“Uncle Cheng’s returned?” Fifth Elder asked anxiously. Although he usually objected to the man, he still didn’t want moles to appear within Myriad Merchant Hall, especially when a man like Uncle Cheng had been following Ning Cheng for years.
“He hasn’t, but the manager at Prosperous Heaven Private Bank said he saw Uncle Cheng a few days ago,” the pageboy reported.
“How many days ago? What date?” Tang Li asked guardedly.
“To reply Respected Son-in-Law, this one isn’t sure. I’ve already called over the Prosperous Heaven Private Bank manager, he’s waiting by the door,” the pageboy replied.
“Call him in, then,” Tang Li was anxious. They’d taken two days to confirm that Manager Jin was long gone from Three-Way Black Market but had no clues. Cloud Realm Continent was so big, so where was he supposed to find his wife?
As soon as the manager entered, Tang Li raged, “When did you see Uncle Cheng? Tell us the details, or else your life is forfeit!”
Scared to death by his words, the manager shot a pleading glance at Fifth Elder, but he was extremely polite to Tang Li after Han Yunxi’s parting words. So instead, he cooperated by demanding, “Tell us all the details you know. If you hide anything, prepare to suffer the consequences!”
Afraid to tarry, the manager quickly repeated the words that Uncle Cheng had voiced that day and everything he’d done. Fifth Elder grew alarmed. “You’re saying that Uncle Cheng went to Prosperous Heaven Private Bank on the same night that the princess and Head Elder returned from their trip?”
“Exactly so. This one doesn’t dare to lie a bit. The three clerks with me at the time all witnessed the exchange,” the manager replied. After a pause, he added, “Fifth Elder, a payment arrived for Uncle Cheng yesterday, but I don’t know if…”
Since Uncle Cheng managed multiple affairs for the Di Clan, he had many business deals in his hands. Most of them went through Prosperous Heaven Private Bank, so there was nothing strange about that. But at a time like this, it was extremely odd!
“What’s with the tarrying? Speak!” Fifth Elder demanded.
Only then did the manager ignore the presence of Tang Li and reported, “This payment of Uncle Cheng’s was quite large, at least one hundred million.”
“What was it for?” Head Elder’s voice reached them long before the man himself entered the room. Very soon, everyone saw him step in through a side door.
“It’s strange. Whoever delivered the silver drafts didn’t mention any details but only left two surnames. He said that Uncle Cheng would understand,” the manager reported.
“What surnames?” the head elder grew uneasy.
“Jia and Dai,” the manager answered.
“Jia, Dai!” the head elder’s face turned white as he almost fell over. Thankfully, the guards rushed to catch him.
Jia and Dai weren’t two surnames at all, but a name unto itself! He was the owner of the West Jade and South Jue Gardens! But only Head Elder was privy to the details of the deal, so Prosperous Heaven Private Bank wouldn’t have recognized the name. That day, he and the princess had rushed back to Three-Way Black Market once the deal was done. Uncle Cheng clearly claimed that he’d go south to employ more dealers for the new casinos, but he had entered up visiting the private bank that evening instead. In short, he’d lie. Moreover, Jia Dai had actually delivered money to Uncle Cheng after all these days. If the head elder couldn’t figure out the scheme hidden within it by now, then he might as well kill himself from guilt.
“Where did Uncle Cheng go that night?” the head elder demanded.
The clueless manager could only shake his head. “Uncle Cheng seemed to be waiting for someone, but he left before they arrived. This one hasn’t seen him since.”
Fifth Elder’s face varied between different shades of green while Tang Li was secretly laughing to himself. Han Yunxi had already told him the details of the estate sales. Uncle Cheng was not only disloyal to Myriad Merchant Hall, but also in charge of its security. His suspicion was too high now. Jia Dai must have followed big bro’s orders. Otherwise, he’d never be so generous as to spend 100 million to expose Uncle Cheng’s dealings.
While Tang Li remained unmoved, Fifth and Head Elder exchanged glances, their suspicions finally on Uncle Cheng. That very day, the head elder issued orders to transfer troops from the army and replace all the guards at Myriad Merchant Hall. At the same time, he ordered the Di Clan to relieve Uncle Cheng of all his duties, powers, and to arrest the man on sight. Fifth Elder invited Tang Li to accompany him for a visit to Jia Dai, but he refused. Instead, he remained at Myriad Merchant Hall to interrogate the guards responsible for protecting its interior. Uncle Cheng’s suspicion made Head Elder realized the seriousness of the situation. He had someone else take over affairs at the auction halls while personally going to ask Eastern Valley Private Bank employees about the whereabouts of Manager Jin.
Everything that the guards by Han Yunxi’s side told the head elder were lies, but he reported nothing but the truth. Ning Jing and Mu Linger’s kidnapping case updates were all speedily passed on to Han Yunxi in letters. That very afternoon, she and Long Feiye had settled at a small town when the news of Uncle Cheng being exposed reached her eyes.
“One hundred million!” Han Yunxi ached for Long Feiye’s sake. If it wasn’t for him, how could Jia Dai be willing to part with so much money?!
Long Feiye didn’t mind. He picked up some vegetables and placed them in Han Yunxi’s plate. After days of traveling, they could finally eat hot food again. They’d stay the night here before going straight for Hundred Poisons Sect tomorrow. There wouldn’t be another chance to rest. Thus, he had told Uncle Gao and Xu Donglin to make haste until they reached this town by afternoon. This way, Han Yunxi would have ample time to rest while the two subordinates went to replenish their supplies.
Han Yunxi had also told Fifth Elder to keep an eye out for Gu Qishao’s whereabouts while she was gone, but she didn’t dare bring this up in front of Long Feiye. Just what had that fellow run into on his way to Blacktower? He still hadn’t written her a thing. Moreover, there was something else that puzzled her.
“Long Feiye, there should be news by now if Bai Yuqiao’s kidnapped Ning Cheng, right?” she asked. So much time had passed that it was time for the girl to pressure the Di Clan with Ning Cheng, but nothing had happened. Could it be that Bai Yuqiao was still deadset on tracking down Bai Yanqing first after the man abused her?
Long Feiye had been considering the situation as well. “There hasn’t been any news on Jun Yixie’s side, either.”
“Did she really go searching for Bai Yanqing then? Could she be hiding at Hundred Poisons Sect?” Han Yunxi wondered.
Long Feiye couldn’t figure it out, so he asked, “Bai Yanqing hasn’t made any movements in Northern Li yet. Just what is he thinking?”
Bai Yanqing had lost his advantage in the Di Clan and suffered a loss at Blacktower. Logically speaking, he should be heading for Northern Li to help Jun Yixie deal with the Northern Li emperor. And yet, Long Feiye had been keeping an eye up north without getting any news of the man. Neither had Jun Yixie made any major moves.
“No matter what he’s planning, we can’t let him escape this time!” Han Yunxi’s eyes flashed sinisterly. This time she had to be ruthless and strive forward regardless of obstacles or excuses.
After their meal, the skies began to darken. Long Feiye taught Han Yunxi a few needle attacking techniques, which she learned very quickly. Her internal energy had already been cultivated to the maximum, enough for her to use the Nirvana Heart Arts’ energy at will. Now she had to learn the special needle arts that Long Feiye had created just for her. The manual he’d given her had no name, so she christened it the “Flying Needle Arts.” She’d just finished shooting a needle according to Long Feiye’s instructions when he smiled.
“What are you smiling about?” she asked, puzzled.
Without replying, Long Feiye backed up ten steps and said, “Shoot towards me. If you can hit me, they’ll be a handsome reward!”
Han Yunxi grew amused. “You want me to complete my apprenticeship so soon?”
“I’ll consider it if you hit me,” Long Feiye wasn’t joking. Han Yunxi was not only born with high innate talent for internal energy cultivation, but also enlightened to new principles very quickly. A genius of this caliber only needed a few pointers to advance, so it wasn’t impossible for her to graduate from her studies. Of course, he wouldn’t leave her to her own means. He quite enjoyed the process of teaching her martial arts. No matter how talented Han Yunxi might be, it would still be impossible to hit him without lying in ambush ahead of time. She had just cultivated her internal energy to the max, so he was in no rush to dual cultivate the Lustbite Seal energy with her. Rather, it was better to let her rest and practice her needle skills first.
“Then let me change to another needle, just in case,” Han Yunxi teased. Her weapons were poisoned, after all.
Long Feiye smiled wordlessly and walked forward a few steps to lessen the difficulty for her.
“Be careful, I’m going to shoot!” Han Yunxi chuckled.
Long Feiye didn’t startle, but remained waiting.
Han Yunxi assumed her stance, but only stood there for ages smiling at him like a fool.
“Still not attacking?” Long Feiye asked. Han Yunxi pretended to shoot, but Long Feiye saw straight through her. “Playing dirty?”
“I wouldn’t dare.” Grinning, Han Yunxi shot out ten needles at once, all of them aimed for Long Feiye’s vital spots. Long Feiye remained unmoving as they rushed towards him, seemingly aloof and indifferent.
“Long Feiye!” Han Yunxi panicked. She was only playing around because she was sure he’d dodge. That’s why her attack had been so vicious! She made a dash forward but stopped when all of the needles buried themselves in Long Feiye’s flesh. Although they weren’t poisoned, they had all targeted his weak spots. The consequences were more frightening than any toxic needles!
What was this man thinking?!
She stared at him in disbelief. But his eyes turned cold before the ten needles suddenly rebounded off his body and went flying in the opposite direction, straight at Han Yunxi. In short, he was the one playing dirty! Han Yunxi tried to evade them, but there was no time. All ten needles buried themselves into her body. Fortunately, she was shorter than him, so they didn’t hit any place fatal. Still...that hurt!
“Long Feiye, you’re dirtier than I am!” she accused him.
“And an enemy would be even filthier. Remember, all’s fair in war, especially when it comes to assassination weapons. Many accurate hits end up being nothing but tricks.” As Long Feiye spoke, he approached her and asked, “Does it hurt?”
Han Yunxi nodded promptly. Besides the needles she used for medical work, most of them were Long Feiye’s custom orders from the Tang Clan. The tips of them dug into the flesh and hurt intensely when they hit--both at the moment of impact, and when the victim tried to pry them out.
“You’ll remember it better if it hurts,” Long Feiye said coldly.
“Mm, I will!” Han Yunxi didn’t fuss. “Let’s do it again.”
Strict teachers had outstanding students!
But Long Feiye simply picked her up and headed for their rooms.
“What are you doing?” Han Yunxi asked.
“Going to deal with the needles,” Long Feiye intoned.
“It’ll be fine once I pull them out,” Han Yunxi replied.
“It’ll hurt. Take care of them slowly inside the rooms, we’ll need to apply ointment too,” Long Feiye might have an ice cube face, but his words were exceptionally gentle. Where was his so-called strictness? Han Yunxi was beginning to worry whether she’d improve at this rate. She really had to consider whether Long Feiye should be allowed to teach their future children martial arts, too!
That night, Long Feiye and Han Yunxi settled down in an inn while Gu Qishao and Gu Beiyue reached the Three-Way Black Market!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
There's an obvious bit of word-padding by the author in this chapter, but ehhh we'll live since there's some cuteness sprinkled in. With this I think I'm caught up on owed chapters, so back to regular releases and the stockpiling tomorrow! Remember, the bonus chapters poll will be up until...THE END OF THE WEEK! Haha.