Chapter 10 The Green Mountain, Two Years Later
Time went on. Soon, two years had passed.
The world remained the same, with not too much taking place.
The Underworld was quiet. The traces of soul-fire hadn’t been seen under the sun for a long time.
The Snow Kingdom fell silent. It seemed the cruel and bloodthirsty ice-snow monsters also needed to take a breather after a series of battles.
The soldiers and populace in North County and the man who always braved wind and snow in Lonely Broadsword Town finally had a war-free year.
No major events were reported overseas. The only news was that a magic ship of Penglai Island sank when it was investigating the secret Singing Spring Realm, one of one of the three Huge Whirlpools, and suddenly encountered chaotic winds. Though the ship eventually avoided being swallowed by the huge whirlpool, it collided with an iceberg.
If it weren’t for a heroic man from the other land, who strode over the ocean to its rescue, that magic ship would have sunk to the bottom of the ocean.
As the story was heard in Chaotian, many people denounced it as a ridiculous lie. Besides swordsmen in the State of Broken Sea, almost nobody could understand the details in the story; for instance, what did it mean the heroic man strode over the ocean? And how could one man lift up a magic ship as heavy as a mountain?
This was normal, though, since people usually believed what they thought were credible.
It was the same way of thinking that made it so many mortals didn’t believe the Cultivation practitioners exist in this world, even now.
Regardless of whether people believed it or not, something would happen as it should.
In Haizhou City, Xiwang Sun was going to host another Four-Seas Banquet soon.
At the same time, a meeting was underway in a secret government office of the city.
The year’s winter was nearing its end. There was no snowfall in Zhaoge City during this part of the season. Situated by the Western Ocean, Haizhou City had milder weather that felt as comfortable as spring.
Looking at the uninterested expressions on the faces of these Cultivation practitioners, Shi Fengchen suddenly had the desire to get drunk, to forget about all these matters. He hadn’t drunk any alcohol for two years, not since he was transferred here from Chaonan City.
He understood that were the Four-Seas Banquet not about to be held in Haizhou City, he or the Clean Heaven Bureau wouldn’t have been able invite so many Cultivation practitioners, especially the disciples of major sects.
"I have been promoted for two years now."
Shi Fengchen said this to the crowd of the practitioners, but there was not even a hint of cheer in his expression.
Except for the two practitioners of small sects who didn’t know the inside information s congratulated him, the rest didn’t respond.
The Cultivation practitioners respected the Imperial Court, but they had no respect for the government officials, even though Shi Fengchen wasn’t a regular official.
Shi Fengchen was promoted from the position of Director of Chaonan City to the current position of Vice Inspector of the Clean Heaven Bureau, but many people knew there seemed to be another reason for the promotion.
"As Vice Inspector, I’m in charge of investigating this case. If I still can’t catch those two magic demons, I’m finished."
Shi Fengchen gazed across the crowd and said, "I know I don’t have much influence on your sects, but, now that I might be finished, I might actually try my best in this last effort to influence the government’s quota."
Upon hearing this, the practitioners of major sects like the Great Marsh Sect didn’t show any changed in expression, but those practitioners of small sects became concerned and anxious.
The quota for crystal stones and other Cultivation sources was decided by the Imperial Court, in discussion with the major sects such as the Middle State, Green Mountain, Great Marsh, and Western Ocean.
The major sects were not worried about it since it was impossible for the Imperial Court to reduce their quota, but what about these small sects?
If Shi Fengchen was determined to cause some damages before being fired, the ten percent reduction of crystal stone supplies implemented by him would have a big impact on these small sects.
"Master, if you need our help with something, please instruct us," said a practitioner of a small sect, a bitter expression on his face.
Shi Fengchen said, "The swordsmen of the Imperial Court are either placed in Zhaoge City guarding the capital or sent to the north, joining hands with the North Army to battle the opponents of the Snow Kingdom; so today the Clean Heaven Bureau is nothing but an empty shell, we don’t have enough swordsmen to catch those two murderers. What I intend to do is very clear, which is to ask for your help in catching these two magic demons."
"What is the background of those two magic demons?" asked that practitioner surprisingly.
Shi Fengchen waved his hand, a flash of white light landing on the wall, the wall turning into a white paper on which a dozen lines of words appeared.
"The early incident occurred in Shangzhou, the two magic demons killed four people there; the following investigation discovered that they didn’t even meet those four victims, so it should be random killing. Later in Chaonan City they killed four disciples of the Sect of Three, some clues were left behind."
Shi Fengchen continued, "In the two years since, these two magic demons have been involved in more murder cases, killing more than seventy people; the victims include common folks and some practitioners. Most of these cases, like the first one, were committed for no obvious reason; they were simply random killings. These cases have proven how merciless and brutal these two magic demons are."
Many people gazed subconsciously at an elder sitting in the middle when they heard about the case in Chaonan City.
The white-haired old man, emitting a profound Cultivation aura, was Elder He Zhichong of the Kunlun Sect.
The Kunlun Sect, which had never participated in the Four-Seas Banquet, sent an Elder for the occasion; this might have something to do with the case in Chaonan City.
He Zhichong didn’t utter a word. The Sect of Three was the vassal of the Kunlun Sect. If the killed were merely the disciples of low states, he didn’t have to be present here. However, the Young Master of the Sect of Three had suffered a great deal because of this incident, developing a grudge and persuading the Sect Master of the Sect of Three to ask for help from the Kunlun Sect; he had to come here.
"What Cultivation states are these two magic demons in?" asked someone in the crowd.
Shi Fengchen replied, "In the early days of last autumn, the Head Master of Black Dragon Temple, Master Zhu Gui, was killed by the flying sword coming from the other side of the mountain. Perhaps they are in the middle state of the Undefeated."
There were different expressions among the crowd upon hearing this.
The Head Master of Black Dragon Temple, Zhu Gui, had a very bad reputation. By means of offering false promises, he had gotten his hands on properties of the rich merchants, who went broke as a result, and even got his hands on the money the poor folks relied on for treating illnesses. It was also rumored that he had raped many women and committed other evil deeds. Since this head master had connections to a certain Royal Empress in the Imperial Court, the sects left him alone, fearing they might get in trouble with the Imperial Court.
Having listened to what Shi Fengchen had just described, the crowd learned the real reason for this Master Zhu Gui’s sudden death last year.
Shi Fengchen knew what everybody was thinking of, frowning slightly as he stopped talking about this incident. "Those two magic demons had never given their victims a chance to survive, so we don’t have many clues. We merely know one of them is taller than the other one; one man, one woman, their faces wrapped in gray clothes, using flying swords. Does anybody have any ideas about this?" asked he.
You’ve given us such few clues; ideas about what?
"It has nothing to do with us."
The speaker was a middle-aged man with dark skin, a practitioner from the Great Marsh Sect, his Dao title being the Left Rain-Messenger.
The crowd thought what he said was baloney; of course it had nothing to do with your Great Marsh Sect that practiced the Wind-Rain Dao method.
Left Rain-Messenger continued, "Since the sword was used and used so well, the sects that use swords are the Old Ones, No-Mercy Sect, and Western Ocean."
Shi Fengchen shook his head, "Though the assassins of the Old Ones are ruthless, they usually don’t act so carelessly; as for the No-Mercy Sect…"
The crowd had already understood what he meant even before Shi Fengchen finished his sentence.
In the past a few years, the No Mercy Sect had been oppressed by the Western Ocean Sword Sect, so they didn’t have the will and energy to cause troubles in the world.
The No Mercy Sect and the Western Ocean Sword Sect were of similar strength, and the historical resource of No Mercy was even superior to Western Ocean; unfortunately, the Western Ocean had produced a Godly Swordsman, making the Western Ocean a much stronger sword sect now. As for Western Ocean…though there wasn’t a sword practitioner from the Western Ocean here, this was Haizhou City, where the Western Ocean was the strongest sword sect; who dared suspect them?
Suddenly, someone asked, "Why doesn’t anybody suspect the Green Mountain Sect? The first murder case happened in Shangzhou, then Chaonan City, both of which are in Green Mountain territory."
People were all surprised that this person was brave enough to suspect the Green Mountain Sect.
Soon they realized the reason for such a brave suggestion when they recognized who that person was.
His name was Zhu Jie, a secular disciple of the slain Head Master of Black Dragon Temple, Zhu Gui, and was a famous traveling practitioner in the Middle State; it was rumored that he had a good relationship with the Western Ocean Sword Sect.
Pondering these issues, the crowd turned their gaze to an indiscernible corner of the room.
Two young men were sitting there.
They wore light-green sword robes, and hadn’t spoken a word up to this point, keeping a low profile.
The young man with the calmer expression was Yao Songshan, ranked eleventh among the disciples of Liangwang Peak at the Green Mountain Sect.
The younger disciple was Lin Yinglang, learning sword work on Shiyue Peak, brought by Yao Songshan, this time for experience and training.
Looking in the direction of the voice, Yao Songshan didn’t speak, but the emotion in his eyes was incredibly sharp, as sharp as an actual sword.
Yet Lin Yinglang couldn’t hold back his anger, staring at Zhou Jie as he asked, "Do you want to die?"
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