Chapter 19: Shangguan Yan (1)
Palace Mistress Xia Jiaqing had hastily summoned all the elders to her presence as she said solemnly, “I am sure that all of you know what had happened to Elder Hai Sheng, am I right?”
When Yuan Ji saw her, he was gasping softy. She was too beautiful today, dressed in a rich light blue dress that had the likeness of a beautiful mystic bird.
He was muttering almost incoherently to himself, “Don’t be fooled by her great beauty. Don’t be so naïve to trust her completely…”
Li Qiang took a step forward as he stared coldly at Yuan Ji, Deng Qiu and Tang Ao before saying, “My respects to the Palace Mistress. I’m sure that his killer must be among us!”
Deng Qiu said coldly, “Watch your mouth! I say the killer is you instead!”
Li Qiang laughed, “Did I say that the killer is you? Look who has the guilty heart here?”
Deng Qiu hummed coldly, “I am the killer? I have lost my son to this mysterious killer too!”
Tang Ao interrupted them, “I say we must investigate Fairy Ye Chengxi instead. She is the last person to see Elder Hai Sheng alive.”
Then he was smiling wryly, “Let me interrogate her…”
Xia Jiaqing interrupted him sharply, “She is not the killer. There are many witnesses and even Shangguan Yan can vouch for her.”
Tang Ao smiled coldly, “Shangguan Yan and Fairy Ye Chengxi are protégé sisters. Who knows if they are telling the truth?”
“So you think that with their combined puny skills, they are able to kill Elder Hai Sheng at all? Do you even know how formidable Elder Hai Sheng is?” Xia Jiaqing hummed coldly. “And do you think that they can even afford to have a single divine sword capable of doing so? If they are unable to afford one then the killer must be someone who is at least on an even level to Elder Hai Sheng.”
Then she took a cold look at Tang Ao, Deng Qiu and Li Qiang. “The three of you are also sixth realm golden supremacies. Do you think you are able to kill Elder Hai Sheng so quickly that the entire room seems undisturbed?”
Li Qiang, Tang Ao and Deng Qiu were suddenly quiet. It was because even if they could surprise Hai Sheng, it was not possible to kill him so quickly.
“Rather than fingering the blame on one another and sowing discord among yourself much to the delight of our enemies, you should be trying to find out who is our most likely enemy.” Xia Jiaqing rebuked gently.
Yuan Ji chuckled softly, “Maybe the Emperor Hall Sect has too many enemies in recent years to really know who its enemies are.”
Li Qiang, Tang Ao and Deng Qiu were now staring coldly at Yuan Ji because this remark of his was not funny at all.
“Very well then. Elder Yuan Ji, you will lead the investigation.” Xia Jiaqing winked at him. “I want you to report directly to me on a daily basis on the progress of your investigation.”
Yuan Ji: ….
He immediately protested, “I don’t think I am the right person to do this…”
Xia Jiaqing interrupted sharply, “My decision is final.”
Li Qiang, Tang Ao and Deng Qiu were all smiling now; it was because Xia Jiaqing was known to deliver the sect punishment to anyone that failed to accomplish their tasks. Moreover, this was an extremely tricky task to find the killer.
“One more thing, Yuan Ji…” Xia Jiaqing smiled after a quick ponder. “I want you to take over the duties of Elder Hai Sheng. That will include his residence and his protégés. His duties are very important to the Emperor Hall Sect and include the debt repayments from the various celestial clans like the Orthodox Sword Sect. But remember this; do not press Fairy Ye Chengxi for any interest.”
Li Qiang immediately said, “Palace Mistress, this won’t do. Elder Hai Sheng’s duties are too complicated for a new elder to handle. Let me be in charge of it instead.”
Tang Ao and Deng Qiu were both saying at the same time too, “Let me be in charge of it instead.”
Xia Jiaqing smiled at her three elders, “What? So that you can siphon the sect’s treasuries, am I right?”
Li Qiang smiled weakly, “I am incorruptible.”
Tang Ao patted his chest loudly, “Same here!”
Deng Qiu laughed, “Even if I have ten lives, I dare not do such a despicable thing.”
All of a sudden Xia Jiaqing threw several scrolls on the floor, “According to Hai Sheng’s secret accounts, all of you have taken his bribes. I am missing millions of silvers and hundreds of high grade spirit stones. Even my Red Dragon Divine Pill is also missing from my treasury. How do all of you explain about this?”
Li Qiang smiled weakly, “Please believe us Palace Mistress. We will never do anything like this. It must be doctored by Hai Sheng.”
Deng Qiu and Tang Ao had turned ashen as they picked up the scrolls to read. “It is all doctored by Hai Sheng. We did nothing like this.”
“Therefore I am sending Yuan Ji to check the accounts and to balance everything again.” Xia Jiaqing said sternly.
Li Qiang, Tang Ao and Deng Qiu were all smiling weakly, “Yes, yes.”
Yuan Ji was smiling weakly to himself, “The Red Dragon Divine Pill is now inside my stomach. How do you expect me to find it for you?”
Then he was looking at Xia Jiaqing and saw her two cute bunny hair as he thought, “She looks so cute and beautiful today…”
“Yuan Ji, when you take over Hai Sheng’s residence, you must also take good care of Shangguan Yan.” Xia Jiaqing had turned to smile wryly at him. “She is a lonely widow now.”
Yuan Ji replied awkwardly, “This is for sure.”
“Good. Then you shall take her as your little concubine.” Xia Jiaqing chuckled softly.
Yuan Ji was stunned, “What? This is impossible. I can’t do it.”
Tang Ao was smiling lecherously, “If Elder Yuan Ji doesn’t want to take care of her, I’m willing to do so. Why don’t Palace Mistress gives her to me?”
Deng Qiu was also smiling, “I am also willing to take care of Shangguan Yan.”
Li Qiang laughed, “I am the most willing.”
Shangguan Yan was really an enticing quiet beauty and the three elders were now filled with lusts that they could have her. Since Yuan Ji did not want her then they would be the kind soul to take her in instead!
Yuan Ji was shocked when these three elders were all seizing the chance to take Shangguan Yan. He felt that he had really owed Shangguan Yan a lot for what she did for the Orthodox Sword Sect in recent years and he was guilty for treating her so harshly in the past.
Therefore he said loudly, “Who says I’m not willing to take care of Shangguan Yan?”
Li Qiang laughed, “You just did. We all heard you loud and clear earlier. If you back off from what you’ve just said, how do we trust you to manage our sect’s accounts in the future? This means that you’re not an honorable or a trustworthy person at all.”
“Brother Li Qiang is right.” Deng Qiu laughed aloud. “How can we trust you in the future?”
Tang Ao stared coldly at Yuan Ji, “Shangguan Yan can only wed one of us here today!”
Yuan Ji rolled his eyes before he said weakly, “I only say that this is impossible for me to take her as my little concubine but I never say I won’t take her to be my main consort. She doesn’t deserve to be a concubine to anyone. I shall grant her a proper status instead.”
When he had said that, Xia Jiaqing had turned extremely quiet and all the three elders were rendered speechless.
Finally Xia Jiaqing inhaled softly, “So be it then. She shall be your consort proper.” Then she was smiling, “I’ve a little surprise for you.”
“Surprise? What surprise?” Yuan Ji asked curiously.
“You will only know on your wedding day.” Xia Jiaqing chuckled softly and her beautiful golden eyes were sparking.
Yuan Ji laughed. “That won’t be so soon.” He was thinking, “Crap. What am I saying to Jiajia? I only want to take Jiajia as my consort. Did I just screw myself up? Now I can only delay this wedding as far back as possible.”
Xia Jiaqing chuckled, “You will actually know it very soon. I will help you to host your wedding tomorrow.”
Yuan Ji: …
He immediately said, “Our priority should be to find the killer first…”
But Xia Jiaqing was already saying to her personal attendants, “Go make arrangements for it and announce it to the entire Emperor Hall Sect. Since Elder Yuan Ji used to be a protégé of the Orthodox Sword Sect and Shangguan Yan is a junior protégé sister of Fairy Ye Chengxi, please send an invitation to Fairy Ye Chengxi.”
Yuan Ji: …
Yuan Ji was blinking his eyes as he muttered almost incoherently to himself. “Xia Jiaqing, I thought that you say you like me? Why are you forcing me to marry Shangguan Yan then?”
But it seemed that Xia Jiaqing could hear his thoughts and she was heard giggling, “Remember, I didn’t force you. You have said you want to take Shangguan Yan as your consort yourself. I am sure you will be curious to know what my little surprise for you will be tomorrow.”
Yuan Ji: …
Xia Jiaqing was actually cursing him quietly, “I only ask you to take her as your concubine but you are actually taking her as your consort.”