Chapter 248: The Darkness Confusion
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn
Who else but the students of the Prime Minister would dare to call on the Army-guarding Marquis?
"I will go ask the Arm-guarding Marquis!"
The Beard Elder promptly saluted Zhang Ruochen. Shortly after, he left the Elegance Hall and dispatched a trusted soldier to ask the Army-guarding Marquis to come.
Though he had not yet confirmed the identity of this mysterious teenager, the Left Prime Minister was by no means someone he could offend. Even the slimmest chance this was his true identity warranted the invitation of the Army-guarding Marquis.
Even if this mysterious teenager was suspicious, the Army-guarding Marquis, a martial arts legend in the Heaven Realm, was too powerful for a teenager like Liu Xin to threaten.
For this reason, asking the Army-guarding Marquis to come was still a wise decision.
When the Beard Elder dispatched his follower to ask for the Army-guarding Marquis, Zhang Ruochen whispered something to Hua Buwei. Upon hearing his words, Hua Buwei's heart pounded heavily. He stared at Zhang Ruochen with astonishment.
Zhang Ruochen nodded. "You may leave now!" He said to Huang Buwei.
Hua Buwei clenched his fists and left the Rosefinch Tower at once.
Zhang Ruochen planned to kill the Army-guarding Marquis as quickly as he could the moment he arrived at the Rosefinch Tower. Then he would escape from the Black Market before the array was set off.
Since Zhang Ruochen was going to kill the Marquis, Hua Buwei naturally had to leave first, lest he be left behind to die after Zhang Ruochen's departure.
In the event his plan failed, Zhang Ruochen also commanded Hua Buwei to destroy the Defender Array powering the Martial Market Bank in the Black Market at any cost.
Once the Defender Array was destroyed, no one could stop Zhang Ruochen from leaving the Black Market.
The central reason for this plan lied in the fact that Zhang Ruochen was unsure about the real strength of the Army-guarding Marquis. He only knew that the martial cultivation of the Army-guarding Marquis had reached the Initial Stage of the Heaven Realm. However, there remained a huge gap among those who had cultivated to different stages of the Heaven Realm; who knew how far the Marquis had progressed in that Realm?
"With my present strength, if I can get within 33 meters and launch a hidden attack towards the Army-guarding Marquis, I have a good chance of killing him in a single stroke. However, if I fail to kill him in one move, I'll be trapped in a protracted battle with him. If the Black Market Defender Array is switched on then, the odds will not be in my favor."
"The odds that I can fight and kill this martial arts legend from the Heaven Realm are 80 percent; it's a chance worth taking."
"Moreover, if the Defender Array can be destroyed, I'll have an even greater chance of killing the Army-guarding Marquis."
"Why did you ask Hua Buwei to leave?" Elder Wei asked Liu Xin out of curiosity.
Zhang Ruochen mulled over Elder Wei's question, then smiled and answered in an unhurried manner: "Buying out the city would cost a large amount of silver coins, too many coins for me to carry everywhere on my person. For that reason I asked Hua Buwei to fetch me the advance payment. Take it easy, Elder Wei; the money needed to buy out ten cities is only a drop in the ocean for the Left Prime Minister's wealth."
Elder Wei ignored the sudden, persistent feeling that something was off about this situation. They had negotiated with each other in the Black Market, and the Army-guarding Marquis had cultivated himself into a martial arts legend of the Heaven Realm; how, then, would Liu Xin dare to break his word?
As he left through the main gates, Hua Buwei turned and gave the Rosefinch Tower an emotional look. He exhaled a deep breath. "Liu Xin is a really big figure," he thought. "The whole Black Market must be in an uproar. I need to hurry and fulfill my task."
The piercing sound of a sword whistled past his ears. Before he could turn his head around, he felt the sting of bitter cold on his neck--a cold sword was being held at his throat.
The icing air emanating from the sword tip very nearly froze his blood.
Han Qiu stood before Hua Buwei stood Han Qiu, a sharp gleam in her eyes. Glittering jade sword in hand, Han Qiu spoke with a cold voice: "Do not speak. You'd better follow me if you don't want to be killed."
Hua Buwei was frightened by her cool attitude. He straightened his posture and nodded eagerly.
Han Qiu was dressed in tidy black. A band bound her raven hair into a courtly bun atop her head.
She was a fair-featured maiden, with rosy lips and pearly-white teeth. Her choice of clothes made her resemble a graceful young man.
Han Qiu brought Hua Buwei to an alley not far from the Rosefinch Tower. She moved her arm slightly, leaving a scratch on Hua Buwei's neck.
With a yelp, Hua Buwei went down on his knees and frantically searched through his sleeves. After a moment, he pulled out an enormous amount of silver coins that he handed to Han Qiu. "These silver coins are all that I have," he blubbered. Please let me go! Please!"
Han Qiu frowned at him disdainfully. "Who told you I want your silver coins?" she said. "I just want you to answer my question-- who is the teenager in the metal mask? If you can answer me, I'll let you go."
"I have no idea." Hua Buwei honestly replied.
He truly knew nothing about Zhang Ruochen, save that he must be a big figure from the Martial Market Bank. This wasn't information he could tell others by any means.
"You have no idea?"
Han Qiu kicked Hua Buwei down to the ground and pointed her sword at his face. In a threatening tone, she spoke: "Do you have any doubt that I could cripple your martial cultivation right this instant?"
"No...I don't doubt it...I'll talk, I'll talk...!"
Hua Buwei thought quickly as he sat up from the ground: "Actually, he is...the student of the Left Prime Minister from Qianshui Commandery. His name is Liu Xin."
Hu Buwei knew all about the fake identity of Liu Xin, so he told Han Qiu without hesitation.
"The student of the Left Prime Minister? If what Hua Buwei said is true, why does this teenager feel so familiar to me?" Suspicious of Hua Buwei's words, Han Qiu was lost in thought.
Seeing Han Qiu lost in thought, Hua Buwei suddenly sprang to his feet from the ground and rushed out of the alley.
He needed to arrange for the Defender Array to be destroyed; for that reason, he had no time to hang around this place.
Although it was almost impossible for him to destroy the array, he had to give it his all anyway.
Han Qiu snorted at him. "How dare you try to escape with such a low cultivation?" she said. "Freeze!"
She stretched out her arm and thrust her palm out at the air. Black Genuine Qi poured from her hand, wrapping itself around Hua Buwei, who had already run ten meters away.
Hua Buwei, seemingly trapped in a cold mire, began to run slower and slower. In the end, he could not even move; all he could do was stare at Han Qiu with a dumbfounded look. "Has she become a martial arts legend?" Han Qiu thought.
Han Qiu walked in front of Hua Buwei and stared into his eyes, using a martial technique that could disturb the mind and spirit of a warrior.
Only warriors who had activated the Sacred Mark of the Dark Series could successfully practice this uncanny technique.
"Now you will answer my questions," Han Qiu said to Hua Buwei.
The black Genuine Qi began to invade Hua Buwei's glabella. Hua Buwei's thoughts grew muddled and dull. All he could do was nod his head like a puppet.
"Who on earth is the teenager in the metal mask?" Han Qiu asked.
"I don't know." Hua Buwei replied, shaking his head.
Han Qiu frowned in disappointment. "How do you know him?" she went on to ask.
"Deacon Zhao from the Martial Market Bank asked me to bring him here," Hua Buwei replied. "He said the teenager was a respected guest."
"The Martial Market Bank!"
Han Qiu was cheered by the clue she received from Hua Buwei. "No wonder that he felt so familiar," she thought, eyes flashing. "He may be a talented internal student from the Martial Market Bank."
She continued to stare at Hua Buwei. "Why did you leave the Rosefinch Tower?" she asked. "Where are you going?"
"He is going to kill the Army-guarding Marquis. He ordered me to dispatch all the power of the Martial Market Bank in the Black Market in order to destroy the Defender Array at any cost." Hua Buwei replied.
"He intends to kill the Army-guarding Marquis in the Black Market? How daring!" Han Qiu smiled coldly, a serious look falling across her face.
If he was an internal student of the Martial Market Bank, why did he seek to kill the Army-guarding Marquis?
She was reminded of the words uttered by the mysterious teenager who had gotten an account book in the underground Secret Room. He claimed that the Square Commandery had been colluding with the Poisonous Spider Club.
Initially, Han Qiu couldn't bring herself to believe these words. However, now that she knew he was going to kill the Army-guarding Marquis in the Black Market, uncertainty filled her heart: perhaps his words were true.
Had the Square Commandery been colluding with the Poisonous Spider Club?
Han Qiu kept asking question: "Why is the Army-guarding Marquis coming to the Black Market?"
"He is prepared to sell off a city to the Poisonous Spider Club. Mr. Chen wants to search for proof that he has been colluding with the Poisonous Spider Club. That's why he's pretending to be a student of the Left Prime Minister who will meet up with the Army-guarding Marquis in preparation to buy out the city."
Han Qiu was a bit distracted by Hua Buwei's words. She stopped using her "Darkness Confusion" martial technique and clenched her fists, her eyes growing horribly cold: "Damn! How dare the Army-guarding Marquis collude with the Poisonous Spider Club? He even has the audacity to sell the city off."
The Square Commandery had been under the control of the Yuntai Suzerain this whole time.
However, the Square Commandery was now colluding with the Black Market without the permission of Yuntai Suzerain. Once the Martial Market Bank obtained the requisite evidence, it would present it to the East Region Saint Mansions.
Would the East Region Saint Mansions think that the Yuntai Suzerain was colluding with the Black Market?
This situation was by no means a trivial matter. Now that the mysterious teenager had obtained the evidence, it was just a matter of time before he sent the account book back to Devil Martial City.
How could she salvage this situation now?
Han Qiu had two options: First, she could ally with the Army-guarding Marquis to kill the mysterious teenager and seize back the account book. This way, she could simplify this complex situation before reporting it to the high-level members of the Yuntai Suzerain, who would handle everything else.
Second, she could help the mysterious teenager kill the Army-guarding Marquis, after which she could go with him to Devil Martial City and explain the whole affair to the high-level members of the Martial Market Bank-- that it was not the Yuntai Suzerain but the Square Commandery that had been colluding with the Poisonous Spider Club.
If she chose the first option, she would be forced to collude with the Black Market, even if the Yuntai Suzerain had no relations with them.
She was currently with the Black Market. If she allied with the Army-guarding Marquis to kill Zhang Ruochen, the Marquis and the Black Market masters would possibly kill her in order to stop her from revealing their secret collusions.
Weighing up all the advantages and disadvantages, Han Qiu chose the second option; she would help Zhang Ruochen kill the Army-guarding Marquis.
"Destroying the Defender Array takes top priority!" She decided in her mind.
Upon stirring awake, Hua Buwei looked at Han Qiu with astonishment. "What...what...what did I say just now?" he stuttered.
A twinkle in her eyes, Han Qiu flashed him a charming smile and walked towards the Array in the direction of the Black Market towers without any hesitation.
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