Fu Yao exclaimed, “…You?!”

Hua Cheng snorted coldly, paying no attention to him. However, upon seeing this, Lan Xiang turned and tried to run. Sensing it, Fu Yao suddenly turned around and said, “Stop!”

Before he could take a step, a white ribbon swiftly reached out, wrapping around Lan Xiang’s ankle. She fell to the ground and immediately clutched her abdomen, indicating that the Tai Ling had hidden inside her once again. Xie Lian calmly collected Ruoye Xie while saying, “If you want her to stop, this is how you do it… Just shouting won’t work. By the way, you mentioned your General earlier. What happened to your General?”

Without answering, Fu Yao grunted and approached, firmly grabbing Lan Xiang’s arm. He seemed genuinely angry, showing no restraint in his actions. He even cursed, “Damn it.” This was completely unlike the usual Fu Yao. However, before he could pull Lan Xiang up, her belly suddenly swelled up like a blown-up balloon. A white figure shot out and lunged towards Fu Yao with a piercing scream.

It was the Tai Ling!

Each time it returned to the womb, it would accumulate a new round of energy. Therefore, this attack was quite dangerous. Fu Yao had to concentrate to deal with it and struck it with a palm. The Tai Ling was sent crashing into the wall like a ball, then rebounded towards Xie Lian. Fu Yao commanded, “Catch it! Don’t let it escape!”

Before Xie Lian could react, Hua Cheng had already blocked him. The ball-like Tai Ling made an abrupt stop in front of him and lunged at Fu Yao again. Chaos ensued in the corridor as the ghostly ball bounced and darted around, creating a mess. Meanwhile, downstairs, the waiters pleaded, “Esteemed masters, please spare us! We’re just trying to make a living!” “Yes, we won’t dare anymore! We usually just steal a few chickens nearby. It’s all that green…green-faced man. He forced us to be his subordinates. He’s in the kitchen now!”

Seeing the situation descending into chaos, Xie Lian remembered something and jumped down from the second floor. Quan Yizhao was sitting in the kitchen, legs crossed, picking his teeth contentedly and waiting for the “food” to be delivered. Suddenly, a loud bang was heard as someone kicked down a wall and entered, demanding, “Quan Yizhao, where’s Guzi?”

Quan Yizhao was startled by this typical entrance of a war god. “You? How did you get here? Can’t you knock on the door properly?”

Without a word, Xie Lian swiftly struck him twice, leaving him bewildered. Like a duck being pressed, Quan Yizhao was pinned down on the chopping board. “Enough with the nonsense. Where did you put the child?”

Quan Yizhao grinned and said, “Hehehe, just look around. It’s all over the floor!”

What was all over the floor? It was human bones!

Xie Lian’s anger surged, and with a strong grip, Quan Yizhao wailed in pain, “Ouch, ouch, ouch! My hand! My hand is broken! Wait, wait! I’ll confess! I lied to you! I didn’t eat him! I didn’t eat him! It’s still not ready to eat, I swear!”

Xie Lian asked, “Then where is he?”

Quan Yizhao said, “Stop pressing me! I’ll tell you. The little oil bottle is locked in the nearby woodshed. Just open the door and see for yourself!”

Xie Lian ordered Ruoye Xie to restrain Quan Yizhao and opened a small door on the side of the kitchen. Sure enough, he found Guzi curled up inside. Xie Lian checked his breathing, which seemed relatively stable, and noticed that his little face was flushed. However, when he picked him up, he felt the child’s body was burning hot, indicating a high fever. He sensed something was wrong.

At that moment, the monks and priests also rushed in. Upon entering the kitchen and stepping on the bones scattered all over the floor, they almost slipped. The scene was shocking, and they exclaimed, “Ah? A black restaurant!”

“Could it be that all the dishes…are made of…human flesh?!”

“I knew these chicken claws couldn’t be as slender as fingers!”

Just then, another loud crash occurred, and a large hole appeared in the ceiling as a white ball crashed down. The crowd exclaimed, “What is that?!”

In an instant, Fu Yao also leaped down from the hole. He swiftly threw out dozens of yellow talismans, shouting, “Get out of the way! Don’t hinder me from carrying out my official business!”

The crowd exclaimed, “Ah! A master!”

Shortly after, Lan Xiang rolled down as well, pleading, “Don’t hurt him anymore!”

The crowd responded, “Huh! A woman!”

Those yellow talismans flew like steel nails and flying knives. Xie Lian skillfully evaded them with a slight movement, but Quan Yizhao couldn’t dodge them. His back was densely pierced by the talismans, and he screamed in agony, “Ah! Ghosts are killing me!”

The crowd gathered around him, studying the patterns on his back in awe and said, “The throwing technique of these talismans…is indeed quite exquisite…”

The kitchen, once a peaceful place, suddenly became crowded and noisy. Fu Yao chased after the Tai Ling, sometimes high, sometimes low, while Lan Xiang chased after Fu Yao frantically. With half of his face distorted under Xie Lian’s pressure and his back pierced like a sieve by Fu Yao’s thrown talismans, Quan Yizhao was surrounded by a group of onlookers who occasionally kicked him. He wailed, “Why? Why are there so many people? Who are you? Who are you again? Damn it, are you going to let people eat or not? Why is it like this everywhere? Do you all have a grudge against me?!”

At this point, his eyes suddenly lit up as he looked through the collapsed wall of the kitchen and saw the outside of the inn. It seemed as if Hua Cheng hadn’t even noticed the chaotic scene here. He sat calmly under a tree, leisurely playing with gold foil to construct a small palace. It was unclear how long he had been idly playing like this, but in front of him, he had already assembled a splendid little house with more than ten pieces of gold foil.

Quan Yizhao immediately shouted at the top of his lungs, “Everyone, look outside! The Blood Rain Approaches Flowers has turned into a little demon!!! Those who have grudges with him, hurry and go after him!!! We can’t afford to miss this opportunity! If we miss it, this inn will be gone…”

Before he could finish his words, a gleaming, blood-stained kitchen knife suddenly appeared and pressed against his mouth. The handle of the knife was held by Xie Lian.

Xie Lian smiled and said, “Hmm? What are you shouting about?”

Quan Yizhao didn’t see how Xie Lian managed to put the knife into his mouth. He only felt a coolness in his mouth, and his tongue sensed an extremely sharp object in front of it. Although he was unharmed, any slight movement would cause blood to gush out of his mouth. He stopped speaking abruptly.

However, the crowd had already seen Hua Cheng, who was playing with gold foil outside the inn. They exclaimed, “Is it him?!”

“Most likely!”

Before they could act, Xie Lian carried Guzi with one hand and pulled Ruoye Xie with the other, rushing out. Quan Yizhao was dragged along the ground by Ruoye Xie, screaming, “You damn cunning Xie Lian! I’ve never seen such a sneaky fake white lotus like you before, ah, ah, ah, ah!”

The crowd discussed for a moment and said, “Should we charge…or not?”

“Be cautious. How about we observe from a distance first?”

Just at that moment, Hua Cheng finished building the little golden palace. He stood up, raised an eyebrow, and looked down at the magnificent house he had just constructed. With a light kick, the golden palace collapsed.

And the inn collapsed with a loud crash as well.

The illusion was shattered. Xie Lian turned around and realized that what was behind him was not an inn but a collapsed small cottage. In this remote mountainous area, such a house was normal. The inn they had seen before was merely an illusion.

The group of monks and priests who hadn’t decided whether to charge or not were crushed under the collapsed house. They were dazed by the pile of rotten wood and broken straw that fell on them. Xie Lian hurriedly ran to Hua Cheng’s side and said, “Third Prince, using your power like this won’t have any negative effects, right?”

Hua Cheng casually waved his hand, and the gold foils disappeared into thin air. He said, “Brother, don’t worry, it’s not a problem.”

At that moment, a piece of broken roof moved twice, and Fu Yao lifted it to crawl out. He was furious and said, “It’s not a problem for you, but it is for me!”

He had finally captured the Tai Ling, but before he could react, the dilapidated roof collapsed on him, making him extremely embarrassed. Fu Yao took a handful of straw off his head and walked aggressively towards Xie Lian and Hua Cheng. He angrily shouted at Hua Cheng, who was shorter than him, “You…did you do this on purpose?!”

Hua Cheng blinked but didn’t refute or mock him. Instead, he raised his pitch-black eyes and looked at Xie Lian. Xie Lian immediately reached out to protect him behind him, saying, “No, no, he definitely didn’t do it on purpose. Children don’t measure their strength… Sorry, Fu Yao.”

Fu Yao, with his messy hair, couldn’t believe it and said, “Child? Prince, do you really think I’m blind and can’t recognize who this is?”

Xie Lian looked puzzled and said, “What are you talking about? This is just an ordinary child.”

“…”

Fu Yao squinted at Hua Cheng but heard a slight noise behind him. Lan Xiang also pushed aside a piece of roof and climbed out. Fu Yao turned back towards her. Xie Lian breathed a sigh of relief and put Guzi down on the ground. At that moment, a voice sounded in his ear, somewhat hesitant, “Your Highness?”

Xie Lian immediately stood up and said, “…Feng Xin?”

Indeed, it was Feng Xin. He sounded relieved and said, “Great! Your password hasn’t changed after all.”

Xie Lian couldn’t help but laugh silently. Eight hundred years ago, the first incantation he used was “Recite the Tao Te Ching a thousand times.” It hadn’t changed even after eight hundred years, and Feng Xin surprisingly still remembered it. Xie Lian remembered how Feng Xin had laughed until he was hoarse the first time he heard the incantation, and he felt a nostalgic pang at an inappropriate moment. He said, “Yes, it hasn’t changed. Is everything okay in the Heavenly Court? Does the Divine Sovereign know about Ling Wen’s situation?”

Hua Cheng realized that Xie Lian was talking to a priest from the Heavenly Court, so he conscientiously moved away, placing his hand on Guzi’s forehead to check if he was unwell. On the other end, Feng Xin’s voice turned serious again as he said, “Things are not good. Yes, the Divine Sovereign knows. The Heavenly Court is in chaos right now.”

Xie Lian sighed, “Ling Wen has always managed and allocated all the affairs of the Heavenly Court. It’s not surprising. Are there no other literary gods who can step up?”

Feng Xin replied, “Even if there are, it’s useless. They all cursed Ling Wen day and night, thinking they could do ten times better in that position. But now that there’s trouble, none of them can handle even thirty percent of the workload. Just organizing and compiling information has left several literary gods dizzy. Some of them even refuse to take any responsibility.”

Xie Lian shook his head and heard Feng Xin continue, “And it’s not just Ling Wen, Mu Qing is in trouble too. He was supposed to be in custody, but he injured the guards and escaped.”

“What?!”

Upon hearing this, Xie Lian shuddered and immediately looked at Fu Yao. The black-clad youth was talking to Lan Xiang, his expression showing displeasure and a hint of urgency. Xie Lian distanced himself even further, lowering his voice as he said, “What happened to Mu Qing? How could this happen?!”

Feng Xin replied, “Not only was he detained, but all the priests in the Xuan Zhen Hall were suspended pending investigation. It’s all because of that Tai Ling.”

Xie Lian’s voice grew even softer, “What happened to the Tai Ling? Is it really related to him?”

Feng Xin said, “Yes. When the demonic creatures were suppressed everywhere this time, Mu Qing was in charge of the female ghost Lan Xiang and the Tai Ling. They failed to capture them, and they escaped. However, during the capture, the Tai Ling identified Mu Qing and claimed that he was the one who had been taken out of its mother’s womb and turned into a little demon.”

“That’s impossible!”

Xie Lian blurted out, “It’s impossible! Although Mu Qing… well, he has no reason to do such a thing.”

Feng Xin replied, “I don’t know. But it’s said that there is an evil technique that uses the corpses of infants for cultivation, which can lead to rapid ascension. Now many people suspect that there might be something wrong with his ascension as well. So the original plan was to detain him first and then thoroughly investigate all his past activities. But unexpectedly, he couldn’t hold his breath and ran away. Now it’s confirmed that he is guilty and fled out of fear.”

Xie Lian said, “Wait a minute. This doesn’t seem right at all. If Mu Qing is the culprit, why didn’t the Tai Ling and Lan Xiang recognize him in the Divine Martial Hall earlier? Why did the Tai Ling identify him during the capture? It’s clearly a frame-up, isn’t it?”

Feng Xin replied, “By the time I found out about this, it was already like this. I’m not sure what exactly happened on their side. I heard that even Lan Xiang and the Tai Ling don’t know who the perpetrator is. But after that little demon turned evil and escaped, there was one time when it regained consciousness accidentally and bit the arm of the person who had performed the ritual, leaving a scar. During the fight with Mu Qing, the Tai Ling happened to see a bite mark on Mu Qing’s arm, an old injury that’s several hundred years old.”

Xie Lian asked, “Does this bite mark match the teeth marks of the Tai Ling?”

Feng Xin replied, “It’s a perfect match.”

Xie Lian focused his attention and asked, “How did Mu Qing explain this wound?”

Feng Xin answered, “He admitted that he had indeed encountered this Tai Ling, but he denied being the culprit. He claimed that he was only trying to help it out of kindness and accidentally got bitten by it. That explanation is even less convincing.”

Indeed, in everyone’s impression, Mu Qing had nothing to do with “helping others,” “caring for infants,” or “doing good without taking credit.” Mu Qing was a rather solitary person who had never shown any extra kindness. He had no close friends in the Heavenly Court, and now that such an incident occurred, nobody believed his defense, and there was naturally no one to speak up for him. Perhaps it was because of this that he chose to run away and uncover the truth himself. Feng Xin said, “In any case, everything is in chaos now, Your Highness. Where are you right now? The Divine Sovereign said that with so many spirits gathering, it might be hard to stop them. Please return and gather for a discussion as soon as possible!”

Xie Lian replied, “Right now, I…”

Before he could finish his sentence, Fu Yao’s cold voice suddenly sounded behind him, “Who are you talking to?”