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Chapter 189

Ning Ning had a bad feeling.

It was already late morning, but by the time she and Pei Ji sobered up and were ready to leave the inn for the City Lord’s Mansion, they still hadn’t seen any sign of the others from their sect.

Meng Jue, Zheng Weiqi, Lin Xun, He Zhizhou, and even their master, Tian Xianzi, who had stayed at Tianxiang Tower to continue drinking, hadn’t returned. The doors to their rooms were locked, and no amount of knocking elicited any response.

“They are not….” Ning Ning recalled Pei Ji’s appearance last night and couldn’t help but worry, “They are still not sober after getting drunk, right?”

Today was the day the results of the first round of the Ten Method Assembly were announced. If the disciples didn’t show up, it might go unnoticed. But Tian Xianzi, being an elder of the Xuanxu Sword Sect, seemed ready to give a speech in front of everyone about the formations in the secret realm.

If he didn’t appear, his reputation would be ruined.

“They may have already gone to the City Lord’s Mansion,” Pei Ji, who was uncharacteristically reserved and cold, said from behind her.

“The route from Tianxiang Tower to the City Lord’s Mansion isn’t long.”

This was the most hopeful possibility they had.

Ning Ning nodded.

“Let’s go check at the City Lord’s Mansion.”

As they approached the City Lord’s Mansion, Ning Ning immediately noticed the statue of the Phoenix bird.

The mansion was filled with pavilions and terraces. The Phoenix bird spread its wings among the green-tiled eaves, and the emeralds embedded in its eyes gleamed brightly under the sun, almost piercingly so.

“I heard there are two phoenix bird statues,” Pei Ji said, following her gaze.

“One to the north and one to the south. The gems in their eyes are cast with a spell to rotate within a certain angle, recording everything they see.”

Like four constantly swiveling surveillance cameras. But, just like cameras, these gems had blind spots.

“Even with the phoenix birds, couldn’t a perpetrator strike during the moments when the gems aren’t looking?”

Ning Ning felt nervous being alone with Pei Ji, remembering his behavior from last night.

She couldn’t bring herself to ask directly, “Why did you say such ambiguous things last night?”

It was too embarrassing. She couldn’t face him if she did.


Ning Ning glanced at his calm profile and thought of his smile from last night. He had said he had practiced a lot, and it wasn’t fake. Was it because of a casual joke she had made that he had practiced smiling in front of a mirror?

The thought left her dazed.

Pei Ji, unaware of her tangled thoughts, responded, “Yes.”

Feeling that his one-word response was too curt, he added, “After the phoenix bird statues were installed, a girl still went missing in Luan City. The judicial officer reviewed all the recorded images but found no useful clues.”

As they walked into the mansion, Ning Ning asked curiously, “Where did she go missing?”

“In the pleasure quarters,” Pei Ji replied, his tone still cool, so different from last night.

“Luan City has a street lined with brothels called ‘Hundred Flowers Deep’. The missing girl was a dancer. She had no family, and it was days before the madam of her brothel noticed she was gone.”

Such a thought brought a tinge of sadness. The girl was one of many struggling to survive, disappearing without a trace, unnoticed by anyone.

Now, with the demons vanished and a semblance of peace, such incidents were rare. But in the past, weaker mortals were like ants, crushed without a chance of resistance.

Ning Ning sighed, and when she looked up, they had reached the front gate of the mansion.

Most of the disciples who had lost their tokens and left the secret realm knew they had no chance and didn’t attend the banquet. The grand setup was still impressive, but the guests were much fewer.

Ning Ning scanned the area and finally spotted the little white dragon, Lin Xun, in a corner.

However, he seemed off…

His white robe seemed to have been ravaged madly, with wrinkles like ripples on the river surface during a flood.

He sat motionless in the shadow of the eaves, as if his brain had been eaten by zombies and he had become a zombie. He didn’t even need makeup to play a zombie.

Later, when she looked closely, she found that not only the white robe was ravaged, but he himself looked like a shrunk SpongeBob, with not a drop of water that could be squeezed out again, and looked very haggard.

Ning Ning exchanged a glance with Pei Ji and approached him.

“Junior Brother Lin?”

As Lin Xun looked up, she smelled a sweet fragrance of wine. It was indeed the Jiuzhou Spring Return. Even after so long, the lingering fragrance was still like a spring breeze.

Seeing his dazed expression, Ning Ning asked worriedly, “Are you alright? Where are the others? What happened last night?”

The young dragon stared at her with teary eyes, and after a moment, he took a deep breath, his voice trembling with fear.

“S-Senior Sister… it was so scary, so scary. Master and the others have gone mad!”

Lin Xun, with his innocent, fair looks, now had tear-filled eyes, and his soft voice was like cotton.

His two light pink dragon horns swayed with his head, looking like a “powerful killing weapon”.

Cheng Ying laughed.

“You were almost like this kid last night. When you were acting like a spoiled child towards Ning Ning, oh my god, it was simply amazing…hehehe.”

Pei Ji’s expression darkened further.

Normally, he would have ignored such remarks with disdain, but seeing Ning Ning comforting Lin Xun, he couldn’t help but feel something stir inside him.


He found the words shameful and forced them out.

“Who’s better, me or him?”

Cheng Ying was stunned.

Then he burst into laughter: “Oh my god, Pei Xiaoji! Is this something you would say? Has the sun risen in the west?”

He became more and more excited as he spoke, with an extremely weird and devilish “hehe” sound in between his words: “Are you…jealous or enlightened?”

Pei Ji frowned, trying to hide the heat rising to his ears.


Cheng Ying laughed for a while longer before whispering, “Of course, it’s you! Pei Xiaoji is the cutest in the world. Ning Ning’s face was super red when you whined to her last night.”

Pei Ji: …

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