Chapter 378 - The Ancient Treasure
The fierce battle sounded nonstop but Ai Hui’s attention was completely on Xiao Shuren’s words.
"Madam Ye’s strategy is brilliant, I’m impressed." Xiao Shuren’s voice was full of praise, "First was the empty residence after Madam took Xiaobao out. And the ancient treasure I have on me is a bait to attract intruders, especially those from the Ling Residence. Karakorum Savant and this Silver Soldier are her assistants and their mission is probably to tangle the enemies."
Upon hearing her words, Ai Hui automatically looked toward the battleground.
He’d not felt it previously, but upon hearing Xiao Shuren’s comments, he couldn’t help but notice some of these clues. "Why?" he asked, unable to bear his curiosity.
Xiao Shuren’s tone carried admiration. "Because Madam wishes to use this opportunity to annihilate the Ling Residence. Madam Ye put on a weak front in regard to the relentless spreading of rumors involving Xiaobao. When the truth gets out, the grievances she felt before would intensify, evoking more sympathy from the people. And if people saw how the Ye Residence is being bullied, what would they think?"
"They would only feel that Madam Ling went overboard and that the orphan and widow are extremely pitiful. If Ye Residence is really weak, there might not be anyone who would dare stand up for her. But there’s Great Elder behind Madam Ye. Great Elder is beyond furious about the rumors that smear Xiaobao’s reputation so it’s inevitable that he will take action. And if Great Elder teaches the Ling Residence a lesson, would anyone stand up for them? No. This is true power."
Xiao Shuren said laughingly, "Madam Ye will have everyone see for themselves. Look, it’s the Ye Residence. The residence that houses all elementalists with the surname Ye, an orphan and a widow is about to be razed to the ground by the Ling Residence. Aren’t they wretched? Aren’t they pitiful? Shouldn’t the Ling Residence die?"
Ai Hui’s heart turned cold. These people’s shrewdness and cunningness was absolutely frighteningly.
"Ling Residence is done for." Xiao Shuren sighed softly. "And the bait? It will be handed over to Elders Guild of course. Ye Residence, being sensible, has no interest in the ancient treasure at all. Why wouldn’t the Elders Guild be enticed by the ancient treasure, when even Dai Gang is drooling over it and they can shut everyone’s mouth with it?"
Ai Hui remained silent. He wasn’t proficient in crafty plots and manipulations, but he wasn’t foolish. He understood what Xiao Shuren was saying about the gains and losses involved.
And unfortunately, Xiao Shuren was right.
"Actually, I’ve been thinking about some questions for the past few days. How did I land myself in the Ye Residence? It was because I fell into the hands of Karakorum chief, and her relationship with Madam Ye wasn’t superficial. Why did I fall into the hands of the chief? Because rumor had it that the ancient treasure was related to swordsmanship. And where did that rumor come from?"
"Don’t you find it too coincidental, Mister Chu?" Xiao Shuren asked with a smile.
Ai Hui found it unbelievable. "Could it be Madam Ye?"
"I have no proof," Xiao Shuren said faintly. "But if that’s the case, our Madam Ye is really not a simple character."
Her next sentence was even more shocking. "Only two people from Great Wei Enterprise know about the ancient treasure. One is already dead and the other is me. Other than that, there’s only Dai Gang. If my theory is valid, I’m afraid that Madam Ye’s people are beside Dai Gang."
Ai Hui was dumbstruck. Reason told him that Xiao Shuren’s guess was simply too out of this world, but somehow, intuition told him that it was possible.
"Isn’t our Madam Ye amazing?"
Xiao Shuren spoke with admiration and regret. While she combed this theory out from threads and traces, it was very difficult for her to link it with this single mother who had raised a handicapped son for over ten years.
"I do not want to fall into the hands of the Elders Guild. Plus, I have personal matters to take care of, so I’m willing to hand over the ancient treasure. I only seek your compassion."
Xiao Shuren’s tone was sorrowful.
Ai Hui shook his head. "I’m not interested in the ancient treasure."
The ancient treasure was a big inconvenience that brought bad luck to its possessor. Countless people had died because of it, including those who perished in the Great Wei Enterprise massacre.
There were still many things Ai Hui had to do, so he did not wish to get involved. If he did get involved, he wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything anymore.
Xiao Shuren was rather shocked and also extremely surprised. She could tell that Chu Zhaoyang was speaking the truth.
She let out a distressed, bitter laugh. "Those who heard about the ancient treasure scrabbled for it like moths for a flame. Who would’ve expected you to deem it as trash."
Ai Hui did not respond.
No one disliked treasures. Himself included, but in this world there were always things more important than money and wealth.
Xiao Shuren’s tone changed. "A virtuous man should have the ancient treasure, so I’m giving it to you."
Before Ai Hui could open his mouth, Xiao Shuren’s next action had him dumbfounded.
She stuck her palm into her own chest!
Was she committing suicide?
Ai Hui was extremely shocked, but he reacted quickly and noticed that there was no blood coming out from her chest at all.
He cried out involuntarily, "Transfigured elementalist?!"
"I had been severely injured and almost lost my life. To survive, I had to transform my body into sand," Xiao Shuren explained gently. The image of her drawing her tender, snow-white palm out from her snow-white chest carried an inexpressible, devilish beauty.
There was a trace of satisfaction and craftiness in Xiao Shuren’s tone. "They did not expect that I would place the ancient treasure inside my body."
Ai Hui had not expected that too.
Her snow-white palm opened, revealing two transparent and flawless crystals.
Each was about the size of a finger and in the centre of each was a drop of golden liquid.
Ai Hui couldn’t take his eyes off of them. The golden liquid within was swiveling and changing in countless exquisitely complicated patterns. He could feel its extraordinariness.
Before he could react, a white cloth flew out from his palm swiftly, and like an agile white snake it coiled itself around the crystals.
Ai Hui was stunned.
Xiao Shuren was taken aback as well but she dismissed it with a smile. "It’s for you anyway."
Regaining his senses, Ai Hui immediately felt a headache. He hadn’t intended to get involved in this inconvenience, but alas, it came and stuck itself onto him like a stubborn stain, unable to be removed.
The bandage was very interested. Could it be that the golden liquid inside the crystals was some kind of blood?
Gold-colored blood was very rare.
Ai Hui looked on helplessly as the bandage went on to swallow its food, a sight scarier than a tiger seizing its prey. He said, "Do you have any unfulfilled wishes, Madam?"
Xiao Shuren became excited. "You’re a good man of honor indeed, Mister Chu!"
Man of honor?
Ai Hui laughed in spite of himself. He shook his head, replying, "I’m no man of honor. Men of honor die early. I would like to live a little longer. Cut to the chase, tell me."
Xiao Shuren, too, understood that time was tight. She responded speedily, "At that time, I was worried that something would happen, so I had the caretaker take my young son out of the enterprise to live in another city with a different identity. Now that Great Wei Enterprise is gone and nothing remains, I can only beg that Mister Chu accepts him as your disciple."
Ai Hui did not agree immediately. He muttered, "I’m homeless and miserable, and the things I do come with danger. Not only will he suffer, he might also lose his life if he follows me."
With a steady gaze, Xiao Shuren spoke up. "Is there any permanent haven in this chaotic world? Silver City was a beautiful city that flourished but with some dried grass and a fire, it has now turned to ashes. This is all that I can do to help him. Whether or not he lives well from now on, it’s his life."
Upon hearing that, Ai Hui nodded his head solemnly. "In that case, I’ll agree."
Xiao Shuren heaved a sigh of relief and handed her son’s address and the caretaker’s name to him. She also gave him a keepsake.
Ai Hui recorded the information and felt rather curious. "Why me?"
Xiao Shuren replied, "You put aside your own safety to save Xiaobao. You have compassionation."
Ai Hui then understood that with her wisdom, tactics and ways of doing things, she was not a simple person. He couldn’t help but feel admiration for her.
A group of tiny black dots appeared on the faraway horizon. Looking around, Ai Hui realized that people were also closing in from other directions.
The Ye Residence had been surrounded.
Till now, Xiao Shuren’s conjecture had been proven right, impressing Ai Hui even further. "What plans do you have next?"
Since she’d guessed Madam Ye’s plan, she must be prepared.
Xiao Shuren combed her fringe, answering, "Just hand me over to Madam Ye later on."
Ai Hui felt somewhat suspicious. Xiao Shuren had mentioned earlier that she did not want to fall into the hands of the Elders Guild.
Xiao Shuren smiled slightly. "My heart had been damaged from past injuries and I have to change the sand material every two months. But I’ve not changed it for four month so my time is limited, there’s no cure."
Ai Hui understood instantly and kept silent.
"Please do not feel sad. I am beyond happy that you’re willing to accept my request." Xiao Shuren consoled him genuinely without the least bit of sorrow. "The people on this side only know about the ancient treasure, but as to what it is exactly, they aren’t clear. Although Dai Gang never said it outright, I believe he knows what these crystals are. They are extremely important to him, so he will not step down. I’m afraid that as a Grandmaster, he would have special means to get what he wants, so please be careful."
Ai Hui nodded. "I will."
As the crowd grew close, Madam Ye, Great Elder and some others’ silhouettes could be seen clearly.
"The dust has settled." Xiao Shuren seemed to be sighing and reminiscing at the same time. She smiled suddenly. "I’ll not bid farewell. The bad thing about transfigured elementalists is that we die uglily."
Before Ai Hui could respond, Madam Ye’s voice sounded, "Mister Chu, please release Madam Xiao!"
Ai Hui took away the sword on Xiao Shuren’s neck.
Many of them exhaled in relief.
Immediately after, countless burning and avaricious gazes fell upon Xiao Shuren. The rumors about the ancient treasure had many palpitating. How could something that Dai Gang had spent so much effort and strength in obtaining be anything ordinary?
Freed, Xiao Shuren looked ecstatic upon seeing Ling Sheng and his wife. She cried out urgently, "Save me Master Ling! Dai Gang said that you…"
She caught herself in time and closed her mouth immediately.
The expressions of those present changed instantly. They looked toward Ling Sheng and a look of enlightenment flashed across their faces. The Ling family was here to seize Xiao Shuren on Dai Gang’s behalf!
People from the Ling family turned pale. It was okay to have secret connections with Dai Gang, but they absolutely must not publicize it.
Ling Sheng glared at Xiao Shuren and saw the hatred and pleasure in her eyes. He then recalled how Great Wei Enterprise was destroyed with his own hands.
This woman had finally found her chance for revenge.
His expression worsened. It was his doomsday.
"Elder Ling, anything else to say?"
Great Elder’s tone was flat, joy and anger absent. But everyone knew that he was seriously furious.