?]
Gu Santong landed and ran into them.
His savage display just moments ago had Yun Shuang shaking, thinking he was now aiming to smash them to bits.
But Zhuo Fan’s calm was infectious, easing her worries. [This man is that confident in taking Gu Santong’s power?]
Yun Shuang saw Gu Santong get closer and closed her eyes, not wishing to see Zhuo Fan pulverized.
But the rumble never came. All she heard was giggling.
“Dad, I missed you!” Gu Santong held Zhuo Fan’s neck.
Zhuo Fan patted his back with a quiet smile.
Yun Shuang peeked once, then her eyes bugged out.
[What is going on here? They’re on opposite sides, they just threw fists at each other back there, yet now they are kin? If they were so close, why did they do all that show of savagery?]
Yun Shuang was a pure lady, never able to understand Zhuo Fan’s slick and devious nature at work behind the scenes. All she could do was stare in space, at exemplary parenting at work.
Zhuo Fan brought Gu Santong over with a smile, “Shuang’er, can’t you tell? He’s my son.”
Yun Shuang wobbled, on the brink of collapse from shock. A great Divine Dragon, the best in Tianyu, Invincible Scamp Gu Santong, was his son?!
That was more than breaking news, that was capital. Even the emperor would be speechless.
[Since they’re related, has the emperor lost it by sending the son after the father? The two can now team up and tear the Imperial Palace apart.]
Zhuo Fan shook his head at the dull Yun Shuang, reintroducing his son, in detail.
Now she realized their relationship.
“But just now you…” Yun Shuang frowned.
Zhuo Fan grinned, “I only went with the flow, enacting a little drama for everyone. But I didn’t expect the emperor to be on the same page with me. He wanted me to be the scapegoat in this chaos and I wanted to bear the brunt, breaking the stalemate. What a coincidence we both wanted it at the same time. Otherwise, Yongning’s marriage proposal wouldn’t happen at the same time as the second prince’s.”
“You mean it was all fake?” Yun Shuang’s heart thumped.
Zhuo Fan explained, “Yongning’s marriage was an obvious taunt from the emperor. Even if I accepted it, he’d come up with other ways to get a rise out of me and break all pretense. While the second prince’s proposal was my idea to break pretenses in my own way. The stalemate would be blown up, with every faction out to get me, but in fact the best stage for each of them to get their share!”
“Oh… I see.”
Yun Shuang bobbed her head still phased out, “Then what you did to me…”
“An act as well, please don’t mind it. It was only to let the others see that I had a perfectly good reason to flip out, or doubts will sprout making the next phase harder.” Zhuo Fan nodded.
Yun Shuang darkened, her heart sinking.
She was a pure and unaffected girl, always abiding by her ancestor’s teachings, never knowing love, but had fallen to despair when it struck her hard in the form of Zhuo Fan.
Now Zhuo Fan was telling her that everything was fake and her budding love shattered to pieces.
Yun Shuang watched the two giggle away and the bitterness only grew.
[You’re so mean. While you were playing, I was serious!]
Biting her lip, Yun Shuang grew downcast…
“Dad, you’re out to fight the imperial family, right? But my promise…” After a brief moment of joy at the reunion, Gu Santong sighed.
Zhuo Fan smiled, knowing his difficulty, “No worries, young Sanzi, you’re my son. I won’t make it hard on you. You made that promise to the imperial family. I promise you, the imperial family will remain. Only the emperor won’t.”
“Yeah, as long as the clan lives, even if Tianyu changes colors, I’d still have kept my word. Ha-ha-ha, dad, you’re a genius. How come I never realized it? “
Gu Santong laughed, relieved of trouble.
The vow was cooked up just at the end of his altercation with that Immemorial Sage. With no time to iron out the details, there were plenty of loopholes.
Gu Santong was a child at heart and didn’t look into it, while Zhuo Fan was a weasel, finding a solution in a jiffy.
[To hell with the promise, when I can just use words to keep it.] He had done this so many times, it was practically second nature.
“Young Sanzi, you’ve endured a lot. Look how thin you are. They must be starving you!” Zhuo Fan rubbed his head, taking out a 7th-grade ingredient and offering it with love, “Now that dad’s here, you’re taken care of.”
Zhuo Fan had to fish out some good ingredients each time he met Gu Santong, to show the stark contrast in treatments, to drive the wedge deeper of course.
All to pull Gu Santong closer and closer, helping him deal with the imperial family without guilt.
[See, they are a bunch of meanies not even giving you three meals a day. Come to daddy, son, I have a full-course meal for you. Help your good dad beat the nasties. It’s what they deserve.]
Everything had multiple perspectives and under Zhuo Fan’s careful egging and nudging, Gu Santong hated the imperial family and loved him more.
If only the emperor had known about the two, he’d be giving Gu Santong meals, brunches and snacks, all to foil Zhuo Fan’s twisted heart and remove the danger.
[At the very least, you won’t be helping me, but neither will you be tearing me a new one!] With Gu Santong being a kid, whoever was better to him got closer.
Gu Santong had been eating ingredients for three centuries, but they were all 1st and 2nd grade. And through Zhuo Fan’s smooth talk, he felt that the imperial family was truly mean to him.
As for the vow, Zhuo Fan had an easy time twisting it from defending the imperial family to making sure one of them barely survived. Thus crushing their foundation, but it wasn’t something a puppet would ever fuss about.
Gu Santong jumped in joy, stuffing the deli in his mouth, “Dad, I’ll help you. You only have to leave one clansman alive and done!”
“Of course.” Zhuo Fan’s twisted grin resurfaced.
Gu Santong threw all those chains tying him to the imperial family that the vow had twisted around him, throwing his lot with Zhuo Fan instead.
Yun Shuang sighed, [With these monsters together, who in Tianyu can stand up to them? Grandfather’s wish is almost achieved. Steward Zhuo can really change fate!]
Creepy wails came as four black clouds flew over, “Steward Zhuo, we’re here!”
The four black clouds turned into the Four Scheming Demons.
Violent Demon stuck out his chest, “Steward Zhuo, per your orders, we fixed the fight and used young miss and young master, hi-hi-hi…”
“Can you avoid using the word used. It’s all tactics!”
Zhuo Fan’s face twitched, then mocked, “You didn’t fix it, you did lose. Look, the blood on you hasn’t even dried yet!”
Violent Demon looked down, then at his brothers, and smacked them each once, “Why the hell didn’t you guys tell me? I’d have washed in the creek we passed earlier!”
“Boss, didn’t you miss it too?” The three grumbled back.
Violent Demon was outraged, smacking them again, “If I noticed it, what use do I have of you?”
The trio were even more depressed.
Zhuo Fan shook his head, “A loss is a loss. It must’ve been that black captain who did it. He is similar to you, but stronger. Losing is only natural.”
“Steward Zhuo, we could have won but…”
Violent Demon wanted to preach on, but Zhuo Fan waved, “It’s fine. A true loss is better than a fake one for those guys to swallow. You take Shuang’er to Windgaze City. Young Sanzi, let’s go!”
“Where are you going? Can’t I come?” Yun Shuang asked.
Grinning, Zhuo Fan shook his head, “No, I’m going to get back some hostages…”