Chapter 67: Convince Me First
That voice, was familiar yet unfamiliar.
The elder that had been invited over to bear witness abruptly stood up in shock and looked towards the door.
Zhou Yinru also fell into a daze.
Lu Mingshu who had been unexpectedly rescued from danger opened her eyes in disbelief and looked towards the door.
She saw a tall figure in shabby clothes and with a slovenly outward appearance. Although his get-up was unusual, the face was undoubtedly extremely familiar to everyone.
"Se-senior Brother Liu!" A young elder pointed towards the door and let out a gasp of astonishment.
Liu Jizhen stepped over the threshold of the door and entered the hall, his gaze slowly sweeping over the people present.
His gaze went over the two elders, Courtyard Leader Wen, Fu Shangqing, Zhou Yinru, before finally landing on Lu Mingshu.
"Let go of her," he said.
The two Harmonization Realm disciple was startled and unconsciously loosened their grip.
This was a strange feeling; Liu Jizhen did not speak in a loud voice, nor pressurized them with his aura. However, before him, they could not help but involuntarily comply with his words.
Even Zhou Yinru's aura weakened.
But, she very quickly raised up her head and faced the man before her with an arrogant attitude. "Senior Brother Liu, what are you doing here instead of guarding Heavenly Ascension Pavilion in Green Jade Valley?"
Liu Jizhen stated, "You want to cripple my disciple, and even want to chase her out of her sect. Don't tell me I can't appear?"
Zhou Yinru harrumphed coldly, "We had already reached an agreement on this matter. Her crime of colluding with an outsider, and even causing the sect to lose a treasure such as the ley lines spiritual root is unforgivable. On behalf of how young she is, we were lenient in sentencing her, and let her off with merely chasing her out of the sect. Senior Brother Liu, don't tell me you have an objection?"
"I naturally do." Liu Jizhen took two steps forward and bowed once towards Fu Shangqing. "Courtyard Leader Liu Jizhen of Heavenly Ascension Pavilion greets Sect Leader."
Liu Jizhen was already crippled when Fu Shangqing entered the sect, thus the two had not had a formal meeting. However, although Fu Shangqing was now the sect leader, he got up to return a bow as he did not dare to be careless in the face of this used-to-be eldest senior brother of the fifteenth generation, who was known as a martial genius that could only be seen once in a hundred years.
Once he had greeted Fu Shangqing, Liu Jizhen shifted his gaze to Wen Shijie.
"Senior Uncle Wen, it's been years since our last meeting, your bearing is as graceful as ever."
Wen Shijie laughed, "Aha," paused for a while, before sighing, "Junior Nephew Liu, everything that happens is destiny; it's best to get over any unpleasantness. Look at you, is it worth it to do this to yourself?"
Liu Jizhen laughed indifferently, "Senior Uncle Wen is right, when I reflect on the past twelve years, I was indeed too muddle-headed and had thought too much into things."
Wen Shijie, who had not expected Liu Jizhen to respond to his line, was stunned.
Liu Jizhen did not harp on it and immediately changed the topic. "Speaking of it, this junior nephew had also been allocated the Courtyard Leader of this Quintessence Courtyard for a few days. I can clearly remember, a certain rule included."
He looked at the few people and smiled. "As long as the disciple has a master, it must be the teacher who decides whether to expel the disciple out of the sect. If the disciple is without a master, the sect leader may decide in place of the master." He stopped smiling as his eyes were now filled with chilliness. "Why was I not informed when it had been decided to have my disciple expelled?"
The hall was so silent that even a pin drop could be heard.
Liu Jizhen, in his ragged outfit, could only be described as being in dire straits. However, his straightened back, hands held together behind his back, and his calm gaze, made him seem imposing and tall.
All of a sudden, Lu Mingshu's tears overflowed.
When Zhou Yinru regained her senses, she was immediately enraged when she discovered her aura had weakened.
"Senior Brother Liu," she spoke coldly, "Since you've once been given the position of Courtyard Leader of Quintessence Courtyard, you should know the reason of sect rules over a master's will? Your disciple colluded with an outsider and even caused the sect to suffer the loss of a treasure. Our decision should already be considered lenient, as she can keep her life. This sentence comes from the Quintessence Courtyard and has the sect leader as well as the two elders to bear witness. Don't tell me you want to overthrow the sentence?"
Liu Jizhen smiled. "Of course you have to convince, me, this master of hers, if you want to expel my disciple out of the sect. Second Junior Sister Zhou, where is your evidence of her colluding with an outsider?"
Zhou Yinru could overbearingly toss out the dagger as ‘evidence' in Lu Mingshu's face, but against Liu Jizhen, she felt a lack of confidence.
Even if his meridians were now crippled, and he had lost his mystic force, it was embedded in Zhou Yinru since birth that Liu Jizhen was the eldest senior brother of the fifteenth generation. That he was a genius only seen once every hundred years, and the undisputed number one expert in their generation. With his many years of prestige, even if she knew he was now a cripple, a trace of fear still remained in her heart.
Moreover, Liu Jizhen not only achieved great heights in martial arts but was also meticulous in his thoughts. During the time he oversaw the Quintessence Courtyard, he had never had a slip-up, leaving the upper and lower echelons of Nine Jade Palace satisfied.
However, Zhou Yinru could not just stay put either. She clenched her teeth and shamelessly took out the dagger. "This dagger is a high-grade mystic weapon that even has the imprint of the Zhongzhou's mould. Thus, it naturally does not belong to Lu Mingshu. She fell down the canyon, mysteriously disappeared, before suddenly appearing in the vicinity of the spiritual land. What's more, she even possesses someone else's belonging. With all these happenings, who would believe it to be a mere coincidence?"
Liu Jizhen took over the dagger before flicking it lightly. When he heard the crisp qin sound produced by the dagger, he asked while smiling, "So?"
"So, it must be her that drew the outsider into the beast cave and stole the ley lines spiritual root!"
Liu Jizhen sighed. "Second Junior Sister Zhou, a so-called inference, needs an absolute and definite cause and effect. Solely relying on the concept of ‘too much of a coincidence' is not enough to convince the masses."
Zhou Yinru sneered, "Senior Brother Liu, your words are trying too much to shield a shortcoming. Don't tell me you want to declare that the fact that Lu mingshu had once contacted that intruder to be false?"
"It's still too early to come to a conclusion," Liu Jizhen said. "Since Second Junior Sister Zhou persists in this belief, let's go through the events of what happened once more. Let's start from when my disciple had disappeared. Why had she disappeared?"
Zhou Yinru said, "She was chased by the Specter, and then tumbled down the canyon."
Liu Jizhen nodded. "Let's break up the events that occurred." He turned around. "Mingshu."
Lu Mingshu lowered her head to wipe off her tears. "This disciple is here."
"First explain the events that had occurred."
"Yes." Her surging emotions slowly calmed down. Lu Mingshu narrated the events that unfolded that day, including how Teacher Zuo assigned the task, as well as the small team's conflict.
Liu Jizhen looked towards Wen Shijiie. "Senior Uncle Wen, may I know if my disciple's statement conflicts with those of the witnesses you found? If there's anything amiss, you can call out and have a direct confrontation."
Wen Shijie moved his lips, shaking his head. "Nothing, please continue."
Some methods could be used in front of Lu Mingshu, but would be of no use in front of Liu Jizhen.
"Alright. Second Junior Sister Zhou finds this matter to be too much of a coincidence, right?"
"That's right!" Zhou Yinru said coldly, "Why had the Specter appeared so coincidentally? Why does she have the nerves to lure the Specter away? There's a full ten miles of road, so why had she just exactly happened to fall down the canyon?"
Liu Jizhen's lips curved upwards. "Which is to say, Second Junior Sister Zhou believes someone had intentionally released the Specter to let my disciple get away from the team, and conveniently play it off as an accident to draw Nine Jade Palace in to investigate?"
Zhou Yinru opened her mouth and fortunately stopped herself from answering ‘yes'. Liu Jizhen directly used her train of thought, carried out an inference, and got what was an obviously problematic conclusion. How was she to answer to this?
After a moment of silence, Liu Jizhen's indifferent voice sounded out once again, "Since even Second Junior Sister Zhou finds this inference to be unreasonable, are we now able to give up the previous conclusion that this was all premeditated?"