# 168. Oh Lingyin, Don't Make Big Brother Drive Xu Qi’an rode on his horse, as the old estate agent drove the carriage. Within was sat Xu Lingyue, Auntie, and excitedly sticking her head out of the window was Xu Lingyin. Because big brother was with them, they didn’t need to bring their maids and servants; too many people were inconvenient. Along the way, he bought some snacks for Xu Lingyue and Xu Lingyin, and asked towards the window: “Does Auntie want any?” Auntie refused. When they came to the house, the women stepped out of the carriage, and Xu Qi’an saw Auntie wiping the corner of her mouth. “The location is not bad, it’s not too far from the market, there’s a river beside it…” Auntie started commenting in satisfaction. Standing in front of the main door, she frowned, saying: “Why does it look shabby?” *How could it not, it’s haunted…* Xu Qi’an said, indicating to the agent to open the door. Auntie lead the two girls into the house, and what met then was a broken and desolate scene. It had clearly stood uninhabited for many years, and unmaintained too. She frowned more: “This is it?” “This house hasn’t been lived in for many years, not even any renters. The agency reckons that it could be sold off for 4000 taels and to be done with it, but the owner refuses to sell it for that much…” *For thousand?* Auntie narrowed her eyes, and very casually asked: “How much is its asking price?” “Five thousand taels.” The agent said. Auntie did not continue talking, and started looking around the property. Wherever she walked, her criticism followed, but the old agent was experienced in his trade, ate his pride and let her talk. Seeing that this beautiful woman and her beautiful daughters were heading towards the inner courtyard, the old agent jumped in fright, and looked desperately towards Xu Qi’an. “It’s fine.” Xu Qi’an said. *There shouldn’t be any issues during the day…* the old agent looked at the beautiful Auntie’s figure. Her gently swaying buttocks were extremely attractive that day. “Does the valued customer really want to purchase this property?” “Mhm.” *You really aren’t afraid of death…* The old agent had already expended all his kindness and care for that day, and stopped trying to persuade him otherwise, asking: “And these two are…” Xu Qi’an joked with him: “What do you think?” That shut the old agent up, as he felt himself being thrown into a difficult situation. *Mother and sisters? No, they wouldn’t be so young. Moreover, they didn’t have any of the mother-son dynamic that would have otherwise been the case.* *A newlywed couple? Mn, that young woman could be this Master’s wife, and the pretty older woman his mother in law… but what about that girl in the yellow dress from yesterday?* Although old agent’s perceptions were shrewd, they still could not tell him what relationship they had. “The older woman is my Aunt, the two younger ones are my younger sisters.” As Xu Qi’an finished his sentence, he saw shock appear on the old agent’s face. Laughing, he asked: “What’s up?” The old agent shook his head, internally still processing why someone would bring their Aunt and sisters over when buying a house. After all, the “aunt” here would be his uncle’s wife, part of the clan yes, but not direct family. He’d never seen someone bring their auntie and sisters to a house viewing before. … Even though Auntie’s mouth was full of complaint and dirt, making the house out to be a falling-down shack, internally she was very pleased. It was also a three-tier courtyard house, however it was much larger than the Xu House in the outer city, and the former’s build and quality was incomparable. The Xu House was set up like a commoner’s house, nothing like this high-end flamboyant place. If one were to make a comparison, it would be like a rural homestead compared to a city villa. Even though they were all multi-room large detached houses, but the latter was on a different class entirely. They spent an hour meticulously inspecting the entire home. Auntie and Xu Lingyue were all very excited, the latter had even secretly decided on her own room. Auntie hesitantly asked: “For this place, is five thousand taels not a little low?” Her nit-picking was all in an effort to push down the price, but during the viewing, she suddenly realised that five thousand taels was far too cheap, and the sharp-witted auntie felt that something was wrong. Xu Qi’an pointed at the well not far away: “That well was haunted - really haunted, Miss Caiwei and I verified.” There were two startled scrams, as Xu Lingyue and Auntie both fled behind Xu Qi’an, the former tightly grasping his sleeve hem. *Haunted?* Xu Lingyin was also very scared, running over to hide under big brother’s legs, before looking to the well, both scared and starting to drool slightly. Auntie’s delicate face turned quite pale, as she didn’t want to stay one moment longer: “We’re not buying this place, we’re going home.” Grabbing her daughter’s hand, she walked quickly out of the house. Due to her speed, her figure swayed to and fro. The old agent made a pained expression towards Xu Qi’an: “Is sir merely making sport of me?” Xu Qi’an waved his hand: “Bollocks, we’re paying the deposit.” He didn’t say that he’d already dealt with the ghost, afraid that the estate broker would immediately up their price. Before the contract was sighed, this was still a haunted house. The carriage stopped outside the brokers. Within sat Auntie and the two sisters. After hearing Xu Qi’an had gone to pay the deposit, Auntie was very angry. “I’m certainly not going to live there, he can go live in a haunted house on his own! The little rascal just doesn’t want to let us three women off lightly.” Auntie huffed. “Big brother isn’t that type of person.” Xu Lingyue grabbed her mother’s hand. As they talked, Xu Qi’an came out, and hopped into the driver’s seat. Opening the curtain, he stuck in his head: “It’s nearly noon, let’s go to Guiyuelou for lunch.” Auntie turned her head away. Xu Qi’an explained: “The ghost in the house has already been dealt with. If you don’t believe me, will you believe a Sitianjian Arcanist?” Xu Lingyue nodded sweetly. Auntie was not fully convinced, as she stared at Xu Qi’an: “Really?” “Why would I lie to Auntie?” They came to the Guiyuelou, and booked a private room. Xu Qi’an took out his little jade mirror, and messaged: 【THREE: TWO, I remember you saying that you are investigating who is behind the banditry woes of Yunzhou.】 As soon as he finished writing, he put the mirror face down on the table, and focused on his food. After a little while, he got a notification. 【TWO: Yes, in the process of rooting out bandits, I discovered that many of the camps had many supply wagons, nothing that regular mountain bandits could get their hands on. I suspect that there’s a power that’s helping them.】 Xu Qi’an nodded slightly. Heavy wagons meant military supplies, including armour, arms, et cetera. This topic of conversation caught number Four’s interest. As an ex-official of the Great Feng, he paid quite a bit of mind to the political situation of the country. 【FOUR: You can see if there’s a lead to be had from the Yunzhou officials. Right, if I remember correctly there’s a prince in Yunzhou.】 【TWO: Prince Gui is a prince without any real political power, I’ve investigated him already, he’s alright.】 【THREE: How did you investigate?】 【TWO: I sent people to spy on his manor.】 *…this is called “investigation”? That’s a little too simple…* Xu Qi’an lampooned, replying: 【THREE: I know who’s supporting banditry in Yunzhou.】 *???* Question marks arose in Two and Four’s minds. *What intelligence has Three received? Why can Three always get intelligence. If it’s about the capital, whatever, since after all that’s his “territory”, but there wasn’t half a penny of connection between him and Yunzhou.* *I’ve investigated this long and yet I still have no leads, how could he know who’s behind the banditry in Yunzhou…* Two knew of Three’s character, a stately scholar with a high moral character, thus they did not doubt him, rather sincerely replying: 【TWO: What is it? Mn, THREE, if you could tell me who it is, I’ll owe you a favour.】 【THREE: Heh, no need, I admire your conduct, this information is free.】 When relations are still shallow, then one must talk exchange, and deny all freebooting. After once or twice and a bit more familiarity, then one needed to develop personal relations, and reduce for-profit trade between them. *Free is the most expensive of prices, because the thing that is exchanged is better relations. When two people’s relations are deep enough, then freeloading can come to the surface… no, how could it be called freeloading between friends? It’s merely “helping each other”.* This time, Two freeloaded off his information. Next time, he can freeload off Two. 【THREE: It’s the north east’s Church of the Warlock God, they are the ones behind Yunzhou’s banditry. Mm, I cannot guarantee that my information is wholly accurate, but you can use for reference.】 Even though the Church of the Warlock God was not really behind Yunzhou’s banditry, more likely than not they could not escape some sort of connection. By telling this to Two, Xu Qi’an had intended for them to go and invesitage on this matter. *The Church of the Warlock God is behind Yunzhou’s situation?* Two stared at their jade mirror for a long time, before finally replying: 【TWO: How do you know? Where did you get the information from? Um, I’m not trying to pry things from you, I just want to know the reliability of the information.】 【THREE: That’s alright. Last night the Nightwatchers discovered a gathering place for the Church of the Warlock God in the capital, they had close and clandestine relations with the Minister of Industry…】 He summarised the event to Two, making sure to keep out most of the details. After all, his identity was as a scholar of the Cloud Deer Academy, not a Nightwatcher directly involved in the case. He emphasised that the Minister of Industry was providing the Church of the Warlock God with cannons and weapons. *This is it, this is it…* Number Two excitedly clenched their fist, messaging: 【TWO: This information is very important to me, it’s verified one of my previous theories, thank you. I’m suddenly annoyed that Jinlian Daozhang didn’t pull you into the Heaven and Earth Society earlier.】 【NINE: Proper matters should remain proper matters, don’t start gossiping.】 Pausing for a bit, Jinlian continued: 【NINE: However, wouldn’t there not be much point in the Church of the Warlock God secretly supporting the Bandits in Yunzhou?】 Not only on military matters, but also in what benefits could be traded, there didn’t seem like much point. *I was thinking the same thing…* Xu Qi’an messaged: 【THREE: TWO, you can try investigate this a bit, I believe that with your abilities you’ll definitely get to the bottom of this.】 Just then, the professional lurker One popped out: 【ONE: The situation with the Minister of Industry reminds me of a detail in the Sangpo case. 【Gunpowder was smuggled into the Temple at Sangpo by the former Minister of Rites, and Baihu Zhou, using the latter’s rank and position during the ancestor ceremony. However, who lit the fuse?】 【TWO: The Royal Guard?】 【THREE: Not the royal guard, I’ve investigated all the movements of the royal guards that night, those on patrol all lost their lives, and those not on patrol had proper alibis… furthermore, the Minister of Rites can’t give orders to the Royal Guard.】 【TWO: Why?】 【ONE: This is the crown’s secret.】 *What kind of crown secret, it’s merely that Emperor Yuanjing every month gets Arcanists from the Sitianjian to interrogate the soldiers…* Xu Qi’an thought. Suddenly, something in his mind fell into place, as two trails of thought was suddenly joined up with each other: 【THREE: What ONE means, is that the Church of the Warlock God’s people lit the fuse under the temple?】 【ONE: mhm.】 【NINE: A paper doll.】 【ONE: How is Daozhang so confident?】 【NINE: Heh, the technique of using paper dolls originated with the Daoist sects, I naturally know of it well. A paper doll’s power is weak, it is barely stronger than an ant. It thus can bypass a martial artist’s senses, and silently infiltrate into the Temple. What’s more is that a paper doll can at as the fuse to light the gunpowder.】 【ONE: This is to say, that not only did the Sangpo case involve the Yao, but it also involved the Warlocks? Then the Qi Clique must also know of this matter.】 【THREE: Surely not, the Qi Clique and the Church of the Warlock God were only business partners, not superior and subordinate. The Church couldn’t have told everything to the Qi clique.】 【ONE: But one thing is for certain, the Warlocks and the Yao have relations.】 *The Yao wanted Sangpo blow up to get to the sealed item inside, but what was the Church of the Warlock God after? It wouldn’t have been Shenshu’s severed hand, otherwise they would have conflicting interests, they’ll start fighting with each other…* Xu Qi’an thought through this, as he reached out his chopsticks to pick up some food, only to find that the plate was empty. There weren’t many dishes in the first place, and the mother and daughters had finished it all. Little Pea’s face was radiant. *You’re the same kind as Chu Caiwei.* Xu Qi’an scolded internally, and called the waiter to order more. After they had finished and left the Guiyuelou, Auntie and Lingyue entered the carriage. Xu Lingyin saw that on the other side of the street they were selling malt candy, and dragged big brother over by the trouser leg to beg for him to get her some. Xu Qi’an took her to get some candy, with words like blades but a heart like tofu: “Malt candy is too hard, your teeth will break your teeth.” Little Pea was a well established businessman in the business of eating, and was not at all intimidated: “It’s ok, I’ll suck on it until it goes from hard to soft.” Hearing this, Xu Qi’an laughed, “If you’re really skilled you’ll be able to get it from soft to hard.” Little Pea could only admit defeat: “I’m not that skilled, can big brother do it?” “Big brother can’t, but a really skilled troublemaker can suck on a malt candy until it goes from soft to hard, then hard back to soft.” “Troublemaker? Then can sister and mummy do it?” “I refuse to answer that question.” “Why, big brother?” Xu Lingyin flashed her innocent big eyes. “Don’t ask why. Lingyin, why do you always make big brother drive?”