Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
The residents had, out of instincts, avoided getting harmed during the time of danger, and they were prepared to remain silent concerning the situation Meng Fuyao had caused. They were going to keep everything deep within their heart until the crisis was really over.
Was it really over?
The sun set, and the moon rose dimly.
The moon that night seemed to be shrouded by a layer of mist. The haziness of it reflected itself onto the streets, roads, trees, buildings and so on.
The blood gathered in the gutter in the small alley had faded and was taken over by a layer of crystal light. By the gutter grew a wild, dark brown grass that was weirdly-shaped.
The corpse, whose body had been penetrated by Meng Fuyao's sword, moved suddenly. His face was pale green in color, like that of the contaminated water in the gutter.
Wild grass had filled the sides of the gutter and concealed the body from view. A long time later the 'corpse's' finger curled up and held onto a bunch of wild grass as the man struggled to stand up.
He gasped for air, slowly crawling out from the muddied water. The blood and sludge that covered his body slid down as he moved.
A sinister-looking wound was visible on his back. It was a massive hole, within which flesh and bone could be seen. The sight was made more terrifying by the denseness of the night.
The wound had been left by Meng Fuyao when she stabbed her sword through all three Rong men. It wasn't a big hole as he had made use of the incoming force to launch himself into the gutter and prevented a fatal blow from being inflicted upon himself. It was Zong Yue's bone-scattering herb that had expanded the size of his wound.
As for the discontinuation of the herb's effect and the fact that he hadn't disintegrated into the air like the rest of his brothers, Zong Yue would easily attribute it to the strangely-shaped grass.
Hooked Grass was the biggest nemesis of the main ingredient found in Zong Yue's Bone-Scattering powder. Such grass usually grew on cliffs, but now that it had appeared by this gutter, it must have fallen into the water and into his body when the man plunged in with an open wound. As such, it had stalled the decaying of his flesh.
Zong Yue seldom used this powder of his, and one of the rare occasions in which he did, it had been rendered ineffective by an antidotal grass. Just like that, the Rong man had escaped from the massacre like a fish from a net; fate was at play.
Fate wanted the tightly woven secret net to rip and leave a gap for an uprise. It was to fulfill a particular girl's destiny.
The man took deep breaths under the dimly lit moon, the silverish water illuminating the indignation and viciousness on his face.
Waist bent, he staggered from tree to tree and slowly made his way out of the alley.
On the limestone ground were two bloody and mud-stained footprints, extending further and further away.
As the moon set, Meng Fuyao led the pregnant lady to the official institution of the magistrate, Old Sir Su. They had planned to head to the shelter, but the deputy couldn't take them in without a written order produced by the mayor or magistrate. Left without an alternative, Meng Fuyao could only take them to the office, which was just as well since Zong Yue and she were supposed to pay the mayor a visit anyway.
However, the doors were shut. After a long series of knocks, a bailiff walked out lazily, mumbling, "Knock, knock, knock... what time is it already... If Master wakes up, he'll teach you a lesson!"
Not wanting to start a fight with the showy snob, Meng Fuyao calmed herself before speaking. "Hi Sir, I'm here to report that this family has been bullied, and their house has been burned. Please allow them a spot in the citizen shelter–––"
"Fights between the Hans and Rongs are not our business to take care of. Go back, shoo!" Before she could finish her sentence, the bailiff's face changed, immediately waving them off.
Stunned, Meng Fuyao asked angrily, "Not your business to take care of? Is that your stand or the mayor's?"
"Are you a fool?" the bailiff questioned, evidently amused. "He doesn't live here. He has his own mansion in the eastern part of the city. Only the magistrate lives here, and this is his stand, naturally."
"Let me see him then."
"What are you?" the bailiff lifted his chin, asking. "Think you can do whatever you please? Let me tell you. Master Su will not manage things like these so stop wasting time and get lost."
Meng Fuyao met his eyes and broke into a sudden smile.
It was a familiar smile that turned the couple's face pale. How dare this fellow provoke the killer spirit in her!
Meng Fuyao jerked and in the next moment appeared before the announcement gong. She grabbed the stick and slammed it down without hesitation.
It was earth-shatteringly loud, like the rolling of thunder, instantly piercing through the layers of clouds amid the darkness.
Yet another hit occurred when the gong stick, which had pierced through the gong and flew toward the entrance, smashed right into it.
Amid the gongs, Meng Fuyao's crisp voice could be heard declaring, "Three knocks and blood will pour. This lousy gong lasted only one strike, so I had no choice but land the second knock on your door. I'll be going for a head for the third knock, and as for whose blood will stain my clothes... I can't say for sure yet."
The bailiff stood rooted to the ground, his once sluggish look immediately turning muddle. Turning to see a big round dent on the entrance door, he stroked his head with a trembling hand and stuttered, "I'll go inform him. I'll go..."
"No need!" A cold shout came through as the door opened. An old, sharp-chinned man stood behind it, a big batch of bailiffs following behind. The door guard hurriedly rushed over to greet him.
Ashen-faced, Master Su waved his sleeve, howling, "Who dares to cause such a scene? Destroying property and insulting me? Do you really think I have no place in this court?"
Meng Fuyao cast a glance toward him. 'That's Old Sir Su, the assistant official? A Han man himself but unwilling to help his brothers? The Old Sir Su that would rather throw his men out to the Rongs?"
She glared at him, subconsciously gritting her teeth. After some time, she let out a beaming smile and clasped her hands sweetly together. "I lack in manners, Sir Su."
"Now you know it? What a pity. That's not enough to get you out of trouble," Sir Su stared furiously at the fellow before him, convinced that the latter's switch from arrogance to deference had everything to do with his authoritative powers. Confident, he flung his sleeve, shouting, "Men! Take him down, use the cangue on him for three days and leave the citizens hanging dry."
The bailiffs responded immediately, rushing forward to grab Meng Fuyao, who obediently let them tie her up. Zong Yue stood by the side, watching calmly with no plans of intervening. Only when a bailiff clumsily slammed into her shoulder did his eyes twitch a little.
Upon seeing that Meng Fuyao was dragged away by a bunch of men, whose hands were clamped against her shoulders, Zong Yue could no longer control the twitching of his brows. "Hold on."
Meng Fuyao turned around grumpily. 'You're too impatient. I'm not done playing.'
Ignoring her look, he stated simply, "It's not convenient to cangue this person."
'Eh?" Sir Su knitted his brows. "Who do you think you are to tell me what and what not to do?" Sir Su's nose was high up in the air, and without even giving Zong Yue a glance he continued impatiently, "Take away-" He stopped abruptly.
Opposite of him, Zong Yue had extended a palm out, revealing a black tablet. On it, a glistening and golden De had been embossed.
It was King De's command tablet that symbolized the descendants of the imperial family, and it was as good as having the prince with them at that moment.
"Zong Yue," he introduced politely and amiably. "I'm just an ordinary person whom the King had very kindly been favoring. I have been given the right to travel between the mansion and the fiefdom. There's no need to say, but this hall your seventh-grade self is residing in is, in fact, the King's Hall of the Tiger's Might. There shouldn't be a problem for me to speak a few words here, then."
Sir Su stood still.
The legendary man.
His origins were mysterious, and he had studied under a doctor in the mountains. He was naturally talented and intelligent and had started journeying when he was 20. Across the five region continents, martial arts were commonly practiced, and the imperial family was no exception. Injuries and illnesses were inevitable parts of life that did not pick and choose victims.
Even high-status people were not safe from them, so physicians had always been highly regarded. Needless to say, a god-like figure like Zong Yue was a man that monarchs from respective nations hoped to win over. He had long been licensed to move about freely, without the need to pay respect to monarchs upon encounters. Kings who wished to see him would need to make formal invites. Countless lives had been owed to him, and while he was merely a physician, his status was no lower, or even higher than that of a prince.
If Zhangsun Wuji was a god-like in the field of politics, Zong Yue was the equivalent in the field of medicine; the former took land, power, and lives whereas the latter saved lives and cured illnesses.
A man like Sir Su couldn't normally get close to Zong Yue, and for him to be looking right at the clean-looking youth, dressed in a snow-white robe, he was lost for words.
Zong Yue smilingly pointed at Meng Fuyao before asking courteously, "Can you let my friend go?"
"...Ah, yes, yes!" Sir Su hurriedly ordered his men to release her.
He had wanted to let Meng Fuyao go, but she did not comply. Shunning the men, she asked, "Why are you untying me? I want the cangue! Move aside!"
"Don't untie me. No!" Meng Fuyao shamelessly dodged their hands, determined to stay tied up. "Cangue, cangue! How are you going to hang the citizens dry if you let me go?"
She sneered and jumped through the door and toward the inner hall. "Where's the cangue? Quick! Let's not waste time!"
Helpless, the bailiffs let go and looked pleadingly at Sir Su. After a long time, Sir Su walked over to Meng Fuyao and personally untied the ropes. "Little fellow, I have been rude. Please don't take offense..."
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