Chapter 214: Patience is a Virtue
Jun Huang was trained by Nan Xun. The two of them made a great team. In no time, they defeated the men in black. Some had been killed. The remaining ones curled up in pain on the ground.
Once the leader collapsed, Jun Huang stepped on his torso and said, “Who sent you? Tell me and we will spare you. If you insist on keeping your mouth shut, I’ll give you a painful death.”
The man glared at Jun Huang in lieu of an answer. The next moment, his eyes rolled back into his skull. Jun Huang startled. Nan Xun pulled her to his side.
One by one, the remaining assassins fell to the ground. It was unsettling.
“What… what happened?” Jun Huang turned to Nan Xun and asked nervously.
Nan Xun shook his head. He yanked off the mask covering the man’s face - it had been distorted by poison. Jun Huang frowned. She knelt before the man and reached out to feel his breath. “He’s dead. He must have hidden poison under his tongue. Once his mission failed, he killed himself.”
“Must have been a suicide troop cultivated by some rich family,” said Nan Xun. “They exist to do the dirty works.”
Jun Huang’s eyebrows remained closely knitted. She stared at the man for a long time before breaking the silence. “This is not a simple matter. We’ve just come to Eastern Wu. They couldn’t have noticed us so quickly. Of course, we have to consider the possibility that whoever is behind this knew about our existence as soon as we arrived. The owner of the casino is a good example. The person behind this must be someone with great influence.”
“You’re right,” Nan Xun said calmly. “This is how suicide troops operate. If they fail to complete their mission, they’re going to be killed when they return. We caught them. They had no choice but to take their own lives. Now that they are dead, we won’t be able to find anything useful no matter how thoroughly we inspect them. I do agree that our tracks have been discovered. These men must have been watching the casino. We’ve stayed there for a long time, and we followed the owner upstairs. That was more than enough for someone to suspect us. I believe that these assassins were sent by the owner’s brother.”
Jun Huang made a noncommittal sound. The incident had happened suddenly. Without any proof, whatever they said was merely speculation. They couldn’t come to a conclusion.
Noticing faint footsteps coming their way, Nan Xun hurried to Jun Huang’s side and whispered, “Someone’s here.”
Before Jun Huang could react, Nan Xun pulled her into another alleyway.
Another group of men showed up at the spot the two of them had been at only seconds ago. The leader of the group bent down to make sure that the assassins on the ground were dead. He then took out a tiny bottle from his clothes.
A strange fragrance came out from within the bottle. The man put the powder over the men on the ground. In an instant, the bodies melted. Jun Huang’s eyes widened. She bit into her lip to stop any sound from escaping her mouth. Once the bodies were taken care of, the group of men vanished into the darkness like ghosts.
“That’s bone-melting powder,” Jun Huang said cooly. She couldn’t stop trembling. “It can render human bodies into water.”
Nan Xun was affected by what he witnessed as well. He held onto her cold fingers to offer comfort. It took some time for Jun Huang to recover. She pulled her hand away.
“It’s likely that they serve the same master,” Jun Huang said, turning to Nan Xun. “We must be on our guard. This isn’t Northern Qi. If we’re discovered, troubles will follow. We should return now.”
“Alright,” Nan Xun agreed easily. He walked shoulder to shoulder with Jun Huang. They soon reached the inn. Their hearts finally settled.
Back to her room, Jun Huang immediately realized that someone else had been here. She narrowed her eyes at the way her things were rearranged. She went to the room next to hers. Inside, Nan Xun had a severe expression on his face.
Nan Xun turned around and saw that it was Jun Huang. Without a word, he went up to close the door.
“Someone was in my room,” he finally said.
“Mine too,” said Jun Huang.
Nan Xun frowned. He didn’t immediately respond. “Can it be the clerk?”
Jun Huang shook her head. “That can’t be. The clerk isn’t allowed to enter our rooms without our permission. And he wasn’t going to go through my belongings. The bottles of medicine in my bag have been toppled. Someone was trying to find something.”
“Is there anything missing?” asked Nan Xun.
Jun Huang thought back to what she saw. “I don’t think so. I’ve checked through my stuff. What I remember having are all there. Nothing is missing.”
They couldn’t figure out an answer. Whoever it was had come prepared. He entered their rooms after they had left. The inn might not be the most high-class one, but there were quite a lot of customers. It would be next to impossible to investigate everyone.
Both Jun Huang and Nan Xun agreed that the assassins and the theft didn’t belong to the same organization, but they might have been sent out by the same person. With that in mind, they knew that they had to exercise the highest level of caution. They must not give the mastermind any opportunity to gain an upper hand.
The nightwatchman hit his gong. It was midnight. Exhaustion suddenly caught up with Jun Huang. Nan Xun couldn’t bear seeing her like this. “Alright, we’ll talk tomorrow morning. You should go to bed. There are a lot of things waiting for us to do. You mustn’t run yourself to the ground like you used to.”
“Okay. You should rest as well.” The long-distance travel and the trip to the casino had tired Jun Huang. She could barely keep herself upright. Without another word, she went back to her room.
Jun Huang soon fell asleep. Nan Xun, on the other hand, was wide awake. What happened in the morning made him too tense to relax. He sat up and contemplated what to do. In the end, he decided to take a seat at the desk. He fell asleep with his hand supporting his head.
Too many things had happened for him to let his guard down. He was worried that something would happen at night. His ears were taking in any minute sounds from the surrounding, and his body was ready to take action should danger struck.
The next morning, Nan Xun woke up at the crack of dawn. Before he could go to Jun Huang’s room, she came knocking on his door. He let her in without a word.
“We should go to Water Cloud today,” Jun Huang said without ceremony. “The owner of the casino may not be trying to kill us, but that’s because he needs your help in gaining the throne. If he realizes that we don’t mean to be his ally, he’ll come after us. Then it’s going to be difficult for us to leave this place.”
Nan Xun shook his head. “That being said, we can’t afford to be reckless. There are too many unwanted eyes in the morning. Since we’re sure that Water Cloud is beneath the casino, we’ll go in the evening.”
Jun Huang admitted that she had been hasty. She nodded. “We’ll do as you said and visit Water Cloud in the evening. If we don’t find anything today, I won’t be able to rest easy.”
“Patience is a virtue,” said Nan Xun. “I know you’re worried. You have to believe in yourself and me. How about we go on a walk during daytime to relax?”
“No, that won’t be necessary. We should conserve our strength for the evening.”
Jun Huang’s eyebrows furrowed. She wasn’t in the mood for a walk. Nan Xun could tell what she was thinking. He didn’t push.
Night fell. Jun Huang and Nan Xun put on a black robe to cover their faces before going to the casino.
There were less people here compared to yesterday. The air felt different as well. Nan Xun and Jun Huang exchanged a look. Something was wrong.
They didn’t enter immediately. The security was a lot tighter today. The door was guarded by two men, each taking a side. Everyone must be checked before entering. They made sure the two guards hadn’t been in the casino yesterday before walking toward the entrance.
The guards didn’t notice anything wrong. After a routine checkup, Jun Huang and Nan Xun were let inside. They exchanged a smile and followed a finely-dressed man straight into the casino. They then found their way to a hidden stairs leading to the basement.
Down here, it was quiet enough for one to hear a needle fall. It was in stark contrast with the cacophony of noises in the casino. The architecture was similar in style to the homebase of House of Heavenly Fiends, but it was far less intricately designed.
A page boy ran up to them while Jun Huang was looking around. She put on a calm face to mask her emotions, her breath hitched. Between her fingers was a silver needle. If the page boy noticed anything, she would be able to kill him silently.
“The event is going to start. Are you lost?” The page boy didn’t realize that they didn’t belong here. He assumed that they were guests who had lost their way.
Jun Huang gave Nan Xun a look. Everything seemed too good to be true, but this was an opportunity they could not let slip. Jun Huang put on a smile and nodded. “It’s our first time here. We don’t know the way. Fortunately you’ve found us.”
Previous Chapter Next Chapter