The officers dispersed and scoured the entire house and its surroundings, but they found nothing or any sign.
Other than the side room where the old man stayed, the other rooms had already been covered with a thin layer of dust after more than half a month.
Gu Mingshun had already learned from Mu Xiyun’s mouth where Hong Yu found the bodies, and after discussing it with Constable Chen, he let a few guards to get the old man out of the house.
Afterwards, sealed the place and took the rest out of town and up to the mountain.
Ping County was in the southwest of Yiyun Town.
Together with Yiyun Town and Qingxi Town, the three towns surrounded the Cuiping Mountain like a person encircling it with its arms.
The group hurried to the foot of the mountain and walked along the mountain road for nearly ten miles, only to find several wrecked ox carts by the corner of the mountain road.
There was some jewelry, expensive clothing, silvers and other valuables nearby but no dead bodies.
Moreover, due to a recent rain, traces of blood and wheel tracks had been washed out, but after careful inspection, Mingshun found some dried bloodstains on the rocks in the leeward side of the road.
“It can be speculated that the group wanted to trade the dozen or so children to another place that’s why they left half a month ago.” Constable Chen said with a while stroking his beard, “This road is three miles to the north, eastward to Yiyun Town, and westward to all parts of the Central Plains.” Before he could finish the words, the sound of horses’ hooves came, and a person immediately dismounted from his horse and took out a stack of paper from his arms.
It turned out to be the corpse portrait from Qingxi Town.
Constable Chen saw the portrait and immediately recognized that the five corpses were Wang Ping and his company.
Gu Mingshun frowned and said, “These five people should have died here and got their hearts dug out by the demon fox after, but how did the corpses get to Qingxi Town”
Su Yanjun pondered, “Perhaps someone deliberately moved the bodies But for what purpose”
For a moment, everyone was silent.
After a while, Mu Xiyun broke the silence, “What is the purpose of the person who moved the corpse, we can check that later, but according to the old man who guarded the Yaxing, these five people were on the road with a dozen children, regardless of how the Feng family’s young master ended up in Yiyun Town, but where are the rest children now”
Six hours ago, Gu Qingqiao was dragged to a place by an ox cart.
When he was put into a sack and placed on the cart, it was still in the middle of the afternoon, but when the ox cart finally stopped, it was already dark all around.
Judging from the feel of how the ox cart traveled to its destination, they passed a section of mountain road, a section of official road and finally into a town.
The ox cart entered into a courtyard.
He was unloaded together with the goods on the cart.
Besides that, there was no other noise.
Zhang San, who abducted him, silently placed him and the other goods on the ground.
After that, he drove the ox cart out the door.
The sound of the rolling cart wheels gradually faded away.
Gu Qingqiao was lying among the pile of goods and only heard a few cat meows on the street in the distance.
Lying on the ground for almost half an hour in a curled up position, his waist and legs were sore, pondering that maybe Zhang San got to the wrong place However, he abruptly felt the ground tremble, but then, it was gone in a split second.
Gu Qingqiao thought it was only his illusion.
A knife silently slipped out of his sleeve, and he was about to open the sack to take a look, but then he heard a slight sound of footsteps not long after.
Based on the sounds of the footsteps, there should be more than one person approaching, yet not one still made a sound.
When the strangers arrived, all seemed to only focus on moving goods.
One of them hauled Gu Qingqiao’s sack, and immediately realized that there was a child in it.
A sound of a door opening was heard, he was carried over and placed down once again.
As the sack was loosened and pried open, he pretended to be unconscious, and only opened a small slit of his eyes.
He noticed that he was inside a small room.
The room was not big, and a dim candle light was coming in from outside.
Seeing that he didn’t move, the person didn’t bother to care either, and quickly walked out of the door and closed it.
“Why is there still a child coming in Wasn’t it still enough” One asked in a low voice.
“Didn’t one die a few days ago Who cares, they’re going to be taken away eventually.
By the way……….”
The voices gradually became smaller as though the two of them walked a little farther away.
Gu Qingqiao turned around and crept forward based on his impression.
The moment when the dim candle light illuminated the inside of the room from outside before the man closed the door, he had seen a wide bed facing the door, and there were several children lying on it.
Gu Qingqiao touched the edge of the bed, climbed up silently, and gently pushed the child closest to him.
The child was pushed askew, yet there was no response.
Gu Qingqiao stretched out his hand and probed for the child’s pulse.
Fortunately, it was still there, but it was so weak that he could hardly detect it.
The children on the bed were all in similar conditions, and none of them looked like they could wake up anytime soon.
If he was still Gu Qingqiao fifty years ago, things would just be as easy as pushing the door and directly going out, regardless of how many people there were outside.
The situation isn’t looking great, even more so because the effect of the Huaxing water was not yet over.
Looking at his little hands and feet and the little spiritual energy in his meridians, Gu Qingqiao sighed and slowly moved to the door, listening carefully to any movement outside.
It was estimated that it was already the dead of the night, and there was no sound coming from outside the door.
Gu Qingqiao waited for another stick of incense time before trying to gently open the door.
The door was easily unlocked.
There was only a hook keeping the door closed, presumably because they felt that a few frail children were not worth looking after, and the person guarding the door even disappeared somewhere.
Gu Qingqiao quietly went out.
Outside the door were a circle of corridors, and the yard was planted with different flowers and plants, looking like a backyard of some big family.
The whole house was silent, and only one room was lit.
He walked cautiously along the veranda and crept under the lighted window.
There was no moonlight tonight.
Gu Qingqiao quietly tucked himself into the darkness and sneaked under.
“This time the movement was loud.
This one has deliberately avoided Moyun Mountain, how come they were alerted” Someone spoke.
Another person replied, “Or you are not careful enough.
Isn’t that child’s body already buried How could it appear in Yiyun Town”
“I can’t figure this out either, and this kind of thing has never happened before.
Do you think it’s because you’ve provoked some enemy and have been targeted”
“This possibility cannot be ruled out.
How many more days still”
“Until tomorrow night.”
“Good, pack up tomorrow and leave immediately when things are done.”
The door opened, and a man in black walked out of the room and looked around.
Under the window, Gu Qingqiao was no longer there.
The man summoned his sword and flew away.
The lights in the house went out, and after a while, Gu Qingqiao emerged from the shadows under the veranda and quietly returned to the room.
At dawn, the people in the courtyard received orders and began to clean up everywhere.
An old servant with a stiff expression came to the room where the children were placed.
He was probably not surprised when he saw that there was another child added and even conscious on top of that.
After giving Gu Qingqiao a steamed bun, he climbed up to the bed, served a half bowl of porridge for each of the unconscious children and patiently tried to feed them one by one.
He then cleaned up the dishes after and walked out the door.
Gu Qingqiao was eating a steamed bun and looked outside through the crack of the window.
There were not many people in the courtyard, and there were only a dozen faces coming and going along.
It was almost noon when a sudden knock was heard at the gate of the outer house.
The people in the courtyard froze, quickly piled up the items in the corner, and each drew out their weapons to be on guard.
The stiff faced old man walked slowly to the front hall probably to open the gate.
At the same time, Gu Qingqiao felt the ground tremble again.
There was a commotion, some Yamen runners entered and began to search everywhere.
Three Yamen runners opened the courtyard door, walked around the courtyard, pushed open doors and entered various rooms to search, but they soon turned around and left the courtyard, completely ignoring the messy items in the corner, the room where the children were in and the people holding weapons in the veranda.
Gu Qingqiao furrowed his brows.
Judging from the actions and expressions of the Yamen runners just now, it doesn’t look like they were bribed or colluded to deliberately feign ignorance.
Those three Yamen runners really seemed genuine in their search.
Plus the two tremors of the ground, last night and just now, were abnormal.
Then, Gu Qingqiao suddenly realized.
The courtyard was actually inside an array.
Yet this array was somehow different from an ordinary hallucination array.
Ordinary hallucination arrays just make people see a different sight and would also lead people to make wrong judgments.
Like the white fog outside the fox demon cave.
One only needed to directly walk past it carefully to break out of the formation.
However, this array formation was different.
Those who entered were like entering another dimension, and the five senses would also be confused at the same time.
If one caught a bird inside the barrier, but the caster wanted him to see a cat, then the animal in his hand would not only look like a cat, but would also sound like a cat.
Because of this, this kind can only be casted once.
The formation will remain effective all the time but the caster must stay inside as well.
And because it consumes a lot of spiritual energy, it was necessary for a pre-drawn spiritual formation to gather spiritual energy or the use of magic weapons and spiritual stones to act as aid.
At the same time, it also had a high requirement on the cultivation of the caster.
Gu Qingqiao was surprised and delighted.
The happy thing was that if the traces of the spiritual formation or the magic weapon can be found, this barrier can be broken.
On the other hand, he was surprised that such a practitioner was present and because of that, saving the children may not be so easy.
He carefully felt the little spiritual energy in his meridians, and couldn’t help frowning.
Against a cultivator of this level, he may only have the power of a single blow.
On the mountain road, the group of people who had gained nothing helplessly returned to the government office.
It was getting late, hence Gu Mingshun took Xiyun and others to the Ping County post house.
Several people ate dinner, and got together to re-evaluate the existing clues again.
Except for knowing that another ten or so children were missing, compared to the previous analysis, there was no progress.
Mu Xiyun was inexplicably upset, and excused himself.
“I’m a little restless today, and I want to go out for a walk alone to relax.” After speaking, he turned around and went out.
Su Yanjun knew that he was worried about those children, he didn’t blame him for being so.
Instead, he stepped forward and told him to return early.
Ping County was smaller than Yiyun Town.
There were already no people on the street after night and only a little warmth from the dim lights coming from the windows of houses can be seen.
Mu Xiyun lowered his head and walked for a while, and when he raised his head again, he found that he had unknowingly come to the front of Yaxing again.
(t/n Yaxing is a firm or middleman that negotiates and introduces transactions for buyers and sellers in the market, and collects commissions)
There were two officers guarding the front door.
He stepped forward and said,”The two officials have worked hard.
Can you let me in and have a look”
The two of them had seen Xiyun in the daytime when he along with other Yamen officers came inside to have a look.
When they saw him come, they knew that it must be related to the investigation, hence it was not difficult to open the door and let him in.
Mu Xiyun walked slowly around the house.
He didn’t know if it was because his body was made from spiritual things, however, he seemed to be particularly sensitive to spiritual energy.
When he came to this yard this morning, he felt that some parts of the yard were different from usual.
But during the daytime, there were so many people, and what he felt was not very clear even for him, thus deciding to not mention it.
But tonight, when everything was silent, Mu Xiyun simply let go of his thoughts and felt the surroundings again.
A faint spiritual disturbance coming from the corner of the back garden was felt.
The author has something to say:
Gu Qingqiao: The author is out! How did you arrange this timeline
Author: It’s very simple, when you were loaded into the cart, Ah Yun was in the fox demon cave, and then you went to the trafficker, and the next day Ah Yun and others also went there, that’s it!
Gu Qingqiao: Then why not write it in chronological order The paragraph where I went to the Yaxing should be in the front!
Author: Ah, do you want to be adjusted to the front Then you have to be separated from Ah Yun’s play.
Gu Qingqiao: Oh, forget it, my family’s Ah Yun is more important!