The second prince was tossed to the ground in front of the hall.
Li Mu rubbed his hands and opened his mouth wide to swallow that colorless sacred light, sending it to the Mud-pill Palace for further nurturing.
“Ah? He returned to his original form?”
Scrutinizing with his Third Eye, Li Mu was astounded to find that the evil force that was infused into the second prince had disappeared completely, and his strength had declined to the previous level. At that moment, his internal qi was running chaotically inside him. Also, he was grievously injured—few of his bones were unbroken, all his meridians damaged, his skin too ruddy and chapped like a cracked bark blotched with blood…
“His pretty face is destroyed, isn’t it?”
Yet, the evil force flowing inside him did take Li Mu by surprise.
“So that evil force of the Demonic Cloud Sheep is not a perpetual thing, is it?”
Li Mu was a little bewildered.
What he did not know was the Five Elements Sky-flipping Seal was the most orthodox Taoist seal and the power of the five elements was the purest righteous force, the nemesis of all evil and vice. So, when the seal containing the power of the five elements pummeled the second prince several hundred times, the evil force inside him had long been smashed. If that had not happened, the power the Demonic Cloud Sheep poured into the second prince was supposed to last forever.
Nevertheless, none of that mattered.
For Li Mu, what did matter was that the second prince had delivered him the biggest ‘message’ since he had arrived in that world.
He had rooted a great number of treasures from Chu Nantian, the future leader of the Heaven Sword Sect, and Meng Wu, the Chief Commander of the Red Blaze Battalion, and from many other grand figures. So, given the royal identity of the prestigious second prince, he must have carried loads of resources, treasures, and manuals on advanced Cultivation Methods, right?
“It feels so good to pick up the mail packages!”
Li Mu skillfully and relentlessly rummaged all the pockets in the clothes of the second prince and ferreted out all the storage spaces and valuable objects he had.
“How great it feels to open the mail!”
But it was evidently not a good time to count his gains.
Li Mu stored away all those treasures and wanted to wake the second prince up to abuse him some more.
But on second thought, he could not see why it was necessary.
After all, from the TV dramas he watched, many antagonists were killed because of their babbling.
Also, many decent protagonists had let the antagonists have a lucky escape from death because of babbling.
Therefore, Li Mu decided not to dawdle but land a Blade Punch on the second prince. In a second, the royal genius that had set himself high above the masses and was very hopeful to compete for the throne of the Western Qin Empire was dead.
It was not him being blood-thirsty.
Instead, given that the second prince was a man who would seek revenge for the smallest grievance and he had high standing, remarkable strength, and a rare talent in martial arts, if Li Mu did not kill him that time, he would definitely plot on getting back at him once he recovered from the blow, bringing about more trouble later on. Plus, that day when the second prince sneak-attacked Shangguan Yuting with that golden fingerprint, he obviously intended to kill her. If it had not been for the various protective jades and secret treasures Li Mu asked Shangguan Yuting to carry with her, she would have been killed already. Since then, Li Mu had a feud with the second prince. Adding that he had also killed the chrysanthemum leopard…
It seemed that Li Mu had already cut the second prince some slack by granting him a quick death.
At that scene, the hearts of those in the Xiongfeng Martial Arts Club shuddered.
“Gosh, he is fierce!”
“That was a prince of our empire!”
“Li Mu is truly a quiet but savage man!”
Some even made a mental note to never ever upset Li Mu, for that guy did live up to his ferocious reputation.
Li Gang and Xu Sheng also captured that sight, but it was too late for them to stop Li Mu.
Xu Sheng immediately put himself in Li Mu’s shoes and felt deeply worried, for killing a prince who was a successor of the emperor would induce endless trouble.
By contrast, Li Gang at once adopted a political angle. “Although the second prince certainly had to die, I could have extracted something valuable from him before he met his doom… Now, well, what a pity!”
“Guys, the battle is over and the victory is ours… Haha, you’re welcome. I just did what a peerless master should do,” Li Mu turned around and spoke to the crowd in all seriousness.
The crowd: “…”
Actually, they did feel like expressing their gratitude to Li Mu. But that unabashed remark instantly made them swallow their thanks.
“He is really not a modest man!”
“Brother, here you are, sugar-coated haw.” Huddling up in her mother’s arms, Tang Mi hesitantly handed over the last half sugar-coated haw she had not eaten yet.
“Oh, sweetheart, no thanks. The sugar-coated haw is for you. You need to take in more nutrients. If you do want to pay me back, you can marry me and be my concubine when you grow up.” Li Mu joked shamelessly as he was in a great mood.
The crowd was instantly burning with embarrassment.
“Where are the manners of this peerless master who just turned the situation with vigorous efforts?”
“His character changes are so awkward!”
“Sure!” said Tang Mi naively.
Then, Tang Tang walked to the front and gave a courteous bow to Li Mu. “Thank you so much, Hero Li. You’ve saved us several times. The grace you granted us is too immense for us to pay back…” As she proceeded, she kind of blushed.
With a glance at the girl, Li Mu knew the situation had taken a set pattern. Based on what the pretty girl said, the next thing she would say was that, since his grace was too immense to pay back she had decided to marry him to express her gratitude. In all the martial arts novels he had read, the stories always followed that set pattern, didn’t they? At that thought, he felt cheerful and lighthearted. But just as he was undecided on whether he should accept her proposal with a flush or turn her down with a stern face, Tang Tang continued, “I’m willing to do anything in my next life to repay your great grace of saving us…”
“It doesn’t sound sincere at all.”
“Why not repay me in this life?”
“The social morals are being fed to the dogs! How come the beauties in this era are so reserved?”
Li Mu was deeply disappointed to hear the answer.
“No need to say thanks to me. As I’ve told you, things like turning the situation around with a miraculous power is simply something that a stunning man like me ought to do,” said Li Mu brazenly.
He had obtained a fortune in that day’s battle and was eager to go back and ravish the post-opening moment. Thus, he did not want to talk with them for long and had already decided to take off.
Because of the death of the second prince, the scarlet film cutting off the region within several kilometers began to melt away. Shortly, the blockade had disappeared.
Suddenly, Li Mu leaped to the air. His Samsara Knife buzzed to the sky and then flew back to his feet. Riding on the flying broadsword, Li Mu looked extremely handsome and elegant. He soon turned into a jet of light and vanished into the sky.
The crowd watched him go unblinkingly. Their thoughts and feelings varied at the sight.
Soon, the guards of the Chang’an government bustled over.
Li Gang and Xu Sheng followed the guards and left the place.
Princess Qin Zhen also gazed at the far-away place where Li Mu had disappeared to. There were mingled emotions in her eyes.
Eventually, after a discussion with Qin Yanzi, the owner of the Xiongfeng Martial Arts Club, she came to the decision that all of them should leave Chang’an City along with Mrs. Tang and her two daughters, for what would happen next was unpredictable. The death of the second prince would soon cause a sensation across the empire. A new tide breaching the peace was around the corner.
Chang’an had become a dangerous place, the eye of the vortex.
“Oh, this time I did suffer a great loss. My martial arts club has been reduced to ruins, and I also lost so many dear members…”
Qin Yanzi could not help looking back as she headed away from Chang’an.
Reluctant to part from the city, she then cast rueful eyes in the direction of the Musical House.
“Oh, my sweeties, now I’m about to leave you, leaving Chang’an…” Thinking of those beautiful girls she loved in the brothels, the owner of the Xiongfeng Martial Arts Club felt a knife was slashing her heart.
Days passed by.
Half a month later.
It was the beginning of winter. The weather was freezing, and leaves were all falling from the twigs.
On an early morning of an ordinary day, a wagon train slowly pulled out from the Pig-Herding Alley.
Shangguan Yuting, Xu Wan, Lu Shengnan, and the other girls got in the comfortable carriages and made their way back to the Taibai County together with Li Mu.
In the past half a month, Chang’an City was relatively uneventful. Li Mu had spent most of his time doing closed-door training.
There was a gold ring with dragon patterns in one of the storage spaces of the second prince. The ring sported the royal seal of the Western Qin Empire and had been produced by a certain Celestial Being. So far, Li Mu had not found a way to open it, which made him quite dejected because he did not feel the pleasure of ‘opening his mail’. He had to just keep it there and wait for the day he worked out a way to undo the seal.
During those days, Xu Sheng had paid a visit to the Shack and had a meeting with Li Mu after he recovered some of his cultivation. Then, the Executive from the headquarters of the Supervisory Department left Chang’an for the capital.
Li Gang had employed some means and blocked almost all the news and inside stories concerning the battle on that day. The perimeter of several kilometer radius around the Xiongfeng Martial Art Club had turned into a desert, completely lifeless, which was a bizarre landscape in Chang’an and had attracted numerous visitors. The Chang’an government had told the public that the change was caused by some invasion of an evil force. But they declared that the evil force had been annihilated by the government, so the masses had nothing to worry about…
However, the content of the two imperial edicts floating in the sky had been read out loud on that day and countless people in Chang’an had heard them. That incident was much more difficult to explain.
But anyhow, the rumors in the cities were just rumors.
The real storm was, however, quietly brewing in the capital.
Li Mu was not interested in any of that.
He had been to the Fengming Academy and the Hanshan Academy, and visited their libraries and drilling grounds. Also, he taught each of Ning Jing and Dong Xue an advanced Cultivation Method suited to their qualities and had a private meeting with Ning Rushan. As to what kind of agreement they had reached, that was beyond the knowledge of the rest.
Li Mu had basically done everything he ought to do in Chang’an.
The wagon train traveled at a modest pace. After about three days, they finally returned to the Taibai County.
News on the incidents that had occurred in Chang’an had yet to be spread to the remote county that stood aloof from the rest of the world.
Li Mu’s return immediately threw the whole county in a thrill of joy.
Ever since Li Mu became the county magistrate, he swept away all the banes like the Shennong Faction which had long plagued the county. The government became free from corruption. People’s livelihood had been significantly improved. Everyone was living a peaceful life and enjoying their work. Government officials were all honest and upright. All kinds of industries performed their own functions. Undoubtedly, the county had welcomed in the era of prosperity as it never had. Therefore, even though Li Mu had been absent for quite a long time, the prestige he had in the county did not decline but soared day by day.
By then, no matter who in the county mentioned their County Magistrate Li, he would be addressed with sincere admiration.
When the news about Li Mu’s return was disclosed, countless county residents went to the road to welcome him back.
“Young Master has gained an unprecedented public support and enjoys their love and esteem.” When Xin’er, the maid, lifted the curtain up and saw the scene, she was very proud and excited.
Shangguan Yuting also peeked at the road with great curiosity.
She had been confined in the brothel for too long since she had been sent to the Musical House, unable to feel the free, harmonious atmosphere like she currently did.
Xu Wan’er, Lu Shengnan, and the other girls all shared the emotion.
After getting the news from Feng Yuanxing, Li Mu’s mother and the two maids were already waiting for them at the front gate of the county government.
“My dear son, come to mom…” After taking a long rest in those days and being taken care of by Zhao Ling, the female pharmacist, Li Mu’s mother was aglow with health and looked several years younger. She had regained her beauty as the prettiest woman in Qin City. At the moment, she seemed both dignified and graceful, gorgeous and noble.
“Mom.” Li Mu called as he marched forward to pay obeisance.
“Let me have a look…” Li Mu’s mother delightedly held Li Mu’s hand and pulled him closer, measuring him from head to foot with her eyes.
“Em… Em?” Li Mu said without thinking. But next, his heart thumped and he yelled, “Mom, you can see me now?”
“Yeah. Thanks to Miss Zhao’s treatment, I already got my vision back,” Li Mu’s mother said gladly.
Li Mu was immediately dumbstruck.
“Shoot! Can she really see?”
“Er… Will she notice that the son standing before her is actually an imposter with a glance?”