In spite of the windows being shut, whenever Zero was in the pitch-black room, the wind would never stop. Ever since returning from the waterlogged dungeon, he had been lying on the ground of the room.
Accepting Jiang Chen’s job might’ve been risky since the job site was near the capital, while Zero’s status in Divine Moon Cult was enough to bring out the big lions. Nevertheless, the sound of Xue Yanjun’s three underwater suits landing at his feet wobbled his determination. Jiang Chen then added, “Divine Moon Cult’s leader is dead. The members are scattered. Bright Moon Cult is far away in the Western Regions. If they want to be restored, the erstwhile members must be gathered again. Use your Zero name and leverage my network to that end. People don’t have the confidence to say, I promise I can bring the ‘one-in-a-thousand genius’ to you.”
Understandably, Divine Moon Cult went mute for years following their leader’s demise. Nobody knew where any of the Guardians were following the battle at Lawless Cliff, let alone know the whereabouts of the six Black Lotus Apostles and Great Guardians.
Jiang Chen was sure Zero would bite the bait, even if there was poison, without a moment of hesitation. As a matter of fact, as long as they were members of Divine Moon Cult, Jiang Chen was confident they’d bite his bait. Anyone who saw the followers’ reactions when Ximen Chuideng’s death was announced would realise that they weren’t done.
Not only did Jiang Chen witness Divine Moon Cult’s downfall in the Central Plain, but he also involved himself extensively in it out of interest in how they brought about their own end.
Jiang Chen had to keep a pulse on all things in the pugilistic world so that he could eventually achieve his ambition of turning it upside down. Thanks to the observational habit, he tended to notice things that one would usually miss.
Jiang Chen’s affiliation with Fiends’ Genesis was inconsequential to Zero. After all, the bad blood between Divine Moon Cult and the imperial court was far worse than that between Fiends’ Genesis and the imperial court. The orthodox sects led the campaign against Fiends’ Genesis, not the imperial court. The imperial court, however, spearheaded the Divine Moon Cult’s purge.
Jiang Chen had no idea Zero agreed to the proposed terms for the sake of finding a certain individual, someone of high rank as him but went silent after the battle, not the three Great Guardians. Without Jiang Chen’s knowledge, despite it being owed to Jiang Chen’s network, Zero managed to learn the individual he sought had become active in the pugilistic world again and started serving the imperial court. The person he sought had climbed to the rank of Earl and was all buddy-buddy with the imperial court’s lapdogs. He was living the dream of men, sharing encounters with one maiden after another. Zero was under the impression that the man thought nothing of the past. Zero was ecstatic to have the man he brought to him, but he also had the fight the strong urge to behead the man… or, perhaps, shed tears.
Why appear before me in such a pathetic state if you’ve chosen to ally yourself with the enemy?
In the last fortnight, Zero had opportunities to torture answers out of Ming Feizhen and opportunities to utilise a special method of waking him. Howbeit, he never pursued either option for he was afraid. He was afraid he couldn’t stop himself from questioning Ming Feizhen, afraid the possibility that Ming Feizhen would reply, “Yes,” when asked if he betrayed them. The other reason was Xue Yanjun.
The snowsilk poison on Yan Jiangnan was Xue Yanjun’s specialty. Assuming Wu Ping was telling the truth, it was someone linked to Xue Yanjun if it wasn’t herself. Given her relationship with Ming Feizhen, there was no way she’d leave without taking him along. And, if they truly had to fight, there was no way he could stop them.
I can’t let her take him. I still have questions for him…
Keeping Ming Feizhen imprisoned nearby prevented him from pulling any stunts. Howbeit, that violated the agreement with Jiang Chen, not to mention the arrest was predicated on mere doubt.
Though he can breathe internally, he’s been out cold for a long time. If he actually drowns this time… What should I do?
“Where is he?” blurted Zero, recognising it wasn’t who he asked for based on the approaching person’s gait.
“H-he refused to come.”
Look up centuries of history and you wouldn’t find any faction in the pugilistic world that challenged the imperial court as blatantly and as fearlessly as Divine Moon Cult. During their prime, they feared nobody. Compared to Jiang Chen, Zero wasn’t friendly – and understandably so given his rank in the cult. Despite him usually being giddy, he’d kill people without batting an eye, so the henchman quaked in his boots.
“Hmph!” snorted Zero.
He refuses to see me? He’s definitely up to something.
Of the two people Jiang Chen delegated leadership to in his absence, one of them was Elder Lianhua. Frankly, Zero couldn’t see himself beating her within a hundred exchanges – and that was assuming she was at her worst. Wu Ping wasn’t shabby. However, there was no chance he could match Elder Lianhua, let alone hurt her in his injured state. Zero reasoned Wu Ping couldn’t have possibly been coincidentally involved in all the bizarre incidents.
“What was he doing when you told him to come?”
“Nothing… unless eating a grilled chicken counts.”
Grilled chicken? Hah, it’s just a ruse. He thinks I won’t kill him, huh?
There were only a few people Jiang Chen forbade Zero from killing; Wu Ping wasn’t one of them.
“Drag him here if you must,” commanded Zero, coldly.
Not long after, Zero faked a smile as he sarcastically remarked, “Looks like my instructions are jokes now, huh?”
The henchman prostrated himself on the ground. “I did as you instructed. H-however, my calls fell on deaf ears when I called out to him.”
“I don’t care what he was busy with. Am I a joke?”
“He is in the middle of a fight.”
Shouldn’t they be following the rules?
Zero went back to his deep musings.