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72 Flying Serpent Insignia

    Xue'er leaned in to lift a flap of the tattered clothes. That had been stuck to the skin from congealed blood. Beneath, there was a strange insignia that looked somewhat like the curvature of a snake slithering from the bird's eye view. The mark was a wound that had been made after the man's death.

    Xue'er's eyes blanked, as though of the time that she had been in the forest, and they had encountered this on the corpses of the five people. Gan Tian Chi had said it was called the Serpent's Shadow, he seemingly has an unspoken enmity for it.

    Yet... Why had they come across the bodies, and now this here?

    Xue'er could hear a small squeak, and from the corner of her eye, she saw a little rat crawling around the corpse, its small shadow emerged and started nibbling on the foot of the corpse.

    The echo of the crunch was clearly heard as the rat's powerful jaws completely bit off the large toe, which did not let out any blood, only the mess of congealed blood that had become dark.

    Xue'er's eyes were blankly staring at the happily eating rat before a rhythmic sound of running that snapped her from her daze.

    She immediately hid behind the rotting wooden panels and dawned her dark green cloak, melding herself with the darkness.

    Not far away, she could hear the sounds of vicious dogs coming closer and closer, as though they had smelled the scent of rotting meat and flesh.

    Xue'er was somewhat dissatisfied, as a frown appeared on her face, her shadow disappeared in a flash. The shadow was formless as it disappeared into the rooftops. A person would at most feel a breeze pass by as she went past them.

    The shadow landed on a rooftop quietly and soundlessly. Xue'er's fingers curled around the edge of the roof tiles, and she perched to see what was happening below.

    She saw the two large dogs with dark, messy fur were running quickly as though they knew precisely where they were heading. Behind them was a few men on horseback, chasing after the dogs like they were searching for a type of treasure. The hooves splattering in the downpour of the rain.

    Since it was so late at night and in a season of heavy rain, there would not be a many on the streets. Their horses galloped freely on the city streets without any hinder. The men were dressed in the servants' uniform, and seemingly searching for something.

    The men on their horses mounted chased after the barking dogs. Xue'er watched as they entered the little desiccating store that she had just recently.

    There was nothing much she could do, except silently looking at their figures as they entered.

    It was not long before the smell of bile permeated the air and made its way to her nose that she turned around to leave.

    She took off her cloak, before resuming her lonely walk under the rain. For a while, her world was filled with nothingness, but the calming sound of falling rain. Walking here, one would feel the urge to fall asleep so quickly. In the cool waters that were descending from the heavens.

    Yet at the same time, it was not nourishing anything, only drowning everything in sight.

    She had not yet been able to foresee the future like Gan Tian Chi, but she could tell that such rains were not stopping soon, like many of the wishful souls of the town wanted.

    Xue'er's eyes became increasing empty as she entered the inn. She could see owner Chao sitting behind the front desk as usual.

    [Does he always sit here like this?] A thought flashed in Xue'er's mind as she walked up the stairs, all dripping wet, holding a cloak that was perfectly dry, free from a single droplet of loose water.

    Perhaps people may see her as crazy, keeping an inanimate object that should have been keeping her safe from the water dry, while she herself had gotten wet. What a strange reversed roles it had become.

    Yet she did not mind. This was the first time a person had made clothing specifically tailored to her size, and not steal it from a faraway village in hopes that distance would keep something at bay.

    Once inside the room, she placed the cloak into a plain wooden chest.

    Xue'er could not do much about what people thought,  but she simply did not care at all. Taking one last look at the cloak that lay in the chest, before she closed the lid and went to bed.

    ~

    In the Hundred Flower Hall, madam Lu had just been disturbed by the servants.

    For the servants to have dared to disturb her in the middle of a glorious entertainment night. The matter must have been too large for them to handle.

    "What? Shop Owner Ma died, and was heavily tortured?" madam Lu was finally awake after she got the news.

    The servant who reported the news kept his head down. Preparing himself to get hit by madam Lu, yet it didn't seem to happen. It seems that this matter was way too important.

    "Bring me to see his body." madam Lu ordered.

    "Yes!" The servants quickly scrambled to prepare a carriage for madam Lu.

    Since it was too inconvenient to bring the body of Ma Wei to the Hundred Flower Hall, because of the guest that were being entertained there currently, it was madam Lu who had to leave discreetly through the backdoor.

    She could not escape the guest who were trying to latch onto her sleeves, asking why the girl they preferred was currently serving some other man.

    She could be considered an experienced brothel madam, not losing her composure or even her cool to the guests. She referred the lecherous men to some fresh flowers of the Hundred Flower Hall, praising them to the skies, thus the men were unable to refuse and stopped bothering her.

    While she was courteous to the men, they were paying customers. The same could not be said to those that were serving under her.

    The carriage ride was tense, as everyone knew that madam Lu's mood had gone sour, and there was no telling what she might do.
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