# 136. The Truth
Repeatedly jumping from rooftops, Xu Qi'an fled without taking a look back. Fear was still lingering in his heart, this being the first time he had faced a high-ranking powerhouse.
If Daoist Jinlian hadn't sacrificed himself to buy him time, he would have died at that moment, without any opportunity to cast a single spell in his "Spell Book".
Even with Daoist Jinlian's help, most of the spells in the Spell Book would be ineffective to the black-robed man.
Xu Qi'an had never felt that kind of heart-piercing fear before.
"Who is it?"
Two Nightwatchers standing on the roof noticed Xu Qi'an, who was wearing a black uniform. One of them drew his standard issue sabre, while the other took off their bronze gong.
"It's me." Xu Qi'an took off his hood and took out the gold medal.
As of now Xu Qi'an a famous figure in the Nightwatcher Constabulary. In the beginning, two Gold Gongs had competed for him, and then the dispute with Silver Gong Zhu happened.
There wasn't a single person in the Constabulary who didn't know him.
Xu Qi'an took back the gold medal, and then coughed violently a few times, a metallic taste in his throat. He then said, “The mansion of Earl Pingyuan was attacked by an assassin. As I was investigating the case, I was attacked by that assassin.
"The assassin is very dangerous. Don't attack rashly and inform the headquarters first."
*An assassin decided to grace Earl Pingyuan's mansion again..* the two Bronze Gongs looked at each other before they noticed Xu Qi'an's bloody mouth and his trembling arms.
With a serious expression, they took out a brass tube, thick as a baby's forearm from the pouch at their waists, and lightly twisted the tube with their fingers while they ignited its interior with their qi.
A dark red ray of fire shot out into the air, exploding at a high altitude.
After seeing this, Xu Qi'an was relieved, "I'll go back to recuperate first. You two wait for reinforcements here. If you meet someone wearing a black robe, and I don't mean me... remember to flee."
After that, Xu Qi'an saw an orange cat standing on a roof in the distance, pointing a gaze toward him using its dark pupils.
*... The Daoist should have possessed this cat, I knew he would be fine.* After he exhaled yet again, Xu Qi'an jumped to the roof and beyond, with the orange cat continued following behind him at a slow pace.
"Daozhang, I had completely lost my will to fight previously." After they stopped in a quiet alley, Xu Qi'an said, guilt covering his face.
He had believed that Daoist Jinlian, as a LYB, would slip away faster than he ever could in a dangerous situation.
The orange cat spoke, its voice appearing tired, "When an ordinary person encounters a violent beast, they have the instinctive reaction of running away. Also, The gap between you and him is even greater than that between a cat and a violent beast."
*Is it really good for you to make such comparisons, Daozhang...* Xu Qi'an looked at the orange cat.
"If my guess is correct, He should have the item that was sealed under Sangpo." Xu Qi'an said while he took out the Golden Sore Paste and gauze, and bandaged his hands.
As he had taken many pills of great might, the weakness that would occur after *One Blade from Heaven and Earth* had been mitigated, and he didn't have those strong feelings of exhaustion due to exerting his entire strength.
"How could it be possible?" Daoist Jinlian asked, shocked.
"On that day, the Yongzhen Shanhe Temple exploded, and the entirety of the 300 imperial guards patrolling the surrounding area were killed. Their death was the same, as they were also transformed into dried, mummified corpses." Xu Qi'an explained in a solemn voice.
Daoist Jinlian was stunned. After being silent for a moment, he said, "That means that your previous guess was wrong. The one sealed under Sangpo couldn't have been the first Jianzheng."
*... If it was the first Jianzheng, it wouldn't have killed a minor aristocrat. Earl Pingyuan's son was extremely frightened before his death, and seemed to have recognized the black-robed man. It could be that the one who killed the Imperial Army had sneaked into Sangpo and blew up the Yongzhen Shanhe Temple. But this possibility was denied long ago. An expert couldn't have sneaked into Sangpo...* Xu Qi'an sighed.
"I know. I have another vague guess, but it needs to be verified."
The orange cat nodded, and said, "My Yin Spirit has suffered a serious injury, and I could likely fall in rank. So, I need you to do me a favour."
"Please tell me, Master." Xu Qi'an was worried about not being able to repay the grace of saving his life.
"Look for Luo Yuheng[^1] in place of this Daoist, and ask her for a Juyuan pill." the orange cat spoke.
"Luo Yuheng?" Xu Qi'an didn't know any such person.
"The Dao Master of the Human sect. She just about be regarded as this Daoist's junior sister."
*Seems as if you have quite a high seniority in the Earth Sect, Daoist... The esteemed Dao master of the Human Sect is your junior sister... that beautiful mature Daoist Nun...* Xu Qi'an felt a little awkward, "Do you have any token?"
"Just show her your Earth Book fragment." the orange cat showed a wry smile exclusive to humans, "As for getting the pill, that will depend on her mood."
*Depends on her mood?* Xu Qi'an turned lifeless.
"The Human and the Heaven Sect are irreconcilable, like fire and water. But, the relationship between the Earth Sect and the other two sects isn't that tense. But, it couldn't be said to be that good, either." The orange cat explained.
*Your Dao Sects are too weird... You all are in such love-hate relationships...* Xu Qi'an nodded, "I'll give it a try tomorrow."
The orange cat grunted, "I will come to meet you tomorrow."
Jiang Lyuzhong squatted in the yard, his face gloomy. He was holding a small piece of flesh in his hand. The flesh was very dry, like dried jerky that had been ground into powder.
There was also a layer of light brown powder in the ground.
Dozens of bronze gongs were surrounding Earl Pingyuan's mansion, along with seven or eight silver gongs, who were also cooperating in the investigation. When they arrived, Earl Pingyuan's Mansion had already been cleared, and none of the members of the mansion, including the servants, had survived.
Their corpses looked the same, just like jerky that had been dried for years.
Jiang Lyuzhong felt as if ten thousand alpacas were running wildly in his head upon hearing that Earl Pingyuan's son had been killed.
"Gold Gong Jiang, We found a survivor in the room." A silver gong came out of the room and loudly said.
His face still sullen, Jiang Lyuzhong crossed the threshold to enter the room. He swept his eyes and finally locked on to the woman holding a quilt that covered her white fragrant shoulders, a terrified expression on her face.
Her countenance looked quite beautiful, and her attitude seemed frivolous. She was looking at the Nightwatchers, her eyes filled with fear.
"Who are you?" Jiang Lyuzhong asked.
"I... I am Earl Pingyuan's concubine." The woman said, trembling.
"What did you hear and see?" Jiang Lyuzhong asked yet again.
The woman had already learned of the case from the silver gong who had woken her up. That was why she was so anxious. She was worrying about her fate while rejoicing at avoiding death.
The woman shook her head, and obediently said, "I was having fun with Dalang at that time, and fell asleep afterward..."
Jiang Lyuzhong took another look at her. It was a common practice to inherit one's father's concubines. In the current era, dignitaries often took young concubines, and they had a large age gap with them. Once the father died, these concubines had two choices. They could either work as maids or attach to the new heir.
Of course, this kind of action would be reprimanded if made public.
But, no one normally took these things seriously and didn't bother to take care of them.
"Let her put on her clothes and take her back to the Nightwatchers Constabulary." After he finished speaking, Jiang Lyuzhong walked out of the room.
"Gold Gong Jiang, the body of Earl Pingyuan's son couldn't be found.", A Silver Gong reported.
Taking another glance at the brown powder in the yard, a complex expression appeared in Jiang Lyuzhong's eyes, "You don't have to look for it."
"Sir, There's something wrong here on the window."
Hearing it, Jiang Lyuzhong went to the window facing the bedroom, where he saw two holes pierced in the window paper that allowed people to look into the bedroom.
Looking down, He saw two lines of shallow foot marks on the ground.
"Other people were present at that time besides the murderer..." Jiang Lyuzhong thought over it for some time before asking, "Who was the first one to discover the abnormality in Earl Pingyuan's residence?"
"The two bronze gongs on duty at that time."
"Call them over."
Soon after, two bronze gongs were brought over to him.
Jiang Lyuzhong asked, "Were there any suspicious people nearby when you found out about the situation?"
The two Bronze Gong looked at each other, answering, "We didn't discover any suspicious person. But, the abnormality wasn't discovered by us in the first place."
Jiang Lyuzhong was taken aback, and quickly asked "If you didn't discover it, Who did?"
"Bronze Gong Xu Qi'an."
*Xu Qi'an...* a spark flashed in Jiang Lyuzhong's eyes.
After he returned to his small courtyard, Xu Qi'an fell asleep before he could take off his clothes, and woke up naturally after three hours. Then, he sat cross-legged in meditation as he breathed and circulated qi.
After finishing two microcosmic orbits, he opened his eyes, his spirit refreshed. Except for his face, which was slightly pale, he was in good condition in all other aspects.
Leaving the small courtyard, he rode straight ahead to the city gates.
Half an hour remained until the time the city gate opened. However, there wasn't a curfew in the outer city, and the restrictions at the gate were similarly loose. With his gold token, Xu Qi'an was able to order the soldiers guarding the city to open the gate.
In less than an hour, he reached Qinglong Temple. At the time, the monks were just getting up for morning classes, and the morning bell was echoing leisurely.
After tying up the horse and climbing the stone steps to Qinglong Temple, Xu Qi'an heard some unexpected news.
"Abbot Panshu went to the Western Regions?"
He was speaking with that mellow Courtyard Master Hengqing, who maintained a blank expression on his face, "After the benefactor left that day, the abbot left. This poor monk doesn't know of why he left."
*How big a psychological shadow did I leave on you?* Xu Qi'an grinned.
Abbot Panshu had said that the duty of Qinglong Temple was to keep an eye on the item sealed under Sangpo. Also, he had revealed his intentions to move west that day.
*I don't know if the monk will receive a monkey as an apprentice on the way. It will be very interesting if he does. Hehe.*[^2]
"I have something to trouble master with." Xu Qi'an said, his tone friendly.
Courtyard Master Hengqing drew a wary gaze toward him.
"I want to see a portrait of Henghui. If there are none in the temple, please find someone to draw it immediately." Xu Qi'an made his request.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Hengqing had him wait a moment.
After the time taken to drink a cup of tea, He came out, holding a scroll that was then handed over to Xu Qi'an.
The latter took the scroll and unfolded it slowly. The picture scroll depicted a monk wearing a blue robe. His facial features were handsome and he had an energetic countenance. A very handsome person.
*It is him...* Xu Qi'an confirmed that the black-robed man was Monk Henghui.
Although his temperament had encountered a drastic change, his facial features remained the same.
Henghui of the Qinglong Temple may be involved in the Sangpo case. However, Number Six, Hengyuan, had sworn that his junior brother had been abducted by the Trafficking Organization.
Thinking of the conversation between Earl Pingyuan's son and the black-robed man last night, Xu Qi'an thought of a guess, and he couldn't wait to verify it.
If not for his poor condition last night and his urgent need for rest, he would have left the city overnight.
“He's actually Henghui. If it's really Henghui... What connection does he have with the item sealed under Sangpo?
“This way, It couldn't be the first Jianzheng. No wonder the Jianzheng wasn't in a hurry, and even pretended to be sick.
“But, What could it be if not the first Jianzheng? The only possibility I can see is that the sealed item is with Henghui.
"It is impossible for a mere monk to plan this kind of case. There should be someone masterminding the situation. Maybe King Zhenbei?"
Xu Qi'an left the Qinglong with a greater amount of doubts in his head.
He went back to the capital, back to the Nightwatcher Constabulary, to the Tower of Noble Spirit. He had a clear goal: he wanted to tell Wei Yuan the truth.
[^2]: Sun Wukong and Tang Sanzang in *Journey to the West*. Tang Sanzang is a monk from the East moving to the West to acquire the holy scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism. On the way, he receives four apprentices, one being an infamous immortal monkey god, Sun Wukong.