Huang Wenyuan and his men picked up the speed and arrived in Taibai County by the dusk.
“What? Newly appointed county magistrate?”
In the new county government, when Feng Yuanxing and the officials saw the file, the government seal, and the appointment document, they were all dumbstruck, unable to believe it was really happening.
Li Mu had not given them any hint of the position transfer before, so Feng Yuanxing, Ma Junwu, Zhen Meng and the others were not prepared for it at all. A group of people emerged at the county government without any notice and claimed that they would replace Li Mu as the county magistrate. It was really… Well, the key point was all the appointment documents did not appear to be forged ones.
“What’s this all about?”
“Where is Li Mu? Tell him to come to me.”
Huang Wenyuan eyed the buildings of the new county government and uttered the order with an overbearing air.
By then, he had been sure that the Taibai County was definitely changing into a blessed place, for he sensed the rich Spiritual Qi in the air the moment he stepped in Taibai County. For a martial arts cultivator, the county was practically the perfect place for practice that he could only dream of.
He felt every time he took a breath, a great amount of Spiritual Qi entered his body. So, as he inhaled and exhaled, his cultivation and strength increased bit by bit.
That made him go into raptures.
Because the good karma that others might not encounter once throughout their lives had presented itself right before him.
“Your Honor, His Honor Li… is still in a closed-door training and inconvenient to entertain any guests,” replied Feng Yuanxing hesitantly.
He was quite flustered at the moment.
“Tell him to come here and meet me.” Huang Wenyuan said bossily.
“No wonder that Li Mu, who is said to be merely a literature champion, suddenly tapped into the martial arts after he came to Taibai County and experienced a strength hike, as if enlightenment had dawned on him. Well, in this environment which is basically a blessed place, even a pig can have an elevation of strength, let alone a human being.”
Huang Wenyuan’s servants, maids, and guards, who already regarded themselves as the residents of the county government mansion, started to unpack their things in the mansion and clean their rooms.
“Em… Before His Honor Li shut himself in the training room, he set tactical deployments outside of the secret chamber. None of us can get in without his permission. So we have to wait for him to finish the closed-door training and…” said Feng Yuanxing tentatively.
He hoped to stabilize the situation before informing Li Mu that he should be prepared for the potential conflict.
“Huh?” Huang Wenyuan darted a nasty glance at Feng Yuanxing, his eyes as sharp as knives.
Feng Yuanxing and the others instantly were overwhelmed by the potent aura of the young man. They felt an immense pressure that could crumble a mountain bore upon them, rendering them out of breath.
“What? You want me to wait for him?” demanded Huang Wenyuan, rather disgruntled.
But at that moment, the youthful-looking Elder Liu Chong, who had remained silent for the whole time, suddenly cut in. “Hold on… You are Your Honor Feng, aren’t you? Could you tell me if this county government is a newly built one? And is that mansion up there the old county government?”
Feng Yuanxing immediately answered, “Senior, you’re right. When His Honor Li came to Taibai County, he converted the original county government into his private mansion. For the convenience of the daily governance, His Honor Li built up the new county government at his own expense.”
Liu Chong smiled and said, “That’s it… Okay, now you can all go back to your positions. When Li Mu comes out of the closed-door training, bring him to our Young Master.”
Feng Yuanxing and the others bowed out.
Quite discontent with that result, Huang Wenyuan complained, “Elder Liu, I don’t see any reason for us to bid our time. We’d better grab Li Mu over and kill him. Neat and simple. And so we won’t worry that the delay may give rise to trouble.”
But Liu Chong refused gravely. “Li Mu is not a guy easy to take on. From the secret observation I conducted, that old county government is heavily guarded. Currents of Spiritual Qi is raging inside it, which is rather formidable. My spiritual force has failed to penetrate it. That means the man has set up some defense in Taibai County. I don’t think I can force my way into that old county government straight away… Therefore, we can’t go reckless on this.”
Huang Wenyuan asked in disbelief, “Elder Liu, even you have no assurance in breaking his defense?”
He knew that five decades ago Elder Liu already entered the Celestial Being Realm. Thus, his current cultivation ought to be more unfathomable. Yet, he just said he wasn’t sure about taking on Li Mu, didn’t he?
Liu Chong said, “Li Mu is very cunning. I guess the blissful change of Taibai County was incurred by certain good karma in the old county government. That’s why he has kept that place for his own… If we simply storm in, I’m sure I can kill that eyesore. But I’m afraid that will alert the enemy and destroy the good karma in the old county government, or else, let Li Mu slip from our fingers, which is unsatisfying anyway.”
Huang Wenyuan nodded thoughtfully and said, “Now I got it. Elder Liu is more meticulous than I am. Well then, we shall just wait for Li Mu to end his closed-door training and lure him out of the old county government before killing him.”
In the next two days, Huang Wenyuan and his men left Li Mu alone.
Because he was still in his closed-door training.
On account of Liu Chong’s persuasion, Huang Wenyuan had to hold back his eagerness and stay patient. He whiled away his time by taking walks in Taibai County and survey the environment. Soon, he came on a discovery that only in the county was the Spiritual Qi abundant. Once he toed across the county boundary, the Spiritual Qi out there was reduced to the normal level.
“This is a really ingenious deployment, not much less than the protective deployment around our Holy Clan.”
Huang Wenyuan started to take Li Mu seriously.
He tried to sneak into the old county government several times but always returned without achieving anything.
He found it hard to believe that he could not get into that mansion given his impressive strength.
Then, he diverted his attention to something else—he started to probe for information about Hua Xiangrong.
At first, the folks answered his questions with great enthusiasm. But gradually, the county residents also registered that the young man was ill-intentioned and began to cold-shoulder him. For that matter, Huang Wenyuan even injured a few people on a burst of rage, causing him to be besieged by a squad of government soldiers. Luckily, Feng Yuanxing caught on the situation in time and sorted out the clash despite his annoyance.
The injured residents and soldiers were sent to the County Medical Center for treatment.
“It’s true that rugged hills and turbulent waters bring up unruly people… All those unruly people ought to be executed!” snapped Huang Wenyuan, whose fury still did not wither after he returned to his room. After all, never had he suffered such humiliation back in the Guanshan Pasture.
“Young Master, how about I strike in the dark and do those unruly folks and defiant soldiers in to vent your anger?” suggested the sturdy old man with a scarred face in a tone filled with ghastly killing intent.
Huang Wenyuan deliberated it for a moment and his eyes sparkled. He then nodded excitedly and said, “Good idea. Teach them a lesson. By the way, didn’t those unruly folks say that Li Mu cared about the people as much as a father cared about his son? I figure, only by killing a few of those folks can we force Li Mu out.”
In the study…
Li Mu, who had been absorbed in meditation for three whole days and three whole nights, finally opened his eyes.
“Er… I should fall into the Hoary Head Enigmatic Illustration! How did that happen?”
Li Mu was amazed.
When he studied that Meditation Illustration, he involuntarily sank into the picture. As if falling into a sea of stars, he zoomed through endless nebulas and galaxies at the speed of light. He felt it all happened in an instant, but also doubted if it lasted forever. When he was in the experience, all forms of energies in the universe were distinctly visible to him.
He saw the swirl of the nebulas, the evolving of the galaxies, and the rise and fall of the stars…
It was an extremely mysterious and abstruse, hard to describe in words.
“The Hoary Head Enigmatic Illustration is, indeed, very enigmatic!”
Li Mu was blown away by it.
Due to the depletion of his spiritual force, paroxysms of tiredness immediately stole over him.
Apparently, if it was not for the exhaustion of his spiritual force, he might continue wandering in the world of that Meditation Illustration instead of bailing out of his own accord.
“Yet, what on earth is the effect of doing the meditation?”
Li Mu examined himself only to find that his spiritual force was just the same as before and neither his internal qi or his physical strength was improved. In fact, his power did not change a single bit after meditation.
Fresh waves of weariness washed over him.
Li Mu had no energy to get to the bottom of that question for the moment. He quickly ran the Xiantian Skill and let the qi in his body complete several full circulations before adjusting his breathing to recover his stamina. Gradually, the fatigue faded and his spiritual force became sufficient again.
“I wonder how many days has past when I did this meditation.”
Li Mu got up to his feet.
But unintentionally, the corner of his eye caught a glimpse of the mirror nearby.
“Oh? This is…” His heart missed a beat. To his immense surprise, he found that his short black hair that was as thick and firm as a forest of steel needles had… put on another color. How could that be?
Li Mu dashed to the mirror to take a good look at his hair.
“Crap! Granny Grey? This is a very popular hair color in Huaxia on Earth. When did I get my hair dyed…?” He was a little dumbfounded. But on second thought, he started to suspect that was the effect of reading the Hoary Head Enigmatic Illustration. “Is this picture devised to change the hair color of the practitioner?”
“Does it mean to turn the hair hoary?”
“What fu*king effect is this?”
“This illustration that has been concealed in the Gists of the Meditation Illustrations of the Nine Heavens in Chong Ming with extra effort and addressed by the emperor as a secret treasure just served as a fu*king hair dyer? This is not a prank of a certain couch lounger, is it?”
Li Mu already had no words for it.
He stuck out a hand and rumpled his hair furiously to ascertain that his hair had truly turned granny grey.
Then, he forced a smile at his reflection in the mirror.
“Believe it or not, after my hair put on the granny grey, I look more sophisticated and more handsome… Emm, perhaps this is the style of the wicked charm often described in the novels. Haha, how interesting it is!”
Li Mu was amused.
As he was admiring his new appearance, Qing Feng’s anxious voice came in from the outside.
“Young Master, Young Master, a huge incident has occurred in the county. You must retreat from your closed-door training…”
Li Mu instantly swung the door open.
Outside the door, Qing Feng, the little attendant who usually retained his composure, rolled his wheelchair over in a hurry and yelled with a deeply perturbed and enraged look, “Young Master, a severe murder has occurred in town. Ten residents and six soldiers were killed. Their bodies have been placed at the front gate of the county government…”
Li Mu was startled by that news.
“How could such a thing happen?”
His spiritual force instantly activated the large geomancy deployment. With a quick scan, he detected a dozen alien auras in the county. Three of them were highly aggressive—one was at the peak of the Natural Realm, while the other two turned out to the unparalleled experts in the Celestial Being Realm. The air of their Cultivation Methods was quite strange, which meant Li Mu had not met them before.
“We have some foreigners here.”
“What’s the matter? Let’s go and have a look!”
Li Mu’s face darkened.
At the front gate of the new county government…
Sixteen corpses were placed on the stone steps in a line.
Paddles of blood had been formed in front of the new county government, which were soon frozen by the biting cold.
Howls of grief were heard. The family members of the victims had hurtled over at the news, crying their hearts out. Those killed men were all in their prime, who were also the pillars of their families. The women who lost their husbands burst into a rage of tears as though the sky had just fallen. The aged with white hair who lost their sons directly passed out before the county government the instant they caught sight of the bodies of their sons.
The smell of blood suffused the air.
It had been a long time since a tragedy like this happened in Taibai County.
Seeing Li Mu was here, the locals all dropped to their knees.
“His Honor is here!”
“Our justice panjandrum, please seek justice for us!”
“Daddy, daddy, wake up… Stone will behave. I won’t sneak out to play in the waters anymore,” The tender weeps of a boy were heard.
Noticing that Feng Yuanxing and the other officials were also at the scene, Li Mu inquired in a deep voice, “What just happened? Who is the murderer?”
“Er…” Feng Yuanxing lost his voice. He did not know where to start.
He was not stupid after all. He knew clearly that the killed sixteen men in their prime were all those who confronted Huang Wenyuan because he said something frivolous about Shangguan Yuting. Although there was no direct evidence on the case yet, the motive of the murder already gave him a clear answer. Who else could be the murder other than the newly arrived county magistrate? However, the case might hold many parties at stake. So, he did not feel like pointing out the truth in the presence of so many people.
Li Mu roared, “Tell me, who is it? Let’s get this straight in front of our dear folks!”
He was mad.
No matter who the murder was, today, he would pay for his crime!