Dawn ignited the green cascading clear water. The wind tousled the organisation out of Ming Feizhens hair, but it couldnt take away the thoughts in his head.
“Its been two days since we left the office.”
Ming Feizhen focused his gaze toward heaven. “Its still peaceful. This peace perturbs me.”
“Peaceful for you, but… my wounds still wont give me any peace!”
Ming Feizhen looked over to the man in a wheelchair and bandages. After the beating Long Zaitian dished out, Hua Qing was subjected to another eighteen flying sticks on his way out of Liu Shan Mens office two days ago.
“Havent I already treated your internal injuries Those injuries are necessary to deceive Zhuo Fengru. If I didnt use taking you out for fresh air as an excuse, wed be under house arrest, naïve boy.”
“They may be fake to you, but my face is still swollen.”
Although Hua Qing still didnt believe Zhuo Fengru was against him, because the latter nursed his injuries, he finally decided he couldnt always tell Zhuo Fengru the truth. That was why he feigned disability at Zhuo Estate for two days.
Miguo Branchs people had been imprisoned, yet Liu Shan Men still hadnt taken further action, wo the only explanation for Liu Shan Mens inactivity was Xin Buyi lacking the health to continue investigating.
“What do we do now”
Ming Feizhen was pretty much set on the idea that the leader of Miguo Branch was guilty of massacring Xu Clan; however, at the same time, he believed there was more to the story. He was neither a constable nor a detective, so the intricacies were better left to Liu Shan Men. His sole goal was to find the culprit, clear Hua Qings name and walk away with his promised one hundred thousand silver taels.
There were three most probable culprits at present. First, the one who murdered Xu Clan and set their estate on fire (from Miguo Branch). The second potential culprit was Zhuo Fengru. The third suspect was the one they had yet to find - Shaolins Venerable Kongcang.
Shaolin splits their branches based on the characters in the phrase “At the end of it all is emptiness. It is all for the sake of fate with Buddhism.”
Nowadays, the elders of “All” branch were so old that speaking was an ordeal.
Shaolins Abbott Kongxu les “Emptiness” branch, which was the head branch.
“Sake” branch, which consisted primarily of monks in their forties to fifties, was under the leadership of Venerable Kongcang. Sake branch was considered a high-ranking branch within Shaolin.
Venerable Kongcangs innocence had yet to be proven. Though he did entrust Xu Clans safety to two of his disciples, Xu Clans extermination occurred after his visit. Therefore, there was nothing to prove that his visit was truly for the betterment of Xu Clan, not to mention his mysterious disappearance since departing from their manor.
Ming Feizhen performed wrist circles, lamenting the labour involved in the job.
How am I going to find the monk Everyone is currently monitoring Hua Gezi. Given that fact, I might find something if I have him tag along wherever I go.
Feeling a chill, Hua Qing blurted, “Dont count me in!”
Ming Feizhen suggested, “Hua Gezi, lets go t-, huh Dont count you in This is for your sake, yet you dont want to be part of it”
“Ever since Ive been hanging with you, Ive been suffering time and time again. What madman would continue”
“I thought you wanted to have an adventure in the pugilistic world.”
“Arent I taking you on said adventure”
“Adventure, my foot! Wheres the adventure in camping at a loo by the wharf in the middle of the night!”
“So ignorant.” Ming Feizhen held up a small book. “Look for yourself. Black and White Reflection lists it as the fifth must-experience event in the pugilistic world. I never played you.”
Hua Qing snatched the book to double check. As an avid subscriber of Black and White Reflection, he had no comeback.
“Having experienced it for yourself, is there anything you want to say”
“Erm… It was quite nice.” Hua Qing rubbed his eyes that he still couldnt open. “Just, my face still hurts quite bad.”
“Good to hear. You didnt go there for nothing. A man with scars appears more mature and experienced.”
“Really” Hua Qing touched his face.
“You know, its dawned on me that youre not fair.”
“Didnt you say youd help me complete my task in exchange for helping you”
“Ive you helped you, right On the other hand, you havent helped me whatsoever.”
“The deal was, you help me clear my name, and then I give you the piece of jade. I cant help you before that.”
“Okay, lets put aside the one hundred thousand for now. What about helping me find a wife”
“Well, about that…”
“Thought you said you have a wealth of experience that you could call upon to find me even six wives in a click. Seeing as you have nothing more than time on your hands right now, how about helping me out”
“… Lets do this: take me on an adventure today, and then Ill take you around to find a wife.”
Ming Feizhen hiked up an eyebrow. “Promise
Ming Feizhen, beaming, patted Hua Qing on the shoulder. “Dont regret this.”
Hua Qing. Wh-what have I gotten myself into
“Hey, uh, Brother Feizhen.”
Hua Qing periodically espied healthy wet skin through the mist pervading the area, a sight that would likely motivate ones imagination. Following a gulp, he questioned, “Do we have the wrong place”
“No, this is the right place.”
“You sure Isnt this,” Hua Qing, giving Ming Feizhen the benefit of doubt, scanned the area one more time, and there was no mistake that it was a sixty-five year old man pouring warm water onto his body, “a bathhouse!”
A bunch of men wrathfully shot Hua Qing glares, shutting him up instantly. The most traumatising thing at bathhouses wasnt men being dragons but dragons being men.
Ming Feizhen leisurely scrubbed himself down. “Your ignorance shines again. Bathhouses are the third best place for negotiations according to Black and White Reflection. In second and first place are the loo and daughters room, respectively. This is common sense. Dont drop your guard just because this place seems peaceful.”
Indeed, there were tattooed men in the bath, meaning that this couldnt just be any ordinary bathhouse.
Ming Feizhen sighed. “Danger is ubiquitous here.”
“For real,” Hua Qing remarked, looking around. “Wait, I see a small one.”
“No, no, not you. I meant you.”
“Hes not talking to you,” Ming Feizhen stated. “Over there. Theyre about to throw hands.”
“… This old one can let you steal his money and alcohol, but speaking ill of his daughter is unforgivable!” The man sitting primly in the bath looked considerably older than the man he was in a confrontation with, but no experienced man would underestimate him.
The blonde-haired man wasnt as muscular or large, but the scars on his chiselled physique proved that he was a very durable man. “That is not what I meant at all.”
The elder stood up. “Why did you call my daughter a doll, then Dolls are inanimate objects. Are you cursing my daughter”
The foreigner rose to his feet at the same time. “Because she is cute, you alcoholic!”
“Clench those teeth!” One forward lunge made the water roil and chambered a punch.
“You dont scare me!” The foreigner picked up his sword, then thrust at the incoming fist.
Upon impact, both men skid back a tad. The rock to the left of the bath cracked, while the one to the right was rendered a fragment of its erstwhile self.
Other men around the two immediately urged, “Branch Leader, Great Guardian, please stop this fight.” “Yeah, I am sure Great Guardian did not mean it like that,” and so forth.
Hua Qing: “… Just who are those two They seem even stronger than Hero Zhuo.”
“Nobody important to you. I was hoping to chance upon some clues, not trouble. Lets get out of here before we have another nuisance on our hands,” Ming Feizhen responded.
Ming Feizhen had only just finished speaking when he heard from behind, “You say something, kid”
Ming Feizhen and Hua Qing looked to each other, both understanding that things were about to get troublesome.
“Branch Leader, they are ordinary folks! The cult rules will not tolerate this!”
Despite the protests of his subordinates, the tall alcoholic raised a hand to shut down his subordinate. “Oi, kid, you say something about my daughter”
Without looking back, Ming Feizhen replied, “You had too much to drink, old man”
“You called my daughter a nuisance”
“I called you the nuisance, all right”
The man uncorked a thunderous punch that generated even heat out that made the water release a wall of steam.
A man gasped. “H-he blocked Branch Masters punch…”
Saying Ming Feizhen blocked the punch was a stretch because he actually just placed his hand in the way.
“Ho” The elder heartily smiled. “Nice. Try this now.”
“And here I was trying not to pile more on my full plate,” bemoaned Ming Feizhen.
The discharge of energy from the two vanquished the steam, revealing the army of proud dragons. The ground cracked and sunk a little everywhere but at the duos feet.
The elders subordinate asked the blonde-haired man, “Great Guardian, is the boy…”
“Yes, strong.” The Great Guardian hiked up a corner of his lips. “Isnt that all you need to know”
Neither Ming Feizhen nor the elder calmed down.
“Hahaha, very impressive strength, kid.” Because the elder had to open his pores to excrete internal energy, the alcohol in his system naturally exited, too. He had the spirit of a competitor as a young man, and that spirit still burnt as strong as ever decades later. Regardless of his opponents background, having a challenge to break down was always a party to him. “Careful now. This discipline is reserved for direct disciples of Divine Moon Cult! Catch!”-