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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

306 The Bright Moon

 Meng Qi noticed that there was another person inside the carriage. She was a white-haired woman with an amiable face. She must have been an outstanding woman when she was younger. Even now she still had clear eyes and very few wrinkles. Looking at her from afar, he felt like she had sucked all the focus toward her.

"The little glutton's elder..." Meng Qi said thoughtfully.

A breeze blew over, lifting the veil. The veil fluttered and covered the window. A succession of sighs resounded around, regretful that they didn't get a glimpse of Ruan Yushu's face.

Those who did witness her beauty felt that she did live up to the rumor of resembling a fairy from the moon palace!

The carriage soon traveled past the restaurant and disappeared at the end of the street toward the Da Jue Temple. Dai Fei and Jiang Hechuan finally looked away from the carriage and smiled. "She looks even better in person."

With their vision and realm, how could the thin veil obscure anything?

"It's just a pity that we won't be hearing her play the zither." Jiang Hengchuan sighed.

Dai Fei felt the same. He patted the table and said, "I just hope that the Nangong family has better luck."

A few words of gossip later, they instantly returned to the topic at hand as if unconcerned by what had happened. Dai Fei took a sip of tea and said, "There was a lot of activity last night. Wolf King has likely found a different place to hide. Looks like we have to ask Master Wang or Wang Buchi to augur his whereabouts."

Wang Buchi, also known as Just in Time, was a Rogue Cultivator. He was hell-bent on finding a good master, so he sought out the Wang family, who had given him some guidance. Later on, he became quite a well-known augur in the River East. Since he was timely in everything he did and took advantage of the opportunities presented to him, people nicknamed him Buchi (Never Late). He soon began to adopt the nickname too. Only the Six Fan School knew his real name. Wang Buchi's nickname meant that he was never too early nor too late.

Today, he was the elder diplomat of the Wang family that guarded the Su Garden. He was also a true master of the Exterior. However, since he only received a partial impartation, there was still a large gap in his augur skills and that of Wang Siyuan. The latter belonged to the Oneness of Heaven and Men but cultivated the "Derivation Sutra".

"We have to enlist the help of Green-ribbon Dai instead of Master Wang to augur the location for us this time. The last time Master Wang augured something for me, I ignored his answer. How could I ask him again?" Meng Qi didn't want to see that Invalid again. If he needed an augury to be done, he could have done it when he was at Han Sanniang's house. But he believed that Wolf King was trying to stir things up to create a distraction.

If he really used augury, he might be used as a chess piece again!

Dai Fei nodded. "Leave this to me. The two of you can just keep an eye on North Street."

"No problem." Meng Qi and Jiang Hengchuan had no reason to object.

Dai Fei held his cup of tea and mocked himself, saying, "It's actually quite useless. We've already alerted Wolf King and he'll go deeper into hiding, along with a long list of people of the North Street, the Luo Denomination, the Destruction Sect, the Method of Mistress Su, the Unrelenting Tower, the Life-changing Sect, and the other Nine Evil Paths. Even the powers from the grasslands, the West Regions, the East Sea, and the rest will have their men placed there. If anyone makes a mistake, they'll be able to capture him."

Meng Qi's face twitched as he listened. Unknowingly, he had offended five of the Nine Evil Paths. He was new to Jianghu, yet managed to upset so many. Perhaps he really was an emissary for justice, an evil-buster.

The Luo Denomination would obviously be angry because he had played the demoness for a fool and she had yet to recover. The two devils of the Destruction Sect had died in the hands of his other persona, Gentleman Sword. Arrester Su Ziyuan revealed the Life-changing Sect's secret and stopped their Exterior-level zombie. Though the Method of Mistress Su had yet to suspect him, he would have to be partially responsible for the "death" of the Successor of Mystic Fairy. He didn't have to worry about the Unrelenting Tower as long as he didn't use the face of the second young master Tang.

Meng Qi cheerfully thought how wonderful it was that he had so many disguises in hand.

After leaving the restaurant, Dai Fei headed for the Su Garden while Jiang Hengchuan headed for the North Street. They bade farewells and Meng Qi strolled back to his rented place.

After passing a few corners, he suddenly turned and went toward the Hero Tower.

Since he had suspicions about Ren Pingsheng, also known as Bizzare Man, he decided to confront him. There was no use in waiting around and let the suspicions brew into catastrophe.

There was a new set of guards in front of the tower. Even the guard on the fifth floor was no longer the Xiao Zhenhai, the Aurora Electric Sword. In his place was Gong Shaoze, the Chilly Wind.

Though he wasn't exactly outstanding in his youth, he had a strong foundation. Most people would hit a wall in their thirties, but he, at 39, was only one step away from the Heaven-man Connection.

Gong Shaoze's face was flat like a plaque. He was tall and had a thick beard and a snake lance in his long arms. He recognized Meng Qi and let him in.

Usually, Meng Qi would seize the chance to spar with these skilled masters, but a lot was weighing on his mind. So he headed straight for the fifth floor.

Meng Qi looked at the vast landscape and its restlessly flowing river. His horizon widened and he felt refreshed.

Ren Pingsheng was sitting by the window. Wearing blue robes and a hat, he was drinking while watching the river. Looking at his back, he gave a feeling of melancholy.

A clay teapot was placed in front of him, bursting with the aroma of fresh tea.

Meng Qi walked over and took a seat across Ren Pingsheng. He asked calmly, "Tower Lord Ren, is there something bothering you?"

Ren Pingsheng's long, white beard shook as he heaved a sigh. "It's indeed saddening to mourning the death of friends. I regret not being able to provide timely assistance. I feel helpless and resentful for not being able to avenge them for their murderers have disappeared from the face of the earth."

Meng Qi wondered which person was foolish enough to offend Tower Lord Ren.

Ren Pingsheng shook his head and took a sip of tea from the mouth of the clay teapot. "Jianghu is a dangerous place, so I've made my fair share of enemies throughout the years. Master Su, you're in the same boat, being inexplicably framed and almost losing your life at the hands of the Astounding."

"Jianghu men can't avoid danger." Meng Qi purposely let out a bitter laugh.

He can't believe Ren Pingsheng actually brought up the framing incident on his own.

Ren Pingsheng gathered himself and laughed. "But you're formidable. That's why you were able to escape death."

"You're too kind, Tower Lord. I just happen to own a good sword," Meng Qi answered modestly, waiting for Ren Pingsheng to continue complimenting him.

Ren Pingsheng waved his hands and added, "Even if you own the best sword, it's useless if you don't possess incredible strength. How many with the strength of Six or Seven Acupores could escape from someone who has attained Oneness of Heaven and Men? Not to mention the strong wind that blew over the city that night, only someone of the Exterior level could cause such a strong gust. Master Su's strength is indeed extraordinary."

"Thank you for your compliments, Tower Lord. You sound as if you were there that night." Meng Qi tried to feel him out.

Ren Pingsheng laughed. "That night, I was drinking with Wang Buchi up in the Hero Tower. Everyone in the city could feel the wind kick up. I was just a little too slow in stopping the situation."

"Was he truly not involved in the incident? Or did he just purposely make up an alibi?" Ren Pingsheng's explanation didn't ease Meng Qi's doubts, but he continued their casual conversation nevertheless.

As they chatted, Ren Pingsheng shared his Jianghu experience. He had been trapped in dire situations many times, but he had always been able to escape unscathed in the end. Meng Qi also shared his encounters in the Immensity Sea and how An Guoxie was the first opponent that he had met that was truly strong. The others were either heavily injured after fighting him or on par with him in terms of strength.

"Immensity Sea?" Ren Pingshen asked excitedly. "Is Jiuniang well?"

"You know Qu Jiuniang?" Meng Qi asked, taking in a deep breath.

Ren Pingsheng laughed. "She's a lady from the River East who made a name for herself here, but those who knew her are either dead or gone. That's why stories about her have been lost..."

He couldn't help sighing.

"I see." Meng Qi calmly nodded.

Their conversation stretched deep into the night before Meng Qi finally excused himself. His visit to the tower had alleviated some of his suspicions about Ren Pingshen.

When he neared the door of the fifth floor, Gong Shaoze suddenly said, "Young Master Su, the Lord has been melancholic for quite some time. Fortunately, you're here today."

"We were just catching up." Meng Qi smiled.

Suddenly, a ray of electric light flashed in his mind, lighting up the void and uncertainty. Ren Pingsheng wasn't the only person who had spoken to Qing Yu. There was also Xiao Zhenhai, the Aurora Electric Sword!

The cause of death of the three men from the coffin shop: their mid-brows were stabbed by a sword!

"Did Ren Pingsheng put him up to it? Or did he betray Ren Pingsheng?"

"Brother Gong, do you know Brother Xiao Zhenhai's address? I want to discuss sword art with him," Meng Qi asked, feigning indifference.

Gong Shaoze asked in confusion, "Discuss sword art?"

"Who was the one who pressured Xiao Zhenhai to the point where he couldn't even draw his sword?"

Meng Qi laughed. "Recently, I learned an incredibly speedy blade form and want to test it out with Brother Xiao. I want to see who has the upper-hand in terms of speed."

He then drew his Heaven Inflicted Pain.

He thrust the blade in a flash of light toward Gong Shaoze's face just as the latter had seen the blade.

"How fast!" Gong Shaoze barely moved his snake lance when Meng Qi retrieved his blade. He couldn't help complimenting Meng Qi's skill. "Brother Zhenghai lives just left of the tower."

"Thank you, Brother Gong." Meng Qi put his blade away and headed for the house like a man with a mission.

Xiao Zhenhai had remained a bachelor all these years, so he rented a place with a few guards from the tower. When Meng Qi told them the reason for his visit, one of them let him in.

The door was ajar, so Meng Qi pushed it open. He saw Xiao Zhenhai standing near the door as if he was getting ready to practice his sword. When he saw Meng Qi, he appeared shocked. "Master Su?"

Meng Qi instantly knew Xiao Zhenhai was hiding something. He said, "I've just learned a speedy blade form and would love to have a spar with you, Brother Xiao."

"Speedy blade form?" Xiao Zhenhai seemed to sigh in relief. "Sure!"

He drew his sword so quickly that only the residual shadow could be seen. When the clanging of the sword resounded, the sword was already pointed at Meng Qi's chest.

The blade energy flashed and froze in the eyes of the bystanders, but the sound of two swords crashing into each other had already drifted to their ears.

"That was fast..." They were complimenting each other's swords.

"That was satisfying!" He turned around after blocking the fast sword and walked away, feeling content.

Xiao Zhenhai had a strong will, so he didn't have any weakness that Meng Qi could take advantage of using his supernatural power. Not to mention, there were many people around. If he attacked forcibly, he would draw attention to himself. So he decided to wait or try and find other clues.

Meng Qi returned to his place and saw Dai Fei, who had just returned from the Su Garden.

"Green-ribbon Dai, how did the auguring go?" Meng Qi asked.

Dai Fei let out a bitter laugh and said, "I couldn't find him. He seems to have left Maoling."

"Is that so..." Meng Qi harbored his suspicions. "Did Tie Sheng, the Wolf King leave just like that?"

Dai Fei nodded with certainty. "The legal wife's daughter of the Ruan family rejected the invitation from the Nangong family and stayed in the Dajue Temple instead. Looks like there's no hope of hearing good news from them either."

"A pity," Meng Qi commented.

He was about to reach home when he decided to put on a disguise and wander about the city. A while later, he sneaked into an abandoned yard and sat under the cloister, leaning against a pillar.

A couple of hours later, he could the sound of zither coming from next door. The music tugged at his heartstrings.

"This was the sound of heaven."

This was the tune that Ruan Yushu played when Meng Qi had requested background music during the Sword Emperor Devil Empress Samsara task. In the last three months, this tune was their code for peace. If they heard this tune, it meant that everything was fine.

The yard next door was the secret manor of the Ruan family in Maoling. There were a few secret passages, mechanisms, and concealed weapons. Ruan Yushu had once told him that she would pretend to stay in the Da Jue Temple if there were Exterior-level elders following her but secretly stay in this manor instead.

The calm sound of the zither made him feel a sense of serenity.

He listened to the beautiful tune of the zither, enjoying the calm of the night. He temporarily forgot all the chaos and danger brewing in Maoling.

Tonight, the moon hung brightly in the sky.