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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

310 Whos the Orchestrator?

 Dressed in black clothes, Meng Qi looked dashing indeed. He was making his points in a composed manner, giving him the impression of a healthy Master Wang. The only difference was that he was holding a 75-kg-heavy machete instead of a long sword.

"Yours is a great plan indeed. On the surface, you turned yourself into a pawn to disturb the situation. Thus, you could pin Lord Ren down and divert our attention, making us wonder why so many listed masters were invited here and why you would compete with Master Wang about traps. Secretly, you planned for the irrelevant Old Zhong to be the killer. You relied on Snake King's intelligence to make sure he would secretly annihilate Eight-armed Flying Dragon and Three Eagles of Cloud Ridge. He attempted to kill Brother Qiu as well. Though someone would connect all these to the Dongyang Villa, he would naturally overlook this lead because the three Chances weren't complete."

Meng Qi continued to compliment him with an unchanging smile. "You wanted us to team up to defeat the Devil after entering the villa, thus tricking me, Brother Qiu, and the Life-changing Sect disciples to lower down our guards before killing us one by one. In the end, even if you wouldn't be able to kill me due to the Soul-pledging Oath, there's still Old Zhong."

Qiu Fei gasped. This scheme was too sinister!

Jiang Hengchuan adjusted the lapel of his robe. "That's indeed my plan, even if Old Zhong was supposed to stay undercover the entire time. But Master Wang seemed to have noticed him and used you to lead us to Snake King. Hence, I played along and decided to personally seek out Devil. I drew a line from Old Zhong and, using the excuse of dealing with him, I laid out my next setup."

Meng Qi sighed. "Brother Jiang, I still have a question. Though you disguise yourself as a common farmer, deep inside you carry arrogance and pride. You refuse to bow to others. Back then, when you told me how you didn't cultivate your entire life just to study under a master, I thought they were sincere. But in the end, didn't you end up being someone's lackey?"

"Our organization is different. It treats us as equals. We only have callers and participants. Besides, each member has the freedom whether or not to accept the missions." Jiang Hengchuan seriously refuted him, eyes full of gratitude. "Younger Brother Su, since you've been expelled from the Shaolin Temple and become a Rogue Cultivator, you must have been having a tough time cultivating. You can't compare with the disciples of aristocratic families and sects in terms of social status and resources either. Why don't you join us?"

The reason why he talked so much instead of ordering Old Zhong to kill Meng Qi was that he wanted to draw Meng Qi into his organization. Earlier, he had been observing Meng Qi's analyzing and judging abilities.

Meng Qi was satisfied that Jiang Hengchuan wanted to recruit him. He looked up at the misty rain, pretending to be a desolate master as he said, "I only believe in my sword and saber."

Meng Qi's refusal was accompanied by the approach of a strong Devil Qi at the same time. Jiang Hengchuan looked regretful.

"As expected, masters are always proud and so are those with the potential to be masters."

"But your realization came too late. Even if you have assistants following us on the sly, they can't enter the villa without the joint breath of Dongyang Seal's fragments. Thus it's useless even if you have Exterior helpers."

"Old Zhong is a Half-step Exterior Scenery expert and possesses a precious weapon. Even if you two team up, the best you can do is to protect yourselves. With me helping him, there's no way you can escape."

Meng Qi smiled and pointed at Qiu Fei who was lamenting about the traps. "Brother Jiang, did you notice something wrong with his emotions? He's surprised and amazed. What he's feeling is lingering fear. If he isn't feeling confident about himself, why would he act this way?"

"Furthermore, the core disciples of the Life-changing Sect was traveling in Jianghu for the first time, so it's normal for them to be killed due to their lack of experience. But didn't you wonder why Brother Qiu didn't stop you from killing them? After all, he's quite the seasoned Jianghu person and he has his guard up against anyone who approaches him. Perhaps he wants to kill them too," he continued.

Jiang Hengchuan's smile became stiff. He looked at Qiu Fei and asked, "Is that so?"

He appeared to have realized something.

Qiu Fei stopped sighing and smiled. "Your careful plan makes me feel ashamed about myself. If we were to become rivals in the future, I'll probably die without even knowing who's my foe. In many years of traveling Jianghu, my survival has been dependant on my assessment of the situation. I know when to ally with a stronger master and I'll never swallow food that I can't digest..."

Before he could finish his sentence, they saw a shallop traveling down from upstream where a person was seated cross-legged on the bow. In front of him were a censer, a chessboard, a shark-skinned long sword, as well as other items. Behind him stood a middle-aged gentleman.

The fragrance of sandalwood spread in the air before the person dressed in snow-white clothes. His face was very pale, indicating that he had yet to recover from a serious disease. His delicate facial features hid his arrogance, giving off a sense of gentleness instead even as he continued to cough. He was Wang Siyuan, Master Wang.

"Wang Siyuan... Wang Buchi..." When Jiang Hengchuan pronounced their names, his pupils shrunk with shock. He clenched his fists tightly as if he was chewing the words.

The gentleman behind Wang Siyuan was Wang Bu Chi, also known as Just in Time, an expert of the Exterior. He used to be dispatched to safeguard the Su Garden in Maoling.

He managed to arrive in time!

Once again, the strong and the weak had exchanged places!

Qiu Fei grinned. "Thus, I instantly agreed to work with Master Wang after he found me. He promised he'd clear my charges of collusion with the Life-changing Sect. The past few days, I sneaked out with the excuse of seeking intel. I finally found my chance in their negligence and quietly brought Master Wang and Senior Wang in."

"You're pretty smart." Wang Siyuan wiped his mouth with a handkerchief after he stopped coughing. He didn't look at Jiang Hengchuan, only focusing on Meng Qi.

Meng Qi smiled. "You deliberately ordered Lord You of the Skyfirst No. 1 Casino to put on an exaggerated show. I thought you wanted us to find out it was you. Thus, in our eyes, you led us to Eight-armed Flying Dragon with ulterior purposes and gradually informed us about Old Zhong, naturally drawing all our attention to him. If things went smoothly, Civil Star would pay little attention to Qiu Fei, Wind-chasing Stick. After all, he's the weakest link in your arrangement."

"When Brother Qiu went to the casino, he didn't just meet the leader of the Money Sect. You were there as well, weren't you?"

"For a few consecutive days, he had been leaving the city to meet the Life-changing Sect disciples, likely on your order. That way, he could easily 'expose' himself and fake his death to divert our attention."

Once again, Qiu Fei felt terrified. He couldn't believe that he was witnessing the work of these evildoers with his own eyes.

Wang Siyuan smiled faintly. "I wasn't planning on revealing so many flaws but I wanted you to see through my plan. I wanted to see if you'd surprise me by doing something beyond my expectation. Unfortunately, you didn't."

Meng Qi was taken aback to hear that Wang Siyuan did it on purpose. What a lunatic!

"Your assumptions are correct. The core of my setup is to hide my true objectives." Wang Siyuan looked at Jiang Hengchuan with a barely-there smile. "That's why as long as I keep a firm hold on my targets, everything would still be under my control no matter what trouble you make. I can just wait for you to fall into my trap. Getting Lord Fang to put on a show and leading you to North Street to discover the collusion between Snake King and Devil were just distraction tactics. After all, if I didn't do anything, you'll start doubting me. Diverting your attention to hide the true setup is just an additional effect."

As per Meng Qi's expectation, Wang Siyuan started coughing after speaking at length. He spewed blood, dyeing his white handkerchief red.

"It would be great if he just coughed himself to death..." Meng Qi cursed internally.

Jiang Hengchuan sighed. "So you've known all along."

"You did very well. I was only sure that you're Civil Star after Su Meng challenged the Hero Tower." Wang Siyuan stopped coughing. "Your failure was due to the lack of connectivity between your purposes and none of your objectives was urgent either. That gave me the time to deal with them one by one. If one of your objectives was to sneak into the Su Garden to watch the large array at the time of the Tidal Bore of Jin River, I'd have panicked a little."

Jiang Hengchuan smiled bitterly. "I've thought of doing so but I couldn't participate as I was in Daxing. Otherwise, if I go too far, you would've absolutely made your move earlier and leave me no chance to secretly enter the villa."

"Good point," Wang Siyuan happily said. He was overjoyed to meet a person who could talk about the setups with him. "The other reason is you didn't have enough men at your disposal, isn't it?"

Jiang Hengchuan's expression became even darker. "Fire Lord and Snake King were supposed to expose themselves to attract your attention earlier this evening, making another objective seem more real. However, when Old Zhong ordered Fire Lord to test Younger Brother Su's strength, he was killed at the scene..."

With Snake King losing his co-star, there wasn't any need to "show up" to the performance anymore.

"Was it his fault?" Meng Qi complained internally. Why did Fire Lord have to appear just as his strength was surging?

Wang Siyuan looked around him. "You actually didn't get any Exterior masters to participate in this mission?"

"This was a test..." Jiang Hengchuan smiled self-mockingly. "But I've failed it."

He was neither furious nor rueful. He didn't look panicked or terrified either. He seemed to be thinking that he still had a narrow chance to escape.

"Test..." Wang Siyuan thoughtfully repeated the word. He then looked at Meng Qi. "I'm a little disappointed in you. I've deliberately left you some clues but you didn't surprise me or show me any unexpected response."

He was implying if Meng Qi's identity as a Secret-searching Nark was fake.

In Maoling, there wasn't anyone who knew about Meng Qi's identity besides him, Qiu Fei, and the Life-changing Sect disciples. Since this was an important secret, it was reasonable if he remained mum when he had the confidence to escape unscathed. But under such circumstances, why did Meng Qi still not reveal his identity? Why didn't he seek help from the Silvery-badge and Green-ribbon arresters?

Though he did use disguises, he didn't use the Eight Nine Mysteries even once while traveling from Yangxia to Maoling. Qiu Fei and the Life-changing Sect disciples only found out his identity after recognizing the Trio Combination of Yin and Yang he used in their battles. After all, they had also sent a non-core disciple with Swordsman of Ning Province to test him. Since Old Zhong was faking his death, he didn't dare to use his Will-projecting to examine the situation lest he exposed himself. Jiang Hengchuan didn't even know about Su Ziyuan's existence, let alone about him working for the Six Fan School.

It was due to such conditions that Wang Siyuan considered Meng Qi a game-changer.

Meng Qi smiled, only barely so.

"Why did you say so?"

Before the sound of his voice even faded, a corpse was flung at them from the opposite shore and fell on the ground. It was the White Guardian of Hell. Another figure followed suit, surrounded by a black mist.

Jiang Hengchuan looked joyful but his expression changed instantly when he saw that the corpse had not been absorbed.

As the black mist disseminated, the figure looked up. She wore an elegant and heavy dress. With her grey hair done in a bun, she had warm facial features and held a dragon-headed crutch. She had a completely different appearance from Old Zhong.

Surprise crossed Wang Siyuan's face for the first time. "Senior Ruan..."