The voice from beneath the black robe was calm. “Chief manager still hasn’t found any clues?”
“We have, but when the suspect dies any clues we have usually come to a dead end. If there is something we can investigate, it is most likely the 20 assassins that tried to kill you on the street. Perhaps the person manipulating things behind the scenes also knows how bad it looks to try and kill you publicly like that, but they will need to give an account of their actions, even if it is only to keep the mouths of others from flapping.” Chief Manager Wu’s complexion turned ugly. “Mister Ning, do you know where our clues finally led us to? It is an escort company within the capital city, one that relies on orders from Sea Spirit Pavilion to earn a profit. That’s right, it is the own business of our Sea Spirit Pavilion!”
To look up the source of the assassins and find that they were coming from his own house, it was no surprise that Chief Manager Wu was so angry.
Qin Yu shook his head. “It looks like whoever wants to kill me is extremely meticulous.”
Chief Manager Wu quietly said, “Mister Ning, rest assured that with the black riders outside, no one would dare to come in. As long as you stay here, I can personally guarantee that no one will ever manage to harm you.”
Time was unpredictable. Sometimes it was unbearably long and sometimes it rushed like a raging river, passing by in an instant.
On the third day.
Sea Spirit Pavilion looked no different than any other day, but the internal defenses were on the highest alert possible. Even the sewer pipes deep undergrounded were being guarded against any foul scent. But, the countless methods that had been used in the past two days seemed to have vanished without a trace. As the Sea Spirit Pavilion guards saw everything remain calm and uneventful even at noon, they all glanced at each other with confusion. Could the other party have given up?
Chief Manager Wu coldly sneered. He strengthened their defenses, believing this was a plan from their enemies to lower their guards. Until the finals ended, they could not lower their vigilance in the least.
But on this day, there were no more assassination attempts. Instead, a guest came requesting to visit Mister Ning.
Chief Manager Wu personally handled this. It was unknown what the other party said, but he had an incredibly grim complexion. He roared several times and pulled out a spirit shell. After a short conversation he hung up and took a deep breath. “I will go and ask Grandmaster Ning. You had best guarantee that there are no problems.”
The visitor was bald with a large belly, just like a happy buddha-like figure. His small eyes were calm and nonchalant. Since he was willing to come here, he clearly didn’t care about such threats. He cupped his hands together and said, “I will have to trouble chief manager over this.”
Chief Manger Wu left in a huff. He soon arrived on the seventh floor and knocked on the door.
Leon opened the door before respectfully moving to the side.
Qin Yu wasn’t cultivating. While Sea Spirit Pavilion had tight defenses, it was always best to be careful. He glanced over, a light flashing in his eyes. “Chief manager, is there a problem?”
Chief Manager Wu opened his mouth, a bit unsure of what to say. He bitterly smiled. “Mister Ning, I came here to invite you to see a guest.”
Qin Yu furrowed his eyebrows.
Chief Manager Wu quickly explained, “Someone has a Sea Spirit Card that my master issued in the past. I ask that Mister Ning please come and visit the holder of the Sea Spirit Card. The Sea Spirit Card is a special token that my master sent out at the founding of Sea Spirit Pavilion as thanks for all the help received. With this special token, one can ask Sea Spirit Pavilion to agree to certain conditions.
“These past years, the Sea Spirit Cards have been taken back one after another. I never imagined that this other party would have managed to obtain one for themselves, and my master cannot walk back on her promise. But, I can agree to give Mister Ning 3 million spirit stones as compensation. The black riders will also follow you and I myself will bring masters along too. As long as i’m present, mister will not come to any harm at all.”
Qin Yu raised his eyebrows. After a brief moment of thought, he said, “Very well, I agree.” He was also quite curious as to who wanted to kill him.
Chief Manager Wu apologetically said, “No matter what, this is my Sea Spirit Pavilion wronging Mister Ning. Hah, please wait a moment, I will immediately arrange everything.”
Qin Yu thought for a moment before calling Leon over and giving him several orders. Leon nodded and left, soon returning with a black box.
Chief Manager Wu returned. “Mister Ning, please.”
There was no loud show or burst of chaos. On the other side of the door were only four people. They waited there, their faces stern and humorless. Each of them carried two narrow long swords on their back, and just by passing near them one’s body would feel pain, as if these people were somehow covered with sharp, invisible thorns.
“Since there are spies in our guards here, we cannot allow them to protect you anymore. These four sea mantis swordsmen all come from Sega City; you can fully trust them.” Chief Manager Wu explained.
They stepped onto the carriage. After departing, the black riders slowly gathered around them.
Following the carriage, the group slowly made their way down the street. This conspicuous group instantly attracted countless eyes. They immediately guessed who was in the carriage and were startled. It was a dangerous time to leave the safety of Sea Spirit Pavilion and yet this person actually dared to venture outside.
Arriving at Foursea Hall, the carriage came to a stop and the black riders dispersed, each one keeping an eye on their surroundings. Chief Manager Wu stepped down first. He looked around and only after a moment did he step back and allow Qin Yu to come out.
A fat and bald man greeted them, a joyful smile on his face. “My master is overjoyed that Mister Ning could make an appearance. He is currently waiting in the banquet hall. Please, come with me.”
Several of the black riders split off to follow along. Chief Manager Wu and the four sea mantis swordsmen walked into Foursea Hall. The staff within smiled, not caring too much about this. It was only upon entering a reserved room and seeing the similarly silent black riders waiting that Chief Manager Wu’s pupils shrank.
“Little Wu, I was the one who extended the invitation. I have some words to speak alone with Mister Ning, so how about you wait outside.” An elderly voice sounded out from within.
Chief Manager Wu revealed a bitter expression. He respectfully bowed and said, “Yes, I understand.” He turned towards Qin Yu, his eyes unreadable and said, “Mister Ning, please rest assured that since it is this gentleman who invited you here, you need not worry about your safety. I will be waiting for you outside.”
Qin Yu’s eyes flashed. He pushed open the doors and entered.
The reserved room was extremely big, the table was giant, and there were many, many dishes.
Steam wafted into the air. Fragrance filled the senses.
Two chairs were laid out, facing each other.
The one sitting across the table was an old man in embroidered robes. His eyes were clear and insightful, as if they could see directly into the hearts of others. As he saw Qin Yu enter, he smiled and said, “Mister Ning, please take a seat. Come and taste these dishes that I prepared. The chef is one I borrowed from His Majesty; I hope that it can suit your tastes.”
Simple and easy, this was a way of showing utter superiority.
Qin Yu didn’t refuse. He sat down, picked up some utensils and started to eat. The flavor of the dishes was actually quite good. As the thin slices of meat entered his mouth, their aroma flew straight into his heart.
The old man had several beautiful scales on his forehead. Unfortunately, Qin Yu wasn’t too familiar with the various sea races, so he couldn’t guess who this old man was. At this time he was a bit curious, and a bit of appreciation glinted in his eyes.
The two didn’t speak a single word. In the reserved room, there was only the sound of chewing and swallowing. The old man didn’t seem to have a good appetite; after a while, he placed down his bowl and chopsticks. He looked at Qin Yu rapidly eating food and sighed with envy, but didn’t urge him to finish any faster.
Ever since he had achieved the Demon Body, Qin Yu’s appetite was many times above that of his previous state. The table was left a mess as most of the food ended up in Qin Yu’s mouth. He washed it down with tea and then comfortably said, “Thank you for the hospitality.”
The old man smiled. “To eat is luck. When I was young, I ate even more than you did. But what a pity, I have grown a little old. Even if I wanted to eat that much, it is a bit difficult for me. So you know, young people should lead a comfortable life like this so they don’t regret it later. For instance, don’t be a pitiful old man like me.”
Qin Yu didn’t know what tricks the old man was trying to play, so he merely smiled in response.
“Mister Ning is young and promising, so why do you want to waste your golden years in this vain and ridiculous capital city? Why not go sailing through the sea with this old man and play for a bit? My shark ship has just been completed and it is ready for its maiden voyage. Any sort of delicious food or fun game can be found on board. Also, I have a treasure room built within that carries the majority of the items I’ve collected in my life. If Mister Ning wants to visit, you can freely choose a few items from inside.”
Qin Yu lightly replied, “I thank you for your good intentions. If you aren’t in a hurry, then you can wait a few days for me. Once the sea spirit competition ends, perhaps I will agree.”
The old man shook his head. “This matter cannot wait. The ship launches today, a good day.”
Qin Yu responded, “Then I’m afraid I will have to disappoint you.”
The old man frowned. “Mister Ning doesn’t want to further consider this?”
Qin Yu stood up. “No.”
Once Qin Yu reached the entrance, he paused upon hearing the old man once more. “Mister Ning, you are very young so you shouldn’t recklessly rush any decision. There are all sorts of valuable items in my collection, even things that can strengthen the soul. I’m sure that it will be more than enough to satisfy you.”
Qin Yu didn’t even glance back. “Treasures are good, but my word is heavier. Since I made a previous agreement, I can only refuse.”
He pushed open the door.
The bald and fat man suddenly rushed forwards, growling, “Grandmaster Ning, I thought you were a smart man so I never expected you to make such a stupid choice. I am very disappointed!”
Qin Yu glanced at him. “And who are you?”
The fat man’s breath caught in his throat and his face turned even uglier. “Do you think that just because the grandmaster said some kind words to you, you can stand atop the highest heavens? How could Young Master Jin…” He suddenly stopped talking as he realized he said something he shouldn’t have. He clenched his teeth, “Surname Ning, this was your final chance. Don’t blame me for reminding you!”
Chief Manager Wu had a worried expression. He paced back and forth not too far away. As he heard the door open he hurried over, and as he saw this scene unfolding before him, he coldly said, “Steward Wang, just what are you doing?”
It was clear that he recognized this person.
Steward Wang sneered and turned to leave.
Chief Manager Wu started to speak but hesitated.
Qin Yu said, “Let’s go.”
They left Foursea Hall and the carriage quietly drove down the road. Before Chief Manager Wu could say anything, Qin Yu suddenly said, “Chief manager, do you happen to know anyone at a sound shell network station?”
Chief Manager Wu was stunned. He couldn’t follow his train of thought and simply nodded.
The carriage changed directions.
Later, Qin Yu came out from a small sound shell network station, accompanied by black riders on both sides. Just now, there had been another suicidal strike on their carriage. Chief Manager Wu had a grim expression as he was interrogating someone they managed to catch after a great deal of effort.
“Mister Ning, let’s hurry and return!” Before he could ask Qin Yu what he had done, the sharp-eyed Chief Manager Wu suddenly realized that several black riders who were normally expressionless were suddenly looking at Qin Yu a bit peculiarly.
“Mm, let’s go.”
Mounting the carriage, it wasn’t long before there was a long knock. Director Jin opened the window and pushed in a sound shell while looking at Qin Yu with shock.
Chief Manager Wu started it. After a moment of static, this well-crafted sound shell started to broadcast a clear audio signal.
The words within were fine and nothing seemed out of place. But after Steward Wang left, the words he roared out left one piecing together everything.
Young Master Jin….
Everyone knew that one of the sea spirit teachers who was still in the race to challenge for a Purple Card was named Jing Guanjin.
The network station message continued:
“This is an audio message sent out by our network station upon the deepest fear of death. According to our sound experts, the Grandmaster Ning spoken of in the audio is the Sea Spirit Pavilion’s Mister Ning. It is hard to imagine just who dares to ruthlessly threaten a high level spirit teacher that is participating in such a grand and illustrious competition, and just what sort of diabolical story lies behind it all. This station will continue reporting on this broadcast for you…”
The radio announcer’s voice in the sound shell droned on in a solemn tone. As for Chief Manager Wu, all he heard was a buzzing in his ears…