Master Xu Kong was a very thin man in his thirties. With his lean stature, he nearly became a kite when De-gonggong dragged him back.
He was still panting when he entered the chamber, his moustache a bit askew.
“It’s her, her! Master, quickly subdue her!” De-gonggong pointed at Shi Sheng, who was still standing at her original spot, and screeched, “She’s a devil!”
Xu Kong panted. He looked at Shi Sheng, who was standing in the middle, and his eyes narrowed. ‘Isn’t that Yun Gui Fei?’
On the way, De-gonggong had only incessantly said something about a devil and Xu Kong hadn’t the chance to clarify what exactly was going on, so he was very confused upon seeing Shi Sheng.
“Master Xu Kong, have a look and see if she really is a devil.” Yuwen Xun instructed.
“…Very well.” Xu Kong stroked his moustache as his gaze swept over Shi Sheng.
Everyone seemed to heave a sigh of relief. It was clear that Xu Kong held a high place in their hearts—it was as if they needn’t fear devils with him around.
Xu Kong calmly put the box he was carrying with him down and opened it.
There were various implements inside. Talisman paper, vermillion ink, and even a pocket-sized wooden sword.
But when Xu Kong took this sword out, it immediately enlarged, causing astonished gasps to rise from the crowd.
Shi Sheng rolled her eyes. ‘That sword is obviously specially modified to allow it to change sizes.’
Shi Sheng coldly watched Xu Kong busying himself. He’d gotten people to set up an altar in front of him, which was empty save for a piece of yellow paper.
“Sir, please stand further away.” After Xu Kong finished arranging everything, he spoke to Ming Jin.
“What if I’m a devil too?” Ming Jin replied with a smile.
“…” Xu Kong’s face turned dark and he turned to look at Yuwen Xun. The latter nodded slightly, indicating that there was no need to bother about Ming Jin.
Only now did Xu Kong close his eyes and start chanting while facing Shi Sheng.
She shot Ming Jin a side glance. ‘What’s this fellow playing at?’
Ming Jin smiled at Shi Sheng.
Shi Sheng’s fingertips traced the stone in her hand, giving him a sinister smile in return.
The chamber fell silent as everyone turned their attention to Xu Kong. As he chanted, the yellow paper on the table started to change and a red character appeared.
It looked like something a dog had scratched out, so Shi Sheng couldn’t recognise the word, but Xu Kong’s expression changed greatly. “Your Majesty, there is devil qi present!”
“She really was a devil!”
“We’ve actually been living with a devil for so long? How frightening!”
“Master, quickly, subdue her!” De-gonggong urged Xu Kong.
Xu Kong nodded and took an empty bowl out from the box. He first cut his wrist to let out some blood before mixing in several other odd ingredients.
Shi Sheng, “…” ‘If this was a real devil standing in front of you, then you would’ve died countless times by now.’
“Die devil!” Xu Kong carried the blood, pointing his wooden sword at Shi Sheng and shouting in a powerful voice.
He splashed the bowl of blood towards Shi Sheng. Ming Jin’s figure moved slightly, but stopped in the next moment.
The sticky red blood was blocked in mid-air, as if there was a layer of glass present. It slowly trickled down to the floor.
Xu Kong wasn’t here before, so he obviously wouldn’t have known about the invisible barrier; he was stunned by its appearance.
“You dare to put on a show in front of me?!” Shi Sheng copied Xu Kong and shouted back at him.
Xu Kong’s eyes turned as he started to feel a bit weak in the knees. ‘I couldn’t have met someone who has real ability…right? I can’t even get close to her… Is this the rumoured “enchantment”?’
Xu Kong’s heart had already started pounding, his gaze roving around as his knees started shaking.
“What’s going on? Master, why aren’t you defeating this devil?” De-gonggong urged Xu Kong.
The latter could only steel himself and continue. But no matter what he did, Shi Sheng remained standing safely in front of him.
Sweat started to form on Xu Kong’s brow as he started to panic. ‘What do I do? How would I know how to deal with devils?! I’ve never even seen one! All I do is make a big show to scare people, but I’ve never committed any unforgivable sin to deserve this!’
“Still not kneeling!” Shi Sheng snapped.
Xu Kong was already feeling pretty skittish to begin with. So when Shi Sheng suddenly shouted, he couldn’t help but plop to his knees.
“Speak, which sect are you from? You actually dared to go around conning people, scum! This great deity will execute the will of the heavens today!”
Shi Sheng cringed heavily inside. ‘These lines are too shameless even for me.’
Everyone was dumbstruck. ‘What’s going on? Why is Master Xu Kong kneeling? And why did Yun Jie Yu refer to herself as “this great deity”?’
Xu Kong didn’t have any real ability. So with the scare Shi Sheng gave him, he naturally thought he’d met a true expert of his craft.
Of course he wouldn’t dare to lie and immediately reported his sect’s name.
Shi Sheng crooked her finger at him.
Xu Kong felt like his heart was about to leap out of his throat, but he could only cautiously inch closer to Shi Sheng.
Everyone watched as Shi Sheng produced a piece of paper and then a brush in quick succession like a magic trick.
She wrote something down quickly and handed the paper to Xu Kong. After the latter read what was on it, he felt only shock.
Shi Sheng raised her sword, whereupon Xu Kong immediately caved.
His eyes swivelled in his sockets quickly before he started knocking his head on the floor. “This one had eyes, but couldn’t see Mt. Tai! Senior, please forgive my slights!”
Everyone, “…” ‘Senior? Didn’t he just call her a devil not five minutes ago?’
“Am I still a devil?” Shi Sheng asked with a smile.
“No, no, no, it was simply this incompetent one’s mistake!” Xu Kong hurriedly shook his head.
Xu Kong then bowed to Yuwen Xun. “Your Majesty, I saw wrongly before. This senior is a very powerful Master.”
Yuwen Xun, “…” ‘Do you take me for a monkey? Zhuang Qiong is but the daughter of a noble clan—she’s never even visited a sect before and you’re trying to tell me she’s a powerful Master? If you’re going to lie through your teeth, at least come up with something better!’
Without being asked, Xu Kong covered up for Shi Sheng by saying that she was gifted with great talent and had comprehended her abilities without a teacher to guide her, that his sect knew all about her, etc.
Though it sounded like complete bollocks, Xu Kong said all this in a very serious tone and even swore upon his life, as if he was telling the truth.
Ming Jin struggled to hold back his laughter. Though the rest hadn’t seen what was on the paper that Shi Sheng showed Xu Kong, he had.
Say that I’m a skilled practitioner, or I’ll kill you.
She had even added on the following:
I’ll pay you.
‘As I expected, this Zhuang Qiong is rather interesting.’
Yuwen Xun was more willing to believe that Shi Sheng was a devil than that she was some Master.
He hummed a moment. “Since Master Xu Kong claims she is skilled, then let her prove it.”
Xu Kong looked at Shi Sheng. ‘I can only help you up to here.’
Shi Sheng searched her brain for major events in the plot. “There will be heavy downpour in Jinbei 10 days later, resulting in severe flooding and a disease outbreak.”
Artificial events might change, but natural disasters tended to stay the same.
Yuwen Xun’s eyes suddenly turned sharp. “Do you know what you’re saying?!”
Floods, epidemics…were both matters that concerned the empire at large.
“Didn’t you ask me to prove it? We’ll know if I spoke the truth in 10 days.”
“Master Xu Kong, can you predict this?” Yuwen Xun looked at Xu Kong.
Xu Kong, “…” ‘I’m just a conman! How would I know?!’
“Er…this one isn’t as skilled as senior, so I am unable to do that.” ‘This isn’t a laughing matter. Even if this Yun Gui Fei doesn’t feel like living anymore, I still do!’
“Surely Your Majesty can afford to give Yun Jie Yu 10 days?” Ming Jin spoke.
Yuwen Xun pondered for a moment before actually nodding, earning him strange looks from everyone present. “Very well, you will be given 10 days. If nothing has happened after 10 days, you will be beheaded on grounds of lying to your Emperor. Yun Jie Yu, do you have any objections?”
“Nope.” Shi Sheng paused. “Now comes the question…what if I’m right?”