”In three days?”
When Li Mu heard that news, the first thing that came to his head was how weird it was.
“Now that the government has accused the Xiongfeng Martial Art Club of colluding with the evil remainders of the Tang family, why didn’t they force their way into the martial art club and arrest the criminals? Instead of that, they just besieged the place and gave wide publicity to the announcement that they will launch a general attack in three days?”
But after deliberating on it for a moment, Li Mu suddenly realized how wicked the move that the second prince in control of the entire situation made was.
The objects of the government declaring to fire against the martial art club in three days were no other than the following two.
First, they intended to destroy the morale of the members of the Xiongfeng Martial Art Club.
Second, they hoped to encircle the enemy post to attack reinforcements coming to its aid. In that case, they would be able to draw all the supporters of General Tang Chong out and captured them all in one haul. Then, all the Tang’s forces would be wiped out.
The longer Li Mu thought about the case, the more convinced he was that the Xiongfeng Martial Art Club might share some relation with the remaining family members of General Tang Chong. Mrs. Tang and her two daughters might have been genuinely hiding in the Xiongfeng Martial Art Club.
Zheng Cunjian had told him that on the night of the turmoil in the Musical House, Wind Gentleman Wang Chen and the master he served had failed to take Mrs. Tang and her daughters racing out of Chang’an. Later, their chance to escape was even thinner. In the past few days, under the order of the second prince, the soldiers had ferreted out all the demons of misdemeanors hiding in the city. However, they did not find a trace of the targets they wanted. So, they must have been hiding in a certain place in Chang’an, and the Xiongfeng Martial Art Club also could not be ruled out from all the suspected places.
If such was the case, then, the prospects of Mrs. Tang and her two daughters were absolutely not bright.
Once they fell into the hand of the second prince again, they probably would face things more horrible than death.
And if those warm-hearted supporters who cared for General Tang’s family could not stand seeing them descend to doom and came to rescue them, perhaps they would bring destruction upon themselves like moths flying into flames.
“What old scores have the second prince had with General Tang Chong?”
Li Mu had no way to know the answer.
But in Li Mu’s perspective, it was indeed outrageous that the high-ranking prince resorted to the baiting strategy to eliminate a poor widow and two fatherless girls.
“Young Master, will you step forward?” asked Zheng Cunjian.
Li Mu pondered over it and then shook his head. “For now, it’s off the table. I still got some other issues to sort out.”
At that answer, Zheng Cunjian heaved with a sigh of relief.
He had been worrying whether Li Mu would meddle in the affair on a whim.
From what he had learned, this time, the second prince had dispatched many great experts serving for the royal family to carry out the mission, including Celestial Beings like the head of the Ghost Sect. But there were even higher-ranking experts on this operation. Obviously, he was aiming at something big. Even though Li Mu had secured a glorious victory by killing a Celestial Being, it was likely that he would be in danger if he got involved in the said affair.
After all, the political vortex was the most fearsome thing at all times.
Even a Celestial Being might never return in one piece once he was carried into such vortex.
Similar tragic precedents were already too many.
“Oh yeah, have you inquired about that matter?” questioned Li Mu.
Zheng Cunjian’s brows knitted together. Looking slightly apologetic, he answered, “His Lordship said if you want to know it, you may ask him in person.” Li Mu had instructed Zheng Cunjian to sound the mean magistrate out on his behalf about whether he was willing to lend him the Sky-stabilizing Mirror to investigate the identity of the Celestial Being who left the gold fingerprint. And Zheng Cunjian already tactfully solicited Li Gang’s view.
But Li Gang’s reply was rather curt and straightforward.
Only when Li Mu paid a visit to him in person could he consider it.
“He wants me to ask him myself?”
Li Mu subconsciously rubbed his temples.
“What does that brute magistrate mean?”
“He hopes I’ll go and bow to his pressure?”
“Or, he is finally in the mood to meet his son but adopted this method out of pride?”
“Well… Sure, I’ll go.”
Li Mu grinned.
Truthfully, he was not that Li Mu who was born in this world and later threw three punched upon his father and severed all the ties with him. Therefore, he faced no emotional barriers in meeting the magistrate. He could also check out the shocking strength the brute demonstrated on that day when he shouted down the Red-hair Killing God, Zhang Bulao… “Emm, it won’t hurt to visit that low-key but amazingly powerful brute anyway.”
Actually, Li Mu was a little curious about the mean magistrate.
As the private meeting went on, a thunderous voice abruptly sounded from the outside.
“Meng Wu, the Commander in Chief of Red Blaze Battalion, is asking Li Mu, the magistrate of Taibai County, to come out and answer him.”
Since the voice had penetrated the magic deployment in the Shack and entered the room, the man speaking was at least in the Natural Realm.
Li Mu threw a look upon Zheng Cunjian.
Zheng Cunjian said knowingly, “The Red Blaze Battalion is one of the three main forces outside Chang’an, also the strongest force Chang’an has. Meng Wu is the General of the Left Wing. He started his career in the imperial army in Qin City, and only a year ago did he come to Chang’an to take over the Red Blaze Battalion. He is an arrogant man who allegedly has some strong backup in Qin City. Recently, he got very close to the second prince. And the patrolling regiment following the command of the second prince these days is comprised of the elites of the Red Blaze Battalion.”
Hearing that, Li Mu fell into his own thoughts.
“He is a henchman of the second prince!”
“Now it’s more piquant.”
“You can go now.” Li Mu stood up.
Zheng Cunjian left through a side door.
And Li Mu stalked out of the yard of the Shack.
Outside the gate, in the Pig-Herding Alley, quietly stood a peculiar horse with a horn on its head, which was wearing with a suit of heavy silver armor. On its back sat a young general wearing silver armor and carrying a silver spear. He had regular features and sharp eyes. His a white cape was billowing in the wind, and his long spear was fastened to the armor on his left thigh. With those neat and light-colored attires, he looked like a heap of snow, very handsome and attractive.
Needless to ask, he was Meng Wu, the Commander in Chief of the Red Blaze Battalion.
Behind the silver-armored and white-robed Meng Wu were his twenty cronies. Their aura was very fierce, indicating that they were probably all at the peak of the Master Realm. They were all in shining red-and-black armor and wearing dark capes. They were also riding fine horses, carrying heavy broadswords that had been refined a million times. At the moment, their countenances were harsh, and their killing intent was raging.
“You are Li Mu, aren’t you?” Riding on the white one-horned alien horse, Meng Wu haughtily looked down upon Li Mu.
The Red Blaze Battalion was the main force of Chang’an Mansion, and the Commander in Chief was a second-ranking official in the empire. Compared with him, Li Mu, a ninth-ranking county magistrate, was surely as insignificant as a grain of sesame.
Li Mu did not mind his contemptuous tone at all. He just nodded and said, “Yes, I am. What instructions do General Meng have for me?”
“I’ve received a tip-up saying that the white wrench fox that escaped the purge of the Clean Spring Chamber of Commerce is hiding in your yard. Your Honor, please lift the tactical deployment at your place and let me in to search for it.” Meng Wu, sitting on his large white horse and wearing the shining silver armor with a touch of condescension, said without expression, “County Magistrate Li, I expect your active cooperation.”
A smile climbed onto Li Mu’s features.
“Want to get into the Shack?”
“What a smart excuse you’ve found!”
He answered, “Yes, yes, certainly I’ll cooperate. Great general, no need to do a search at my place, because the little white fox is in this yard.”
Meng Wu was taken aback at those words.
“He admitted it just like that?”
“I’ve pictured quite a different scene before!”
“Such being the case, Your Honor, please hand me the wrench fox.” A hint of contempt surfaced on his face.
“They say this unbridled Lunatic Li has no fear. But based on what I’ve observed, he is merely a wuss who bullies the weak and fears the strong. The moment he saw my Red Blaze Battalion, he showed the white feather. Now I can save the speech I prepared beforehand.”
“Seems that he does not live up to his reputation.”
“Hand it in? Why would I do that?” Li Mu looked utterly bewildered. “Did I say I would hand it to you?”
Again, Meng Wu was taken aback. He immediately looked sullen. “Li Mu, what do you mean by this? Are you making fun of me?”
Li Mu clapped his hands and laughed. “I am making fun of you. What can you do then?” Then, his face turned stern as he said, “That’s enough. I don’t have time to solve riddles with you. Let me put it straight, I don’t care who sent you here and what agenda you have. I’m busy and quite upset at the moment. If you don’t have the strength in the Celestial Being Realm, don’t come to meet your doom at my place.”
“You… You’re seeking death!”
Stressing each of syllables, the enraged Meng Wu uttered the words through clenched teeth. He raised his left leg, took off the silver spear, and pointed the spearhead right between Li Mu’s brows. His killing intent chilled the bones.
“Kill him! Kill him! Kill him!!”
The twenty cronies behind him were all at the peak of the Master Realm. They snarled in one voice and unsheathed their heavy broadswords simultaneously. The blades shone with their callousness. Evil qi began to diffuse from the slips of their armors. Like visible mist, it permeated the entire Pig-Herding Alley.
Killing intent had pervaded the place.
It seemed that the next second, a bloody slaughter would be staged.
Li Mu, however, just stood on the spot, his lips curled in silence.
For an instant, Meng Wu did want to thrust the spear at him.
Yet, his last bit of sanity finally helped him restrain that impulse, because he knew clearly that he was no equal of Li Mu.
Staring at the sneering, short-haired young man, who did not prepare to fight and daringly let a load of his weak points exposed before the enemy but all the same struck terror into him, Meng Wu came to believe that the rumors were correct, and the man was indeed an unscrupulous lunatic.
A lunatic with the strength to kill an unparalleled expert in the Celestial Being Realm!
“Li Mu, are you aware that colluding with the demon races is a felony that will cost all of your fortunes and the lives of your family?” Suppressing his rage, Meng Wu reminded him of the second prince’s order and distinguished the thought of resorting to violence. Then, he urged, “I will give you a chance leading to life. Given that you are an official of the empire, I’m reluctant to hold you reliable. As long as you turn in that little wrench fox, the case will be closed in my hand.”
Li Mu instantly shook his head.
“You’re a Commander in Chief, the most fearless fighter of all. But where is your intrepidness? You are forced to stifle the fury inside you and say the simple lines someone else wrote just because you need to proceed with the script the other man has arranged for you. Tell me, are you having fun? If I were you, I would have thrust the spear already. Do you still have any fierceness of a martial expert?”
Upon hearing that remark, Meng Wu’s rage almost exploded.
“Having killed a Celestial Being gives you no ground to act wild in front of our Red Blaze Battalion. Anytime at my order, the Star-demolishing Bows of our Red Blaze Battalion can flatten this place in an instant.” He was about to lose his temper.
Li Mu measured the silver-armored Meng Wu from head to foot. Then, he glanced at the silver spear in his hand and spoke with a laugh. “Ah-ha, another postman! How dare you be so imperious! Fine, I’ll give you a chance to assemble all of the troops to deliver me the posts.”
Meng Wu had no idea what postman or post-delivery meant. But at that moment, he was utterly infuriated by Li Mu’s sarcastic tone and disparaging countenance.
Incandescent with rage, he shoved the spear forward.
Half an hour later.
Li Mu appeared at the front gate of the Chang’an government.
He explained his purpose of the visit to the guards and then waited for them to inform the magistrate as the official visiting procedure required.
A while later.
“Your Honor, please return to your place. His Lordship is entertaining some distinguished guests today, and so has no time to meet you.” The private adviser of the Chang’an government came out, threw Li Mu that remark, and quickly retreated to the mansion.
Li Mu rubbed his temple.
“You damn magistrate!”
“Putting on airs?”
“You want to play with that trick?”
In spite of his vex, Li Mu turned around and took off.
After all, he was the one looking for a favor. Playing tough certainly would not work. So, he had to find another time to visit Li Gang.
Fortunately, he was not in a hurry.
The worst scenario was no more than paying a few more fruitless visits.
Thus, he left without hesitation.
As he went back to the Pig-Herding Alley, Meng Wu and his twenty cronies from the Red Blaze Battalion had all gone.
“Well, it seems they have all woken up and left.” Li Mu nodded. At the thought of all the resources and treasures he plundered from Meng Wu after knocking them out, Li Mu could not help feeling gleeful.
“Adding the objects I got from Zhang Bulao, it probably is enough. I’ll go back and refine the Samsara Knife the second time… Perhaps some people are already restless to vent their wrath. I’ll once again need the Samsara Knife before long.”