“Yeah, it’s truly a nasty ending! Tang Chong, one of the founding generals, was a man who made great contributions to the empire. He was honest, upright, and free from corruption. We called him one of the four incredulous military men of our Qin Empire. But curiously, his family was broken up and decimated overnight. It’s so pathetic that his poor wife and daughter suffered like that.” Bai Xuan said conversationally and sighed with emotions.
Upon hearing this story, Li Mu kind of sympathized with the general and his family.
“I was told that a bunch of corrupted officials had been punished by the founding general and since then hold a grudge against him. This time, they traveled to Chang’an specifically for the auction. They can’t wait for it to start so as to outbid the others and take General Tang’s wife and daughter back to insult and abuse…” Seeing that Li Mu was quite interested in the topic, Bai Xuan could not help but add more juicy details.
As to why did she say that?
Well, perhaps she felt for that poor widow and the fatherless daughter anyway, though she had not met them yet.
“But didn’t General Tang have any friends who could help them out?” Unable to restrain her curiosity, Hua Xiangrong opened her mouth to speak. She was a little anxious now, for she was forcibly reminded of the similar suffering she had endured. She could not stop thinking of how lucky she was to be picked by the Holy House.
“I heard some people had tried to rescue them, but those good-hearted men were soon victimized and got prosecuted. Thus, a lot of General Tang’s friends were killed, too. That was all because when General Tang was alive he once affronted a real big shot, a certain prince of the royal family,” Bai Xuan continued, “Well, how sad it is! He had remained incorruptible for an entire lifetime, but this was what he wound up with.”
Li Mu questioned, “Now that this General Tang was so incorruptible, loyal to the empire, and also made great contributions, why did the emperor want him dead? Wasn’t it a self-destroying behavior?”
“Emm… That’s beyond what I know. Perhaps he had fallen into the trap of some treacherous officials,” hedged Bai Xuan.
“Hum, how could the trap of treacherous officials fool a real wise emperor? Seems that the emperor we have now is also a fatuous monarch.” Li Mu said nonchalantly.
But Bai Xuan and Hua Xiangrong almost jumped in fright.
“Young Master, be careful with what you say,” whispered Bai Xuan in haste.
Li Mu just shook his head and smiled, apparently not taking that warning seriously.
In truth, he had not cared about any emperor in this world at all. Actually, he was more intrigued about those heads of the Holy Clans and martial arts factions.
Then, Bai Xuan bid goodbye to the other two and left the room.
But only a short moment later, she came back to them. With a sort of unnatural expression, she said, “Young Master Li, someone is out there waiting to see you.”
Without hesitation, Li Mu answered, “Send him away.”
“Er…” Bai Xuan swallowed back the words on the tip of her tongue and then added, “Young Master, please tell him in person, because I’m afraid I can’t stop him…”
Before those words died away, a middle-aged warrior wearing light armors broke in from the outside and yelled, “Young Master Li Mu, how haughty you are! I’m here to deliver our visiting letter to you on the order of His Highness…”
At the sight of that new arrival, Li Mu scowled. “It’s you again?”
He recognized the middle-aged warrior. He had run into him at the entrance of the Pig-Herding Alley once. On that day, the man was also there to deliver the darn visiting letter, claiming that His Highness very much admired Li Mu’s talent and brilliance of mind so he was hoping to recruit Li Mu in his league and work for him. “Dare to recruit me? Fu*king you!” Of course, Li Mu did not pay attention to him at that time. Although it might sound like bragging, it was true that the man that Li Mu, an immortal-to-be, was willing to work for, had yet been born on this planet.
“Young Master Li Mu, His Highness thinks very highly of your talent…” This middle-aged warrior was not a very adept lobbyist, for his tone contained a trace of undisguised condescension.
Li Mu directly waved the rest of his speech away and said, “I’m sorry. Since I’m already an official of the empire, I have no interest in joining in any cliques. Thanks for the kind intention of your master anyway. Bye.” He ordered the visitor to leave straightaway.
A hint of exasperation instantly flitted across the eyes of the middle-aged warrior. Then, he advised, “Young Master Li, you’d better give this a second thought. You know, the ‘His Highness’ I said actually refers to the second prince of the current emperor.”
Next second, three yelps of surprise were heard in the room.
Hua Xiangrong, Bai Xuan, and the maid all looked utterly astonished.
According to the rumors, this second prince was likely to be the crown prince of the Western Qin Empire in the near future.
Yet, Li Mu did not care who he was at all. He immediately replied, “I’ve thought this through. Just go away, please.” Even if the emperor of the Western Qin Empire himself came to Li Mu, he would still give him the same attitude, let alone this second prince. Nowadays, he did not need to have so many scruples anymore.
“Fine. Don’t regret your answer today,” snapped the middle-aged warrior, his face sullen.
If someone else dared to be so unappreciative, he would have already taught him a lesson by resorting to violence. But given that Li Mu was a peerless master of Natural Expert, whose strength was way stronger than his.
“I give you five seconds. If you still refuse to get out, I’ll throw you out of the room,” said Li Mu, who then took a gulp of tea at ease.
“You just forced into Hua Xiangrong’s private room without approval. If not for the sake of your second prince or whatsoever, I would have smashed your stupid head already!”
Being too vexed to refute, the middle-aged warrior laughed before saying, “Very well. You’re truly puffed up with pride and arrogance. You’ve killed the prince of Lord Zhenxi. By now, Lord Zhenxi’s men have long arrived in the city of Chang’an to arrest you. Without the protection of our second prince, you will not even know how you are killed when they attack. Hum, you may play tough right now, but you will soon be on your knees and beg for your life… Uh?”
However, before he could finish his remark, the middle-aged man felt his vision became blurred for a second and his collar tightened, and then was tossed out of the room as if he was flying over the mist and cloud.
“He moved so fast!”
He exclaimed with shock inwardly.
As he was about to hit the floor, he attempted to adjust his body to a standing position. But his knees gave way, and he still fell down the hall on the first floor of Holy House and crashed on his face, causing all the nearby guests who were enjoying themselves with fine wine to look in his direction.
The middle-aged man staggered to his feet.
With his high cultivation, he certainly would not be hurt by such a fall.
And at that moment, he had vaguely sensed that the fall caused nothing abnormal in him.
But that was what astounded him most.
Just now, Li Mu did not constrict his internal qi but simply tossed him away at random. But that toss made him fall out of the room and crashed against the floor in spite of himself. That strength was kind of terrifying, and even more powerful than the rumors depicted. The middle-aged warrior was already half a step away from the Natural Expert, so it was much harder to make him inexplicably lose control of his balance and fall onto the floor than simply killing him.
With a long face, the middle-aged man walked out of the Holy House.
But at the same time, a spot of blood seeped out of the place between the brows of the several guests who laughed loudest when he fell on the floor. Then, they feebly slumped down their chair and fell silent forever.
Shrieks broke out in the hall.
Li Mu slightly cocked his brow from the third floor.
“This middle-aged man is extremely cruel and merciless! He assassinated them just because they laughed at him. Well, perhaps that second prince he supports is no honest man, either.”
“Young Master, that man just said… you killed the prince of Lord Zhenxi?” Asked Bai Xuan shakily.
That news was blocked by the government. So, well-informed as Bai Xuan, she had not heard of it.
Li Mu nodded before answering, “That little prince did evil at the military grave. He tried to slaughter the innocent. I could not stand him, so I finished him off by the way.” He felt he had nothing to hide about this case.
“But… But what shall we do now?” Bai Xuan lost her nerves at once.
Killing a royal member was a felony.
If she kept Li Mu here, she would be harboring an evildoer. In that case, she might be punished for befriending the criminal.
Bai Xuan was, after all, a woman. At this kind of news, she sort of freaked out.
Li Mu said, “Don’t worry. It’s been about six days since I did him away. But look, I’m still here safe and sound, am I not? Lord Zhenxi can’t really extend his power all the way down to this place. If he could, he would have made a move against me several days ago. But so far, the government has remained silent, which clearly says they won’t look into this case.”
Bai Xuan was staggered to hear that remark.
Staring at Li Mu’s serene and untroubled expression, she suddenly calmed down.
“Yeah, the person concerned is not worried, so why should I be?”
“Under such an undesirable circumstance, Li Mu still resolutely and mercilessly refused the recruiting invitation of the second prince of the empire by throwing that middle-aged expert, who obviously has extraordinary strength, downstairs… Now that he already dares to offend the second prince of the empire, affronting Lord Zhenxi is no big deal, right?”
Gradually, Bai Xuan gained her composure.
Li Mu must have some backing.
As a quite legendary woman, she naturally could realize that.
After chilling out a bit, Bai Xuan surely felt it inappropriate to pose any questions. Thus, she got to her feet and left the room.
“Brother Mu, is it really… okay?” Hua Xiangrong could not help but utter the question to Li Mu in an undertone. She had already given her heart to Li Mu. So, even though Li Mu seemed to not care a crap about the murder, she still found it hard to stop worrying for her lover.
Li Mu then beamed reassuringly at her and said, “To me, any problems that can be solved through fighting is no big deal to me.” Locking his smiley eyes upon Hua Xiangrong’s face, he added, “Hua’er, are you worrying about me?”
“Em, yes.” Hua Xiangrong timidly leaned her head against Li Mu’s shoulder.
Li Mu began, “What I told you before is not merely flattering or coaxing. You do have a peerless gift. As long as you work hard to practice the Taoist magic arts, it won’t be long before you can turn up your nose to anyone in the world. When that time comes, I might need you to protect me.”
The speaker perhaps did not mean his every word, while the listener took all of them seriously.
Truthfully, Li Mu was joking around. But Hua Xiangrong learned his words by heart.
In the next few days, she did work harder on the practice of Xiantian Skill and a variety of Taoist magic arts. Her strength was growing by leaps and bounds without anyone in this world noticing.
On the afternoon of the same day, Li Mu paid another secret visit to the military grave to absorb more Spiritual Qi of the Earthvein and further his practice.
Up to that day, the military grave was still closed, forbidding anyone to come in and mourn for the dead.
The shut-down actually made things more convenient for Li Mu, because he would not need to heed if anyone spotted him practice here.
After turning on the Leaping Dragon Formation that he had set up days ago, Li Mu stepped into the magic formation and sat on the formation eye. The Spiritual Qi of the Earthvein soon surged up from the underground. Following the direction of Li Mu’s Xiantian Skill, it poured frenetically into Li Mu’s body.
In a blink of an eye, another afternoon passed by.
When his body had become saturated with Spiritual Qi, Li Mu temporarily switched off the Leaping Dragon Formation again before launching his Xiantian Skill to refine the Spiritual Qi of Earthvein inside him.
Meanwhile, General Flame and the other deceased generals appeared outside the tactical deployment for a second time. Due to the formation that Li Mu placed to cut off his aura and prevent interruption, their vision was blocked by thick, swirling white mist and they could not see what Li Mu was doing in the formation.
Those ghosts were all staring at the mist with a look as if they were troubled by constipation