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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

199 Using Your Means Against You

 Qi Zhengyan lost control of his expression which had become oddly splendid. After a moment of silence, he asked in a low voice, "Was it the Ghost Shadow Sword?"

"Indeed it was." Meng Qi answered indifferently. He continued to eat and drink.

Qi Zhengyan did not ask about what had happened to Li Sui but fell silent again. He was renowned for his Ghost Shadow Sword. In fact, he would not be anything without his sword. When he had his sword, one would either die or be seriously maimed, there being not much of a difference.

If you do not count the time it took Meng Qi to buy braised beef and pigs head from Wu Feng Restaurant, he only needed a half a cup of tea's time to go to the Ye Mansion, kill Li Sui and make his getaway! And this was him going about it in a casual way, not exerting his full effort. He could have killed Li Sui and been gone before anyone even realized what happened.

Li Sui was a renowned Seven-Apretures swordsman who had accomplished the primary level of the Inner World. So if anyone could kill him with just a few moves, then this person possessed strength greater than that of several Nine Apretures masters!

"I just found this jug of wine from the cellar..." he muttered as he took Li Sui's Ghost Shadow Sword. He ran over the tip of the sword with his hand and thought, "This is the very sword that cut the tendons of my cousin, rendering him unable to continue the path of Kung Fu". If it weren't for the fact that the next Samsara was the Death Task, he would have wanted to find a cure for his cousin's injury.

Meng Qi chuckled. He had expected this kind of reaction from Qi Zhengyan when, before the wine was even opened, he had already killed the enemy, the enemy whose blood was still warm. This was the style of a true swordsman.

He enjoyed this kind of feeling, but it wasn't something he would focus on. Meng Qi was still quite logical and pragmatic. And would never exchange for anything impractical or things that he could gain naturally during a task.

Qi Zhengyan returned the Ghost Shadow Sword to Meng Qi. It was his battle trophy after all. "Li Sui gets killed right after you arrive. We're bound to be suspected by the Ye family."

"So what? What's there to be afraid of?" Meng Qi answered carelessly. He took another sip of Osmanthus wine. He could tell it was a great wine because it was sweet on the tongue but left a burning aftertaste.

Qi Zhengyan looked at him with confusion, unable to understand why he was not the least bit afraid.

Before Meng Qi answered, he took another sip of wine and had some of the broad beans Qi Zhengyan had prepared. Chewing on the beans, he added, "Cousin, you lack the discipline that a disciple of a respected sect should have."

"What now?" Qi Zhengyan asked with a frown.

Meng Qi laughed and replied, "Unlike the peaceful Shaolin Buddhist Temple, where emphasis is placed more on doctrines and classics, the Huanhua Swords Sect will, first and foremost, protect their own interests."

"You're the image of the Huanhua Swords Sect in Yi City. But you don't have the power or pull to demand the Ye family hand over the murderer Li Sui because your cousin isn't a Huanhua Swords Sect Disciple. Conversely, they too, are afraid of asking you to hand over the murderer, for it'll be like declaring war on the Huanhua Swords Sect. Even the Wang family of the Zhou County don't dare to take on the Huanhua Swords Sect! Plus, they wouldn't want to get the Six Fan School involved either."

"As for an assassination, they wouldn't be that foolish. These aren't exactly peaceful times. You couldn't get away with using a Heterodox Expert to kill and then letting the Huanhua Swords Sect go on a manhunt and be done with it. If something were to happen to you, the Huanhua Swords Sect would definitely investigate, by which time, all evidence would point towards the Ye family."

"I don't care what hidden agendas your Uncle Master has or how many bribes he has taken. The murder of an area Manager of a large sect simply can't be covered up."

Though Qi Zhengyan nodded in agreement, he still had another concern. "But if all the evidence points to you then..."

Meng Qi laughed and shook his head. "Remember that your cousin's tendons were cut in front of a crowd too. What did the Ye family say then? If I remember correctly, they accused you of making up accusations and buying off witnesses! You can throw this back in their faces and they wouldn't dare make a peep for fear of the Huanhua Swords Sect."

"If a disciple from a respected sect seems scared, then it gives off the impression that you're weak. Only when you're strong and firm can you make them remember that the whole Huanhua Swords Sect is behind you. Remind them about the sect's divine weapon and the countless experts of the Exterior Level."

Qi Zhengyan then explained, "I've always been just an ordinary, careful and discreet disciple in the sect. These qualities carry over into the outside world, which is why I often forget about my sect's reputation."

Meng Qi downed another bowl of wine and added, "Don't worry, cousin. If the Huanhua Swords Sect doesn't back you on such a big matter, then there's no point in being loyal to them. You'd be better off roaming the world with me as a free man."

"I have no doubt that my sect will protect their disciples," Qi Zhengyan said with a more relaxed look. To be honest, in the past, he had been afraid of the sect sending help, in case they discovered his secret. This explained his being low-key. But now he had his "cousin" Xiao Meng. If they were mixed up in confrontations, he had Xiao Meng to deal with it, which greatly reduced the risk of his secret being exposed.

Meng Qi's Inner Qi Force had reached the extent where the weak osmanthus wine had no effect on him. Conversely, his eyes became clearer when he drank. "Cousin, your Uncle Master has a weird way of dealing with things. Is there a reason or is he just timid?"

"Or perhaps he's just old, and thinks more about retirement," Qi Zhengyan speculated.

For a Manager to make some money on the side, he had to split the profit with his superiors and grease the informers. Not to mention that he would have to be discreet, otherwise, he could be exposed. In the span of a year, he'd be lucky to buy a few acres of land and build a new house. So even if Qi Zhengyan's Uncle Master already had land and some real estate, he still wouldn't be rich since there weren't any mines, herb gardens or refineries. If he wanted to leave some money for his children, he had to think of other means.

"Good point. Perhaps he is getting senile in his old age and just wants this whole thing to blow over as quick as possible. Maybe that's why he thought he could solve this business with the Tang family on his own. He's probably afraid that if he reported this matter to his superiors, he'd lose his job over it." Meng Qi gently nodded in agreement.

The people who wanted to eliminate the power of the Huanhua Swords Sect would definitely not resort to direct violence. Even though Yi City was next to Yedu, where the Wang family had a lot of power, it was still far from the headquarters of the Huanhua Swords Sect. And the sect would definitely send its men. If not for other reasons, to protect their reputation. Hence, they would have to first align with other powers and use the tacit violence of refusing to join forces to squeeze out Huanhua Swords Sect's power and influence.

Hence, when the Huanhua Swords Sect saw that they had been given respect and there was only farmland and some small businesses in this area, they would acquiesce to what had been done. At the most, they would blame the Manager for being useless and unable to make good relations with the local powers.

If Qi Zhengyan's Uncle Master was willing to risk punishment to keep the peace and not report this matter, then apart from some hidden agenda, the only other explanation was that he was turning senile.

Qi Zhengyan nodded in agreement.

"Anyway, if you see any sign of corruption, you should report directly to the sect without informing Uncle Master." Meng Qi added, pushing food into his mouth. He took a gulp of wine.

Qi Zhengyan forced a bitter smile. "Honestly, if it weren't for the fact that I'm running out of options, I would not request help from the sect."

The men they would send would definitely be masters of great strength. Some might even be of the Exterior level. And if they said something along the lines of, "Xiao Qi, you're quite mature, let me give you a few pointers", or "Xiao Meng, your sword art is exquisite, how about a spar session? Hey, how come you know the Golden Bell Shield...?" If that were the case, they would be in trouble.

Meng Qi nodded heavily. "Of course, if we could handle the matter on our own, we wouldn't even bother the sect. I was just saying that the sect could be our last resort. And it's something that could scare off others."

Noises erupted from outside. A servant came in and said nervously, "Manager Qi, the Ye family have come asking for the murderer!"

He snuck a fearful glance at Meng Qi and thought, "The manager's cousin managed to kill the Ghost Shadow Sword, Li Sui right under the Ye family's roof. This kind of courage and strength is frightening!"

Could it be that he's here on a revenge mission?

He's the cousin of manager Qi, what should I call him...?

Meng Qi and Qi Zhengyan were extremely calm. After a little discussion, Qi Zhengyan said expressionlessly, "Go and tell the Ye family that my cousin has not stepped outside the door since he arrived."

"Right away manager Qi," the servant answered nervously.

Meng Qi did not bother changing clothes. He just patted himself down and followed Qi Zhengyan to the back yard outside the inn.

There were a few dozen men standing in the yard. It was not hard to figure out that a few of them were skilled masters of the highest order. The leader of the bunch was neatly dressed, and around twenty-five or so years of age. Though he had a young, powdered face, there was a mean look about him.

When he saw that Meng Qi was in blue robes, he pointed directly at him and asked the maid and Foreign Officials, "Is that him?"

The maids and servants of the mansion were dumbfounded, for they dared not look at Meng Qi. When the childe stared them down, they reacted quickly. "It was him. He killed Mr Li!"

The childe turned towards Qi Zhengyan and asked with a scowl, "Manager Qi, why did you send someone to sneak into the Ye mansion and assassinate my Foreign Official? Is this how the Huanhua Swords Sect does things?"

Qi Zhengyan calmly waked down the set of steps, causing him to take a step back. Manager Qi seemed different from the last time the man had seen him, which was just a few days ago.

"What nonsense! You're conjuring up some false charges and wrongfully accusing my cousin!" Qi Zhengyan answered coldly, and he did not bother with further questions.

The man was now furious. "All the evidence points towards him. How am I making wrongful accusations?"

"But of course you are. I've been with my cousin all this time. Isn't that right?" answered Qi Zhengyan as he turned towards the tavernkeeper and other servers.

His eyes were so cold that the tavernkeeper dared not ignore the question. "It is true. Manager Qi's cousin has not stepped outside my tavern."

"Did you hear that, Master Ye? If you continue to accuse my cousin, don't blame me for being ruthless." Qi Zhengyan looked at Master Ye coldly.

Master Ye clenched his teeth. "I don't believe you! Follow me to the governor!"

"Why would an innocent man go and see the governor? Even if you're a kin of the officials, that doesn't give you the right to accuse my cousin!" Qi Zhengyan said sternly.

"Fine! Take them to the Six Fan School!" ordered Master Ye as he pointed at Meng Qi, enraged.

Just as his men were about to make a move, Qi Zhengyan took a step forward and yelled,

"This vicinity belongs to the Huanhua Swords Sect. Think twice before you do anything rash!"

He took another step forward and did not sway.

"Are you sure you want to be enemies with my sect?"

"You want to declare war with the Huanhua Sword Sect?"

His demeanor was frightening to the point that Master Ye and his skilled masters retreated a few steps. Only then did they realize that Qi Zhengyan was the area Manager of the Huanhua Swords Sect!

Just as Master Ye was about to explain, Meng Qi suddenly added with a smile, "Master Ye, do you remember when the tendons of my older cousin's hands and feet were cut? Wasn't it you who falsely accused Li Sui as well?"

Master Ye wanted to give a reply but when he saw Meng Qi's false smile, a chill went down his spine. He remembered Li Sui, who had been assassinated whilst staying at the Ye mansion. It made him swallow hard. He scoffed and turned to leave in such a rush, it was like he was trying to get away from evil ghosts.

"Cousin, I'm not scared, but you should be careful of the Ye family's vengeance. After all, they do have Precious Weapons protecting their family." Qi Zhengyan warned Meng Qi.

Meng Qi was about to say something when he heard crying outside. It was a group of people travelling in horse carriages.

"Could it be the Tang family?" wondered Qi Zhengyan. He asked one of his men to find out more information.

A while later, one of the men returned with his report. "Manager, Childe Tang has been murdered on the river. The people outside were his guards returning with his body. Word has it that, at the time, second young master Tang was also present. But he was hurt by the assassin too and jumped into the river. No one knows if he's dead or alive."

Usually Childe Tang would bring his own guards on his business trips. But since a skilled master like second young master Tang was with him, he had not thought he needed protection, so he hadn't brought them. By the time his guards arrived, he had already been murdered.

They had to wait till dawn before bringing the body back to Yi City, because they had to inform the Tang family first. This was why they were much slower to arrive than Meng Qi.