Wu Ping is gone. I let him go. He’s in worse shape than I assumed. His internal energy is virtually completely depleted. He has shown no signs of recovery even after a day.
Damage to meridians was an omen of internal energy being compromised. In the event that they could recover later on, their meridians wouldn’t return to their condition prior to the damage. As Ming Feizhen said, ten “Wu Pings” weren’t enough to offer Zero a meaningful challenge.
Zero wouldn’t have had any issue catching up to Wu Ping, but what was he supposed to do next? Drag Wu Ping back for a beating? Torture answers out of him? Zero knew none of those tactics would work on Ming Feizhen. The problem wasn’t that Ming Feizhen was hiding secrets; the problem was that Ming Feizhen wouldn’t spill anything no matter what torture method Zero chose.
Having completed many spy missions, Zero was aware of what to look for. Wu Ping never showed any panic on his face or even lost control of his heart rate during Zero’s interrogations. Wu Ping interacted with him as if they were friends – calm to the point that it was suspicious. Either Wu Ping was born a spy or was so stupid to even fathom what was going on. Either way, torturing him wouldn’t get any answers out of him.
There was one thing that was hard to dispute Wu Ping’s identity and allegiance: if he was a spy or plotting something, shouldn’t he have tried to maintain a low profile? Why would he pick a fight and stand out?
Wu Ping was better with a sword than he was given credit for. Kuanggu Sheng didn’t rank toward to the bottom among the Seven Stars and was known for his swordplay skills. If it wasn’t for his affiliation, he would’ve been mentioned in any swordmaster topic, yet he was unable to defend properly even once against Wu Ping.
It was reasonable for Elder Lianhua to lose against Wu Ping given his skill, her overconfidence and his desperation. Had he been in Wu Ping’s shoes, Zero would’ve made the same call.
Zero didn’t keep Wu Ping as the latter’s level of suspicion was gradually declining – and had declined low enough for Zero to start doubting his own suspicions. Assuming Wu Ping’s story was true, then the situation was far more serious than Wu Ping trying something. The part about Xue Yanjun was true.
“No, it can’t be her…”
It would be fair to say that Zero knew Xue Yanjun well. She never had a toss to give out. Inconspicuous wasn’t in her diary. If she actually came, she wouldn’t just vandalise a dungeon and then leave; she’d make sure to turn the compound on its head and inside out.
The entire event was bizarre. Everything seemed logical, yet there was something that just felt “off” to Zero. As he analysed the entire event from beginning to end, one possibility came to mind, and the tone, the eyes and even the manner in which Wu Ping left made it feel plausible.
“He doesn’t know swordplay, though…”
The quickest and fool proof way to determine if his wild suspicion was correct or not, was to venture down to the flooded dungeon to check on the detained prisoner. Only problem was, Zero couldn’t go down there – not while it was flooded.
Defeated, Zero sighed, then removed his mask. Underneath the mask was the face of a natural beauty under twenty. Her most discerning facial feature was the mole under her eye. She would set hearts aflutter rather than scare people when she scowled.
If Zero dove down, her true gender would come to light. As for sneaking in, that was impossible.
Zero lowered her head and lamented, “I need to wait one more day.”
As soon as I was out of that woman’s room, I went searching high and low for the rat.
“Brother Wu, looking for me?”
I nearly jumped when I heard his creepy voice beside me. Out of all places he could choose, the gnome chose to crouch down by a wall. Convince he wasn’t trying to give me a fright. You can’t.
“Brother Kuanggu, hohoho, short-time no see.”
Kuanggu Sheng gave me a creepy smile. “Pleasure to meet you. I am touched you would immediately search for me right after saving your life.”
“And you can drop the act while you’re at it. Had you not held back, would I still be alive?”
“Too modest, Brother Wu. I had no chance of harming you at my level.”
He sounds like he genuinely means it, so… what exactly has he misunderstood?
“Hoho, so, what did you mean by what you said?”
Kuanggu Sheng wore on an indecipherable smile. “You… already know, don’t you?”
“Hahaha, of course I do. My question is, what do you know?”
“Stop playing the fool, Brother Wu, hahaha. You know well and truly what it is.”
I bobbed my head and smiled without knowing what the flip he was talking about. “I know well and truly, my foot! You talking or not?!”
Kuanggu Sheng awkwardly coughed. “Relax, relax. Brother Wu, you are a prominent figure. You come fr-”
I flicked up a hand and turned my head to the side simultaneously. “Stop.”
Based on Kuanggu Sheng’s confused expression, he probably didn’t hear the person I heard passing by. Nevertheless, he heard them once they came closer to us, so he looked my way and widened his eyes.
So who the hell do you think I am?!
Ouyang Xiucai poked his head around the corner and beamed. “Thank god you’re here, Brother Wu. Come with me.”
And what do you want?! I’m discussing my secret here!
Looking as if he was constipated, Kuanggu Sheng seemed to regret not spitting sooner.
“Brother Ouyang, let’s… drink another time. I have something urgent to attend to.”
“No, we’re not drinking.”
“Okay, well, let’s save whatever it is for another time.”
“We really can’t.”
“We really can.”
“We really can’t. It’s urgent.”
“Who’s the nun who can’t bloody wait?!”
“Not a nun. Granny Lianhua’s condition is worsening again. We don’t have a doctor here, let alone one who is familiar with your swordplay. You were able to serve her once. Why not work your magic again?”
“Ah, uhm, that is serious. Head over there first, and I’ll be over there afterwards.”
“That won’t work.”
Why not?! You’re not the one who’s dying!
“She hasn’t stopped gasping blood. If left be, she may go to Granny Meng soon.”
“She’s healthy and strong. She… should be able to hold out for half a day, shouldn’t she?”
Ouyang Xuicai grabbed my arm. “Brother Wu, you shouldn’t be so petty. Even if she is stronger than you, you defeated her. You are now brimming with life. Forgive when you can forgive. I also need her. Help her on my account.”
“You got it wr-”
Ouyang Xiucai dragged me along. I was in no shape to outmuscle him!
“Who were you speaking to?”
Don’t ask me that while you’re dragging me along!
Kuanggu Sheng stood bewildered until we disappeared in the corridor, then cracked a sinister smirk.
Granny Meng – The goddess of forgetfulness serving in hell in Chinese Mythology, who serves her special soup on the Bridge of Forgetfulness. The soup erases the memory of the consumer so that they can reincarnate into their next life without the burdens of their previous life.