In which Ye You goes missing in action, again.
Ding Xilai’s opportunity to pretend to be a martial hero quickly fell through.
He had originally thought that the fight was between simple commoners, and since he knew martial arts, he would definitely be able to set them to rights and nimbly resolve the dispute, all the while receiving countless amounts of gratitude and adoration. But he had just rolled up his sleeves when someone nearby hurriedly stopped him.
“Little young sir, you better not go over. Those are Jianghu people, flying hither and thither, and even carrying blades!”
Ding Xilai blinked. “Jianghu people?”
The bystander said, “That’s right!”
Ding Xilai immediately felt somewhat terrified and silently pulled his sleeves back into their original positions. Thinking that he was after all the Junior Pavilion Master of Lingjian Pavilion, he stood up straight, clasping his hands behind his back, and said, with an air of righteousness, “Then I need to go take a look even more. It’s the Mid-Autumn Festival, so how could they cause such a disturbance among the common people? Uncle, don’t worry, I’m also a person of Jianghu. It’s fine to leave this to me. You should go hide a bit further away.”
That person sized him up in surprise. “Then… then I’ll leave it to you, martial hero.”
Ding Xilai calmly nodded his head and walked forward with Ren Shaotian. Only after a moment did he start walking slower and stop pretending. He hesitantly asked, “Shaotian, do you think… if the ones fighting are those of the righteous faction, will they show me some respect? If I go to stop the fight, they wouldn’t also beat me up, right?”
Ren Shaotian smiled and said, “They won’t. Young Master can definitely try to persuade them.”
Ding Xilai thereupon became filled with confidence and, following the sounds, made his way over to the riverside extremely slowly. Under the white light of the moon, he discovered that there was one person fighting with three or four on the bridge, and that person’s back seemed somewhat familiar.
He was just about to move even closer when Ren Shaotian spoke up, “That’s Sect Master Wenren.”
“Ah?” Ding Xilai was shocked, and then immediately thought of something, expression changing. “Then what about Sir Xiao? Sir Xiao was definitely together with him. Where is he? Who did they say it was that fell into the water?”
Ren Shaotian didn’t reply. He waved his hand and indicated that the people of “Moon’s Shadow” who had been following them in secret should protect the young master before then pulling out his sword and rushing forward onto the stone bridge.
With just one exchange of blows, he was able to determine that these were all martial art experts, and his heart sank. Sir Xiao couldn’t use martial arts, and if the person had really been together with Wenren Heng, then it boded ill.
Wenren Heng used a palm to force the people surrounding to retreat, taking this interval of time to say, “Don’t mind me, go look for Ah-Xiao. He fell into the water.”
Ren Shaotian said, “Young Master will go.”
Wenren Heng said, “They have a few people who’ve given chase.”
Ren Shaotian said, “Moon’s Shadow.”
The two’s conversation was exchanged very quickly and concisely, but it still allowed those people to understand their meaning very clearly. Those who had originally wanted to move forward to encircle them couldn’t help but hesitate.
Wenren Heng’s martial skill was quite high, and they had just barely managed to stall him with the three of them, while two people were already lying on the ground, having been knocked unconscious by him. Now that that side had added Ren Shaotian and the experts of “Moon’s Shadow”, their situation had become increasingly unfavorable.
One person made the prompt decision to jump backwards and blow a whistle. The remaining two then followed and also jumped backwards.
Wenren Heng saw that they wanted to run and said, “Stop them!”
Ren Shaotian’s figure flashed, and in the blink of an eye, he pressed forward. The sword in his hands was a magnificent cold light, sweeping down with threatening intent, straight towards the leader who blew that flute. The latter felt his pupils contract and, with difficulty, managed to deflect that move partially. Knowing that he wasn’t the other’s opponent, in a moment of desperation, he could only escape through the river. When he suddenly crashed into the river surface, a loud splash echoed.
At this moment, Ding Xilai was currently anxiously staring at this same river as he conducted the search. When he heard that noise, he startled, frightened, and raised his head. “Who? Who was that?”
A person from “Moon’s Shadow” said, “It wasn’t Brother Shaotian or Sect Master Wenren.”
Ding Xilai felt relieved and said, “Keep watch. If you see him come out, grab him.”
Ding Xilai then continued to search for that person.
This river was about ten meters wide, and the flow of the water wasn’t very fast. With the lanterns released by the people gliding down the river, the river surface was currently completely covered with glittering, star-like lights. Although the river got deeper as one went on, with the help of the river lanterns floating on top, they would be able to see any slight movements beneath the surface quickly thanks to the light from these lanterns.
Ding Xilai had originally thought that finding a person would be really easy. However, he was startled to discover that, even after a long time, he saw not a glimpse of that person’s shadow. After checking the river surface, he felt his heart squeeze with anxiety and couldn’t stop his mouth from saying, “It’s not possible that the water had originally flowed in that direction, but when we rushed over, it started flowing in this direction, right?”
The person from “Moon’s Shadow” said, “…It’s not possible.”
Ding Xilai said, “Then where is he? Where is he?”
The person from “Moon’s Shadow” guessed, “Maybe Sir Xiao never actually fell into the river, or maybe he already went ashore and hid himself?”
Ding Xilai said, “That’s not impossible…”
They thereupon began searching by following the shore, and even retraced their steps to search through all the underbrush.
This time, when they still hadn’t found the person, Ding Xilai refused to start thinking of certain worst case scenarios and continued searching, unwilling to give up. And he even began indulging in fantasy, wondering if Sir Xiao could have found a way in a short amount of time to dig a large enough pit to hide inside, or if the other had broken off a reed and used it to breathe underwater so as to hide in the river.
The person from “Moon’s Shadow” then submerged into the river, searching its bottom once, then twice, before crawling back on shore, dripping wet, to see their trouble-making, jinx of a young master. He felt as if he somewhat understood why their Pavilion Master always wanted to give him a beating.
Ding Xilai asked, “Anything?”
The person from “Moon’s Shadow” said, remorseful, “Nothing.”
Ding Xilai foolishly stared at him, completely at wit’s end.
The person from “Moon’s Shadow” examined this expression and, feeling as if their young master was about to faint on the spot in the very next moment, immediately got a fright. He was about to roll up his sleeves and pinch the person when he saw Ren Shaotian and Wenren Heng hurrying over.
Ding Xilai instantly stopped looking as if his spirit had left his body and looked towards Wenren Heng. “Where’s Sir Xiao?”
Wenren Heng’s pupils had sunk deep, and he said in a hoarse voice, “He fell into the river. You didn’t find him?”
Ding Xilai opened and closed his mouth. “No.”
Wenren Heng closed his eyes for a moment before then walking forward without a word, clearly meaning to continue searching himself.
Upon seeing this, Ding Xilai brought people to follow and help.
He had already passed his most anxious stage, and after accompanying Wenren Heng to search for a while and seeing Wenren Heng’s frantic energy, he felt that it wouldn’t be good to continue like this and said, “Shaotian, why don’t we let someone go back to pass on a letter?”
He waited for a moment before raising his head in surprise. “Shaotian?”
Ren Shaotian came back to his senses. “…Yes?”
Ding Xilai saw he was looking up ahead and promptly asked, “Did you discover something?”
Ren Shaotian retracted his examination of the river surface and said, “No, what is it?”
Ding Xilai said, “I asked if we should send someone back to the inn to give word.”
Ren Shaotian stilled for a moment.
Ding Xilai saw that he seemed to have sucked in a deep breath, without any indications as to why, and unconsciously felt that he was trying to calm down, seemingly also extremely anxious deep down about Sir Xiao’s disappearance.
“You…” As Ding Xilai spoke, he thought of how he usually would mention Sir Xiao whenever the mood struck. Reckoning that Shaotian was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to stand the shock, he immediately felt moved and unprecedentedly pulled out the proper appearance of a young master to say in earnest, “Shaotian, don’t worry, I definitely feel that such a clever person as Sir Xiao will certainly be all right. Even in the case that something happens… I won’t collapse just from this, and I’d even look for the culprit to avenge him. On this, I swear.”
Ren Shaotian said, “It’s good that Young Master can think like this.”
After going through that apprehensive night at the brothel, Ding Xilai was now able to endure at least some things. He returned to the previous topic, “Then do you think we should send someone back?”
Ren Shaotian said, “Yes, me and Wenren Heng have captured a few of their people. Let’s send some more people to bring all of them back.”
Ding Xilai said, “But there’s only a few of us remaining here. What if those people decide to double back?”
Ren Shaotian said, “They probably won’t. They’ve already sounded the alert with their actions, so they most likely won’t take any more risks. And now that we haven’t seen even a shadow of Sir Xiao, it’s possible that he was captured by them. If it’s really like this, then they’d definitely not return.”
Ding Xilai pressed down his uneasy thoughts and nodded, deciding to listen to the other.
The people of “Moon’s Shadow” thus went as per orders to deliver the news of, “Sect Master Wenren and Sir Xiao were attacked by assassins, and Sir Xiao fell into the river, current whereabouts unknown,” to those elders. The inn immediately boiled over. Regardless of whether it was those currently appreciating the moon or those who’ve already went to rest, they all were, without exception, alarmed enough to run downstairs one after the other.
Everyone looked at the captured black-clothed men before then walking forward to tear off their masks, only to see that the first was a person from Qingcheng Sect. And this person’s position in Qingcheng Sect was even quite high; he was Qingcheng Sect’s Sect Master Han’s second disciple.
Sect Master Han’s eyelids twitched.
Everyone looked at him. He had been the one to find those who built Bodhi Prison that year, and now it was also his people who had tried to assassinate Sir Xiao. This was a bit too coincidental, right?
Sect Master Han completely regretted not lighting more incense at Shaolin Temple to pray for better luck. He said, “I didn’t order this.”
Sect Leader Xuanyang gave him a glance before unmasking the second person and discovering that he was once again a person from Qingcheng Sect.
Sect Master Han felt his heart sink as he watched, and a thick feeling of crisis suddenly bubbled forth. Using a solemn tone, he said, “No matter if all of you believe me or not, it really wasn’t me who ordered this.”
Sect Leader Xuanyang unmasked the third person and discovered that it was actually their Wudang Sect’s disciple, causing his own eyelids to twitch.
Manor Lord Wei said, “Could it be that the other party purposely found a few of our sect’s people so as to play at getting us to mutually suspect each other? If I was him, I’d also add in people from ‘Heaven’s Firmament’ and ‘Moon’s Shadow’.”
The moment he finished talking, Sect Leader Xuanyang tore off the last black-clothed man’s mask and discovered that, while it wasn’t a person from “Moon’s Shadow”, it truly was a person from “Heaven’t Firmament”.
Manor Lord Wei, “…”
Manor Lord Wei immediately wrinkled his brows. “Splash them awake.”
There was no need for him to speak, as Sect Master Han had already long instructed his subordinates to do so. After a few basins of cold water was splashed on them, those people slowly came into awareness and looked at everyone, completely at a loss.
“Master, why are all of you… Wait, what happened here? Why have I been tied up? Master?”
Sect Master Han asked, “None of you remember anything?”
Qingcheng Sect’s second disciple shook his head. “No, what exactly happened? Didn’t we just finish eating?”
Sect Master Han asked, “And then what?”
Qingcheng Sect’s disciple said, “And then I left together with Xiao-Wang, wanting to take a walk around. And after that… and then after that, I don’t remember anything. What did I do? Why am I so sore?”
Sect Master Han felt his heart falling back into place. At this time, Sect Leader Xuanyang and Manor Lord Wei had also finished their own questioning, and their situation was the same as his. None of these men knew what had happened and had simply woken up to find themselves bound.
Abbot Ciyuan waited for everyone to discuss their suggestions for a moment, guessing that these people had probably been drugged. Afraid that they’d continue to be controlled by the white piece, he didn’t undo their bindings for now, deciding to first send them to Shaolin to be examined by Miracle Doctor Ji.
But according to the people from “Moon’s Shadow”, there was a whistle-blower among them who had fled by way of the river, and there were also some people who had chased after Sir Xiao. There was no knowing if those people had been drugged, and there was even less knowing whose sects those subordinates belonged to.
Pavilion Master Ding said, “Searching for the person is more urgent.”
Everyone voiced their agreement one after the other and hastily hurried over to the riverside.
After the people of Shuangji Sect received the news, with the scarred man leading the way, they had gone directly to find the Sect Master. When everyone arrived, they had already doubled back and was about to start again from the village near the shore, but it was unfortunate that they still hadn’t found the person.
Wenren Heng’s gaze was very cold, and his entire body emitted a dense air that stopped anyone from getting close, completely belying his usual elegant appearance. It was evident how terrible his mood was.
Xie Junming gave the other a look and was about to approach to ask about the truth when he heard cries of alarm from nearby. Unable to help turning his head, he found a familiar figure appearing in his line of sight.
“I was wondering why there was no one at the inn, and it turned out that everyone was here. What is everyone looking for? Do you need this lord to help all of you search?”
The person at the head was wearing a set of black robes, bearing the iconic mask on his face and carrying a shallow smile, unhurriedly walking over.
In addition, there was even some Demonic Sect Elders following behind him, and just like this, he was using some kind of incomprehensible gaze to look at the surroundings. He calmly walked over to Xie Junming’s side and said, smiling, “It’s rare that you’re also participating. I originally thought that you were all coming here to release river lanterns together.”
Xie Junming said, “Ah-You, if you’re willing, I’ll go release a lantern with you. Come.”
As he spoke, he pulled the person away and really left.
Everyone rolled their eyes and ignored those two annoying rascals, returning to help with the search.
Xie Junming continued to hold a certain person’s hand. He asked, “Ah-You, you also want to participate in this matter?”
That person wanted to pull his hand out of that grip but after trying for a while and continually failing, could only say, “Yes.”
“Is that so. Then in the future, we can again be together all day, from morning ’til night.” Xie Junming said, with deep emotion, “Ah-You, let’s sleep together tonight.”
Those Elders walking behind silently looked at the sky.
That person couldn’t take it anymore. “…Temple Master Xie, first release my hand.”
Xie Junming tightened his grip, and his smile looked bloodthirsty. He asked, “Where’s your Sect Master? What act does he and Wenren Heng want to put on this time?”
Elder Baili’s face carried the Sect Master’s mask as he struggled to extricate his hand. He replied, “The Sect Master didn’t say. He only told me to come out to keep watch.”
Xie Junming asked, “Then where’d he go?”
Elder Baili said, “He and the Madam are going to do something else. He’ll meet up with us again after a few days.”
Only now did Xie Junming let go of him.
Elder Baili let out a breath of relief. Seeing the other still walking forward, he asked, “Where are you going?”
“To release a river lantern, didn’t I just say so. No matter what, we should at least do it for appearances’ sake.” Xie Junming spoke as if it was a matter of course. Seeing two people from the righteous faction pass by, he then once again held a certain person’s hand. “Come, Ah-You, let’s go light a lantern together.”
Elder Baili, “…”
The righteous faction people, “…”
The two righteous faction people were practically horrified, thinking in their hearts that, so it turned out that those two disasters had this kind of relationship, while also running away in disarray.
Elder Baili turned back to look at his colleagues in grief and indignation.
Those Elders behind once again turned to look at the sky, collectively thinking in their hearts, Thank the heavens that it wasn’t me who pulled the losing stick.
I’m legit surprised that Xie Junming doesn’t have like a harem of people waiting on him already. He seems like the type, huh?