Jiang Wei had been frowning this whole time, his knit brows not relaxing even once. Ye Zichen had noticed right away, but since he’d been busy showing them around and discussing recruitment conditions, he hadn’t found the time to ask about it.
But they’d reached a natural breaking point in the conversation, so he had time to ask and see what was up.
Although he didn’t notice it, when he brought up Jiang Wei, the others, who’d been chatting casually mere moments before, froze up. They subconsciously glanced at Jiang Wei. Murong Xue even bit her lip and clenched her fists.
“It’s… It’s nothing.” For some unknown reason, Jiang Wei actually started stuttering.
Despite himself, Ye Zichen was stunned. In his memories, this man, the one others called the Sword Immortal, had always been cold, calm, and aloof.
But now he was stuttering?
Ye Zichen glanced at the others, and even though they hit it well, Ye Zichen could sense something strange about them. Especially Murong Xue. She seemed…. Awfully nervous.
Ye Zichen had sensed something was off from the moment Jiang Wei arrived.
He could understand Jiang Yong and the others wanting to tour his new base, but Jiang Wei was the type that didn’t care about the outside world.
Had Jiang Wei been so overcome with curiosity that he couldn’t help but come along?
Was that even possible?
Even if Ye Zichen had formed the Upheaval Alliance, that had nothing to do with Jiang Wei, who wanted nothing more than to immerse himself completely in the way of the sword.
And yet, Jiang Wei had shown up, which was strange enough already. Moreover, he’d been acting strange this whole time.
“You’re not just here to see the Upheaval Alliance’s base, are you?” asked Ye Zichen after a moment’s hesitation.
Pang Zheng and the others averted their gazes, while Jiang Yong grinned, clenched his fists, and laughed, “Brother Ye, you’ve got good eyes, as expected. You’re right; we did come here to tell you something.”
“Then say it already. Why beat around the bush and play games? You even brought Brother Jiang with you, and from the look of things, he wasn’t at all willing to join you,” laughed Ye Zichen.
“We’re here because of what happened in the tavern,” said Jiang Yong.
Ye Zichen was visibly confused. The tavern incident was in the distant past, and although he’d felt they were acting strange at the time, he hadn’t challenged them about it.
Then, a few days ago, he asked Xuan Ji himself if anything had happened to Anti-Upheaval. She said they were fine, so the only thing that still confused him was that Xue Mo still hadn’t responded to any of his messages.
“We were lying to say,” said Jiang Yong after a bit of a pause.
“What do you mean?” Ye Zichen frowned.
The student society heads all glanced at Jiang Wei. Ye Zichen looked over suspiciously as well.
There was a hint of struggle in Jiang Wei’s gaze, and the hands clenching his rusted sword trembled slightly. After a while, he finally regained control and sighed. “Your teammates didn’t wash out of the competition, but halfway through, they went to a hidden land.”
“A hidden land?”
“That’s right, a hidden land!” Jiang Wei nodded in affirmation. “Anti-Upheaval discovered it partway through the Battle of Geniuses, and Xue Mo decided that it was a rare stroke of fate and decided to simply quit the competition. She brought all her teammates with her, but as you know, hidden lands are all uncharted territory, which means they contain unknown dangers.”
“And then…..” Ye Zichen’s expression darkened.
Could it be that Xue Mo and the others had encountered unexpected peril?
But if that was the case, when Xuan Ji told him his friends were fine, didn’t that mean she was lying?
Thoughts raced through Ye Zichen’s mind, but before coming to any conclusions, he wanted to hear what Jiang Wei had to say.
“Xue Mo didn’t want you to worry, so she told us not to tell you. But I’m sure you know that I dislike deceiving others, so I decided not to get involved. Besides, they could handle it on their own. So they went ahead and tricked you, but it sounds like their performance was a bit much and made you suspicious. Then you brought up the possibility of elimination, so they decided to simply agree that that was what had happened and leave it at that.”
“Then why did you decide to tell me now?” asked Ye Zichen.
“It just worked out that way!” Jiang Wei furrowed his brow and said, “I’m sure you know that we couldn’t keep Xue Mo’s decision to explore from Great Emperor Xue Yang. Just after tricking you in the tavern, Jiang Yong and the others received news from the Sea of Innocence.”
“Great Emperor Xue Yang and the Wish God personally performed a series of divinations and determined that the hidden land would contain a few close calls, but no actual danger. Afterward, Jiang Yong and the others breathed a sigh of relief and decided they couldn’t in good conscience lie to you anymore, so they set aside their shame and came to ask me to tell you about all this.”
“Ah, so that’s how it is!” Ye Zichen’s anxious heart finally relaxed, and he let out a deep breath.
When Jiang Wei first started explaining what had happened, he even thought that Xuan Ji might have tricked him, but now it seemed she was telling the truth: his friends had obtained good fortune in his absence.
They’d just known that the hidden land was dangerous and unknown, so they lied to keep him from worrying.
Then Xuan Ji told him his teammates were fine, but that was because she’d divined that they’d come back safe.
But then, that shouldn’t be a surprise. How could Xuan Ji possibly lie to him?
“No wonder Xue Mo still hasn’t replied to all the messages I sent her. So she ran off to some newly-discovered hidden land!” Ye Zichen finally understood.
Hidden lands all occupied separate dimensions, so it was only natural that his messages weren’t getting through. It was like how it was difficult to get cell phone service when you were in the basement.
Now that his confusion and doubt had been cleared up, Ye Zichen smiled in understanding, then laughed. “Why didn’t you guys go?”
“Xue Mo discovered it. How could we go? It’d be embarrassing to insist,” said Jiang Yong.
“What’s there to be embarrassed about?” teased Ye Zichen. He patted Jiang Yong on the shoulder and shook his head. “It seems you’re awfully smart, though. You even brought Jiang Wei; you must have known I’d trust him.”
“What, are you saying you wouldn’t have trusted me?” Jiang Yong glared at him.
“It’s hard to say!” Ye Zichen laughed, but he was only half joking.
“Brother Jiang Yong, it seems Brother Ye doesn’t have much confidence in you!” The Xu Brothers started teasing him too.
Soon, they were all laughing about Jiang Yong’s lack of sincerity, but no one realized that Jiang Wei and Murong Xue’s eyes met.
Murong Xue was visibly grateful, while Jiang Wei’s gaze contained a hint of relief, but also a hint of conflict.
Ye Zichen, meanwhile, was delighted. Between resolving his doubts and arranging for an influx of new subordinates, he was in high spirits.
He planned to keep showing his friends around, but then, his jade transmission slip lit up. He pulled it from his pocket, inserted his divine sense, and saw that Liu Qing had replied.
She hadn’t transmitted a response, but rather, sent a piece of paper with nothing but a question mark written on it.
Ye Zichen couldn’t help but shake his head, then reply, “Little Cutie, what are you doing?”
This nauseatingly cheesy message gave even Ye Zichen goosebumps, but he sent it anyway, grinning wickedly all the while.
He could almost imagine how the cold, aloof Liu Qing would respond. He could picture her face already!
He laughed, then put the jade slip back into his pocket.
Jiang Yong and the others had, after expending an enormous amount of effort, finally tricked Ye Zichen. They’d only just barely relaxed, so when they saw his laughter, they couldn’t help but ask,“Brother Ye, what’s up? What’s got you in such a good mood?”
“It’s nothing.” Ye Zichen waved away their concerns and laughed. “You know Liu Qing, right? From the Four Directions Palace? I was just sending her a message.”
Everyone’s expressions instantly shifted!Previous Chapter Next Chapter