Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
Within the rule enforcement hall was a man in white, with his hands behind his back, standing beside a pillar and looking absorbed in the patterns carved on it. There were some tears and bloodstains on his white robes, but it did not diminish the aura of his straight nose bridge and long sharp eyebrows, making the people who saw him feel that his strong sense of character.
Ou Peng walked into the rule enforcement hall and turned his gaze onto this person, while the latter also turned back upon hearing the footsteps. Their eyes met, and Ou Peng stopped his footsteps while the other party remained completely still. Both men winced before retracting their gaze, and the white robed man returned his attention towards the patterns on the wall, while Ou Peng continued to walk until he reached the seat that was facing the entire hall.
Ou Peng sat on the chair and looked quietly at the tall white robed man while appearing to be deep in thought. The white robed man did not meet his gaze directly and the atmosphere froze with was an air of suspense.
When the Piaomiao six tigers walked into the rule enforcement hall, only first elder Hu Yunyi sat beside Ou Peng, the rest stood at a side and Liu Yuzhou followed suit. After a short moment, some people began to lose patience and fifth elder Liu Qingyang opened his mouth to speak, “Hey this man, you have already been captured by our Piaomiao sect, why bother putting up such an appearance? Do you believe that this fifth elder will let you taste my axe again?”
Ou Peng was slightly irritated and he threw an angry glance at fifth elder Liu, saying “Fifth younger brother, don’t say anything unnecessary.”
Fifth elder Liu was indignant and he said, “Third brother, this… …”
Before he could finish his sentence, the white robed man spoke out, “Since I am now you prisoner, my life or death is in your hands, what more can I say?”
Ou Peng smiled and said, “Brother Shui does not have to bother speaking with him, my fifth brother is a boorish man, so you do not have to take his words to heart.”
The white robed Shui Yupeng snorted and did not say anything else.
At that moment, fourth elder Shangguan said, “Sect master Shui, do you still think that we are at Luoshui sect? Since you know that you are our prisoner, you should behave like one instead of making others feel like they are beneath you. You act as if we were lucky in defeating you, but you should be feeling fortunate that we have not crippled your martial arts.”
Shui Yupeng threw a glance towards fourth elder Shangguan but remained silent still.
Fourth elder Shangguan continued, “I know that sect master Shui must be thinking that our Piaomiao sect had the advantage of a sneak attack and Luoshui sect suffered a defeat because of the lack of preparation. If this is what is in your mind, then you probably think that the loser should have been us.”
Shui Yupeng snorted again and said in a clear voce, “Small tricks, can’t even reach the palace hall.”
Fourth elder Shangguan snorted as well and said sharply, “What small tricks, what despicable methods, what overt conspiracy, a plan that brings victory is a good plan. There is no use for reason in Jianghu, there is no need to be upright and moral, sect master Shui has been too stable in his position and have forgotten that weak is food for the strong rule in Jianghu.”
Shui Yupeng said, “As said by the person who planned it out, I naturally can guess so.”
Fourth elder Shangguan continued, “Whoever knows this principle would also know that when one swallows others to increase his own power, than there would also come a day when he gets swallowed by someone else. Whatever you do know will be paid back to you in kind in the future, I am sure sect master Shui would not forget how the Luoshui sect came to where it is now right.”
At that moment, Shui Yupeng’s eyes became slightly unsteady and the confidence he had before was shaken momentarily.
Seeing the scene before him, first elder Hu spoke up, “Sect master Shui is still regretting the attack you made on Xinrong sect? You think if we had not intervened, your attack would have been successful?”
Shui Yupeng’s face turned darker and he said, “You are right, our Luoshui sect had always survived by living near the water, we have no businesses on the plains. In order for us to expand, I did everything I could and planned for several years to bring Xinrong sect under our thumb, but never would have expected that you would take advantage of the opportunity when our attention was on Xinrong to attack, if not, how could we have fallen into your hands so easily?”
Fourth elder Shagguan smiled and said, “As our forefathers have said, people who plan must plan for all circumstances, surely sect master Shui has learnt something this simple before. Furthermore, occasions when the oriole stalks the mantis who preys on the cicada has happened many times over the history of Jianghu, so you can only blame your own careless having fallen into our sneak attack. Just because you can plan to expand inland, can’t the people on land plan to expand into the water?”
Shui Yupeng looked upwards and lamented, “Man proposes and heaven disposes. Since the heavens wish me dead, what else can I do?”
At that moment, Ou Peng cut into the conversation with a teasing voice, “Sect master Shui, your words are not right. This is not heavens wishing you dead but opening their eyes to help you instead.”
Shui Yupeng was surprised and he asked strangely, “What is the meaning of your words? Are you saying that you are doing us a favor by swallowing our sect?”
After he said his sentence, Shui Yupeng laughed hollowly.
Ou Peng did not turn angry when saw the other party’s response, instead, he asked, “Does sect master Shui not know of the background of the Xinrong sect’s head, Zhao Xin?”
“Zhao Xin?” Shui Yu Peng said in disdain when he heard the name, “Isn’t he some common mountain bandit who obtained the support of a wealthy merchant in Yu city and managed to survive in the cracks among the other major sects? What kind of background would he have?”
“Then what about Zhen Rong?” Ou Peng continued to ask.
“Zhen Rong?” Shui Yupeng was puzzled as he said, “Isn’t he the second-in-command for Zhao Xin? Who was a scholar whom Zhao Xin had robbed in the mountains? I have heard that the two men would fight whenever they first met, but later acknowledged each other as equals and became sworn brothers, and thus, Zhan Rong became an outlaw as well.”
Ou Peng smiled and said, “What sect master Shui has said is right, and this Zhen Rong later felt that robbing in the mountains was not a proper way to live so he threaded the needle and connected Xin Rong with the wealthy merchant in Yu city. Then, they went down the mountains and established Xinrong sect between Yu city and Pingyang city.”
Shui Yupeng nodded as he listened.
Ou Peng then asked again, “Has sect master Shui ever wondered why that wealthy merchant would want to cooperate with a nameless mountain bandit?”
Shui Yupeng pondered for a moment and said, “According to my sect’s intelligence, that wealthy merchant wanted to expand his own influence and was looking for an opportunity to make a name for himself instead of just dabbling in commerce.”
Ou Peng continued to ask, “Then, why did this wealthy merchant not approach a larger sect from Yu city, or our Piaomiao sect who is from Pingyang city?”
Shui Yupeng replied, “Perhaps he thought that Xinrong was easier to control? If he had to work with a larger sect like yours, he would have to give up a larger share of the pie.”
Ou Peng smiled and said, “There is some reason in what you say. In that case, sect master Shui, why do you think Piaomiao sect chose not to attack Xinrong sect which is so close to us and instead targeted your Luoshui sect instead?”
Shui Yupeng laughed and said, “Why would I know? Perhaps you see Xinrong sect as a large fly with too little meat on its bones.”
Ou Peng replied otherwise, “You are wrong, sect master Shui. Xinrong sect is between Pingyang city and Yu city, so if our sect were to assimilate them into our own, our influence would expand and reach even closer to Yu city, so the potential benefits it brings is not little at all.”
Shui Yupeng also found it strange and asked in return, “So why has sect master Ou not made any moves?”
Ou Peng smiled mysteriously and replied, “That is because of Zhan Rong.”
“Zhan Rong?” Shui Yupeng was stunned.
Ou Peng continued to explain, “Zhan Rong is a disciple who was abandoned by Dalin temple’s disciplinary elder Chang Gung.”
Shui Yupeng sucked in a breath of cold air when he heard the other party’s words. He was a sect master himself and did not lack in foresight or deduction skills, he only lacked information which led to two vastly different decisions between the two men who were also sect masters.
Neither were stupid people, Shui Yupeng immediately understood the implications with Ou Peng’s pointer.
He had almost rubbed the butt of a tiger.
The word “abandoned” could lead to many different interpretations. Firstly, as the saying goes, one must look at who is the owner before beating a dog, even though the disciple was already abandoned by his master, he was still a person of Dalin temple. Even if Dalin temple did not want such a person in their sect, they would not ignore his actions or events that occurred to him. If you disciplined this abandoned disciple, then won’t you be spurning Dalin temple indirectly? Furthermore, even if Dalin temple had truly let go of this person, the whole sect would not stop the disciplinary elder from settling a personal vendetta with his affection towards his disciples as a cause. Was this disciplinary elder, elder Chang Gung someone that could afford to anger? Not to mention the master himself, even a disciple of the former would be able to destroy the whole Luoshui sect.
In addition, there is always a chance of “return” when something is “abandoned”. Who knows if Dalin temple had let go of this disciple in a moment of anger and was already planning to accept him back into the sect? This was a possibility that cannot be casually ignored. Furthermore, Dalin temple did not proclaim to the Jianghu that they had let him go, and Ou Peng had only obtained this information through secretive means, so what if Dalin temple announced one day that this “abandoned” disciple was not really expelled, then wouldn’t all the people who had harmed or had underhand motives towards Xinrong sect be enemies of the Dalin temple?
Sigh, this word “abandoned” was used very cleverly by Dalin temple.
As Shui Yupeng thought of all these, his heart turned cold and his face turned pale.
However, he maintained his cold demeanor as he said, “Even if our Luoshui sect fails to take over the Xinrong sect and are swallowed over instead, or if we had angered Dalin temple, how does this differs from our current situation? The great sect master Ou, you have only shortened the steps from a hundred to fifty, and since you have become the victor, then naturally you have the bragging rights to laugh at me.”
Ou Peng smiled but he did not refute the other party’s words. Instead, he glanced at Li Jian who got the signal and nodded before walking forward to Shui Yupeng’s front. Without saying anything else, he unsheathed the precious sword from his waist, circulated his qi and slashed it down. Shui Yupeng thought that he had finally met his end and closed his eyes in a dignified manner. However, after waiting for a long while, the pain did not come so he opened his eyes and looked strangely at Ou Peng.
Ou Peng continued to smile at him like before wordlessly.
Shui Yupeng looked at Li Jian confusedly and he was shocked to a daze by the scene in front of him.
“This… this is sword light?” Shui Yu Peng’s face was ashen like death as he looked at the extended long sword which giving off light, and he exclaimed in shock, “There is such a sword technique in this world?”
After a moment later, he took a deep breath and said, “Master Li’s martial arts have reached such an extent, I have lost completely. I have nothing to say left.”
Then, he turned to Ou Peng and said, “I thought that I was unlucky to have suffered sect master Ou’s sneak attack, and thus felt indignant. I was unable to focus when fighting with sect master Ou because of the circumstances, and thought that it was the reason for my loss. However, I can see now that master Ou is more than what he appears to be.”