At the next level of the medical facility, there were numerous guards patrolling the corridors. They bore the crest of the Hu Yuan Empire, and each had a blue sash slung across their armor.
These are the royal guards of the 19th Kingdom, the personal body guards of the King. His name is Qing Buhui, eldest great-grandson of the Imperial Arch Duke, great-grandnephew of the Imperial Emperor and cousin to Amelia.
(Author’s note: Buhui means no regrets, there are some of you who understand mandarin, it is not ‘don’t understand’ or ‘not likely’)
He paced irritably inside a private VVIP guest lounge, muttering under his breath. The outcome of the battle was not expected, neither was Amelia’s involvement with the opponent. The outrageous bribe he paid to the Merchant Alliance was in jeopardy.
“King Buhui,” a voice called out to him. It was Leonard.
“Leonard, how kind of you to visit,” Buhui greeted him.
“My Lord, we should perhaps find some privacy,” Leonard informed him.
“That we should,” Buhui moved towards an adjacent room and indicated for the guards to leave.
When they entered, he ordered a staff to bring some refreshments as he made himself comfortable.
“So is everything in accordance?” he asked.
“I am afraid not,” Leonard replied.
“What do you mean?! I paid you handsomely for this, you are supposed to make sure everything is settled without a hitch!” Buhui tone immediately rose.
“Buhui, that amount is arbitrary. I only did you a favor to try and smooth things out, our relationship ended the moment you did not keep to your side of bargain,” Leonard calmly said.
“How dare you call me by my name! Guards!!” Buhui fumed and shouted for his guards.
“If you do not want to risk your throne, I suggest you recall them,” Leonard’s demeanor was still calm, however his voice contained a malicious undertone.
The guards who immediately entered at the call of their King, were reluctantly dismissed by Buhui.
“Good, you should really keep that temper in check,” Leonard smiled at him, there was no sense of sincerity in it.
“If you continue to be impudent, I will not hesitate to kill you myself,” Buhui threatened as he gathered Ki and moved his hands towards his Ki weapon.
“Buhui, I do not need to show you any respect. Who do you think I am? One of your people? I am the Merchant Alliance Leader, and if you value your throne, I suggest you stop threatening me, sit down now and listen carefully,” Leonard raised his voice this time, his calm demeanor replaced with contempt.
“You dare to orde….” Buhui was trying to make his own point, when Leonard took out a holographic device and activated it.
Buhui’s face paled the moment he saw the recordings on the device.
“I wonder what will happen if someone at a higher station than you sees this, I think it most likely your life will be at stake besides the throne,” Leonard casually spoke.
The recordings played various scenes of the 19th Kingdom in the Hu Yuan Empire, it showed many hidden meetings Buhui had, as well as horrifying scenes of death and depravity that he was involved in. They went as far back as fifty years.
“How and why did you do this?” Buhui asked, as he sat heavily on a chair. His eyes contained a haunted look.
“You can only blame yourself, who do you think the Merchant Alliance is? You went back once too many times on your words, and many of my members got the short end of it. Do you think there are no repercussions? I can stop all mercantile trade in your kingdom, but no, I won’t reduce our coffers because of this. I am a practical man, as long as there is business, I am all for it,” Leonard enlightened him, while continuing, “You made too many enemies, even under your own roof, and thanks to that I am able to gather all these information. I will be a fool to enter a deal with you without any preparations.”
“What do you want?” Buhui asked in resignation.
“All you have to do is keep your mouth shut on the origins of the bracelet, if you kept to your part all this would not have happened,” Leonard said.
“It is not my fault, that brat did it herself. I have no part in it, you saw it yourself,” Buhui defended himself.
“Really? I am afraid that will fool anyone but me. I have been monitoring you for a long time now, everything the princess does, has been part of your devious plan and constant manipulation. You have been twisting her mind and body since she was young, poisoning her thoughts that it’s alright to do anything and get rid of anyone she doesn’t like,” Leonard looked at Buhui calmly even as he said this.
“Do you want me to show you the other recordings I have? The ones where in order to test her, you manipulated her mentally into getting rid of all her royal entourage? How about the one just yesterday when you told her it is ok to go full out with the bracelet? Yes, I know about that, but don’t be mistaken I was smoothing things out with the board only because of you,” he added.
Buhui was silence this whole time, he could not hide the evil schemes or how he manipulated and harmed Huiling into doing all his bidding. Leonard was just too smart for him, and he could only sit there silently, waiting for closure.
“You and your runt have created an unpleasant scenario, and they have launched an investigation into the bracelet. I am doing this because of self-preservation, and I deem it wise for you to keep you runt under a leash as well as have your mouth sealed. If they find anything in connection to me, you will have hell to pay,” Leonard threatened him.
Buhui could only nod his head obediently.
“Oh and she is no longer one of ‘The 8 Lords’, you can only blame it on yourself. In the meantime, do not try anything rash, the Merchant Alliance has a farther and wider reach than you can ever imagine. You will be gone before you can plan anything against me,” Leonard concluded, turned and left the room.
“Shit, shit, shit!” Buhui constantly cursed in his mind, even as his hands shook uncontrollably.
Amelia left Xiaoxia in the care of Yulia, as she exited the room. There were campus security guarding the area tightly, who were assigned by the tournament officials based on Xiaoxia’s status as a semifinalist.
It is to prevent any harm from coming to him, as there are people in underground syndicates and circles who wished to gain monetarily by betting in the matches against him.
She paid no heed to them, and walked towards the end of the hall. There, an middle age gentleman was waiting for her.
“Minister Shi Lang, it’s an honor for you to arrive so shortly,” Amelia greet him.
“Ah your Royal Grace, the honor is all mine,” Shi Lang greeted her in return.
“How is your son?” she asked.
“Shi Feng is doing fine, it was smart of him to forfeit the match. There was no chance of even winning,” Shi Lang replied.
“Hahaha! That may not be true, your family has abilities only limited to your bloodline,” Amelia smiled knowingly at him.
“Ah! There is nothing we can hide from you. But it is useless on the battlefield,” he admitted.
“Hah! You are too humble, so have you brought what I requested?” Amelia complimented and asked him.
“Yes, this is all the information we managed to gather since he was on the throne. We managed to find some hidden devices recording events in his palace, but so far are unable to determine who the perpetrators behind these are,” he replied.
“I presumed you left them alone, and already obtained the information in them,”
“Your Royal Grace, you are very perceptive,” Shi Lang confirmed her deduction.
“You are too kind, after all I once held your office,” she smiled knowingly at him.
“Ah! That is something I do not know,” Shi Lang looked a little surprise.
“Well it’s not something many know, but since you are in charge now, you may as well have this information,” she offered.
“Thank you, your Royal Grace,” he bowed in thanks to her.
“That is not necessary, come we have to make our move now,” Amelia instructed him.
She took the device offered by Shi Lang, as they moved to the next level.
“What is this?” Amelia paused in midstride and asked in amazement, the details and information in the device were beyond belief.
“I am afraid this is undeniable,” Shi Lang sympathized, he had the same reaction as well when it first came to him.
“Instructor Wei, Lord Menon!” Ouyang greeted them as he arrived.
They were in the private guest lounge of the Artisan Alliance.
“Master Ouyang, it’s nice for you to join us,” Menon greeted in return, while Instructor Wei acknowledge with a nod.
“The discussion is over, and I am pleased to announce that a proper course of action has been decided,” Ouyang informed them.
“Good, give us the details,” Instructor Wei said.
“Wait, before that, are you sure there is no problems? Leonard did seem like he was going to let slide,” Menon interrupted.
“He does not have much say in this matter, majority of the board are trying to protect their collective behinds in this situation,” Ouyang replied.
There were spectators in the front row of the stands, who belonged to many empires and some held high stations. Many were caught by surprise at Huiling’s attack, and sustained various injuries.
The advisory board needed to quell the situation immediately, in order to avoid having the blame pushed onto them.
“We have launched a full investigation into the matter, and this is the bracelet that she was wearing,” Ouyang continued, while showing Menon the bracelet.
“Oh my! This is not made from a mythical creature like I suspected, and now I am fully certain what it is,” Menon exclaimed, as he inspected it with trained eyes.
“It is not? Then what is it?” Instructor Wei asked.
“Wait. Ouyang how much do you know about the Plains of the Damned?” Menon indicated for Instructor Wei to wait, while asking Ouyang.
“Not much, not many people are brave enough to enter that zone,” Ouyang shrugged and answered.
“Old man, are you saying this is related to that region? Is it from them?” Instructor Wei questioned him, suspicion raising in her voice.
“Yes, look at this,” he said, as he took out a small vial and pour a drop of its content on the bracelet.
The bracelet gave a soft glow and its surface changed from a brown leathery material, to something tinged in green with bright red spots. It looked more like raw flesh than leather.
“Someone went into a lot of trouble to make this look like a leather artifact,” he informed both of them.
“Lord Menon, could it be?” Ouyang’s eyes were wide opened now, and his voice mirrored Instructor Wei’s suspicious tone.
“This my dear friends, is made from the Ki center of an elemental beast. One which was removed while it was still alive, or else it will never be able to retain its abilities,” he finally concluded his findings.
Gu Di and Jay arrived at the medical facility, just as Menon made his discovery.
“Senior, are you sure about this?” Jay whispered quietly, his lips not moving.
Gu Di gestured his certainty without saying a word, and motioned towards Jay who placed his hood back on. They started walking into the facility and proceeded to the floor Xiaoxia was in.
“Halt! Who are you?” a security personnel asked as they approached Xiaoxia’s ward, he was stationed at the beginning of the hallway.
“I am Instructor Jay, the patient’s Shishu,” Jay informed him while showing his crest.
“I am sorry, you have not been registered as an official visitor. There is no indication of you besides his Mentor and other sponsors,” the security was looking at a contraption on his forearm.
“This is getting nowhere,” Gu Di said, as he placed his right hand on Jay’s shoulders and both of them vanished from sight.
“I am afrai…… Where did they go?!” the security looked back up to find them missing, he immediately alerted the others.
He accompanied the others and first checked with their colleagues guarding Xiaoxia’s room, they did not see anyone enter. Hence they started to search other areas of the facility.
“I want to learn this!” Jay exclaimed, as they arrived the next moment in Xiaoxia’s room.
“Perhaps in another ten thousand years,” Gu Di grinned impishly at him, much to Jay’s dismay.
“Jay?!! Why are you here, and who is that?!” Yulia almost shouted, shocked at seeing him and another man appear right in front of her without even entering the door.
“Ah, beautiful Yulia, this is my friend Gee,” Jay flattered her, while lying about Gu Di’s name.
Gu Di was rolling his eyes at the lame name Jay just gave him.
“That doesn’t matter, why are you here?” Yulia asked again, impervious to his flattery.
“Just visiting, nothing much,” Jay told her flippantly.
“Fair enough,” Yulia said.
Just as she was about to turn, Gu Di was already beside Xiaoxia and placed both his hands on his chest, directly above his heart. A blue aura begin to form in an instant.
“Stop!” Yulia screamed.
The door imploded and flew into the room as a figure cloaked in a threatening aura entered. It was Amelia, and her face was filled in rage.
Behind her, the personal body guards of Buhui all scattered limply on the ground, many twitching in a semi-conscious state. Amelia had blasted her way through them to get to Buhui.
“Amelia?” Buhui immediately looked up recognizing his cousin at once. He was covered in splinters and debris from the disintegrated door.
Upon seeing her in her aura, he instinctively reacted and placed his own Ki defenses. It crumbled immediately as she approached and grabbed him by his collar. She lifted him up with one hand and slapped him incessantly till both sides of his face became swollen and turned purple.
“Amelia stop!! Why are you doing this?” Buhui screamed in pain.
She did not respond and threw him onto the ground. The impact brought forth a gush of blood from Buhui’s mouth, as it ruptured his organs.
Without even blinking, she lifted her right foot and slammed it down between his legs, aimed directly for his jewels.
“ARRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!” Buhui screamed the moment they ruptured, rolling incessantly on the ground in agonizing pain.
How he still manage to be conscious was beyond anyone’s guess, however it did not stop. Amelia proceeded to blocked all his meridians with Ki, disabling his movements and continued stamping on his jewels.
Soon a bloody mess appeared between his legs, he was long gone with whites showing from his eyes. A trickle of bloody foam flowed from his mouth, as he gurgled in labored breath, he lost consciousness as soon as the second blow connected with his jewels.
“You Royal Grace, STOP!” Shi Lang shouted, and rushed towards her.
His intervention was timely, as the next blow was heading directly for Buhui’s temple. It would have been a death blow for sure.
“HE IS NOT FIT TO BE A PARENT!!!” Amelia screamed in unabated rage, as Shi Lang struggled to pull her away.