Chapter 65: Interrogation
Nine Jade Palace's spring hunt troops majestically made their way back.
The spring hunt this time brought an extremely abundant harvest from the discovery of the beast cave. The troops should have been overjoyed, but there was a misty shadow looming over them.
Yi Jiao listened to Lin Chen and Wei Peng's conversation as she walked.
"Senior Brother Wei, what exactly happened? Why are none of the elders in a cheerful mood?"
Wei Peng looked at his surroundings before whispering, "I heard someone else entered the spiritual land before us."
Lin Chen was flabbergasted."What?! Do they belong to this sect?"
Wei Peng shook his head. "I don't think so."
Lin Chen was even more shocked. "There are outsiders in Jade West Mountain Forest?!"
"Did we lose something?"
Wei Peng answered vaguely, "They say we lost an important treasure and we are currently investigating." He paused for a while before lowering his voice. "The child that was with us has been detained. They say she is related to that intruder."
Yi Jiao turned around. "Which child?" She had a feeling of foreboding when she saw Gao Xiang and Le Xiaoyi in the troops earlier.
"Who else can it be?" Wei Peng sighed. "It's Lu Mingshu! The other two have strong backing!"
Stunned, Yi Jiao blurted out, "How is this possible?"
Wei Peng roughly told them what he heard. "... This is what happened."
Once Yi Jiao heard the story, she angrily laughed out loud. "How ridiculous! So what if she really met that intruder? It's already very fortunate that a small disciple in the Inner Breath Realm can come back alive even after disappearing in the Jade West Mountain Forest. Don't tell me they want her to catch the intruder?!"
Wei Peng and Lin Chen kept silent. Although it was all just speculation, what could they do when the Second Zhou Miss wanted to make a big fuss about it?
"Second Zhou Miss is truly getting more and more unreasonable. Does she think Nine Jade Palace belongs to her just because her father was the sect leader and now her brother-in-law is the sect leader?!"
"Lower your volume!" Lin Chen pulled her back. "Do you want to be a target?"
With how intense the internal sect strife has been these few years if the Zhou family faction were to rule them out as an outsider, a Harmonization Realm disciple without any foundation in the sect like them would only bring about their own destruction.
Yi Jiao zipped her mouth, yet her expression still carried traces of a bitter smile.
Zhu Jingliang spat out his tobacco before whispering, "Don't be too worried. From what I see, that girl is a blessed one. Harm might not necessarily come to her."
A few days later, the spring hunt troops returned to Nine Jade Palace.
Cheers rang out along the sides of the road as the harvest was distributed. However, all of these things had nothing to do with Lu Mingshu. She was immediately detained at the Quintessence Courtyard the moment she was brought back.
She was left there unattended the entire day.
Only until the next day did someone come over to interrogate her.
After following the icy Quintessence Courtyard guard into the hall, Lu Mingshu expressionlessly scanned the room.
Three people sat on the high seat in the hall, with the middle seat occupied by that dignified father of hers. A middle-aged male, who seemed to be the Quintessence Courtyard Leader based on his get-up, sat on his left while Zhou Yinru sat to his right. In addition, there were also two elders sitting on the side that looked like they would be listening in.
She laughed coldly in her heart. I am but an Inner Breath Realm disciple. Is there a need for such a grand audience? I really have underestimated Second Zhou Miss' shamelessness.
"Lu Mingshu, do you admit that you are guilty?" Expectedly, the one questioning was the Second Zhou Miss.
Lu Mingshu hung her head down, masking the hatred in her eyes. "This disciple does not."
Zhou Yinru sneered, "You are still reluctant to admit your mistake?! You colluded with an outsider and snatched away the ley lines spiritual root, leaving the sect with a significant loss, yet you still refuse to admit that you are guilty?!"
"This disciple has already explained clearly." She lifted up her head and looked calmly at the people before her. "I did not conspire with the outsider and I do not know what a ley lines spiritual root is."
"There's irrefutable evidence, but you're still trying to deny it?!"
"Is Hall Head Zhou talking about that dagger?"
"Good that you know!"
However, Lu Mingshu smiled. "Alright, since Hall Head Zhou says I've colluded with the outsider, then may this disciple ask Hall Head Zhou what I can possibly do for them? How do we enter the beast cave? I don't know. Where is the spiritual land? I don't know either. I can't even defeat a ferocious beast with my cultivation only at Inner Breath Realm, so what's the point of colluding with me?"
From start to the finish, it was Yan Wugui who saved and helped her. Meeting Yan Wugui was an accident, but, Zhou Yinru wanted to make the situation into something premeditated. Although Lu Mingshu might harbour hatred for Nine Jade Palace, she was not guilty of this accusation!
"Well said! So according to what you said, you have no relation to this matter at all?" Zhou Yinru ridiculed, "Why would an outsider appear at the Jade West Mountain Forest? Why did you run into them by chance? How did the other party know we were encircling the beast cave? Wasn't it you who disclosed the information?!"
Lu Mingshu gave a sarcastic repartee, "How am I related to an outsider appearing in Jade West Mountain Forest? Then can I also say that it's Hall Head Zhou that had leaked the information? After all, as the sect leader's daughter, Hall Head Zhou was born with unlimited access to anything the sect has to offer, including information. You know much more than this small disciple."
"Insolence!" Zhou Yinru called out, "How dare you talk back to your superior?!"
"Oh …" Lu Mingshu laughed, "So in Nine Jade Palace, only status matters? There's no need to clarify the truth?"
Lu Mingshu lifted up her head. "Hall Head Zhou keeps on saying I've colluded with the outsider, yet there is no substantial evidence, so how am I to be convinced? Yes, my status is low, but does that mean that others can slander a person of lower status as they please in Nine Jade Palace? Does the truth not matter?" Her gaze calmly swept over the two elders and stopped at Fu Shangqing sitting in the middle. Right when Fu Shangqing thought that she was about to say something to him, her gaze moved to the Quintessence Courtyard Leader who was on his left.
"This disciple dares to ask Courtyard Leader if is this the monastic discipline of the sect's rules? If that is the case, this disciple has nothing else to say!"
In Green Jade Valley, Liu Jizhen stared blankly at the road people used to leave the valley.
His disciple had already left for over a month since participating in the spring hunt. If it wasn't for the person who had delivered the rice and noodles over this morning, he wouldn't have known that the spring hunt troops had returned. However, if the troops had returned, why did he not see her back in the valley? If something happened to her, someone should have been sent over to report the matter ...
As he looked, there seemed to be a silhouette of someone in white. When Liu Jizhen focused on this figure, he discovered it was an arrogant, cold white-clothed male striding over.
He was startled. He thought that his eyes were playing tricks on him until he saw the person standing right before him. "Junior Brother An?"
An Tongchen lifted up his clothing hem and sat opposite him. "Senior Brother Liu, long time no see."
It had indeed been a long time. The two had never met since Liu Jizhen had exiled himself to Green Jade Valley. As a reserved person, An Tongchen kept to himself. Also, since the Willow Woods line had always kept out of the sect's dispute, the two had no connections at all.
This was why An Tongchen's abrupt visit severely shocked Liu Jizhen.
"Don't look anymore." An Tongchen said, "Your disciple won't come back."
Liu Jizhen's facial expression suddenly changed.
An Tongchen smiled. "I thought you'd turned into a cripple along with your meridians. So you actually still possess feelings."
Liu Jizhen only stared at him, staying silent.
"I'm here to tell you that your disciple is in huge trouble …" After explaining the situation in a few words, An Tongchen got up. "That is the gist of things. I am already powerless to do anything about it. Our Willow Woods line will not be deeply involved in the quarrel of others. As for what's to be done, it will all depend on you."
He took two steps before turning back again. "Right, before I came, Zhou Yinru had already started interrogating her. You should know how intolerant this woman is. You can't count on that father of hers either, he is but a puppet of the Zhou family. If you want to save her, the sooner the better."