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Phantoms’ Mountain Manor Chapter 14

CSI

Chapter 14 – Jolly Uncle

The thirteenth of the fourth month, before dawn. The back of Mount Wudang was a complete darkness, above the midway up the mountain, there was a chill in the breeze.

Quiet night on an empty mountain, streaks of white smoke rising from below his feet; perhaps it was the cloud? Or was it the fog?

Looking to the distance, he could see the faint silhouette of the stately, majestic ancient Taoist monastery.

Right about here, the man who took him left him, “You wait here, very soon someone will come to fetch you.”

Lu Xiaofeng did not ask too much, he did not want to know who this man was either. Although today was a big day, his mood was not good at all.

His nieces were indeed too many.

Luckily he did not have to wait long at all, for in the dark, someone had already asked him in low voice, “What are you doing here?”

It was their pre-arranged secret signal, the answer should be, “Looking for beans, thirteen beans.”

Immediately a man appeared from the dark. Lu Xiaofeng then asked, “Who are you?”

“Peng Changjing.”

Peng Changjing really looked a bit like a bean; round, small, but his eyes were so bright, his movements were so agile. He quickly looked up and down twice, sizing Lu Xiaofeng up, and then with a straight face said, “You just drank wine!”

Of course Lu Xiaofeng just drank wine, he drank quite a bit of wine.

Peng Changjing said, “Here, you must not drink, you must not swear, you must not look at women. When walking, you must not walk too fast, when talking, you must not talk too loud.”

Lu Xiaofeng laughed, “Here, can we fart?”

Peng Changjing’s countenance sank, he said coldly, “I don’t know what you do, and I don’t want to know, but here, you must follow the rules.”

Lu Xiaofeng stopped laughing, he could not laugh anymore.

He knew he has met a man who was hard to deal with.

Peng Changjing said, “There’s one more thing you’d best remember.”

“What is it?” Lu Xiaofeng asked.

Peng Changjing said, “Up the mountain, you must sleep with your head covered, you must never speak with anybody. In case anybody ask, just tell him I have you here to help.”

He paused for a moment, and then added, “My Shidi [younger martial brother] Changqing is quite formidable, just in case you come across him, you must be even more careful.”

“I will be very careful, I promise,” Lu Xiaofeng said.

“Alright,” Peng Changjing said, “Come, follow me.”

Not only his movements were very agile, his qinggong was quite good.

Lu Xiaofeng had no idea that a Taoist priest, the manager of the kitchen helpers, could have such a good skill.

Peng Changjing was even more surprised, because Lu Xiaofeng was able to keep up with him. No matter how fast he went, Lu Xiaofeng was able to maintain the same distance throughout the short trip.

Obviously Old Sabre Honcho did not tell Peng Changjing about Lu Xiaofeng’s background. Other than Old Sabre Honcho himself, what everybody knew seemed to be not much. Therefore, even if there was one or two people failed, what they knew would not be enough to jeopardize their operation.

The day has not yet brightened, the kitchen at the back of the mountain was already bustling with activities: people rinsing rice, making a fire, washing vegetables, cooking porridge, etc. Everybody was working quietly, minding their own business, very few people open their mouths to talk.

Compared to his treatment to Lu Xiaofeng, this Manager Peng was actually more blunt toward other people.

Behind the pantry and the kitchen, there were two rows of wooden huts, in the room at the end of the row, there were piles of baskets full of salted white radish, which have not completely been dried in the sun. And in the corner of this room, there was a row of shabby bamboo beds.

“You may sleep here,” Peng Changjing said.

Lu Xiaofeng could not resist asking, “Sleep until what time?”

“Sleep until I come to get you,” Peng Changjing replied, “Anyway, there are plenty to eat in here.”

Lu Xiaofeng was shocked, “Eat this salted white radish?” he asked.

“Salted white radish is also fit for human consumption,” Peng Changjing coldly said.

Lu Xiaofeng sighed. With a wry smile he muttered to himself, “I am afraid if I ate too much white radish I would fart a lot.”

“You are free not to eat,” Peng Changjing said, “Even if you are fasting for a day, you won’t die of starvation.”

He was ready to leave. “Is there anything else you are not clear about?” he asked.

“Just one thing,” Lu Xiaofeng said.

“Speak up,” Peng Changjing said.

“I was just wondering,” Lu Xiaofeng said, “Why didn’t you change profession to be a prison warden?” As soon as he finished speaking, he lay down on the bamboo bed and covered his head with the thin, worn out blanket, no longer cared about anything, even a dead person.

‘Bang!’ he heard the loud noise as Peng Changjing could only vent his anger against the wooden plank door.

Lu Xiaofeng laughed.

Dealing with this kind of person, you can only think of a way to piss him off; as long as there is the slightest chance to make him angry, you must never pass it, it would be best if you could make him so angry that he is half-dead.

But the quilt was so stinky that it made Lu Xiaofeng half-dead first. He uncovered his head, trying to catch his breath, but the stink from the white radish was not much better than the smell of the quilt. Perhaps only people with congested nose could sleep in here.

The first light of dawn was starting to appear on the eastern horizon, painting the paper window covering white, and then the sunlight started to illuminate the window frame.

Lu Xiaofeng stared blankly at the only window on that room. Telling him to just lie there, staring blankly at the window, waiting for the sun to go down, would be the same as asking for his life.

What’s more, right now his tummy was hungry as hell. Telling him to eat salted white radish would also be the same as asking for his life.

With that many things that were asking for his life, if he were able to stay still and do nothing, then he would not be Lu Xiaofeng.

Even if what Peng Changjing told him was an imperial edict, Lu Xiaofeng did not care. Good or bad, he simply must go to the kitchen first to find something to eat.

With so many distinguish guests coming to the Mountain, there must be some mushroom soup and other fine vegetarian dishes in the kitchen. Although he would rather eat dishes with generous amounts of meat and fish, he would, on occasions, have no objection over eating vegetarian dishes.

The only objection he had was against going hungry.

In fact, he believed that everyone ought to have freedom from hunger, freedom from want.

The sun had risen very high, the people in the kitchen were ready to put porridge, vegetarian dishes and light refreshments into red-laquered food containers, to be delivered out of the kitchen.

Although breakfast food are usually a bit simpler, the vegetarian dishes were exquisitely prepared. Evidently these containers were meant to be for the distinguished guests.

Lu Xiaofeng was just thinking about how to have one food case delivered to his room so that he could enjoy it, when he suddenly heard a loud voice calling, “Hey you, come here!”

The speaker was a middle-aged Taoist priest, with a sour-looking long face like that of a horse; it looked very unattractive.

Lu Xiaofeng looked to the east, he looked to the west, he looked to the front, to the back, left and right, but he did not see anybody else. Evidently the horse-faced Taoist priest was calling him.

He had no choice but to walk over to him.

It appeared that he was not the only temporary help hired by the kitchen. The Taoist priest did not even question his background, he only wanted him to deliver the biggest food case to the Tingzhu [lit. listening to the bamboo] Courtyard, and told him to hurry up.

Lu Xiaofeng took the food container and left. He looked at the contents of the case and saw a dish of well-cooked and tender bamboo shoot in mushroom oil, a dish of flat, pointy green soy bean, a dish of marinated Shiitake mushroom, a dish of Luohan plate, plus a big bowl of savory round-grained rice congee.

These food were prepared to his taste, he really would like to eat it first and talk about it later.

But if he really did that, he would not be Lu Xiaofeng either.

The way Lu Xiaofeng worked was not totally without any sense of propriety, he really did not want to spoil the big plan.

Since the food case contained such a fine food, the guest staying at the Tingzhu Courtyard must be a particularly distinguished guest.

Right now his only problem was: he had no idea where in the world was this Tingzhu Courtyard?

He was just thinking of looking for a bit more pleasant looking person to ask for direction, but the one he saw was the most unpleasant one.

Peng Changjing was staring at him with cold eyes. Suddenly he asked in low voice, “Do you know who is staying at the Tingzhu Courtyard?”

Lu Xiaofeng shook his head.

Peng Changjing said, “It’s Tie Jian of Shaolin.”

Lu Xiaofeng’s palms seemed to start sweating.

He knew Tie Jian; not only this old monk had a pair of keen eyes, but before leaving home [to become a monk], he was a famous detective. Not a single one of the ways of the criminal world he was not familiar with. It was said that the one he was most familiar with was precisely disguising skill. Even the most famous ‘flying burglar’ [i.e. burglar who gains entrance by scaling walls] in Jianghu of the olden days, the ‘Man with Thousand Faces’, had fallen under his hands.

Peng Changjing coldly said, “If he sees your disguise, you are done.”

“Can I not go?” Lu Xiaofeng asked with a wry smile.

“Cannot,” Peng Changjing replied.

“Why?” Lu Xiaofeng asked.

“Because,” Peng Changjing explained, “The one who sent you on this errand is precisely Song Changqing, and he already has his eyes on you.”

Fortunately the Tingzhu Courtyard was really not difficult to find. According to Peng Changjing’s direction, he just had to follow the gravel path, and soon he would see a verdant bamboo forest.

When he reached the path, there was someone walking ahead of him. The blue clothes he was wearing had been washed out that it turned white, plus there were seventeen, eighteen patches sewn onto it.

He knew this man, he did not need to look at his face to recognize him.

According to the Beggar Clan’s most important bylaws, the hemp cloth sack that the Beggar Clan disciples wore on their back was called the rank pouch. If you have the rank as a seven-pouch disciple, then you would carry seven pouches on your back; no more, no less. Practically this rule was more strict than the imperial court regulation concerning the distinction in ranks among the government officials.

Seven-pouch disciples were elders with specific duties, only the Bangzhu [Clan Leader] was entitled to wear nine pouches on his back.

The man walking in front of Lu Xiaofeng unexpectedly had ten pouches on his back.

Over the last several hundred years of the Beggar Clan’s establishment, this was the only exception. Because this man’s meritorious deed to the Beggar Clan was indeed too big, yet he flatly refused to flaunt his achievement; he even refused to be made the Clan Leader.

In order to show him respect and gratitude, every single one of the several thousands Beggar Clan disciples, from top to bottom, cut off a piece of his own pouch and sewed the pieces together to make a pouch for him, to be a symbol of his privilege and special rank.

This man was indeed Wang Shidai [lit. Wang (surname) the ten-pouch].

Lu Xiaofeng lowered his head and deliberately slowed down his pace.

This year Wang Shidai was approaching eighty, he had reached the age in Jianghu where he could not get even older; not many matters in Jianghu would be able to fool him anymore.

Lu Xiaofeng really did not wish to be seen by him, yet obviously he could not hide anymore. He seemed to also be going to the Tingzhu Courtyard; perhaps there were many of his friends already waiting for him over there, and his friends were obviously extremely important characters of the Wulin world.

Wooden Taoist, Gao Xingkong and Yingyan Laoqi were present, and then there was that big and tall, majestic looking old man – who was this man, actually? What was his rank?

There was also a middle-aged Taoist priest who dressed neatly, whose face was full of beard; it was Xiao Gu of Mount Ba.

The last person wore a plain and simple clothes, a quiet young man whose life has always been full of confidence and love for life, the friend whom Lu Xiaofeng has not seen for a long time, Hua Manlou.

Although he could not use his eyes to see, but he could use his heart to see clearly, to understand, to emphatise, to care for others.

That was the reason he was always full of life.

Every time Lu Xiaofeng saw him, there was always a burst of inexplicable warmth bubbling up in his heart.

It was not just because of their friendship, but it grew from the genuine respect from the bottom of his heart.

The Cloud Room looked refined, elegant and serene. When Lu Xiaofeng entered, they were talking about Wooden Taoist’s experience at the restaurant that day.

Undoubtedly Lu Xiaofeng was very interested on this subject, hence he intentionally did everything very slowly, while trying not to show his face to these people. But they were ignoring him completely, the conversation did not pause at all.

“Ximen Chuixue was speaking the truth,” Wooden Taoist’s judgement has always been valued by everybody else, “The number of people who can take a round of his rapid attacks definitely can’t be more than five people.”

“You can’t tell the background of that masked swordsman in black either?” This question was asked by Xiao Gu of Mount Ba.

Himself was a renowned expert in swordsmanship, his ‘seven by seven, forty-nine hands turning-the-wind, dancing-the-willow sword’ that was handed down from generation to generation, along with Wudang’s ‘heaven and earth [or ‘yin and yang’] divine sword’, and Kunlun’s ‘flying dragon’s great nine-style’, were known as The Three Great Sword Techniques of the Mysterious School.

“That man’s movements were quick and skillful, a sign that he is a seasoned swordsman, his power was so deep that he did not seem to be inferior to Lao Gu in the past.” [Translator’s note: same character ‘Gu’ from Xiao Gu of Bashan; in fact, in Chinese, ‘lao’ and ‘xiao’ (old and young) are often used to denote relation, i.e. perhaps it was ‘Old Gu’ and ‘Young Gu’ of Mount Ba.]

Wooden Taoist’s eyes showed that he was deep in thought, “The strangest thing was, he seemed to be using Wudang sword technique, but compared to Wudang sword technique, it was sharper and more sinister.”

“What would you say his skill compared to yours?” This question was asked by Wang Shidai; only he could ask that kind of question.

Wooden Taoist chuckled and said, “My pair of hands has not held a sword for at least ten years.”

“Aren’t your hands itching?”

“When my hands itch I simply pick up chess pieces and wine cup.” Wooden Taoist laughed and said, “Not only it is more relaxing and fun than holding a sword, it is also a lot safer.”

“So that day you’ve been watching with folded arms all along.”

“I could only watch with folded arms, because not only I had wine cup in my hand, I also had a wine pot in my other hand.”

“Who was the friend who was fated to be with wine you mentioned earlier?”

“That man said he was a government official from the Capital who was ‘announcing old age and returning home’; I say he was a bit suspicious.” Yingyan Laoqi opened his mouth to join the discussion.

“Suspicious?”

“Although he was trying hard to act senile to divert other people’s attention, his foot skill was by no means weak; falling down from the upstairs, unexpectedly he did not show the slightest bit of problem. Looking at his appearance, he reminded me of an old acquaintance.”

On hearing this, Lu Xiaofeng’s heart nearly jumped out of his throat; he immediately thought about slipping away as soon as he can.

“Who did he look like?”

“Sikong Zhaixing.”

Lu Xiaofeng was relieved instantly; now he did not want to leave.

They were starting to talk about those four old men whose actions were shrouded in mystery.

“Those four men, not only their power was extremely deep, their style looked very close to each other.” Wooden Taoist said with a wry smile, “That kind of people, even one is very hard to find, but that day four of them suddenly appeared together; it’s like all of a sudden they fell out of the sky.”

Gao Xingkong was deep in thought for a moment, and then he slowly said, “Stranger still, their expressions and movements looked more or less the same, even their faces seemed a bit similar to each other, as if they were brothers.”

“Brothers?” Tie Jian knitted his brows, “Brothers like that, I only know …”

He did not continue; he has never been a man who pass judgement easily, based on his status and capacity, he would never pass judgement easily.

But the other men present were all seasoned Jianghu veterans, they understood clearly whom he was referring to. “Are you talking about Tiger and Panther brothers?”

Tie Jian neither confirmed nor denied.

Wooden Taoist laughed again and said, “Even if they were still alive, they would never take the House of Blues’ girls out to drink.” [OK, OK, I admit, it’s a stretch … the original was Man Cui Lou, man – full, as in Hua Manlou’s name, cui – bluish-green, as in Xiao Cui earlier, lou is also in Hua Manlou’s name, lit. multi-storied building.]

“House of Blues’ girls?” Wang Shidai interrupted, “You seem to be knowledgeable about these things; I take it that you have been to the House of Blues?”

“Of course I have,” Wooden Taoist laughed without any care, “As long as there are wine, I’ll go anywhere.”

Wang Shidai also roared in laughter, “This old Taoist’s manner of speaking is almost exactly like Lu Xiaofeng.”

The topic seemed to be back to Lu Xiaofeng.

Lu Xiaofeng was ready to leave again.

Yingyan Laoqi suddenly said, “There is one thing I can’t quite figure out.”

“What is it?” Wooden Taoist asked.

Yingyan Laoqi said, “How can a government official from the Capital who was ‘announcing old age and returning home’ suddenly turn into a Taoist kitchen helper?”

Lu Xiaofeng’s hands and feet turned icy-cold; even if he wanted to leave, now it was already too late.

Yingyan Laoqi flew up and was already blocking his exit. “You can’t leave,” he coldly said.

Lu Xiaofeng acted surprised, “Why can’t I leave?”

Yingyan Laoqi replied, “Because that thing that I can’t quite figure out, only you can explain to me.”

Gao Xingkong also sprang up. “That’s right, he is that friend who is fated to be with wine,” he said, “How can he be here?”

The refined, elegant and serene Cloud Room was suddenly filled with murderous aura.

No matter who, anybody who became the Big Boss of the Twelve-dock Alliance would be hard to avoid killing three, five people in a month.

Gao Xingkong, the ‘callous and grim bird of prey’, was also a renowned formidable character in Jianghu.

As soon as these two started to move, it could only mean one thing: death.

One in front, the other behind, Lu Xiaofeng’s escape route has been completely sealed. Even if he could grow ten pair of wings, it would be very difficult for Lu Xiaofeng to fly out of this room.

But if there was one person in the world who could escape from this room, this person must be Lu Xiaofeng.

He suddenly burst out laughing, “Looks like I lose.”

“Your loss is decided,” Yingyan Laoqi said.

Lu Xiaofeng said with a laugh, “In all my life I have made a bet with others no less than 800 times, but this time it’s the worst loss.”

“Bet? What bet?” Yingyan Laoqi asked.

Lu Xiaofeng said, “Someone bet me that if I could stay in this room for the time needed to drink a cup of tea without being recognized, he would owe me a round of fine wine, otherwise, from now on he would call me an a$$h01e [orig’ ‘muddled egg’].”

Yingyan Laoqi let out a cold laugh.

He did not believe this stuff, yet he could not refrain from asking this question, “Who are you betting against?”

“He himself is certainly an a$$h01e,” Lu Xiaofeng said, “Not only that, he is a super big a$$h01e.”

“Who?” Yingyan Laoqi asked.

“Lu Xiaofeng,” Lu Xiaofeng said.

As soon as this name was mentioned, everybody could not help being excited, “He is not dead?”

“How could a dead man make a bet with me?” Lu Xiaofeng said.

“Where is he?” Yingyan Laoqi asked.

Lu Xiaofeng looked up and beckoned toward the window on the opposite side of the room. “Why haven’t you come out?” he said.

Naturally everybody could not resist looking that direction, while he himself seized the opportunity to fly out from the other direction.

The windows on both sides were open, like an arrow he flew out, and kicked the eaves with one foot.

By the time the eaves collapsed, he had flown five more zhang [1 zhang ~ 3m/10ft] by borrowing the momentum.

Behind him the people shouted. None of those people’s qinggong was weak, although the collapsed eaves delayed them for a moment, very soon they would be able to catch up with him.

Lu Xiaofeng did not even dare to look back.

The Taoist monastery buildings were ancient, tall, open and spacious; although there were a lot of hiding places, he did not dare to take chances.

Today was already the thirteenth, those who ought to arrive have arrived, and all the guests were martial art experts.

No matter where he was hiding, he was bound to be found; and no matter who found him, it would be very difficult for him to escape.

Naturally he should not escape down the mountain, because he should not miss today’s events, nor did he want to miss it.

After three, five twists and turns, he saw some people went up the roof ahead, while he had no doubt that there were people running after him from behind; left and right he saw shadows appearing, practically he was surrounded on all four sides, there was nowhere to go.

He could only jump down.

But there seemed to be more people on the ground, he heard footsteps coming from all directions.

Rounding two, three corners later, he suddenly saw ahead of him someone looking at him with cold eyes, the horse-face was completely devoid of any emotions; it was none other than Peng Changjing’s younger martial brother, the Vice Manager of kitchen helpers, the Taoist Changqing.

Lu Xiaofeng was startled. Forcing a laugh he said, “How are you?” [orig. ‘ni hao’ – lit. are you well/good?]

Changqing coldly replied, “I am not good, you are even worse. I only have to shout, everybody will rush over here. Even if you can knock me down, it will be useless.”

With a bitter smile Lu Xiaofeng said, “So what do you want?”

Changqing said, “I just want to make you understand one thing.”

“I already understand,” Lu Xiaofeng replied.

“In that case,” Changqing said, “You’d better let me capture you, it would be better for you in the long run.”

Lu Xiaofeng sighed. “Alright,” he said, “Sooner or later I won’t be able to escape anyway, I might as well obtain your friendship.”

Changqing’s eyes brightened, he rushed over in big strides.

Lu Xiaofeng said, “Please be lenient to me, alright?”

Changqing replied, “Alright.”

He has just started to talk, in fact, he could only speak one word, suddenly he felt something was stuffed into his mouth. He swung his fists randomly trying to repel the attack, but the acupoints on the side of his body were already sealed. Lu Xiaofeng already turned another corner ahead, but he could only stand still and look on helplessly.

Yet he knew that Lu Xiaofeng would not be able to escape, because around the corner ahead was the main hall.

And right now Wudang Sect Leader happened to be in the main hall.

In front of the main hall, there was an open and spacious courtyard, nobody could hide in there. Inside the main hall, the light was dim, smoke from burning incense curled up; all the dispute and worries of the secular world were isolated outside the doorstep.

Unexpectedly Lu Xiaofeng fled inside.

Obviously he was already planning on hiding inside.

He knew that human beings always have a blind spot, often times hiding in the most obvious place would be more difficult to find instead.

Right now the morning worship time has already passed, and if there were still people inside, they must have been alerted by the commotion outside and went out to investigate.

He really never expected that there was indeed someone in the main hall.

A Taoist priest with an erect stature like jade, was standing silently in front of the altar; it was unclear whether he was praying for the peace and safety of mankind, or he was quietly pondering his own shortcomings.

On the altar in front of him, a sword was laid.

A symbol of honor, glory, and power, the Seven-star Sword.

This man was, surprisingly, Shi Yan.

Lu Xiaofeng was even more shocked. With the tip of his toe he kicked the ground, his body immediately flew up.

But the beam of the main hall was ten zhang [about 30m/100ft] above the ground!

Nobody could leap ten zhang.

When he leaped up, the tip of his left toes lightly pushed the tip of his right toes, unexpectedly he was unleashing the ‘cloud ladder step’, the ultimate lightness skill, which had disappeared from Wulin for a long time.

Unexpectedly he managed to reach the beam.

Shi Yan was still standing there in silence, as if he had already reached the ‘out-of-body’ experience.

Lu Xiaofeng had just exhaled in relief, Wang Shidai, Gao Xingkong, Yingyan Laoqi, and Xiao Gu of Mount Ba were rushing in.

“Has anybody come in just now?”

Shi Yan slowly turned around and said, “Yes.”

As he heard this single word ‘yes’, Lu Xiaofeng felt like a criminal who had just heard that he had been sentenced to death.

“Where is he?”

“Right here,” Shi Yan smiled, “I have just come in.”

Everybody left. Even Shi Yan also left.

If Wudang Sect Leader said that no one came here, even if there was someone who saw Lu Xiaofeng in there, he must have thought that his eyes were playing tricks on him.

There were a lot of people who thought that what Wudang Sect Leader said was even more reliable than their own eyes.

Naturally Shi Yan would never lie; with his eyes and ears, how could he not know if there was anybody coming in?

Lu Xiaofeng suddenly remembered children playing hide-and-seek.

— A kid was hiding behind his uncle’s chair, another kid came in to look for him, the uncle would say, “No one here.”

Shi Yan was not his uncle, why did he cover for him?

Lu Xiaofeng did not want to think about it.

The accumulation of dust on the beam was very thick, he was still lying down, hoping to get some sleep. Now he definitely could not show his face again, all he could do was to wait in here.

“Wait till the lamps go out.”

When that time came, he could make his move from the beam just the same. That was the reason he picked this place to hide, at least there was no salted white radish smell in here.

Too bad he still could not sleep. He was afraid of falling down.

Not only he was afraid he might fall, he was also afraid the dust on the beam would fall down, hence he simply did not dare to move at all.

And then he started to remember that he was hungry, he began to regret; he regretted why he did not just wait in that room quietly? Surely the smell of salted white radish was not as bad as he imagined?

At this moment there were a lot of people coming into the main hall, sweeping the floor, arranging the chairs, etc. And then he heard someone asking, “Who is in charge of the oil lamps?”

“Disciple, Changshen.”

“Have you filled up the oil in the lamps?”

“I did, this morning. Disciple has checked once through.”

Apparently the person asking the question was very satisfied with the answer, presumably Changshen has always worked prudently.

The strange this was, how could Wudang disciples be bought by Old Sabre Honcho? How could he know Wudang situation this clearly?

Lu Xiaofeng did not want to think about it either.

Recently, he seemed to have been unwilling to use his brains to think about anything.

Most of the people cleaning up had already left, only a few remained in the main hall, perhaps they were on guard duty or needed to finish tidying up.

Then, after a long time, Lu Xiaofeng heard them talking among themselves in low voices, commenting about that ‘spy’, who impersonate Taoist priest kitchen helper.

“I don’t get it, there is no secret here, why did the spy come over here?”

“Maybe he wanted to steal something.”

“Stealing from us, impoverished Taoist priests?”

“Don’t forget that these past couple of days a lot of distinguished guests are coming up the mountain.”

“Maybe he is not a thief, and he is not a spy either.”

“What is he then?”

“An assassin! He came to kill those guests.”

“We haven’t caught him by now?”

“Not yet.”

“I think he has already gone down the mountain. He is not stupid, why would he stay on the mountain waiting for death?”

“The one with the worst luck is Changjing; I hear it was he who brought the man up the mountain. Right now the Chief of the Twelve-dock Alliance is interrogating him personally.”

“They say Yingyan Laoqi’s ‘separating tendon, dislocating bones’ skill has other usage; under his ministration, even a dead man cannot keep his mouth shut.”

Could Changjing keep the secret? But how much did he actually know?

Lu Xiaofeng was starting to get anxious. Suddenly he heard footsteps, two people rushing into the hall; while gasping for breath, they announced the startling news, “Peng Changjing is dead!”

“How did he die?”

“Second Martial Uncle and the others were interrogating him, suddenly a bamboo pole flew in from the outside and nailed him to the chair.”

“Did they catch the assassin?”

“They didn’t, Great Martial Uncle has already led Second Martial Uncle and the other on a chase.”

Lu Xiaofeng sighed. He was not surprised at all. Killing people to shut their mouth has always been their usual style.

It’s just that the number of people who could nail someone to the chair with a bamboo pole was indeed not many. Even Cousin, Housekeeper, and the other definitely did not have that kind of profound strength.

Other than Lu Xiaofeng, who else had inflitrated Wudang?

Wu Hu brothers and Shi He would not dare to go up the mountain this early. Could it be Old Sabre Honcho himself?

What identity did he assume? Did he also disguise himself as a Taoist priest kitchen helper?

Suddenly someone down below asked, “Changjing is dead, it has nothing to do with us, why did you have to rush here to deliver the news?”

“Although it has nothing to do with you, it definitely has something to do with Martial [older] Brother Changshen …”

“I get it,” another voice interrupted, “Changjing is dead, Changqing is being punished, naturally Martial Brother Changshen will become our new manager; hence you rushed over here to deliver the news.”

Apparently these six Taoist priest kitchen workers did not have pure heart either; they still scrambled for power and profit, just like common people.

Lu Xiaofeng was sighing inwardly. Suddenly he heard a sharp, strange sound coming from the outside.

Even he could not tell clearly what kind of noise was that, he only felt that it pierced his ears and that it was difficult to bear.

Right in that instant, the main hall was filled with a chain of short, tragic shriek, “It’s you …” The sentence was not finished, all the voices were abruptly cut off.

Lu Xiaofeng could not resist craning out his neck to look down quietly. Only one look, his hands and feet turned cold.

There were originally nine people in the main hall; nine living people, but in that split second nine living people had turned into nine dead people.

Nine people’s throat had been slit, undoubtedly they all died under a sword blade.

A deadly sword!

All Wudang disciples had some martial art foundation, yet they were all killed in a flash.

The sharp, strange sound he heard just now was the sound of sword blade splitting the air.

What a fast sword! What a deadly sword!

Even Ximen Chuixue’s sword, which could roam the world unhindered, may not necessarily surpass this sword!

Who was the assailant?

Why would he want to kill these insignificant Taoist priest kitchen workers?

“Because of Changshen,” Lu Xiaofeng suddenly understood, “He already knew that with Changjing’s death, other people would certainly question Changshen; hence he rushed over here to kill Changshen to silence him.”

Changjing’s killer must be him as well!

This person unexpectedly was able to come and go into Wudang headquarter and kill people at will; who was this person? What was his capacity?

“It’s you …”

Before his death Changshen was still able to say those two words, obviously he knew the person’s identity, but he never expected that this man would be the assassin.

Lu Xiaofeng started to regret again, he regretted that as soon as the noise was heard, he did not stick out his head to see.

It could very well be his only chance to see this person’s real identity. A lost opportunity, perhaps it would never come again.

Dead men tell no tales. It did not matter if Yingyan Laoqi’s ‘separating tendon, dislocating bones’ skill was even more formidable, dead men simply would not talk.

Therefore, the operation would certainly proceed as planned.

Therefore, Lu Xiaofeng still had to wait, to wait for the sky to turn dark, to wait for the lamps to be lit, and then to wait for the lamps to go out.

Waiting is definitely not the most comfortable feeling.

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