The princess' residence in Emperor Xia's Palace was all gloomy. Xia Qingyuan's mind was cold as ice at the moment.
Everyone in Emperor Xia should have known that Ye Futian was Emperor Xia's servant. His name was almost literally glittering from the results he brought from the Battle of Empty Realm, and for a time, he was the talk of the town. There was simply no one who did not know of Ye Futian by then.
If Saint Xihua were to be said to make a move against the Barren State, he was doing it out of desperation.
At present, however, someone actually made a move against Phoenix and Long Ling'er. One could have only imagined what was going on in her mind at that moment.
However, there was something that she was unable to comprehend. Were the two incidents simply a coincidence? Or there were people who manipulated events from behind?
There were many things that she was unable to understand at that point just yet.
The Sword Saint, Gu Dongliu and the others also came to Emperor Xia's Palace, waiting for news at the princess' residence.
At present, the conditions of Long Ling'er and Phoenix remained unknown.
All of them were hoping that Emperor Xia was able to bring about a miracle. Both of them would have been in extremely dire states otherwise.
At that moment, someone came to Xia Qingyuan's side and delivered her some news.
The eyes of the Black Wind Condor were extremely cold. The bird went over and looked at Xia Qingyuan.
Those eyes radiated bone-chilling cold.
Xia Qingyuan looked at Ye Futian through the bird's eyes and said, "There was a saint level clan in Emperor Xia's City—the Mu clan, and a member of their younger generation was infatuated with Long Ling'er, following her around everywhere. Long Ling'er was rather naughty and constantly made a servant out of him. This incident stemmed from that young man confessing to Long Ling'er and was spurned. He then decided to poison both himself and her, hoping to be able to die together."
"What happened to him?" The bird asked.
"Dead, from the poisoning," Xia Qingyuan said.
The Black Wind Condor turned around to address the people of the Holy Zhi Palace. Zhuge Mingyue then added, "Mu Yan was indeed infatuated with Ling'er and she teased her all the time. Furthermore, Mu Yan was timid yet cheerful, so he followed Ling'er around all the time like the princess put it. He had even been to the villa and we've all seen him. As such, we didn't put up a guard against him. But then again, Mu Yan's personality was one that shouldn't have been able to pull off such a feat."
"We have Interrogated the people of the restaurant and the Mu clan. Those from the Mu clan didn't believe that Mu Yan would have been capable of such a thing, but there were many in the restaurant who witnessed personally what happened, so that was probably the truth. It would have been possible of one of them had lied, but there was no way so many would have dared to lie. Furthermore, we've checked everyone who were present, and all of them were clear of any doubt."
"Then this incident would be a coincidence then. One that was caused by Ling'er not being careful with who she made friends with." The Black Wind Condor spoke with a cold, gloomy voice. He knew what Ling'er was like very well. She was naughty and stubborn, but pure of heart. If she was willing to be get along with Mu Yan, then Mu Yan would have never been those evil, ferocious or brutal types. His second sister and all the others have seen him as well.
But then again, the truth was right before their eyes.
All of that seemed to truly be of pure coincidence and little else. Furthermore, it seemed that none of that incident had anything to do with Saint Xihua acting against the Barren State.
Ye Futian did not think much of the attack back then, but with something like that happening to Ling'er this time, he was forced to reconsider.
"I know that you are suspecting something is off. I too am suspecting as well. But from the looks of things at the moment, there are hardly any leads or openings, with one possible exception¬—Mu Yan was controlled by some powerful figures using some special means." Xia Qingyuan then added, "None of the people of the Mu clan knew of anything about Mu Yan being acquainted with powerful people. We didn't have anyone to keep an eye on Mu Yan as well. Furthermore, Mu Yan suffered the worst of the poisonings, dying right on the spot. Even if such speculations are possible, there are no leads for us to look into."
"Sister, did anyone or Ling'er herself made any enemies, or got on anyone's bad side during this period of time?" The Black Wind Condor asked.
"No. Everyone was being diligent in their training. Even if there were to be scuffles when they went outside, none of them were severe enough to warrant the risk of doing something like that," Zhuge Mingyue elaborated.
The Black Wind Condor nodded. With his current status at Emperor Xia's Realm, all saints would have known that acting against them all would have came with great risks. No one would have possibly gone that far over mere scuffles, unless said scuffles concerned life and death situations.
"Well, then it's probably some enemies we made way back then," the Black Wind Condor said. Saint Ji of the Hall of Holy Light of the Lower Worlds was placed under house arrest. Saint Xihua and his men were hardly able to cover their hide. Both parties did not seem to have anything to do with the incident. The first enemy they made in the Upper Worlds was those from Lihen Heaven.
But then again, the Swordmaster of Lihen had lent one of them his sword and saved their lives. Wang Chuan came to possess a supreme state of mind and became a saint. All of that should have been known to all in the Lihen Heaven and the score between both sides should have long been settled. Furthermore, with them still owing the Swordmaster of Lihen for having borrowed a sword from him, there was hardly any possibility that the people of Lihen Heaven would have moved against Ye Futian's people.
As for Gongsun Zhong of the Divine Cloud Valley, they might have been scuffles between both parties, but during the Battle of Empty Realm, Gongsun Zhong had been rather straightforward in his dealings. Due to Xia Qingyuan having expressed her disappointment in him, he channeled all his frustration in the battlefield.
Compared to Gongsun Zhong, it was more probable that Xiao Sheng, who had actually set Ye Futian up in the Battle of Empty Realm, would have acted against him instead.
What Xiao Sheng did back then was totally within reason and little to complain about. He had only recalled those that the princess put at Ye Futian's side due to the princess being in trouble, yet his actions almost caused all of them to die in battle. However, Xiao Sheng was sold out by Li Yao later, with someone leaking the news of the enemy having bought him over, causing the cover for the motives of his actions blown.
Xiao Qianhe of the Xiao clan, brought Xiao Sheng into the royal palace and begged Queen Xiao for mercy.
Queen Xiao had summoned Ye Futian personally and rewarded him, bestowing ten great training methods to the people of the Nine States as well as awarding them with divine implements. She had even permitted Ye Futian to train in the Golden Hall of the Lotus, forcing him to put that score with Xiao Sheng aside for the moment.
If what happened to Ling'er turned out to be one of the events manipulated by Xiao Sheng, then there was no doubt that he had turned even more adept than when he was during the Battle of Empty Ralm.
"Could you investigate Xiao Sheng?" Ye Futian asked.
"I've considered what you are now thinking." Xia Qingyuan continued, "Someone returned to me with news. Ever since what happened back then, Xiao Sheng had been spending time training in his clan's estate. Even when he ventured outside, he stayed close to the Xiao clan territory. Furthermore, Xiao Sheng's status in the Xiao clan was no longer what it used to be. His status became limited, so even when he intended to get something done, he hardly had the resources to pull them off. Before and after something happened to Ling'er, he had only ventured outside once, and it had been to meet Gongsun Ni."
"Given Xiao Sheng's status in the Xiao clan back then, they should be someone that he is still able to make use of, no?" The Black Wind Condor asked.
"They're definitely some, but probably not many. Given how my grandfather had rescinded a lot of the perks and powers Xiao Sheng was given, he would have had lots of problems using any of the saints," Xia Qingyuan said. The one went about poisoning the girls that time was definitely a saint.
"What if someone in the clan was willing to actually work with him?" The bird asked again. It was apparent that Ye Futian was doubting the Xiao clan.
"When my uncle brought Xiao Sheng into the royal palace, he had made promises to my mother, which was why she was willing to agree to stepping in and solving the matter, which in turn led to you being into the royal palace. You should remember that while it is possible for Xiao Sheng to still resent you, but my uncle is nonetheless still the successor to the Xiao clan and my mother's brother. What good would it do him by doing such things? If he was only doing it to settle the score on behalf of his son, then even my mother would not have forgiven him if it was discovered. Judging by my uncle's personality, there was basically no way he would have done such a thing."
Xia Qingyuan analyzed the idea and Ye Futian had to admit that Xia Qingyuan was making sense.
Xiao Qianhe was no doubt someone who would have clung to power, judging by his intentions to put Xiao Sheng into the royal palace. There was simply no need for someone like him to take such a great risk.
Xiao Qianhe was still Queen Xiao's elder brother and Emperor Xia's brother-in-law. That status alone would have been of extremely high prestige.
"So you're saying that this has nothing to do with Xiao Sheng then, princess?" The Black Wind Condor asked in a low voice. No leads or openings, really?
"There's another thing. Be it Xiao Sheng or anyone else, if they really intended to act against you, why you they be beating around the bush like that? Phoenix and Ling'er might have been people from the Barren State, but they were still not core figures." Xia Qingyuan frowned and said, "As for the matter if any of that had anything to do with Xiao Sheng, I could only say that there is nothing on him at the moment. I'd keep having people to look into it until we've got something."
"Yeah." The Black Wind Condor nodded. Although he suspected that Xiao Sheng was involved, but it was impossible for them to crash into the Xiao clan's estate to arrest him when there were still lacking evidence.
While Ye Futian was on very good terms with Xia Qingyuan, but Xiao Sheng was still the son of Xia Qingyuan's uncle after all.
All of the important people of Xiao clan was gathered in a great hall of the clan's estate. Old Man Xiao was present to host the meeting.
There was a lone figure standing below, and it was none other than Xiao Sheng.
There were people from the royal palace who came to investigate Xiao Sheng's whereabouts not long ago.
They all knew that someone tried to assassinate people at Ye Futian's side using poisons.
"Kneel," Old Man Xiao said coldly. Xiao Sheng went on his knees on the ground, looking up at his grandfather and the familiar faces that looked like that of strangers to him. However, his eyes were unusually calm and he simply felt the whole situation to be rather ironic.
He had been raised as the successor to the clan back then after all.
"Grandfather, I don't understand," Xiao Sheng said.
"Did you actually do anything?" Old Man Xiao glared at Xiao Sheng and asked.
What Xiao Sheng last pulled had actually damaged the relations between the royal palace and the Xiao clan. If Xiao Sheng were to pull anything absurd, it would have ended up jeopardizing the Xiao clan's status.
"I don't understand," Xiao Sheng said as he sensed formless pressure bearing onto him.
"Someone attempted to kill the people of the Barren State using poison. Do you have anything to do with it?" Old Man Xiao glared at Xiao Sheng as he asked, raining down incredible pressure on his grandson.
"Someone tried to assassinate those from the Barren State?" Xiao Sheng looked up and said sarcastically, "Well, it seems to me that they've offended some other people then. I never expected Qingyuan to be here for this. Girls do have tendencies to lean towards outsiders then. She didn't bother giving you and uncle face just for a man."
"You little sh**." Old Man Xiao said coldly, "Say that outside and I'd have you punished according to the clan's rules."
Xiao Sheng chuckled sarcastically and continued, "Grandfather, you'd find out what I've been up to these days if you'd just look into it. If you think that I was the one who did all that, then by all means just hand me over to Ye Futian."
Old Man Xiao glared at Xiao Sheng and said coldly, "I know you have your resentments. But it's your mistakes and you're to bear the consequences. From this day forth, you're not allowed to step outside the estate. Xiao Qianhe, pull all men at his side away. He is not to be allowed to have any contact with the outside world without my orders."
"Acknowledged." Xiao Qianhe nodded. He stared at his son and came to have bad feelings about some people.
"If there is nothing else, I shall take my leave." Xiao Sheng stood up, turned around and left.
His clansman all watched with cold expressions as he left. That is one hell of an as**ole.
Xiao Sheng looked up at the sky after he walked out of the hall. A cold smirk was seen on his face.
Investigate all you like. I've done nothing.
As for the house arrest, he did not mind it at all. If his speculations were to be proven correct, someone else would have picked up where he left off and taken care of the rest.
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