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The Phoenix Dances in the Nine Heavens Chapter 15


Chapter 15 – Saving people for the sake of loyalty

She was cursing loudly, but Lu Xiaofeng did not hear her, not even one word.

Honest Monk wiped his sweats; he sighed and said with a bitter laugh, “Apparently, this is called the natural treatment.”

‘Boom!’ suddenly the wave crashed onto the small boat, the stars in the sky disappeared rapidly behind black clouds. Was there a storm coming in?

The sea was getting darker, the small boat rocked more violently. When the stars disappeared completely, they could not even distinguish direction.

Honest Monk gripped the edge of the boat tightly with both hands, blood has been drained from his face; he did not stop mumbling, “What should we do? Monk is afraid to even look at the water in the bath tub, I don’t even dare to take a bath.”

Xiao Yu chuckled. “Turns out …” she started. But before she could finish, the crashing wave hit her heavily, throwing her to the floor of the boat.

Lu Xiaofeng rushed to hold the rudder; but even if he could control the rudder, what good would it do, since he could not even tell direction?

Honest Monk sighed. With a bitter laugh he said, “Now Monk finally understands.”

“Understand what?” Lu Xiaofeng asked.

Honest Monk replied, “Understand why Gong Jiu readily agreed to your conditions.” He sighed again before continuing, “That kid must have figured out early on that there would be a storm at the sea; he already knew that we won’t pass this hurdle.”

Lu Xiaofeng said, “Don’t forget that his little sister is also on a small boat; her boat is no bigger than ours.”

Honest Monk said, “Don’t forget that that girl is a fox-spirit, while we are a bunch of land-dwellers.”

Lu Xiaofeng was silent. He could not help sighing as well, “If the Old Fox is here, that would be nice,” he said.

“Who is the Old Fox?” Honest Monk asked.

Lu Xiaofeng said, “He can’t be considered anybody special, but if in this world there were 300 ways to prevent a boat from capsizing, he would know at least 299 of them.”

Suddenly they heard someone said, “I know all 300 ways.”

One of the plank of the small boat suddenly raised up, a head appeared from below; a head full of ash grey hair, but his eyes were deep blue like the seawater.

“The Old Fox!” Lu Xiaofeng cried out, “How come you are not dead yet?”

The Old Fox winked and said, “Have you seen a fish drowned in the water?”

“No,” Lu Xiaofeng replied.

Fish may die in the water, but definitely not from drowning.

The Old Fox laughed and said, “On land, I am an old fox; in the water, I am a fish.”

“What kind of fish?” Xiao Yu asked.

Lu Xiaofeng laughed. “An old turtle, of course!” he said. [Orig. 甲鱼 jia yu, lit. shell/shield/armor fish.]

The storm was over.

No matter how small the boat, no matter how big the storm, with an expert at the helms, surely it would go over it.

Old Fox’s hand was as steady as a rock.

“These days, where did you hide?”

“In the water, of course,” the Old Fox replied.

If one can hide under water, it was indeed the safest place.

“What did you eat?” Lu Xiaofeng asked.

“Big fish eats small fish, old fish eats big fish.”

The nutrition of raw fish far surpasses simmer-fried fish, steamed fish or deep-fried fish. Therefore, his hand was still very steady, his physical strength had not disappeared.

“How did you get to this boat?”

“I saw this boat is loaded with fresh water, so I knew it was going to sail away.” He laughed, a very proud laugh, “I also knew that if it was not an emergency, nobody would move the lifeboat.”

Xiao Yu had been listening all along. Now she could not help sighing and said, “Apparently this man is indeed an old fox.”

Honest Monk also could not help sighing and said, “There will come a day, you will also turn into an old fox.”

Xiao Yu stared at him. She suddenly asked, “You really never take a bath?”

“Who said that?” Honest Monk asked.

“You said it yourself just now,” Xiao Yu said, “You said you are afraid to look at water, how can you take a bath?”

“I am clean,” Honest Monk said.

The setting sun faded away.

The Old Fox’s eyes were just as exciting as the sunset.

“Where are we heading?”

“Naturally the Old Fox is returning to the Fox Den.”

He laughed even more delightedly, because he knew that with him on the helm, even if other people did not want to go, they simply could not refuse.

“What kind of place is the Fox Den?”

“It’s the kind of place where, if you have been there once, you will want to go back.”

“Have you been there?”

Lu Xiaofeng nodded. His eyes were also shining.

In that low and dark building, there were always rooms lost in boundless mists of smoke; with rough and blunt men, downing cup after cup of strong wine, strong enough to make them shed their tears; and then there were those bathrooms, with wooden partition full of holes …

For an unknown reason, when he thought about those things, there was an unspeakable warmth in his heart.

Narrowing his eyes, the Old Fox stared at him. “Is your heart the same as mine, you want to come back?” he asked.

Lu Xiaofeng could not deny. “A little bit,” he said.

The Old Fox said, “Only a little bit, or you are dying to come back?”

Lu Xiaofeng sighed. “I am dying to come back,” he said.

The Old Fox chuckled. Casually he pointed forward and said, “Do you know what that is?”

Lu Xiaofeng turned his head around. He saw land. Great and lovely land, finally they were back.

There is no doubt that they would be back, because their faith and courage had not disappeared.

The Old Fox was as excited as a little child.

This coast, the sandy beach, even that piece of rock, he was very familiar with.

No matter where he was, as long as he closed his eyes, he could see everything clearly.

Yet as soon as he came ashore, he was stunned. The coast, the sandy beach, the rock, had not changed. But his Fox Den had.

The low, shabby single-story building has changed beyond recognition. The windows have snow-white paper covering, there was no more rough and blunt laughter coming from the inside. His Fox Den has unexpectedly turned into a tomb.

Lu Xiaofeng was also taken by surprise. He could not help asking, “Are you sure you did not land on the wrong place?”

Actually, he should have known that the Old Fox can’t possibly land on the wrong place. In the world, there has never been any fox who cannot find its way back to its den.

But then, in the world there is nothing that cannot change; including a fox den.

Lu Xiaofeng continued, “When you left, who was in charge of the Fox Den?”

Xiao Yu interrupted, “When the old fox is out, the mother fox is naturally in charge of the fox den.”

Lu Xiaofeng sighed. “I get it,” he said.

“You get what?” the Old Fox asked.

Lu Xiaofeng said, “That mother fox of yours must be a fox-spirit too. Fox-spirits do not like to be a widow too long, she must have thought that you were buried at the bottom of the sea, so most likely your Fox Den now has a new master.”

With a cold laugh the Old Fox said, “Whoever dare to take that fox-spirit, I really admire his guts.”

They were standing behind the big rock, and were able to see the Fox Den’s newly painted front door.

The door suddenly opened, a man swaggered out. He had hawk nose and high cheekbones, his eyes like eagle.

Lu Xiaofeng sighed and said, “Other people perhaps won’t dare, but this man definitely dare.”

“You know him?” the Old Fox asked.

“Not only I know him,” Lu Xiaofeng replied, “I also know that there are very few things in the world that he does not dare to do.”

“Who is he?” the Old Fox asked.

“Ying Yan Laoqi, the Zongpiaobazi [see chapter 1] of the Twelve-Dock Alliance,” Lu Xiaofeng replied.

The Old Fox’s countenance changed a little.

Lu Xiaofeng said, “I won’t be surprised if he seized anybody’s den, but I am surprised that he came here.”

“Why don’t you go and ask him?” Xiao Yu said.

“This is my territory,” the Old Fox said, “I’ll go and ask him.”

He left as soon as he said he would go. As soon as he rounded the big rock, Ying Yan Laoqi’s bright, shining eyes were already staring at him.

The Old Fox looked at him. His eyes narrowed.

Ying Yan Laoqi suddenly said, “Hey, come here.”

“I am indeed going there,” the Old Fox said.

Ying Yan Laoqi pointed to the small boat and asked, “Is that boat yours?”

“At first it wasn’t, but now it is,” the Old Fox replied.

“Aren’t there four, five people on the boat?” Ying Yan Laoqi asked.

“Mm,” the Old Fox mumbled.

“Where are the others?” Ying Yan Laoqi asked.

Grinning, the Old Fox asked, “Are you an officer from the yamen?”

Ying Yan Laoqi shook his head.

The Old Fox said, “Do you know who was originally in charge in this place?”

Ying Yan Laoqi shook his head. “Who?” he asked.

The Old Fox pointed to his own nose, “Me,” he said.

“You are the Old Fox?” Ying Yan Laoqi asked.

The Old Fox laughed. He said, “Therefore, I should be the one doing the questioning, not you.”

And then he started the interrogation. “Who are you? What are you doing here? Altogether, how many of you? Where are the others?”

Ying Yan Laoqi coldly said, “Why don’t you turn around to see?”

When the Old Fox looked back, he saw two men, clad in black tight clothes, were already standing noiselessly behind his back. Before he even turned around, these two men had moved in lightning speed, trussing his body up.

With a cold laugh Ying Yan Laoqi said, “Now, who should do the questioning?”

With a bitter smile the Old Fox replied, “You.”

With a cold laugh Ying Yan Laoqi turned around, and entered the door in large strides. “Bring him in,” he said.

‘Bang!’ the door was shut.

The two men in black brought the Old Fox in. There were moving shadows on the corners, as well as on the roof ridges. At least seven, eight similarly-dressed-in-black men were guarding and lying in ambush all around the Fox Den.

From the distance came the sound of hoot beats, there were twenty some riders going back and forth patrolling the area; surprisingly, they were dressed in the uniform of the seven-pin rank military officer.

Lu Xiaofeng frowned. “Since when did Hu Laoqi [lit. Ol’ Hu the seventh] show such a grand style like this?” he mumbled to himself.

Those two men who apprehended the Old Fox just now had swift footwork, the way they move was also very fast.

Those who lay in ambush on the roof ridges and behind the corners also had martial art skill not inferior to these two; all these people could be considered top-ranking martial art experts.

The number of people who were able to employ these many martial art experts as security guards was really a few; Ying Yan Laoqi actually did not have this kind of pomp.

From among the riders patrolling in the distance, suddenly one galloped his horse over. Promptly from behind the corner of the building a man in black stepped out to meet him.

Immediately the rider dismounted and bowed to pay his respect.

Although he was wearing a seven-pin rank military officer uniform, he was very respectful toward this man in black, as if he was in the presence of his immediate supervisor.

Xiao Yu said, “It appears not only he has a grand style, his subordinates’ style is not shabby either.”

Sha Man said, “These men in black are definitely not Twelve-Dock Alliance people.”

“How do you know?” Lu Xiaofeng asked.

Sha Man said, “I have heard about the Twelve-Dock Alliance. Although it is not a den of robbers, but it is not a good place either.”

“Are you saying that those friends in black are good people?” Lu Xiaofeng asked.

Actually, he also knew in his heart that these people were not under Twelve-Dock Alliance. Twelve-Dock Alliance had never had dealings with government officials.

But right now he was in a nasty mood, he just wanted to find someone to fight. Oftentimes it was an effective way to stabilize his emotions.

Yet Sha Man ignored him.

Lu Xiaofeng pinched her nose playfully and said, “How did you suddenly become mute?”

Sha Man deliberately put on a straight face. “What do you want me to say?” she said.

Lu Xiaofeng pinched her cheek. “I know that you must have seen what kind of people they are.”

“Naturally they are not good people,” Sha Man said.

“Why not?” Lu Xiaofeng asked.

“Because you said so,” Sha Man replied.

“So you’ll listen to whatever I say?” Lu Xiaofeng asked.

“If I don’t listen to you, whom should I listen to?” Sha Man said.

Lu Xiaofeng laughed. Suddenly he put his arms around her waist and planted a kiss on her lips.

Sha Man could not maintain her straight face much longer. Her entire body turned into jelly in his arms.

Xiao Yu sighed. “Can you two do me a favor?” she said, “If you want to display some affection, you should at least look at the time, look at the place.”

Sha Man said, “If you cannot stand watching, I can have him kiss you as well.”

Lu Xiaofeng laughed and said, “Too bad my mouth is busy right now.”

Indeed their mouths were very busy, while on the other side, the two men’s mouths were not idle either.

The man wearing seven-pin rank uniform, the military officer whose body was clad in shining armor, has been bowing respectively while talking to the man clad in black. His voice was very low, his expression was grave yet respectful, as if he was reporting a top-secret military intelligence.

The man in black, on the other hand, looked a little impatient; he already waved his hand to dismiss the officer.

Sha Man said in low voice, “This man must be a Tian Long Nan Zong [lit. celestial dragon southern school] disciple.”

“Did you see that?” Lu Xiaofeng asked.

Sha Man said, “Tian Long Nan Zong’s qinggong is very particular. The two men who seized the Old Fox just now were also using Tian Long Nan Zong’s unique qinna [grab and capture, grappling] technique. That’s why I said they are definitely not Twelve-Dock Alliance people.”

This time Lu Xiaofeng was silent, but Xiao Yu asked, “Why?”

Sha Man said, “Tian Long Nan Zong’s first disciple is a castrate [orig. 天阉 – heaven castrate. I don’t understand the ‘heaven’ part, perhaps birth defect?]; hence he went all out and purified himself to become a eunuch in the Palace. I heard for the last few years he grew to be very powerful, hence he recommended his younger martial brothers to enter the Palace. As a result, among the Tian Long Nan Zong disciples, nine out of ten are internal Imperial Bodyguards.”

“And thus even these military officers, when they see them, they have to bow their heads?” Xiao Yu asked.

“Even those with higher rank, when they see them, they would bow their heads,” Sha Man said.

“But why did these internal Imperial Bodyguards come here?” Xiao Yu asked, “How could they become Ying Yan Laoqi’s subordinates?”

Sha Man intentionally provoked her, “Why don’t you go and ask him yourself?” she said.

Xiao Yu blinked. “If Miss Man really wants me to go, I’ll go,” she said.

She did not go.

Because the military officer, who all along had his head down, suddenly raised his head up; while the man in black, who all along had been haughty, suddenly hung his head down.

Lu Xiaofeng seemed to see the flicker of a blade in the military officer’s hand as it penetrated the man in black’s waist. The men in black’s body immediately slumped, but the military officer propped him up, and brought him toward the Fox Den. His face was still wearing a smile, while his mouth was still busy talking; too bad the man in black already could not hear him.

From Lu Xiaofeng’s point of view, he could see the clothes around the soft spot underneath the man in black’s ribs was already red with blood.

That spot was a fatal spot on human’s body. The blade was vicious and accurate.

A lowly seven-pin rank military officer, how could he have such a fast blade? Why would he kill an internal Imperial Bodyguard?

Who were these people in the Fox Den? What was their secret?

Lu Xiaofeng relaxed his embrace on Sha Man. Xiao Yu was not watching them either.

What was happening before their very eyes this moment was not only exciting, but very mysterious as well; it had completely captured their attention.

Right now, the military officer had almost reached Fox Den’s back door. The other riders quietly urged their horses to come over.

From behind the corner another man in black appeared. The military officer seemed to greet him. It was not clear what he was saying, but the man in black suddenly turned around and fled in big strides. Another flicker of blade appeared in the military officer’s hand as he pierced the man’s waist.

The blade was even more accurate, even faster; with so much as a grunt the man in black collapsed to the ground.

It seemed that not only this seven-pin rank military officer was a martial art master, his experience in assassination was very rich.

But finally he reached a restricted area, the guards lying ambush all around the building were alerted. A dozen or so men in similar black clothing appeared, with unsheathed weapons in their hands.

The rest of the riders, which were still some distant away, suddenly whipped their mounts to rush over. The riders on the front row had long spears and long halberds in their hands; their horsemanship was superb, evidently these men were seasoned veterans of the battlefields. The riders on the back row were using short weapons commonly seen in Jianghu, some even uncovered secret projectile sacks hanging form their waist.

The military officer already flung the man in black’s dead body away and said in stern voice, “We receive arrest order from the Prince, anybody dare to resist will be kill without questioning.”

Among the men in black, someone also said in stern voice, “We are the Prince’s Imperial Bodyguards; what kind of ‘thing’ are you?”

By the time he finished speaking, the riders already charged. The front row’s spears and halberds fluttered, the power was incredible. The riders on the back row suddenly leaped up from their saddle, looking for an opportunity to charge into the Fox Den. Each and every one’s qinggong was not weak, their secret projectiles were even more vicious. Tian Long Nan Zong was also known for their qinggong and secret projectiles. Hence both sides were opposing each other with equal harshness, the way they made their moves was without mercy.

Lu Xiaofeng was dumbstruck, he really did not understand what was going on. But he has seen one thing.

Tian Long Nan Zong’s martial art was not as superior as the hearsay in Jianghu. Those men wearing seven-pin rank military officer were, on the other hand, first-class martial art experts.

Because in that split second, five or six of the men in black already fell, three or four windows of the Fox Den have already broken, and seven or eight men have already charged in.

The military officer with a blade in his hand who had just killed two men in black, in another split second had already killed two more. He was the first one to break into Fox Den.

Watching this man kill, Lu Xiaofeng remembered the cook in his house. When he was little, he often sneaked into the kitchen, just to watch the cook peeled cucumber or chopped Chinese cabbage.

The way this man killed was just like the cook chopped the melon and sliced the vegetables. His blade never missed.

— Who were inside the building?

At least there were the Old Fox and Ying Yan Laoqi. Lu Xiaofeng could not say that they were not his friends.

— Friends. What a lovely word. Can a man be without any friend?


— Can a man watch their friends being chopped off like cucumber and Chinese cabbage?


— Can a man hear his friends’ miserable cry and pretend that he did not hear anything?


At least not Lu Xiaofeng.

He had heard the Old Fox’ miserable cry, a very strange kind of cry, like a shrill cry of a little girl being raped.

A very, very young little girl.

Lu Xiaofeng really wanted to pretend that he did not hear it. But he could not.

Sha Man stared at him. She suddenly asked, “Is the Old Fox your friend or not?”

“He is not,” Lu Xiaofeng replied.

“Do you want to save him or not?” Sha man asked again.

“I don’t want to,” Lu Xiaofeng replied.

He really did not want to, because in all honesty he did not have any confidence that he would be able to deal with that military officer who actually was not a military officer.

But he had already rushed out.

If there is pain in your heart and you get drunk, would you be able to forget?


— Why?

Because when your head is clear, you will feel more painful.

— Therefore, getting drunk won’t do you any good.

Absolutely not.

— So why do you want to get drunk?

I don’t know.

Why is a man always had to do things he did not want to do?

I don’t know.

The situation inside the building was very tragic. Those high and mighty men in black, most of them had fallen by now, some were lying in pools of their own blood, some were hanging on window frames like dead fish. All the military officers’ blades were bloody.

Three blood-stained blades protruded from the Old Fox’s neck, four more blades stuck on Ying Yan Laoqi’s throat. When the men in black saw Lu Xiaofeng bursting in, it was as if they saw a savior dropping in from the Heaven. But when the military officers saw him bursting in, they saw him like a bird that foolishly walks straight into the trap.

Only Lu Xiaofeng knew which one he really was.

— Lu Xiaofeng was Lu Xiaofeng. A man that cannot be considered too good, but cannot be considered too bad either. Sometimes he was very clever, sometimes he was very stupid. Sometimes very impulsive, sometimes very calm.

As soon as he entered the building, he suddenly became very calm. Because he was, after all, here to save lives, not to deliver his own life.

First thing Lu Xiaofeng did was to prepare a way out for himself.

— Because if he could not save anyone, he must save himself first.

The military officers looked at him with cold gaze.

But he was smiling, a polite and courteous smile, while with a cupped fist he said, “Gentlemen spent so much energy, coming from afar, is it to arrest these two men?”

Nobody answered, nobody reacted.

“What crime did they commit?” Lu Xiaofeng asked.

Still nobody answered, nobody reacted.

Lu Xiaofeng suddenly felt his stomach contracting, just like after he was dead drunk, early the next morning someone kicked him in the stomach.

The people lying on pools of blood suddenly stood up, the dead fish hanging on window frames suddenly became lively dragons and animated tigers.

Lu Xiaofeng had become a fish, a fish caught in the net.

When a fish fell into the net, it may struggle, it may fight to get out of the net.

Lu Xiaofeng was not a fish; therefore, he did not move at all.

— As soon as he moved, the seven blades resting on chest and throat would immediately take his life.

— How could he move?

He suddenly became even calmer. He stood up calmly; calm like a sturdy mountain.

In time of crisis, Lu Xiaofeng was able to stay calm. But someone else was not able to.

— Who?

Sha Man.

Lu Xiaofeng has been inside for a long time, why hasn’t he come out?

Sha Man had seen the men in black and the Imperial Bodyguards’ martial art skill. She believed that Lu Xiaofeng could definitely overcome them.

— However, why hasn’t Lu Xiaofeng come out?

He must have met something. But what is it?

‘What’ can have a lot of explanations.

To Sha Man who was in love, ‘what’ can only mean one thing: a crisis.

Therefore, she could not be calm.

She stood up and was about to charge inside. But there was someone who did not want her to rush in.

— Who?

Honest Monk.

So, Honest Monk caught Sha Man’s sleeve.

Of course Sha Man would never let Honest Monk grabbed her sleeve. Therefore, Honest Monk was forced to block in front of Sha Man.

“Why do you stop me?” Sha Man asked.

“It isn’t me who’s stopping you,” Honest Monk said.

Pointing to Honest Monk, Sha Man said, “Are you saying that the person standing in front of me is not you?”

“This is only my body,” Honest Monk said.

“You mean, someone wanted you to stop me?” Sha Man asked.

Honest Monk nodded.

“Who?” Sha Man asked.

“Lu Xiaofeng,” Honest Monk replied.

“I don’t understand,” Sha Man said, “When did he tell you to stop me?”

“He did not tell me to stop you at all,” Honest Monk said.

Sha Man was stunned. She stared blankly at Honest Monk.

“I know that he definitely does not wish you to come in,” Honest Monk said.

“Why?” Sha Man asked.

“Because in there, they must be talking about a top secret matter,” Honest Monk replied.

“How do you know?” Sha Man asked.

“I just know,” Honest Monk replied.

Sha Man said, “What if …”

“Don’t worry,” Honest Monk cut her off, “I guarantee that Lu Xiaofeng will not be in danger at all.”

Was Lu Xiaofeng really not in danger? Could it be that the seven blades threatening his chest and throat were not real blades?

The blades were naturally real blades. But before long, the blades on Lu Xiaofeng’s chest and throat were suddenly withdrawn.

Ying Yan Laoqi suddenly roared in laughter, “Lu Xiaofeng is indeed Lu Xiaofeng,” he said, “In the most dangerous situation, he’s still this calm.”

The Old Fox also laughed and said, “Lu Xiaofeng is calm under water, he is even calmer on dry land. My utmost admiration!”

Lu Xiaofeng said, “The two gentlemen’s joke is a bit too much. If I wasn’t calm, wouldn’t I lose my life under your blades early on?”

Ying Yan Laoqi said, “If we didn’t do it, they would not believe in Lu Xiaofeng’s unique skill. The situation is urgent, please extend much forgiveness.”

“Why do they have to believe in my skill?” Lu Xiaofeng asked.

“Because I need you to do me a favor,” Ying Yan Laoqi replied.

“Does the favor require something like this?” Lu Xiaofeng asked.

Ying Yan Laoqi said, “This matter is not only bizarre, it is very mysterious. Not only mysterious, it is brimming with crises.”

“Oh?” Lu Xiaofeng said.

“This matter involves thirty-five million taels worth of gold, pearls and jewels,” Ying Yan Laoqi said.

“And what else?” Lu Xiaofeng asked.

“And a hundred and three astute, capable and experienced Wulin martial art masters, all disappeared in one night,” Ying Yan Laoqi said.

Lu Xiaofeng’s eyes already grew big, because such a huge amount of treasure, so many Wulin masters, unexpectedly disappeared in one night. This matter must be very mysterious, very dangerous, but must also be very interesting.

Mysterious, dangerous, interesting. Only one of these three, Lu Xiaofeng would be attracted to it; not to mention there were all three?

Therefore, Lu Xiaofeng quietly listened to Ying Yan Laoqi narrating the entire incident.

At the end, Ying Yan Laoqi added something, “This matter not only concerns the Central Plains’ thirteen biggest escort agencies’ survival, as well as their honor and disgrace, there are also at least seventy or eighty distinguished men of Jianghu that very soon would have their families bankrupt, ruined and have their reputation swept away.”

Lu Xiaofeng listened to the entire story quietly; he did not say a single word. All around him, nobody made any noise; not the least bit of noise.

Because they were afraid that a least bit of noise would disturb Lu Xiaofeng’s concentration.

Therefore, all of them were holding their breath and did not move, they all looked at this four-eyebrowed Lu Xiaofeng.

Lu Xiaofeng looked at Ying Yan Laoqi, “Three teams investigated this matter without any result?” he asked.

“No,” Ying Yan Laoqi replied, “Not the least bit.”

“Not even anything remotely suspicious?” Lu Xiaofeng asked.

“There was something suspicious,” Ying Yan Laoqi replied, “Just the morning of the day before this thing happened, there was a group of carpenters passing through that place, transporting several large carts of wood. They said it was to make Buddha statues and wooden fish.”

Lu Xiaofeng’s eyes shone brighter. “Buddha statues and wooden fish?” he pursued.

“That’s right,” Ying Yan Laoqi replied.

“Why didn’t you pursue the trail?” Lu Xiaofeng asked.

“We did,” Ying Yan Laoqi replied, “That night this group of men left. Furthermore, we found out that they were Taiping Wangfu’s [Prince’s mansion] carpenters. There was not the least bit of suspicion there.”

“Oh?” Lu Xiaofeng said.

Lu Xiaofeng’s four eyebrows seemed to gather together. It was his appearance when he was very deep in thought.

Lu Xiaofeng raised his head up, he looked at the men in black and the military officers surrounding them. “Are these gentlemen handling this case?” he asked Ying Yan Laoqi.

“That’s right,” Ying Yan Laoqi replied, “If further investigation did not come up with anything, we have only one way to go.”

“Dead end,” the Old Fox said.

“What do you have to do with this matter?” Lu Xiaofeng asked.

“At first, not the least bit,” the Old Fox replied, “Too bad someone suddenly came to my Fox Den.”

“Who?” Lu Xiaofeng asked.

“You,” the Old Fox replied.

“Me?” Lu Xiaofeng asked.

The Old Fox said, “Because I did not die, Ying Yan Laoqi deduced that you must be alive as well; therefore, we have been waiting for you here for five days.”

“Your wait is over,” Lu Xiaofeng said.

The wait was over, but what’s the use?

The fifteenth day of the sixth month was the deadline set by Prince Taiping’s Heir Apparent. Today was already the fourteenth day of the sixth month; hence Ying Yan Laoqi’s countenance did not look any better.

“Is Prince Taiping’s Heir Apparent a person who can listen to reason?” Lu Xiaofeng asked.

“Absolutely,” Ying Yan Laoqi replied.

“In that case,” Lu Xiaofeng said, “Tell him that someone has seen one of those hundred and three people, moreover, he has also seen the missing treasure.”

Everybody looked at Lu Xiaofeng’s face with wide eyes. Ying Yan Laoqi’s eyes were the biggest.

“Is that true?” It was everybody’s question with different mouths, same voice. There was excitement, but also nervousness in their voices.

“After all, Lu Xiaofeng is Lu Xiaofeng!”

It was Ying Yan Laoqi’s gasp of admiration.

He did not know that to see those more than a hundred Buddha statues, Lu Xiaofeng had gone through countless dangers, storms and perilous situations.

Lu Xiaofeng nearly died in the ocean. Lu Xiaofeng nearly died because of a sentence spoken by Beef Soup. Lu Xiaofeng was almost killed by Minister He.

But he managed to turn peril into safety, not only that, he managed to see those wooden fish in that secret room, and the treasure inside the wooden fish, plus the ‘Titan Hawk’ Ge Tong, who ‘lived inside the Buddha statue’.

Lu Xiaofeng suddenly remembered when he was knocked down by the storm and fell into the sea, he saw some kind of fish.

— Wooden fish.

And then the Buddha statue he sat on.

Thereupon Lu Xiaofeng said to the Old Fox, “You were the one transporting those things.”

Naturally the Old Fox was not the only one being shocked.

— There were also Ying Yan Laoqi and those men in black and the military officers.

They suddenly surrounded the Old Fox.

The Old Fox wanted let out a wry laugh, but he could not even put out a bleak smile.

“But you did not know the inside story at all,” Lu Xiaofeng continued.

The Old Fox let out a long sigh.

“Where are those things now?” Ying Yan Laoqi asked.

“Do you trust me?” Lu Xiaofeng asked.

Ying Yan Laoqi said, “As soon as this case broke out, I immediately thought that only you can solve it, hence I went out to look for you. Just think, do I trust you?”

“Very well,” Lu Xiaofeng said, “Go tell Prince Taiping’s Heir Apparent, ask him to give you fifteen more days allowance. In fifteen days, I will definitely bring everything back to you.”

“Can I go with you?” Ying Yan Laoqi asked.

“You can’t,” Lu Xiaofeng replied.

“Why?” Ying Yan Laoqi asked.

“Because that place is really too dangerous,” Lu Xiaofeng replied.

Lu Xiaofeng would never let anybody else risked danger. In time of crisis, he could only dash on bravely with no thought of personal safety to solve the problem. This is Lu Xiaofeng’s character.

Ying Yan Laoqi understood Lu Xiaofeng’s character. Hence he did not insist.

Lu Xiaofeng said, “And now I need a big ship, and the Old Fox’s help.”

The Old Fox suddenly felt very happy.

Even Ying Yan Laoqi and the others were not allowed to participate in this adventure, yet he, the Old Fox, could. Wouldn’t it be a great pleasure in one’s time on earth?

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