Tome of Troubled Times - C.96: Reciprocity

Tome of Troubled Times

C.96: Reciprocity

Zhao Changhe truly did not know how to find Xia Chichi. In fact, let alone Xia Chichi, he did not even know where Han Wubing was at the moment.

He decided to head back to the inn first, his head still in a daze. To his surprise, he happened to run into Han Wubing by the entrance just as he made it back.

Zhao Changhe let out a breath of relief and looked at the ordinary sword he was holding. He facepalmed. “I actually forgot... I should have asked them for a sword just now.”

Han Wubing asked, “Who?”

“Uh, it’s nothing... Brother Han, were you not able to find anything?”

“Not really. Someone asked me to go to the Ancient Sword Lake to see a sword. After giving it some thought, I felt that there was no harm in taking a look, so I agreed to meet them there.”

Zhao Changhe’s expression lit up.

Loving and righteous, and keeping their promises, how did I not think of it? Brother Han is a near-perfect match for those conditions! The Four Idols Cult actually came looking for him.

There’s almost no doubt about it. Once he sees the sword, is it really even possible for him to hold back his obsession with swords? Besides, the sword might actually be willing to acknowledge him at that time.

“Um... Have you ever had a lover before?”


“What about the person who you spilled blood for? Your deceased friend?”

“...He was a man. My relationship with him was quite similar to ours. It began with a match, but eventually evolved into a mutual understanding.”

It turns out that there is still a benefit to staying single. Since he’s never been in a romantic relationship, then there’s no way that he could have been unfaithful or disloyal to his partner. As long as he has a trustworthy character, then that should be enough.

Zhao Changhe tilted his head and looked at him. “Since you say that our relationship is similar to the one you had with him, if I were to die, would you also avenge me as you did him?”

Han Wubing said matter-of-factly, “Yes.”

Zhao Changhe laughed and patted him on the shoulder. “I think that you really might be able to get that sword. However, while the sword may be easy to get, the hearts of people are unpredictable. You should be on guard against the person who invited you to the sword lake. If nothing comes of it, then so be it. But if a problem arises, know that I will be on your side whatever happens.”

While the sword may be easy to get, the hearts of people are unpredictable... These words touched Han Wubing’s heart, and traces of gloom could be seen in his eyes. “Okay.”

By sheer coincidence, Zhao Changhe had just confirmed when the other party would be making their move, as well as their “protagonist” for their plan. This brought him a little relief.

He decided that he would try to look for Chichi over the next two days. If he could find her, then that would be best; but if he failed to do so, then he could simply follow Han Wubing and then try to secretly communicate with Xia Chichi by the sword lake. This way, he was basically guaranteed to meet her.

During the following days, Zhao Changhe explored nearly the entire Sword Lake City. He encountered several petty thieves who attempted to snatch his saber, resulting in multiple unsolved murder cases. However, he was ultimately unable to find Xia Chichi.

The Four Idols Cult were doing what they could to evade the Demon Suppression Bureau’s surveillance, which naturally made it all the more difficult for Zhao Changhe to locate them. During this time, Tang Wanzhuang had been discreetly searching for the Four Idols Cult herself, but even she could not find them, much less Zhao Changhe. Additionally, Xia Chichi did not dare to show herself during this sensitive time either.

Yet, Zhao Changhe felt that Chichi had been completely outplayed by Tang Wanzhuang this time. She knew what the Xia Chichi was up to, and even had a rough idea of the timing, which was right at the beginning of summer. As long as she kept an eye on the lake, that would be enough. No matter how well they hid in the city, what was the point? If the Demon Suppression Bureau truly wanted to catch the members of the demonic cult, they simply needed to lay a meticulous net around the lake. The reason why they had not done so, as Zhao Changhe believed, was to let him keep his face. He felt rather grateful toward them for this.

In any case, Chichi was truly going to lose out this time. This was the first time that she was leading a team on a mission. She and her subordinates probably never expected that their opponent in such a trivial matter would be none other than the head of the Demon Suppression Bureau. They were simply not on the same level...

On another note, if Tang Wanzhuang knew that her opponent was actually a real princess, it would truly be interesting to see what her reaction would be.


The sun rose from the southeast, signifying the beginning of the seventh solar term, the start of summer.

Han Wubing slowly walked along the Ancient Sword Lake, searching for traces of the other party.

The Ancient Sword Lake was not crowded with tourists. In fact, compared with the bustling city just close by, it was quite deserted. Due to the infamous incidents of sword qi erupting and killing people, nobody really came here for casual outings. The only people around were either bold adventurers trying their luck or treasure hunters, and they only came occasionally in small groups. These groups were scattered along the vast lakeside, so its empty and solitary atmosphere was not perturbed.

The members of the Four Idols Cult were particularly conspicuous in this environment. There was nowhere they could hide even if they wanted to. It was highly probable that there were skilled individuals concealed in the bamboo forest behind them.

A group of people in black robes surrounded a beautiful young lady, giving off the impression of attendants accompanying their young miss on an outing.

However, Han Wubing immediately recognized the person who had spoken to him that day, and he also recognized the beautiful young lady as the little witch who had a verbal altercation with Zhao Changhe.

No wonder Zhao Changhe said that he would side with me all the way.

Han Wubing slowly made his way toward them, stopping at a distance where he could run away at any moment. “I’m here. When can I see the sword?”

The little witch glanced at him with a hesitant expression. The first thing she asked, however, was not what he had expected.

“What is your relationship with Zhao Changhe?”

Han Wubing: “...Friends.”

“How close?”

“He saved my life.”

“In fact, you also saved his life,” said the little witch. She then placed her hands on her hips and said, “If you had not interfered, I would have taken off his head.”

Hmph, maybe his little head. Yeah, it did seem like if things continued, you would have actually taken it. The problem is where you intended to put it after that.

With a wry smile, Han Wubing said, “So are you here to settle the score for me having messed things up that day?”

Xia Chichi hesitated. If this person truly was a good friend of Zhao Changhe, then causing trouble for him might make Zhao Changhe angry with her. What a headache. I originally thought that they were enemies who wanted to fight, and that tricking him would be similar to helping Zhao Changhe. But it turns out that they get along quite well...

“Zhao Changhe’s head is easy to take, so a little misdeed does not account for much. As long as you stand by your side of the agreement, consider everything written off.”

Han Wubing heard the little witch saying this, but he suddenly received a voice transmission from her with a distinct change in her tone. Later, we will be carrying out a ceremony that will definitely make the sword appear. Make sure not to become obsessed with the sword. No matter how much you like it, say that the sword rejects you. Whatever you do, do not touch it! Remember this!

Han Wubing was intrigued. Putting this together with Zhao Changhe’s warning, he instantly understood the general situation and sighed in his heart. No wonder the little witch’s first sentence was to ask about her relationship with Zhao Changhe. She did not want to deceive Zhao Changhe’s friends...

The fact that she could send him secret voice transmissions meant that she had reached the sixth layer of the Profound Gate at the very least. However, in the midst of such powerful individuals, the fact that she was transmitting such messages could easily be exposed. It seemed that she truly liked Zhao Changhe.

He calmly cupped his hands and said, “As I said, as long as the sword feels right, we have an agreement.”

Xia Chichi giggled. “Mister Han, you are a trustworthy person. We believe in you. Alright, noon is approaching, it is soon time to carry out the ceremony.”

Meanwhile, Zhao Changhe, who was using his enhanced vision to spy from afar, was feeling incredibly anxious. He actually thought that he would be able to find an opportunity to secretly communicate with Xia Chichi. How stupid. In such an open area, how was he supposed to do that with a group of people constantly surrounding her?!

The group of black-robed individuals spread around in a seemingly irregular pattern while chanting something. Someone seeing the scene from above would notice that their formation resembled the Sagittarius constellation.

Han Wubing could not help but feel like he was witnessing something quite mystical. Needless to say, this was the first time he had ever seen anything like this in his entire life.

He attempted to understand their actions, but even with the well-developed five senses of a martial artist at the fifth layer of the Profound Gate, he could not detect any energy fluctuations or changes in the atmosphere. He had no idea where the effects of this formation and ceremony would manifest.

However, it soon became increasingly evident that there were subtle movements coming from beneath the lake’s surface.

As the sun reached its zenith at noon, a barely perceptible tremor emanated from the bottom of the lake as if an earthquake had occurred in a very deep place.

Han Wubing’s instincts tingled as he sensed a sharp and pervasive sword intent emerging from the center of the lake.

At that moment, a lightning-fast arrow shot from a distant bamboo grove, instantly reaching the heart of the formation and heading straight for the elder leading the ceremony.

“Who dares cause trouble?!” The elder was the Azure Dragon Protector, a powerful expert amongst those of the Rankings of Man. He casually deflected the arrow, but the disruption still caused the ceremony to halt for a moment.

Zhao Changhe’s loud laughter echoed from the bamboo grove. “Your saintess is after my dog head, so I thought I’d cause her a bit of trouble. I think it’s only fair, no? If you have the guts, come and chase after me! Hahaha!”

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