Knowing the Truth Won’t Do You Any Good
It was vague and lacked details, but Tian Xiaogua quickly built a skeleton of what transpired as if he was watching a replay of the events.
One of them posed as Sir Kuanggu Sheng and went to invite Sir Tiangou. The other one posed as Sir Tiangou to invite Sir Kuanggu Sheng. Sir Tiangou was invited to this room, which means Sir Kuanggu Sheng must’ve been led outside. They stirred the pot to make a chink in the armour that they could leverage to sow discord.
Tian Xiaogua ran outside as if he was chasing the shadows of the two from the room to the outside whilst keeping track of time.
Given I took seven steps to reach the door, Sir Tiangou would’ve needed less than seven steps and would’ve made it out faster. Upon opening the door, he must’ve been shocked to see Sir Kuanggu Sheng lividly staring back at him. Although there were questions in his mind, Sir Kuanggu Sheng must’ve put it all aside to fight back since Sir Tiangou drew his weapon. Sir Kuanggu Sheng can’t be blamed for reacting that way.
Tian Xiaogua studied the depths of the footprints that stretched all the way to where Kuanggu Sheng spent his last moment. He could almost hear, see and even smell every moment of the clash. Although his level was far too beneath them to make out the details of their exchanges, the scars on the ground and walls painted a clear enough picture to determine the truth.
Once Sir Kuanggu Sheng seized the upper hand with his needlerain, he went to finish Sir Tiangou, but the intruder came out and beheaded him in one stroke.
In spite of having worked out what happened, Tian Xiaogua’s brows wouldn’t come apart because there was still one unanswered question: why Kuanggu Sheng? Both Kuanggu Sheng and TIangou could’ve lost their lives. Why did the intruder only kill Kuanggu Sheng? Assuming the intruder only could’ve killed one of them, for what reason did they choose Kuanggu Sheng?
After processing his thoughts several more times, his eyes gradually made their way back to the room he just exited. There, he found something he missed before – Dog Fang – Tiangou’s signature weapon that Kuanggu Sheng punctured holes in using needlerain.
The intruder wouldn’t have Dog Fang. If Sir Kuanggu Sheng survived, once he had time to reflect, he’d see the holes in the intruder’s plot. Sir Tiangou always keeps his blade on him, so Sir Kuanggu Sheng would realise it didn’t make sense for Sir Tiangou to approach him unarmed. Yes! I’m getting close to the truth now!
Tian Xiaogua spread out a sheet of paper on the table and used a charcoal pen to sketch a rough picture of the compound’s layout. He mainly needed the room he was in, Tiangou and Kuanggu Sheng’s rooms. He left out the dungeon since it was on the other side, and the intruder had no reason to go back there. There were only approximately a dozen locations the intruder could’ve come from if they were to lure the two individuals to this room without letting them run into each other beforehand, all whilst avoiding patrols. Several of the possible hideouts included a number of people’s occupied rooms.
Tian Xiaogua didn’t rule out occupied rooms because he recalled having a conversation at the last room he visited, though he couldn’t remember what they talked about and who he spoke to. He felt he recognised the silhouette in his memory, but he couldn’t see their features in enough detail to identify him. Nevertheless, his intuition told him that the person in question was connected to the hit.
Someone I’d meet would have to be someone I already see daily. Is there a traitor? That’s impossible. Which means… the mercenaries we hired… No, that can’t be right. They were with Mr. Zero, and we had guards watching over the three drunken mercenaries. The intruder can disguise themselves so well that… Wait, wait, wait! What if the intruder didn’t only pose as me but also had me pose as them?!
Okay, okay, let’s calm down first. The intruder needed someone to prove they weren’t at the scene of the assassination. If they knocked me out and dressed me up as them, then left me unconscious, people would’ve just assumed I was drunk. Those three were acting weird that day, and the room they used for their party is one of the feasible hiding spots I identified. They asked me to bring them alcohol! No wonder why he arrived late!
“He didn’t run late because he was carrying out an assassination but because he had to switch with me and dump me in the storage room. He assassinated Sir Kuanggu Sheng earlier on and then tampered with our sense of time. H-he’s the intruder!”
“You’re a smart guy. Unfortunately, there’s no point in finding out now.”
Before Tian Xiaogua could spin around or scream, he witnessed the world spin multiple quick revolutions and then heard nothing else. The room, once again, returned to silence as if nothing ever happened.
“Done?” I questioned without moving my head.
Yan Jiangnan replied, “Yes, Elder. Your foresight is truly miraculous. He really was a smart guy. If I were to put it into perspective, he was likely only one step away from finding out the truth. I selectively erased his memories using my ‘Three Mind Warp Techniques’, but I almost made a mistake due to my poor condition that day. I have made up for my error today.”
Although the dispensary wasn’t meant to be a residential building, Zero permitted me to stay there, so I boldly moved several beds in and told Yan Jiangnan to stay with me under the guise of making it convenient to take care of him. In actuality, it was just so it would be more convenient to give him orders.
“You’ve improved your palm techniques at a splendid speed. I don’t have anything else to say about it. In saying that, had you mastered it on the day of the operation, you would’ve been able to do more than lead Kuanggu Sheng to Tiangou.”
When I took cover in the underground passage, Tiangou bolted outside. Meanwhile, using his Three Mind Warping Techniques, Yan Jiangnan tampered with Kuanggu Sheng’s senses and sense of direction to lead him to Tiangou over here. That was the best Yan Jiangnan could do with the skill he just learnt.
“He kept his brows locked as he looked high and low. I knew he suspected foul play from the moment I heard he was on his way to the room. It’s hard to be at peace for as long as he’s snooping around.”
“You are absolutely right.”
Yan Jiangnan kept a big gap between himself and me. I think he grew fearful of me after witnessing how I set up Tiangou and Kuanggu Sheng.
“There’s no reason for you to be afraid. It was either them or us.” Continuing to watch over my simmering herbs, I expanded, “It was merely self-defence.”
Yan Jiangnan mulled for a while, then nodded. “I understand now. Please let me know what I should do next.”
I nodded back in contentment and poured the black medicine into a bowl, then passed the smelly concoction over to Yan Jiangnan. “Here you go. Drink it, and then piss off and train.”