This Peach blossom luck back then, peach blossom tribulation today.
Not long after, it began to snow again in Ma County.
The snow was not too heavy, but the wind was fierce.
Liu Chang and the others had no choice but to find a relay station in Ma County and stay overnight.
The government runs the relay station, and generally only accepts officials and the official’s family members. Liu Chang’s grade could make him live in a nice courtyard, and if he’s lucky, it might even be the main one.
After all, there won’t be any big officials in this small place.
The station should also have a heated floor and hot coals. Then they’d be given some wine to warm themselves up, making this weather feel bearable. Unfortunately, when they arrived at the relay station, they saw the barren ground and several yards ventilated in all directions.
This dumbfounded Liu Chang. He was about to get angry when he felt his chest constrict and he suddenly choked.
The soldiers under him didn’t have such scruples. They yelled at the entrance of the relay station, went in, and circled, then finally have to admit that the relay station in Ma County had been abandoned for a long time.
“Don’t be angry. It must be because this place is poor so the relay station was left unattended for a long time.”
“Presumptuous, too presumptuous!” Liu Chang paled with anger.
Since entering Ma County, he, a sixth-rank official of the Imperial Court, felt angry all the time.
“The people here really live in barren hills and wild rivers! The relay station is affiliated to the country, and this small Ma County actually abandoned it. This is a crime of malfeasance!”
After Liu Chang said those few words, he felt a little breathless.
The soldiers hurriedly helped Liu Chang into the sedan chair and braved the snow.
On this day, they first went to XiaoHe Town and then to the county town of Ma County. When they returned to Xiaohe Town, it was already late. There’s an inn in Xiaohe Town, but Liu Chang refused to stay there while the soldiers thought of Missus Xue with lingering fears. And so, they entered a cart and horse shop, and roguishly acquisition a mule cart and several mules.
The shopkeeper was crying without tears, watching the shadow of the mule cart going away then sat down on the snow.
The shopkeeper felt as if something was under his butt. He rose and reached out to touch it. It turned out to be a money bag.
He opened it and counted, not only was there enough money for the cart, there’s even extra.
The shopkeeper suddenly remembered that the man in the official uniform had slipped when he went out. When the two soldiers helped him, the three of them almost fell together, and it was in this same spot.
——maybe he dropped it at that time!
The shopkeeper immediately took out all the silver in the purse. He cut the one or two silver ingots into pieces and hid them deeply. Then he threw the purse into the charcoal-burning stove. He thought this was God opening his eyes. If the other party came back to find it, he would definitely deny it.
In fact, this has nothing to do with God. Physician Mo threw a stone, causing the loss of Liu Chang’s purse.
He followed Liu Chang and the others all the way. About a mile outside of Xiaohe Town, Liu Chang suddenly felt a hole in his sleeve. After another touch, he felt no money bag in his sleeve pocket and saw nothing in the cart.
“Stop! Stop!” Liu Chang hurriedly shouted.
The mule cart slid out a long distance on the mountain road and almost hit the mountain wall.
This shocked the soldiers and they felt indescribably scared. They couldn’t help but complain that Liu Chang was too narrow-minded. He abruptly made himself ill, and now he still had to ride in a mule cart. This mountain road was not easy to travel to in the first place, but now with the ice and snow, it’s even more dangerous.
But what could be done? The officials at the top level could crush lower-level soldiers to death. Before, when Liu Chang was lying in the sedan chair, they had a foot deep in the snow.
“What happened, Officer Liu?” The leading soldier jumped off the mule and asked roughly, “The road is not easy to travel and the sky is dark. Three miles ahead is where we stayed yesterday. If you have a heart illness, you should bear it first.”
Liu Chang touched the hole in his sleeve and finally remembered that he had fallen before the cart, and might have scratched against something which tore the pocket in his sleeve. Liu Chang remained on the cart the whole time, and since there are no other carts, it must have fallen in Xiaohe Town.
But they have already traveled so far, and the sky is dark and heavy. With the north wind whistling, who would want to go back this time! Liu Chang could only grit his teeth and sit back, but his heart was dripping with blood.
The money in that purse is not too much, but he, a sixth-rank military officer, has no permanent assets from his family, and the money was hard to come by. Now with less money to use, how can he not feel heartache?
Coincidentally, Physician Mo behind them is also counting his money.
The howling gust of wind would automatically weaken within three feet of his body. In the end, only a few fine snowflakes reached him.
His robe is very wide, but his cuffs and neckline had no gap, so he didn’t feel the wind at all.
The cloth used on this kind of clothes is very thick and stuffed with cotton to keep out the cold. Mo Li is not afraid of the cold, but the people here are dressed like this when going out in the winter, and it’s even worse in Ma County. When Mo Li left, Physician He said that he had to wear this before leaving.
Mo Li thought that too little clothing would make people notice so he accepted this kindness.
In such a blizzard, it’s difficult for ordinary people to walk, but Physician Mo is counting money.
——when going out, teacher gave me a sum of money, Minister Xue also gave me some, saying that it’s the reward for delivering the letter, and even Tang XiaoTang sneaked in twenty copper plates that he had accumulated for a long time.
Then in Xiaohe Town, Missus Xue gave him some money, but Mo Li handed it over to Physician He because Liu Chang and their group had no money to pay for the medical treatment and herbs. Several herbs are not cheap in the prescription that Mo Li prescribed. Liu Chang and the others even took several herbs, and among them, those soldiers cleared out the blind sage.
Physician He refused to take it at first, so he declined but accepted it in the end. After all, he still had a few apprentices to raise.
Mo Li counted the money while calculating the journey from here to SiLang Mountain in his heart.
——I got a little lost in thinking that I almost overtook them.
Liu Chang and his party stopped. The place where they stayed was a big house. There’s no plaque at the door, but it looked like a scholar’s residence.
Mo Li casually found a tree and climbed over the wall.
Although the house is large, there aren’t many places with the lights on. In rural areas, lamp oil is not cheap, so the servants are not allowed to light up the lamps casually.
When Mo Li touched the window of the main courtyard, he happened to hear a servant calling for the owner of the mansion.
“Officer Liu is here again.”
The owner of the mansion was in his forties, with an oriental face and wearing a whole body gown with many patterns on it. He waved his hand unhappily and repelled the servant.
There’s another person in the room, a very skinny man. He asked while rolling his eyes: “Who’s the Officer?”
“The Imperial court-appointed person under General Liu Dan, who was originally a bandit who was ordered to encircle and suppress Pingzhou. Later, there was an incident in the gold mine in Silang Mountain, so he went there to investigate the case. I don’t know why this Officer Liu took a few people and went north. He stayed with me yesterday and asked me about Xiaohe Town, Ma County, and said something about vising relatives…seeing his expression, it should be for revenge!”
The thin man frowned and said: “He’s also surnamed Liu, what is his relationship with Liu Dan?”
“I don’t know, but they seem to be distant relatives.” The owner said disapprovingly, “He just passed by and has nothing to do with us. By the way, did you really see the dragon in Zhushan County?”
Mo Li was about to leave, but hearing these words, he abruptly stopped.
This movement was very slight, but the thin man in the room shouted: “Who’s there?”
The thin man rushed out the door, jumped onto the roof, and looked around, but saw nothing. He returned to the courtyard angrily and said as he walked: “I heard a strange sound just now.”
The owner thought he’s just making a fuss. Maybe the snow on the branches was too heavy, so one or two pieces fell to the ground.
“It’s not wrong to be careful, now that there are outsiders here again.”
The thin man checked the eaves and branches again. Finding no footprints, he went back inside.
“About the dragon…I’m not sure. I was already at the ravine and far away, so I only vaguely saw the clouds in the sky forming something like a dragon’s tail.” The thin man thought for a while, then said, “No matter what, this matter must be reported to the Lord as soon as possible! I didn’t expect that passing by would make me the first to obtain this conclusive information.”
The owner suddenly asked: “Do you think Qin Lu hid there because he knew there’s a dragon vein in Zhushan County? Otherwise, why would he need to live in seclusion in the mountains when he’s such an expert and talented in medicine? If you didn’t tell me today, I wouldn’t have known that Qin Lu is also in Zhushan County. That’s incredible! In the small Zhushan County, there are not only the Ghost Poison Vulture who killed an entire Buddha Temple but also Qin Lu, the number one expert, Silver Fox Doctor in the past. If it weren’t for Xue Ting’s invisible poison, we wouldn’t have set up our base in Ma County. It’s far away and inconvenient that even we didn’t know that Qin Lu was in Zhushan County.”
The thin man whispered: “Maybe it’s because of that baby…”
His voice was very soft and the owner didn’t hear it. When he asked again, the thin man impatiently said: “Nevermind, when will you get the news out?”
The owner was very upset and there’s a hint of sarcasm in his tone: “The wind and snow are so heavy that the pigeons are freezing to death. Even a fast horse can’t run on this mountain road, so how would we send the news? If you’re in a hurry, deliver it yourself!”
As he spoke, it suddenly went dark as the candlelight went out.
The owner was about to shout when he heard a bang from the dark room, mixed with the angry shout of the thin man. The owner hurriedly leaned close to the corner, and suddenly heard no sound when he wanted to sneak out.
He didn’t dare move, nor did he dare gasp.
While listening to any movements, the back of his neck suddenly felt cold, as if something pressed against it.
——it’s a dagger.
“This hero, please spare my life, my money is all in the warehouse.”
“Where is the dragon vein?”
A weird voice came from behind the owner, rising and falling, making it difficult to distinguish if it’s from a man or a woman.
“W-what are you talking about? I don’t know ah, what dragon vein…I know about mineral veins, there’s one on SiLang…”
Before he could finish, the dagger got close again, and he didn’t dare move again, but his heart was very anxious. He knew very well that the thin man’s martial arts could be considered very good under the master. Now that he’s down, what’s the origin of this person?
Mo Li didn’t give the owner time to think clearly. He didn’t speak, but continued to ask using a ventriloquist’s voice: “Don’t be vague, the dragon vein on Silang Mountain is no longer there, right? Where is the new dragon vein you discovered?”
Mo Li guessed that the thin man was an inexplicable visitor that day. Hearing that this group of people was looking for dragon veins, but didn’t know how many there are, he simply gambled. Seeing that they knew the situation on SiLang Mountain very well, but didn’t care too much, then naturally, they didn’t have what they were looking for.
“The dragon vein on Silang Mountain is still there, it’s still there!”
Mo Li felt the pulse on the owner’s neck beating extremely fast and his body stretched extremely tight as if about to take the opportunity to escape. He didn’t seem scared at all. With a move, the other hand directly pinched the opponent’s neck. It seemed like he got angry and wanted to kill but then——
An elixir! It’s spiritual medicine again. This person has also eaten it. When did spiritual herbs become so worthless?
This frightened Mo Li and then infuriated him. Only a white ginseng was born three hundred miles around Qi Mao Mountain. It’s extremely expensive, but these people can eat it like sweet potatoes?
“If there’s no dragon vein here, will you build such a big house in this remote countryside and live here for a long time?” Mo Li changed into an old voice again and gloomily said, “Dare to deceived this old man, the people here will not live until dawn.”
“No, no, you misunderstood.” The owner trembled uncontrollably. He felt itchy in his meridians as if worms were crawling inside. He suddenly thought of Xue Ting, and his body suddenly lost half its strength.
He’s afraid of death and more afraid of this stranger than dying.
“We are here because we were ordered to find the whereabouts of the treasures of the previous dynasty.”
This stunned Physician Mo. Why did another treasure come out? He just followed Liu Chang, but then heard about dragon veins in other places. He accidentally dug up a group of unsuspecting people, and now, even a treasure came out.
Now that the words are set, he could only follow it to the end, so Mo Li sharply said: “Still talking nonsense, the treasures of the previous dynasty are just rumors, not to be believed.”
“No, no, it’s true.” The owner wailed to survive, “the jade seals used by the current Emperor are all fake. The real jade seals are with the treasures, and it’s said that they were taken away many years ago.”
“Then why did you come to Zhushan County?”
The owner believed that the stranger was Xue Ting, and wondered if the other party really didn’t know about the treasure. He tentatively said, “Because, after the investigation, we found that only three or four people can take away the treasure without anyone knowing. Although the others are powerful, they can’t erase all traces. The most mysterious person in it and that everyone recognized as the one holding the treasure is Meng Qi, but the State Teacher has long since disappeared…our Lord searched from other directions. It took several years and we finally found someone suspicious.”
The small official sent to Zhushan County.
He not only actively asked for work outside but also asked for money. The sooner the better, and it doesn’t matter if it’s remote. Although it seemed like the other party just wanted to avoid the misfortune and not implicated by his schoolmate, this person still looked suspicious.
There’s no problem with the student registration test, but the household registration is fake!
If they hadn’t dug him up, ordinary inspections wouldn’t reveal any problems at all.
“Minister Xue was also one of the elegant scholars in the Capital back then, but he got married early. His official position might be small, but he’s the Chief of the Ministry of Justice back then. This is not a big title, but after all, the warm and virtuous Lan Mei is in his heart, so…”
The owner kept saying good things, but the person behind him didn’t appreciate it and said coldly: “Don’t talk about him, get to the point!”
“We found everyone he met in the brothel back in the Capital those days and found a hidden portrait. Because she had a fated encounter with Master Xue on the edge of the Weishui River, she fell in love, then painted him for some reason… we also found some old people from the previous dynasty and determined that the portrait was Master Xue. But some people also recognized the person in this painting as the “Ghost Poison Vulture” who disappeared in Jianghu. Back then, Jianghu only knew that his surname Xue, not his first name.”
The author has something to say:
Magistrate Xue: Sitting at home and a black pot came from the sky.
Magistrate Xue: Did you see, Physician Mo? You’d have bad luck if you met State Teacher Meng. Meng Qi is obviously the suspect, but why did it turn and hit me in the head???
Meng Qi: Upstairs is scamming people, pure and simple.