# 114. Simultaneous Deal-Hunting Only a few seconds after this message was sent out, the first to reply was Two: 【TWO: Has Emperor Yuanjing been assassinated?】 *… no, what’s wrong with you brother, on and on about when Emperor Yuanjing will die. Has he eaten your rice or stolen your silver?* In his mind, Xu Qi’an applied the label “fenqing” to Two. An ancient era version of “fenqing”.[^1] 【NINE: Yesterday the inner and outer city gates were sealed, forbidding commoners from entering or leaving. I figured something had happened.】 Jinlian Daozhang was still hiding in the capital, silently healing his wounds. Xu Qi’an had just half-completed his reply, when the lurking One actually beat him to the punch in showing off, throwing out a sentence that made everyone in the Earth Book Group Chat speechless: 【ONE: Sangpo has been blown up. Yongzhen Shanhe Temple has been destroyed, and the thing that was sealed underneath Sangpo Lake has escaped. Its whereabouts are unknown.】 Such an explosive message, was met with complete silence. The Earth Book chat group fell into a three minute long silence. No one spoke, no one expressed their shock. 【TWO: What did you say? Sangpo Lake has been blown up? Yongzhen Shanhe Temple has been destroyed? ONE, you’re not messing with us?】 It was reasonable for Two to have such a reaction; this was comparable to Emperor Yuanjing being killed by a common man who had broken into the palace. It was the same level of unbelievable. It was like a group of eunuchs in discussion, a fantastic load of BS. Four was in a similar level of disbelief. He understood what type of place Sangpo Lake was more than Two, and knew how heavily guarded it was. But One was not the type to shoot at random. 【FOUR: THREE, was this what you wanted to talk about?】 【THREE: Yes. Sangpo was destroyed. The location of whatever was under Yongzhen Shanhe Temple is unknown.】 With Three’s backing, no matter how much disbelief they were in, there were no two ways about it. One and Three were both in the capital, and knew best what happened there. 【NINE: Unbelievable news indeed. Are there any relevant leads, ONE?】 *Interesting, Jinlian Daozhang didn’t ask me as a Nightwatcher, rather directly asking ONE. Is this to say, that he thought that for this kind of high-level secret, the chance that ONE knew something relevant was higher than me?* *But given this, that’s got to be too callous… is it deliberate? Or is it because the impact of Sangpo exploding was too large, making his thoughts not careful enough.* 【ONE: This case was given to the Nightwatchers Constabulary, the Ministry of Law, and the Capital Prefecture to investigate simultaneously. I do not know of the details.】 Everyone in the Earth Book Group Chat could not hide their disappointment. Even One, whose status in court was incredibly high, didn’t know of detailed information, then Three definitely wouldn’t know anything. 【THREE: That’s convenient, from relevant sources, our Academy does know a few secrets. A rough overview of the case progress as of now.】 *THREE knew?* *THREE knew!?* *He had just said, that it was from sources that the Academy had. It seems that the Cloud Deer Academy has quite a few insiders in the various constabularies around the capital.* Seeing Three say this, even Five, who usually didn’t care for the goings on inside the Great Feng’s capital, came to eat popcorn. 【FIVE: THREE, your Academy’s tendrils are deep, things that even ONE doesn’t know, the Academy knows about. Saying this, what position are you in the Academy really?】 Could a normal student really know such important secrets? 【THREE: I naturally have my methods.】 Xu Qi’an didn’t explain; the importance of leaving things blank was that the more clever a person was, the more likely they were to thin too much. They will doubt Number Three’s status as a regular student, but also doubt that Three might have some other identity. Lacking evidence, the more they thought the messier their thoughts would become. *Mn, ONE is a problem, he (she) wasn’t so easy to lead astray. No matter, I don’t have any issues with ONE for now. Furthermore, I’m more and more sure of his (her) status — at least I can lock it down to a specific range.* 【THREE: Then, what will you use to exchange for my information?】 Seeing this, everyone had a strange feeling. They thought that unknowingly, they started owing more and more. *If THREE were to do business, he would definitely be a successful businessman…* Number Four sighed internally, and replied 【FOUR: Recently I have just been focusing on cultivation, and have not anything of value to exchange. I’ll owe you for now.】 【TWO: I’m busy clearing out bandits. Mn, when I figure out the different camps behind the various powers in Yunzhou, I’ll be able to repay THREE.】 As they typed, Two felt a strange sense of sourness for themselves. 【FIVE: Recently I’ve come across some important information, but this information would reveal my identity.】 【FOUR: Heh, you’re from the Southern Marches, right.】 【ONE: Probably an aristocrat from the shaman clans.】 【TWO: And one that likes fighting.】 【FIVE: You… you all know?】 *Is this not obvious? You have such a good grasp of the Wanyao Kingdom’s history, and constantly call yourself “your auntie”, and you yourself revealed before that your dad’s social standing is very high!* *FIVE seems to not be the brightest bulb in the box… seems to be on the same level as my Miss Caiwei…* Xu Qi’an judged. He renewed his judgement of the people in the Earth Book Group Chat: One has a high standing in the inner circles of court, and was a chronic lurker. Two was the number one fenqing, but was very clever. That day it was him (her) who had tested himself and One during the ancestor worship ceremony. Four had a good relationship with the sect leader of the Human Sect, and was originally an official. Now, he travels across the land. Five was a woman, of the Shaman clans of the Southern Marches, not the brightest bulb in the box. Six was wise but rash individual, with very high cultivation. Seven had ran, their Earth Book fragment was in the possession of Two. Two and Seven’s relation was very special. Eight was in life-or-death trials, and had been under for a long time. Nine was the founder of the Heaven and Earth Society, Jinlian Daozhang, a LYB. Five was silent for a long while, before talking again: 【FIVE: Fine, Auntie is from the southern Shaman clans, I’ll be frank with you. I have important information that I want to share. THREE, I’ll use this to exchange for your Sangpo Case.】 【NINE: FIVE, this poor Daoist’s injuries are not yet healed. If you want to speak, then first make sure everyone agrees to owe you a piece of information, or its equivalent in silver.】 Everyone in the Heaven and Earth Society fell silent, implying that they agreed to owe Five information of their own. 【FIVE: The Gu God[^2] has begun re-awakening.】 *The Gu God? A beyond-rank existence, the creator of the shaman path?* Xu Qi’an was shocked. Even though from his freeloading of information inside the Heaven and Earth Society, he had learned a bit about how these “deities” could still exist; But he still thought that was a bit far-fetched. The Earth Book Group Chat had no more messages for a long time. It seemed that the shock this message brought to everyone was not less than Sangpo Lake being blown up. 【FIVE: Yesterday, from the abyss came out a wisp of the Gu God’s aura. The low level Gu insects that were kept in our village all exploded, whilst the high level Gu went mad, and started attacking our people. Auntie’s vital Gu[^3] also nearly lost control. Dad said, that after several thousand years, the Gu God has finally started re-awakening, but this isn’t any good news.】 【TWO: Not good news?】 【FIVE: Mhm, the Gu God is the origin of chaos. Consumption and reproduction is seared into its most primal consciousness. If it were to reawaken, then every living creature in the Southern Marches would reproduce, or be consumed by it. It will turn the entire Jiuzhou into a world of only Gu! Thus, us shaman clans are currently gathering our masters, and in a few days they will enter the Abyss, and find out the situation.】 *Fuck me,* this *is a thing? The Gu God is this kind of creature?* Xu Qi’an took a fright; definitely not because his mind added some tentacles, some Silver Surfer type things, rather because he was really stunned by the unhallowed nature of the Gu God yes! Xu Qi’an desperately wanted to know more about the Gu God, but no one else asked. 【NINE: This is indeed shocking information.】 【THREE: Daozhang, has the Gu God been sleeping because it had been sealed?】 Xu Qi’an decided to ask for more information in a roundabout way. 【NINE: I don’t know. The existence of the Gu God is far too ancient. Before humans had learned to write, it had existed. You can ask FIVE, but, just the information that the Gu God is reawakening, may be somewhat above the value of your Sangpo Case.】 *Above the value of my Sangpo Case?* Xu Qi’an was unconvinced. 【FIVE: Haha, THREE, if you want to know more about the Gu God, you can make a deal with me.】 【THREE: What do you want?】 【FIVE: My brother hasn’t married yet. I heard that your Great Feng’s Zhenbei King Consort is the number one beauty in the world, I want her to be my sister in law.】 *You’re talking out your arse… if I could do this wouldn’t it be better for me to have her alone, why should I give this beauty to your brother…* Xu Qi’an replied 【THREE: A consort isn’t enough, the eldest princess is also a legendary beauty, along with the Great Feng’s national teacher. I’ll give you three for the price of one.】 【FIVE: Sure yeah!】 【ONE: If it’s just this rubbish, then I’ll go to rest. Please may the two of you hold your tongues.】 One jumped out to interrupt the conversation. Five did not continue messing around, because she also wanted to know the details behind the Sangpo Lake Case, writing: 【FIVE: All I know is that the Gu God is the origin of the shaman path, is the origin of all Gu in the world.】 Seeing that Five had finished, Xu Qi’an searched around for some words, and started to share what he knew about the Sangpo Case. 【THREE: Under Sangpo Lake is sealed something, perhaps having to do with the Yao people. Currently, the officials of the Great Feng have initially confirmed that the power behind the Sangpo Lake explosion is likely to be the Yao. But they don’t know if it’s the northern clans, or the Wanyao Kingdom remanants.】 Xu Qi’an was not afraid that this information would make people guess at his identity. Because at the time there were lots of people in the conference hall. The Ministry of Law, the Prefecture Office, and the Nightwatchers were all present. The Cloud Deer Academy’s source was not necessarily the Nightwatchers. *Yao?* *How has this involved the Yao? Why did the Yao blow up the thing sealed under Sangpo Lake?* Everyone in the Heaven and Earth Society had a head full of fog. However, they did realise one thing, and that was what ever was behind the Sangpo Lake explosion was not anything simple. If they wanted to uncover this, then they’d probably have to figure out what on earth was sealed there. 【ONE: Impossible, the guard around Sangpo Lake is tight. Even a high-rank master would not be able to infiltrate in. How did the Yao blow up Sangpo Lake? Where did the gunpowder come from?】 【THREE: This, the court has already figured out. A saltpetre mine was discovered on the Great Yellow Mountain in Taikang County, but it was already depleted. The ones who harvested it were the Yao. ONE, your avenues of information aren’t enough. Furthermore, the spy who communicated with them were also discovered. He is Baihu Zhou Chixiong of the Jinwu guard, however he and his family have fled.】 【ONE: Then this lead is broken.】 【THREE: Heh, not necessarily. Not long later, the court will definitely send out a wanted notice. Zhou Chixiong would either have to leave the Great Feng, or hide somewhere same. Where do you think he would hide?】 Two immeidately responded: 【That doesn’t need thinking, it’s Yunzhou.】 No one knew more about the situation in Yunzhou than him (her). At this point, Xu Qi’an’s goal had been reached. He had wanted to use this topic, to ask Two to help him keep an eye on Yunzhou, and see if they were able to catch this Baihu Zhou. But according to his persona, he shouldn’t really care much for a fugitive. Because he was a patriot? This was hardly an excuse. 【ONE: TWO, you have some influence in Yunzhou, can you help me look out for this Zhou Chixiong?】 *Nicely done…* Xu Qi’an felt excited. *In One’s heart, Two seems to be more effective than the local government?* 【TWO: I refuse.】 【ONE: I will give payment.】 【TWO: No, I refuse to help you!】 One did not say anything more, and the Earth Book Group Chat fell into a short silence. *ONE and TWO seem to not be on good terms… no one else tried to help… perhaps before I joined the two of them had some sort of argument?* *Mn, this won’t do. If TWO doesn’t help, with how big Yunzhou is, how could we pull out Zhou Chixiong?* *I need to come out. With this I’ll be owed a favour from ONE, and can redeem the favour TWO owes me.* *Profit!* Xu Qi’an wrote: 【Two, could you help me look out for Zhou Chixiong. I’ll take this as being for the favour you owed last time. As for ONE, my apologies, you owe me another one. What do the two of you think?】 --- Translator’s note: If you see a lot of him (her) type words, that’s how they are represented in the original text. [^1]: 愤青 “fenqing” (lit. Angry Youth) is a slang term usually to refer to highly nationalistic and far left wing young people (in China), extended to mean the type of people who “like expressing politics online”, y’know the types. Basically twitter people. [^2]: 蛊神 Gushen, Gu God, for Reverend Insanity readers it’s the same Gu. For non RI-readers, Gu mean (venemous) insect(s), and generally refer in xianxia to *shaman*ic magic that uses insects or similar as its basis. [^3]: Aka Life-bound Gu, a Gu insect that is inextricably bound to its master.