Huo Lingxiao’s applause was more restrained.
Xiao Xiao turned around and swept her gaze across the three men. Her smile was as clear as the sky, and it was extremely charming.
"Reward!" Miao Yi tossed a bunch of Gold Crystals clattering on top of the table.
But in that moment, someone outside shouted abruptly, "Stop the boat, stop!"
A few of them tilted their heads to look at the situation. It turned out that the boat Miao Yi had rented had been moving alongside a bigger boat. Tian Qingfeng and the others had the good fortune to witness and listen to a beautiful lady dancing and singing on the other boat.
Before they knew it, a speedboat with a lantern plastered with the word ‘du’ approached their boat. A few cultivators, all of which also had a plaque with the word ‘du’ tied around their waists, were standing at the bow of the boat. A trembling cultivator without a plaque at his waist suddenly pointed at Lin Pingping, who stood among Tian Qingfeng and the others, and said, "It’s her, and that’s them."
The cultivator of the Governor's Office standing at the front of the bow immediately gave the order for Tian Qingfeng’s boat to stop.
When Tian Qingfeng and the other men saw the members of the Governor's Office, they were startled, their reactions most likely due to a guilty conscience. If he remembered correctly, the trembling cultivator standing beside the members of the Governor's Office must be the Loose Cultivator who’d been blocked by Lin Pingping on the ‘Heart Island’ that day.
After halting both vessels, small and large, five cultivators from the Governor's Office brought the Loose Cultivator along and landed on Tian Qingfeng’s side of the boat. The one in charge of the group was a man. He swept his gaze across the passengers of the boat before asking the Loose Cultivator beside him, "Are you certain it’s them?"
The Loose Cultivator nodded his head. His eyes darted across the larger boat on the side and after spotting Miao Yi and Luo Shuangfei, immediately extended his arm and pointed, "And the two of them over there."
That day on the Heart Island, Miao Yi had led the party while Luo Shuangfei had looked strange in terms of appearance. That would easily leave a deep impression on anyone’s mind, so they were quickly recognized by that man.
The man in charge waved his hand and commanded, "We’ll take the suspects along with the boats. Apprehend them all!"
Two men swiftly revealed their weapons from behind and jumped onto the bigger boat, intending to arrest both the ship and the people on it.
Xiao Xiao turned around. As she dragged her long skirt towards the couch, she gave what appeared to be a casual flick of her sleeve. No one could sense any transcendence energy emanating from her, yet when those two men boarding the ship tried to push aside the white curtain hanging above the rail, ‘Ah!’ was the only terrified scream that rang out from their mouths.
Two streams of delicate white curtain cloth swiftly flowed like passing clouds and struck fiercely at the two like steel plates. Before they could even react to the sudden assault, they were quickly struck several dozen meters away to the air.
Bang bang! Both exploded into bursts of bloody rain as their bodies were turned to pulp, scattering into the lake.
Sensing that there was going to be trouble, Miao Yi was stunned, completely astonished by the two streams of flowing, delicate curtain cloth!
The passengers on both boats were instantly shocked at the scene. What a ferocious cultivation base; two cultivators had been quickly beaten to a literal pulp!
Everyone looked around but were stunned at the fact that they couldn’t tell who’d made the move. Huo Lingxiao was the only one quietly shooting a glance at Xiao Xiao, who was already reclining on her side on top of the couch, her long skirts slightly unfolded.
The rest of the members of the Governor's Office were shuddering in fear. They knew they’d just met a master. No one dared to board the bigger boat without obtaining permission first.
"Who are you people, how dare you murder members of the Governor's Office right here in the city? You should know the consequences of that!" yelled the man in charge.
Huo Lingxiao took a few steps forward and pushed aside the white curtain, which startled the members of the Governor's Office, forcing them to take a step backward, thinking that he was the one who did it.
Huo Lingxiao frowned and asked, "Why did you stop my boat for no reason?"
The man in charge pointed at Miao Yi and the others. "A few days ago, three members of the Governor's Office were killed on the Heart Island. These people are suspects, and I want to take them in for interrogation!"
‘Members of the Governor's Office were killed?’ Huo Lingxiao turned around and looked at Miao Yi. He thought, ‘This kid isn’t that bold, is he?’ He then turned back to the man and asked once more, "Do you have evidence?"
The man murmured, "Anyone who appeared on the island that day are suspects. The Governor's Office has rounded up most of the people present at the time, and there’s an eyewitness who saw them there. This is an order from the Governor's Office, so you must come with us. Don’t tell me you want to go against the Governor's Office? Quickly submit yourself to us!"
This man was too gutless to make a move, so he was using the name of the Governor's Office to pressure others.
Miao Yi, who felt curious about the eyewitness of the murder that day, suddenly had a gleam in his eyes. He realized where the problem lay, and it might be the bloodstains that they hadn’t managed to clean up. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be in this current situation where, due to a lack of physical evidence, everyone who’d appeared on the island that day had to be captured for interrogation. If there was evidence, they could easily point them as the murderers!
Miao Yi could not help but be alarmed at the controlling powers of the Governor's Office. How were they able to find those who’d been at the island when these people were all strangers to one another?
It was just as he’d said in reality. Inspections in all regions and routes were designated by the Governor's Office every single day. If three people suddenly went missing, they would naturally look for them. Just as they were investigating the route that Lord Xing and his two men were stationed, they’d discovered bloodstains indicating that three people had fallen. Coincidentally, the men who’d gone missing had been those exact three. With that, the Governor's Office immediately realized that something had happened to the three men.
Wasn’t it horrible enough that someone dared to make a move against the members of the Governor's Office? This was simply a challenge to the authority of the Governor's Office, and this incident had completely shocked Governor's Office Head Lan Hou. The only words Lan Hou said were, "Investigate! Investigate thoroughly! I would rather kill the wrong person than let them get away with this!"
Being in charge of tens of thousands populating a city that covered a large area, and to be able to frighten those Loose Cultivators from acting rashly in its every nook and cranny, it was evident how much power the Governor's Office had in possession to control the city.
With just a direct order from Lan Hou, the Governor's Office had immediately investigated the entire city, their movements so unobtrusive they hadn’t disturbed the ordinary citizens in the slightest. As for those who had set foot on the island before, they’d all been swiftly captured. Several cultivators who had left the city were caught in the middle of their journey. Those who had been captured also reported to the Governor's Office of those they had seen before on the island.
Huo Lingxiao wasn’t fool enough to ask Miao Yi in front of all these people whether he had really killed the men of the Governor's Office or not. If Miao Yi admitted to the accusation under pressure while facing a crowd, as a Hall Master of the Suppressing Second Hall, how could he endure this? His own underling had come to the city and killed the members of the Governor's Office while he was in the city too…. Not to mention the other stuff he’d done. Would he allow the members of the Governor's Office to capture his men in front of him, or put up a fight with the Governor's Office? Huo Lingxiao couldn’t afford to provoke the Governor's Office as well.
He turned around and looked at Xiao Xiao.
Xiao Xiao spoke out as she lay on her side on the couch. With her elbow upright and a fist to support her head, she closed her eyes and said in a soft manner, "You want to take us away without evidence? Leave now while my mood isn’t completely terrible. It will be too late if you want to run away later on."
Her tone was gentle, yet there was no room for doubt that she’d do as she said.
When she spoke those words, Miao Yi and the others were shocked. They quickly turned to look at this woman, and they were all baffled.
The expression of the man in charge from the Governor's Office twitched in reaction. ‘This person doesn’t even respect the Governor's Office.’ Realizing they’d hit a snag in their case, and this person wasn’t someone they could afford to provoke, he didn’t dare to say anything more and waved, "Let’s go!"
They didn’t even care to hop back into their speedboat, instead fleeing quickly by pedaling on top of the waters.
"Big Brother, who is she?" Miao Yi asked, looking curiously at the napping woman on the couch.
For a woman to be able to say those words, it would be foolish to still treat her like an ordinary hostess from a brothel.
Huo Lingxiao decided not to answer that question and instead asked his own by murmuring, "Miao Yi, did you really kill the members of the Governor's Office in the city or not?"
"No!" Miao Yi flatly denied the accusation.
Miao Yi would never admit it, even if he were to be beaten to death. As a matter of fact, he wasn’t lying. He wasn’t the murderer, because Luo Shuangfei was the one who did it. Miao Yi just gave the order to carry out the murder.
"There are no strangers here, so tell me the truth. Did you do it or not?" Huo Lingxiao kept asking again.
When he remembered that Miao Yi had threatened to kill him back in the Suppressing Second Hall, and the repeated improper behaviour he had displayed in the South Edict Manor, it was possible that this man had the gall to do many things that were considered impudent and atrocious.
"That’s enough," Xiao Xiao interrupted, still laying relaxed on the couch, "The killing has been done, and they have no evidence of it. No evidence means no killing. Miao Yi is your sworn brother after all, why do you want to be so unreasonable and deliberately make things difficult for him?"
When she opened her mouth, Huo Lingxiao immediately went silent and shut his mouth. He knew that someone would come forward to shoulder the responsibility when a problem occurred.
Luo Shuangfei, on the other hand, was picking up the Gold Crystals he had given out as a reward from the table. He realized he’d been fooled, and this reward was just a joke. Naturally, he would want to get them back.
He didn’t seem like he was afraid of anything. He was simply a weirdo.
The woman on the couch stretched with her eyes closed, and yet all movement inside the boat seemed to be under her control. With her eyes still closed, she asked, "Didn’t you reward that to me? Why are you taking them back?"
"You wouldn’t be interested in this small sum. Rewarding you will only be an insult to you, and I cannot do that. Of course, I must take them back." Luo Shuangfei, who had already pocketed the reward money, slowly approached the couch and blurted a ‘hey’ before continuing, "Who exactly are you?"
Xiao Xiao gave a gentle smile. She tapped on the couch, motioning him to sit down.
Luo Shuangfei then actually proceeded to sit his rear down on one side of the couch. Xiao Xiao placed her head on his thighs, replying sleepily, "Is it important to know who I am? Weren’t you just treating me like a woman from a brothel? Such a waste of a beautiful ambience on such a fine day. Let’s just talk about the ambience and forget about questioning the rights and wrongs."
"You said it yourself." Luo Shuangfei was only trying his luck with that question.
Xiao Xiao nodded with her eyes closed.
And then, a situation appeared that both angered and surprised Miao Yi at the same time. Luo Shuangfei moved like a frightened little rabbit as he swiftly touched Xiao Xiao’s pale and half-exposed bosom with his hands. Realizing that Xiao Xiao, who still had her eyes closed, wasn’t reacting to it, a smile curled on his lips. He took the risk and placed his hands fully on Xiao Xiao’s bosom while making faces at Miao Yi, as if he was asking Miao Yi to join in on the fun.
Miao Yi was sweating bullets, realizing that Luo Shuangfei was simply driven by lust to do such an outrageous act. The audacity of this man had gone to the point of creating a complication. He tried to peek at Huo Lingxiao, but he saw that he only turned to the other side instead.
Miao Yi, who’d been watching at the sidelines, began to make a guess as to who this woman was. Xiao Yizhu was a steed deputy of the Suppressing Second Hall, so how was he able to tour the Jade Lake together with such a person?
Then an image flashed through his mind, and it was the image of Xiao Yizhu and Menglan at East Arrival Cave. He remembered when they’d talked about the marriage of the daughter of the Exquisite Refinement Sect. Xiao Yizhu had said that there would be boundless prospects for the person who was able to marry their daughter, which prompted sarcasm from Menglan after that.
Menglan mentioned before that there were still some people who were still interested in playing up to the power of others, and those people were scum and so forth.
Menglan’s words were clearly meant to ridicule Xiao Yizhu… When he thought about that, Miao Yi seemed to have a revelation. Perhaps Menglan was saying that Xiao Yizhu was attached to this woman for power?
Just as he pondered this thought, Huo Lingxiao’s expression changed slightly as he cocked his head towards the direction of the Jade Capital Peak.
Above Jade Capital Peak, two streaks of red light sliced through the night sky and shot through the Jade Lake.
"Interrupting my sleep!" Xiao Xiao, who was still lying on the couch, heaved a sigh and continued to cushion her head on Luo Shuangfei’s thighs. With a casual flick of her sleeves, the curtains began to flutter aggressively, and ripples began to form abruptly on the surface of the Jade Lake.