By the time they woke up, they had found themselves with the mayor, locked up in prison cubicles within the mayor's residence. The chiefs had a common enemy and had decided to resist till death. Yet, the enemy chose not to show himself. Instead, food and drinks surfaced on the table, instantly hooking their appetite. Confident that their enemy wasn't after their lives, those men ate heartily, only to feel their tummy rumbling loudly soon after. Rushing to the bucket in the prison, they found that on it was a picture of their dear god Garison.
They were simply unable to sh*t into their god's mouth, also the opening of the bucket, as the immoral culprit had so specifically drawn. Plus, whoever had dared use it did not need to think about living anymore.
Without a choice, everyone started doing their business in front of one another. They were big and important figures who were unable to prevent nature's call. Hunger could be endured but not bathroom needs. For a whole day, Ah Shina and those figures suffered tremendously.
Just then, a piece of paper appeared before them as someone shouted, "Write in exchange for your freedom to use the bathroom."
As such, those men, unafraid of death and interrogation by torture but unwilling to commit blasphemy, obediently wrote their pledge to hand over all weapons of their tribe, to only possess those approved and given by the office, and to make an oath in front of Garison's painting never to betray again.
The only resistance came from Ah Shina himself. He sat in a corner, not moving for three days and nights, in fear that the stench in his pants would be released all at once upon any movement. While in admiration of his perseverance, the other men rejoiced at their freedom to defecate properly.
A calamity that should have shaken the whole city and wiped out all Han citizens within it was, just like that, put to an end through absolutely shameless methods. The originator, also the girl who had arrived into this world like a storm, quickly announced to the city the content within the document, legitimized by an official seal.
"The mayor is ill and unable to see to things. The assistant magistrate has died from a sudden illness, and his responsibilities will be taken over by his substitute, who will now be in charge of the internal military affairs and civil administrations."
This unrest, not considered extensive, had happened in Yaocheng, a small city in the southern border of Wuji. It should have vanished like a bubble in the history of time, but some of the higher-ups in the seven nations smelled something fishy from it. It was just as how a sharp blade's glint could never be fully concealed even if kept in a pocket.
"It's a conspiracy, the massacre," Feng Xuan, the monarch of Xuanji Nation spoke while reclining in his seat before a purple-lit lamp and fiddling with the tassels of his fan.
"It was committed for an opportunity to gain power, and the culprit is most definitely not ordinary," Xuanji Regent read from the national report.
Fei Yan, the lady saint from Fufeng Nation, stood on the highest building in the whole nation and gazed toward the south, her eyes appearing hazy through the fluttering golden muslin curtains and floating clouds. She lifted a finger, and a black crystal appeared on her fingertip. Quietly looking at it for a long time, she finally said in a soft voice, "God's decree. Her direction."
Standing amid the vast yellow sand of Geya desert, Tiansha Nation's king turned toward Wuji Nation. His darker-than-night pupils glowing from the flames burning enthusiastically within them, just like the eternally burning disk above his head.
"Is that you, Woman?"
He raised his head up and laughed before whipping his horse. Upon neighing and lifting its hooves the handsome horse galloped toward the south like the wind, leaving deep prints on the sand.
Outside Yaocheng's city gate, a refined man dressed in purple robe mumbled, "I'm just a step later, and you've already snatched my city..."
He raised a brow and looked toward the mayor's residence. What was she doing at this moment? The girl whose smile was as bright as the sun, whose body was as soft as spring willows and whose attitude at work was as tough as thunder and as strong as thirty cows. Would she be thinking of the man who had abandoned her for not greeting him?
At that moment inside the mayor's residence, the newly classified mayor, Meng Fuyao, wasn't thinking about the man who had so heartlessly dumped her. Neither was she thinking about the reaction of the important people in all seven nations. She was squatting in prison, staring unbelievably at the corpse on the ground.
It was the man whom tens of thousands of Rong men respected and the leader who had possessed absolute might amid the Rong people - former mayor Ah Shina.
"Darn it, what a time to die," Meng Fuyao complained, scowling miserably while squatting by Ah Shina's scarless corpse.
While it looked as if she was having a good time as the substitute mayor, she was actually walking on a tightrope and had been so busy trying to stabilize the situation.
First Zong Yue had to report to King De about the recent happenings to get his permission for her to become the mayor temporarily. Then, she had to filter out the more dangerous Rongsmen, recruit Han bailiffs, and form and train up the civil corps in order to strengthen the defense of the Han citizens, who made up a smaller group within the city. She had also divided the household register to have the Rongsmen and Hansmen live alongside each other. At the same time, she beheaded a few of the most vicious and generous ribbon-hangers. Now that all these had been done, the situation within the city was still stable despite the inevitable undercurrents of activities.
It was hard for her to manage everything independently, so Zong Yue gathered a few helpers to assist her. She quickly gained the trust of the Han citizens, who were familiar with the current situation, to actualize the civilian shelter strategy.
As she stared in absolute confusion at the political documents, Zong Yue was able to easily settle various matters while mocking her incompetency. The way he handled things was extremely efficient, as evident from the quickly vanishing pile of documents.
Shocked, Meng Fuyao was convinced that his birth wasn't ordinary. Which physician was this good at political matters? She did ask once, but he pretended not to have heard her, only continuing to gather his medicine and ignoring her. Meng Fuyao focused on her work and produced rather decent results.
Yet, her efforts were turning to running water, just like Ah Shina's corpse. 80% of the Rong people adored this mayor, and if the news of his death spread, the sparks she had so effortfully and meticulously quelled would definitely be reignited.
It was clear that a secret agent was working for the Rong military. The agent was there to fan the fire and coordinate with those on the outside and inside as well to effortlessly take Yaocheng down.
As for herself, a substitute mayor who had popped out of nowhere, it was unlikely for her to get rid of all the subordinates working within the office. She shook her head and lazily got to her feet. "Make him disappear," she told Zong Yue calmly.
Knitting his brows, Zong Yue replied, "Won't the Rong people ask for their missing mayor? Their worshipping festival is happening in a few days' time, and all Rongsmen will attend it. You're not going to be able to explain Ah Shina's absence."
Meng Fuyao let out a hesitating sigh. Suddenly the announcement gong sounded, especially monstrously and rhythmic. There was no grief and indignation attached to the beating of the gong, but it was distant and drawn out. Each gong reached the prison, along with a bit of disharmonizing noise.
The little noise seemed to be generated from the banging of a soft object onto the gong.
Suspicious, Meng Fuyao mumbled, "Someone's calling for grievances? How can there be a miscarriage of justice under Meng Jingtian's jurisdiction?
Zong Yue gave her a quick, helpless smile. It was obvious that she wasn't normal. Cracking a joke at such time?
Meng Fuyao stomped out and put the death of Ah Shina aside first. She was looking forward to ascending her seat of justice and taking on her first case.
Her mighty bailiffs were already stationed as she strode to her seat in her specially made robe. The gongs were still ongoing, and she got impatient. "Stop knocking! I'm here!" she turned to yell.
It was then that she got a clear view of the individual. She hiccupped before falling off her seat.
A purple-robed man was banging on the gong unhurriedly, his posture ever so graceful and noble. It sounded more like he was playing an instrument. A group of ladies had gathered around and were looking at him with hearts in their eyes, as his sleeves slipped down to reveal his delicate wrist.
What left her even more speechless was the white fur ball that was squatting on the gong frame. He was using his head to bang the gong as well. His owner would knock three times, and he would make the fourth knock; their rhythm was amazingly precise.
If not that unpleasant duo then who?
Meng Fuyao's mouth was so widely opened that Lord Yuan Bao could easily fit inside. She settled back into her seat and knew not if she should call for attention and order or flee.
Before she could decide, the man had already placed the gong stick down and straightened his sleeves. He had even given smiles and small bows to the women around him and was making his way forward.
The fluff ball rested on his shoulder, his eyes grave yet confident.
Looking closely, one could see the disdain in his eyes, as if meaning to comment that Meng Fuyao's robe was simply shoddy-looking.
Meng Fuyao stared blankly for a long time before taking in a deep breath and looking up. She spurred herself on.
'Hey... he's just someone here to report a case. So what if he's just a little bit special? So what if his motive is just a little bit doubtful? I can just treat him as an ordinary citizen that has come to seek justice.'
'But why... am I feeling somewhat guilty?'
Meng Fuyao's gaze drifted everywhere from the ceiling to the desk to the space under her desk, but never to the man standing before her. She sorted her documents, and fiddled with her robe and hair, unable to pick the gavel up.
"I'm guilty about not having a conscience" was written all over her face, and the purple-robed man couldn't help but smile. Lord Yuan Bao, on the other hand, rolled his eyes.
Citizens filled the area outside the hall, curious to see how their new mayor would operate a case and what grievances the magnificent man had had to endure. Their eyes moved between the youngest and most elegant mayor to the glorious-looking reporter, detecting a strange tension between them, or more specifically, within the new mayor himself. The latter was squirming about non-stop as if he was sitting above a fire pan.
 Calling herself after Bao Jingtian, a government officer known for his extreme honesty and uprightness.