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187 Nightfall

 "Assassin!"

After the two body guards screamed out, they drew their swords and blades and attacked Meng Qi from different directions. When the emperor was in danger of being attacked, they had to do something as body guards for the emperor. It was the only way for their heads to remain on their shoulders when the incident would blow over.

Meng Qi's meridians were stretched to the extreme. If it weren't for the fact that the Golden Bell Shield and the Eight Nine Mysteries were both Divine Skills of foundational arts that benefited the body so his meridians could expand, he'd already be dead. After all, he couldn't fend off the Evil Prince who had opened nine apertures and Tripitaka. Unlike when the emperor lost consciousness for the first time, he still had a Great Grandmaster, the Right Chief Minister, to help him to suppress and cut off the opponents. Meng Qi could only rely on himself.

His skin bared the marks of swelling. The dark gold glow and the genuine Qi could still be seen as though a little mouse was running along his skin. Meng Qi's breathing was heavy and hot, and he wanted to get rid of the swelling of his body.

Meng Qi attacked with his Ice Palace Sword. Though the move was quite slow, it still sounded like howling wind. Perhaps it was because his genuine Qi had built up too much and he couldn't control it. And any small move he made bared the Palm and Sword Gust like a master of the seven or eight apertures. Even to the extent where the genuine Qi flowed out.

The slow Long Sword was more like a heavy iron bar and not a sword. The Sword Gust was so powerful that a guard had been swept up and hit the beam. Then, the room, already shaking because of the intense battle between Meng Qi, Evil Prince and Sky Thunder, was now on the brink of collapsing.

However, Meng Qi's attack was too slow, to the point where after sweeping up the guard, he couldn't make anymore changes. After that, he could only watch as the another guard came at him with a blade.

He strugglingly turned his head to avoid the Long Knife, which in turn, landed on his shoulders. The dark gold glowed and repelled the guard, who then hit the wall and his head started bleeding.

Having consumed some of this genuine Qi and dark gold, the swelling of Meng Qi's body deflated a little. He even wanted the guards to keep attacking him, so he could feel better.

"The swelling makes me want to scream, 'come and hit me, just hit me'..." thought Meng Qi, finding humor in a dire situation. He gathered himself so that he could remain calm and didn't worry about the aftermath of when the guards outside heard all the raucous. The two guards in front of him then got up and screamed to each other,

"He's using Hard Kung to protect his body, attack his vitals!"

Meng Qi held his sword across his chest, awaiting the two guards' attack while increasing the absorption of his Spiritual Core.

Since the guards were battle tested, when they saw that Meng Qi seemingly struggled with his motions, they changed their attack which was seemingly false and real at the same time.

CLANG!

Just at that moment, ear-piercing sounds of the zither had entered their ears. A strong blast came at the direction of the guards, breaking the long sword of one of them and penetrated his heart.

Ruan Yushu's white robes floated on the ground while she was carrying the seven stringed zither. As she plucked a string, another ear-piercing sound had interrupted their thoughts, and another blast cut the throat of the remaining guard.

She was from an aristocratic family, so she knew what would happen when one forced an Exterior level attack while only being in the enlightenment period. She knew that any attack, be it the talisman Precious Weapons or other Dharma Access, were all extremely energy consuming. And that it was difficult to follow up with a second move after the initial attack. That was why when she saw that Meng Qi had drawn the Sky Thunder, she came in straight away to help and nobody could stop her.

"Get me out of here!" screamed Meng Qi, who was so glad after seeing Ruan Yushu land like a fairy.

When Ruan Yushu saw that something was odd with Meng Qi's situation, she didn't ask any questions and just grabbed him by the shoulder and kicked off the floor and the beam. They jumped towards the wall on the opposite side.

Then she saw quite a few guards enter the hall, so she didn't waste any more time and carried Meng Qi to safety.

As they jumped over the wall, Meng Qi saw a few masters surround them. They were all Top Class Master Pros of six or seven apertures. Yet Ruan Yushu's Seven-string Zither only had 5 unbroken strings left.

Ruan Yushu let go of Meng Qi and placed her right hand on the zither.

Ah!

As if being blasted, one of the masters' back was snapped and smashed on the wall. He no longer made a sound.

Luo Shengyi came out from the garden and his fists pounded out like a dragon, exhibiting many fist forms including the Seven Wounding Strikes, Big Ghost Fist, Hundred-Step Mystic Fist, Stone-Cracking Fist and Iron Fist. Some of these fist forms were at the primary level, some had reached the zenith and some were close to consummation. Just a few attacking moves and a few masters were either badly hurt or dead.

Having dealt with these masters, he quickly grabbed Meng Qi by the shoulder and hid into the garden with Ruan Yushu.

While Meng Qi was absorbing the Spiritual Core, he asked in puzzlement, "Brother Luo, how come you didn't leave?"

According to their plan, after Luo Shengyi distracted the guards' attention, he should have gone to the Hall of Diligent Government, and use the time bought by the battle between two Great Grandmasters to shake off the guard with limited Kung Fu and then leave the imperial palace. "Who knew that he would come back."

Luo Shengyi replied half smiling, "Though I'm quite overbearing, but I never abandon my partners."

When Meng Qi summoned the Sky Thunder, he already shook off the guards with the help of the thunderstorm. But after hearing such a raucous, he assumed Meng Qi had met with some unforeseen circumstances, which was why he returned to see if there was anything he could do to help.

Meng Qi appreciated and nodded gently, then asked Luo Shengyi and Ruan Yushu to scream the words, "The Crown Prince committed regicide! The Left Chief minister poisoned the emperor! The emperor is dead!"

The treacherous minister had defected to the Crown Prince and if he were to take the throne, he would definitely not request Lu Guan's services. After all, in such a vast world, there's no shortage of good generals!

Therefore the best way for Meng Qi to spoil the Crown Prince's scheme to take the throne was to scream those words. Even if people questioned whether those words were true, it would at least plant the seed of doubt in their minds. And at least the Right Chief Minister would revisit the whole situation and reconsider his candidates.

To an erudite man, murdering your father the emperor, was an unpardonable crime. He should definitely not be able to be a ruler.

This was only a part of the task, there was more to do once they got out of the imperial palace. So Meng Qi wanted to try his best to complete the main task.

Luo Shengyi understood what Meng Qi meant, so he screamed on top of his lungs,

"The Crown Prince committed regicide! The Left Chief minister poisoned the emperor! The emperor is dead!"

Ruan Yushu didn't follow suit, she had to maintain her elegant reputation. Anyway, one person screaming was enough.

"The Crown Prince committed regicide! The Left Chief minister poisoned the emperor! The emperor is dead!"

Luo Shengyi kept changing directions, the sound of his scream traversed the rainstorm, making people from all over hearing it.

It wasn't long before the whole of imperial city was in chaos, "The emperor is dead, and it was the prince?"

As they ran, Meng Qi frenziedly absorbed the Spiritual Core. The dark gold of his body glowed brighter, and the sixth level of the Golden Bell Shield kept surging towards consummation.

Meng Qi regained some strength, so he started redirecting the Spiritual Core towards opening his Nose Aperture and related Aperture acupoints.

"The Crown Prince committed regicide! The Left Chief minister poisoned the emperor! The emperor is dead!" no one could explain when or why, but in every corner of the imperial city, these words were repeated.

Meng Qi speculated that it was the eunuchs and guards which had been bribed by the third, fourth and seventh prince, who wanted to profit from troubled times, and in turn, created an opportunity for their masters.

The three of them were getting further away from the direction of the Hall of Diligent Government. As they got near the outskirts of the imperial city, they saw the tall city wall.

And the guards on top of the city wall were mainly focused on the invaders from the outside. In addition, there were many buildings in the city, so it was easy for the three of them to get close to the gate without being discovered.

However, the last stretch to reach the gate was in open space, and Meng Qi was still unable to use the Transformation Strategy. So Luo Shengyi took a deep breath and dashed full speed towards the gate.

Ruan Yushu closely following, her Body Movements were graceful like a fairy.

Then the three of them were instantly discovered by the guards atop the city wall. But before they could load their bows, Luo Shengyi was already at the gate. He pounded his right fist, which was so powerful that three guards' chest had been pounded in, dying instantly.

Ruan Yushu plucked a string on her zither, and it blasted the throats of two more guards.

The guards near the gate were quickly dealt with. Then, Luo Shengyi blasted the locks and opened the heavy gate.

Just as the gate opened, Ruan Yushu threw a body through it and blocked the thousand arrows that came through, turning the body into an hedgehog.

Meng Qi and Luo Shengyi each threw a body through it as well, and blocked more arrows.

Only then did they dart through the gate towards the opposite side of the square.

Their speed was lightning fast, perhaps the fastest than they ever had been, it wasn't long before the reached the end of the square.

Any more arrows that came at them were no longer able to harm them.

They slowed down as they got to a long street.

With the impact of the Spiritual Core, Meng Qi's Nose Aperture and the other related Aperture acupoints opened one after another, almost nearing completion. Yet the Spiritual Core were flowing steadily still.

So Meng Qi had to use the Spiritual Core to impact his Aperture acupoints, but he was somewhat distracted by his speculations, "Was it the third or the fourth Imperial Prince?"

The Crown Prince wouldn't and the the seventh prince was already away from the capital. There were only two Imperial Princes to choose from.

Luo Shengyi then added, "My main task only requirs me to assist one Imperial Prince to sit on the throne, but it doesn't specify which, so what do you think?"

"So there're differences between main tasks..." Meng Qi's earlier speculations had been verified, so he whispered, "I think the fourth Imperial Prince is the best candidate."

Luo Shengyi continued to ask, "What's your reason for suggesting him?"

"Firstly, according to Lu Huasheng, the forth Imperial Prince is the least inclined to negotiate a peace deal; secondly, Devil Empress is locked in an intense battle with the Right Chief Minister, so she can't do it, and we need a Great Grandmaster for what's to come," Meng Qi confessed his theory.

By this time, he was still uncertain if the fourth Imperial Prince would enlist Lu Guan as his general, but he had to take a chance. Anyway, he had plenty of Karma points to spare, so if it needed be, he could lend some to Ruan Yushu.

"You know what it is?" Luo Shengyi slightly frowned and asked about the details of the affair.

"Kill the Crown Prince!" Meng Qi said in a low voice.

Everyone would have heard about the rumor that the emperor was dead, and each side would react accordingly. This night would be tumultuous, and blood would flow like a river. And the dust would not settle until dawn, so the three of them who had no connections in the city could not form an alliance with anyone, had to eliminate all the choices!

And this demonstrated the ability of a master to change the circumstances, albeit a little direct, but effective nonetheless!

"That's settled then," when Luo Shengyi understood Meng Qi's line of thought, he laughed coldly and added, "I'll go and report it and kill the Third Prince along the way!"

If it weren't for the fact that he had invested too much in the Third Prince, he'd not tolerate the Third Prince's attitude.

He changed directions and headed back towards the Prince Hall. The Spiritual Core in Meng Qi's hand was still flowing, his Nose Aperture and the other related Aperture acupoints had been fully opened.

"If this keeps up, I'll 'explode'..." Meng Qi gritted his teeth and took out the 'Heavenly Vision and Earthly Hearing pill'. He decided to add fuel to the fire and break through the realm all in one go to try and get him out of this tight corner!