Chapter 225: Xue Tong Goes Missing!
Xue Tong happened to play a very important role in Lu Wuji’s plans.
When he heard Xue San say so, Lu Wuji hastened to say, “Xue Tong is just a minor character, why does it matter if he dies or not? Besides, I still have some use for keeping this fellow alive.”
Xue San and Lu Wuji were just in a working partnership. However, the former was wholly uninterested in Lu Wuji’s ambitions. He felt that leaving Xue Tong alive would become a security concern for their operation.
Since he was a latent threat, he must be dealt with.
“Lu Wuji, you seem to have gotten something wrong. This Xue Tong is someone that my Hidden Hand has captured. It’s our business as to how we take care of him. On what grounds do you have to keep this Xue Tong alive?” Xue San smiled coldly.
Lu Wuji said frantically, “Isn’t it a matter of wealth whether you capture or kill someone? I’m willing to pay if you give Xue Tong to me.”
Lu Wuji knew that he would make no headway if he approached this head-on in a tough manner with Xue San. All would be well if he spent some money.
“Payment?” Xue San’s expression softened as expected. “How much are you willing to pay?”
Lu Wuji gritted his teeth, “This Xue Tong is just a true qi master. How about I pay as much as it would take for your organization to kill a true qi master?”
“Do you think that Xue Tong is only worth the price of a true qi master?” Xue San laughed leisurely.
“Then how much do you want?” Lu Wuji was depressed.
“One price, the level of payment for killing a practitioner in the first level of the spirit realm. We either have a deal or I’ll kill Xue Tong immediately!”
Even though Lu Wuji knew that that was a clear ripoff, he had no other choice but to grit his teeth and say, “Alright, it’ll be as you say then.”
Xue San smiled with satisfaction, “You’re a smart man alright. However, since you’ve bought Xue Tong’s life, you must take him with you. It would be too risky if he stays here. I’d have to charge you for the heightened risk.”
The Hidden Hand was indeed an organization that revolved around money.
“Don’t worry about it. I’ll take Xue Tong away with me!” Although Lu Wuji knew that there was certain risk in taking Xue Tong away with him, he was even more aware that Xue San was a vampire with insatiable greed. Who knew how much the price would be with the heightened risk?
Xue San laughed heartily, “Since this is the case, you can take him with you now. However, don’t come here if you don’t have a reason to in the future. We’ll let you know when your cooperation is needed. What you need to do is just provide everything we need.”
Lu Wuji was quite ticked off by Xue San’s attitude, but as irritated as he was, he could only pinch his nose and bear it. “There’s no problem in coordinating with you, but I hope that your Hidden Hand won’t so scared of Jiang Chen that you’re unable to come out of your turtle shells.”
A trace of killing intent suddenly flashed across Xue San’s face.
If anyone else had said these words, he’d likely be a dead man by now.
However, Xue San also knew that the Hidden Hand truly needed Lu Wuji’s cooperation in order to move about the Skylaurel Kingdom.
“Take Xue Tong and get the hell out of here.” Xue San was expressionless.
Lu Wuji chuckled as he walked towards where Xue Tong was behind held. The moment he entered the room, his footsteps slowed down and an expression of disbelief appeared on his face.
“Where is he?”
The place that had held Xue Tong was empty, with not even a trace of a ghost, much less a person.
Xue San had thought that Lu Wuji was purposefully making things difficult and was about to explode when his ears twitched. He really didn’t hear sounds of Xue Tong’s breathing.
He hadn’t paid attention to the movements within the house when he was talking with Lu Wuji just now. He hadn’t thought at all that Xue Tong would vanish without a trace!
The internal chamber had no windows and had been strongly fortified. There were guards in the hidden posts located outside, and Xue Tong had been injured and chained. Even if he’d been in full health, he couldn’t possibly have walked through the walls.
The walls within the house were in pristine condition, so it was obvious that he hadn’t left through the walls.
Lu Wuji looked at Xue San with suspicion written all over his face.
He was obviously suspecting that Xue San was up to some tricks by trying to swindle money out of him.
Xue San snorted coldly and completely ignored Lu Wuji’s suspicions as he walked inside and surveyed the surroundings, walking over to a pile of grass.
The dry grass had been spread there for Xue Tong to lie on.
Xue San’s sleeves flourished as he swept the dry grass aside, revealing a large hole beneath them.
It was a hole that a person could fit in!
Even a trained and experienced killer like Xue San was completely flabbergasted, not to mention Lu Wuji’s eyes bugging out in disbelief. Where the hell had this hole come from?
When had this hole been dug? To think that such a hole had appeared without forewarning or any clues on Xue San’s territory!
At that moment, Xue San had the feeling that he had just fell into an icy cavern.
Sweat also popped out all over Lu Wuji’s body as a sense of danger suddenly surged to the fore.
“Xue San, you… you allowed Xue Tong to escape?” Lu Wuji’s face was ashen. He was well too aware that the meaning of Xue Tong’s escape for him and his uncle Yang Zhou!
Xue San’s face darkened as he observed things in front of the hole, his facial muscles twitching uncontrollably. “Escape? Xue Tong is injured and I laid restrictions down on his body, how could he have escaped? Someone on the outside must have dug a passage for him and taken him away!”
“What? Someone on the outside?” Lu Wuji sprang up, “This place is so highly concealed, how it is possible that anyone would know that Xue Tong was being held here, unless…. Unless?”
Lu Wuji felt the hairs stand on his body and he didn’t dare speak any further. A frightening premonition floated to the surface, accompanied by Jiang Chen’s faintly confident smile.
Xue San’s viper-like eyes locked fixedly onto Lu Wuji, “Lu Wuji, this is all your fault!”
Lu Wuji was also extremely frightened when he saw Xue San’s vicious glare. Although this was the capital, he was facing off against Xue San alone and didn’t have large numbers of troops about him at the moment. If Xue San wanted to kill him, it’d be as easy as squashing an ant out of existence.
“Xue San, what do you want to do?” Lu Wuji’s face was the color of dirt.
“You worthless thing, you don’t have the ability to accomplish anything but you’ve plenty of ability to mess things up! I should’ve known that a dog who’s suffered defeat at Jiang Chen’s hands multiple times like you would be unreliable!”
“Xue San, don’t you blame it all on me!” Lu Wuji was also in a panic. “Then why don’t you say that it’s your own fault? There’s no way that anyone could’ve followed me here! I’ve still got this bit of competence after so many years of being a general in the Dragonteeth Guard.”
Xue San smiled coldly, “Then are you implying that my Hidden Hand is inferior to your Dragonteeth Guard?”
Lu Wuji really wanted to say so, but he was afraid of Xue San slapping him to death with one palm. He could only soften his standing and say dejectedly, “What’s the use in determining who’s at fault now? The task at hand is to decide how to clean up this mess. Once Xue Tong leaves, he’ll rat all of us out. I don’t think you want to die in the capital before killing even Jiang Chen?”
Xue San snorted coldly and felt over the ground for a little bit, then turned over the dry grass.
“The dry grass still feels warm. Furthermore, the dust made from the hole is new as well. It looks like they haven’t gone far!”
“Then why aren’t you going after him?” Lu Wuji cried anxiously.
Xue San knew that this wasn’t the time to hold a grudge now. If Lu Wuji, that worthless thing, attempted to pursue them, he’d never catch up to them.
That meant he’d have to personally make the pursuit.
Xue San was of the fourth level spirit realm, and an assassin in the earth spirit realm. He was confident that even if this matter came to light, there were few people within the Skylaurel Kingdom who could do anything to him.
According to his intelligence, apart from spirit king protector Ye Chonglou who had overwhelming superiority, there were almost none who could be a threat to him in the Skylaurel Kingdom.
As for the Precious Tree Sect, Xue San didn’t think that a mere Jiang Chen would be able to command aid from the Precious Tree Sect. Not to mention that his intelligence further indicated that Jiang Chen had just offended a senior elder from the Sect not too long ago. It was already good enough that the Sect wasn’t oppressing Jiang Chen, why would they step out and help him?
Therefore, he wasn’t worried at all that the matter might come to light.
Xue San had just been about to jump into the hole when his footsteps halted, and a trace of a smile appeared on his lips. A thought suddenly struck him in this moment that since Xue Tong had already been rescued, this meant that he and the Hidden Hand had already been exposed.
SInce they were exposed, there was no salvaging the situation even if he caught up to Xue Tong.
What was the point in killing Xue Tong then? He had laid down restrictions on Xue Tong’s body anyways, he didn’t think that Jiang Chen would have the ability to lift them.
When he saw that Xue San had halted his footsteps, Lu Wuji started, “What?”
Xue San smiled casually, “Since things have escalated to this point, what’s the point in catching up to Xue Tong? Given that Jiang Chen has been able to find this place, this means our operations have been exposed. If I caught up to Xue Tong, at most I would kill him but what’s the point of that?”
Lu Wuji was highly anxious. Although Xue Tong was of no use to the Hidden Hand, he was of great use to Lu Wuji.
Setting aside the fact that he wanted to use Xue Tong to materialize his plans, he wouldn’t even have a resting place once Xue Tong spilled everything. Even his uncle Yang Zhou would be done for.
“Xue San, you absolutely can’t let Xue Tong get away!” Lu Wuji was frantic as he almost wanted to jump into the hole himself and give chase.
However, Lu Wuji was well aware that his strength was meager, and there was no difference from rushing to his death if he squirmed into the hole.
Xue San flicked a cold glance at Lu Wuji, “What did I say? Not enough ability to accomplish anything, but plenty to mess things up. I really regret cooperating with a worthless idiot like you. Lu Wuji, you’re on your own now.”
Xue San stuck two fingers into his mouth after speaking and whistled lowly, summoning his men from their various places of concealment.
“This place has been compromised, we must immediately retreat and find another hiding place!”
His four men nodded, obviously looking to Xue San for orders.
When Lu Wuji saw Xue San’s demeanor, he knew that he’d become Xue San’s discarded pawn. His face changed greatly, “Xue San, is this how your Hidden Hand conduct business?! You’re leaving me out in the cold by ditching like this!”
“Ditching?” Xue San’s tone was cold. “Why don’t you say that you’re the one who’s messed this up? Why were others able to find this place? Do you dare say that you weren’t followed?”
Lu Wuji protested his innocence, “That’s impossible! I don’t know how they found this place, but I can promise that I absolutely wasn’t being followed!”
Why would Xue San want to listen to Lu Wuji’s excuses? He spoke, “I’ve got no time to blather on with you. We go!”
Lu Wuji was both angry and anxious. He knew that if Xue San and his group left, he would utterly become a discarded pawn. He was more aware than anyone else of what would happen next.
Once Xue Tong made his escape, he was sure to accuse Lu Wuji, and the latter had left many traces of torture methods that were unique to the Dragonteeth Guard on Xue Tong’s body. This would put him in an extremely disadvantageous situation.
Lu Wuji hadn’t thought that Xue Tong would be able to escape from this place at all and so hadn’t bothered with concealing his methods. He’d never thought that this torture would most likely end up becoming the most damning evidence against him!