Chapter 452 - Disturbance
An unremarkable looking private house.
The blind old man sat in the shadow, his withered body quietly swallowing the light rays and deepening the shadows. His vacant eyes carried a strange glimmer, like a will-o'-the-wisp in the dark, late night, swaying silently and gently.
He stroked his staff with his pale, wrinkled palms, producing a hair-raising rustling sound, like that made by a snake slithering through crisp leaves.
The tall lady sat far away with a smile on her face. Those unfamiliar with her watery eyes would think that her face was filled with sensuality and passion. But it could be seen from her slightly tensed body, in a position that made it easy to stand up, that she was afraid of the old man.
The old man had this might.
He had been well-known for a few decades, and even in comparison to the Venerable Volcano, he wasn’t inferior in any respect. His name wasn’t prominent among ordinary people and many were unaware of what he knew. In the dark world, however, he was a strong figure known to everybody.
Northern Underworld King, Mister Dou.
No one knew what his real name was, but everything he did would shake heaven and earth.
Before the city expansion order, Masters weren’t receiving as good a treatment. Every rich and powerful family looked after a few of them, but many Masters were unwilling to attach themselves to those families. They were unyielding and untamed. Coupled with their tyrannical abilities, any slight disagreement would have them drawing their knives out. At that time, quite a number of Masters blended into the underworld as assassins, robbers and so on.
But most of them kept a low-profile. Naturally prideful, they seldom attacked, a reason why they weren’t very famous among the ordinary crowd.
But the aristocratic families during that time did suffer under their hands.
The tall lady’s background wasn’t ordinary either. Her nickname was "Autumn Water". The Assembly of Patriarchs had been expanding at an alarming rate over the past two years and had recruited a bunch of valiant elites, the twelve brilliant and well-known Patriarchs.
Patriarch was a position filled only by the most outstanding elite. Being a Master was a prerequisite.
Autumn Water was the Ninth Patriarch.
The Patriarchs were only engaged for the most important missions.
This was one of the reasons why Mister Dou was willing to cooperate. He could tell that the Assembly of Patriarchs was determined to win.
Mister Dou said, " I heard that your Assembly of Patriarchs isn’t doing too well recently. Madam Ye isn’t going to leave the matter at that. How many Patriarchs are dead?"
His voice was hoarse and sounded like the chafing of leather. It was a voice that made people instinctively feel uncomfortable.
Autumn Water did not mind. "Three. Widow Ye is destroying the bridge after she crosses the river. Women are selfish."
She spoke as if the death of the Patriarchs was of no relevance to her.
Mister Dou’d thought that she would have masked this matter, since it was a piece of news that he’d spent a decent amount of effort in obtaining. Her casual acknowledgement of it made him think.
He tried to sound things out a few times. "Then does your side still have the capability to finish this business?"
Autumn Water laughed lightly. "There’s one more Patriarch who will arrive within three days so don’t worry."
Mister Dou pulled his mouth before saying dully, "So we’re just going to wait like this?"
He was feeling rather anxious.
The longer things dragged on, the further the news about snow lava would spread and the greater the number of eyes would be fixed on this gold mine, increasing their competition. This was also why he wanted the battle to take place in Clearwater City and not during Ai Hui and gang’s return journey.
No one knew where their city was or which path they would take to return. It was the Wilderness after all, and if Ai Hui went straight for the deepest part of the Wilderness, should they make chase or not?
Placing hopes on their return journey would yield unpredictable results. All sorts of accidents could occur. It wasn’t a wise choice.
He felt apprehensive about Ai Hui’s skills. Together with Shi Xueman, a bigger trouble ensued.
Autumn Water replied confidently, "Relax, we have people in the mayor’s residence. No movement can escape our eyes. Ai Hui is still recuperating. He’s pretty badly injured but I suggest that we don’t deal with him."
Mr Dou asked faintly, "Then who?"
Autumn Water laughed softly. "That little girl in the Gong Residence."
Mister Dou laughed coldly. "There’s Venerable Volcano beside her. Plus, provoking the Gong Residence will cause no end of trouble."
Autumn Water was rather surprised. "Don’t tell me you’re still afraid of the Gong Residence? You shouldn’t be. To think that you used to look upon these rich aristocratic families as if they were swines and sheep, slaughtering them as you please. How thrilling."
"Not worthwhile." Mister Dou kept a calm expression, as if unoffended. "While I would like to fish up a sum, causing a feud with the Gong family is simply too big a price to pay."
Declining to comment, Autumn Water said instead, "If Ai Hui doesn’t come out, what are you going to do? It’s better to make a move on the mayor but Qiao Meiqi and Ai Hui aren’t that close so Ai Hui might not hand over snow lava’s refining method."
Mister Dou kept silent.
Autumn Water wasn’t wrong. Gong Peiyao really was a more suitable target. Shi family and Gong family shared a deep relationship so Shi Xueman would never sit and watch Gong Peiyao falling into danger.
While snow lava brought tremendous profits, he believed that Shi Xueman would choose Gong Peiyao.
But if things were to be done this way, the matter was going to blow up.
Kidnapping Gong Peiyao would mean offending the Gong Residence and forming an unending feud with them. The Gong Residence was one of the three superpowers alongside Madam Ye and New Citizen Faction, so one could well imagine the dire consequences of offending them.
The world now wasn’t like that during the era of the Avalon of Five Elements. Aristocratic families held many advantages but also faced many restrictions. The ways of the current world rendered aristocratic families, like the Gong Residence, worry-free. Many things that weren’t easily done in the past posed no problems today since no one cared.
A worry-free and unrestrained Gong Residence was like a dire beast free from shackles and chains.
Unless it was absolutely essential, he had no wish to provoke such a monster.
But thinking about the profits Snow Lava brought, he couldn’t help but feel tempted.
He spoke up after a long silence, "Wait a bit more. Let’s reassess the situation when your backup gets here."
Autumn Water nodded. "Okay, but we have to delay their transaction time."
Mister Dou replied, "I’ll instruct them."
Qiao Meiqi was under much pressure.
He hadn’t managed to gather all the materials needed to exchange for snow lava. He’d lost his temper more than once, but that brought little results and progress remained slow. Qiao Meiqi was born into a family of merchants and hence was extremely sensitive to efficiency. From information passed to him through various channels, it seemed that someone was obstructing their material collection process.
Qiao Meiqi was having a headache. Who was it?
His first guess was that it was highly likely that the news about snow lava had spread and someone had set his eyes on it. He sent people to investigate, but no news came back thus far.
He suppressed the jitters within his heart and asked Yang Xiaodaong, who was beside him, "Is Ai Hui not out yet?"
Yang Xiaodong shook his head. "Nope. He’s probably got a big gain."
Just then, Gong Peiyao and Venerable Volcano dashed in. They did not look good.
Qiao Meiqi’s heart made a loud thump as he stood up hurriedly. "What happened?"
Gong Peiyao bit her lips. "Great Elder passed away a few days ago."
Qiao Meiqi couldn’t help but cry out in alarm. Not only he but Yang Xiaodong, too, revealed a face of shock.
Even the stupidest person knew that Great Elder’s death meant that the last rope around the cities’ necks was gone. Nevertheless, no one felt happy. Disregarding the Great Elder’s achievements and mistakes, he was still the last leader who was able to guide the masses.
Now that he was no longer around, anything related to him was thoroughly finished.
What did the future hold? No one knew.
Clearwater City was located in such a remote area that this news took several days to arrive. Skyheart City was probably already in a state of chaos by now.
Skyheart City was indeed a mess.
The disturbance started from disputes between diplomatic mission teams from respective cities and things worsened from there.
Flames soared in the night sky as battling noises fell incessantly on the ear.
Fresh blood and blood-filled corpses covered the streets the next morning.
Things were getting increasingly intense. Two small families had been wiped out and only a mess had been left in the houses. The houses had been completely plundered.
It was said that there were evil thieves who infiltrated the diplomatic mission that had no lack of Masters. These people were very crafty and did not face Sky Edge and Infantry divisions head on.
Both combat divisions had just been built and were still relatively weak. Only the division leaders were Masters. They were unable to attend to many things at the same time and did not manage to achieve anything. Eventually, Madam Ye decided to call them back.
All kinds of rumors flew around.
Some said that Madam Ye wanted to get rid of dissidents but couldn’t do it openly so she had to resort to such methods.
Others said that these thieves were had just come from the front line, with over ten roving thieves gathering, and that they had been lusting after Skyheart City, the biggest city, for the longest time.
Citizens in Skyheart City were anxious and aristocratic families dared not dispatch their Masters in fear of having their homes wrecked.
The Great Elder’s mansion was the most luxurious and well-guarded place in Skyheart City. The elites of Sky Edge and Infantry Division were all guarding it and even the two division leaders were keeping watch.
Madam Ye sipped on her tea. "All checked?"
Her subordinate answered respectfully, "All checked. A few Elders are participating in this."
"What about the roving thieves?"
"They’re close by. About sixty miles away from here."
"The news about roving thieves is accurate. Many have gathered and are approaching Skyheart City. The news that Grandmaster An Muda has no power to reverse the situation has also spread. No one can stop them."
Many citizens in the city started packing their things and got ready to flee.
Madam Ye felt rather regretful. "Colluding with both inside and outside? Do they really disapprove of me this much?"
"They’re short-sighted and blinded by greed…"
Madam Ye shook her head and sneered, "I know they’re not. They just don’t believe that I can remedy the situation because I’m a woman! Do they think they’re able to then?"
Yes she found it ridiculous.
Didn’t these people think about who they were going to put on top after taking her down?
They were just a bunch of blockheads who wanted to stop others from obtaining what they weren’t able to.
What disappointed her was the fact that the few Elders who used to support her chose to watch from the sidelines. This was the real reason that made her fall into such passiveness.
No Elder openly supported her.
This being the case, there wouldn’t be any more Elders from now onward.
Her cold eyes flickered but her tone was exceptionally gentle and calm. "Have the three central divisions enter the battlefield and pacify the mutiny."