Chapter 91 What Kind of Man Li Mu Is?
It had been four days since those disciples of Taibai Sword Faction were missing. People took all kinds of guesses about their disappearance. Still, no one expected to see those disciples return to the faction as a pile of corpses.
“We’ve done the basic investigation and learned that their bodies were delivered from the county government.” One of the swordsmen reported.
“What? County government? Could it be…” A disciple asked in disbelief.
“We’ve examined the bodies. They were all killed with a broadsword. Someone murdered them with one blow each.”
“Broadsword? Could the killer be that lunatic called Duan Shuiliu from the county government?”
“It must be him. No one else is capable of killing Brother Lu and the other three brothers at once! Not to mention he did it with only one strike!”
In the hall, each of the disciples of Taibai Sword Faction was enraged. They found it almost impossible to rein in their fury now.
All they could think was the clues that pointed towards the county government.
“Enough, everyone. I say you should all visit the county government right off, to seek justice for your dead brothers. I’m positive that Duan Shuiliu is the killer. Even though he is a fellow brother of County Magistrate Li, he is subject to the laws and rules of the empire. If the current laws and rules fail to punish him, for the sake of the real law adherents, you can claim justice with your Taibai Swords!”
Surprisingly, a wrathful-faced Zhou Zhenhai emerged from the throng and made such a speech.
Upon hearing those words, other disciples of Taibai Sword Faction immediately echoed in agreement.
“Uncle Zhou is right!”
“We will get back at the killer!”
Fuming, the disciples burst into roars of justified indignation.
At that moment, they heard more footsteps.
The white-haired Zhou Zhenyue brought a dozen of Taibai Sword Faction’s disciples in. Apparently, they all got the news and hurried to the Righteous Manor.
“Elder Zhou!” cried a disciple in the hall.
“Elder, brother Lu and the other three, they…”
“Elder, what on earth are we waiting for during the past several days?” Another disciple moaned impatiently.
“Yeah, Elder Zhou, you have to avenge Brother Lu and the other three!”
“Elder Zhou, we’ve figured this out. The culprit has to be Li Mu. He did a secret move and assassinated Brother Lu and the others. That Li Mu, well, is as cold-blooded as a vampire. He used to capture those in the martial arts circle to blackmail them. What a crazy man! Brother Lu and the other three disciples must have not submitted to his threats and refused to write the letter asking for ransom, and that was why they got killed. But Li Mu forgot that our Taibai Sword Faction is not a weak faction that can be trampled upon. We will not let the matter or him get away!” A disciple suggested with indignation.
With the arrival of that elder of the outer school, the disciples of Taibai Sword Faction became even more adrenalized with excitement.
All the members of Taibai Sword Faction had been keeping an eye on the events in Taibai County.
Although Li Mu did not target them directly because of their good behavior in the county, his savage moves still did not sit well with those disciples. After all, they all deemed themselves as men living in Jianghu.
Zhou Zhenyue growled. The profuse internal qi emanated from his voice quaked the tiles on the roof of the Righteous Manor like a thunderclap.
Instantly, the disciples of the Taibai Sword Faction all shut up.
Zhou Zhenyue glanced everyone with his sharp eyes before saying, “How can you guys achieve anything with that hot temper? Do you still recall the warning that your master gave you? Jianghu is always a more dangerous place than you can imagine. Before you left the mountains to adventure in Jianghu, your master must have told you to be calm no matter what happened. You can’t get flustered by every unexpected incident and lose your mind. Otherwise, the next victim could probably be you.”
He said the remarks quite harshly.
Feeling ashamed, those restless disciples all lowered their heads.
Then, Zhou Zhenyue strode over to the corpses of the four disciples and bent over to carefully check their gashes.
At that sight, Zhou Zhenhai, who had been standing in a corner, felt a little guilty.
He was deeply perturbed, afraid that his birth brother might notice something was wrong.
A moment later, Zhou Zhenyue straightened up and then cast a glance at all the disciples in the hall.
“You should all take a look. Look carefully. Then, think about it before you tell me your conclusions.”
Ordered Zhou Zhengyue expressionlessly.
Therefore, the disciples of Taibai Sword Faction began to take turns to examine the corpses.
Those disciples who yelled the most emotionally also followed suit, though their reluctance was written on their faces.
“Big bro, it certainly is that Li Mu. He must have put Duan Shuiliu to this murder. Those disciples’ judgment is correct. Li Mu is a scum, a vampire. He is surely capable of doing such a nasty thing.” Zhou Zhenhai edged towards his birth brother and tried to convince him.
Zhou Zhenyue shot him a look but did not reply.
“Big bro, Li Mu is the kind of guy who dares to defy every law and regulation. There is nothing he won’t do. Back then, he killed my son with the same method, not prying into the hows and whys of the matter at all. Oh, my poor boy. He poured his life into attending to the affairs in Taibai County, but did not have a decent ending. We even didn’t find all the pieces of his body…”
As he brought up the old case, Zhou Zhenhai burst into tears.
Immersed in the tragedy of losing his child, his sorrowful face now looked rather pitiful. Several disciples around him also started to wipe their tears.
In the past few days, Zhou Zhenhai was very nice and warm to every other disciple. He deliberately created an image of a kind old man who was lonely after losing his son and got on good terms with those innocent disciples of Taibai Sword Faction. Therefore, many of them felt pity for him.
Now, with he in tears again, those disciples’ the hatred towards Li Mu deepened further.
At the scene, Zhou Zhenyue also breathed a sigh. His stern face softened a little.
The words that were on the tip of his tougue were quickly swallowed back.
After all, Zhou Zhenghai was his birth brother.
And Zhou Wu, the victim, was his nephew, a very promising young man who could have been the next one to lead the Zhou Family.
In truth, Zhou Zhenyue did not agree with those things Zhou Zhenhai and his son did inside Taibai County over the years. He was also well aware of what kind of guys the two were. As such, he had been keeping a distance from them whenever it was possible. However, he could not deny that they were family to him.
Shortly, all the disciples had finished examining the bodies.
The conclusion they had was unanimously the same as before.
Those men were killed with a broadsword, dead after one strike.
Zhou Zhenyue nodded and then clarified, “You only got half of the truth. Lu Yun and the other three certainly was killed with a broadsword. And it’s also true that the killer took their lives with only one strike. However, they didn’t really die in a face-to-face battle. Instead, they were attacked unprepared. Before they died, they had already been doped, so their combat ability declined sharply.”
“As to how I came to that conclusion, you guys can sort it out by yourselves. The techniques I employed are simply those your seniors taught you. Everyone, bear this in mind: never jump to the conclusion. When you analyze anything, you must see through the phenomenon and try to observe its nature.”
Zhou Zhenyue added.
Some disciples took those words seriously, while some did not.
Nonetheless, Zhou Zhenyue did not bother to make further explanations.
“But Elder Zhou, I don’t think your words proved anything else, did they?” A female disciple asked boldly.
Zhou Zhenyue cast a quick look at her and answered, “Well, you’ve seen a lot and heard a lot in the county these days. Tell me, from your perspectives, what kind of man Li Mu is on earth?”
“A vampire! Villain! Kidnapper! Blood-thirsty maniac!” Someone called out.
Zhou Zhenyue did not contradict him but asked again, “What else do you have?”
“He is very strong and powerful.” Someone shouted out his answer.
“Quite greedy.” Another added.
“Protective towards his own men.”
“He… has no scruples. He is a psychotic, dare to upset anyone and never consider the consequences.”
A couple of disciples offered more answers.
Zhou Zhenyue nodded. Then, he probed again, “Any more opinions?”
“Er… it seems that… folks in Taibai County support him a lot.” A small voice broke the silence.
“Get away! That’s just… just because those stupid folks are deceived by him. One day, they will see his true color.” Another disciple countered.
“But, well, his strength is truly strong. He is still very young. I wonder how he obtained such a high cultivation base.” A girl commented hesitantly.
“He is arrogant and unbridled.” Another man chimed in.
Soon, the atmosphere became more lively and almost every disciple voiced their views on Li Mu’s nature.
Each one was sort of different from the others.
But they all shared several points: first, Li Mu had very amazing strength; second, he was very pompous and greedy, always operated in a quite aggressive way.
“You are right on all these points. He is indeed arrogant, overweening, powerful, and avaricious… But have ever you considered whether it’s reasonable for a man like Li Mu to launch a sneak attack upon a handful of disciples whose was obviously not his match? Could he dope them beforehand to make sure his sneak attack succeed?” Zhou Zhenyue questioned with a bland tone.
Stammered the disciples, who were stupified at those questions.
Some of them were eager to blurt out some retort. But when they tried, they found the words failed them.
Because a subtle voice in their mind told them that what Elder Zhou just said did make sense.
To say the least, the description of Li Mu’s character was made and agreed by all of them.
On the other hand, Zhou Zhenhai, who was still playing the role of a heartbroken whimpering old man, was already filled with panic and anxiety.
By that moment, the whole thing had gone out of his control.
“When did my birth brother get so smart?” He could not help but wonder.
It suddenly struck him that during the past days all the people around him were ordinary disciples of Taibai Sword, Faction, who, in his opinion, were a bunch of ardent but reckless young men. He knew they were still dreaming about becoming some chivalrous expert, and had all the merits as well as shortcomings of all the other ambitious young cultivators.
However, he was never close to the high-level of Taibai Sword Faction. He even didn’t seize any chance to get to know his birth brother. Perhaps, the lack of high-level contacts caused him to miscalculate the current situation?
Ignoring the astonished disciples, Zhou Zhenyue continued, “We can put that aside for a moment. Now, let think about another question. If Li Mu or Duan Shuiliu truly killed Lu Yun and the other three, why did they send their bodies to the Righteous Manor? Wouldn’t they be worried that we might find out the truth?”
Again, those emotional young disciples were dumbstruck.
“Yeah. Why did he do that?” They began to doubt their original theory.
“Why not destroy the bodies and just let them evaporated from the world? Wouldn’t that be a safer plan?”
“Perhaps… perhaps he did this to provoke us. He could do this on purpose.” A female disciple, who was full of sympathy and had shed tons of tears for the poor Zhou Zhenhai a moment ago, spoke tentatively. “After all, Li Mu is an extremely conceited frantic. It’s possible that he’d like to upset our Taibai Sword Faction.”
Zhou Zhenyue threw a glance at that female disciple.
He knew her. She was Zhao Ling, one of the ‘six geniuses’ among the outer disciples of Taibai Sword Faction.
Zhao Ling was at the sweet age of sixteen. She not only had elegant features but a knack of learning martial arts. Given that she had a high level of proficiency in swordsmanship and an outstanding cultivation of internal qi, the seniors of the faction thought very highly of her and paid her extra attention. Growing up within Taibai Sword Faction, she became a simple and persistent girl who had almost no experience of real life. Thus, her kindness could be easily taken advantage of.
As Zhao Ling caught the look Zhou Zhenyue darted her, she felt her heart pounding faster. Still, she kept her head high and insisted, “Elder Zhou, I… I think that is definitely possible. As you know, Li Mu is a despicable, overbearing nutjob.”
Zhou Zhenyue then flickered his eyes onto other disciples.
One of them who was known for his quick thinking rubbed his temples and inquired, “But, Sister Zhao, if he really wanted to piss us off, he could totally hang the bodies up in front of the county office or send them straight to us. Wouldn’t that be more provoking and less troublesome? However, he didn’t do any of it. Can you tell me why?”
“Er…” Zhao Ling fell speechless at that question.
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