153 Machinations

Ever since returning to the capital, Zhang Xiu had found himself at the centre of social gatherings. Everyone took him to be the new political favourite of the emperor, the only remaining study companion alive. None of them knew that after he'd tried subtly to hint that Liu Yao had moved on too quickly from Ziyu, the relationship between the very opinionated Son of Heaven and him had become strained. 

It was not in the Zhang family's best interests that this worrisome development be made known, so Zhang Xiu tried his best to keep a low profile. When invited out to meet different members of different political factions, he did his best to stick to the ones he was aware he could handle and went out of his way to decline—politely, of course—those whose eyes he knew were keener and who had enough acumen about the matters of the court to guess that he had never quite regained the favour that he'd once had with Liu Yao. 

As expected, that whore truly was trouble. 


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