The thin and scholarly man nodded and allowed the veiled woman to approach.
“Go ahead.” The thin man said.
The veiled woman then produced a scroll in her hand, likely from a spatial treasure, and passed it to the thin man.
“I’ve taken the liberty to compile all the intelligence we’ve gathered, my lord. There are some parts you’ll find rather, fascinating.” The veiled woman spoke with a respectful tone.
The thin man opened the scroll and started reading it with his full concentration. At first, the man’s expression seemed rather disinterested, but later it became more interested until finally, it reached the peak of elation.
“Hahaha!” The thin man laughed out loud.
“You’ve done well, very well. Seems like we have an interesting contender here.” The thin man spoke with a joyous tone.
“How do we proceed, my lord? Do we bring him to you?” The veiled woman questioned.
“We know that his senses are sharp and he’s been able to detect our people before. We also don’t know who’s backing him, but considering his strength and talent, I would say it’s someone strong.”
The man said and paused before continuing,
“Don’t approach him for now and just observe him. Try to get a clue about his backer, if it’s someone from our ‘list’, eliminate him. Otherwise, we may have a new pawn to play with.” The thin man said.
“My lord, we still have one of our men watching him. He still has the old orders and is following them. He may end up making contact with the boy, which may end in conflict.” The Woman added.
The thin man stroked his beard before speaking,
“Hmm, this does make it a little difficult. Try to send a message as soon as possible and if something does happen, try to avoid further conflict. We’ll compensate him later.”
“As you wish, my lord.” The veiled woman respectfully spoke and turned around.
But just as she was about to leave, the thin man spoke up again.
“Just in case, assign one of our higher corps members to him.”
The veiled woman seemed to be surprised, but it could not be seen from because of her veil.
“Are you sure my lord? All three of our higher corps members are currently assigned to long-term missions. If we recall any one of them, then all of their progress may go to waste.” The veiled woman asked with an unnerved voice.
The veiled woman was rather shocked by her lord’s words. She did not expect that her lord would place such a big importance on that cultivator who was still a teen. She knew how much every higher corps member was worth. Each and every one of them was a Core condensation realm cultivator and was trained in reconnaissance and assassination.
Even she herself, who was considered to be the closest person to her lord, couldn’t compare in strength with the higher corps.
“Yes, if he is what I think, then it would certainly be worth it.” The thin man answered with determination in his voice.
“Who should I assign then, my lord?” The woman asked.
“Assign the second member of the higher corps. His character would suit this mission.” The thin man ordered.
“The second member of the higher corps is currently in the Black Dawn kingdom, my lord. I estimate it would take him ten days to reach the designated location.” The veiled woman replied.
“It may take a little longer than that, as the current mission is rather sensitive and he will need to sever all ties before returning.” The veiled woman added with a little hesitation.
“That’s fine. Until he reaches there, you may personally oversee this assignment.” The thin man spoke with a calm voice.
“It will be done as you say, my lord.” The woman replied respectfully before leaving.
A few minutes later, after the woman was gone, the thin man stood up and withdrew a jade slip out of a spatial treasure. He held it in his hand and let it activate. The jade slip shone for a bit and then buzzed.
“I may have a new solution, elder brother.” The thin man spoke.
Back at the Northern town,
Lin Mu was patrolling his neighborhood. So far he had not seen anything strange or unusual. He also had a doubt whether the townsmen who disappeared were taken by the darkly dressed men or someone else.
He had seen the guard follow the townsmen who had entered the town all the way to their houses. He had also seen the guard withdraw a strange contraption from his sleeve.
Because of the darkness, Lin Mu was not able to see what it was but could guess that it was something metallic, as it gave off a glint. He knew that it was not something a guard would carry and was specially made for an unknown reason. The guard was a definite suspect as he had disappeared later as well.
‘Perhaps I should have focused on that guard from the start.’ Lin Mu thought.
In the blink of an eye an hour went by and it was time for him to return back. He reached the square and saw that three people were already standing there. The only person who was missing was Xiao Lu.
The portly man approached Lin Mu and spoke.
“So did you find anything unusual?”
Lin Mu shook his head as he replied,
“No, everything seemed to be normal. All the houses are silent and everyone is sleeping. Except for a few stray dogs and cats, there’s no one wandering out.”
“That’s good. Now we only have to wait for Xiao Lu to return and report.” The portly man spoke.
Fifteen minutes passed by and there was no sign of Xiao Lu. The portly man seemed to be getting nervous now. Five more minutes passed and the portly man was just about to speak something when Lin Mu interrupted.
“Ah, there he comes.” Lin Mu spoke.
The three men looked around but could not see anyone there.
“Where?” The three men asked in unison.
Lin Mu then understood their confusion. The men could not see as far as him in the darkness, no wonder they were confused. He then pointed at an alley and everyone followed his finger.
A few seconds after hearing the sounds of someone running, they could see the sprinting figure of Xiao Lu appearing from the alley with four dogs chasing him.
“HELP!!!” He shouted
The man who had brought Lin Mu went forward to help, but before he could even do anything the dogs stopped by themselves. They growled a little and then started yelping, in the next second they scampered away.
Xiao Lu did not see this happen as he was still in a state of panic. He stopped when he couldn’t hear the sounds of the dogs behind him. He looked at the people in front of him and asked,
“What happened? Where did they go?”
The rest of the three people along with Lin Mu were confused by this development.
“That was strange, they weren’t barking, only chasing.” The man who had brought Lin Mu spoke.
The portly man nodded before turning to Xiao Lu.
“Why were they chasing you? Did you provoke them?” The portly man questioned.
Xiao Lu shook his head as he answered,
“No, not at all. They just randomly started chasing me when I was just about to return. I don���t know why.”
Lin Mu then realized something.
“Wait, you were shouting all this time right, why didn’t the residents wake up? And where’s the gong?” Lin Mu asked.
“I threw the gong at the dogs when they were chasing me. As for the residents, I didn’t pay attention.” Xiao Lu replied.
The portly man seemed to have realized something, and his face turned pale.
“Oh, no! Ring the alarm quick, I fear something bad is happening.” The portly man exclaimed.
The other people hesitated and did not understand the portly man’s nervousness, but Lin Mu started banging the gong without a second thought.
“ALARM! ALARM! WAKE UP, EVERYONE!” Lin Mu shouted.
Seeing Lin Mu shouting the other’s started to do that as well.
Then, the thing that they were dreading all this while happened. Not a single resident woke up nor responded. The four men were starting to gauge the seriousness of the situation by now. It had been five minutes, yet there were no results.
‘There’s no use, they are probably under the effect of some kind of drug. Go and check out the houses yourself.’ Xukong spoke in Lin Mu’s mind.
“Let’s go and check the houses ourselves.” Lin Mu spoke authoritatively.
Strangely enough, no one questioned him right now and just went with the flow. Even Yuan Tu did not oppose him or show any aversion right now.
Lin Mu ran to the closest house and started banging on the door while shouting. But even then, no one responded. The other men tried the same thing, but to no avail.
“We need to break down the door and look inside.” The portly man spoke.
Everyone tacitly nodded and agreed to the proposition. The men braced themselves to break the door and were just about to slam, when Lin Mu ripped the door off of its hinges with ease. The four men were left with the jaws hanging upon seeing this feat.
Lin Mu paid no attention to their shock and just rushed inside. He saw the pair of homeowners sleeping on their bed soundlessly. He went ahead and picked up the man that was sleeping and shook him hard.
The four men entered the room and saw Lin Mu shaking the sleeping the man hard.
“Why are they not waking up?”