HSSB57: What the public loves to hear
Lin Yushao leaving her seclusion, was something that Yan Zhaoge had already known about.
That Lin Yushao was coming to the Eastern Tang; this was also something that Yan Zhaoge had known about.
Even though this mess that his body’s previous owner had left for him had caused some trouble for him in the past, Yan Zhaoge had never thought too much of it.
As for the reason she had come—regardless of whether it had been to find out the truth of Ye Jing’s disappearance or to see Yan Zhaoge—it was not all that important.
Yet, Yan Zhaoge had never expected that Lin Yushao would actually perish.
And what’s more, it wasn’t some accidental mishap that caused her death. Some people had specifically set out to kill her.
Yan Zhaoge was stunned for a long time before he finally regained his wits, “It wasn’t Xiao Shen or Chao Yuanlong, was it?”
This had been his first reaction after having heard the news of Lin Yushao’s death. Still, since the black-clothed men who had reported back had not made any mention of the Sacred Sun Clan, it probably wasn’t the case.
“…she met up with some fleeing expelled disciples?”
Even though this seemed a bit absurd, other than Xiao Shen being the culprit, it was the only plausible reason that Yan Zhaoge could think of.
Because as far as Yan Zhaoge was aware, Lin Yushao didn’t have any blood enemies, or at least no one whom she had such an irreconcilable enmity with.
Even if it was an enemy of Yan Zhaoge trying to vent their hatred on Lin Yushao, there also weren’t too many suspects other than the Sacred Sun Clan.
On the other hand, there were many adventurers who passed through the area around the Sealing Dragon Abyss. Out of all these adventurers, there were naturally some who were less than savory characters, being quite bloodthirsty.
Even though Lin Yushao was a Broad Creed Mountain disciple, it was possible that she might have met up with that sort of violent and carefree person who dared to kill even a Sacred Ground disciple.
In such a situation, one could only rely on their own cultivation and combat ability.
That black-clothed messenger shook his head, saying quietly, “From our reports, it seemed like Miss Lin’s clothes were still orderly after she was killed; it didn’t look like she was violated in any way.”
Yan Zhaoge slowly knit his eyebrows together, as he began to form an idea of what could have happened.
Even though she had had a deep relationship with his body’s previous owner, the present Yan Zhaoge had actually never laid eyes on this Miss Lin.
He didn’t feel any deep sorrow over her death, but did feel a strong sense of pity.
After all, such a young person had perished so prematurely.
There was a long pause, before Yan Zhaoge sighed, “Let’s deal with it once we get back.”
The group slowly progressed forwards, until they finally emerged on the outside of the Luliao Mountains.
After passing out of the last canyon and heading out on the road towards Overlooking Abyss City, they came face to face with another group of Broad Creed Mountain martial practitioners.
Upon seeing Yan Zhaoge, their leader couldn’t help but let out a strange expression as he greeted, “Junior apprentice-nephew Yan.”
Recognising him as one of Xu Chuan’s subordinates, Yan Zhaoge nodded, “Is anything the matter?”
The man lowered his voice, “Elder Xu requests that you don’t enter the city yet, and to meet him in a pavilion ten kilometres outside the city borders.”
Yan Zhaoge remained calm: “There is no need. I’ll have to trouble you to ask Elder Xu to come here directly and meet me. We can discuss matters as we walk—there’s an urgent matter I have to attend to in the Eastern Tang capital.”
The middle-aged man hesitated for a moment, before he nodded his head and departed.
Yan Zhaoge looked off into the distance, only to see someone observing his departure from the Luliao Mountains from far away. Immediately, the faraway observer fled.
It was obvious that this observer was reporting news of his whereabouts back to some other party.
Yan Zhaoge did nothing to obstruct him, as he continued to make his way towards his destination.
As members of the Eastern Tang royal family, Zhao Shilie and Zhao Yuan’s statuses made it such that it would be difficult to hide any matters in the Eastern Tang from them that they wanted to know about.
After sending out some people to scout, they quickly came back to report. After a while, there was a group of people assembled, all of whom bore a unique expression.
On the other hand, Zhao Hao stood unconcernedly to the side, seemingly unfazed by anything.
Very quickly, an extremely worried Xu Chuan personally came from Overlooking Abyss City to meet Yan Zhaoge’s group.
“Junior apprentice-nephew Yan has returned, along with Prince Jin, First Prince, Third Prince, and Sixteenth Prince.”
Xu Chuan immediately started off with the formal pleasantries, but quickly followed up with a sound transmission to Yan Zhaoge, “Junior apprentice-nephew Yan, junior apprentice-niece Lin Yushao has come to great harm. Have you heard?”
Yan Zhaoge’s gaze flickered momentarily, before, with a sad expression on his face, he slowly nodded: “I’ve already heard about it; who was the one who did this heinous deed?”
Xu Chuan’s expression seemed slightly bitter, “There were some rumors spreading about that it was actually junior apprentice-nephew Yan yourself who did it…”
Yan Zhaoge’s eyebrows immediately knit together, “How could that possibly be the case? Who’s spreading this nonsense?”
“There’s a rumor that your affection for her had dulled because of her long period of seclusion.”
Xu Chuan was a crafty old fox. This rumor was even more intolerable, since it suggested that Yan Zhaoge had just been playing around with Lin Yushao. Naturally, Xu Chuan didn’t dare to directly say this to Yan Zhaoge.
“The rumor also says that you became enamored with fellow disciple Sikong Qing.”
Yan Zhaoge was incredulous, “I somehow left this type of impression on people?”
Xu Chuan shot a glance behind Yan Zhaoge, examining Feng Yunsheng, who was currently teasing the black dog.
Yan Zhaoge immediately put his hand to his forehead.
Xu Chuan didn’t dare to keep provoking him, and dryly continued: “The rumor says that junior apprentice-niece Lin heard about your relationship with junior apprentice-niece Sikong, and that was the reason for which she set out for the Eastern Tang in the first place.”
“After meeting, the two of you got into a dispute. Feeling vexed with junior apprentice-niece Lin, you decided to…”
Xu Chuan couldn’t bear to continue, because Yan Zhaoge’s expression had already become as black as a pot’s bottom.
Yan Zhaoge humorlessly spoke, “This sort of baseless and ridiculous rumor, there are people who actually believe it?”
Xu Chuan let out a bitter laugh, “It’s only that according to the rumor, junior apprentice-niece Lin died to a strike of the Tushita Palm.”
Yan Zhaoge’s pupils suddenly shrank, “The Tushita Palm?”
Xu Chuan nodded heavily, “The corpse was first discovered by Yan Xu’s subordinates, and is still in their possession at the present time. For the time being, it will be difficult to get close to inspect the body.”
“However, according to the rumours, her stomach was split open by an enormous wound, and her flesh and blood were entirely scorched. This had to have been from a flame-type martial art.”
“But currently, word’s out that Lin Yushao died by the Tushita Palm.”
Xu Chuan observed Yan Zhaoge with some concern.
Of the martial practitioners who could use the Tushita Palm, Yan Zhaoge was obviously not the only one. Even in the Eastern Tang, he was not the only one. However, amongst them, Yan Zhaoge was the only one with a possible motive.
Even though that motive was seemingly nonsensical, it was a disappointing truth that this kind of juicy gossip about a lover’s feud was exactly the type of rumor that was most likely to be spread.
Under the scrutiny of the masses, it was inevitable that Yan Zhaoge’s image would suffer a serious blow.
If it was just gossip about Yan Zhaoge’s affections, that would be fine. After all, everyone loves stories about the hero seeking the heart of a beautiful maiden. However, this matter of illicit love and murder was a totally different beast altogether.
Especially this kind of rumor; even if it was cleared up later on, people still might not believe it.
Yan Zhaoge squinted his eyes.
The people purposely spreading this rumor might not just want to destroy his reputation; they might be planning something even bigger.
Yan Zhaoge had the vague feeling that was some kind of trap…
After considering for a moment, Yan Zhaoge shook his head, “The death of junior apprentice-sister Lin really had nothing to with me. Naturally, we will have to closely investigate the identity of the true killer.”
“However, I have an urgent matter that I have to attend to in the Eastern Tang capital which is relevant to the very foundation of our Broad Creed Mountain. I too am sorely saddened by the death of junior apprentice-sister Lin, but I can only put this matter aside for the moment and mourn later.”
“The East Elder is also hurrying to the capital, and I have to meet him there.”
Xu Chuan stared blankly. Originally, he had thought that Yan Zhaoge was just trying to avoid the issue, but seeing as the East Elder was also coming, it seemed like there really was an important issue at hand.
Xu Chuan wavered momentarily before he said, “Elder Yan is at Overlooking Abyss City; he gave the order that as soon as we saw you, we should bring you back to meet him. Junior-apprentice-niece Lin’s body is also within the city.”
Yan Zhaoge’s mouth twitched, “As people get older, they tend to become forgetful. It looks like he’s forgotten that right now, I don’t have to follow his orders.”
“If he has some business with me, he can accompany me on my way to the Eastern Tang capital.”