Qin Yining’s pupils constricted slightly as she noted quietly, “Those six had no grudge or enmity with you. I’ve always viewed the alliance as an ally of justice, one that meted out righteousness and protected the people. To me, the alliance seemed to be made up of kind, merciful heroes. But no, even you harm others in pursuit of money!”
“Don’t talk like you’re so high class.” Madame Liao flushed beet-red and raised her voice. “You had everything in life the moment you were born! What do you know about the hardships of us commoners? The trash emperor didn’t give a rat’s ass about our lives and raised a pack of filthy Silver Masks instead—they did all his dirty work for him! They’re just dogs the trash emperor kept for fun, they should’ve died a long time ago!
“And what the hell are you, hmm? Dare you admit that you accepted the alliance head position because you only wanted to use Azure Justice? Dare you claim to be any nobler than the trash emperor after you took in his stray dogs?
“All of you are the minions and pawns of that bastard emperor. All of you are equally repulsive! Now you pull a disgusted expression and interrogate me about harming others and stealing wealth? You just wanted to use us to get the treasure for you so you can build up your husband’s army! You too are harming others and plundering wealth!
“Don’t treat us all as fools. On what basis do we risk our lives while you make off with all the goods?!” Madame Liao advanced with an unsheathed sword in hand.
With a grave face, Cao Yuqing kept Qin Yining firmly behind her. The two backed away, covered by Jingzhe and the others.
Madame Liao however, was in no rush to claim their lives. She walked up to the chests and hefted a silver sycee.
“This silver is all dirty money! That bastard emperor traded the lives of the people for it! Alliance Head, didn’t you surrender to Great Zhou when your old man did so? Why aren’t you being loyal to your liege and instead sending people out to look for the treasure? Look at you, being a traitorous thing!
“All this wealth was accumulated because so many died for it, but you want it all for yourself. So how much nobler than me does that make you, hmm? How much nobler are you?!”
The madame roared her fury in the end, her voice reverberating furiously in the empty cavern. Some dirt and loose pebbles were actually shaken loose, but not one paid any attention to that, given how tense the situation was.
“I took over the position because the former Alliance Head passed it on to me. None of you accepted my authority, and I've never tried to order you around. In fact, I even tried to help you via my position at court whenever you ran into trouble. There were times when you wanted me to take the fall for you.
“I can say with a clear conscience that I haven’t wronged Azure Justice in any way. You betray your alliance head for a sum of silver and turn your backs on morality and justice. What difference is there between you and the trash emperor? Do you realize you’re no longer worthy of the inherent meaning of honest and impartial in ‘Azure’ Justice? I think you’d better change that name.”
Madame Liao flushed hotly from the response; embarrassment flashed across her face, only to turn into satisfied cackling in the next instant.
"You don’t need to try to poke at us with those sorts of words! Our brothers risked their lives to seize the treasure not for ourselves, but for the people! The trash emperor of Great Yan was a bastard, and the trash emperor of Great Zhou isn't any better!
“The earth dragon turning over killed and injured countless numbers of citizens, but the Zhou bastard only knows to set his eyes on the treasure. He didn’t spare a thought for rescue, and dragged his heels for two months after the disaster.
“When he finally sent someone, his ambassador came empty-handed! Was he sending someone to count the bodies? The treasure can’t fall into the hands of a heartless bastard like him! Azure Justice is always worthy of being viewed as honest and impartial! We’ll save this treasure and use it to overthrow the Zhou bastard! As for you, you and your Silver Masks can watch from the underworld just how we do it!”
Qin Yining scoffed coldly. “My, my. What high-falutin’ words. You actually do sound more noble than anyone around.
“I only know the alliance head looks down on a ragtag group like us,” sneered Madame Liao. “The six you sent were all elites, elite dogs for a bastard emperor. They were loyal enough, but at our complete mercy after eating powdered thorn apple flower!” 
The princess consort’s eyes widened with horror as she flew into a fury. “You really killed them after drugging them?”
The Silver Masks trusted Azure Justice so much because of her! If that had really happened, then there was no end to her sins!
Madame Liao led her people up to Qin Yining. “I don’t mind telling you—that bunch really was well trained. They fought off the drug very well, so we only managed to kill three at first. The other three that got away kept following the group escorting the treasure, like wolves on the hunt. We wouldn’t have veered off course if it wasn’t for their dogged chasing.
“We didn’t know how much they’d told others, so could only go to you to frame them. We also wanted to see if they’d revealed the treasure location to you.
“Our worst case scenario was that they had indeed leaked the location, but who would’ve thought they would be such a bunch of idiots? When we finally caught the three, we realized they hadn’t told anyone at all.
“Alliance Head, Princess Consort of the First Rank, you understand everything now, don’t you? Now, we just need to kill you to make sure that no one else will know that we possess the treasure, and we won’t have to worry about anyone exposing our identities. We’ll just change our names and wait for the best opportunity.
“Whereas you, you were targeted by the bandits on your way back to the capital, you poor thing. They specialize in robbing and killing the weak. If the prince comes to smoke them out, then why, he’ll have done a good deed for the locals! Wouldn’t you say we’re terribly concerned with the fate of the nation?” Her tone suddenly turned severely and she pointed at the dozen people behind her, “Kill them all!”
“Understood!” The men whooped and hollered as they charged forward.
Qin Yining and Bingtang had long shifted themselves to the back to prevent themselves from getting in the Silver Masks’ way. A wrathful Cao Yuqing burned with the fires of vengeance quite a while ago, while violent auras rose from Jingzhe and the others, ready to avenge their fallen brothers.
No fresh blood would join the Silver Masks anymore, each loss was permanent. They could die in the course of a mission, but they couldn’t die as victims of a petty plot from petty villains!
Weapons clanged and sparks flew in the cavern. The alliance had patently sent expert fighters this time; the dozen of them actually managed to fight the five Silver Masks to a standstill.
As pitched battle raged, the thunderous chorus of footsteps shook the air. Men clad in Dragon Rider armor charged into the cavern.
“Hoi! What have we here?” shouted their leader. “What nonsense about the princess consort being sick? She’s here for the treasure! Pang is a traitor through and through! Brothers, take them all!”
The soldiers rushed forward without another word.
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Holy, the venom coming out of Madame Liao... she played that two-faced biatch real well! And I... don't actually know what I'd say in response to that!
I feel really bad for the Silver Masks though.