Lin Mu felt strange about the clerk’s words. He thought that he may be lying at first, but then looking at his face made him think differently. Though he thought he should listen to the complete story first.
“The report about the spirit beast was given by a mercenary to the second vice-captain. The second vice-captain thus issued the order to close the town and the routes leading to it. But later, when he didn’t return, the other guards went to talk with the town head about the mercenary who gave the report. The town head told them that the mercenary who reported it disappeared too and they can’t find him.” The clerk explained.
“Is that why mercenaries are standing outside the town center?” Lin Mu asked.
“Yeah, they’re angry that more of their mercenaries disappeared and the town head is not responding to their complaints.” The clerk answered.
“And what does the second vice-captain look like? Because I don’t think I’ve seen him before.” Lin Mu asked his main question.
The clerk did not seem like he minded Lin Mu’s question and just spoke honestly.
“Oh, let me just get the identity register. We have portraits of all the town’s cultivators in it.”
“I didn’t know there was an identity register for cultivators.” Lin Mu said curiously.
“Oh no, it’s actually for all people that the town head considers important, there are other normal people in it too that are not cultivators.” The clerk answered and then went away to get the register.
‘This is news to me. I didn’t know that there was something like this.’ Lin Mu spoke inwardly.
“It is technically necessary. Every establishment needs to keep a record of important people.” Xukong spoke in Lin Mu’s mind.
“I guess the portrait will make it easier to identify the man than just by a vague description.” Lin Mu spoke to himself.
The clerk soon returned with the register and showed it to Lin Mu. He flipped it to the page where it showed the second vice-captains portrait. Lin Mu saw the portrait and instantly recognized the man. The person that tried to kill him yesterday was the vice-captain.
“Han Xu?” Lin Mu muttered the name written on the register.
“Yes, that’s the vice-captain’s name.” the clerk responded.
Even after completing his main task, Lin Mu still felt curious about the situation, thus he decided to get more information.
“I also heard that some guards and townsmen disappeared.”
The clerk did not straight away answer Lin Mu’s query, but instead looked at his coin pouch. Lin Mu understood this and pulled out another silver coin before passing it to the clerk, who swiftly hid it in his sleeve.
“We have some contradicting statements about that. Some people say that they saw the townsmen enter the town safely, while the guards say that they never returned. As for the guards, we don’t know what happened, but the current theory is that they saw the beast and went after it only to never return.” The clerk spoke.
“That is strange.” Lin Mu muttered.
Having got his share of information, Lin Mu was ready to leave. He gave another silver coin to the clerk and then left the building. Upon leaving, he saw that the mercenaries were still standing there and were not budging at all.
While leaving, Lin Mu felt a gaze at the back of his head and turned around but did not notice anyone specific. Pushing the thought to the back of his mind, he walked away. Half an hour later Lin Mu returned to his house.
As soon as he entered his room and closed the door, senior Xukong spoke in his mind.
“You were being followed. Though it seems they stopped before they entered the residential district.”
“Was that the gaze I felt on me?” Lin Mu asked
“It seems like it, though they did not follow you all the way, they’re wary of something.” Xukong replied.
“Could it be related to the attacks? Because we know that three more teams of those men were out there and that the townsmen we say yesterday disappeared as well.” Lin Mu spoke.
“We’ll have to wait and watch. Though I recommend that you focus on extending the range of your spirit sense as it will help you in sensing other people. The longer your range is, the easier it will be for you.” Xukong advised.
“Yes, senior.” Lin Mu accepted.
Before starting his practice, Lin Mu decided to cook some food. Half an hour later he had eaten his food and was ready to start his cultivation session. But suddenly he heard someone knocking at the gate.
Lin Mu walked out and opened the gate. Upon opening it, he found his neighbor standing outside the gate. It was the same neighbor he had talked to earlier in the morning.
“Did you need something, Xiao Lu?” Lin Mu asked.
Xiao Lu had been Lin Mu’s neighbor for many years and was four years older than him. He used to live with his uncle, but he too died in the plague that happened last year. Since then, he had been living alone as well.
“How are you, Lin Mu? I heard you got your house seized from you some time ago.” Xiao Lu spoke.
Lin Mu had been dreading this moment for a long time, but he knew that it would be coming sometime soon. The gossiping ladies of the neighborhood were never known for their secrecy.
They should have probably seen that the house was no longer sealed, but they did not see Lin Mu, so must have thought someone else bought it. Also, since Lin Mu had secluded himself in the house for a week since he got it, there weren’t many chances where others could have seen him. But now that he revealed himself in the morning, the entire neighborhood must have seen him.
“Ah yes, I did, but I’ve already paid off the fine and got it back.” Lin Mu spoke with a straight face.
Lin Mu did not want to talk with the man for long, as he wanted to return to his cultivation session.
“Oh, I was told to inform you that the people in the neighborhood have decided to keep a vigil at night.” Xiao Lu spoke.
“But isn’t that the guard’s job?” Lin Mu replied.
“They don’t trust the guards anymore, they think they are lying. Even now the guards have only been told to guard the entrance of the residential district and not the insides. Thus the neighborhood had decided to do it themselves.” Xiao Lu answered.
“So they’re not afraid anymore?” Lin Mu asked jokingly.
“They are, that’s why we are making teams of four people that will keep a vigil at night. Everyone has to participate, thus I’m here to inform you.” Xiao Lu answered.
Lin Mu did not want to do this as it would interfere with his cultivation, but he did not think he really had a choice. He also did not feel good rejecting the people he had grown up with.
“Just take it, I think you may be able to discover some things. You will have an excuse to wander in the night, also with the person following you today, I don’t think they will leave you alone.” Xukong spoke in Lin Mu’s mind.
‘Yes senior.’ Lin Mu spoke inwardly.
“That’s okay, but when will my turn be then?” Lin Mu asked.
“The day after tomorrow. You’ll be teaming with me and two other people.” Xiao Lu answered.
“Okay then.” Lin Mu replied.
Xiao Lu nodded and went away. Lin Mu returned to his room and closed the door. Not wanting to waste any more time, he sat down to cultivate.
In Wu Lim city, at a large manor located near a lake.
A thin man was sitting at a desk and reading from a scroll. The man had a short beard and well-groomed hair. He was dressed like a scholar and had the bearing of a cultured person.
A woman was standing next to the desk with her head bowed. She was dressed in a long black-robed that covered her body and hid her figure. Even her face was covered with a thin grey veil.
The thin man read the scroll for a few minutes before putting it away and then rubbed his forehead as if he was stressed. He let out a long sigh before speaking,
“Is that all you’ve found?”
“Yes, my lord. Though there are some more reports, but I didn’t think they would be worth your time.” The veiled woman spoke.
The thin man let out another sigh before speaking.
“You may as well tell me. This information was nearly useless as well.”
“Some townsmen have disappeared from the Northern town and a new cultivator has appeared as well.” the veiled woman spoke.
The thin man looked up at the woman with an annoyed look and spoke,
“And you only report this to me now?”
“But my lord, cultivators appear in other towns regularly, and also there are many mercenaries in Northern town right now. We don’t know if they belong to some mercenary group.” The veiled woman spoke with a pleading tone.