This chapter has been brought to you by me, and Adnana.
Last chapter recap: Kong Hou lends Huan Zhong her storybook. The chase to find the murderer at the inn continues.
Chapter 29: Culprit
This proud Celestial Ling Bo was so easy-going? Kong Hou raised an eyebrow in shock. She reached out and picked up the last soup bun to put into her bowl before lowering her head to eat. She was full, but when she saw the remaining bun in the basket, she could not endure the feeling of guilt, so she could only send it into her stomach to reunite with its other siblings.
Huan Zhong watched silently as Kong Hou ate the entire basket of little buns. He felt a sense of fulfillment, as though he had eaten all those things himself.
Seeing Huan Zhong look at her with a smile, Kong Hou touched her face. “What is it?”
Huan Zhong saw his own smile in the other’s eyes. He put away his smile. “Where is Miss going? If you do not object, you can travel with us.”
“This…” Kong Hou hesitated slightly. She was travelling alone for the first time, and her goal was to interact with different people and learn about the world. If she travelled with Huan Zhong, was this still a journey by herself?
“This one frequently stays home and rarely leaves, so this one does not understand much about the world. This one says this one is going for medicine, but it is more to relax the mind.” Huan Zhong’s expression was sincere. “If this one has made it difficult for Miss, please pretend that this one never mentioned it.”
“No trouble, no trouble.” Hearing that the other rarely left home, a scene of a sickly young master alone in his room, unable to feel the wind or the sun, having to eat medicine like food, and never being in contact with the spectacular world formed in Kong Hou’s mind.
So miserable, so pitiful.
“I’m travelling to gain experience, and have nothing to do. If Master does not mind, I will disturb you.” Kong Hou did not know what illness Huan Zhong had, but looking at the other’s pale expression, she knew that the illness was severe. Maybe one day, he would…
Rubbing her face, she removed the inauspicious thoughts from her mind. Kong Hou immediately agreed. Actually, this Huan Zhong was good-looking, did not posture, and most importantly, he also liked Talented Author. On the journey, she could discuss the plot and characters in Talented Author’s storybooks with him. As she thought this, she felt anticipation about the upcoming journey.
“You can call me Kong Hou in the future; no need to be so polite.” Kong Hou put her hand to her mouth and muttered in a small voice, “I just don’t know when we will be able to leave. This Ling Bo of Clear Dawn Sect does not seem to have a good temper. Before the culprit is found, she definitely will not let us leave.”
“According to the cultivation world’s practices, the local mayor or cultivation sect is responsible for incidents that occur in their territory. Clear Dawn Sect is the victim, but they should follow the practices of the cultivation world.” The stoic Lin Hu frowned and said, “If the people present can prove their innocence, not even the mayor of Mound City can forcibly keep them. This Clear Dawn Sect Ling Bo has broken the rules.”
“Mister, speak quieter.” Kong Hou covered her face and gave a look to Ling Bo. “Right now, she is in the midst of her anger. Do not argue with her.” She also felt that Ling Bo had gone overboard. When she came down the stairs, she saw someone had been injured. So she risked offending people and helped the path friend on the ground up, and also gave him an Energy Pill. But no matter what, the relationship between Clear Dawn Sect and Splendid Cloud Sect was good. She did not want to fight with Celestial Ling Bo just a few days after leaving the sect. How embarrassing would it be if this spread back to the sect?
Lin Hu turned and looked at Huan Zhong. Seeing the other’s calm expression and lack of response, he said, “Miss Kong Hou, do not worry. When travelling outside, everyone has to abide by the practices. Clear Dawn Sect is in the wrong here; we do not have to worry about offending her.”
Kong Hou laughed dryly. This Lin Hu appeared sincere and stoic. She hadn’t thought the other would be so confident when speaking. It seemed those two were also from major sects.
Lin Hu’s voice had not been quiet and the neighbouring tables heard them. With Ling Bo’s cultivation, she naturally heard Lin Hu’s words. Her expression became ugly, but looking at Huan Zhong who had a calm expression, she did not react. From childhood, she had been spoiled by the people in the sect. While she looked down on ordinary cultivators, Huan Zhong’s identity was unknown and his guard had unfathomable cultivation, maybe even of Mind Manifestation Stage. She did not dare to rashly offend them.
The present cultivation world, under the joint governance of the major sects, was not the world of a few thousand years ago, when people would fight and kill at a word. But in the end, power was might. So Ling Bo looked down on the cultivators at the inn, but would not directly argue with Kong Hou nor make a fuss with Huan Zhong.
The atmosphere became awkward. The other cultivators present saw Ling Bo enduring this, and felt confident. The Dragon Tiger Sect Celestial cultivator who had suppressed his dissatisfaction previously spoke up. “This path friend is correct. Celestial’s servant girl died needlessly; we feel sympathy and understand Celestial’s sorrow. However, this one has important matters. Please, Celestial, understand.”
“Yes, the incident happened a night ago—maybe the culprit already sneaked off. Your noble sect’s servant girls did not let the mayor’s guards near the corpse—how can they investigate this case?” A cultivator hid in the crowd and said in a strange tone, “Who knows if it wasn’t these servant girls fighting among themselves? After this one was killed, they blamed it on us.”
“Nonsense.” Ling Bo slapped the table and said, “The culprit killed on the night of the full moon, and dug out the heart of the dead. I suspect this is the work of evil cultivators—is that incorrect?” Her eyes swept around and became harsh. “So I have to suspect the culprit is hiding in the crowd, trying to divide and wash away his suspicion.”
Kong Hou agreed with Ling Bo’s words. The culprit may be hiding among the crowd and purposefully trying to divide the sects. However, Ling Bo’s attitude was so strong that the majority of the cultivators present felt repelled. Saying all this now was most likely ineffective.
As expected, even though Ling Bo said all this, the cultivators still had displeased looks. Someone looked towards Kong Hou and hoped that she, also a member of a major sect, would speak up. Or rather, they hoped that Kong Hou would argue with Celestial Ling Bo and side with them.
Disappointing them, Kong Hou did not stand up and speak. When Celestial Ling Bo talked to Kong Hou, she was extremely restrained. The crowd who wanted to see a spectacle had no place to look.
Without someone from a major sect leading the way, the people grumbled but did not dare to make a fuss. The atmosphere in the room solidified.
Kong Hou looked around the crowd. Because the silent atmosphere in the hall was not conducive to speaking in secret, and Huan Zhong was too ill and could not use a sound art, she could only take out a sheet of paper. Kong Hou used a simple pen of coal to write a sentence and pushed it in front of Huan Zhong.
[Who do you feel is most suspicious? ]
Looking at the note in front of him, and then at the curious face of the young girl, Huan Zhong smiled. He took the coal pen from Kong Hou’s hand and wrote on the paper.
[Someone suspicious? ]
Kong Hou nodded and wrote down a suspect.
[The Base Building cultivator that had been deliberately stirring things up. ]
Huan Zhong read and shook his head.
[The grey-robed man in the corner. ]
Kong Hou looked casually behind her. If Huan Zhong had not mentioned this person, she wouldn’t have noticed him. This person was too ordinary. His appearance was ordinary, his cultivation was ordinary, and even his attire was ordinary. He just sat there. If he didn’t speak, people would have a difficult time noticing him. If she had to describe him with a word, it would be docile.
He looked like one of those honest people that anyone could bully, and he would not be angry or make a fuss.
The person who seemed most unlikely was sometimes the most likely. Kong Hou suddenly realized this and felt that Huan Zhong was so smart, just like the protagonists of Talented Author.
[I feel that your suspicions are extremely logical. ]
Huan Zhong watched as Kong Hou’s expression changed over and over until she had one of realization. He wondered what the other was thinking to produce such a variety of expressions.
Lin Hu silently watched with a complex expression as Kong Hou and Huan Zhong handed the paper over and over. They thought that their movements were concealed. Were they passing the paper under everyone’s eyes because they were afraid people did not know they were conversing in secret?
Ling Bo had noticed Kong Hou and Huan Zhong’s actions long ago. Her expression changed again and again. She felt slightly suffocated. She suddenly understood why the members of her sect had indescribable expressions when they mentioned Splendid Cloud Sect.
As the atmosphere became more and moree awkward, three people walked in through the door. The Du father and son that managed Mound City, and a young man with a steady expression. Celestial Ling Bo who had been sitting by the table hurriedly stood after seeing the young man. “Sect Shixiong, why have you come?”
The young man walked in front of her and said with a slightly displeased expression, “You have made trouble!” He turned and bowed to the crowd. “Path Friends, this one is a disciple of Clear Dawn Sect, Chang De. My shimei is young and brought trouble to everyone.”
Chang De? The sect eldest disciple of Clear Dawn Sect, Chang De?
Everyone was startled. They could not accept Chang De’s bow and hurriedly stood to return the bow, saying that it was all right. The present sect eldest disciple was the future sect master. Who could afford to offend him? Also, Chang De’s words and tone was extremely courteous to them. Even though they were angry, that anger faded when they saw Chang De’s attitude.
Ling Bo feared this sect shixiong slightly. While she was slightly unhappy at being lectured in public, she did not dare to show it. She stood at the side and did not say a word.
“This one must be the apprentice of Peak Master Wang Tong, Celestial Kong Hou. Celestial, please have forgiveness for delaying Celestial’s journey due to a minor matter of my sect.” Chang De walked in front of Kong Hou and apologized. “Celestial, if you have any request, please speak.”
“Path Friend, no need to be so polite. Your noble sect’s servant girl died inexplicably. It is usual for Celestial Ling Bo to feel sorrow.” Kong Hou stood and returned the bow. “Path Friend, do not keep this on your mind.”
Chang De had a handsome appearance and a balanced body. In the cultivation world, he could be considered a genius. It was easy for people to have positive feelings to someone apologizing in such a sincere tone. Kong Hou thought only people like this could qualify to become the sect disciple.
Chang De had heard of Kong Hou’s name before and knew she was a cultivation genius. However, he hadn’t expected that the other was such a young girl. Her eyes seemed to speak, and she was like a blooming flower when she spoke. When he learned of what his shimei had done, and that an apprentice of Splendid Cloud Sect was at the inn, Chang De worried that his shimei would offend this person and ruin the friendship between the sects.
Seeing Kong Hou now, he sighed in relief inside. Fortunately, this was not an unreasonable person. Used to the proud attitude of his genius pentad spirit base shimei, Chang De had no demands on the personality of a pentad spirit base genius.
When entering the room, Chang De had noticed Huan Zhong. The other looked like a sickly young master without any cultivation, but his brocade robe was the most expensive defensive magic robe of Sky Sect. His guard was a Mind Manifestation Forebear. No one could miss a man like this, him included. While he did not know the other’s identity, Chang De still seriously apologized to the other.
The other most likely was of a stoic personality and stopped talking after a few words. Chang De did not ask for more. After apologizing to the crowd again, he said, “I do not dare to delay everyone. You have already proven your innocence, so you can leave at any time.”
“Shixiong…” Ling Bo heard this and was slightly unhappy. She had expended a great deal of effort to keep all these people here. Why did *Shixiong say to let them go?
Chang De ignored her and did not change his decision. Ling Bo stamped her foot in anger. She sat at the table and stopped talking.
Everyone saw that Chang De did not appear to be lying. The ones with urgent matters hurriedly bid farewell and left, afraid that the decision would change and they wouldn’t be allowed to go. Half of the people in the hall quickly left. The people who were not in a hurry started to have thoughts of departure.
“Wait a moment.” Kong Hou who had been sitting and sipping tea by the table, with her flying sword flying out like lightning, pointed at the grey-robed man by the door who was just preparing to leave . “Everyone else can leave. You cannot.”
Du Jing who was standing in the corner afraid to speak hurriedly ordered the guards, “Stop him, stop him.”
The grey-robed man saw the guards block his path. His ordinary face showed discomfort and hurt. He looked with timidity at Kong Hou. “What does Celestial mean?”
“The innocent can leave; you, the culprit, cannot.” Kong Hou stood. The flying sword she controlled gave off cold energy. Several of the man’s hair strands were cut off.
Lin Hu looked in shock at Kong Hou. His master said this person was the culprit, and she believed it? If he was wrong, wasn’t she afraid of embarrassing herself? He didn’t know whether to say that her mind was simple, or that she trusted too easily.
Chang De heard Kong Hou’s words and his expression immediately changed. His sword jumped out of its sheath and blocked the grey-robed man’s path. The grey-robed man shifted, wanting to flee before everyone reacted. Just as he had the thought, he flew back uncontrollably through the air.
Lin Hu said, not even turning his head around, “Path Friend, why are you in a hurry to leave? It’s better to explain first.”
Everyone looked at Lin Hu with undisguised terror in their eyes. When this grey-robed man prepared to flee, the presence he gave off was at least a cultivation of late Core Formation Stage. Yet this guard pulled the man back with a wave of his hand without even blinking. What kind of cultivation was this?
This handsome and weak man who had a person like this as a guard—what was his identity?
Some of the people preparing to leave saw this and slowed their steps. The matter having progressed like this, everyone wanted to know who the true culprit was that dared to pull the tiger’s tail.
Translator Ramblings: The mystery continues …