Qin Lie was full of expectation as he hurried to Han Qingrui’s side, a sliver of hope appearing between his brows.
“Qin Lie, you brat, you have finally returned!” exclaimed Han Qingrui who was standing at the door. He seemingly had been waiting specifically for Qin Lie considering that soon as he saw Qin Lie, he immediately became excited and began to shout loudly.
“Uncle Han, is it that there is news of my grandpa?”
“Then is there mail for me?”
“Then why were you anxiously looking for me?” asked Qin Lie, extremely crestfallen.
“Come in first before we talk,” said Han Qingrui with a respectful expression. Only after Qin Lie entered did he whisper, “The Pavilion Master is also here. When you speak, you must be careful.”
“Pavilion Master?” asked Qin Lie, his expression slightly changing. “What happened?”
“There is someone who wanted to meet you. This person… is not someone who Nebula Pavilion can slight, and thus, the Pavilion Master personally accompanied them.” After Han Qingrui entered the house, he also seemed to have become cautious as he quietly whispered an explanation while he brought Qin Lie to the inner room.
Inside the room, a robust, imposing looking man, upon seeing Qin Lie walking over, smiled as he said, “You must be Qin Lie? I have heard Tu Ze talking about you a lot. Mn, I am Tu Mo.”
“Well met, Pavilion Master,” replied Qin Lie as he bowed his body in salute.
“You do not need to regard me as a stranger. Come meet our guest from Dark Asura Hall. They specifically wanted to see you.” Tu Mo waved his hand, afterwards, inclining his body to expose the person behind him.
“I said before that we would quickly meet again,” said a clear, cold voice.
A lady clothed in clothes whiter than snow was currently sitting atop Han Qingrui’s usual spot with an indifferent expression.
Her servant with that slouched body, as before, was still standing beside her like a shadow. At this time, he laughed as he observed Qin Lie with relish. “Kid, you are wearing the uniform of Nebula Pavilion, how could you possibly escape from the palms of our hands?”
Qin Lie furrowed his brows.
“This lady is Xie Jingxuan. She hails from Dark Asura Hall,” explained Tu Mo. “She has some things for which she requires your assistance. Mn, you just follow her around for a while. Come back after you finish your job.”
“Dark Asura Hall…” said Qin Lie, pondering over the meaning within Tu Mo’s words. Looking at the white clothed lady, who was called Xie Jingxuan, again, he could only helplessly nod. “Understood. I shall follow Pavilion Master’s instructions and try my best to help her.”
Tu Mo laughed, nodding as he said, “My little brother constantly talks about you and evaluates you highly. Don’t let me down.”
Qin Lie bitterly laughed as he nodded.
“I heard that you are apprenticed at Li’s Shop on Commerce Street, and that Li’s Shop has begun to sell some kind of extremely rare Spirit Gathering Board…” Tu Mo deliberately emphasized a few words before he began to laugh loudly, saying, “Qin Lie, please also help Nebula Pavilion get some Spirit Gathering Boards. Nebula Pavilion will purchase them at the same price.”
Qin Lie was stunned.
“Look, if Nebula Pavilion’s cultivating grounds could be completely full of dense spirit energy of the world, wouldn’t it be very beneficial towards raising the practitioners within the pavilion?” asked Tu Mo, his eyes shining, “That kind of Spirit Gathering Board doesn’t have a great effect towards individuals, but it is extremely suited towards Nebula Pavilion, Shattered Ice Manor, and other forces of the sort. It can allow the cultivating grounds to rise to a new level.”
“Pavilion Master Tu, I did not tell you about the matter of the Spirit Gathering Boards so that you could fight over the goods with me,” unhappily said Xie Jingxuan, frowning.
“Haha, I was only casually bringing it up so that Qin Lie could watch out for me,” embarrassedly said Tu Mo while laughing loudly.
“You returned very quickly. Mn, thus I will give you two hours of time. After two hours, you will leave with us,” indifferently said Xie Jingxuan as she looked at Qin Lie.
“Okay, I will go now and prepare,” tactfully responded Qin Lie before once again turning to Tu Mo and saying, “About the matter of Spirit Gathering Boards, I will pay attention to it. Once I return, I will talk about it with Uncle Li…” Only then did Qin Lie leave the room.
“Kid, how come you seem so reluctant?” As he had left, Han Qingrui had left with him. Smiling, Han Qingrui patted Qin Lie’s shoulders, asking, “For them to pay attention to you, that is your blessing. You should be happy.”
“What is there to be happy about…” muttered Qin Lie. From his point of view, this time that he was about to spend doing hard work would have been better spent refining a few more Spirit Gathering Boards. Slightly narrowing his brows, he then curiously asked, “What’s her identity and status? Even if she’s someone from Dark Asura Hall, there surely isn’t a need for the Pavilion Master to personally accompany her, right?”
When Xie Jingxuan’s origins were brought up, Han Qingrui’s expression became solemn. He didn’t immediately reply, instead leading Qin Lie along. Only when they arrived at a secluded area did he reply, “Naturally, ordinary people of Dark Asura Hall don’t have the qualifications to control our affairs, and the Pavilion Master wouldn’t bother paying attention to them. However, she… came over with Dark Asura Hall’s Inspector Command Token.”
“Inspector Command Token?” lightly asked Qin Lie.
“The right to dispatch and control people from vassal forces belongs to Dark Asura Hall’s Department of Internal Affairs. With the Inspector Command Token present, she can dispatch the people of Nebula Pavilion, Shattered Ice Manor, Crimson Flame Association, and Water Moon Sect. As long as it’s a force under the control of Dark Asura Hall, she can directly request and take people.” Han Qingrui laughed bitterly, continuing, “Not just you, even if she wanted me to go along, I would have to as well.”
“Such great authority?” responded Qin Lie, astonished.
“What did you think?” Han Qingrui looked at Qin Lie, then continued, “Otherwise, why would the Pavilion Master have personally come out to receive them? You know, the Pavilion Master’s father… elder brother Tu is the commander of Dark Asura Hall, and thus he himself has a certain status. Many Dark Asura Hall people who come over all pay their respects to the Pavilion Master. However, Dark Asura Hall’s Inspector is a truly powerful figure. Thus, the Pavilion Master couldn’t help but do as he was told.”
Similar to Nebula Pavilion, the divisions between people within Dark Asura Hall was extremely clear. The only difference was that, rather than calling their ranks Hall Masters, Elders, Vice Pavilion Masters, and Pavilion Master, they called them Generals, Enforcers, Commanders, Five Hall Masters, and Grand Hall Master instead.
Upon entering Dark Asura Hall, one would only be an ordinary General. Only after accumulating a certain amount of merit would they be promoted to the position of Enforcer, then Commander, one of the Five Hall Master, and finally Grand Hall Master.
Inspector wasn’t included within these ranks and instead belonged to the Department of Internal Affairs — this was the most peculiar organization of Dark Asura Hall.
The power of of Dark Asura Hall’s Department of Internal Affairs was comparable to the combined power of Ye Yangqiu and Han Qingrui within Nebula Pavilion. Not only was it responsible for collecting tribute from vassal forces, it was also responsible for controlling the actions of vassal forces.
The position known as Inspector only answered to the Grand Hall Master and was the sharpest, most powerful blade controlled by the Grand Hall Master!
Thus, the Department of Internal Affairs was a very special existence within Dark Asura Hall. The power of the Inspector which came from within was extremely great, and they could even directly kill commanders as well as directly take control of vassal forces’ martial practitioners.
After listening to Han Qingrui’s explanation, Qin Lie was inwardly shocked. He never expected that the white clothed woman who had frequented Li’s Shop and named such a high price for the Spirit Gathering Boards would possess such a background.
“No wonder the servant even has a spatial ring. So that’s how it is.” Upon understanding the reasons, Qin Lie could only accept his fate. Thinking it over within his mind, he concluded that next time he sold Spirit Gathering Boards upon returning, he would have to slightly raise the price. “What about Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian? I need to find them. I have things to return to them,” subconsciously asked Qin Lie, remembering his original purpose.
“They left several days ago, going outside Icestone City to hunt and kill spirit beasts. Kang Zhi and Han Feng also went,” explained Han Qingrui. “Ah! The situation outside isn’t very good recently. Because the pavilion didn’t have enough hands, those brats weren’t able to evade their responsibilities and had to expend their energy for the pavilion.”
“So it’s like that…”
Qin Lie furrowed his brows. He had planned to let Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian test the effects of longblade and Dragon Bone Whip which were currently covered by a oil cloth to see if they would mesh well with their respective weapons. He never expected that the two of them wouldn’t be present.
As it was, he had nothing much to prepare. All of his possessions were already all on his person.
“That woman’s over here in Elder Han Qingrui’s area.”
“Is she really that beautiful?”
“Nonsense. I only glanced at her and I can already ensure you that within the entire Icestone City, you will not find a woman more beautiful than her!”
“Then we seriously need to check it out!”
While Qin Lie and Han Qingrui were having their secluded conversation, a group of several people sneakily walked over, discussing amongst themselves as they shrunk into the corner of a wall nearby and headed towards Han Qingrui’s study.
Amongst them was Wei Xing’s son, Wei Li, along with a few other arrogant youths of Nebula Pavilion. They all came because of Xie Jingxuan.
“I heard that it’s a powerful figure from Dark Asura Hall. Everyone observe from afar and make sure to not say anything. Care for our little lives.”
“Understood. Towards someone from Dark Asura Hall, who dares to be rude and waste their life?”
“Mn, just looking is enough.”
As the group of youths whispered to each other, they carefully hid themselves, aiming their lines of sight towards the doorway.
“They truly don’t know how high the sky is and how thick the earth is,” said Han Qingrui, bitterly laughing. Because of their remote location, those several youths had not noticed them. “Luckily, Kang Zhi and Han Feng, those two brats, left long ago. Otherwise, they might also have thoughts along these lines as well. If they got into any trouble, it would truly be hard to clean up,” muttered Han Qingrui.
“Han Feng and Kang Zhi are also like this?” asked Qin Lie, laughing.
“They are worse if anything, those two bastards!” snorted Han Qingrui.
After a while, Xie Jingxuan’s pure body quietly appeared from the door with the robust and imposing Tu Mo following behind her. As the two talked, they waited at the entrance for something.
When Xie Jingxuan came out, the eyes of Wei Li and the other youths who had shrunk into the corner all looked directly ahead, each pair of eyes showing shock one after the other, as if they had seen the most beautiful person in the world. They all became dazed and at a loss.
“They are waiting for you,” said Han Qingrui, chuckling.
“Qin Lie!” Tu Mo’s eyes were like a torch as they immediately swept over. Motioning at Qin Lie, he said, “Seeing how relaxed you are, you shouldn’t have anything to do. Then, why don’t you leave a bit earlier and not have our guests wait on you any longer.”
Xie Jingxuan also looked over as she indifferently said, “If there’s nothing, then let us leave.
Qin Lie sighed as he helplessly walked out alongside Han Qingrui. While Wei Li and the rest’s eyeballs had fallen out, he arrived besides Xie Jingxuan. After thinking for a moment, he took out the longblade and Dragon Bone Whip from within the grease cloth, saying, “Pavilion Master, these are Tu Ze and Zhuo Qian’s possessions. When they return, please return them for me.”
“No need. You can bring them with you,” said Tu Mo, slightly distracted. Immediately, he waved his hand, refusing to accept the two as he said, “During your trip… you should encounter Tu Ze and Little Qian. You can give those to them yourself.”
“Hn?” Qin Lie’s face was full of surprise.
“Ha, you will be fine, just leave with them,” said Tu Mo vaguely as he chuckled. He then instructed, “Kid, focus a bit. Don’t mess around. This will benefit your future.”
“Alright then,” responded Qin Lie as he nodded.
“Let’s leave,” said Xie Jingxuan, furrowing her brows. She seemed impatient as she began to walk directly towards Nebula Pavilion’s exit.
“Let’s go, kid,” snorted the old servant.
Helplessly, Qin Lie, carrying the oilcloth which contained the longblade and Dragon Bone Whip along with a leather bag at his hip, left with the old servant in this manner.
Like an even more minor servant.
However, a look of envy appeared on the faces of Wei Li and the other youths of Nebula Pavilion as their eyes all glowed.
“That guy called Qin Lie, just what kind of lucky dogshit did he walk through? Why was he specifically picked?” quietly cried one of them.
“The devil knows. It makes me so f*cking upset. Ah! Why couldn’t it be me?”
“He’s only cannon fodder to be sent to his death, hmph!” lowly snorted Wei Li.
As they quietly cried and complained, Pavilion Master Tu Mo had already long since left. From start to finish, he hadn’t noticed they were there.
“What are you all talking about here?” suddenly asked Han Qingrui, his expression cold as he strangely laughed. “Don’t think that you can avoid this, just wait. You all are already on the list. The next request and you all are going out of the city too.
After his remark, the faces of the several youths all became frozen as they began to bitterly beg, begging Han Qingrui to be magnanimous.
“Even Tu Ze has gone into battle. My precious son Han Feng was also dispatched. Do you brats really think you can barely escape it?” snorted Han Qingrui. Curling his lips, he indifferently said, “Let me give you a bit of advice. If you wish to survive longer, you will need to spend more time within the cultivating grounds and less time in places of temptation.”
However, he didn’t tell Wei Li and the rest about just how grim the recent situation outside had become. Nor did he tell them how the death count for Nebula Pavilion was nearing one hundred people as of late.
He was afraid he would scare them.