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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

69 Disputes of Jianghu

 As the pivot of the south-north waterways and the throat of east-west transportation, Destiny City was reputed to be the most prosperous place in the world. At high noon, the streets were so crowded that people were rubbing shoulders.

Cao Manzi, the man who knew everything, hummed a drama script and carried his moneybag without any of danger as it was broad daylight. Due to his new bet, he also had his two thugs accompanying him at all times.

As he walked, he felt a hard object pointing at his waist. A hoarse voice came to his ears. "Turn to the next lane."

The sun was burning brightly, but a cold sweat broke out on his forehead. He neither dared to check it was a real lethal weapon on his waist nor doubted the attacker's courage to commit violence on the streets, Cao Manzi obeyed and changed his direction towards the lane.

On his way there, he noted that the attacker was of medium height and wore a drooping bamboo hat that obscured most of his face.

Just then, his two thugs also realized something was amiss. But they did not dare to venture. One cautiously followed Cao Manzi, while the other ran off to call for help.

Walking through two lanes, they gradually came to a place with fewer people around, surrounded by white walls and black tiles, green moss and weed.

"Enough. Ask the one behind retreat to the mouth of the lane," Meng Qi continued to order with a lowered voice. His forefinger and middle finger were still pointed at Cao Manzi's waist. When he used all his strength, his hands were comparable to weapons.

Cao Manzi had to instruct his thug to leave. Begging in a trembling voice, he said, "Brother, we're all Jianghu men. Peace breeds wealth. If you have any difficulties, I'll definitely give you a hand."

"I heard you're the one who knows everything in Destiny City." Meng Qi did not mention that he had observed him for two days.

Cao Manzi was relieved to hear this. He only wanted to answer any question Meng Qi and send away this god of misfortune. "It's all thanks to others. I have many friends, that's why I have more information."

"Great. If I have a task for Twelve Animal Zodiac Gods, how do I get in touch with them?" Meng Qi whispered.

There was no doubt a way for others to reach Twelve Animal Zodiac Gods for tasks. Otherwise, they would have starved to death if they depended on others to search for their whereabouts the way Duan Xiangfei did.

Of course, Meng Qi also suspected that Duan Xiangfei was already in contact with the Twelve Animal Zodiac Gods and received information from them. Otherwise, they would not have met so coincidentally.

Cao Manzi realized he would feel the hard object pressing closer against his waist if he made the slightest move. He had no choice but to lick his lips and say, "I don't know what you want to do by finding Twelve Animal Zodiac Gods, nor do I want to know. You can try asking at Cicada Hall in Locust Tree Street. Tell the manager you want to buy 380 grams of rootless flower and then tell him the task and remuneration you are ready to pay."

"If Twelve Animal Zodiac Gods agree, an ointment called nepenthe will be available for sale in Cicada Hall. You can directly discuss with the manager. Oh right. You should pay part of the remuneration upfront."

"Not bad. You're quite honest." The hoarse voice resounded in Cao Manzi's ears. Then he heard a clear and crisp sound. Several small silvers were thrown on the ground.

When he looked down at the silvers, a vague figure flashed before his eyes. He realized his attacker had disappeared to the other side of the lane.

"Such skill..." He stood in amazement, feeling a little afraid. If he did not cooperate with the attacker, there would be hell to pay.

He did not have great Kung Fu skills, but he had a large network of friends, so he had pretty eyesight for other's skills.

...

Meng Qi planned on luring Twelve Animal Zodiac Gods by both requesting a task and spreading rumors. But he also patiently did regular things each day. At night, he watched over You's Mansion. During the day, he meditated to improve his Kung Fu and nosed around. After all, word about the duel between grandmasters as well as Ennea Monkey stealing had just gotten around. Some of Twelve Animal Zodiac Gods nearby had perhaps not come yet. Hence, if he requested a task then, it would be himself, Ennea Monkey, who will end up accepting it. That would leave his efforts in vain.

By the fourth day, the martial artists who were in the area arrived one after another. Destiny City became even livelier, with many inns overcrowded with guests.

After satisfying his hunger, Meng Qi returned to the temple. He found two boys and two girls in the yard. They were proper-looking young people. The boys were tall and upright, wearing ritual hats for scholars and large-sleeved shirts. The girls were graceful and pleasant-looking. One was in aqua-green long dress and white boots. The other was dressed completely in white.

They all used swords, but could they wield the long swords as well? Meng Qi was whispering to himself, noticing the four of them were carrying long swords on their waists.

Since the talented Jiang Zhiwei had mentioned it was difficult to learn sword art and even more difficult to use it well, Meng Qi would always pay more attention to those who used long swords.

When inquiring about news, Meng Qi could not be too obvious. Hence he did not wear the white frock he bought. The four people noticed a gray-robed monk coming in, but paid no attention to as they thought him to be one of the monks of the temple. They talked among themselves, chatting about the grandmasters duel, Cui Xu and Luo Qing, and Ennea Monkey stealing the white jade joss. They all looked excited.

"We can surely improve our sword art if we get the chance to watch the duel between the two grandmasters in sword art," the girl in green said longingly. She was a girl of ordinary features, fair skin with several light pockmarks on her face.

The taller man smiled and said, "When that time comes, our fame as Four Meritocrats in the South of Yangtze River will spread."

"Alas, only those with invitation can enter Castellan Mansion to watch the fight..." The white-clothed girl had a round face and was as cute as a button.

The shorter man looked towards the taller man and said expectantly, "Brother Ning, don't you have a wide circle of acquaintances? Can you find a way?"

...

These people were discussing the same topics as those in the tavern did. Meng Qi was uninterested and directly went to the meditation room where he temporarily lived in.

A reception monk came and put his palms together with a smile. "Master Zhen Ding, why are you here so early today?"

"There are too many people outside. It's so noisy that I might as well come here for peace," Meng Qi said casually.

The reception monk pointed towards the four people in the yard. "That's true. Many couldn't find rooms and can only stay in the temple for the moment."

There really were a lot of Jianghu men who came, to the point some were even forced to stay in this ruddy temple... After exchanging some pleasantries, Meng Qi entered the meditation room.

Meng Qi was barely seated when someone knocked on the door.

"What does this donor need?" When Meng Qi opened the door, he saw the taller boy from earlier standing outside the room with a smile.

He wore vintage clothing and had an impressive pair of slender, arched eyebrows. The boy smiled and said, "I'm Ning Daogu of the Four Meritocrats in the South of Yangtze River. The three persons here are my sworn brother and sisters, Ji Xin, Yue Shishi, and Nie Yao. May I know your name, master?"

He really did not need to know their nicknames... Meng Qi answered, "I'm Monk Zhen Ding. Why are you here, Donor Ning?"

Ning Daogu tried his best to show good manners. "Earlier I thought you were a monk in this temple, but I was wrong. May I know which temple are you from? Did you come to watch the grandmasters duel or Ennea Monkey stealing the white jade joss?"

"I believe in Wild Fox Dhyana. I wandered to Destiny City a few days ago; I didn't make a special visit here," Meng Qi answered 'honestly'.

"Oh," Ning Daogu replied. He left after a short conversation.

Closing the door, Meng Qi walked to the wide communal bed. He faintly heard Ning Daogu's voice, telling the other three, "He's an ordinary monk. Nothing special."

"From his extraordinary looks, I thought he would be an eminent monk, a person from Jianghu like us." Yue Shishi, the girl in green, smiled.

"Hey," Ji Xin said. "There is no shortage of people with good looks but lack brains. Do eminent martial school and decent sects choose disciples based on their looks? I say he has most definitely practiced several unprofessional bladesmanships and called it a day."

"Never mind him. The night after is the night Ennea Monkey will steal the white jade joss. Shall we wait near You's Mansion?" Nie Yao said with gusto.

Quickly distracted, Yue Shishi said excitedly, "That's right. Most people in Jianghu would come together the night after. No matter how skilled Ennea Monkey is, a man with two fists can't defeat men with more fists. Once he's discovered, he can't escape this huge trap. When that time comes, we'll have a chance to capture him."

"If we can capture Ennea Monkey, our fame will spread to every corner of the world..." Ning Daogu fell into a reverie.

Meng Qi curled his lips and carefully started his meditation. Two hours later, he walked from his room directly to Ash Street.

Cicada Hall seemed to be a dusty old herbal medicine shop. The manager was dim-sighted and had poor hearing due to old age, hence he did not serve Meng Qi.

Meng Qi wore a plain indigo suit and a bamboo hat. He walked up to the manager, saying, "I'd like 380 grams of rootless flowers."

The rootless flower was indeed a kind of medicine that did not exist.

The manager was using an abacus. When he heard what Meng Qi said, he paused for a moment before continuing his calculation. He said in an aged voice, "380 grams of rootless flowers?"

"Yes. The task is for you to kidnap You Hongbo, the youngest child of You family before the duel between the two grandmasters. I'll compensate with Transformation Strategy."

Though he did not have the completed Transformation Strategy, he could use what he had to bluff them. Besides, he was not afraid of the Twelve Animal Zodiac Gods hunting him down. How could they hunt him down when he would be in the Samsara space?

The manager subconsciously looked up when he heard about Transformation Strategy. He became absent-minded for a long time before sighing. "There's no rootless flower today. Come and get it tomorrow."

Meng Qi smiled with satisfaction. He went out and constantly changed his routes until he reached a secluded place where he took off his bamboo hat and put on his frock.

Back at the temple, he found Four Meritocrats in the South of Yangtze River were surrounded by more Jianghu people who seemed to be all friends. They were having a good chat with one another.

"Who's that monk?"

"An ordinary lone monk."

"Oh. No wonder he's so young."

After a short conversation, they quickly returned to their own topic. Meng Qi continued his meditation.

As they were chatting, they noticed an imposing man coming in. The man was probably in his early thirties, with thick eyebrows and commendable looks.

The man politely cupped his fist before his chest and asked, "Is Master Zhen Ding staying here?"

Ning Daogu intuitively thought the man was not ordinary and walked towards him with a laugh. "We've only arrived today and have no idea who Master Zhen Ding is. Do you mind telling me your name so we can invite the reception monk for you?"

"Mu Hengtian," the man said briefly.

Yue Shishi's expression changed and she said with pleasant surprise, "Are you the little master of the Eighteen Water Routes in the south?"

What? People present gasped in shock. The Eighteen Water Routes in the South is one of the top powers in the world. The head of the organization, Mu Shan, was also one of the first-class Kung Fu masters, as well as Castellan Cui's sworn brother.

Mu Hengtian had gained considerable reputation since his youth. It was said that his Kung Fu had exceeded his father's and he was expected to be a master in the future. He was absolutely not at the level of the so-called Four Meritocrats in the South of Yangtze River.

"The Eighteen Water Routes only has the head of the organization. There's no such thing as a little master," Mu Hengtian said with a stern expression.

"Yes, you're absolutely right," Ji Xin said fawningly, with those around her echoing in agreement.

Just then, Mu Hengtian noticed the reception monk enter the yard and hurried over to ask for Zhen Ding's location.

The reception monk pointed at Meng Qi's room. "Master Zhen Ding has just returned."

What? The ordinary monk was the Master Zhen Ding that little master Mu was looking for? Ning Daogu and the others were all stunned.

Taking a deep breath, Mu Hengtian went to Meng Qi's room. He saluted and said, "Master Zhen Ding, I'm Mu Hengtian. I'm here to avenge the disgrace my father suffered. Please fight with me."