Detective Ming Feizhen
"Village chief, thank you for opening the door for me so late at night. By the way, why do you have the keys to Cha Yuan's house?"
"If I didn't have a copy of the key, what would we do if someone couldn't return home at night? That's why those who trust me in the village have me keep a copy of their key with me." The village chief shakily took out a key and opened the lock. Well, this is nice since I won't have to damage Cha Yuan's door now.
"Sir Ming, you must be considerate of us citizens as an official."
Since when was I an official…?
"Chief, I'm a constable, not an official."
"It's all the same. Sir Ming, I'm glad you're here. Something strange happened in our village and I'd like to hear your judgement." As soon as he stuck the key in, he stopped. He looked at me and revealed a genuinely sly smile.
Fuck, is he threatening me?
"Alright, alright, let's hear it."
"It's nothing much really. It's just that people always drown in a lake in our village during autumn. What do you suggest we do?"
Are you people brainless? If people drown in autumn, why not just go in summer then?
The village chief's reply was even more mind-boggling: "That's no use. They all drown in summer."
"How the heck do they still die in summer?"
"We're used to going there in summer. I explained it to them as soon as the season changed."
I ignored the village chief's rambling, extended my hand and unlocked the door. I then looked towards the village chief and gave him an inexpressive smile.
"Please stop, chief. I need to conduct an investigation of the scene, so citizens are not permitted to enter."
The village chief thud his chest and said: "You officials!"
How many times do I have to say it? I'm not an official!
I quickly and quietly entered Cha Yuan's house. I knocked left and right to see if there were any suspicious places.
Although the emperor has explained the story to me, there's still something that I can't get over.
That question is how do the disciples of Hua Shan know the Demon Sects martial arts?
I had no explanation for that.
At first I thought that Hua Shan's Energy Fusion Technique was special and could be used to imitate the martial arts of other sects. But after thinking about it, The No Man No Me technique is a technique taught to new disciples of the Demon Sect, but the Hua Shan disciples were able to mix some genuine techniques with some fake techniques and pass it off convincingly. Even the Qilin Guards who specialise in subduing the Demon Sect couldn't tell.
Some people think it's easy to learn the Demon Sect's basic swordsmanship, but that's not true.
Lots of martial artists don't spare a thought for the fundamental techniques of schools. But isn't it said that experts can apply the techniques to combat just by seeing them? Shaolin's abbot's Yijin Jing is renowned throughout the martial world, but if you were to ask him to perform Wu Dang's kicks, which is from Wu Dang's Long Fist style that any farmer could do, he may not be able to perform the whole thing. The underlying principles of each style are different, so just merely watching isn't enough. One needs to train it before they can use it.
So saying that the Hua Shan disciples could use the basic swordsmanship style of the Demon Sect is ridiculous. Most importantly, what medium did they learn it through? I don't think there's a prick like my shifu in Hua Shan who'd knock all the elders of the Demon Sect out using poison and then steal their secret manuals.
Hua Shan is a famous sect of justice. Even if we say that they were researching other styles, they'd research Shaolin's Staff style, Wu Dang's Fists or even Emei's Swordsmanship, not the Demon Sect's style. And this so-called research comes in two forms.
The first form is where two friendly sects engage in exchanges with each other and learn from one another.
The second form is where disciples of a sect encounter other disciples from other sects in the pugilistic world, memorise their techniques, imitate them when they return and record them.
There's no way Hua Shan and the Demon Sect were holding sparring sessions and exchanging knowledge. It's not strange for them to know a few moves if they encountered disciples of the Demon Sect in the pugilistic world, but all the techniques from a move-set? That's unbelievable.
As such, the only interpretation left is that those Hua Shan disciples learnt the techniques from someone who knows the Demon Sect's martial arts.
In other words, there are still members of the Demon Sect hiding in the capital.
I entered Cha Yuan's room and swept my eye over it. His son has been living here since he passed away. The room was absolutely filthy as though there were venomous snakes slithering around. I should've expected that much since his son, Zha Pi, wouldn't have taken care of it given his personality.
I wasn't hugely interested in the objects in the room, but the overall feel.
The disciples of the Demon Sect have a system for choosing the direction of the door, the location of beam pillars, where furniture is placed, the materials and even its scent are different. The room was messy but had a faint sense of familiarity.
It's the exact same as the room of a disciple of the Demon Sect.
But the most important piece of the puzzle was still missing.
I looked around and then walked towards Cha Yuan's spiritual tablet. The room was a mess but the tablet looked like it was the only thing looked after. It looked like somebody had been very careful with cleaning it. Zha Pi is staying at Liu Shan Men and hasn't been back in more than ten days.
I touched the tablet with my left hand. It was made from bamboo and carried the scent of orchids. The scent was so faint that it most likely would've been missed had it not been me.
The scent reminded me of something.
I used to always smell this scent many years ago.
This isn't something from the central plains.
There's a type of bamboo that's proud but not lonely, which contains a serene sent like the one from Empty Valley Orchid. This bamboo is called Lan Jun Zhu, and is grown in a place to the West called Lawless and Boundless.
Lawless and Boundless is one of the two large factions of the Demon Sect. It's where the headquarters of the Dark Moon Faction is located.
There was a big fight between Ximen Chuideng and the sects of justice there five years ago.
I finally realised who was hiding in the capital.
I also finally realised why those from the Orange Prince's residence chose to disguise themselves as Lan Jun Zhu Kong's members now.
It really is them.
It's the Dark Moon Faction of the Demon Sect's fourth rank - Lan Jun Zhu Kong.