“Someone died… someone died!”
There was a flurry of commotion from outside the training hall and there was clamorous shouting.
Deng Zi Lin’s breath was already ragged and uneven. There were traces of blood flowing from his arms to his fists. Lin Mu Yu had not even begun his attack, and yet Deng Zi Lin was reeling terribly from the aftershock of Lin Mu Yu’s Iron Rampart Defense. He had to begrudgingly admit respect for the Temple’s top trainer. He was also quite thankful that the commotion outside could allow him to take a breather.
“What happened, who died?” Deng Zi Lin held up his hands.
Lin Mu Yu frowned and reabsorbed his fighting spirit. “I don’t know, should we go take a look?”
There was a body on the floor, resting silently in the middle of the training hall. It was one of the trainers. There was a sword wound on his chest, fresh blood gushing from the open cavity. There was no sign of life in him. Lin Mu Yu staggered at the astonishing sight. It was someone he knew… someone he had just attempted to help not so long ago. Little Beansprout!
Lin Mu Yu pushed the people standing in front of him to the side and forced his way through the crowd. He genuflected beside Little Beansprout’s body. With a shaky hand, he unbuttoned his clothes to inspect the chest. It didn’t look like a normal sword wound… it looked as if the blade of the sword had been thrust in, and then made to cause further damage once it was already inside. It had created a hole the size of a fist. It seemed as if Little Beansprout’s heart had been mangled and twisted.
“Who was it?!”
Lin Mu Yu leapt up, his roar filling the room. His hand was already grasping at the burning sword hilt.
Ou Yang Qiu, with a slender sword in hand, still marred with traces of fresh blood slowly trickling down the side of the blade. He looked insipidly at Lin Mu Yu. “It was me. I was too into the moment during training, and I accidentally killed him. If there’s to be any punishment, I’ll gladly accept it.”
“You killed him on purpose!” Lin Mu Yu said, hitting the nail on the head.
“Really? Do you have proof?” Ou Yang Qiu gave a short laugh. He walked towards the corpse and stood by the head of Little Beansprout, eyeing the lifeless body with the detachment of a medical professional.
The deacon on duty Zeng Fang stepped in. “Cease your arguing. The High Deacon is on his way, he will decide on a course of action.”
After a few minutes, Lei Hong strode into the training hall, his gaze sweeping across Lin Mu Yu, Ou Yang Qiu, and Zeng Fang, before finally landing on the body of Little Beansprout.
“What happened here?”
Ou Yang Qiu genuflected. “High Deacon, during training, I made the mistake of killing one of the copper-star trainers. I’m willing to accept any punishment, I only beg for the forgiveness of the High Deacon for my mistake!”
Lei Hong frowned. “Deacon Ge Yang, how should we resolve this?”
Ge Yang retrieved a thick scroll and unfurled it, quietly reading a part to himself before saying, “Little Beansprout was a copper trainer, was of common descent, yearly salary was 50 golden yin. Ou Yang Qiu is of military rank from the Prefecture of Hou Jue, belongs to Rank 3 Nobility. According to the laws of the empire, manslaughter of a commoner by a noble results in the penalty of paying a fine in the amount of what the commoner could earn in ten years. So according to the law, Ou Yang Qiu, having accidentally killed Little Beansprout, needs to pay the family members an amount of five hundred golden yin.
TLN: Manslaughter - accidental killing ; Homicide - intentional killing)
Lin Mu Yu was rendered temporarily speechless. He shook himself awake. “Wait, Deacon Ge Yang, Ou Yang Qiu obviously committed homicide. You haven’t even inspected the body yet, how can you be so certain that it’s manslaughter?”
Ge Yang said, “Lin Zhi, watch your words. Remember your place. The empire’s law decrees that the death of a commoner by a noble is already of a lesser degree. Don’t tell me that you’re not aware of this?”
Lin Mu Yu clenched his fist, his expression barely containing his smouldering anger. “Killing someone should not go unpunished! Nobles? Commoners? What kind of bullshit law is this?”
Lei Hong fixed him with a steely gaze. “Lin Zhi, shut it. You’re forgetting your place. Go back and train.”
Ge Yang nodded. “Lin Zhi, go back to your room. Say no more!”
Lin Mu Yu’s whole body trembled. In a shaky voice, he said, “Is there even justice left on this world? Are you all blind?! Ou Yang Qiu intentionally killed Little Beansprout. Don’t you understand?”
Lei Hong’s thundering bellow filled the room, striking fear into the hearts of everyone there. A mountainous force descended on Lin Mu Yu without warning, crushing his entire body and forcing him to kneel on the ground. Clenching his teeth through the pain, his entire body pulsing with true energy, Lin Mu Yu stared at Lei Hong with furious defiance as he hissed through his teeth. “Little Beansprout’s death… will be avenged!”
Pa! Pa! Pa!
The bricks under his feet began to crack open from the immense pressure, but Lin Mu Yu held on with a bitter desperation. He felt like his veins and tendons were about to explode, and even the arteries behind his eyes began to burst, under the powerful sphere Lei Hong had placed above him. His left eye began to pool with blood, but he continued to stare at Lei Hong through the red fluid to show his determination and unyielding passion.
“Go back and rest.”
Lei Hong suddenly ceased the pressure. “Remember: there are some matters you have no hand in. There are some rules you cannot question. The empire’s laws are not something you can question.”
Lin Mu Yu’s body trembled, his breath jagged and irregular.
Silver-star trainer Zhang Wei clapped his shoulder. “Foolish boy, hurry and go, before the High Deacon changes his mind.”
Qin Zi Ling chimed in. “Lin Zhi, just go. Little Beansprout’s situation… there will be justice in the end.”
Ou Yang Qiu knelt down, bringing his sword by his side. “High Deacon, I’m willing to assume all responsibility to right my wrongs. I will personally bring five hundred golden yin to Little Beansprout’s parents.”
Lei Hong said, “Instructor Ou Yang, be careful next time during training. I do not wish to encounter this kind of situation again.”
Ou Yang Qiu lifted his head and met Lin Mu Yu’s gaze, and for a split second, Lin Mu Yu spotted a glint in his eye, as if he was feeling very pleased with himself. Evidently, Ou Yang Qiu had killed Little Beansprout to take down Lin Mu Yu a peg or two. How dare he step out of his way to protect Little Beansprout. Ou Yang Qiu had killed him to show who was the person who had the final say in the Temple.
Lin Mu Yu’s insides turmoiled like a ship at stormy sea, anger and unwillingness to admit defeat tumbling together, crashing and clashing as he understood Ou Yang Qiu’s intent. He felt completely powerless, having unintentionally endangering Little Beansprout whom he had meant to protect.
Lin Mu Yu turned on his heels without another word, heading straight to the Secret Chamber to train some more.
Lei Hong looked after the retreating figure and sighed.
At dusk, at the God Marquis Mansion:
Zeng Fang toyed with a slender dagger cast completely from pure gold. The stiffness was not very high. It was definitely not high enough to be used in the battlefield against opponents, so its fate remained as solely something to be admired.
The door creaked open, and a counselor official walked in with a respectful greeting. “Young Marquis, the person has been brought.”
“Bring him in.”
The counselor turned back and called for the person outside. Within seconds, a willowy man with deep-set eyes and high cheekbones walked inside. His eyes were imbued with a shine that inspired terror, and the moment he stepped inside the room, he cupped one hand to a fist. “Zhong Li San greets the Young Marquis!”
“You’re Zhong Li San?” Zeng Fang said. “Rumors say you are the deadliest assassin in the territory of Lanyan City, are these rumors true?”
Zhong Li San lifted his head and laughed, a deadly glint in his gaze. “Shall the Young Master test me?”
Zeng Fang opened a fist, summoning a double-edged sword flying out from the sword rack with a “keng!” into his waiting hand. He gripped the handle and leapt up. “Zhong Li San! Come! Let me see if you are worthy of the privilege of being used by me!”
Zhong Li San chuckled. In a flash, he rushed upwards and from out of nowhere, a sharp sword appeared in his hand. With an elegant flick of his wrist, he aimed a deadly Tri-Flower Sword Attack at Zeng Fang’s neck, chest, and abdomen.
Zeng Fang jolted in surprise, his fighting spirit pouring out. The sword in his hand went flying and he was able to successfully block two of Zhong Li San’s attacks, but the third attack had too swift a speed, and was completely unable to be defended against. He had to quickly condense two gas armor layers to block it.
Zhong Li San’s long blade was encircled by a ring of strong gale, and was actually powerful enough to blow away the gas armor defense of Zeng Fang, allowing the blade to penetrate through the clothing and stopping short of piercing through his abdomen.
The sliver of cold metal that made contact with his skin forced an involuntary shiver up Zeng Fang’s spine and rendered him stationary.
“How dare you, Zhong Li San! You audacious creature! How dare you try to harm even one strand of hair on the Young Marquis’ head!” The counselor barked, “Come, men!”
Zhong Li San calmly retrieved his long blade. “I, Zhong Li San, would never do such a pointless thing. What would I get for killing the Young Master?”
Zeng Fang had already been shook to his core. After finally calming down, with traces of lingering fear, he said, “Zhong Li San, your sword skills are indeed extraordinary. I have never seen a faster sword.”
Zhong Li San chuckled darkly, cupping his fist. “The Young Marquis is too kind. It is not my sword that is swift, it is that the Young Marquis has qualms, and I have none. Zhong Li San is nothing more than a level 62 Sky Master, I am certainly unworthy of comparison to the Young Marquis. If you would be so kind, divulge the reason for summoning me. Is there someone you would like removed?”
Zeng Fang nodded. “I need you to go into the Temple and target a specific person.”
“What? Killing someone within the battlezone that is the Temple?” Despite himself, Zhong Li San was not too happy with the prospect.
“What, scared?” Zeng Fang sneered.
“No,” he replied. “But the remuneration would have to be higher of course. The risks of killing someone inside the Temple is too high. After all, it’s the territory of that old devil Lei Hong. When I’m at ease, it won’t be difficult with my skills. Should I be caught in a tangle, I’m afraid I’m giving my life away the moment I enter the Temple. Who is it that you wish for me to kill?”
“Oh? The recently popular golden-star trainer?”
“Huh. Golden-star aside, he’s Lin Mu Yu, Silver Fir City’s escaped convict.”
“So he’s the Lin Mu Yu who killed four of the Seven Martial Saints!” Zhong Li San roared with laughter. He held up three fingers. “If Young Master can grant me this amount, I guarantee you I’ll have his head in front of you by the next morning.”
“Thirty thousand golden yin?” Zeng Fang asked.
Zhong Li San’s guffaw resonated throughout the room. “The Young Marquis really has a sense of humor. It is not thirty thousand that I’m asking for, rather, I’m asking for three hundred thousand.”
“What?!” Zeng Fang was taken aback. “A mere Lin Mu Yu… how could he be worth that much money?”
Zhong Li San chuckled darkly. “Cangnan Province’s viceroy Hu Tei Ning is willing to pay the bounty of one hundred thousand, and yet no one has been successful in an attempt to capture him. More than half of the Seven Martial Saints are dead, and Lin Mu Yu’s power is ever-rising while he’s training in the Temple. He also has the protection of that old devil Lei Hong. Embarking on this assignment is tantamount to giving up my own life. My request of three hundred thousand is only because I’m uncertain the Young Marquis will be able to provide more than that.”
Zeng Fang stared at him. “Fine. It’s settled.”
Translated by: korezmi
Edited by: patrick_father_of_dragons