Book 12: Chapter 80
“What’s the matter?” Master Qi stayed her hand.
Fang Xiaoyu ducked behind Master Qi. “He hasn’t introduced himself!”
Owing to how naïve Fang Xiaoyu sounded, the man chuckled and replied, “This one apologises for the oversight. This one is He Lyu, a rather new member of Northern Wondrous Warrior Estate. His elder brother is one of Hangzhou’s best spear wielders – He Lan. He is also on the property’s grounds. We were allowed to join His Highness thanks to our clean backgrounds.”
Fang Xiaoyu popped his head out. “How many men did you bring?”
“A total of eighteen people. You can see for yourself. Mr. Ding Changguan is also with us.”
“Mr. Ding is here, too? Call him over,” requested Master Qi. The elder and Master Qi were on friendly terms at Li Muye’s place.
“Wait. I-I have another question for you,” voiced Fang Xiaoyu.
Master Qi smiled. “Apologies, Mr. He. The boy is a little paranoid due to being confined for a while.”
“It is understandable. This one will not hesitate to answer anything within his means.”
Fang Xiaoyu inquired, “How many enemies did you encounter?”
“We…” He Lyu’s smile stiffened.
“It’s understandable you can’t answer. You don’t know how many people were on her tail or how many you met, and a thoughtless answer would expose the fact that you didn’t encounter any enemies. If you gave a random answer, I would continue with my questions. If you vaguely answered, ‘A lot,’ I’d ask how your appearance is so tidy. Did you not have to fight anyone? If you vaguely answered, ‘Only a few,’ I’d ask who you met, what sort of weapons they wielded, where you hurt them and then confirm it with her.”
“Y-your points ar-”
“Yes, I don’t have any solid proof and can even easily be disputed, so why are you nervous? There were just some things that had me scratching my head. I only questioned you because the timing of your arrival is too good to be true, but you’re unable to clear suspicions.”
“Y-you brat. M-Master Qi, are you just going to let him suspect this one? Th-this one is His Highness’, uh…”
Master Qi squinted.
Fang Xiaoyu continued, “You claim to be a retainer of Northern Wondrous Warrior Estate. What is your post? How does His Highness usually address you?”
Cornered, He Lyu pointed outside. “The elder outside is under the employment of Northern Wondrous Warrior Estate!”
“Are you raising your voice to direct your comrades this way?”
The cat caught He Lyu’s tongue.
Master Qi analysed everything exchanged thus far.” If I may ask,” Master Qi squeezed her sword hilt, “is His Highness’ favourite place Flying Phoenix Hall or Flat Camphor Platform?”
“Uh… Ahaha, His Highness usually prefers Flying Phoenix Hall…” Since Master Qi’s brows didn’t relax, He Lyu changed his answer. “But he loves Flat Camphor Platform the most.”
“Uhm.” Master Qi bobbed her head.
Delighted, He Lyu conveyed, “If you would step outside with this one, we can clear things up,” only to feel a cold blood sit on his neck.
“Flying Phoenix Hall is where training weapons storehouse for aristocrats in the palace. Flat Camphor Platform is where high-ranking officials hold meetings. Muye spends his days in the library courtyard. Bold of you to pose as one of us when you don’t even know the interior buildings.”
“Wait. Miss, please forgive me. I…” He Lyu ran the other way mid speech.
He Lyu may have had cunningness at his disposal, but Master Qi was levels above him in combat. Before he could escape into a room, she had plunged her sword through his neck and frozen his blood with her frigid qi.
Once she pulled her sword out of its flesh slot, Master Qi mumbled, “Why would someone pose as one of us…? And why would he mention there were more of us outside…?” She went to the window to gaze outside.
Noticing Master Qi’s melancholy, Fang Xiaoyu patted her on the back. “You need to stay strong, Sister. Seeing as he is an imposter, his allies can’t be trusted, either. The fighting they’re participating right now is only but a show to fool us.”
Though Mount Tian’s disciplines were designed to supress one’s emotions, they paled in comparison to Shaolin’s disciplines.
“There… are actually a lot of legitimate imperial troops outside. Look, Xiaoyu.”
Fang Xiaoyu looked to espy imperial troops bravely marching forward against Fiends’ Genesis in proper formations. At the same, though, he noticed there were over a dozen people standing back almost as if they were waiting for someone to show up. “That’s true, but… there’s something weird… I suspect those people are waiting for us to come out, ignorant to the fact that He Lyu is dead. That leaves us with a question: why pose as someone from Northern Wondrous Warrior Estate if they’re here to eradicate Fiends’ Genesis?”
“Ah, why would I overlook something so obvious? I knew they were trying to frame Northern Wondrous Warrior Estate, yet I failed to realise the evidence wouldn’t be legitimate unless there were witnesses.” Next, Master Qi summarised what she noticed about the maids and told Fang Xiaoyu about the seal.
“The soldiers are real imperial soldiers because they need to catch us in the act. As a member of Northern Wondrous Warrior Estate, you are the best suspect. And the seal is on you!”
“The seal is naturally part of their plan to frame us!” Master Qi hurled the seal away. “He planned to frisk us once we were outside, find the seal on us and arrest us on the spot!”
“But why would the imperial guards take orders from them?”
“Simple…” Master Qi started to scowl as she could see the gravity of the situation and realised she had been playing into the enemies’ hands. “If there wasn’t someone with tremendous authority hiding them, Fiends’ Genesis couldn’t have skulked here for so long. The imperial soldiers are taking orders… mainly because their commander is taking orders from Fiends’ Genesis. I bet their leader is wondering around in here like he’s a noble hero! Wait… Hong Jiu!”
He Lan’s intervention reduced Hong Jiu’s stress considerably and increased the odds of putting away Drought Demon sooner rather than later.
While Hong Jiu and Drought Demon were trading, a grin came to He Lan’s lips as he sneaked behind Hong Jiu. Like a moth flying between flowers, Hong Jiu was oblivious to the danger approaching him. For whatever reason, Hong Jiu palmed behind him, smashing his hand into He Lan’s chest.
As He Lan’s blood spewed from his mouth and he dropped to the ground, everyone paused. Breathing hard and showing regret on his face, he pointed to Hong Jiu and queried, “Nice. Nice… I accept my defeat, but I want to know… why did you hit me?”
“Uh, you may not believe it, but,” Hong Jiu scratched his head apologetically, “it… was an accident.”