It was said that on that day Guo Qi saw the corpse, he immediately rushed back to Qingxi Town in a state of anxiety fifty miles away just because he saw the silver bell bracelet and remembered the disappearance of his younger brother.
The parents in the family were already old, and they were naturally happy to see the eldest son come back, and hold the son to talk for a long time.
Guo Qi, however, was distracted all the time.
After settling his parents to rest, he wandered around the town twice aimlessly, and unknowingly, he came to the place where his younger brother disappeared that year.
The fruit tree back then had grown a lot taller now.
Back then, the child still needed to climb up slowly, but now he only needs to jump up to reach the top of the tree.
Guo Qi felt like a knife was twisting his heart.
If he had half of his ability back then, his younger brother wouldn’t have been kidnapped.
Behind the woods, was the mass grave of Qingxi Town.
The poor people in the town who were unable to repair their tombs will be buried here wrapped in a straw mat.
Guo Qi glanced at it and planned to go down the tree, but unexpectedly there was a flash of light on the burial mound, which attracted his attention.
Guo Qi got down from the tree and walked slowly to the mass grave to check.
Before entering, a large group of crows flew up, yet did not fly away and only gathered nearby, looking at Guo Qi, this uninvited guest, with fear and greed.
Guo Qi looked back at the fruit tree, adjusted his direction according to where the light flashed just now and took a few more steps forward.
The mass grave was eerily silent except for the occasional caws of the crows when he suddenly stumbled upon a protruding human hand.
It was wearing an emerald ring which shone under the sunlight.
Guo Qi braced himself and dug the corpse out from the dirt.
He turned it over and couldn’t help but be surprised and be terrified at the same time.
He inexplicably glanced at the dug pit when he noticed another arm.
After a moment, Guo Qi couldn’t help widening his eyes, his scalp tingling.
There were several corpses buried in the mass grave and each of the corpse’s chest had a gaping hole in them, exactly the same as that child’s corpse.
Guo Qi was in charge of the cooperation between the medicine hall and the Yamen back in Yiyun Town, and knew how to deal with such incidents.
At this time, he calmed down and hurriedly returned to the town, notified the Qingxi Town’s Yamen, and carried a few corpses back to the Yamen office and went back to Yiyun Town overnight.
Who would have guessed that there would be a sudden storm, and walking in the mountains would inevitably be dangerous.
He almost fell off the cliff several times which was very embarrassing.
One case rose after another.
Gu Mingshun immediately sent someone to Qingxi Town to check.
However, Mu Xiyun suddenly stopped him, “Brother Gu, wait a moment, let me ask Martial Brother Guo something.” After getting along with Xiyun for two days, Gu knew that he was a very careful and reliable person, he pressed the anxiety in his heart as of the moment and waited for Xiyun to ask questions.
“Brother Guo,” Mu Xiyun turned to Guo Qi, “Think about it carefully, if the silver bracelet with bell was not your brother’s, then do you somehow have an impression where your brother got it”
This question suddenly pulled Guo Qi out of the thorns he had been drilling for the past few days, he tilted his head and thought about it carefully and hesitatingly answered, “My brother’s bracelet was given by a relative from our mother’s side on the night of the full moon.
My mother was originally from Ping County.”
Ping County was in the southwest of Yiyun Town, more than a hundred miles away.
Mu Xiyun looked up at Gu Mingshun.
Mingshun suddenly came back to his senses, he nodded immediately and said, “I’ll send someone to Ping County to see if there are any missing children.” After that, he turned around and went out.
Su Yanjun and Liang Zheng also understood that small ornaments given on the night of the full moon, such as longevity locks and silver bracelets, were generally the same in form, but the craftsmen’s craftsmanship and preferred styles were also different depending on the tradition of each place.
Guo Qi would inevitably confuse the child’s corpse’s silver bracelet with his younger brother’s own.
It was very much likely that the two bracelets came from the same place, so the child’s corpse likely came from Ping County.
Xiyun frowned and pondered for a moment, then said to Liang Zheng, “Senior brother Liang, there is still a need to do an autopsy on the child’s corpse and someone to visit Qingxi Town.
You and Brother Gu are more than enough to deal with it.
I have been brooding about the mysterious array we encountered yesterday, and I still want to visit it again today.
Su Yanjun mulled over it for a while and said, “Alright, I’ll go explore with you.”
“No need,” Xiyun declined.
“Martial brother Guo currently needs to rest, and someone is needed to communicate between Qingxi Town and Moyun Mountain.
Yesterday’s spiritual array was not that strong, I can handle it.
Su Yanjun thought about it and agreed, and the group immediately set off for Qingxi Town.
Mu Xiyun, alone, walked slowly towards the west of the town.
The town of Yiyun in March had warmed up, and the breeze no longer felt cold under the heat of the sun.
Yiyun Town was not big, and a long clear river runs through the town, dividing the town into two parts: east and west.
Slowly walking on the river side, there were various stalls lined up on both sides of a stone arch bridge and the sounds of hawkers could be heard all the time.
Mu Xiyun’s eyes fell on the bridge.
He didn’t know when this bridge was built, but it must have been here already by the time the Yiyun Town was built.
Under the exquisite bridge railing, the word “Qingqiao” was engraved.
The masked man he met last night suddenly overlapped with the figure in his memory, and a scene from the past jumped out of his mind.
It was the Lantern Festival, Mu Xiyun was twelve years old and he had just been up the mountain for less than a year.
It was the New Year’s Eve, although cultivators were pure-hearted and had few desires, but they can’t stop the little disciples from taking advantage of the festival to have fun.
That night of the Lantern Festival was the last enjoyment for everyone before going back to the mountain.
Holding a rabbit lamp in his hand, Mu Xiyun followed behind his senior brothers, yet he only kept on thinking about when he could finally return to the mountain.
He had not been up the mountain for that long and he was still young.
When he entered the Tianliang Peak, he was the only one who was still learning basic spells and swordsmanship.
Li Yao handed him over to the eldest disciple in the peak to learn from.
Most of the brothers are already 16 or 17-year-old teenagers.
When they were hyperactive, they would often perfunctorily finish their homework and disappear, leaving only Mu Xiyun behind to learn by himself.
In order to catch up with the progress, he had to practice hard from time to time.
He can only watch the senior brothers laugh and play together, unable to blend into their world.
There were many people that evening.
Individuals were beaming with joy, children were running around with lights, and adults were smiling.
A four or five-year-old child fell, and the mother stepped forward to help them up, comforting them softly, while the child’s father watched them with a big smile.
Mu Xiyun watched silently for a while and then hung his head low and looked at his feet.
When he looked up again, he noticed a boy sitting on the bridge’s railing.
The boy looked fifteen or sixteen years old.
He was in the stage where his body began to grow taller and had the elegance of a young man.
His eye sockets were deeper than ordinary people, and his eyes reflected the bright lights, which looked very mesmerizing.
A gust of wind blew, and the few strands of hair on his forehead were ruffled by the wind.
With a lazy smile on the corner of his mouth, he showed a kind of free and uninhibited demeanor, as if nothing in this world would leave traces in his life.
The moment Xiyun raised his head, he seemed to feel a stare and inexplicably glanced at the young man.
The eyes of the two met for a moment, and Xiyun felt a little embarrassed, and was about to look away, but saw the young man jump off the bridge’s railing and smiled at him.
Someone shouted from behind.
It turned out to be an acquaintance of the young man.
Xiyun lowered his head and walked a few steps quickly to catch up with his senior brothers.
When he looked back, the two teenagers had already stood together and talked in high spirits.
That smile came and went just as fast, but it was like a dragonfly lightly tapping on the lake’s stilled surface, leaving a faint trace in the heart of the twelve-year-old boy.
The mother stepped forward to dance and everyone was beaming when a hawker of candied gourd’s shout pierced his ear making him come back to his senses.
The memory of the previous life was still permeating his heart, but everything had already changed in front of him.
Xiyun lightly laughed to himself.
On that New Year’s Eve, when he heard the news that Gu Qingqiao’s soul might have been scattered, the little hope in his heart since his rebirth was burned to ashes like a wildfire passing through.
From then on, walking in the world was nothing but a matter of repaying the two elders of Tianji Peak for their dedication towards him for decades.
Although Elder Huang explained that things were suspicious back then, the person was already gone.
Even if he really had grievances, would he be able to come back What’s more, up to this day, he still had not yet been able to confirm what kind of feelings he truly had for the young man who was called a traitor.
Out of town and up the mountain.
Not long after, Mu Xiyun walked into the mist again.
There were many kinds of confusion arrays, most of which can cause people to lose their way, but disorientation was only the basic means.
Its true purpose was nothing but to lead people to a certain place or to avoid a certain place.
Yesterday, Su Yanjun directly broke through the formation and brought them in and out of the fog.
However, he felt a faint abnormal spiritual energy in the formation.
He guessed that it might lead him to some other place.
Mu Xiyun closed his eyes, felt that energy again and walked slowly up the mountain.
Today’s fog was thicker compared to yesterday making it hard to see where his foot was stepping.
The thick white fog was like substance, enveloping the whole person and a faint scent can also be smelled.
As soon as he smelled the scent, he immediately held his breath.
Cutting off his sense of sight and smell, the other senses become more acute.
Mu Xiyun pulled out the Chixia Sword with his right hand, casted a fire spell with his left hand, and wiped it on the sword’s body.
The Chixia Sword immediately turned ablaze and burned the surrounding white mist within five feet.
Yet it didn’t take long for the mist to come back again and return to its original state. Xiyun suddenly smiled.
In the gap when the thick fog dissipated and replenished just now, Xiyun clearly felt the flow of spiritual energy within it.
This fog was not ordinary.
It was like a pulse, moving forward wave after wave.
Mu Xiyun carefully felt the pulse of the dense fog again, but he did not stop and went straight forward.
He abruptly opened his eyes after a moment.
Sure enough, he had actually walked back to the cliff blocked by a large boulder.
However, he still felt the pulse in his heart, but there was no other path or road ahead.
After thinking about it carefully, he returned the sword to its sheath, closed his eyes gently, and slowly took a step forward.
The feeling of colliding on a hard surface never came and he directly passed through the huge boulder.
He didn’t encounter any barrier and passed through like nothing.
It turned out that the boulder was just a disguise.
Xiyun stopped, opened his eyes and looked around.
He noticed that he had arrived inside a stone chamber.
Its space was not that large.
For mortals, there was absolutely no gain in breaking in by mistake, and they can only retreat.
But for a cultivator like Xiyun, since the barrier had been broken, what was in front of him was just a crude trick.
Mu Xiyun pressed a hand on the wall and released his spiritual energy to explore.
Sure enough, on one side of the stone wall, he found a mechanism.
He slowly drew out his sword, in case of an accident as he pressed the mechanism with his left hand.
The stone wall in front of him suddenly rose up and a hidden staircase was revealed.
Mu Xiyun walked down the stone steps.
According to the direction in which it extends, he speculates that he had already entered the mountainside.
A corridor appeared in front of him.
The corridor was long and there were obvious traces of artificial construction.
There was a little water seepage on the stone walls on both sides.
After a period of time, water droplets fell making this “plink, plink” dripping sound, which resounded in the quiet corridor.
On the other side of the mountain, Qingxi Town.
Liang Zheng and Su Yanjun followed Gu Mingshun to the Qingxi Town’s Yamen.
Herbs were burning in the backyard and a strong smell of herbs was mixed with a choking stench.
Five corpses were lined up in the backyard.
All five were young men with strong bodies.
Judging from the calluses on his hands and the condition of his body, they had learned some martial arts.
Their corpses had already begun to rot, there were also obvious scars on their body as well as a big gaping hole in the center in which the heart was located.
Liang Zheng looked at the wounds of the five people and his frown deepened.
After chatting with the local constable, he finally asked, “Have the identities of these deceased been identified” The head constable was over forty years old and he was very familiar with Qingxi Town.
At this time, he stepped forward and answered, “These five people are not citizens of this town.
After some estimation, these people should have been dead for a month now.
Yet no outsider visited Qingxi Town last month.”
They were not locals, and no one saw them.
Could it be that these people were brought from other places in the middle of the night and deliberately killed in the mass graves Everyone fell silent for a while.
After a while, Liang Zheng said in a slightly hoarse voice, “These five people and the child are a little strange.” Everyone looked at him suspiciously.
“The heart is the place where blood gathers.
If a person’s heart was dug out, he would inevitably bleed a lot and die.
The place where the blood flows abundantly should be on the front chest.
But look at these people, although there are a lot of blood stains on their bodies, it was not really concentrated on the chest area.
It seems that the heart was poached after death.” Liang Zheng explained.
“Even more so with the child.
No blood stains were found on his body and even on the place where he was found.”
“Then,” Gu Mingshun pondered.
“There are now two doubtful points.
First, that child and these people did not die on the spot, but were thrown into the place where they were found; Second, they probably did not die because their hearts were dug out and that their hearts presumably were only poached after death.
Isn’t this a little unreasonable”
At this time, Su Yanjun suddenly asked, “Brother Liang, is there a record in medical books that says that people can be used as medicine” Liang Zheng was shocked and immediately raised his head.