A sense of danger they had never experienced before was now resting on the Dragonteeth Guard’s heads.
Upon seeing Vice Director Zhou and Vice Director Qi begin to speak but then hesitate, Shangguan Yi waved his hands. “Forget it, don’t say anything for now. Since this matter has already happened, there must be a reason for it. The only thing we can do is to prescribe the right remedy for the illness and sacrifice our face to inquire what the situation is.”
“Indeed, even if we die, we must at least go down knowing why.”
“This is the only way to proceed.”
Shangguan Yi nodded. “I have some relations with Elder Fei, I will go pay him a personal visit. Old Qi, you go visit Elder Ning. Remember, do not intentionally bow and scrape, but don’t put on any airs as well. We must at least understand the reason behind all this. If it’s our fault, then we will bear responsibility. If it’s not our fault, then we don’t need to compromise out of consideration for general interest. Understood?”
Having said his piece, Shangguan Yi’s gaze once again turned to Vice Director Zhou, “Elder Zhou, Shi Xiaoyao’s temper is eccentric, you need to take more on your shoulders.”
Zhou Kai nodded, “I’m already old and won’t bother with arguments. If it is indeed the fault of our Dragonteeth Guard, we’ll shoulder the brunt of the responsibility. If they wish to suppress us, our Dragonteeth Guard isn’t an easy target for them either.”
“Alright, this matter should not be delayed so let’s split up and set out.” Shangguan gave an order.
Qi Tiannan had already stood at the doors to Elder Ning’s yard for almost half an hour before footsteps sounded from within. “Vice Director Qi, apologies for keeping you waiting. The elder of my house was having her beauty sleep just now and no one dared disturb her. She’s awake now and feels quite apologetic that Vice Director Qi has been waiting outside for half an hour. She has already thoroughly lectured us subordinates. Please come in, come in.”
Although Qiao Baishi had yet to bring about Elder Ning’s wish, Elder Ning was already treating him as her most competent assistant now.
Qi Tiannan flicked a glance at Qiao Baishi and thought that although this person looked unfamiliar, and he had never seen him before, he had no time to think too much about it.
“Director Qi, my underlings didn’t know any better and kept you waiting.” Elder was rather polite and friendly, her voice a bit lazy from having just woken up.
“Oh, none of that. I, Old Qi, didn’t have the heart to disturb Elder Ning’s beauty sleep. It is a grave encroachment to disturb one’s sweet dreams.”
“Hehe, Director Qi is still so considerate.” Elder Ning said with a smile as her slender hands played with the velvet fan she was holding.
“Elder Ning, I, old Qi, wouldn’t have come if I didn’t have something to ask of you. I dare ask one question, have I, old Qi, somehow offended the Southern Palace in some regard?”
“Given offense? What are you talking about?” Elder Ning’s charming eyes widened with innocence. “Director Qi and I have had a relationship spanning back many years, and the way you comport yourself and handle matters has always been my role model.”
“Then.” Qi Tiannan was a bit depressed. “But we truly do need that shipment. And to return the funds we owe you tomorrow, that really is…”
Elder Ning shook her head. “I am willing to help but unable to do so in this matter.”
Seeing that Elder Ning had’s expression had suddenly turned hostile, Qi Tiannan understood that he must have offended this madam somehow.
“Elder Ning, you know the character of I, old Qi. Please speak candidly. Have I offended you somehow? If so, I, old Qi, am willing to apologize for my wrongdoing. Even if we can’t conduct business, kindheartedness and justice still exists. I, old Qi, have always greatly admired Elder Ning.”
“Do you really want me to speak candidly?” Elder Ning asked indifferently.
“Please, I await a frank word.”
“Director Qi, you were right just now, even if we can’t do business, our relationship still exists. However, I’ve discovered that you Dragonteeth Guards do not speak of kindheartedness or justice at all. I have a friend who was robbed on the streets and accidentally killed the robber in self defense. He was thrown into the Black Dungeons without any forethought by the Dragonteeth Guard. I wrote a note on my friend’s behalf, but the note was ripped up and I was greatly humiliated. Something about how I, a mere elder of the Southern Palace, had no right to inquire after a case that the Dragonteeth Guard was handling.”
Elder Ning became more and more angered the more she spoke. “I’d like to ask, is this how you Dragonteeth Guard handles cases? Justified self defense was turned into a murder and resulted in confinement in the Black Dungeons. Alright, since I cannot reason with you with logic and my pleas are useless, then this is easy. I’m paying no heed to this matter. You Dragonteeth Guard don’t come begging to me either. If it comes down to it, we’ll take our own paths in the future!”
“What?” Qi Tiannan was no longer coolly composed. He widened his eyes, “Something like this happened?”
Qiao Baishi added fuel to the flame on the side, “Would the elder of my house accuse you for no reason at all? That Lu surnamed fellow not only tore up my elder’s note, but he also humiliated my elder. Director Qi, if it was a disciple of my Southern Palace who lacked intelligence instead, would you feel at ease?”
“Lu surnamed fellow? Lu Wuji?” Qi Tiannan suddenly thought of someone and seemed to understand something in that moment. When it came to this Lu Wuji, he was someone who cared little for laws and rules. If this happened to anyone else, Qi Tiannan might have been a bit skeptical. But since this had happened to Lu Wuji, he was instantly seventy to eighty percent convinced.
Lu Wuji was renowned for being domineering within the Dragonteeth Guard due to his uncle being one of the vice directors of the Dragonteeth Guard.
“I don’t know what’s his name, just that the Dragonteeth Guard calls him General Lu. Is he called Lu Wuji? He’s just as his name says, running wild and amuck.” Qiao Baishi jeered mercilessly.
Qi Tiannan found it difficult to sit still. If this matter was as depicted, then the Dragonteeth Guard had truly been too impolite.
According to law, there was no need to bear any punishment for killing someone in justified self defense.
When justified self defense was treated as a murder case and the defender was thrown into the Black Dungeons, this was a gross mistake in itself.
Elder Ning had sent over a note and not only had Lu Wuji ripped it to shreds, but he’d also made impertinent remarks that Elder Ning was a woman and thus was innately selfishly oversensitive! If it had been him, Qi Tiannan, in her shoes, he likely wouldn’t have been able to accept this either.
A dignified elder had been humiliated like this, no wonder she had been so enraged.
“Elder Ning, I will immediately go back and investigate this matter. If that Lu Wuji was really such a bastard, then my general director will for surely have an explanation for this. Will you give me half a day’s time?”
Elder Ning’s jade hand lighted patted her mouth. “I’ve slept for a while, but why do I still feel so tired?”
Qi Tiannan hurriedly stood up, “Old Qi will be taking my leave now. We will be sure to give Elder Ning a satisfactory response for this matter within a day’s time.”
The Myriad Treasures Palace, Shi Xiaoyao’s yard.
“Old Zhou, if it wasn’t for your elderly age, I wouldn’t even let you drink the wine you’re drinking today.” Shi Xiaoyao had a belly full of anger and spoke through gritted teeth.
Zhou Kai could only smile obsequiously. “Old brother Shi, just what has caused you so much anger? Our two houses have always enjoyed an amicable partnership. Why…”
“Why?” Shi Xiaoyao laughed coldly. “Old Zhou, you’ve also lived a great number of years. If one of the disciples of my Palace suddenly slapped you in the face, what would you think?”
“Slapped my face?” Zhou Kai was bewildered.
“Don’t play dumb with me. Your Dragonteeth Guard has quite some abilities huh? Grasping military power in your hands, running around wildly with abandon, respecting not even the king. You arrest who you want and kill who you want. You decide cases however you want to. You’re certainly the strongest power in the kingdom alright.”
Zhao Kai broke out in a cold sweat the more he listened. Shi Xiaoyao’s words were actually all laced with freezing irony and burning satire. What did this mean? This meant that there were raging fires of anger within his belly.
“Old brother Shi, don’t beat around the bush. Killing someone is par for the course. See, old brother, I come with much sincerity this time to understand the situation. Is it that one of my men was immature and offended you? Just tell me and I’ll administer beatings and punishments appropriately when I go back.”
“Beatings? Punishments? How would I dare? How would I dare inquire about the matters of your Dragonteeth Guard? How would I dare interfere? I may very well be thrown into the Black Dungeons instead.” Shi Xiaoyao said exaggeratedly.
Zhou Kai had finally gleaned a bit of meaning from all this. It looked like one of the Dragonteeth Guard underlings had committed a thoughtless act and utterly infuriated Shi Xiaoyao.
“Old brother Shi, please speak candidly. Which idiot offended you? I’ll haul him in front of you and if it’s his fault, it’s your call if you wish to beat or kill him.”
“Beat or kill him? Old Zhou, do you think I’m one of your Dragonteeth Guards? I don’t have your power and prestige. The representative I sent was almost beaten to death by your Dragonteeth Guard.”
Despite how it seemed that Shi Xiaoyao hit and cursed at his underlings on a whim, he was actually extremely prejudiced in their favor. Feng Yan was someone he’d sent and thus represented Shi Xiaoyao’s face.
Feng Yan had almost been beaten by Lu Wuji — this was undoubtedly a slap to his, Shi Xiaoyao’s, face.
“Director Zhou, as a junior, I originally have no right to speak. However, that Lu Wuji of your Dragonteeth Guard is truly too outrageous. He doesn’t look at the evidence when he handles cases and twisted justified self defense into a murder case. As an eyewitness, I also count as a witness. But when I went to talk to him on my head’s orders, I was almost beaten up by him.”
Feng Yan felt resentful and continued, “If you want to beat me, then fine, I’m just a puny disciple. But he dared speak impertinently and say that no one could interfere when the Dragonteeth Guard was handling cases just because they wanted to. Does this mean that the head of my house couldn’t even go discuss this with him? He was mishandling a case that involved a friend of the head of my house and we couldn’t even ask after it?”
Zhou Kai finally understood where the crux of the problem. Lu Wuji!
Zhou Kai was a believer when he heard these two words. He raised the cup in front of him, “Old brother Shi, I punish myself with this cup of wine and apologise in advance to you. I will immediately go back and investigate this matter. If matters are as how this little brother has said, I will not sit idly by. My Dragonteeth Guard will also give you a satisfactory explanation.”
At the heart of this matter, Shi Xiaoyao was still making a point about face. Zhou Kai didn’t dare to linger. He knew that Lu Wuji was a lawless fellow. If he sealed that mishandled case in stone and caused the death of the person in the Black Dungeons, then this matter would completely blow up in their faces. It’d be impossible to reconcile with the Myriad Treasures Palace then even if they wanted to.
Qi Tiannan and Zhou Kai were relatively fortunate. Shangguan Yi ran into much worse treatment compared to them. The eccentric old man Elder Fei had an even more fiery temper than Shi Xiaoyao. Shangguan Yi didn’t even make it through the door of his room. Elder Fei only had his underlings leave one sentence behind, “If even a hair is missing on Jiang Chen’s head, then he would make ten thousand heads roll from the Dragonteeth Guard!”
“Jiang Chen?” Shangguan Yi only ever inquired after big matters and was actually less familiar with this name compared to his men.
After all, the current level Jiang Chen was at was a bit too low for him. He’d yet to reach the level in which Shangguan Yi would concern himself with.
“Jiang Chen? This name seems a bit familiar. Is he Elder Fei’s relative or something? Oh dear, can it be that my Guard has arrested this Jiang Chen and…”
Shangguan Yi became a bit anxious when his thoughts travelled here.