Published at 19th of March 2019 01:41:38 PM
Chapter 412

Meng Qi had never seen Gu Xiaosang's handwriting, so it was evidently impossible for him to judge the identity of the writer just based on the handwriting . But considering that he had discovered Old Zhong's whereabouts through her yesterday and the fact that he received definite information today, it was hard not to make the connection .

The simplest, most direct, and logical rendition of events would be Gu Xiaosang following Old Zhong after finding him . When she found his hiding place, she considered the possibility of an ambush or trap as well as the limited influence the Luo Denomination had here . Thus, she intentionally notified him so the righteous factions would brave the unknown in her place .

Of course, there was also the possibility of this letter being the Myths' method of enacting revenge on him . However, for this to be true, two conditions have to be met: the Myths must be aware of his relationship with Gu Xiaosang, and they must be certain that they had found Old Zhong and that the feminine handwriting would lure him onto the pathway to the Skyscraping Devil . Considering all these, the possibility appeared slim .

"Even if it was a trap by the Myths, he could still handle the consequences given enough strength . . . " With the letter in his hand, Meng Qi made his decision . The official and probationary members of the Myths numbered between 40 to 50 . Discounting members who were occupied with their missions or unavailable due to inconvenience, the number of members that they could mobilize was limited . Furthermore, the Myths were like pests . If their members made a ruckus in trying to hunt him down, they would instantly be besieged . Meng Qi, as a member of the righteous faction, could move about freely unlike them . Using the excuse of routing members of the Myths, he could even summon the help of all Exterior experts in Ying City .

If the Myths truly have a 'trap' so powerful that they could contend with that many Exterior experts, they wouldn't have to go through so much trouble just to lure him . They could just come up to his door and kill him!

The white paper exuded a subtle fragrance as if it belonged to Gu Xiaosang . After he considered all the factors, he decided to seek out Jiang Zhiwei and quietly inform Qi Zhengyan and the Six Fan School . This way, there would be three Exterior experts shadowing them both . If the Myths turned out to be stronger than them, they could seek help from the entire Ying City under the name of the Six Fan School .

The rough and winding paths leading up to Mount Longpan, with all its ups and downs, gave way to a magnificent snowy landscape . Meng Qi and Jiang Zhiwei finally saw the entrance of Valley of Unkempt Tombs after passing a mountain range . The secluded valley was a sea of luscious vegetation growing resiliently against the winter climate, a defiance against the pace of the worlds outside . From afar, they could see a handful of tombstones .

"It was said that this place was once called the Dragon-roaring Valley, home to the ancestral tombs of the Han clan . The tombs were then moved to the Imperial Mausoleum . But when Ying City fell, the Zhao clan from the Divine Capital came and laid waste to this place . " Jiang Zhiwei briefly explained the intricacies of the history of Ying City . "Since many people believe in Fengshui, many deem this valley a site of mysterious fortune . Since this is the origin of the Han clan, they believe it to be a place of great fortune . However, they didn't dare to be obvious about it so many secretly bury their deceased here . Thus, this place has become the Valley of Unkempt Tombs . "

Meng Qi bent down and slowly crept toward the valley under the cloak of the dense shrubbery . "Not to mention the spring-like winter here and the flourishing greenery . This valley gives off an air of transcendence . "

"There are many similar places, so who knows if it's really a place blessed with Emperor's fortune? But there are mere worldly possessions . We can only borrow some hope, not depend on them," Jiang Zhiwei replied, following him as they quietly made their way to the entrance of the valley . They didn't want to alert their enemies .

Meng Qi turned his head to look behind him . 'Star-breaking Sword' Hong Qin; Qian Kai, the Silvery-badge Arrester, and three other Exterior experts should be right behind them . They would be acting as their support .

"Rest easy . Uncle Hong's a well-experienced Jianghu man . If the valley is laid with enchantments, he'll definitely be able to tell . " Jiang Zhiwei was on high alert, her eyes never leaving the valley, but she didn't uneasy at all .

Meng Qi nodded without replying . They gradually reached the entrance under the cover of the thick foliage .

Thinking about it, something wasn't right . A weird sense of bizarreness tingled . With such dense plantation, the forest should be brimming with vitality . Yet it was completely quiet and still here, giving off an air of death . This combination resulted in an odd, suspicious environment .

"Look, footprints . " Ever since Jiang Zhiwei began training the Primal Aperture on her forehead, her spiritual senses had greatly improved .

Meng Qi stared intently at where she had pointed and thought to himself, "Why is there a trace of another person?"

Furthermore, judging from the footsteps, the person's power seemed inferior to Old Zhong .

"Could it belong to ordinary folks who were here to quietly bury their dead?" Jiang Zhiwei made a guess .

"Whatever it is, let's follow the trail and take a look . " With a blur, Meng Qi transformed into illusions and soundlessly moved deeper into the silent valley .

After walking for a while, he suddenly smelled the faint smell of blood . With a jolt, he quickened his steps without worrying about staying hidden .

Jiang Zhiwei had noticed the smell as well . She picked up her pace with her sword raised .

Passing by a grave, they eventually reached a large mausoleum . It was largely damaged due to the corrosion of time and the desecrating hands of plunderers .

There were five corpses lying in front of the mausoleum, all dressed in the yellow frocks of monks . The corpses were a bag of bones, without any flesh .

"Dragon, Elephant, Tiger Leopard, Giant Bird?" The dried corpses were no match for Meng Qi's eyesight . He could still recognize them to be the five monks who had battled him with their impressive coordination the other day, part of the Crown Prince's retinue!

"Why would they be here?" Jiang Zhiwei also recognized them . Why did members of the Crown Prince's retinue appear in the Valley of Unkempt Tombs out of the blue? Furthermore, they were even killed by the Kungfu of Heaven and Demon .

It hadn't even been three months but Old Zhong's powers had grown by leaps and bounds . . .  To be able to kill the five monks with ease . . . The Kungfu of Heaven and Demons indeed deserved its fame as the greatest of all demonic skills . As long as the user was able to consume flesh, blood, bones, genuine Qi, and Vital Spirit of a person, he would be able to enhance his power . . . Meng Qi gave the corpses a quick inspection but found no clues . Thus, he continued to follow the faint smell of blood .

Leaving the vicinity of the mausoleum, they chanced upon a little path leading out of the valley where they found another corpse . The corpse, dressed in black robes, had his face on the ground .

Meng Qi tipped the corpse over with his saber and the unmistakable odor of wine wafted up .

"Him?" Meng Qi was perplexed . It was the man who had a rendezvous with Mi Zijing last night . Why did he appear here? Were the Crown Prince's men somewhere nearby?

The corpse wasn't only missing his flesh and blood . A number of his bones were nowhere to be seen as well . Meng Qi wouldn't have recognized him if not for the prominent profile of his nose .

Just then, a figure flew past them in a blur and stopped at the end of the path to pick up a dart hidden in the grass .

The person was dressed in the iconic blood-red clothing of the Six Fan School, with a silver official badge hanging from his waist . With a long beard and eyes that seemed permanently pressed into mere slits, it was none other than Qian Kai, a Silverly Badge Arrester of Ying City and an Exterior expert of the Third Heavens .

The concealed weapon in his hand was an intricately crafted into the shape of a plum blossom flower . Specks of blood tainted the weapon, the same blood that had Meng Qi and the others had been tracking .

Examining the blood marred by demonic properties, Meng Qi felt that it belonged to Old Zhong . But who could have wounded him?

Gu Xiaosang? Or the cultivators of the Luo Denomination?

"'Master Thief' Sikong Tu's weapon, the Plum Blossom Dart," Qian Kai murmured .

'Star Breaking Sword' Hong Qian and the Exterior experts from the Huanhua Swords Sect had ventured further down the little path, trying to search for the tracks of the attacker .

'Master Thief' Sikong Tu? The name seemed to ring a bell in Meng Qi's mind . Suddenly, pieces of the puzzle began to match .

Sikong Tu, notorious for pillaging graves; his inexplicable meeting with Prince Jin and the Crown Prince who were here in Ying City; the Five Monks of the Pure Lands and Mi Zijing who had dealings with the Putrid Drunkard; Sikong Tu who had missed his appointment last night with Young Master Lotus; Wang Siyuan's hint . . . The pieces began to form the most probable rendition of events in Meng Qi's mind .

When Sikong Tu found the ancient tomb, he chanced upon a treasure of the previous dynasty . The treasure was rumored to have been crafted by Emperor Ai and was capable of strengthening the fortune of emperors . Being a thief, the treasure was useless to him . Thus, he reported his finding to the capital and ended up attracting the Crown Prince and Prince Jin here to fight over the treasure .

Since he was largely active in Jiangdong, this was his home ground . With so many martial artists here thanks to the Party of Happycloud, he wasn't worried about Exterior experts hunting him down and dared to make outrageous demands in exchange for the treasure . He wanted to see who among the Crown Prince and Prince Jin would make better offers . Thus he had the Putrid Drunkard be his broker in these negotiations .

Little did he knew that he had neglected a greater danger in pursuit of a small gain . The Myths had set their sights on him .

If he had merely found an artifact of mere monetary value, he could have used it for himself . He wouldn't have to draw danger to himself for no reason .

The three Exterior masters searched the vicinity while Meng Qi and Jiang Zhiwei examined the corpse to find what they could .

Qian Kai, Hong Qian, and the others returned a short while later, shaking their heads .

"Sikong Tu is a master of concealment . We lost track of him halfway . Looks like he has escaped . The tracks of the Myths pursuing him went dead as well," Qian Kai explained .

In front of the Exterior masters, Meng Qi decided to wait until they were alone before telling Jiang Zhiwei about Young Master Lotus coming across Master Thief . When they returned to the city and went off on their ways, he pretended like he was returning to the Happycloud Heights . Instead, he changed his destination halfway and went straight to Young Master Lotus's residence . He planned on asking him about Master Thief .

Once he got the information he needed, he would make a confidential report to the Six Fan School . There was no need for him to continue partaking in the struggle for power between the influences in the city . Whoever the treasure ended up had nothing to do with him and he had no use for the treasure either . He might as well take the opportunity to gain some rewards from the school .

Young Master Lotus, being a lover of great wine and freedom, didn't stay in the Treasure Pavillion, operated by the Huanhua Swords Sect . Instead, he had rented a residence in an alley nearby . It was a quiet and tranquil area with hardly anyone strolling about even at noon .

Stepping on the blue stone slabs and counting the white walls around him, Meng Qi looked for the yard that Young Master Lotus had rented before suddenly stopping in his tracks .

He had heard a quiet, hushed sound!

If not for the tranquility of this neighborhood, he wouldn't have heard the noise even with his acute hearing ability .

The sound was full of suffering as if it belonged to someone who was at his deathbed .

Meng Qi frowned, deep in thought . He hesitated momentarily before he hurled himself over the wall . He entered the courtyard and tried to find the source of the sound .

This courtyard was probably owned by a merchant . Considering it was so close to the New Year festivities, there were only two aged servants keeping guard here . Meng Qi quietly slipped inside and crept to the firewood storage room near the walls .

The sound had come from this place .

He raised his sword and pushed open the door . He instantly stepped aside as he did, wary of an ambush .

The door was old and battered, creaking as it revealed the interior of the room . Meng Qi saw a man dressed in black clothes leaning against a stack of firewood . Half of him was skinny, while the other half was healthy . It was an incredibly odd sight .

However, he knew at once the man had half of his flesh and blood consumed by the Kungfu of Heaven and Demon . If the man was injured by the Ajati Finger technique, he wouldn't show changes on his face .

He swiftly closed the door and whispered, "Sikong Tu?"

Struggling to smile, the man's voice was quiet as he said, "I thought . . . I thought I'd seek refuge with Liu Su and get his help . . . but who knew I'd be ambushed by the wicked woman and had to escape here . . . The damage is done and I'll live no longer . Even the great Recovery Pill of the Shaolin temple won't help me now . "

"My friend, I'd bestow you a great reward if you promise me something . "

Sikong Tu was tenacious . He only had skin clinging to half of his face but he never stuttered even when his voice was full of agony .

Meng Qi looked upon him with grave eyes . Sunlight spilled in from the open window, bringing in rays of light that brought forth a dreamlike atmosphere .

To think the very man who had controlled the strings of fate in Ying City would end up lying in front of Meng Qi!

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