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184 Self-defeating

 A dim moon overlooked the lovely night. It was midnight now. Meng Qi and the other two laid flat on the wall, quietly waiting for movement inside the Hall of Diligent Government.

Time gradually passed. Abruptly, a loud noise came out of the hall as if the roof had caved in and the columns had collapsed. A dull thud boomed. It seemed the sound of the Palm Gusts being pushed by two massive joint inner forces.

Meng Qi could indistinctly see the window papers flying and the candlelight swaying inside the hall.

The guards of the Taiji Hall naturally noticed such a commotion. They vigilantly took up their arms and rushed over, making for a chaotic scene.

"Stop!" The trio was about to sneak into the Taiji Hall when they heard the guard leader loudly barking his order to prevent their spontaneous action.

He said in a high voice, "Our duty is to protect the Emperor. We shouldn't leave our posts even if we're caught in a landslide! Dear brothers, we should never fall for distraction tactics. If the Right Chief Minister needs our help, he'll let us know!"

The reason why he could become a leader to the other guards was that his ability to systematically handle emergencies and calm unrest. The Emperor and the Right Chief Minister regarded him in high-esteem for this trait.

The guards returned to their original position one after another and warily looked outside. Their eyes were focused, not letting off any little movement.

Meng Qi's heart sank. It would be difficult for them to deceive the guards and sneak into the Taiji Hall in this situation. After all, these guards could be considered as the Top Class Master Pros, or at least the ones at the level of Eye Apertures. If the guards concentrated their whole energy to secure the Taiji Hall, they wouldn't be able to make the guards neglect their infiltration with the weak spirit enveloping them unless they could directly interfere with their senses.

Yes, it would be dangerous if he regarded his enemies as fools... Meng Qi gently took a breath and told Luo Shengyi to carry out the second plan through the Secret Voice-sending.

They hadn't been careless when they made their plans earlier. They had considered all the situations they might encounter and planned their countermeasures. The current situation wasn't beyond their predictions.

Luo Shengyi nodded and slowly drew away from the rest under the cover the wall provided. Meng Qi and Ruan Yushu crept along the fence to get to the rear of the Taiji Hall.

Taking cover under a passing dark cloud, Luo Shengyi slipped from the wall and hid under the railing. He flicked the little pebble in his hand where it hit the fire extinguisher tank on the other side.

"Who?!" All the guards turned to look in that direction.

Luo Shengyi jumped out, taking advantage of the chaos to slip straight into the hall. He ran as quickly as a speeding horse and nearly blended into the shadow of the flame.

"Assassins!" The chief of the guards was calm. Since the sound of the pebble didn't completely divert his attention from his sentry duty, he immediately discovered Luo Shengyi and loudly alerted the rest of his presence.

Amid the clangs of the weapons, the guards came and surrounded Luo Shengyi.

Taking a deep breath, Luo Shengyi tiptoed on the beam and pounced on the guard leader. His punch was crude in its simplicity but its force and airflow were continuously changing, unpredictable and difficult to grasp.

Luo Shengyi's punch filled every corner of the guard leader's sight, making him feel as if he was crushed under the pressure of Mount Tai. His legs were trembling beneath him.

His boxing technique had already accomplished primary level and formed its own style.

Puff! A guard who put himself between his leader and Luo Shengyi drew his sword but was fiercely hit by the airflow of the hurled fist. He was thrown backward, blood spewing from his mouth.

Luo Shengyi's fist didn't stop. In the guard leader's eyes, it was as if the fist was the only thing that existed between heaven and earth.

"Kill him!" the guard leader shouted, lowering himself. Twisting his waist and oscillating his arms, he put all his strength and genuine Qi into his right fist to return Luo Shengyi's attack.

Boom!

The two fists collided with a dull thud, raising a strong airflow all around. Blood trickled down from the corner of the guard leader's mouth and his fist turned into a bloody pile of flesh. He was forced to take three steps back.

But he managed to slow Luo Shengyi's momentum with his fist. The rest of the guards had arrived and his men on the roof and from a distance were all equipped with crossbows, ready to attack.

Luo Shengyi would never let himself fall into a desperate situation. Using the force created by their fist collision, he flew upward and reached the ledge with his tiptoe, diving for the wall. He pressed on the wall with his left hand and threw himself over.

Swish! The second he disappeared over the wall, one arrow after another hit the place where he once stood.

A large number of guards ran after him this time, all carrying a burning desire to do their duty and capture the assassin. With the guard leader's current injuries, it was difficult for him to stop them.

The moment he heard the guard leader informing the guards about the assassin, Meng Qi took advantage of the chaos and immediately cast out his grappling hook to hook the eave rafter. He tugged strongly onto the rope, propelling himself over.

Ruan Yushu left the wall and hid in the nearby garden, waiting for Meng Qi. She would cause another commotion to distract the guards once they began searching if she didn't see Meng Qi leaving the Taiji Hall.

Each of them executed their responsibilities, as per their plans.

Meng Qi 'flew' to the rear entrance of the hall. He pressed on the secret look, crushing it, and dashed inside.

Suddenly, he saw two silhouettes in front of him. The two person stood near the door leading to the main hall, holding their swords in alert without caring for the commotion outside. Of course, they didn't think the intruder to just push the door and enter.

This hall was truly equipped with layers and layers of defense! Meng Qi remained calm and lifted his body into a tiptoe. He gained speed abnormally quickly, like a ghastly ghost.

Now that he was inside, he was very close to the room where the unconscious old Emperor was located in. His plan was to forcefully break-in at full speed!

Either way, he wasn't here to assassinate the Emperor. He was here to check on his condition. He was sure he could flee before getting besieged by the guards, whether by flicking a pebble or kicking through a door.

He dashed toward the two guards and raised his sword. He slashed in a crooked and disorderly fashion, completely contradicting all principles of sword art.

His move allowed the tip of his sword to zigzag unpredictably, yet didn't sacrifice speed. Before the guards could lift their swords to intercept him, he had already pierced their throats.

The guards acted subconsciously, waving their swords and wanting out the words, "Assassin!"

Meng Qi immediately changed the motion of his sword. With a flash of his sword light, the two guards clutched at their throats and fell with sickening thuds. Their fingers were completely soaked with blood.

They were killed on the spot with less than two movements, without even the time time to shout the words, "Assassin"!

The Nine Strategies Beyond the Swords was truly a slaughtering tool... Meng Qi couldn't help sighing with emotion. As long as he did not encounter the top grand masters in this world, this swordsmanship could help him win swift battles without even needing the Ananda Oath-breaking Bladesmanship.

He cast his Arresting Wind and Capturing Shadow and swept through the hall like wild wind, dashing into the corridor. In front of him were four masters guarding the place where the unconscious old Emperor laid, the Ziji Pavilion.

Suddenly inspired, he fully operated his Golden Bell Shield and lowered his shoulder to ram into the wall.

After his Eight Nine Mysteries cultivation, his strength had greatly increased and his Golden Bell Shield had entered the sixth pass. With a flash of dark gold light, a large human-shaped hole could be seen on the wall.

Humph! If they guarded the door, he will walk through the wall then!

It even saved him time!

But this didn't seem quite right... He felt like a humanoid tank... He dashed into the Ziji Pavilion. He lifted his body into a tiptoe and flicked a pebble toward the royal bed, wanting to force the Emperor to react. Once he confirmed the Emperor's condition, he could run before the four masters arrived.

The pebble flew and was about to fall upon the royal bed and hit the old Emperor asleep in the shadows. Suddenly, a jade-white hand appeared with magic light and repelled the pebble.

A middle-aged scholar dressed a silk robe came out from behind of the screen of the royal bed, wearing a smile. He was handsome and white-haired with unspeakable wicked charm.

"Evil Prince..." Meng Qi squinted at the newcomer, drawing his sword. The Evil Prince was actually here? Meng Qi had predicted many traps and enemies, but never expected that enemy waiting for him here would be the Evil Prince!

The Evil Prince, Guan Ying, looked at his right hand with a smile as if everything was under his control. On the contrary, Meng Qi couldn't even begin describing the dread he felt. With the fighting intention rising up in his heart, he posed his Evil Ordeal and Ice Palace Sword. He released his spirit and made himself harmonious with his surrounding environment.

Meng Qi didn't dare escape under the Qi confrontation between Qi activities. When their Qi became tussled, the Evil Prince's critical strike would definitely come. And he wouldn't be able to use half his power because of his escape.

As part of his spirit latched itself onto his sword, Meng Qi felt the sword becoming an extension of his body. With the help of his Spirit, his mind could detect the hazy conditions of his environment and vaguely grasp the Evil Prince's tendency of genuine Qi.

But the four masters at the door weren't aware of anything strange inside at all.

Now he knew their bodies were occupied by the Evil Prince, without being able to sense anything. The Immortal Pressing Art was terrifying, so was the Evil Prince... Meng Qi and Evil Prince looked at each other, neither feeling cowardly.

Outside, it had gradually quieted. The guards were left unaware that two men had intruded into the Emperor's chambers.

"This old devil faked his death to lay down the grounds for his big scheme but miscalculated the wills of humans. He tried to be clever but ended up self-defeating and really died." In the leisurely manner of a grandmaster, the Evil Prince turned to point at the Emperor lying on the bed as if he was gossiping with Meng Qi.

Don't this guy know that most villains die from too much talking... Meng Qi secretly mocked the Evil Prince. He stared at the royal bed, noticing the Emperor's pale complexion, swelling skin, and bleeding Seven Apertures. He had obviously been dead for some time.

"Scheme?" Since he was momentarily safe, Meng Qi also wanted to clarify this matter.

The Evil Prince leisurely laughed. "Though the old devil neglected the actual combat, he had no lack of resources of the scripts and was more or less a master. How could he fall into a coma so easily?"

He was right. In the world of kungfu, an Emperor didn't need to be a top martialist but must at least have some strength. Never mind the need to prevent accidents or assassinations, the benefit of strengthening one's health and prolonging life was enough to make an Emperor want to cultivate kungfu. Meng Qi wasn't surprised to hear this.

"So that's why he pretended to be in a coma?" Meng Qi asked in a deep voice.

The Evil Prince shook his head. "No. The old devil was aged yet hadn't enjoyed enough of life. He kept looking for ways to prolong his life. And during this peace negotiation, the Young Lad of Jiang Clan fled to the capital city. He got Wang Derang to help him to seek refuge with the old devil in exchange for the final whereabouts of the Blessed One."

"The old devil attained the Blessed One's relic, a peculiar crystal stone condensed out through the reversal of the essence of Holy School and the theory of Buddha's relics. But he was too eager to take in the core spirit to enhance his strength and slow down aging. He couldn't bear it and fell unconscious."

"The Young Lad of Jiang Clan already found the Right Chief Minister? Before General Lu entered the capital city?" This news surprised Meng Qi as it didn't explain the Right Chief Minister's behavior.