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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

72 The Strength of Onlookers

 Worried about being discovered by Twelve Animal Zodiac Gods, Meng Qi watched over You Hongbo from afar. It was only when he saw the door was closed that he was assured that they had come. Then he rushed towards the house as quickly as he could.

He gracefully jumped into the room and closed the windows in a deliberately slow manner. He waited for the Hare to speak first, in case there was etiquette for greetings between the Twelve Animal Gods that he did not know of.

Seeing Ennea Monkey come as easily as he had returned to his own home, You Hongbo was furious and full of hatred. He thought himself to be clever, yet he never expected to be so easily spotted by both Hare and Ennea Monkey. He was simply in panic over the loss of his consignment and momentarily let down his guard.

"What are you doing here?" The Hare was the first to speak out of surprise.

Meng Qi chuckled. "I'm taking him to exchange for the white jade joss. Of course I can't take it away on my own if dozens of masters are watching."

He had made up this excuse for long, but he was cursing internally. If he had peerless skills, it would be easy for him to take the joss even if the room was filled with masters.

"Why you are stealing it so openly?" The Hare did not suspect his identity, but asked about the burglary.

"It's a task I undertook recently. I have to do it this way," Meng Qi answered vaguely.

It was inconvenient for The Hare to inquire about another person's task so she nodded. "Mine is kidnapping You Hongbo. Don't you fight me on this."

"No problem. As long as You Hongbo is missing, You Tongguang will surrender the joss to me," Meng Qi answered casually. His eyes were suddenly focused at the closed windows and he said gravely, "Sword God in White... "

The Hare was surprised and turned her ears to listen, but she saw Ennea Monkey flashing towards her like a phantom, his finger pointed at her major acupoint.

It was too late to defend herself. She had to counterattack instead of dodging him. She reached out her fingers towards Meng Qi's chest.

The Hare's specialty was her hand attacks. She did not believe that her acupointing skill was weaker than Ennea Monkey's, who was strong only in bladesmanship.

Her move was indeed faster than Meng Qi. With a flash of her ebony fingernails, she struck Meng Qi at some major acupoints on his chest.

But a golden flow of Qi flushed over through Meng Qi's meridians. The Hare felt both her hands were jabbed into something hard. The pain was unbearable. Her chest became numb with several finger strikes and her whole body was frozen.

Meng Qi was gasping for breath. He still felt numb in his chest, for The Hare's acupoint-sealing skill was quite strange. It had perforated slightly into his Golden Bell Shield and affected his Qi circulation. If he did not avert her attack from his Mid-chest Acupoint, it could end up being a lose-lose situation.

"Looks like I should never underestimate my opponent and behave in such a rough manner... " Meng Qi summarized.

He was aware that he had little knowledge of Twelve Animal Zodiac Gods. If he said something wrong, he would be suspected. So he never intended to pry anything out of The Hare. He planned to seize her and extort secrets or details about the other Animal Gods from her. He would only be able to blend in with the group and complete his side quest this way.

"What do you want?" The Hare asked in fear.

Meng Qi did not reply. He sealed her and You Hongbo's aphonic acupoints and brought them outside.

This was not the ideal place to do his interrogation.

He had barely stepped into the yard when he stopped abruptly, wearing a grave expression behind the grinning monkey mask.

The falling leaves swirled down from the Wutong tree in the courtyard. The figure's robe was as pale as snow. The shining reflection off his long sword drew everyone's attention.

The swordsman was slender and tall, with dark brows and a tall nose. His white garb was immaculate. Underneath his coldness was a hint of decisiveness.

His face was distinctively handsome, yet people would only notice the deep and sharp stare of his black eyes.

It was him! Sword God in White, Luo Qing!

Meng Qi thought of this name reluctantly. Did he jinx it without his previous trick? Sword God in White was really here!

Luo Qing stared at Meng Qi and said coldly, "You Twelve Animal Gods are all guilty of the most terrible crimes. I'll exterminate you."

He raised his sword and said placidly, "Unsheathe your blade."

Should Meng Qi tell him that he was not Ennea Monkey... Meng Qi had no idea which side Luo Qing stood and decided not to expose himself. He left The Hare and You Hongbo and drew out his Buddhist Commandment Blade, imbedding his inner energy into the blade. The Pearflower Storm Needles was in his left hand.

When Luo Qing thrust his long sword, all sheen in the yard seemed drawn to it. The glaring sword shine emanated coldness.

The sword shine seemed to occupy all of Meng Qi's sight. Light beams came from every direction, overwhelmingly and unstoppably.

The power of just one sword move! How formidable!

Meng Qi found all his senses affected, but this consciousness did nothing for him. He could not tell where Luo Qing's real sword was coming from. Even if he put up a tough defense, it would be full of defects due to his tampered senses.

Luo Qing might also have opened the Secret Chamber of Spirit. No wonder he dared to challenge Cui Xu as a relatively young grandmaster!

Yet he was even scarier than Cui Xu. He had not transformed his body, but his innumerable swords were capable of producing mirages! Meng Qi's Needles could only target at one direction. He simply could not rival him!

Meng Qi closed his eyes, withdrew from listening, and ignored the sensation on his skin. The world suddenly quieted. He felt like he was reciting mantras in the Buddhist hall, forgetting himself in Dhyana, and living a life with only the morning bell and the evening drum.

In the next second, a long blade flew up. The temple collapsed, clamor resumed, and the bell and drum were broken!

Meng Qi struck with his blade without concealing anything, having magically understood the source of Luo Qing's strikes.

Luo Qing seemed somewhat dazed, as if he was disturbed by the intent of Meng Qi's blade move. His long sword slowed down.

Just when Meng Qi's Peace Quietude Split was going to fall upon Luo Qing, some eight people jumped into the yard. Some were barehanded, while others carried long staff or other weapons. But they all wore animal masks, such as rat, tiger, bull, snake, and the like.

Twelve Zodiac Animal Gods?

Surprised, Meng Qi withdrew his Peace Quietude Split. These Animal Gods targeted Luo Qing instead of him. They wanted to take advantage of Luo Qing's trance, storming over with their swords, blades, staffs, and their killing intents.

Luo Qing waved his long sword and warded off their attacks. Most of their weapons fell upon shadows, but Primus Rat, with his palms walloping around, managed to move close to Luo Qing.

Luo Qing's expression did not change. He plunged his sword and prodded Primus Rat's palms with his sword hilt.

Did they use Meng Qi to assassinate Luo Qing?

Meng Qi felt fortunate that he did not finish his Peace Quietude Split move or he would have exposed his trump move. But he would be facing a worse predicament later, that his power would be drained before he could deal with those atrocious Animal Gods.

There was a massacre going on here and there might be ambushes waiting outside. Meng Qi did not want to be stuck in such chaos. He grabbed You Hongbo and fled.

He had no idea know what flaws he exposed, but the fact was the Animal Gods had long identified him as an imposter. Thus, they set up this trap and used You Hongbo to lure him to a duel with Luo Qing. At the crucial moment, they charged in to try and end Luo Qing.

Therefore, it did not matter whether he took The Hare with him.

The Animal Gods were still dealing with the God of Sword, so no one stopped Meng Qi from leaving. Only The Hare stood up slowly and watched him from behind.

Her acupoints were actually not sealed!

"Your acupointing sucks. I just wanted to play a trick... " She clenched her teeth. But she knew she was not Meng Qi's match, so she did not follow him.

Far away from Dabei Temple and after encircling the city several times, Meng Qi finally slowed down. He had many questions in his mind.

"How did they find out I'm an impostor?"

"Why are they so sure I'm capable of weakening Luo Qing without first being killed?"

"They're actually atrocious enough to murder a grandmaster... "

...

The next night, Meng Qi sneaked back into You's Mansion and took a look around. There were so many people that there was not even room to stand!

Many kungfu practitioners came to watch Ennea Monkey's burglary. This event was something worth boasting about and if they were lucky, they might even arrest Ennea Monkey.

"Master Zhen Ding, come here! Here!" It was Yue Shishi's voice coming from above. Meng Qi looked up and found the four youngsters hiding on the beam by the eaves.

"Master Zhen Ding, there's no other place to sit," Ning Daogu said.

Meng Qi's mouth twitched. Was this a concert arena or the headquarters of Jianghu thugs?

Climbing on the beam, Meng Qi looked at You's Mansion from afar and asked, "Ennea Monkey isn't here yet?"

"Nope. I heard Living God of Wealth and a score of masters have enclosed the joss. No one could steal it away," Nie Yao answered, repeating what she was told.

...

The white jade joss sat atop a square table in a hall within You's Mansion. 20 masters, including You Tongguang, surrounded the table. Birds cannot fly in; insects cannot climb in.

"Old You, why are you so worried? Even if a grandmaster came, he has to take it by force. How can Ennea Monkey be a grandmaster?" said an old senator dressed in a fortune frock, smiling.

You Tongguang sighed. "I can't seem to rest easy."

A loud rumble came from afar before his voice even faded away. The whole house was trembling.

"Sky Fulminator of the Thunderbolt Hall?" an old man exclaimed.

"Be careful! It could be Ennea Monkey's trick!" You Tongguang reminded others loudly. Everyone turned their backs against the table and guarded their positions. Some were watching over the doors and windows, some the ceiling and roof.

All of a sudden, someone yelled from afar.

"Third Young Master is kidnapped!"

"Third Young Master is kidnapped!"

You Tongguang's expression changed. "Please hold your positions. I'm going to find my son."

The white jade joss was certainly far less valuable than his son!

No one objected. They started to guess whether the true target was You Tongguang's son. The joss may only be a distraction.

While they were guessing, You Tongguang had long left. They continued their watch.

After a while, the hustle and bustle gradually subsided. You Tongguang returned with an enervated You Hongbo. His expression froze the moment he stepped in, his eyes staring at the table behind the guarding masters.

"Old You, what happened?" someone asked.

You Tongguang pointed at the table. "The joss is stolen... "

The masters turned their head, surprised. The joss was no longer on the table. There was only a piece of paper.

"Thank you for the gift. I couldn't be more grateful. Best regards, Ennea Monkey."

Someone read what was written on the paper in bewilderment.