# 76. Night Meeting The Tower of Noble Spirit, the tea room. Xu Qi’an came here again, seeing the great eunuch, with the sides of his hair starting to whiten, with a handsome and refined aura. He still wore his sky blue cloak, and in his eyes were contained indescribable years of experience. Beside him, was a tall and towering figure, with a cold and handsome face. He stiffly and solemnly sat beside the tea table, back straight, face emotionless. Wei Yuan sat in front of the desk, intricately enjoying expensive tea. “The mirror has already accepted you as its master, you can be its keeper for now. “The one who contacted you first was indeed a member of the Earth Sect, and had the intent to kill you no matter what. “Gold Gong Yang has already beaten back that person; you are not in any danger now. For a long time after, your home will have Nightwatchers stationed around it.” Xu Qi’an frowned; he did not find strange Wei Yuan’s course of action, as yesterday when he replied to Nine, he had already gathered that this great eunuch intended to perform a “black-eat-black”. What he was dissatisfied about, was that *boss you didn’t do your job properly. Why did you let him run away, you’ve left such a hidden danger.* “The Earth Sect’s Yin Spirit has no body nor form, and is difficult to kill fully.” Wei Yuan explained, slowly drinking tea. This was an aspect of each cultivation system’s advantages and shortcomings. Yang Yan waved his hand, and the mirror flew through the air towards Xu Qi’an, floating in front of him. Xu Qi’an took the mirror, putting it into his robe, before bowing, and leaving the room. Yang Yan, sitting like a pine tree, said in a low voice, “Father, I could not catch his yin spirit.” Wei Yuan laughed kindly, “Why should you have?” Yang Yan did not understand, his brow furrowed into a tight knot. Wei Yuan laughed with a light and carefree air, “If you are not skilled, naturally someone else will be skilled.” … Xu Qi’an left the Nightwatchers Constabulary, and bought two bags of roasted beans, eagerly heading to get in the good graces of his immediate superior. Li Yuchun was sat behind his desk, reading a dossier, and did not even raise his head. “Brother Chun, I bought some roasted beans for you.” Xu Qi’an, without thinking, said out loud. *Brother Chun?* Li Yuchun raised his head, looking at him with a strict expression. “Boss.” Xu Qi’an added. “Mhm. Put it on the table.” Li Yuchun finished speaking, and buried his head back into the document. Xu Qi’an stretched his neck to look at his boss, asking “Boss, are you investigating the saltpetre mine case?” “Zhu Guangxiao is hurt, Song Tingfeng is slacking off, why aren’t you at home?” Li Yuchun asked, before nodding, “I am responsible for this case as of this moment.” “I didn’t have anything to do, so thought I’d come and familiarise myself with the constabulary and its surroundings.” Xu Qi’an asked tentatively, “Does this have to do with the Yao people? If it’s a secret, then pretend I never asked.” Li Yuchun grabbed a handful of beans, stuffing them into his mouth, eating and saying at the same time, “I cannot tell you of the details of the case, so I’ll pick a few things I can tell you… our initial suspicion, is that the leftover evil of the Wanyao Country[^1] have members hidden around the capital.” “Wanyao Coutry?” Xu Qi’an’s mind brought up of the history of the “*Jiazi Dangyao*[^2]”. “Even though the Wanyao Country became history, these many years the remaining evil elements of the country have schemed by all means necessary to re-establish their state, and take back their old homeland.” Li Yuchun said, “The Buddhist Order leads the many countries of the Western Regions, their forces are powerful, so much so that even a Wanyao Country at its height would be no match. If they want to restore their country, they must make other plans.” Xu Qi’an suddenly had a thought, “So they placed their ideas on our Great Feng’s gunpowder? So that’s why that monster was driving away the huihu nearby.” A sudden revelation. Li Yuchun was right in the middle of something, and asked “Do you have anything else to say?” Xu Qi’an tactfully replied, “Nothing more, you get on with what you’re doing boss, I’ll be over in the other room meditating. If you have any orders just call me.” Li Yuchun nodded. After Xu Qi’an left, Brother Chun simultaneously read through his documents and ate the fried beans. Clumsily, he managed to knock the beans off the table, as with a clattering sound, they fell to the floor. Li Yuchun stared at the beans in daze, and then covered his eyes in pain. … In the side room, Xu Qi’an was sat inspecting the jade mirror. Suddenly he felt a furious wave of qi from the neighbouring room, but only for that moment, before it passed. He did not pay any mind, thinking over why on earth the great eunuch let him keep the mirror, and for what purpose. Even though he said it was because he had dropped blood, and become its owner, but given that the old Daoist had given it to him, this meant that this type of ownership wasn’t permanant. *I’m just a bronze gong, there’s no reason to let me look after such an important treasure, is there?* *Whatever, let’s not worry about that for now. Given that he said he would have people stationed in secret around my home, I won’t need to worry about the safety of Auntie and the Sisters.* *The Earth Sect’s master had been driven away, he probably won’t come back to the capital any time soon.* Xu Qi’an meditated until the end of the day, having a relaxed stress-free day at work. *Tonight, should I go find Fuxiang, or should I go find Fuxiang, or should I go find Fuxiang…* *Nonono, I need to save up money to buy a house, and move uncle and them to the inner city. This is safer…* *I can’t waste my silver on a moment’s pleasure. Even though Fuxiang has deep feelings for me, and insists on not taking any of my silver, and has built up a close abalone trading friendship, but the money for the maids and dancers I’d still need to give.* *A few cash of silver is still silver.* Xu Qi’an, with immense determination, turned his horse around, and left the inner city. As he got home, it was already twilight. … After having dinner, he vaulted the wall back into his own courtyard. In this era without phones and computers, without a nightlife, apart from going to the Jiaofangsi, the only other way he could pass the time was by writing his diary. *Fuxiang is really a woman that men can’t resist! She knows eighteen positions, setting off on the long journey for the Buddhist tomes, the journey to the west (breasts).[^3]* Xu Qi’an entered his room, picked up the flint on his table, and lit a candle. Suddenly, his muscles tightened, as he froze in place. On the bed sat cross-legged an old Daoist priest, wearing a tattered robe. His speckled white hair was held up with a ebony wood hairpin, with several strands hanging loose. He had a careless aged aura about him, not conforming to any one type. “So we meet again.” The old Daoist’s eyes looked at him peacefully, “Last time, you were a martial artist at the peak of Refining Body. Now, you’re already Refining Qi, Sir, you are indeed a person of great fortune.” Xu Qi’an sat beside the table, his body ready to react and fight at any moment. He replied solemnly, “Daozhang, to break into a common man’s home in the dark of night, what are you after?” The old Daoist did not mind Xu Qi’an’s hostile tone, replying in a calm voice “To tell Sir, that this poor Doiast’s sect brother Zilian has already ascended to his next life. You need no longer worry.” “You killed him?” “I helped him ascend.” *The have you come to help me ascend too?* *Nine is dead, and died in this Daoist’s hands… if he can deal with Zilian on his own, then he wouldn’t have needed to give up this treasure in the first place…* Xu Qi’an deduced that the Daoist was very likely here to act out a “the sandpiper and clam fight, and the fisherman gains the benefit”. The question was, how did he set up an ambush? *I know… you fucking- you also followed me!* the corner of Xu Qi’an’s mouth twitched. The fact that the old Daoist could find his way to the Xu manor, meant that he was already following him long ago. Thus, he would naturally also be aware of his position as a Nightwatcher, and also their status within the city. *The Zhou Manor’s assassins, the Nightwatchers, this old Daoist… I’m just an ordinary transmigrator, you pieces of shit, all following me one after another.* *I did not consider everything properly, you gave me the artefact, how would you not follow me afterwards, keeping a tab on me…* Xu Qi’an tested, “Has Daozhang come to take back the Earth Book?” The old Daoist shook his head, “I already have one.” From his sleeve slid out a jade mirror, identical to the one in Xu Qi’an’s shirt. “This is the one that belonged to this poor Daoist’s brother, Zilian. Number Nine. Now, it has finally returned to its rightful owner. As for Sir’s, take it as a thank you gift from me.” Without waiting for Xu Qi’an to reply, he continued on by himself, “There are nine pieces of the Earth Book in total, that this poor Daoist has given to different people. Sir is also one of those who this poor Daoist has picked. “Those seven different people, created the Heaven and Earth Society.” Xu Qi’an asked, “Who are they?” The old Daoist shook his head, “They each have their own backgrounds, coming from all across the land. If Sir is curious, you can ask directly, as after all you know how to use the book. This poor Daoist will not reveal the others’ identities, including yours. “This poor Daoist said earlier, you are a person shone on by the star of fortune.” Xu Qi’an had a realisation, *of course, this old Daoist can see my strange luck.* *Finally there’s someone who knows, who can solve my confusion. Picking up silver every now and then, even if it feels really good, still makes the heart a little anxious.* *After all, I’m a solid grounded person.* He did not directly talk about his strange luck, using fully his oration skills, “Please, could Daozhang tell me why?” --- [^1]: 万妖国; Country of Ten-thousand Monsters; a country formed from Yao. [^2]: 甲子荡妖: lit. Sixty Year Extermination of the Monsters. [^3]: Line from a song about the Journey to the West. The brackets say (ru) in Latin letters, whereas the last character 路 (road) is pronounced “lu”, and so I’m guessing at a plausible meaning, though with the wordplay considered this is a very Xu Qi’an thing to say.