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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

198 Picking Swords Along the Way While the Wine Has yet to Be Opened

 Since the Ye family was a top aristocratic family there, everyone knew where their manor was, and thus Meng Qi found his way to their doorstep with ease.

It was facing away from the river running through the city, where houses went on and on into the distance, green foliage shielded him from the sun, and the refreshing chirping of birds could be heard. Compared to the noisy bustling of the morning market along the streets, the suburbs were a tranquil sanctuary amidst the noise.

The gate of the Ye manor was guarded by close to ten guards. Some looked plump and round, and others appeared full of vitality. The two head guards were on the level of Four Apertures, a clear showcase of the aristocratic family's power.

Meng Qi circled the wall enclosing the Ye manor and discovered that the guards of the Ye family from outside was less than that of the royal palace and Crown Prince's residence. After all, the Master of the house and other important characters were masters of eight or nine Apertureswho could take on most attacks themselves, therefore they only needed to deploy some guards nearby to defend significant courtyards. With experts following the childes around and conducting daily patrols in the manor itself, there was simply no need to have guards with enlightened Aperturesevery few feet apart outside.

--They also did not have enough Enlightened Master Pros to be extravagant like that. The royal palace and the Crown Prince's residence, on the other hand, had gathered countless powerful characters.

Meng Qi went round to an area concealed by the trees and listened carefully for a moment. Then with a forceful push using his left hand, he flipped himself over the wall and landed behind an artificial mountain.

Soon after, a team of retainers on patrol duty trooped past. Since dawn had just broken, they were very relaxed. Thus Meng Qi did not even have to break out his "Immortal Pressing Art" and merely watched them disappear into the distance.

Meng Qi then activated the "Hallucination Body Movements" and turned into residual shadows, before dashing towards the nearby courtyard.

In the courtyard, a retainer was currently engaged in his morning practice, sweat flowing across his deep bronze skin. All of a sudden, he felt his vision blur for a moment, as though a man in green robes had blitzed past. It was like seeing a ghost in broad daylight. Before he could even make out the man's face clearly or scream for help, he was hit by the Snowmelt Acupinning Hand and collapsed facefirst.

Meng Qi projected his will outwards. He synchronized the impressions of his mind and body, and made eye contact with the retainer.

The retainer saw nothing but a pair of deep, dark eyes. It felt like a lake at first, calm and soothing, but upon closer inspection, it was full of vortexes, sucking in his body and soul. The man before him kept growing taller and taller, and larger and larger. It was so terrifyingly imposing that he almost seemed otherworldly.

Meng Qi used the retainer's vocal acupoint as an excuse and calmly asked, "Which courtyard is 'Ghost Shadow Sword' Li Sui in and how do I get there?"

The retainer was unable to activate his inner qi to counter Meng Qi's power. In a trance, he answered, "In the Orchid Fragrance Courtyard, where many foreign officials are... After crossing the opposite bridge, make a right turn... It's the third one..."

He gave a very comprehensive answer, including details like Li Sui being a Seven Apertures master, how the Foreign Officials nearby were mostly on a level of Six Apertures minimum, and that he would be attacked from all sides the moment he was discovered.

Meng Qi had no desire to indiscriminately kill the innocent, so once he had elicited the necessary information about the routes, he tapped the retainer's Lethargy acupoint and tossed him back into his wing room. Then he clasped his hands behind his back and headed for the Orchid Fragrance Courtyard, green robes fluttering in the breeze.

Along the way, after training his Eight Nine Mysteries and Immortal Pressing Arts, Meng Qi's senses grew sharper and his spiritual strength stronger. He could always sense when patrol teams were near and managed to avoid them. Although he was running at a fast pace, it felt like he was leisurely strolling; along with the special technique of the Hallucination Body Movements, even if someone were to spot him, they would believe that they had only seen a hallucination because their vision had blurred.

After a while, Meng Qi sighted a horizontal board with the words "Orchid Fragrance Courtyard" inscribed on it. As he was waiting to slip in, the door of the neighboring courtyard creaked open, revealing a white-haired old man who walked out.

He was a master of at least Seven Apertureswho could casually make his breath fade anytime and conceal the sounds of his movements... Meng Qi took a step out, his silhouette almost an illusion, and activated his Stealth skill. He swung his Long Sword together with its scabbard at the old man.

The white-haired old man had not expected to be ambushed, much less see only a green flash go by before the assailant appeared right in front of him. The pale golden scabbard radiated rays of gold under the early morning sunlight as light and shadow transformed, confusing the eyes. Paired with the continuous variations of his Long Sword, hallucinations were omnipresent. One could not see his way through or understand the situation and was completely unable to counter the attack, because the inability to grasp every phantom image and change would ultimately result in death.

Of course the old man would not be thinking about calling for help. His entire body and soul was focussed on fending off this sword. Cold sweat beaded on his forehead as he retreated several steps until his back was against the door. Then he thrust his two palms forth, changing with the long sword's transformations with immense difficulty.

Suddenly, the sword shadows vanished and the long sword reverted to its simple, unchanging state. It went straight for the center of the old man's palm.

The old man was not able to react in time, and thus could only project the force of his palm outwards to counter the tip of the sword.

Then his expression changed. The sword tip felt hollow and strengthless, almost like a vacuum. It seemed to be drinking the force flowing out of his palm, which soon vanished without a trace.

In his severely weakened state, he staggered forward, when a large burst of energy came gushing out from the tip of the sword. Oddly enough, the roaring waves of energy felt familiar!

It was indeed the force from his palm that was flowing out right then. Before the old man could regain his strength, he was flooded by the genuine Qi from the sword tip. It rapidly sealed off all his various major acupoints, and he fell to the ground with a thud.

Meng Qi did not care to hide anything either. He seized the moment and leaped into the Orchid Fragrance Courtyard, then made a break for the left wing room. That was the only place in the entire compound where the sound of breathing was dragged out, indicative of the presence of masters.

A maid carrying a bronze basin was walking in the courtyard when she spotted a green shadow flash past. However, the moment she blinked, the shadow was gone.

Even though it was still daytime, she felt a shiver run down her spine and goosebumps spread across her scalp. It could not have been a ghost, could it?

--Meng Qi would have taken the chance to tap her acupoints as well if not for the fact that the moment he acted in the courtyard, Li Sui would take notice and flee.

Crash!

She fixed her gaze on the door as it was kicked open, and discovered that the green shadow had darted into Master Li Sui's room.

Li Sui was meditating cross-legged, regulating his Qi. Placed horizontally across his knees was an extremely narrow and thin long sword. Upon hearing the door being forced open, he grabbed the hilt of the sword and was about to leap up.

Right at this moment, a long sword emitting cold air came piercing at an area five inches away from the crown of his head. The sword, strangely, seemed to be a distance away from its target as it hit the air, but then Li Sui came to a horrific realization. His leaping to his feet would mean using the space between his mid-brows to "hit" the tip of the sword. In other words, it was akin to suicide.

He hurriedly unleashed the Thousand Pounds Falling skill and halted the momentum of his leaping up. The long sword swung vertically in an attempt to force the opponent to retreat.

The light from the sword swept outward indistinctly, but the real blade was shrouded in the darkness. It was truly worthy of its title as a ghostly shadow.

The tip of Meng Qi's sword suddenly pointed downwards, "pushing" his entire body into the air. His head was facing the ground while his feet were facing the sky. Thus he managed to avoid the horizontal slash of Li Sui's sword, and went straight for the man's Baihui.

His posture was very peculiar, like he was an evil spirit.

"Oh no, I've fallen into his trap!" Since Li Sui had just used the Thousand Pounds Falling skill to weigh himself down, it was very challenging for him to do anything in the face of the sword aimed at his head. Thus he had no choice but to grit his teeth and wield his sword with his body inclining forward slightly, throwing himself out.

Just then, Meng Qi released his grip on the long sword. It sped up rapidly and penetrated the back of Li Sui's head with a sickening sound, pinning him to the ground.

Li Sui's figure crumpled and slumped onto the floor. Meng Qi retrieved his sword, then took Li Sui's blade from him simply by raising his toes. He then ran out the door.

The duo's exchange had been as short as a breath, leaving the maid absolutely no time to react. She looked on helplessly as Master Li Sui was murdered, then when she recovered from her trance, she screamed,

"Assassin!"

Her shrill shriek alerted the Foreign Officials near the courtyard. They scampered from their houses and stopped their training, then tried to make out where the sound had traveled from.

Meng Qi brushed past the maid and sprinted out the courtyard door. He did not look back even once, green robes flapping as he fully activated the Hallucination Body Movements. In an instant he became like an otherworldly creature, zipping past the patrolling retainers until he reached near the artificial mountain he had encountered when entering the compound.

At this moment, the Foreign Officials had only just arrived at Orchid Fragrance Courtyard in a flurry. The scene that greeted them was a hysteric maid and the fallen body of Li Sui in his room, scarlet blood mixing with the white as it spread outward.

Other than that, nothing else in the room had been damaged.

"Where's the assassin?" A couple of Foreign Officials pressed, while others inspected the corpse.

The maid was so petrified that she could barely stutter, "He left after killing Master Li."

"When did the murder take place?" One of the Foreign Officials inquired.

"I screamed when I saw him kick open the door to kill Master Li..." The maid was not answering the question directly.

The Foreign Officials were horrified. They had rushed over the moment they had heard the maid's cries, yet the assassin had still managed to murder "Ghost Shadow Sword" Li Sui in such a short period of time? He must be someone beginning to master the Inner World, a Seven Aperturesmaster with outstanding sword skills!

"Let's get him!"

"Quick! Report this to the Master!"

The Foreign Officials split into two groups. Upon exiting the courtyard, those in pursuit of Meng Qi soon realized that they had absolutely no idea where the man had run off to!

They made haste and questioned the nearby retainers about his whereabouts, but no one had even seen the shadow clad in green robes.

After vaulting over the wall and bolting into a street nearby, Meng Qi tucked Li Sui's sword away in the bundle containing Evil Ordeal. He dusted the Ice Palace Sword well, and comfortably made his way to Wufeng Tower. The number of people on the streets was gradually increasing, turning the morning marketplace busy and boisterous.

Only after he had a taken a few steps than did gasps of shock and shouts of questions ring out from the Ye manor. The sound of their frenzied footsteps could be heard from outside, painting quite the picture of panic.

Hehe, Meng Qi chuckled to himself. He maintained a neutral pace and made a turn into the main street leading to Wufeng Tower.

By the time the Ye family had made their deployment arrangements and sent their men out, Meng Qi had long been going. The streets were filled with many scholars dressed in green robes.

Carrying his braised beef with sauce and pork head meat, Meng Qi returned to the Flower-washing Rice Shop just round the corner in no time. Meanwhile, the men sent by the Ye family had not even reached that place, and were still investigating all those near the Ye manor who were carrying Qingshan swords one by one.

"Here, have one," Meng Qi greeted smilingly. He tossed a bag of sliced meat at the tavernkeeper and his men.

They quickly thanked him, thinking that this cousin was much more generous than Manager Qi's other one.

Meng Qi entered the courtyard and pushed open the door to the room, revealing Qi Zhengyan currently in the midst of cleaning the dust that had accumulated on the wine jugs. Evidently, the wine inside had aged well.

He peeled off the red paper covering the mouth of the jugs and the refreshing scent of osmanthus and aroma of wine overflowed from within. Meng Qi could not help but inhale several breaths of it.

"You're back so soon?" Qi Zhengyan posed the question casually. He felt that since Meng Qi was unfamiliar with the place, he should have already wasted some time looking for the right place to go.

Meng Qi cheekily set the pork meat and braised beef down and swaggered over to his seat. He then poured himself a bowl of osmanthus wine and gulped it down in one mouthful. After which, he placed a slice of pork and beef into his mouth and chewed them thoroughly. One of them was fatty but not too greasy, and the other was chewy enough; both were indeed delicious.

"Good wine! Good meat!" Meng Qi cheered as he untied his bundle to retrieve Li Sui's sword. He placed it on the table and looked at Qi Zhengyan with a smile. "I picked up a sword along the way."

Qi Zhengyan studied the sword carefully for a moment. At once, his gaze froze and his pupils constricted.