# 141. Dispirited Gold Gongs
The shockwave spread out fast, its ripples dragging along dust and gravel as it reached the houses nearby, as many living things were silently wiped from existence.
Soon after hearing the sound of the explosion, the four Gold Gongs each adopted different methods to defend themselves, as they utilized the force of the explosion to move outside. They didn't dare to stay at the centre of the explosion.
After everything had calmed down, and the black-robed man had also disappeared, the four Gold Gongs finally breathed a sigh of relief. But, that relief didn't last long, instantly transforming into rage.
"What's the background of that guy? Specifically, I want to know about that arm." The white-robed Arcanist suddenly appeared, his back facing the Gold Gongs.
"That arm?" The sword-wielding Gold Gong asked him back.
"According to my observations, that arm doesn't belong to him. I didn't observe that fearful demonic qi anywhere else." The white-robed Arcanist said.
Jiang Lyuzhong stared at the back of the white-robed Arcanist, "Do you have eyes on your back, Yang Qianhuan?"[^1]
The white-robed Arcanist, Yang Qianhuan, answered, "I took a look at him before he left."
"..." Helplessly, Jiang Lyuzhong said, "Can't you turn around and talk like a normal person? You weren't like this before."
“Let me refuse you. I, Yang, do what I want, without caring for anybody else's opinion.
“I have carefully observed my teacher and Wei Yuan. Haven't you noticed that one of them always stands in the observation hall with his back facing you, and the other likes to sit in the Bagua Platform with his back facing you?
"So, We will feel as if Wei Yuan and the teacher are superior to us."
... Words stuck in the four Gold Gong's throats, but they just couldn't spit them out.
Jiang Lyuzhong shook his head and redirected the conversation back to the topic, "According to our investigation, that hand is the item sealed below Sangpo."
*The item sealed below Sangpo...* Yang Qianhuan frowned. He had just returned to the capital the previous day. He had come here on behalf of the Sitianjian to help in the capture of a lunatic.
He had heard that the Yongzhen Shanhe Temple had been bombed a while ago. But, he didn't pay much attention to it. As it is known, as long as an Arcanist has a Pharmacy and an Alchemy Laboratory, and timely meal delivery, they could stay in their house for decades.
"That monk is probably Henghui." The sword-wielding Gold Gong said.
As he listened to the Gold Gongs talking with each other, More and more questions began to pop up in Yang Qianhuan's head.
"We can discover the whereabouts of Princess Pingyang if we can capture him." Jiang Lyuzhong said.
*Princess Pingyang? That Princess Pingyang who disappeared a year ago?* Yang Qianhuan remembered this, as Arcanists from the Sitianjian were also invited out when the Princess was disappeared, and the matter had been quite loud.
After hearing this, he couldn't bear the questions in his head, and with his back turned, asked:
"It's just been a few days since the Sangpo case has happened. How could the Nightwatchers have investigated the case so clearly? Um... Why haven't I heard any of this from the juniors at the Sitianjian? Don't tell me that they weren't invited to investigate the case. You guys at the Nightwatchers aren't good at handling cases."
The high-ranking Arcanist didn't understand the situation.
Logically speaking, it was impossible for the Arcanists at the Sitianjian to not discuss the Sangpo case with him. As the Sitianjian often assisted the court in the handling of cases, internal communication about cases was also quite common.
But, Yang Qianhuan hadn't ever heard of Henghui, Princess Pingyang, or the other information that was being discussed.
Yang Yan opened his mouth, a rare occurrence, and said, " We didn't even have a Gold Gong handle the case. It's being handled by a Bronze Gong."
*What's that got to do with you? Why is your tone so smug?* Yang Qianhuan lampooned. He still didn't turn around and asked, "A Bronze Gong? Can you elaborate?"
"You should know this Bronze Gong, as he is quite famous at the Sitianjian." Jiang Lyuzhong recalled the rumours about Xu Qi'an, and remembered that he had once given a lecture to the White robed Arcanists in the Sitianjian, "His name is Xu Qi'an."
"Xu Qi'an?!" Yang Qianhuan's voice rose a little.
He knew Xu Qi'an. He had known about him since he had returned to the Sitianjian. That man had given a lecture to the juniors at Sitianjian, maybe to posture... that man was a formidable enemy in his dao of Posturing.
Unexpectedly, he was also responsible for investigating the Sangpo case. He seemed to have done a good job and had advanced to become a Posturing Master... A strong opponent.
"What's the origin of that arm?" Nangong Qianrou asked, her voice tinged with hatred.
"I don't know. But, the owner of that arm should be above the second rank. I don't know much about the Martial system... Heh, It's because I don't bother to understand it." Yang Qianhuan spoke like a lonely, invincible swordsman.
*This guy has just been away from the capital for some months, but his condition has gotten a lot worse...* This was the collective thought of the Gold Gongs.
Due to the last day's exhaustion, Xu Qi'an, still injured, overslept. The sun was already up by the time he had woken up.
Whatever the time was, it had already passed 7. Since he was already late, Xu Qi'an wasn't in a hurry, and he washed up and dressed up slowly. Then, he went over the wall to the main courtyard to have breakfast.
Even far away, He could hear the Glutton of a child crying. Her cry was very loud, just like the roar of a hungry dragon.
As he entered the front hall, he could see that Second Uncle had already gone to work. Auntie and Lingyue, who woke up late, were having breakfast. Xu Lingyin had her hands behind her as she leaned forward, shooting sonic attacks toward her mother.
Beautiful, and with a dignified temperament, Auntie squeezed her brows as she continued eating in silence.
Lyu’e was beside Little Pea, trying to comfort her.
"What's the matter?" Xu Qi'an came in, smiling.
Xu Lingyue's eyes lit up as she turned her head and excitedly said, "Are you resting today, Big Brother?"
"I overslept..." Xu Qi'an said, ashamed.
"Big Brother, Big Brother." Xu Lingyin ran over on her short legs, grabbed Xu Qi'an's arms with her small hand, pointed at her mother and sister with the other, and shouted with righteous indignation, "They robbed my chicken legs. They could even rob chicken legs from children... boohoohoo..."
*This?* Xu Qi'an looked at his aunt and sister.
Auntie let off a lovable snort, too lazy to explain.
Xu Lingyue helplessly said, "Last night, Lingyin had a chicken leg remaining. She didn't want to eat it then. So, She took it back to the house. Upon getting up in the morning, The chicken leg was missing. She thought that Mother or I had stolen the chicken leg."
*This should have happened after I had left last night. Otherwise, Xu Lingyin would be grabbing her mother's sleeve and accusing me of stealing her chicken legs...* Xu Qi'an placed his hands on Little Pea's head.
"Your big brother is good at investigating cases. I'll find the culprit for you."
Little Pea was very happy to hear it and believed that her eldest brother was the best — besides his habit of grabbing food. She held on to the helm of her elder brother's clothes and stared at her mother and sister with an aggrieved look.
Xu Lingyue met her elder brother's gaze and said, "I asked the maid who takes care of Lingyin, and the maid said that Lingyin got up in the middle of the night to eat the chicken leg. But, she doesn't believe it at all."
Xu Qi'an lowered his head to meet the little glutton, "Did you eat it?"
Xu Lingyin loudly said, "I didn't."
Xu Lingyue said, "The maid said that she had eaten it with her eyes closed. We found a chicken leg bone next to her bed. The bone had been gnawed clean. That's how she ate it."
"Brother, Sister should have eaten it. Elder Sister is lying." Xu Lingyin couldn't believe that she had eaten the chicken leg that she had been reluctant to eat before.
"Your big brother already knows who ate the chicken leg."
"Who is it?"
*The chicken leg has already entered your belly, but your brain doesn't know...* Xu Qi'an said, "A ghost."
"A gwost?" Xu Lingyin was so taken aback that her pronunciation wasn't standard anymore.
"Don't scare the child." Auntie unhappily said, and said to the little girl, "You can marinate the ghost with salt and fry it in oil. It will taste even better than chicken legs."
Upon hearing this, Xu Lingyin was afraid of the ghost but yearned for it even more.
After having breakfast, Xu Qi'an arrived at the Nightwatcher Office on horseback. Seeing him, Song Tingfeng said, "Ningyan, Duke Wei sent someone to invite you to the Tower of Noble Spirit."
"You didn't say that I was late to work, did you?" Xu Qi'an said.
"I said that you were busy at the latrine." He said, squinting.
"..." Xu Qi'an nodded and went toward the Tower of Noble Spirit.
After communicating with the guard, he quickly went upstairs. The scene upstairs was quick to startle him.
Besides Wei Yuan, the tea room accommodated four Gold Gongs, all injured. Yang Yan's arm was hung up with gauze as if his bone was broken.
Jiang Lyuzhong's forehead was tightly bandaged, and he only wore a single boot, as the other foot was bandaged thick.
Nangong Qianrou looked normal on the outside, but his face was as pale as paper.
The other Gold Gong, the one who he didn't know, His head was wrapped in bandages, and he looked like someone who had his head broken in a street fight.
The scene was both absurd and comical. A group of dignified high-ranking martial artists was like a bunch of street rascals that lost a group fight, dispirited, and injured.
"Pfff..." Xu Qi'an couldn't hold himself back and turned his head to smile.
"What are you laughing at?" The four Gold Gongs stared expressionlessly at him.
"I didn't laugh..." Xu Qi'an refused to admit anything.
Wei Yuan had Xu Qi'an come over, pointed at the seat opposite him to let him seat down, and said, "Henghui appeared last night. His target was the Minister of War's Mansion."
Xu Qi'an was quick to lose his smile, and turned serious, "Then the Gold Gongs..."
Wei Yuan nodded, "They were injured by Henghui. Last night, We set up traps at the Mansion of the Minister of War and the Mansion of the Prime Minister. There were four Gold Gongs and the Jianzheng's third disciple, Yang Qianhuan. These five fourth-rank experts weren't able to capture Henghui."
Xu Qi'an was both shocked and not shocked upon hearing about the ending. He was shocked at the number of fourth-rank experts mobilized. He wasn't shocked, as he felt that the item sealed under Sangpo should be that powerful.
"Did you get a clear look?" Xu Qi'an asked about the sealed item.
"A severed hand." Jiang Lyuzhong replied.
*As I thought... It was the weird hand.* Xu Qi'an looked at Wei Yuan, "What's its rank, Duke Wei?"
"Rank Two, At the very least." Wei Yuan said.
*At least rank two. But, there's a high possibility of it being rank one... Otherwise, It would be killed rather than sealed...* Xu Qi'an guessed, "What is the origin of the sealed item? Is it related to the Yao?"
"This matter involves a huge secret. I don't know the specifics." Wei Yuan refused to disclose the background.
*A severed hand, from an expert. This item is related to the Sitianjian, the royal family, and Buddhism. It is also related to history five hundred years ago.* Thinking along these lines, Xu Qi'an glanced at the Gold Gongs, hoping to get some clues from their expressions.
The gold gongs didn't pay attention to the observation of the little Bronze Gong.
"Henghui has a Magical Artefact that could shield his qi. It's not certain if he has left the city yet. I have already reported the situation to His Majesty." Wei Yuan said.
"You continue to check using your means."
Xu Qi'an understood the eunuch's hint, "Where's the Minister of War?"
"He's under house arrest in his mansion, protective custody." Wei Yuan took a sip of tea.
"I will go and investigate soon." Xu Qi'an understood his meaning.
Wei Yuan pointed out, "Minister Zhang is a senior officer of the second class. So, propriety should be paid attention to. It's a rule that the qi-watching technique isn't used for those above the fourth class. But, you can bring an Arcanist along with you.
*He means that an Arcanist's accusation couldn't be used as evidence. But, It will be a valuable reference to check...* XU Qi'an clasped his fists, "Yes Sir."
After taking another look at the dispirited Gold Gongs, he het out another “Pfft”, and quickly left before the Gold Gongs got angry at him.