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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

133 A Storm is Coming

 After a trance, Meng Qi said without changing his expression, "We came from north, but we indeed passed by the Quicksand Town. Qu Jiuniang is truly beautiful. But she has a pettish personality and a flagrant penchant for money."

"Aye! It's truly her! When she sees gems, gold, and other valuable stuff, she'll be radiant with beauty. Her eyes and expression will be indescribably intoxicating... " Drunk Xie was suddenly elated and could not stop talking. "You know what, this is yet not the most desirable moment for her. You should see when she gets drunk. She would be like... "

He burped and finally stopped, and sprawled over the table again reeking with wine stench and started snoring. It seemed that the mentioning of Jiuniang made him anxious to sleep and dream about "dating" with her.

Meng Qi could not think of any valuable information, so he left Old Cao Hotel with Gu.

When they left, a snow-white and delicate hand appeared near one ear of Drunk Xie. It pinched the ear and jerked violently.

"Ouch!" Drunk Xie let out a wail.

...

Having stepped back to their residence, Meng Qi saw Zhong Yashe paced about in the mixture of excitement and dread. Gong Shayue watched beside with the same expression.

"Head Keeper, what happened?" Gu Changqing asked, having hinted at the expression in Meng Qi's eyes.

Zhong Yashe managed a smile. "Yuan Mengzhi and Castellan Bai co-issued an invitation. They invited all the brothers to a feast in Castellan Mansion to thank us for the escort along the way."

"Escort?" asked Meng Qi, assuming a curious look and sniggered to himself. Yuan Mengzhi was clearly playing dumb.

Zhong Yashe sighed. "Aye. I think he wants to open with us and will ask us to leave after the feast. Alas, you haven't yet spent the gems, have you?"

"We've pre-paid for the way to escape. Five thousand taels altogether. The latter part could be paid after the escape." Gu Changqing's news made Zhong Yashe devastated. "Yet Head Keeper, if Yuan Mengzhi forces us to leave, there must be people who disobey him and cause some troubles. We could continue as what we've planned."

"True. There are about seventy or eighty Enlightened Master Pros, including one with Seven Apertures and one with Eight Apertures opened. How could he count that they would obey his order? Even with the help of Bai Bazheng, it's hard for them, for we've outnumbered them. Zut, if Yuan Mengzhi is an iron hammer, he wouldn't be able to pound too many nails." Zhong Yashe had already decided to continue, but he needed reassurance and encouragement from others.

He paused and went on. "Brother Meng. You and Little Yue come with me tonight. Don't be rash if anything goes wrong. Brother Gu and Wu, you stay here, and arrange for our men to get ready for the arson and plunder."

Since it was not an auspicious feast, he would certainly bring his best champion, Meng Qi, even though he was too reckless to be curbed. As for Gong Shayue, she was stronger than Wu Yong, though Wu Yong was superior to her in rank.

Anyway, they also need people for the plunder. So Zhong Yashe kept Gu Changqing and arranged Wu Yong to surveil and assist Gu.

Hearing such feast, Meng Qi roughly understood what Yuan Mengzhi had planned. Even if Zhong Yashe forbade him to go, he would find a reason to join him. So he did not decline, but said tersely, "As you please, Head Keeper."

"Great. Let's go back to rest. Tonight after we leave, Brother Gu, please go to Old Cao Hotel one more time to make sure that Drunk Xie has made the arrangement." Zhong Yashe bade with character somewhat resembling that of a boss.

In his room, Meng Qi was pacing back and forth with his hands crossed behind his back. He had a lot of thoughts and found it hard to keep calm.

"It would be much easier if I have the poison, Grieving Wind Softener." sighed Meng Qi. He had been biding his time, but the time rarely came in the desert. There were some chances in Oasis, but they were hard to seize in spite of any tricks, for Yuan Mengzhi just waited there with preparation, which left him no chance to sneak attack.

If time was plenty, he could find a way. He could wait for a certain landscape and rescue Zhen Hui according to the pattern Yuan Mengzhi showed.

"But the time was insufficient!"

In such a boisterous banquet, Nose Apertures would be dramatically affected, so the "Grieving Wind Softener", which specialized at debilitating the Inner Qi Force and had no color or smell, would yield a perfect result, for Yuan Mengzhi had no Kung Fus like Violent Sand Super Force to resist the poison.

While the candle made of Seven Hearts Begonia also had no odor and color, it was too toxic and would affect everyone, especially for people without Kung Fu. There would certainly be common servants in feasts like this. Let alone the violation of his principle, the common people would quickly be affected, which would alert Yuan Mengzhi and others because of their poisoning in advance. He then would have no chance with so many horse bandits around.

What was more, these were all based on the situation that Yuan Mengzhi must have no preparation against poison, which had a little possibility. Obviously, he intended to rescue Zhen Hui in such a chaos. Yuan would be circumspect.

"I have to wait and see." sighed Meng Qi. Perhaps he could rely on the chaos and conflicts between gangs like that of Zhong Yashe and Yuan Mengzhi. Yet this chance was probably a set-up.

Without this chance, Meng Qi would probably spare himself the jeopardy of being trapped, and seek vengeance for his Junior Brother later.

Having finished packing his thought, Meng Qi calmed down and started to meditate. It was useless to be anxious at that moment, alternatively, it would affect his judgment.

Gradually came the dusk. Meng Qi was startled by the knocks on his door. It was Gu Changqing.

"Zhong Yashe calls you for leave now," said Gu grimly. "Be careful. Don't do reckless stuff."

"Aye. Of that I never do," said Meng Qi with a placid smile.

When he was crossing the yard, he suddenly felt a strong wind. The branches were wavering in the wind.

He was amazed and looked up at the sky. The afterglow turned from dark crimson to gloomy.

"A storm is coming... " Meng Qi's expression was very strange. It was a mixture of surprise and elation.

Now he had an odd idea in his mind. It was about a title from some unknown book he had read a long time ago,

"A Research on the Convective Weather in Large Oasis Areas..."

Fish Sea could be seen as an extensive oasis tract with the immense lake.

Gu Changqing raised his head and rejoined, "Aye, a storm is coming. It'll be a deluge. But what's wrong with you?"

Normally the weather like this meant implied a tempest.

Meng Qi withdrew his expression and resumed his stoic look, though he seemed much relieved. "The time has come... "

"Time has come?" Gu Changqing exclaimed with surprise.

Without answering him, Meng Qi walked to Zhong Yashe and others, bantering, "The rain is coming! The thunder is coming! Don't forget to take back your laundries."

"Playing dumb again! "

Gu Changqing thought with resentment. He really wanted to punch him for this. Yet he managed to calm down and went towards Old Cao Hotel.

...

The feast was ill-boding. Zhong Yashe kept silence due to stress, while Meng Qi kept his cold face silently, his left hand pressed on the sword.

Inside Castellan Mansion, a maid led them into a large hall, where they found their seats. Zhong Yashe saw that almost every horse bandit was allowed his own trestle table. Bai Bazheng admired the ethos of the Central Plains and preferred ancient etiquette, so they were each assigned a trestle table instead of sitting around a rectangular board. Zhong Yashe was seated along the aisle as other chiefs, while Meng Qi and Gong Shayue were sitting behind him.

Having seen so many familiar faces and the orderly arrangement of servants, Zhong Yashe suddenly panicked. This situation showed that Yuan Mengzhi and Bai Bazheng were very aware of him and other chiefs of horse gangs, for the number of guests was accurately calculated.

"We shouldn't mess with them here." He admonished himself.

"Head Keeper Zhong, how our fates were intertwined!" Wang Hong's voice suddenly came from around. They were seated pretty close.

Meng Qi pressed his left hand at his sword and feigned ready to strike in no time. This made Wang Hong very resentful and embarrassed.

Seeing the space in front all of them, Wang Hong seemed to have thought of something interesting. He guffawed and said, "Little Brother Meng. Do you really want to be famous? Now it's the chance. You'll surely become renowned if you defeat any of these chiefs here. And if you can defeat Boss Yuan Meng, alas, your name would be sung all over the Immensity Sea!"

"Wang Hong, don't talk nonsense." rebuked Zhong Yashe. He was startled by this talk. He really dreaded that Meng Qi should be provoked and went to challenge those horse gang chiefs. This would undoubtedly disgrace Yuan Mengzhi! He gave a frowned look to Meng Qi, suggesting inhibition and calm.

"Brother Meng, you've despised our rules so many times, and one more you'll be finally successful. Just defeat Boss Yuan Meng. We'll all surrender to you. Or I dare to say you are a craven."

Meng Qi closed his eyes and withdrew all his Energy, Qi, Spirit and Will. He still needed to bide his time.

Seeing Meng Qi managed to calm down, Zhong Yashe approved him silently. Yet Wang Hong snorted and went on his satire and abetment.

After a while, the emerald-eyed and yellow-bearded Yuan Mengzhi came with Du Mo and Zhen Hui from behind the hall. Castellan of Fish Sea City, Bai Bazheng came to sit beside him as the host.

Bai Bazheng had half Han blood, his facial features resembling those of stone statues. He was over 50-year-old, his hair all white, wearing a tall hat and slack robe, the sleeves flagged with the wind. He was a typical ancient Chinese scholarly official.

Meng Qi opened his eyes and looked at Zhen Hui. He was as usual, but his face showed sorrow and wistfulness. Meng Qi was quite relieved.

After Bai and Yuan seated successively, a horse bandit bound Zhen Hui beside. Zhen Hui stared at the food on the trestles and licked his lips.

"Such a glutton!"

Meng Qi scorned and smiled. He closed his eyes again and kept cultivating the momentum.

Yuan Mengzhi cleared his throat and was about to give the speech to the horse bandits below.

"Boom!"

A sudden thunder exploded above and interrupted Yuan Mengzhi.

Outside the mansion, dark clouds huddled over. Lightning danced violently as silver snakes.

Yuan Mengzhi coughed again and attracted everyone's attention. But instantaneously he saw a young horse bandit walked out the crowd to the center of the aisle, with his hand pressed on his sword.

In consternation and fear, Zhong Yashe saw Meng Qi unsheathed the Ice Portal Sword and pointed at Yuan Mengzhi.

"I appeal for a challenge."

"Ah?"

Everyone including Wang Hong gaped at him.