Lin Mu did not move his short sword from the neck of the masked man, even after he declared his surrender. He did not want the man to surprise him after letting his guard down.
Lin Mu instead scanned every inch of the man’s body for any hidden weapons or dangerous items. He had seen the darkly dressed men use poisons, thus he wanted to be extremely sure of his safety. After scanning the man with his spirit sense, Lin Mu found a few weapons hidden on his body.
This included four daggers, one each hidden at the ankles and wrists along with a set of metal needles which seemed to be steeped in some kind of black liquid; most likely to be poison. Lin Mu took away all of these weapons from the masked man before allowing him to sit up.
“Now speak, who are you from, and why have you been following me?” Lin Mu questioned with a stern tone.
The masked man seemed to hesitate a bit before speaking,
“I am but my lord’s tool and I was ordered by him to observe you.”
Lin Mu narrowed his eyes upon hearing the masked man’s words. It was a little surprising to him that it was actually someone else that was pulling the strings from the behind. He then thought of the similarities between the men who had tried to kill him before and this man.
“Are you part of the same group of people that killed Gan Ma?” Lin Mu questioned.
The masked man tilted his head slightly upon hearing Lin Mu’s words, as if he was confused.
‘Isn’t Gan Ma the second hunter who became a cultivator?’ The masked man thought before speaking,
“Gan Ma’s dead?” The masked man asked.
Lin Mu closely observed the masked man and could tell the genuine confusion in the man’s voice.
“You didn’t know that, but know who he is?” Lin Mu asked.
“We know who he is but according to our intelligence he has been missing for nearly a month now.” The masked man answered.
“We? So you are with those men.” Lin Mu uttered before straightening his blade.
Seeing that his target had assumed something wrongly, the masked man put up his hands in protest.
“No, we are not who you think. Though if you allow me to contact my lord, I can find it out for you.” The masked man replied.
Lin Mu felt a little surprised at the masked man’s words, but did not accept them right away. There were a few more questions he wanted the answers to.
“Are your people behind what’s happening in the district right now?” Lin Mu questioned with a grave expression.
“No, we’re not, but I can tell you that we wouldn’t do something like this. Even my lord would like to find out more about this and why this happened. But let me tell you this: that whoever has done this is very influential and has a lot of resources.” The masked man spoke.
“Why do you say that?” Lin Mu asked.
“Whatever substance that is being used to induce the sleep into the district’s residents, it is definitely expensive and difficult to get.” The masked man answered.
Lin Mu did not believe the masked man at first, but then he heard senior Xukong talk.
“He’s probably telling the truth. A substance that can incapacitate so many people at once is definitely hard to come by in a lower-level world like this.” Xukong spoke.
The masked man saw that Lin Mu’s expression had turned dull for a moment. He didn’t understand why, but after that, the boy nodded to himself and spoke.
“Okay then, for now, I’ll accept your answer, but I won’t trust you completely.” Lin Mu said.
The masked man thought to himself for a bit before speaking,
“I have a little more information that may be helpful to you.”
“Go ahead” Lin Mu replied.
“The dogs that were chasing that man, I know why they were not barking.” The masked man answered.
“And why’s that?” Lin Mu asked.
“They were affected by a poison called as the Beast Inciting powder.” The masked man answered.
“It was probably an inferior version of that poison, seeing that it was able to affect normal animals,” Xukong informed Lin Mu.
“You know what it is, senior?” Lin Mu curiously asked.
“Yes, it’s a rather infamous poison and is known in most of the worlds. It does not directly harm the beasts, rather it just sends them into a mindless rage. If a normal animal is poisoned by it though, then they will just explode.” Xukong explained.
“Is this poison something that’s easily available?” Lin Mu asked out loud.
To the masked man, it seemed as if the boy was asking him, but Lin Mu was actually asking both senior Xukong and the masked man.
“Any qualified alchemist should be able to make an inferior version, even for a lower-level world like this. Though I can’t tell about the restrictions that would occur in its acquisition.” Xukong answered.
“No, it is outlawed in the Shuang Qian kingdom as it can cause the beasts to rampage which can result in a beast wave. It is also very expensive and few people can acquire it, especially in this region.” The masked man answered.
“Why would someone use an expensive substance like it on mere stray dogs?” Lin Mu muttered.
Suddenly a thought clicked in Lin Mu’s mind as he formed an idea. The masked man saw the change of expression on Lin Mu’s face and grasped that something was wrong.
“Oh no! The place where Xiao Lu came from, there’s probably something there.” Lin Mu exclaimed.
“You can’t leave the masked man here though,” Xukong spoke.
Lin Mu understood senior Xukong’s words and knew that he would either have to make a choice between killing the masked man or to let him go.
It was as if the masked man read Lin Mu’s mind and instantly spoke,
“I’ll come with you. Don’t misunderstand me, but if something wrong is happening here, I have to report it to my lord.”
Lin Mu stared at the masked man for a few seconds before he lifted his short sword from his neck.
“I’ll trust you for now, but if you do anything suspicious, know that I’ll kill you in the next moment.” Lin Mu spoke with a grim tone.
Lin Mu had not exposed all of his capabilities, thus was confident in being able to kill the masked man anytime that he wanted. With his two skills of Flicker and Blink, it would be a piece of cake.
The masked man gently nodded and then stood up, intending to follow Lin Mu.
Both of them then started running towards the residential district. With their full speed, they reached the residential district in five minutes. The masked man was having a hard time keeping up with Lin Mu, even after strengthening his legs with spirit qi.
‘With speed and spirit sense like this, the boy is rather talented. I can’t even estimate his cultivation, is he perhaps in the peak stage of the Qi refining realm?’ The masked man thought to himself.
The masked man had only seen such speed and spirit sense in his senior comrades. He had also experienced spirit sense before, thus was able to tell when Lin Mu’s spirit sense probed him. It was also because of this he was shocked, as according to the knowledge he had, spirit sense could only be refined when a cultivator reached the Peak stage of the Qi refining realm.
What he didn’t know was that Lin Mu’s speed was not just because of his qi cultivation but also because of his Tenth stage of body tempering realm vitality. Him being able to refine spirit sense could also be attributed to his unique situation, in which he actually did not have a cultivation technique at all but was rather using an auxiliary cultivation technique unique to him.
People of a lower-level world like this would never be able to comprehend this, as they simply did not have the information or the capabilities. Even if someone told them that it was possible, they would just deny it.
After reaching the square located at the center of the residential district, Lin Mu turned towards the Eastern direction and started running towards it. He kept an eye out for anything abnormal that stood out and also focused his senses.
A minute later they reached the end of the street and started looking around for any clues that may have been left behind.
“Xiao Lu should have most likely encountered the stray dogs here.” Lin Mu spoke while looking at the mud prints on the ground.
The mud prints were of the stray dogs and were faintly visible in the darkness. He followed them and found out that they lead to an old warehouse. The warehouse was used by the local residents to store their surplus crops, but ever since the reduction in population from last year’s plague, its use had become less.
Lin Mu noticed a small hole at the base of a wall that was big enough for a dog to pass through. There were paw prints coming out of the hole. Lin Mu found the side door of the warehouse and broke through it with ease.
The masked man followed behind Lin Mu tensely. Even he was feeling the grimness of the situation. Lin Mu looked at the relatively empty warehouse that had a few crates, wooden boxes, and sacks lying around.
Lin Mu suddenly squinted his nose as he smelt something,
“Blood” Both Lin Mu and the masked man spoke out in unison.