Chapter 86: Interrogation
After his morning classes, Su Chen headed for his lodgings by taking the shaded path along the lake.
As he was walking, he was approached by a middle-aged man.
The man’s figure was quite skinny. He had quite a sharply hooked nose, and beneath it were two neatly-maintained lines of facial hair.
He stood in front of Su Chen and said in a baritone voice, “Su Chen?”
“That’s me. You are……?” Su Chen asked.
“My name is Zhang Tingyue. I am Zhang Sheng’an’s Second Uncle. You should know his name,” the man with the neatly-shaved mustache said.
So they had still come in the end.
When Su Chen glanced around his surroundings, a few shadows were faintly discernable.
Su Chen gently laughed and replied, “Of course, he had quite the reputation. Should we find somewhere to talk?”
As if he were surprised by Su Chen’s calmness, Zhang Tingyue stared deeply at Su Chen before saying, “Fine.”
They went to the small teashop near the lake that Su Chen frequented.
Zhang Tingyue sat in the spot that Zhu Chen had occupied as he stared at Su Chen.
“Zhang Sheng’an was a talented child. Although he is my nephew, I have always treated him as if he were my own child. When I heard the news, I did not dare believe my ears. I knew that it must be a lie. I understand Zhang Sheng’an’s strength; perhaps the Falling Eagle Mountain is dangerous, but it is only dangerous to those who are not that strong, not Zhang Sheng’an. The Clay Giant…… Zhang Sheng’an might not have been its match, but at the very least he should have been able to escape from it if he had wanted to.”
“Is that so? Maybe he didn’t want to escape from it then.” Su Chen shrugged his shoulders.
Zhang Tingyue’s expression darkened. “We are discussing the death of my nephew. Shouldn’t you behave a little more seriously?”
“You came all the way here just to watch me feel sad?”
“I came here because, according to what I know, you and my nephew did not get along with each other before he died.”
“Look!” Su Chen spread out his hands. “You know that as well. That is why I am not sad at all about his passing. Also, there’s one more thing you should know: it’s not that we didn’t get along well, but that he seized something that belonged to us!”
“So you killed him?”
“I’m not surprised to hear you say that at all,” Su Chen laughed coldly. “Aren’t you Bloodline Nobility Clans all like this? If you can’t find someone to drag to the grave with you, you can’t die at peace.”
Flames danced in Zhang Tingyue’s eyes. “Brat, what do you think we have been doing this entire time? I have already investigated the scene of the crime. You’re right, the Clay Giant did attack Zhang Sheng’an and the others, but apart from them there were also traces that other people had been fighting there! Although those traces had been cleaned up afterwards by the others, did you think that they could escape my gaze?”
“I heard you’ve invented something called the Thunderfire Balls? There were scorch marks left behind by the Thunderfire Balls there!”
“I sold a lot of them.”
“I also heard that you are an alchemist. There were fragments of vials that once contained Fog Medicine and Beast Repelling Medicine.”
“I sold many of those as well.” Su Chen shrugged his shoulders.
“So you aren’t willing to admit that you were present at the location where Zhang Sheng’an was killed?”
“Of course I wasn’t there,” Su Chen nodded his head confidently. “What you are talking about has nothing to do with me. Someone might have used the Thunderfire Balls or medicines that they bought from me, but I’m not responsible.”
Zhang Tingyue laughed darkly. “Very good, that’s exactly what I wanted to hear. So if I find evidence that you were present, I can assume that you participated in Zhang Sheng’an’s death?”
Su Chen seemed to be startled by what he said, and a trace of caution appeared in his expression.
He stared at Zhang Tingyue before gently nodding his head.
Zhang Tingyue finally stood up. “Since that’s the case, I’ll be taking my leave first. Remember what you said. The next time I come looking for you, you’ll need to be careful.”
Zhang Tingyue laughed darkly as he left, leaving Su Chen, who wore a steely expression, behind.
He hadn’t walked far when Zhang Tingyue suddenly said, “Xin Yuan!”
A young person appeared next to Zhang Tingyue. “Second Elder.”
“How was it?”
“Su Chen seemed very calm, but his movements indicated otherwise. While he was talking with you, he drank three cups of tea in a row, crossed and uncrossed his legs five times, and his gaze kept darting about; in addition, his forehead was covered in sweat. He is almost certainly lying.”
“Almost certainly? Didn’t I tell you to use a lie-detection Origin Skill on him?”
“I used it, but it wasn’t effective.”
“How could you have failed given that your level of strength?”
“That’s not it. There seems to be a barrier surrounding his consciousness that is difficult to break through. It isn’t an Origin Skill, but some other kind of supplementary object. For instance, he could have consumed a temporary consciousness-strengthening medicine beforehand.”
Zhang Tingyue squinted his eyes and thought for a moment before he said, “Consciousness-type medicines are all expensive. Each one goes for at least a few thousand Origin Stones, and high-tier ones can go for tens of thousands of Origin Stones. Even if he is an alchemist, there is no reason for him to be concocting such medicines for no reason. Could it be that he had anticipated us and prepared this long in advance? Looks like this Su Chen truly is up to something!”
“Then Second Elder, we……”
“We’re in no hurry. Keep an eye on him and don’t let him get away. Let’s wait for news from the others first; after all, Third Mother Guan is not easy to deal with, and we should be hearing from them very soon.”
Even though Third Mother Guan was called Third Mother, she was still quite young and wasn’t even twenty-six years old yet.
She was always dressed in black, and she wore a white flower on her head. Supposedly, that was because three of her previous husbands had already died.
She was the infamous Black Widow.
At that moment, the Black Widow was sitting in front of Jin Ling’er, using her long, red fingernails to hold Jin Ling’er’s chin. She spoke in a seductive tone and said, “What a beautiful face. Based on Shanying’s temperament, he must have like it very much. Apparently, your whole team died except for you; that is too unjust. I believe that Shanying, even while in the Nine Springs1, is still thinking of and longing for you.”
Jin Ling’er trembled uncontrollably.
She knew that those red fingernails were not painted on; rather, they were colored with a poison that could slowly corrode flesh. If her skin was punctured even a tiny bit, the poison on Third Mother Guan’s fingernails was enough to kill her three times over.
“Shh!” Third Mother Guan placed her left index finger on her mouth and gently shushed Jin Ling’er. “Don’t be in such a hurry. If you say the answer out loud too early, it won’t be fun anymore. In reality, how Shanying died doesn’t matter to me at all. The only problem is that he died all alone, which is not good. Someone needs to go down there to keep him company.”
As she spoke, she stroked Jin Ling’er’s face with the back of her nails.
They felt ice cold.
Jin Ling’er said in fright, “You cannot do this; I am from a Bloodline Nobility Clan. If you attack someone from another Bloodline Nobility Clan, you……”
“I didn’t say I would kill you,” Third Mother Guan laughed as she stroked Jin Ling’er’s face. “How could I ever do such a heinous thing? In this world, I only kill males.”
Jin Ling’er let out a sigh of relief.
“However, just because I won’t make a move doesn’t mean that no one else will. After all, our clan’s Shanying died along with Sheng’an, Zhong Ding, Hong Wu, and Zheng Kuang. All of them were also from Bloodline Nobility Clans, but isn’t everything still okay? As long as you do things cleanly enough, the consequences don’t matter much, do they?”
Third Mother Guan began to laugh with delight.
The laugh was like a formless terror that permeated Jin Ling’er’s heart.
Jin Ling’er finally couldn’t take it anymore.
She began to yell, “I’ll talk! I’ll tell you everything……”
- The underworld according to Chinese mythology. ↩