Qinlingjun City, Yunzhou, Great Jin. This was an inn outside Qinlingjun City. Although it was situated outside the city, it enjoyed large passenger volume, especially when the wedding ceremony of the Governor's daughter was only several days away. All the inns inside Qinlingjun City had been packed with people having various purposes. Residents who had extra rooms rented them out as well to earn some extra money.
As the inns inside the city had all been occupied, those who still had nowhere to go could only settle down in some villages and town centers outside of Qinlingjun City, or even in the little village inns along the road.
It was in the afternoon when Junior Leopard received Wang She's message saying that he had arrived outside of Qinlingjun City.
Junior Leopard didn't hurry to join him. He leisurely finished his dinner inside the city. It wasn't until it grew dark did he sneak away from the Wu Family, and ran straight out of the city.
As an Inner Core disciple of the Wu Family, on the road back to Qinlingjun City, of course, he wouldn't stay in just any inn. Instead, he lived in the small yard belonging to him and Xu Yong in the Wu Residence.
His position in the Wu Family was very special now. Though he was considered not to be that high or powerful, no one from the Wu Family except Xu Yong could or would manage him.
Among the Core Authority circle led by the Wu Family Head, no one cared about his presence. He was only summoned once by Wu Yansheng, the Wu Family Head on the first day he came back. Wu Yansheng symbolically asked him about the situation of the underground fire vein in Zhonghejun City, and then gave him some encouragement. After that, he was left alone.
He owned a small yard in the Wu Family property. He could act freely when Xu Yong wasn't there.
After coming back to the Wu Family, he met with some familiar disciples first and then went to congratulate Jin Nanqing. Together with disciples who took on the same task in Zhonghejun City, he ripped off Jin Nanqing. The bustling atmosphere lasted for several days and gradually calmed down as the wedding drew near.
Junior Leopard was having a leisurely time, as Xu Yong wasn't there. That was until he received Wang She's message.
He took down the External Elixir on his ear and hung it on his chest. After putting on the mask, he covered himself with a black robe and placed the Emerald Pearl sword on his waist. Activating the Snake-like Breath Holding Skill, he snuck out of the Wu Residence unnoticed and headed straight for the meeting spot outside of Qinlingjun City. Though the city gate had already been closed, the high wall couldn't stop him.
"Who are you?!"
Even Wang She was surprised at the first sight of Junior Leopard. The man standing before him was all covered in a black robe and surrounded by an extremely mysterious spirit. On his face, there was a white mask with a weird smile and squinted eyes circled by red lines. It was quite scary, especially since it was now late at night.
"Chief Wang, I'm Zhou Bao!" Junior Leopard had nothing to hide from Wang She, so he took off his mask, bowed and smiled.
"It's you?" Wang She seemed a little surprised seeing it was Junior Leopard. "You've grown a lot in the past year!"
"At my age, it's high time to grow up. It's been a year. It'd be really weird if I hadn't grown!"
Junior Leopard smiled and put on his mask again.
He was already 14. In the past years, he had good food to eat and comfortable place to live in. Besides, he had been working hard on the practice of martial arts skills. His body also grew very fast, so now he looked almost like an adult. If measured by the standard of the world he came from, he was almost 1.8 meters tall. With the mask and the long black robe, no one could tell that he was actually a 14-year-old boy.
"Why are you dressed like this??!"
"I don't want others to know who I really am!" Junior Leopard answered dryly, "I suppose no one can recognize me in this?!"
"Of course not!" Wang She said and shook his head. He then looked Junior Leopard up and down and asked, "What about the cultivation of your External Elixir? Have you reached Level Six?!"
Junior Leopard didn't answer. The External Elixir that was hung on his chest began to circulate. Cyan Internal Qi blended with Junior Leopard's body, then condensed, and a clear and peaceful spirit could be seen rotating around Junior Leopard. His black robe was lifted gently and a breeze was felt.
Wang She finally showed his surprise, "The peak of Level Six! Oh boy, how did you make it! Wait, something is wrong with your Green Jade Qian Yuan Skill...!"
"Chief Wang does have a bright eye. The Green Jade Qian Yuan Skill is so marvelous that it's impossible for me to get the insights in a year. Fortunately, when I was practicing, I accidentally opened my Firey Eyes so some wonderful changes happened and it helped improve my cultivation to Level Six in a short period. But Your Highness must know that my improvement is so fast that my foundation is quite weak. Therefore, you'd better not trust me with too complicated tasks!"
Wang She stared at Junior Leopard and said, "Boy, you know, I've never expected that you could actually improve the cultivation of your External Elixir to Level Six in one year. Thank God if you're able to reach Level Four. It's really amazing, you really made it!"
"You know I'm really scared of death. You said that if I couldn't reach Level Six, it could be very dangerous, so I've tried every means to reach Level Six in one year!"
"I should have said Level Nine!"
"Then you wouldn't see me, as I'd already have run away!"
"You crafty boy!" Wang She laughed and he didn't ask in detail the reason why Junior Leopard had improved so quickly. "Well, follow me. I'll take you to see several guys. We need to arrange his action carefully. It's a tough call!"
"Why?!" Junior Leopard asked following Wang She.
"This really is a tough call!" Wang She said in a serious manner that he seldom revealed. "We've underestimated the resolution of the Mingyi School. Of course, our enemy won't just be the Mingyi School."
"You mean Governor Ma?!"
"Him? No, this is basically none of his business except that he needs to send his daughter out!" Wang She didn't look natural mentioning Ma Tianchang, the Governor of Yunzhou. "Otherwise, we won't decide to move!"
"It's his daughter. How will he stand aside?!"
"He didn't want his daughter to marry Lu Shaoyou at all. He agreed on the marriage only under pressure from various parties!"
"Who could give him pressure with his status?" Junior Leopard gasped, "Though the Mingyi School is powerful, it's not powerful enough to do this, is it?"
"In the team escorting the bride this time, except Lu Shaoyou and Gao Yulou, the other six are all from the imperial court and they're all martial experts at Level Four!"
"Imperial court martial expert?" Junior Leopard stopped and asked unconsciously, "What's this matter to do with the imperial court?!"
"You tell me?!"
Junior Leopard didn't speak. After a second thought, he seemed excited, "You mean, Governor Ma agreed on this marriage only under the pressure of the imperial court?!"
"Not the imperial court, but the one seated in the hall!" Wang She said with a grim smile, "If not, as a Governor of Yunzhou, he would agree to marry into the Mingyi School? Nonsense!"
Junior Leopard didn't ask any further. He just secretly thought about the relationships among the imperial court of Jin, the Mingyi School, and the Tian Long Taoism. It was not that Junior Leopard knew nothing. In fact, he knew a lot and he had always kept himself away from this complicated relationship business.
Hearing this, he would naturally stop questioning. He only asked, "Chief Wang, you've never talked about me with anyone, right?!"
"I'm going to!" Wang She laughed, "But if you don't want others to know, then I won't say!"
"That'll be great, I don't want to get into more trouble!"
"I assure you after this is done, I won't get you into trouble anymore!" Wang She said, "As for your secrets, I won't tell anyone. You're much more careful than I expected. This is better. Careful people always live longer!"
"My best advantage is that I am scared of death, so I won't do things that are too dangerous!"
"Oh, you don't think this is dangerous?"
"Though it's a little dangerous, I'm confident that I can make a safe retreat!" Junior Leopard answered, "Otherwise, I wouldn't come!"
"You're quite confident in yourself. I like it!" Wang She laughed and said, "Well, we're almost there. If you want to hide your identity, you'd better be careful. Those guys inside are stronger than you!"
"Stronger than me??!" Junior Leopard was a little shocked. He had been an expert at Level Six. If they were all as good as him, it meant that they were all at least at Level Six. He couldn't help asking, "It seems that you're fully prepared this time!"
"They're all friends of Lei Xu. The biggest mistake of those old guys in the Holy Mountain and the Lei Family is that they think everything would be fine if Lei Xu was trapped on the mountain. Aha... OK, we're here!"
"Why are you so late?!" As soon as Wang She finished, Junior Leopard saw a figure flash and heard a cold voice. When he saw clearly, he was stunned.
Such a beautiful woman!
The appearance, the figure, and the face are all perfect. Even though Junior Leopard had seen a lot of beauties on Baidu in his previous life, he was still stunned by the sudden appearance of such a beauty in ancient costume.
"Long Bug, is he the little friend you've mentioned?!" The beauty seemed used to others' reaction at the first sight of her. She stared at Junior Leopard's mask for two seconds. She seemed a little surprised and said, "He seems like a mysterious figure!"
"Wu Shuang, why are you here?!" Wang She was also surprised at the presence of the beauty. "Why don't you stay on the mountain? What are you doing here?!"
Hearing the name Wu Shuang, Junior Leopard knew who the beauty was. "Nian Wushuang, like Wang She and Lei Xu, is one of the three Chiefs of the Tian Long Taoism."
"You can come, why can't I come?!" Nian Wushuang glanced at Wang She with a grim smile, "Relax. I know who's your target. He's yours!"
Wang She gave an embarrassed smile, " Are they all here?"
"We're all waiting for you! Nian Wushuang answered. "Your little friend should at least have a name?!"
"Oh, I forgot to introduce you, this is Xiao...!"
"Xiao, my name is Xiao, Xiao meaning dawn!" Hearing that Wang She was about to say "Xiao Baozi", Junior Leopard hurried to interrupt him and made up a name randomly. And then, he froze, "Shit, if I know this, then I should have brought a set of Black Cover Fire Cloud Clothes!"
The inn wasn't large, in fact, it was quite small. It was a village inn located alongside the official road outside of Qinlingjun City.
Wang She ordered several ordinary guest rooms and the biggest one was only about 20 square meters. Upon entering the room, Junior Leopard was greeted by a sour odor. He raised his hand and waved, "What are you doing? Why do you choose here!"
"We have no choice. This is the only hidden place!" answered Wang She.
The room was not as packed as Junior Leopard had expected. There were only three of them, sitting on chairs, motionless under the dim light. Everyone seemed to be out of ordinary.
"OK, now that everyone is here, let's get to know each other!" Wang She drummed on the table and said after entering the room.
"Your friend seems mysterious. Level Six... Hehe, Long Bug, where do you find him?!"
A small middle-aged man, the oldest among the three, glanced at Junior Leopard, felt the spirit around him, smiled and said, "Is he reliable? This is not funny. If he is not reliable, just leave him here!"
"I'm not sure about others, but he must be more reliable than you old Brat!" Wang She looked at him and said hazily, "This is my friend Xiao, Xiao meaning the dawn!" Then he leaned over to make Junior Leopard seen. He pointed at the man who spoke just now and said, "Xiao, this is Tu Sen, also known as Brat. He's a bandit!"
"Tu Sen?!" Junior Leopard gasped with surprise. He had heard of this man. As one of the three famous bandits in the Great Jin and the Vice Gang Chief of the King of Hell Mountain Stronghold, he was one of the biggest headaches for the imperial court of Jin. Waving his Turbid Iron Rod, also known as Mixing Yuan One Breath Rod, he was invincible and famous for being an expert at Level Six.
As for the other two, Junior Leopard had never heard of them. The tall old man was called Peng Gongliang while the woman was White Lotus. She was about 40 years old. She looked plain, just like an ordinary housewife, while actually, she was an expert at Level Six.
Same as Tu Sen, they were both friends of Lei Xu's.
After introductions, they nodded to each other to show courtesy.
Two experts at Level Six, one at Level Seven. Junior Leopard was at Level Six and Wang She and Nian Wushuang were both at Level Eight.
It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that these six people together could completely destroy a middle-scale school, including the Wu Family in Yunzhou.
"As we're all here and we now know each other, let's have a discussion on how to carry out the task on Lu Shaoyou's wedding!" said Wang She. "Wu Shuang, what's your take on it?"
"It's simple. You go and challenge Lu Shaoyou one on one again, so we can rob the bride!" answered Nian Wushuang.
"This is a good idea, but it may be difficult to achieve. I can handle Lu Shaoyou, but it won't just be him, there'll at least be Gao Yulou. Though he's not as strong as Lu Shaoyou, he's not that weak. Beside them, the Mingyi School must also send other members. If I go straight to Lu Shaoyou, I might be stopped by others. In this case, if Lu refuses to fight with me, he'll have a good reason. If we push it too far, then it'll be us who are being aggressive. That's bad for our image!"
"Shit, who cares about image then! We're going to rob another's wife OK?!" Junior Leopard found it ironic. "What kind of people are these guys?"
"Then in your opinion, how should we do this?!" said Nian Wushuang. "Lei Xu has left this matter to you. I'm only a fighter!"
"Then what about you three? Peng Gongliang, what's your opinion?"
"I'll do whatever you say!" Peng Gongliang stroked his beard and answered, "I'm here because I owe one to Lei Xu. I'll do my part then!"
The other two also had no opinion.
"What about you?" Wang She asked Junior Leopard after others were all asked.
"I have no opinion and I'll do whatever you say!" Junior Leopard answered. His face was all covered by the mask so his emotion couldn't be seen, neither could any emotion fluctuation be told from his tone.
"Well then. Since you all trust me so much, I'll do the arrangement!" Wang She nodded. When he was speaking, he walked toward the table, took a scroll out of nowhere, and spread it out.
"This's the topographic map of Qinlingjun City. And that's the map of Lu Mansion!"
Wang She unfolded the two maps. Junior Leopard could see on the map of Qinlingjun City various buildings and streets were thickly marked. Every place had detailed annotations. Junior Leopard was shocked to find there was even the patrol timetable of the army. This was definitely a detailed military map, and it couldn't have been drawn by the imperial court of Jin, but most likely by the spy from the Northern Yuan.
"This is the special map from the Sinan Institute of the Northern Yuan, right? Where did you get it?!"
Others were also shocked at the sight of this map. Such a detailed city map with all the necessary information. All the weak points of the city were carefully marked. Who else could draw this except for the Sinan Institute of the Northern Yuan?
"It is indeed drawn by the Sinan Institute of the Northern Yuan. It took me a lot of work to get it!" answered Wang She. "Look, Qinlingjun City covers a broad area. It has nine city gates and 18 main streets from which more than one hundred various small streets extend. There're also countless alleys. This terrain is perfect for us to retreat and hide!"
"Plan for defeat rather than victory. You're really an ambitious man!" White Lotus smirked.
"Even if we win, we need to run and hide. In fact, the most dangerous moment is when we get the bride!" Wang She said dryly, "As once we make it, Governor Ma will have sufficient reasons to take his daughter back!"
"Isn't it a set up already? Lei Xu will handle Governor Ma. What, all we need to do is to rob the bride?!" Tu Sen's face fell after hearing Wang She. "Lei Xu has told me that Ma Tianchang wouldn't butt in. Right?"
"He won't butt in when we're robing because that's the business of the Mingyi School and the imperial court. But once we succeed, as the father of Miss Ma, he'll definitely deploy forces to run after us. Even if Lei Xu has good reasons, he can't persuade him in such a short period. So we must be well prepared, in case...!"
"There is no 'in case'. Once we succeed, I'll leave at once!" Tu Sen interrupted Wang She and said.
"It's up to you. I won't stop you if only you can run out!" said Wang She coldly. "Actually, once we start, the whole Qinlingjun City will be blocked. At that time, even I, let alone you, can't get out of the city. Thus, we need an escape route!"
Tu Sen didn't speak again, but he looked dreadful.
Not just him, Peng Gongliang and White Lotus also looked pale.
"Chief Wang, since you mentioned this, you must have found a good plan, right?" asked Peng Gongliang.
"I can't say it's good, but I do have an idea!"
"Our purpose is only to disturb this wedding and stop Lei Xu's girlfriend from marrying others. If we can defeat Lu Shaoyou and take Miss Ma away, then the wedding can't continue. We don't need to really kidnap Miss Ma, so we can let her go after that. You've said that Governor Ma also hated this marriage. In this way, everyone will get what he wants. I believe Governor Ma won't be too hard on us?!"
"Don't be so naive. Even if Governor Ma and I have linked hearts and we cooperate to act this out, we need to make it look authentic. This is not just a game. It's serious. Even if we let Miss Ma go, we can't guarantee that Governor Ma will let us off easily. Anyway, Yunzhou is governed by him. He needs to give the imperial court and the people an explanation!"
"Then what should we do? Though I'm confident of my cultivation, I've got no chance once Governor Ma butts in. And the same for all of you!"
Tu Sen seemed kind of terrified and said, "Damn it. I wouldn't have come if I'd have known Governor Ma would butt in!"
"Are you that scared of Ma Tianchang?" Nian Wushuang said as her eyes blazed lightly. Governor Ma was indeed very famous, but Yunzhou had been flourishing for more than a decade during which Ma Tianchang seldom appeared in public. He spent most of his time in the Governor Mansion, except that he needed to report on his work in the capital city once a year. He didn't go out much, so few people really knew about him.
Nian Wushuang had been famous for about 20 years, but she seldom interacted with Ma Tianchang, so she didn't know much about him.
"Yeah, I'm almost scared to death. Don't laugh at me. It's not just me. You can ask Peng Gongliang and White Lotus whether they're afraid or not?!" Tu Sen smirked. But Junior Leopard heard a sound of teeth grinding under his laughter, not from hatred but from fear.
"No matter how scared we are, we have no other option now. But I can assure you though Ma Tianchang is very powerful, he can only guard in Yunzhou. If we can run out of Yunzhou city, he can't do anything to us. At worst, we won't come back to Yunzhou anymore!" said Wang She.
"Ah, forget it. That's the only way out. Chief Wang, please tell us your plan!"
Peng Gongliang who had been silent all the time finally sighed and said to Wang She.