I entered my courtyard, half expecting there to be someone waiting for me but was a little disappointed to see no one there.
Maybe they don't know that I'm back yet?
Well we did get delayed on our way back so that might be possible.
"Hmm Perhaps they went for a toilet break?" Diao Chan suggested.
I thought for a while, "In that case, why don't you girls go ahead and rest? We've been on the road for quite a while now. Just remember to set up some protective inscriptions before you go to bed."
Lian Li bowed, "Understood Master, please have a good rest yourself."
"Ara, ara? When does Master want to fluff us?" Manami pouted, only to have Kiyomi pinch her sides to shush her.
I gave the sisters a wry smile, "Have a good rest alright? Remember what I said."
"Yes Master," The five of them bowed.
"G'night Papa!" Cai Hong waved, prompting me to give her a goodnight head pat.
I left for my room after giving each of them their share of goodnight pats, didn't really have much choice when I saw all of them look at me with those pleading eyes.
Once I entered my room, I looked towards my bed to see someone sleeping in it.
Curious, I stepped closer to it, realising it was the supposed missing Sect Master Long himself.
And judging from his wide-eyed, open-mouthed face that is devoid of any signs of life, he got murdered by someone he did not expect.
I was just about to try to read his memories when the door behind me opened again, letting Elder Qing walk in on me while I had my hand placed on Sect Master Long's head.
"Master Lin? You've returned? Eh? Is that Sect Master Long?!"
I stepped away from the body, "Well Yeah I just returned moments ago and found him here."
He narrowed his eyes at me, "You You killed Sect Master Long? So you were aiming for the Sect Master position?! Being underneath someone weaker than you was too much for you to take was it?"
What a big change of character. Didn't think Elder Qing could make a face like that.
I raised my hands to show my innocence, "I assure you I found him like this when I came in, I had nothing to do with him being here."
"The proof is already there! You You're going to kill me to silence me as well aren't you?!"
"Ok, calm down Elder Qing. You know me right? I won't do that right?"
He took a few steps back, "You You're not going to take me! I'll I'll call for help! Don't come any closer!"
I rolled my eyes, "Ok, that's as far as I can take, you can stop pretending now Elder Qing, or whoever you are."
As though a switch had been flipped, his initial panicked expression smoothened into a calm smile.
"It seems like Master Lin really is as good as they say you are hmmm? Might I ask what gave it away?"
I smirked, lifting my index finger in the air, "Unless you've been keeping tabs on me ever since I reached the Sect, Elder Qing shouldn't know that I look like this. But you figured out it was me right from the start."
He nodded, "Hmmm Interesting. Yes, I knew it was you since I was spying on the Sect entrance."
I unfurled my middle finger to join my index finger, "Also, you immediately knew the Sect Master was dead instead of asleep. Unless you're the one that killed him, you wouldn't know he's dead until you examine the body."
"Kekeke Yes, that was my mistake."
I lifted a third finger, "And also Your acting skills are just horrible."
He grinned at me, "Thank you for the lesson, Master Lin. I'll make sure to get better next time."
"So? Who are you and what the hell do you want?"
The Elder Qing doppelganger's smile widened, "Well, your demise for one. You've been quite a pain in the neck for our organisation for quite a while now. But unfortunately, we both know your death just isn't feasible at this point."
"Ah the Dark Sect is it? Should I be honored that the Dark Sect sees me as a big enough of a threat to involve my entire Sect in this?"
"Kekeke Master Lin has a sense of humour too, who knew?"
I crossed my arms, "Indeed. Do you know what else is funny? Maybe you'd like to know what will happen to you if I snap my fingers right now?"
The doppelganger's smile became a cruel one, "Oh, I definitely wouldn't want to know what might happen. But I, on the other hand, have no qualms in showing you what will happen if I snap my fingers."
From behind him, my disciples entered the room without making any sound, all of them staring straight ahead without any expressions on their face.
"Quite a group you've managed to gather here, Master Lin. To think all your disciples are such pretty girls. Maybe you are a pervert?"
My eyes narrowed at him, "What did you do to them?"
"Kekeke~ Nothing much Master Lin. Just placed them in a trance that's all. Their minds are sleeping but their bodies are awake and free for me to control. With just a word from me, they'll do anything I ask, including to kill themselves or to kill you."
"You do realise that I could probably kill you before you can even tell them to do anything?"
The doppelganger stepped beside Cai Hong, kneeling down so that he was at her height, "Oh I have no doubts about that, Master Lin. But before I came in here, I already planted a suggestion in them that if I were to die, they would do everything they can to kill you or themselves, are you willing to risk that?"
I sighed, "What do you want?"
He gestured to the dead Sect Master Long, "You see, he too was a little bit of a pain for us. We approached him with an offer but he was just a little uncooperative. We thought that maybe, if we give you a big enough incentive, you might make a better Sect Master than he was. Understand where I'm going?"
"You want to control Heaven Sect through me. And by holding my disciples hostage, you can control me through them as well."
"Kekeke~ Master Lin is a smart one indeed."
"Well then Could you at least tell me what you're planning? At least so that I know what I should keep a blind eye on?"
"I think not, Master Lin. Just be a good little boy and stay here for us. Kekeke~ To have the famed Master Lin as our lapdog I suppose it's definitely many times ," he laughed as his hand reached out to pat Cai Hong's head.
I was just about to ask another question when Cai Hong suddenly lifted her head and bit down hard on the doppelganger's hand, eliciting a yelp of pain from him.
"Only Papa pat Cai Hong! Bad man no touch!"
In an instant, the other girls turned their backs to me to face the doppelganger, all of them moving into a combat ready stance.
"Apologies Master, that's also just as much as I'm able to take this piece of trash insulting you," Lian Li apologised, golden lightning arcing in between her fingers.
I shrugged, "Oh well, we found out enough things from him anyway. Him being so talkative and full of himself helped."
"Ufufufu~ To insult our lovely Master in front of us That is an unforgivable crime."
"For someone so weak to act high and mighty How disgusting," Kiyomi mocked with an upraised chin.
The doppelganger gritted his teeth, "How did you break them out of my trance?"
I chuckled, "What made you think they were in a trance all this while? Didn't the thought that I had them act out everything you saw and heard when I entered my courtyard just now come to you?"
His eyes shifted to the girls, "I see It seems I have underestimated your capabilities by too large a margin I'll have to correct that."
"So I take it you're quite an important figure within the Dark Sect, right?"
"Well good enough then."
His face contorted before he coughed out blood, his hands grasping desperately at his chest even as he started falling forward. In less than a second, his body was now a lifeless heap on the floor.
"Ah crap Now I got blood and two dead bodies in my room" I sighed.
"This one shall clean up for Master," Eris volunteered.
I was just about to give her the go ahead when the body spoke again, "Impressive Master Lin Good thing I prepared this body double instead of going there myself."
"Huhuhu~ It seems you're not even brave enough to face Master in person hmmm?" Diao Chan chuckled.
The Dark Sect guy chose to ignore her, "Well. I guess I'll be the standard villain and say that you've not seen the last of me. By the way, this body belonged to your father, I just reshaped him a bit for this purpose. Have fun knowing you committed patricide! Kekeke~"
The laughter faded away.
Oh? So my scheming father is dead? Well how convenient. Thanks Dark sect guy!
Now that we know who and what is targeting us, it'll just be a simple thing for me to undo whatever he placed upon the Sect and prepare for whatever he is going to throw at us.