284 The Unexpected Clue

    In the Yellow Flower Alley, Craftsman Li was walking home while carrying two loads of wood carvings.

    When he spotted a handsome young man in black clothes standing before the gate of his house, he asked, "Young master, who are you looking for?"

    Meng Qi smiled. "I want to buy a wood carving."

    "No problem." Craftsman Li stayed vigilant and didn't invite Meng Qi to enter his house. He laid down his loads and pointed at the bamboo baskets. "Help yourself, young master."

    Meng Qi picked up the wood carvings and carelessly asked, "Do you have two identical wood carvings?"

    "It's impossible. Even though two can look similar, the differences are nuanced," Craftsman Li replied with a polite smile.

    "That's reasonable," Meng Qi replied suggestively. He took out the wood carving and asked, "Do you recognize this?"

    He was planning on using his Supernatural Power of Shaking Heaven and Hitting Earth to evoke Craftsman Li's memories.

    His kung fu typically wasn't good enough to evoke someone's residual Samsara memories. Even when it came to memories in this lifetime, he could use his Peace Quietude Split to evoke a person's most miserable, unforgettable, and impressive moments.

    Fortunately, it had been only 24 hours since Craftsman Li sold the wood carving yesterday, so he still remembered something. In other words, the related memories were still sitting at the shallow level of his deep Awareness sea, so they weren't difficult to be awakened.

    In addition, Meng Qi also had the wood carving as a reminder. This was helpful to evoke Craftsman Li's memorial fragments.

    There were no two word carvings that were exactly the same. When craving it, the differences were so insignificant that he hadn't remembered them. That was why he couldn't identify the word carving at once. However, it was a different story in his subconsciousness. Since the thing was so recently sold, there was a possibility of him identifying it. Besides, for a grassroots craftsman like Craftsman Li, he would only buy enough wood enough for the sale of one or two days to keep the turnover moving.

    More importantly, Craftsman Li didn't know any kung fu, so he was quite weak in defending his soul.

    But Meng Qi didn't want to be forceful and prioritized the well-being of Craftsman Li's soul and body while making his move.

    The minute Craftsman Li was about to say something, everything before him momentarily turned dark before becoming bright again. He was now standing on the street, welcoming customers. Some would stop walking to choose from his goods. Some would randomly pick a wood carving up and leave after throwing a copper. Life was the same as usual.

    Suddenly, he fixed his attention on a particular wood carving. He found that it was a little strange and different compared to the others.

    The minute this idea occurred to him, someone came to his stand and picked the wood carving up.

    Meng Qi, who was using his supernatural power, held his breath because he saw ink stains on the edge of the person's hand!

    In the note that addressed Su Meng, the Killing Blade, part of the characters were smudged. The writer had evidently accidentally touched it...

    "How much is it?" A male voice sounded in front of his ears. He looked up, wanting to answer him.

    Meng Qi stayed focused and waited to find out who it was.

    Craftsman Li turned his attention to the man in front of him. He was a young man with upturned eyes and bushy eyebrows...

    It was Jiang Tabo!

    Meng Qi was so surprised that he was almost countercharged by his supernatural power. It was Jiang Tabo, the person who was framed and whose death was later used to set Meng Qi up! It was Jiang Hengchuan's cousin!

    As all these thoughts ran through his mind, he abruptly found out the answer he had looked for. The perpetrator had claimed to have kidnapped Jiang Tabo, but Jiang Hengchuan realized he was simply under the custody of the casino after arriving in Maoling. What was more, he had collected enough money to pay off his debt and leave the casino. How did the perpetrator discovered this and lure him away In the most crucial moment? Why was Jing Tabo's expression more incredulous than frightened at that time?

    But with him dead, the clue had come to a dead end...

    Craftsman Li looked at the man beside Jiang Tabo, a middle-aged man in his 40s. With an invisible growth under his eyebrows, he wore an expensive robe and looked like somewhat haughty. He stood close to Jiang Tabo and exchanged glances with him from time to time.

    Craftsman Li quavered as his vision gradually blurred. He then saw wisps of smoke in the same dark sky. Everything was normal, but the two men in front of him had disappeared.

    "D-Don't tell me I encountered ghosts..." He was terrified but surprise soon took over him. He became overjoyed upon seeing the piece of silver in his basket. Having confirmed that the silver was genuine, he hoped that such ghosts would come and buy from him more often.

    Meng Qi headed straight for the Flower-viewing Garden after stepping out the Yellow Flower Alley. He didn't know anyone who familiar with Jiang Tabo, but he was sure that Jiang Hengchuan would know some.

    When evening approached, Jiang Hengchuan was still searching the places in the vicinity of the Wind-listening Villa. He had taken the opposite direction of the stone trail described by Meng Qi to look for the hidden man.

    "Young Master Su, did you get any lead?" Jiang Hengchuan asked excitedly when he sensed Meng Qi's arrival.

    Meng Qi nodded. "I've gone to the Yellow Flower Alley again and used some tricks to help Craftsman Li recall his memories."

    The reason why Craftsman Li was still alive was that he couldn't remember what had happened. Yet who could have guessed Meng Qi was capable of using the Supernatural Power of Shaking Heaven and Hitting Earth?

    Even among the Samsara travelers, who was capable of finding such a skill among the innumerable cultivation methods available?

    The supernatural power was just a medium-level kung fu, despite its unique effect.

    "Who was it?" Jiang Hengchuan instantly asked, surprised.

    Meng Qi gave him a description of what had happened.

    Jiang Hengchuan trembled as his face darkened. "No wonder I felt everything was so coincidental!"

    His voice demonstrated his resentment and helplessness. He had never thought that his cousin would be involved in this.

    "Brother Jiang, do you know the middle-aged man?" Meng Qi asked, steering the conversation back to the main topic.

    Jiang Hengchuan took a deep breath and his expression became normal again. "I've only met him twice but I won't mistake him for anyone else. He's a gambling buddy of Tabo, called Chu Guan. He's the Xiang host of the Dajiang Gang."

    "Dajiang Gang..." Meng Qi gasped.

    Jiang Hengchuan thought for a moment before continuing, "Since this involves the Dajiang Gang and the perpetrator is adept at laying traps, we need to be careful. We need to ask for a Green-ribbon or Silvery-badge Arrester's help and move forward openly."

    "Precisely," Meng Qi said in agreement.

    Jiang Tabo kept a low-profile and being a Green-ribbon Arrester meant he could protect himself from being framed. However, investigating Chu Guan was another thing. Chu Guan was the Xiang host of the Dajiang Gang, the top-level force in the world. If Meng Qi went to question him, he would probably end up getting killed.

    Fortunately, Jiang Hengchuan had developed a friendship with Slivery-badge Yu and Green-ribbon Dai in the local Six Fan School. They walked out and passed through the boisterous street before reaching Yamen. After briefing about what had happened, they successfully managed to invite Green-ribbon Dai Fei.

    Green-ribbon Dai then invited Chen Yasong, the Vice Chief of the Maoling branch of the Dajiang Gang. Together, the four of them rushed to Chu Guan's house.

    Being a bold and carefree person, Dai Fei scolded the perpetrator as they walked. "Someone is stirring trouble in Maoling. If I know who it is, I'll make him pay the price!"

    Chen Yasong was a Half-step Exterior Scenery master as well and was quite familiar with Dai Fei. "The chaos has been going on for several months now. What did you say you're going to do to the perpetrator?"

    He had a fair face, like a middle-aged, mild-mannered savage.

    "Isn't it because there aren't any clues available?" Dai Fei turned his head and observed Meng Qi from top to bottom. "Young Master Su, could you be talented in auguring? You actually managed to find out a clue this way. You truly deserve your reputation!"

    Meng Qi smiled. "It's just an unnoteworthy small trick."

    Ha! It was useless trying to get any information out of him!

    Though Jiang Hengchuan retained his composure, he was quiet along the way. It gave others the impression that he was anxious.

    The four walked very quickly and soon arrived at Chu Guan's house. But the place appeared quite tranquil.

    "Something must be wrong. Isn't it too quiet?" Meng Qi's face became grave.

    Chen Yasong shook his head and explained, "His wife is in their hometown, taking care of his parents. His children are all been married. What's more, he loves gambling. There's only one deaf servant at home, so it's nothing to worry about."

    "Stay on your guard," Dai Fei said, taking the opportunity to knock down Chen Yasong. He sped up his pace and instantly jumped over the wall to enter the yard. Meng Qi and the rest followed suit.

    As they landed on the ground, they heard a deeply painful scream. They rushed inside without looking at each other.

    Meng Qi was astonished. They had rushed here at an incredible speed and they had been secretive about it too. How could something happen?

    Dai Fei punched his palm and created a fierce wind, throwing the gate of the hall open. A bloody scene unfolded before them.

    An old servant was dead lying on the ground with one sword stabbed into his chest, evidently dead. Chu Guan, with a growth in one corner of his eyebrows, sat on a chair. His two hands gripped the sword that penetrated his chest, his blood spilling all over his body.

    He gazed at the four of them, resentment filling his eyes. He shrilly squealed,

    "Civil Star will avenge me..."

    He then bit his tongue and died immediately due to a deteriorating wound, leaving no time for Meng Qi to save him.

    Civil Star... His scream lingered in Meng Qi's ears as if it was saying something.

    Their face turned dark. They carefully searched the yard but found nothing.

    "There's no one nicknamed Civil Star in Jianghu! Could it be that an ancient God has resurrected?" Dai Fei asked indignantly. Both Chen Yasong and Jiang Hengchuan also appeared confused.

    Meng Qi knew the background of Civil Star, but no matter what, that was just a pseudonym. In Maoling, the person would definitely have a proper identity. But who exactly was it?

    Since he didn't tell them that he knew Civil Star, they were still clueless after their brief discussion. They decided to report this information to the headquarters in Luoyang and the Head Altar of the Dajiang Gang, hoping they could get some clues.

    They headed for their respective abodes. The next morning, Meng Qi woke up fidgety upon thinking that his investigation had come to a dead end again.

    After taking a deep breath, he stepped out his yard for a walk in the cool morning.

    He subconsciously came to the alley lined with Chinese Pagoda Trees. He saw the silver-haired old man coming out with a small stool. He got seated on the stool and started carefully carving wood with a graver.

    He was focused and devout as if he was doing the most important task in the world. Having completely plunged himself into the world of carving, it was like he was carving his own life.

    How quiet he was! The unspeakable silence calmed down Meng Qi again. He sat cross-legged and watched the man carve.

    "Young man, can I help you?" The old man lifted his head and looked at Meng Qi.

    Meng Qi didn't walk away this time and instead asked, after thinking about it, "I'm touched by your dedicated work. I can't help myself from appreciating your carving."

    This was the second time that he had such a feeling. Based on the novels that he had read, this was the prelude to meeting an expert!

    Could it be true?

    He looked forward to figuring it out as if he was unearthing a little fun.

    "You flatter me! I'm very stupid, so I have to stay focused." The old man made a joke of himself.

    Meng Qi's face twitched after hearing his answer. He changed the topic and asked, "You don't sound local judging from your accent."

    "You're right." The old man sighed. "I came here a month ago. Once I watched the Tidal Bore of the Jin River, I'll leave."

    "Tidal Bore of the Jin River? You're quite the elegant person." Meng Qi smiled.

    The expression of the old man over his 50s softened. He soulfully stared at the wood carving in his hand. It was of a woman dressed in palace garbs. "When my wife was still alive, she loved watching the Tidal Bore of the Jin River. I've been coming here to watch it every year after her death."
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