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Why would Fu Wanqing ever miss out on such an interesting spectacle? Her eyes were shut for a little rest, but the noise of her surroundings still fell upon her ears in its entirety. Yang Wumin’s loud shout caused all eyes to focus in on her, and her lips hooked up into a light smile.
Suddenly, a pressure came from her waist. She turned her head to gaze at Yu Shengyan’s slightly creased brow.
“Fu Wanqing! Do you dare to say before everyone here that that woman isn’t Yu Shengyan?!” Yang Wumin flipped around to land in front of Fu Wanqing, hate filling her stare.
“So what if she is? So what if she’s not?” Fu Wanqing answered casually, playing with her fingertips as she gave Yang Wumin a look out of her peripheral. “Did this pain in the ass Whitepath Alliance invite everyone over today just to have us watch the Zhong brothers fight over a woman? Or to see the Yang siblings posture themselves? The Guanyin was something of mine that your Protectancy lost. My old man doesn’t mind, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to look into it. I don’t care if there’s a treasure map, I just want the Guanyin. I dare ask you, Lady Yang of the Protectancy — where is it?”
Getting swept over by her smiling eyes, Yang Wumin abruptly felt a chill run through her heart. She took a step back. “H-How would I know?! Why aren’t you asking Yu Shengyan? Maybe it’s in the hands of her Creed people!”
“Yang Wumin, has Yang Yifei never taught you how to behave? All things need to have specific proof. You can’t just place everything on Jadeite Water Creed’s head. Since everyone’s already here, let me make this all clear.” She chuckled, stood up while supporting herself on Yu Shengyan’s shoulder, and covered her mouth as she yawned, looking extremely tired. “The Guanyin had been lost a year ago. Why was there no investigation made at the time? Your dear father had been willing to humble himself to my dad, but the Alliance Leader didn’t have any thoughts about it. You’ve found Ma San’s corpse, right? You all dare not say that you have, because your murderous Yang escorts killed him.”
“H-How did you…“ Yang Wumin choked her voice back in time, staring wide-eyed with a face full of incredulity. It was true that they had already found Ma San’s body, but they hadn’t killed him. Similarly, the assassinated craftsman Lu Qi’s corpse had been looked over, and the technique used looked like the work of their own disciples.;
“You want to ask me how I knew, right?” The other smirked. “Is this not just what your own people told me? Do you siblings still remember someone named ‘Cosmos Sleeve’ Gui Li?”
“Him?!” Yang Wugong’s face sunk, and he hobbled over to be in front of Fu Wanqing. “A scumbag that betrayed us isn’t to be trusted. We truly do not have the Guanyin. If one word of what I, Yang Wugong, have said is false, then may the Heavens strike me down with lightning!”
“Pledges are the most useless thing ever!” A delicate-sounding rebuke echoed; the pipa-holding Chun Fengxiao was late to the party. She leaned against the mahogany banister of the stairs, refusing to take another step. “People about to die will speak the truth, and everything points to you! The Guanyin had been in your hands; why would someone risk the danger of offending the Manor of Chivalry just to steal an ordinary jade piece? It had been a birthday gift for Eldest Lady Fu, and what’s hidden inside it is a treasure map that Alliance Leader Fu wanted! This here is a letter Lu Qi had left behind for me!”
She shook out her hand, and a display of messy handwriting appeared before everyone’s eyes.
As a craftsman, Lu Qi’s writing had been one of a kind in jianghu, made of hard and flowing-together strokes that couldn’t be replicated.
“Nonsense!” Yang Wumin leapt over to wrest the thing away from her. All of a sudden, two pale silhouettes flew down from the second floor railing, and she hastily drew back from their soaring palms. They were two masked women in pink clothing; no one was sure when they had come to hide upstairs, nor if they had been there the whole time.
“Miss Chun Fengxiao, could you pass the letter over so that this humble one can take a look?” Shen Shengyi asked mildly.
One pink-clothed woman presented the letter to him, then withdrew back to Chun Fengxiao’s side.
As his gazed slashed across the words, his complexion grew darker and darker. He shot a look at Yang Wugong. “Within this year, the Protectancy has expelled ‘Iron Arhat’ Ma San and ‘Cosmos Sleeve’ Gui Li; the former for losing one escort, and the latter for lecherously harassing Madam Yang. Both of them had been cast out only one month apart. When the Creed Head came to jianghu, Uncle Zhong was suddenly murdered, and Lu Qi died as well. These things appear to have no relation, but—“
“What ‘appear to’? They flat-out aren’t related.”
Shen Shengyi’s speech got interrupted by someone else. From the roofbeams dropped a young man in black who randomly threw chicken bones all about, then rubbed his greasy hand on Shen Shengyi’s shoulder, drawing his lips back in a grin. “I say, Brother Shen, your guess is a little lacking, there. Ma San lost cargo, Gui Li perved on a woman — what’s wrong with them getting expelled? As for the timing, it’s nothing more than a coincidence, eh? It’s possible that a Creed disciple did Uncle Zhong in, but Lu Qi? He was probably guilty of not keeping his mouth firmly shut and blurting out the secret of the Guanyin. Did it come out only after his death? No! Obviously, it got out first, and that’s why he died.”
The youth in black happened to be the Young Leader of Flying Falcon Fortress, Guo Ju.
Shen Shengyi wrinkled his brow as he stared at that filthy mitt. “What is your wise opinion, Brother Guo?” he questioned softly.
“Wise opinion? No such thing.” Guo Ju happily brought the wine up off the table for a sip, smacking his lips in content. “In fact, whether the Guanyin’s in the Protectancy’s hands or no, what does it have to do with us? That’s something that Lady Fu ought to worry about. It was her thing that got lost, after all.”
“This matter concerns the Protectancy’s reputation, as well as connections between the Whitepath Alliance,” Yang Wugong answered.
Guo Ju waved him off, huffing coldly. “You all still have a reputation, with your loose father and his loose son? How many of the Alliance’s shops have you lot lost in this year alone? No wonder that old man Yang Yifei never dared to compete with Fu Hui over the position of Leader. Don’t even talk about the Alliance with me, either. My pops says that it won’t hold up sooner or later!”
Shen Shengyi slapped the table. “Guo Ju, you’re too impetuous!” he bellowed.
Guo Ju cracked his mouth open, showing off his neat white teeth. “This Young Lord has always been impetuous. I’m not like you, Shen Shengyi, where I’m burdened with everything in order to hold my fame in jianghu.”
Third Young Master smiled carefreely. “Is this the very Whitepath Alliance that has joined forces to wipe out the Demonic Creed?”
He turned around to see her, and then his eyes shone. In a flash, he came up before her, laughing as he spoke. “A dogshit Alliance, really. It’s nothing more than a bit of a drag. All it knows is the Jadeite Water Creed; why isn’t it turning its sights on the recently-emerged Limitless Palace, huh? How could this bunch of idiots have my intelligence? If the Alliance is capable of surviving this, then it’ll be my turn to be its Leader. Fu Hui had sat in that chair at a young age, too, y’know. By the way, pretty big sister, do you want to be my Alliance Madam?”
She snorted softly, gaze casting over to the Zhong brothers.
Guo Ju rolled his eyes, grinning. “Don’t look at those two wimps. They still have to keep up with their mourning period, there’s no way they can marry you.”
She nodded, smiling back. “Makes sense.”
Zhong Shixiu went and threw a palm at Guo Ju’s chest, gray-faced. The latter yelped in surprise, flying backwards like a dried-up leaf. Right as people believed that he would fall violently onto the floor, he did a twist, landing stably. “Lady Fu, look at what Zhong Shixiu did,” he called out in grievance. “Won’t you help your li’l bro?”
“Guo Ju!” Zhong Shixiu shouted angrily, clutching the hilt of his sabre and rushing forwards. Suddenly, a slender, pale hand was placed in front of him, shortly mesmerizing him. He tilted his head with a grin, wanting to touch it, only for a pow to ring out as someone slapped him on the face. He wasn’t even mad.
“Sister Fu, that sister next to you is really pretty. Can she be my Alliance Madam?” Guo Ju asked cheerfully, eyes entranced as he came up before Fu Wanqing.
She shook her head with a smile. “Nope.”
He covered his chest. “Do you hear the sound of my heart breaking, Sister Fu?” he exclaimed, completely over-the-top fashion.
“We aren’t here to watch this farce!” some of the jianghu fighters sitting below finally shouted, unable to take it anymore. In an instant, more echoes started sounding out.
“Who you lot want as wives is your business. We all want to know: does the Protectancy have the Guanyin? Is the treasure map monopolized by Lead Sentry Yang?”
“So what if it is? So what if it isn’t?” Yang Wumin was really getting annoyed. Nearly everyone’s eyes came in on her, which made her feel a little hesitant, but she persisted in speaking. “If we did have it, would any of you dare to come snatch it from us?”
Shen Shengyi sighed. “Wumin, you can’t just say whatever you want. Do you actually?”
Tears filled up her eyes. “Of course not,” she trembled out. “Don’t you believe us, Brother Shen?”
He shook his head, looking down. “I’m also hoping that you don’t. The enemy we face is great, and there can’t be any incidents happening in the internals of our Alliance.”
“Enough, enough. Look at all your faces! Allow me to inform you all of what I’ve scouted out,” Guo Ju’s strange call sounded out again. Putting his hands behind his back, he paced around the hall. “For this affair, we need to speak about the year prior. Lu Qi had always been one of the Manor’s, and was ordered to make an incomparably gorgeous jade Guanyin statuette for its Eldest Lady. The thing is worth as much as a city, but it’s still far inferior to the map hidden inside it. You’ve all heard of Haze Island, yes? There’s a lot of treasures hidden on it, natch, but its most treasured things had been the pearls in the Island Owner’s palm. Two heroes were selected for them, but they also wanted the treasure map, eh? The two of them conducted a little something in secret; but our Alliance Leader’s methods are terrifying, and his feet were quicker to get ahead. To keep this secret concealed, he used the cover of the Guanyin to make Lu Qi put the map inside it. Yang Yifei isn’t common goods, so he’s long found out—“
“Guo Ju, you liar!” Yang Wumin shouted admonishingly.
With a flick of his finger, he straight-up sealed her muting acupoint, huffing coldly. “I wasn’t done talking yet, what are you shouting for? What do you even know?”
“Dare we ask how you know this, Young Lord Guo?”
“Me?” He pointed at his own nose with a grin. “My dad told me, of course. Fu Hui and Yang Yifei thought they had hidden this perfectly, but is there any wall in the world that wind doesn’t pass through?”
“So, you’re saying that the Protectancy has the map?”
“Nay, nay. Right now, it’s…”
His voice abruptly came to halt.
Because a spinning, blood-red throwing knife had come whirling in, cutting off a strand of his hair.
The translator says: who’s crashing this blow-y party now???