# 123. Forces involved in the Sangpo Case
The second princess lived in Shaoyin[^1] Palace, which had a spacious and elegant garden.
The chief guard led Xu Qi'an across the large threshold, and around the screen wall, bringing him in front of a courtyard bursting with colour and scenery like the innocent mind of a young girl.
Swings were hanging from the vine racks, tattered clay dolls were piled up in the corner, and various strange things were piled up on the east side of the courtyard.
On the edge of the garden, the second princess Lin'an was kicking around an embroidered ball along with a few maidservants. The women's chattering sound was sometimes mixed with the silver bell like laughter of Princess Lin'an.
"Your Highness. I've brought Xu Qi'an here." The chief guard clasped his fists and said out loud.
The second princess stepped on the embroidered ball and turned around to take a look. She stared at Xu Qi'an for a few seconds, before the corners of her mouth raised slightly, and she kicked the embroidered ball away.
The embroidered ball flew out, and ripples appeared in Princess Lin'an's skirt, making it look like a flower in bloom.
Xu Qi'an, who had met with a demonstration of authority upon meeting, was terrified. He was about to dodge when he found the embroidered ball miss its target and “peng peng” bounced into the distance.
"... I’ll spare you this time" The second princess tried her best to claw back her honour, walking toward the front hall, and said, "Xu Qi'an, you come inside with me. Everyone else wait outside."
In the luxurious and grand front hall, the second princess sat on the large chair, while Xu Qi'an stood in the middle of the hall. The two gave each other a silent look.
Using her status as a Princess, the second princess attempted to subdue Xu Qi'an by using her gaze.
She knew that Huaiqing had raised an eagle for a while when she was young. Eagle eyes were the sharpest, like knives. So, ordinary people couldn't look at it for a long time. Due to this, When raising an eagle, she had to use a sharper and calmer gaze to suppress it.
Once the Eagle Owner looks away, they lose the qualification to be an Eagle Owner.
The purpose of Huaiqing in raising an eagle was to sharpen her eyes. Even until today, the second princess could not stare at Huaiqing for a long time.
But, Her watery peach-like eyes weren't that sharp. So, when she stared at others, she instead ignited their passion to talk.
Xu Qi'an observed the second princess. She had a round face, somewhat similar to Chu Caiwei's face in shape. But, the latter was sweet and restrained, with eyes that seemed to belong to an anime.
The second princess had the beauty of a young imperial sister, with peach-like eyes that attracted affection.
"Xu Qi'an, I had heard that you were Huaiqing's loyal dog." Finding that her fierce gaze couldn't subdue Xu Qi'an, she sneered and tried to attack with words.
"Yes. You can call me Hachi.[^2]" Xu Qi'an said, earnestly.
"It's a loyal dog."
"Are you joking with me?" Princess Lin'an raised her eyebrows.
"I don't dare." Xu Qi'an said, in a tone that was neither humble nor arrogant.
Princess Lin'an snorted in a lovable way, and then said, "I'm giving you a chance. Immediately join me and leave that woman Huaiqing. Otherwise..."
*Join you? I have hugged the eldest princess's jade leg and Wei Yuan's thigh by now. If I turn to your side again... Won't I become a slave of three surnames?*[^3]
Xu Qi'an shook his head, "I'm sorry. I have already sworn to give my all for the eldest princess."
The second princess immediately said, "So What? I also want you to serve me like an ox."
*Will you give me grass, then?* Xu Qi'an understood the situation. *The second princess should have seen me being appreciated by the eldest princess, that I was the eldest princess's henchman, She should have also seen my handsomeness, my talent in writing poetry, and my speaking nicely. So, she must have become jealous and wanted to steal me away from the eldest princess.*
"Second Princess, Don't make things difficult for me." Xu Qi'an sternly refused. People must have a contractual spirit. Since he had promised to give his all to the princess, he could no longer work for others.
"If you don't want to do so," The second princess opened her eyes wide open, sneered, and threatened, "I'll yell 'Indecent' right now, and tell the guards that you were trying to molest me."
"I'm willing to do my best for the second princess, and serve her as an ox would." Xu Qi'an said, earnestly.
The second princess immediately became joyful, "The person who understands current affairs is a hero. You are a talent... Well, From now on, you will come here to meet me and take my orders after noon every day."
"Your Highness, I am tasked to investigate the Sangpo case." Xu Qi'an sighed.
"...that’s true." Princess Lin'an thought for a while, "Let's forget about tomorrow. When I want to order you, you will come to meet me."
Xu Qi'an understood that this woman was just messing around. She didn't want him to do anything. She was just trying to find fault with the eldest princess.
The threat before wasn't lethal as well. Exchanging a princess's reputation for a bronze gong's life, This was just losing blood.
Precisely, as he understood it, he changed his attitude and agreed with the second princess. He treated it casually as playing with a child.
"You should go back." The second princess was very cheerful because things were going on according to her expectations.
"Wait!" The second princess called out to him, took off the jade pendant on her waist, and said, "This is my keepsake. You can use it to enter the palace. The guards won't stop you. But, You can only go to this palace, not any other palace."
*...This Generous? You’re a right brick aren’t you?* Xu Qi'an's eyes lit up as he took the jade pendant and put it in his robe "From now on, I will do my best and serve your highness wholeheartedly."
Xu Qi'an, the slave of three Surnames, left the imperial city before dusk and rode his horse back to the Nightwatcher Constabulary.
Work hours were over, and only the Nightwatchers and Petty officials on duty were left, causing the office to be much calmer and quieter than in the daytime.
Just as Xu Qi'an entered the Constabulary, a Gold Gong with a high nose and a broad forehead walked towards him. The Gold Gong was Zhu Chengzhu's father, Zhu Yang.
When the two enemies met, there was no battle. They just sullenly looked at each other.
"Gold Gong Zhu, How's young master's injury?" Xu Qi'an smiled, as he took out his gold token and tied it around his waist, confidently.
Zhu Yang glanced at the gold token, and said calmly, "He's lucky and barely scraped by. I'm afraid Master Xu will have to go first."
Xu Qi'an waved his hand and smiled kindly, "I'll wait for him on the road to get acquainted."
Zhu Yang stared at him for a few seconds, then nodded, "Investigate the case carefully."
"Well met, Gold Gong Zhu."
As he walked towards the side hall of Spring Breeze Hall, he discovered that the bronze gongs under Li Yuchun and several bailiffs from the prefecture constabulary were still there.
Upon hearing the footsteps, Li Yuchun came out from the Spring Breeze Hall, and said, "We have some clues about the death of County Magistrate Zhao. Um, It may not be the work of the Dao Sect."
Xu Qi'an nodded. He didn't enter the side hall but followed Li Yuchun to the Spring Breeze Hall.
"This afternoon, Prefecture Governor Chen invited some white cloaks from the Sitianjian to interrogate the jailers and wardens on duty that night. They confirmed that there wasn't anything wrong with them. It was also confirmed that County Magistrate Zhao did die in the morning without sound in the prison."
Li Yuchun poured a cup of tea for Xu Qi'an, both his subordinate and superior, and continued, "The Daoist Yin spirits could indeed do this, and they can also bypass the wardens and jailers silently. But, after checking the information, I found that another system can do the same."
Xu Qi'an took a sip of tea and listened patiently.
"The warlocks!" Li Yuchun said.
"Have you heard of the Church of the Warlock God?"
"I had heard you say, boss, that Warlock God was a beyond-rank. Was the Church of the Warlock God established by the Warlock God?"
Li Yuchun said, "Yes, the Warlock God is the god commonly believed in by all the countries in the northeast, and the Church of the Warlock God also has supreme power in the northeast, just like Buddhism in the West."
Monarchy was followed in the Great Feng. The same holds for the Northern tribes as well.
But, theocracy was followed in the Western Regions and the Northeast, with the Churches being the masters.
"Are Warlocks as advanced as the Dao Sect in the field of the primordial spirit?" Xu Qi'an inquired.
"No. No system can compare with the Dao Sect in Primordial Spirit." Li Yuchun shook his head and said, "But, fourth-rank warlocks are called Warlock of Dreams, who can weave dreams and kill people in their sleep."
"Seventy years ago, a war had occurred between the Northern Yao and the Church of the Warlock God due to territorial disputes. According to the information sent back by the spies from the Nightwatchers, a group of 2,000 Yao soldiers died silently in the barracks. They didn't have any wounds on their bodies. They all went to sleep, but never woke up again."
*Rank four Warlock... Why are the Warlocks involved now... This case is too complex.*
*The Human Sect of Daoism is currently the State religion of Great Feng, and their Sect Master is the National Teacher. That's already the highest status they could have. What benefit could they gain by helping King Zhenbei to usurp the throne?*
*They couldn't upgrade anymore, they had already hit the level cap.*
*Therefore, It's more likely that the Church of the Warlock God was involved. If County Magistrate Zhao was killed by a Warlock of Dreams, then the forces behind the Sangpo case would be The mastermind behind the scenes (King Zhenbei), The Northern Yao, and the Church of the Warlock God in the Northeast.*
Xu Qi'an took a sip of tea, unable to hide the exhaustion in his eyes.
“We gained something, at the very least. We can rule out the Human Sect as a culprit, and the case has made some progress.
"Boss, Report this to Duke Wei."
Li Yuchun nodded, with worry covering his entire face, "I’ve always felt that the end of the Gengzi year is the beginning of great chaos."
"Let's just solve the case. We don't have to drink contraband oil and worry about the country and community." Xu Qi'an patted him on the shoulder, after which he left the Constabulary.
The darkness had set by the time he had returned home. He had remained hungry all day, and his stomach was rumbling. After eating the food warmed up by the cook and the milk offered by little sister Lingyue, he returned to the small courtyard and fell asleep.
On the third day, Xu Qi'an rode to the yamen at the brink of dawn, and happened to meet Chu Caiwei, who was wearing a light yellow dress, and riding a horse across the street, trotting over.
She held the rein in one hand and held an oil paper bag between her arms using the other, revealing half a steamed bun, which was trying hard to jump out following the bumps of the horse.
"Do you want to eat it?" Chu Caiwei generously handed over a steamed stuffed bun to him, and continued, "It's meat."
Xu Qi'an felt the emotion he felt when learning that Xu Lingyin only drank a bowl of porridge because of worrying about him. *This foodie treats me as one of her own.*
Xu Qi'an took the bun and put it in his mouth while throwing the reins to the petty official at the door.
Walking inside while eating, he asked, "Any clues?"
Chu Caiwei said, "I asked Senior Brother Song Qing. He said that the Magical Treasures capable of blocking the Qi Watching Technique, outside the Sitianjian and the palace, could only be in Buddhism. Well, .ot a Buddhist Temple for mortals. Qinglong Temple."
*The inheritor of that Baota Temple..." Xu Qi'an was surprised, but not that surprised.*
*As I thought, Buddhism is inseparable from the Sangpo case.*
*The Sitianjian, The royal family, the Church of the Warlock God, The Northern Yao, the Zhenbei King, the Buddhist Sect... so many forces involved in this small Sangpo Case.*
[^1]: 韶音 “beautiful tone”
[^2]: Hachi: A Dog's Tale. A Tearjerker
[^3]: Lu Bu, famous for killing adoptive fathers and joining their enemy