Tonight’s moon was especially round.
The moonlight shone splendid and like muslin, draping over the Qing Mao Mountain.
The Treasure Brass Toad would travel a hundred meters with every hop. Due to its leaping method to move forward, the precipitous and narrow mountain path was unable to serve as a limitation or hindrance to it.
Jia Fu and his crew sat on the back of the Treasure Brass Toad. After exiting the Gu Yue Village, they once again headed towards the merchant caravan’s direction.
The wind blew past their ears, and their view followed the Treasure Brass Toad as it moved up and down.
The moonlight shone on everyone’s faces and they all looked solemn, while Jia Fu’s face was cold as ice.
After a while, a close subordinate could not stand this atmosphere and asked Jia Fu, “Master, what are we going to do now? Jia Jin Sheng’s death, once master returns, how will you answer to old master? Should we find a scapegoat first…”
Jia Fu shook his head, but avoided the question, “Do you know the story of Ren Zu?”
The subordinate was stunned, not expecting this answer. At once he did not know how to reply.
Jia Fu continued, “Ren Zu had the Rules and Regulation Gu, and could capture all the ten thousand Gu in the world, obtaining strength but losing wisdom. At that point his net still contained three Gu. He opened and saw that they were the Attitude Gu, Belief Gu and Suspicion Gu respectively. Ren Zu was unwilling to let them go, thus the three Gu could only bet with him. Once Ren Zu opens the net, they would run out in three different directions, and whoever is captured by Ren Zu would be subdued. Guess, who did Ren Zu capture in the end?”
The trusted aide thought, and answered, “It’s the Attitude Gu!”
“Do you know why?” Jia Fu asked. The loyal subordinate shook his head.
Jia Fu laughed, “Because attitude means everything. No matter if father ‘believes’ or ‘suspects’, I have already displayed my ‘attitude’. Jia Jin Sheng went missing, and I immediately conducted investigations in the caravan. Once I had a clue, I rushed towards the Gu Yue clan without stop. At the village, I risked the danger of being attacked by them and interrogated them on the spot. I did not even sit down, and to prove Fang Yuan’s words, I went as far as to use the Rank four Bamboo Gentleman.”
“Once I get back, I will even spend a ton of money to employ the divine investigator, inviting Tie Leng Xue to investigate this matter. Regardless of whether Jia Jin Sheng is dead or alive, as his brother I have already done all that I should, my attitude shows everything! I have thought it through earlier, we do not need a scapegoat. We shall go back in this honest state, because I was not at fault for this matter! Finding a scapegoat, that might just be a trap by Jia Gui. If I can find a scapegoat, he can also find someone to overturn the case.”
His subordinate was shocked and said, “Master, you really suspect that young master Jia Gui was behind this?”
“Hmph, who else but him can do something so perfectly?” Saying so, Jia Fu’s face distorted, anger bursting from his eyes, “Before this, I was thinking about our blood relationship and did not do such a thing to him. But since he is so devious, I will have to pay him back an eye for an eye, don’t blame me for being unscrupulous!”
He did not know that far away in a distant place, there were a pair of eyes sending him off.
Fang Yuan stood on the hillside as he silently watched.
The view tonight was truly spectacular.
The golden yellow, round moon was high up in the night sky, shining so brightly that the entire earth was lit bright.
The nearby green mountains were verdant and lush, all kinds of flora growing about. The Man Mountain’s pine and cypress trees, as well as the Qing Mao Mountain’s distinctive green spear bamboo grew in continuous clumps, cluster after cluster. A wide expanse of dark green colour poured down in torrents from the mountaintop and flowed down to the foot of the mountain.
Faraway mountains ranged endlessly, forming a muddled heavy black shadow under the moonlight.
The tortuous and entwined mountain road resembled goat intestines as it meandered into the distance, occasionally sheltered away by the forest, stretching out all the way.
Jia Fu and his group sat atop the Treasure Brass Toad, following the mountain road as they moved forward. As they continued on the leaping toad, their figures were finally covered away by the trees.
Although the mountain terrain could not affect the Treasure Brass Toad’s speed, Jia Fu did not dare to recklessly cut through Qing Mao mountain, for if he barges into a monster horde, even with his Rank four cultivation he would still not come out unscathed. Hence following the mountain trail and moving forward is the best path.
Not long ago, Fang Yuan was standing on the hill holding an umbrella, sending the caravan off. But now he was here again, watching Jia Fu leave.
“The trouble from killing Jia Jin Sheng is finally settled.” He eyes were dark and remote while his heart was calm, a bout of peacefulness.
Even since he killed Jia Jin Sheng that night, he had been considering how to tie the loose ends.
He was clear that without base or support, if the truth was revealed, the Gu Yue clan would definitely sacrifice him. But if he just hid it blindly, the truth was bound to get exposed one day.
A smart way to lie, is to have truth and lies, some truth in his lies, and some lies in his truth.
He had to direct the trouble elsewhere!
This incident was like a chess game with two sides against each other. One side is Jia Fu’s caravan, while the other is the Gu Yue clan. In this incident, be it Gu Yue Bo, the academy elder or Jia fu, they were all pawns, heck even Fang Yuan himself was just a pawn.
To protect the pawn that represents himself, he had to use the two opposing sides and find a chance in between.
Few days ago, Fang Yuan had already started plotting.
He first made use of those two guards to come up with a good show with the academy elder at the academy. Next he hid the existence of the Liquor worm and stirred the curiosity of the clansman, gaining great attention, attracting the higher-ups. Simultaneously, he allowed the academy elder to hold private investigations.
Next, he extorted his classmates and expressed his rashness, wildness and displeasure towards the clan, “showing weakness” to the Gu Yue higher-ups.
Then he counted the days and waited for Jia Fu.
During the interrogation he displayed his immaturity and fear, which allowed him to lead the other’s thoughts by the nose. Letting them find out the “truth”.
Lastly he made use of the Gu Yue clan and Jia Fu’s opposing interests, and turned the academy elder who was suspicious of him and held investigations, into his eye witness.
The Bamboo Gentleman was a small unexpected accident, but it was still a Rank four Gu and under the Spring Autumn Cicada’s aura, the Bamboo Gentleman ironically became Fang Yuan’s greatest evidence.
Finally, Fang Yuan not only explained perfectly where he got the Liquor worm, but also pushed the blame to the innocent Jia Gui, while he himself got out of this incident without losing a hair.
“Academy elder was asked to stay behind, it seems that Gu Yue Bo is going to interfere in the academy’s matters and get rid of the plan to pressurize me. With his nature, he does have this tolerance. But his real motive isn’t me, it should probably be Fang Zheng. One of my motives for blowing up the matter was to stir a commotion and make the higher-ups notice. If Gu Yue Bo doesn’t show up, there will still be Gu Yue Mo Chen and Chi Lian who would come out to defend their reputation.”
“As for Jia Fu, he should be certain that Jia Gui is the culprit now. With the flames of revenge burning in his chest, hehe, I am looking forward to it. With my interference, their sibling conflict would be elevated. I wonder if that Gu Master competition would be brought forward?”
“Oh yes, there is still that divine investigator Tie Leng Xue. Tie Leng Xue… hmph.” Fang Yuan repeated this name, and after half a beat, lightly smiled, “Among the righteous path, this is indeed a character. Unfortunately he is riddled with official business and has a tight schedule. For this matter, it is not easy to get him to come. Jia Fu wants to show his attitude thus he has to invite him, but the time is hard to gauge, at the very least it should be arranged in two to three year’s time.”
In two to three years, he would have Rank two or three cultivation. By then, life would be in a completely different sight.
The night wind blew over with the fresh cool air of the mountains, penetrating with a kind of fragrance.
Fang Yuan breathed in, feeling more refreshed.
He looked into the distance, his field of view wide. The unrestrained mountains were picturesque, looking tranquil and auspicious under the moon.
“The bright moon illuminates among pines, the clear spring flows upon stone.” Fang Yuan lightly recited, he could not help but think of a verse from a fable from Earth.
There were a group of monkeys that pursued the moon. They saw the moon in the well, and they wanted to fish it up. The monkey from behind grabbed hold of the tail of the monkey before it, and the monkey before it grabbed ahold of the monkey in front of him. Thus this went on repeatedly until the first monkey was able to touch the water surface of the well.
Once it stretched out its hand, the water rippled and the moon disappeared.
People in this world were like this. They would see the reflection of the moon, and think that it is the real thing.
Not knowing it was just the moon in the well, the moon in their eyes, or simply the moon in their hearts.
“In this life I hope to become the real moon, rising above the mountains and heavens, toying with the clouds and seas, following the ancient times and walk in the darkness above the various heavens.” Fang Yuan’s eyes were crystal clear, and the beautiful green mountains were reflected on his pupils.
On the hill, the thin body of a teenager stood silently.
A golden moon wheel shaped like a disk suspended high in the night sky.
It has existed since ancient times, travelling through the night sky, casting the small shadow of the teenager faintly onto the limestones.