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Not leaving Zhuo Fan out of his sight, Shangguan Feixiong spoke with trembling eyes, “Yifan, w-what’s going on here? Why would the Soaring Sword be with you? We’ve suffered at another’s ambush and now you have some explaining to do!”
“Dad, you were ambushed?” Shangguan Qingyan came to realize what those roars and noise from before were. It wasn’t Shangguan clan’s charge into the manor but from being massacred. “Dad, what about our people? How many died?”
Shangguan Feixiong gnashed his teeth, “There are many dead, but thankfully the disturbance here had Baili Jingwei remove the barrier and we have now escaped total defeat.”
Shangguan Qingyan sighed, her worries eased, but also giving Zhuo Fan an incredulous look.
[Mister Gu, why did you do this?]
“So it wasn’t Shangguan Clan Head’s grand plan?”
Gauging the father and daughter’s reactions, Baili Jingwei’s brow shook.
Shangguan Feixiong looked at him like an idiot, his words condescending, “They say the Prime Minister of Sword Star Empire is wise beyond anyone. Now I see how overstated it is. No matter how much I care about the divine sword, it’s nothing but an item that needs a user to display its power. There’s no way I’d ever risk myself and my clan’s lives to get it. And even if we do get it, who’s to wield it? Like Prime Minister said, it’s a risky move with small chance of success and high risks. The brilliant Prime Minister can’t see it either? The risk isn’t worth it!”
“Oh, I see, we’ve both fallen for it.”
Baili Jingwei shuddered and muttered, “Tonight there was actually a third player on the board. We considered ourselves as big players, doing everything to advance towards our goals. This in turn made us blind to the strings attached to us, moving to another’s whims, killing each other and paving his way to success. What a mistake! Not once did it occur to me that there may be another enemy than the Shangguan clan in play. Becoming another’s pawn has turned into the biggest shame of my life.”
Both sides were now in the clear and their eyes focused on Zhuo Fan in shock and suspicion.
For the first time, Baili Jingwei used a cold tone towards the highly esteemed Grandmaster Gu, “Who are you? Who do you work for?”
“Gu Yifan, an average, lone and roaming alchemist, at your service, ha-ha-ha…”
The flippancy ticked everyone off.
These guys were strong, big shots of their own lands but they were nothing but a bloody amusement for some whelp. They were sure to become laughingstock.
These men had been so used to being in charge, on their high horse, they could disregard anything but the gross lack of disrespect.
Baili Jingwei and the Shangguan clan regarded Zhuo Fan with bloodthirst, wishing nothing more than tear him limb from limb.
Zhuo Fan was now public enemy number one, garnering all their hatred. Oh, except Shangguan Qingyan, who looked worried sick.
She didn’t know Zhuo Fan had a way out ready and was torn in two.
Zhuo Fan looked unfazed by all the animosity he collected, jeering and actually enjoying the others’ ill will that only seemed to grow with each of his demeaning actions.
[He’s surrounded by experts on all sides yet has the time to gloat?]
This would not stand, especially not to Shangguan Feixiong, the step-uncle, “Gu Yifan, I always thought this was a trap Baili Jingwei elaborated, but it was you all along! You made a fake map so you could trap us!”
“Ha-ha-ha, of a sort. Though not the entire truth.”
Zhuo Fan gave a wide smile, droning on, “Giving you the real one wouldn’t have made a difference, not when the wise Prime Minister Baili saw through it all and would place the trap accordingly. All I did was choose the location.”
Baili Jingwei shuddered, “You knew everything? Since when?”
“Pill King Convention.”
Overconfident in the fact he was about to slip away, Zhuo Fan found no harm in gloating with an evil smirk, “It was painfully obvious to me what you were intending when and how you held the Pill King Convention. It was all within my estimations when you instigated Shangguan Yulin to help you.”
[Shangguan Yulin was a traitor?]
Shangguan Feixiong and Shangguan Qingyan winced. Their own kin had sold them out to their enemy.
They both looked at Zhuo Fan in bewilderment. Only Baili Jingwei’s sudden reaction confirmed Zhuo Fan’s words.
Baili Jingwei squinted, shocked but hiding it well, “Since you knew, then you pulled all the strings till today!”
Heavily wounded and in his crater, Shangguan Yulin spat blood and was on the verge of tears.
[Prime Minister sir, you sure know how to ruin your own people. You’re basically admitting to Shangguan Feixiong that I’m a traitor! How am I to get back to eastern lands now? How am I to continue to be your spy?]
Regardless of his random personal rants, ever since Zhuo Fan revealed the whole unvarnished truth, whether Shangguan Feixiong believed it or not, he himself began to doubt his value as a spy.
Baili Jingwei proved it by giving him up without a second thought.
“Ha-ha-ha, give the smart Prime Minister a prize! You guessed it in one try!” Zhuo Fan smiled.
Baili Jingwei clenched his fists as anger boiled within his breast, “Humph, Grandmaster Gu, are you patronizing me or being snarky? It’s a first for me, being a genius in retrospect.”
“Isn’t that better then being aimless till the end? Ha-ha-ha…” Zhuo Fan quirked a taunting eyebrow.
Baili Jingwei grimaced at the cheap shot, with some even hearing his gritting teeth. Anyone would be pissed being mocked like Zhuo Fan was doing.
Baili Jingwei knew he was no great cultivator in the Sword Star Empire.
His only pride lay in his sharp mind, his perfect policies and flawless stratagems. Zhuo Fan proved to him now that all that confidence was only worth insults to the other. It was his first time feeling so much shame and anger.
He was the one who always toyed with others, and finding himself on the other end of the string was simply unbearable.
Shangguan Feiyun glared at Zhuo Fan as he demanded, “So you’re the one that had me waiting dumbly all night?”
“Ha-ha-ha, Sword King Feiyun, you got the wrong guy there.”
Zhuo Fan shrugged and mocked as he pointed at the bloody Shangguan Yulin in his hole, “You have to take it up to the real culprit. He’s the one who passed the info, so ask him. If not for his selfishness, wanting to use you to kill another, the original plan wouldn’t have suffered changes and Sword King Feiyun wouldn’t have been separated, ha-ha-ha…”
Shangguan Feiyun shuddered and cursed, “Rotten bastard, only knows how to mess it up like his mother. You ruined my plan and death’s too easy for you!”
Shangguan Yulin’s heart sank, shaking from fear and cursing inside.
[How the hell does Gu Yifan know my affairs? Was he watching me all along?]
Zhuo Fan smirked, “Good disciple, my plan worked all thanks to you, ha-ha-ha…”
With the recognition of the words came terror and another spurting of blood.
[How could I be so blind?]
That old sicko that tormented him for so long, the same one that came and went like the wind was no other than Zhuo Fan next door!
[That’s why he could slip in and out like that! He was right next to me!]
Shangguan Yulin felt like the victim here, his mind wounded by the shocking truth. His body recoiled as well, forced to spit blood on and on…