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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

197 The Aristocratic Families of Yi City

 Having been ripped by the edges of boats and reefs and nibbled by the fish underwater, Childe Tang's clothes were in shreds and tatters. There was nothing left on him and even his long knife had sunk into the water. Thus, Meng Qi found nothing valuable.

The moon was shining faintly on Childe Tang's face, highlighting the sincerity and unwillingness in his eyes. His tears had evaporated, leaving behind mottled traces.

"Huh?" Meng Qi had already opened his Eye Apertures. He found something wrong with the tears under the changing light and shadows. It was not a problem with the tears, but the skin.

He groped Childe Tang's face with his left hand little by little. Suddenly he pinched a layer of skin from the ears and tore it off.

It was a mask of human skin!

Meng Qi held the mask and looked at Childe Tang's face, making a sound of doubt.

It was not that Childe Tang had changed into another person. There were crisscrossed scars all over his real face, which held the same appearance and features as the mask. Although they were not new wounds, the face looked more ferocious and horrible with the scarring and wrinkling. It was difficult for the deep wounds to fade away.

"He wore this mask only to cover his disfigured face," Meng Qi surmised, looking at the thin mask in his hand.

The mask was well crafted. It would have been difficult for him to notice if Childe Tang had not shed tears before he died.

"So many wounds on his face...These were by no means formed from fighting, but as if he had been tortured by someone..." Meng Qi speculated.

If they were from fighting, there would be only one or two gash wounds. The numerous crisscrossed wounds would make people shudder; they had obviously been made by someone deliberately.

Thinking of the expression of fear and vigilance Childe Tang had revealed when he spoke of going out to adventure, and the fact that he had been murdered by another assassin when watching the battle between Joy Devilman, Iron Hand Devilman, and Shan Xiumei, Meng Qi was sure that it was a complicated matter. Childe Tang might have offended someone who should not be offended and known something he should not know and ended up being cruelly tortured and killed by an assassin.

After thinking for a moment, Meng Qi put the human-skin mask in his pocket. He bound a heavy object to Childe Tang, then threw him into the river to conduct a water burial.

"It's not clear, I can't get involved in this." Meng Qi sighed, erased traces and went back to his cabin. He would wear the mask in the World of Samsara so that the enemy would only come back to the main world to seek Childe Tang, who had already been missing for a long time, for revenge.

A few days later, the Junk Ship left "winter", and entered "summer". On both sides stood mountains, on which there were continuous luxuriant woods and apes and monkeys who cried out ceaselessly.

The Junk Ship passed through the steep peaks and came to a plain. There were thousands of kilometers of fertile soil as well as houses and paths.

In the cabin, Meng Qi had reached the primary stage of "Purple Thunder Force" with the assistance of thunderbolt mark. He had also begun practicing "Violent Thunder Shocking the Sky" of Purple Thunder Bladesmanship.

The Junk Ship went upstream into the tributary Ya River and arrived at Yi City a few days later. Yedu was further up ahead.

Because it was well-known that Meng Qi had killed Iron Hand Devilman, nobody dared to harass him. Upon arriving at Yi City, he left the remaining useless things in the cabin. He left during the night so that no one had any idea where he had alighted from the boat.

With a bundle on his back, Meng Qi was dressed as a scholar visiting relatives. He paid the admission tax at dawn and stepped into Yi City. The city was not a large one, but it was quite prosperous.

Qi Zhengyan was easy to find. Meng Qi asked someone who looked like a brave man from Jianghu the whereabouts of Manager Qi of Huanhua Swords Sect and got the information he wanted. He wandered forward at his own pace, taking in the sights as he did so, and even bought a stick of candied haws.

Seeing the horizontal board FLOWER-WASHING RICE SHOP, Meng Qi adjusted his official's cap and clothes and entered with a smile.

It was still early morning. Qi Zhengyan, in a blue robe, was instructing the tavernkeeper and other assistants without emotion, when suddenly he saw an attractive boy come in. He revealed a look of effusive surprise.

It was rare to see expressions on that poker face. The tavernkeeper and assistants turned around to look. Meng Qi said with passion and a brilliant smile, "My cousin, I have come to you!"

The corner of Qi Zhengyan's mouth twitched a bit, then he changed his expression back. He said in a tone of seniority, "Come with me."

He turned around and headed for the backyard. Although Meng Qi had been telling him that he would come to him, it was unexpected that he had come so quickly.

The tavernkeeper and assistants were so astonished to see the young cousin of the Manager that they forgot to greet him. This made Meng Qi confused.

Entering the room in the backyard, Qi Zhengyan shut the door and served Meng Qi a cup of tea, "Junior Brother Meng, you are no longer in Xuanwu City?"

Meng Qi had mentioned before that he bummed meals off Zhang Yunshan in Xuanwu City.

"Senior Brother Zhang attracts great attention. I quit when the time was right and came to you. Am I not welcome?" Meng Qi deliberately teased him, "By the way, we should call each other Cousin. Don't spill the beans."

Qi Zhengyan's face quivered, "I never meant that, but you should have met me in private to discuss first."

"What's the problem?" Meng Qi asked Qi Zhengyan about his situation. He had bought land for his parents in their hometown and had not picked them up here. After all, the position of Manager was not fixed, so he might be appointed to other regions to take care of the overseas industry.

Since his parents are not around, pretending to be his younger cousin should not be a problem, right?

Qi Zhengyan shook his head, "My other cousin came to me before, but got into trouble. It would attract people's attention with your sudden coming."

"No wonder the tavernkeeper and assistants revealed weird expressions." Meng Qi realized and added, "Last time we met, I noticed that something was bothering you, what was it?"

He took the opportunity to fulfill the task Jiang Zhiwei had entrusted him with.

Qi Zhengyan looked even gloomier. "It's a long story."

"Then take it slowly." Meng Qi stared at Qi Zhengyan.

Qi Zhengyan knocked on the table and began his tale. "There are two Managers of our sect in Yi City, one is leading and the other is assisting."

"I know, you are the deputy. The leading Manager is one of your Uncle Masters," Meng Qi replied.

Qi Zhengyan clasped his hands together, "When I first came here, Uncle Master always held me off. Then he found me silent and honest. I didn't even go out of the yard, so gradually he let me take charge of the rice shop and some granges."

Huanhua Swords Sect owned a vast expanse of fields, numerous granges and shops in Yi City. Maybe these meant nothing for great masters, but for ordinary Disciples in the enlightenment period, just to get a few these could be enough for them to lead an abundant life without a shortage of resources.

Therefore, at first the Uncle Master of Huanhua Swords Sect had really wanted to take hold of and exploit Qi Zhengyan's weak points. He was eyeing his position as well. But as time passed, he found that Qi Zhengyan liked practicing martial arts and was quite honest. He handed over some unimportant powers to him, lest he could not stay and apply for returning back so that a tough deputy might be appointed here.

"My cousin, you should not care about this, the additional benefits should be taken as your unexpected fortune. You should eat and drink as much as you can with that money." Meng Qi called him cousin many times, in case he addressed him wrongly outside.

Qi Zhengyan shook his head, "I am very satisfied with my current condition. I've got some spare money to purchase houses for my parents and brothers, but the situation in Yi City has changed."

"What?" Meng Qi realized what Qi was worrying about. He was afraid of losing a stable life in the main world, resulting in him being unable to practice and improve martial arts at ease. He would then be unable to fulfill missions in the World of Samsara to gain reputation in the future.

"Although Yi City is small, it is backed by Yedu. Many vendors are doing their businesses in this bustling city. There are four aristocratic families, Tang, Ye, Ling and Wan. The Ye family and the Ling family attach themselves to the Wang family from Zhou County and want to suppress us to erode our industry here. While the Tang family and the Wan family are closely related to our sect. We work together to keep the balance and stability of Yi City."

Qi Zhengyan's long hidden fear was finally revealed to Meng Qi, "One month ago, the master of the Tang family became seriously ill, so many things were out of control. His sons fought amongst themselves. Some wanted to attach to the Wang family, while some wanted our sect to stand up for them. Everyone was in panic and had their own ideas."

"Since then, the Wan family has drifted away from us and we do not know what happened."

Meng Qi frowned slightly, "If you, the Huanhua Swords Sect take your stand to give full support to one person, there is no need to worry, right?"

"This is exactly what we want to do, but if we support someone, there must be a fight. I'm not afraid of most masters in Yi City, but I can't fight in full force in broad daylight due to the special Kung Fu. Otherwise people might raise doubts." Qi Zhengyan showed a slight frustration.

The "Book of Chaos" was a Peerless Godly Kung Fu on the first page of the Dominator of Samsara in the Six Realms' exchange list. Unlike most types of Kung Fu, it was comprehensive and powerful. Although Qi Zhengyan had only consummated four Apertures and almost opened his Nose Apertures, he had also accomplished the primary level of Azure Blizzard. He was confident he could beat most masters who had consummated six, seven and even eight ordinary Apertures.

Meng Qi laughed, "It's a piece of cake. I can fight for you later. But you have to send people to help me if I meet a powerful enemy that you and your Uncle Master can't handle openly."

"Ok." Qi Zhengyan nodded slowly. Since Meng Qi was here, it freed him from most of his concerns.

"What happened to your cousin?" Meng Qi questioned.

A rare expression of annoyance surfaced on Qi Zhengyan's face. He explained, "My cousin came to Yi City half a month ago, but the tendons of his hands and feet were cut off by the Foreign Official 'Ghost Shadow Sword' Li Sui of the Ye family. We had both the witness and material evidence, but the Ye family said that we deliberately set them up. They also found someone on their side to commit perjury so as to protect Li Sui. To avoid conflicts between the Ye family and our sect and the Wang family's intervention, Uncle Master persuaded me to cure my cousin first and calm things down. We would deal with this after the matter of the Tang family was settled down."

Meng Qi frowned slightly, "What's up with the attitude of Huanhua Swords Sect?"

"Uncle Master did not report it." Qi Zhengyan looked gloomy. "I sent my cousin back to his hometown to recover. Even if he is cured, he has no future in Kung Fu."

Meng Qi nodded and asked, "How's the strength of the four families?"

"It has been a tradition for a long time that there were Precious Weapons repressing the families. But we have not seen any Half-step Exterior Scenery for many years, so their sphere of influence has been narrowed within Yi City," Qi Zhengyan said roughly. "After all, the aristocratic families never lack resources and experience. Never mind the masters who have consummated eight or nine Apertures."

Meng Qi gently nodded, smiled and said, "Don't mention it, my cousin. You must buy me a drink to celebrate my arrival!"

"I'll go and get the sweet-osmanthus brew," Qi Zhengyan said in a daze.

Meng Qi laughed, "Ok, what's the tasty food in Yi City? I'll buy it to go with our drinks."

"Wufeng restaurant is nearby. Pig meat and beef sauce are pretty good," Qi Zhengyan responded after thinking for a while.

Meng Qi left the backyard and set foot in the street under the attention of the tavernkeeper and assistants. He randomly stopped a passerby and asked,

"My pal, do you know where the Ye family is?"