Song Siwen frowned, "Do we still need to check? We can tell immediately after we see it!"
"Does anyone know who Chu Li is?"
"He's from your Public House."
"Then do any of the seniors here know that Chu Li is only a scribe and that he only reached the Innate Mastery's Boundary just this year?"Siao Tieying continued to ask coldly. "A young guy who just achieved the Innate Mastery's Boundary killed one of the High Official from the Imperial Harem. Don't you guys think that it's ridiculous?"
"Well, you don't need to use martial arts to kill somebody."
"That will be interesting!"Siao Tieying jeered and stared at him. "A Grandmaster that's plotted against? Protector Song, I implore you to use your abilities to reason in your brain and to not embarrass the Imperial Household!"
Song Siwen's face turned dark. "What are you trying to imply, Master Siao?"
Siao Tieying responded with a cold laugh.
"Why not you tell me what you were trying to imply! You don't even want to inspect the body but you already want to convict one of my men? Is this how the envoys of the Imperial Household work? I believe I'll need to ask the Emperor himself. Assigning a bunch of delusional and arrogant scoundrels to be his representatives! Does he intend to disgrace my Public House?
"You...you" Song Siwen stood up and pointed at Siao Tieying.
"Siao Tieying, you're messing with us!"
Siao Tieying took up his teacup and took a sip leisurely as he stared leeringly at Song Siwen.
"You and your men entered Chong Ming Town without even dismounting your horses, barging around town in full gallop. My! Aren't you guys so prestigious."
Song Siwen sat back down slowly, and tried to explain.
"We had an imperial order to obey. We intended to make sure that the perpetrator doesn't escape, so we were a little rushed. Even if we've been a little too hasty, I'm confident the Emperor wouldn't blame us!"
"Hasty?" Siao Tieying chuckled coldly. "You guys still intend to ride your horses and gallop around, in my Public House?"
"If that's what it takes to accomplish the mission, then our only choice is to offend you." Song Siwen said calmly.
Siao Tieying grunted in response. "Don't tell me you guys actually believe that Chu Li killed High Official Zhao?"
"Of course it's him!" Song Siwen scoffed. "He brought Brother Zhao out of town and returned as the only one alive!"
"An Innate Master killing a Grandmaster, now that's an anecdote." Siao Tieying shook his head as he laughed aloud uncontrollably. "If he really was killed by an Innate Master, then he might as well resign his position in the Imperial Harem as a High Official. It'd probably make no difference. Such an embarrassment!"
"Based on what we currently know, Chu Li has killed a Grandmaster before." Song Siwen added.
"Is a normal Grandmaster comparable to High Official Zhao?" Siao Tieying asked, "Chu Li was able to kill a normal Grandmaster because it was a fluke. High Official Zhao is the Imperial Harem's High Official, how can Chu Li kill him?"
"There are still possibilities." Song Siwen was confident. "There exists a chance that the boat will capsize, even when you sail it in a drain."
"In that case, you've already confirmed that Chu Li was the murderer?" Siao Tieying laughed coldly again and asked. "You guys really don't intend to inspect High Official Zhao's body?"
Song Siwen relented.
"Fine, we shall inspect it then. You and your men probably forged wounds on the body."
"Huh, no wonder!" Siao Tieying shook his head. "Gauging the heart of a gentleman with one's own means of measurement. You think we planted fake wounds?"
"This type of inconsequential matter is not worth the Public House's mention." Song Siwen calmly said.
"Very well then, let's have a look. After we're done inspecting it, I hope you'd be able to still stand your ground."
"Lead the way!" Song Siwen stood up.
Everyone walked out of the main hall.
Song Siwen heedlessly said, "That's right you guys wouldn't have sent Chu Li away, would you?"
Siao Tieying replied nonchalantly. "Don't worry. He's fatally injured. He can't leave even if he wanted to. If he was really the murderer, we'll use the Public House's law to punish him. We won't let someone who killed men from the Imperial Household and Public House get away."
As he was talking, his gaze darted across the six faces. The threat directed towards them was very obvious.
He sighed to himself. Chu Li had really big guts. He really did dare to kill the High Official of the Imperial Harem!
The six Imperial Harem's Protectors inspected Zhao Zilai's dead body. They exited the courtyard with grim expressions and stopped in front of Siao Tieying.
"We'll discuss this when we get back," said Siao Tieying as he led the way to the Gaily-Painted Pleasure-Boat.
"Were the wounds on his body caused by flying blades?"
"That's correct. Flying blades caused the wounds. Chu Li uses flying blades, doesn't he?"
"Seems like it's definitely him!" Song Siwen nodded and looked at Siao Tieying.
"Master Siao, we want to meet with Chu Li and ask him face to face so that Master Siao won't keep saying that we wronged him!"
"Very well," Siao Tieying smiled and replied. "Of course there's a need to meet with Chu Li, follow me."
They boarded the Gaily-Painted Pleasure-Boat, and slowly arrived at The East Garden.
Lee Yue was already waiting beside the shore. Spotting the boat, he bowed to the group from a distance. He had a toady smile on his face.
Everyone disembarked from the boat and got ashore to The East Garden.
Siao Tieying asked, "Lee Yue, how's Chu Li?"
Lee Yue's toady smile disappeared and he sighed, "he's not doing very well!"
"Let's go and have a look." Siao Tieying took the lead and walked forward. Linquan hurriedly followed him.
Zhao Qingshan and men, together with Song Siwen and his men, followed Siao Tieying closely behind as they came to the courtyard where Chu Li resided.
As they stepped into the courtyard, a strong herbal odor assaulted their sense of smell. The odor was strong enough to induce a need to cough.
Chu Li was on a couch, basking under the sun in the middle of the courtyard.
His eyes were widened big and he was staring up at the sky. His complexion was as pale as paper and he looked haggard. He looked like a wilted tree dying from a drought. His breathing was barely perceptible.
Siao Tieying laughed secretly in his heart, but forced himself to maintain a stern expression.
"Chu Li, these are Protectors from the Imperial Harem. They are here to investigate the death of High Official Zhao and they have a few questions for you."
Chu Li's somber gaze fell upon Song Siwen and his men. He said apathetically, "if there's anything you'd like to know, ask away."
"You're Chu Li?" Song Siwen went to the front of the couch. He furrowed his brows and looked at Chu Li. "You're injured?"
Chu Li sighed.
Song Siwen asked, "Were you hurt by Brother Zhao?"
Chu Li scoffed softly. "Zhao Zilai?"
Song Siwen spirits were suddenly raised and asked hurriedly. "Do you have any hatred towards Brother Zhao?"
"A deadly one," Chu Li answered coldly.
"Why would you say that? Did you kill Zhao Zilai?" Song Siwen asked again.
Chu Li scoffed, "I'd really love to!"
"Good! It'd better be you!" Song Siwen replied in an instant.
Chu Li cast a sidelong gaze at him. "Can't you understand human language? Do you think I'm capable of killing him?"
"Chu Li, speak properly. Just tell us what happened." Siao Tieying coughed gently and said in a deep tone.
Chu Li lazily looked at Song Siwen. He scoffed and said, "The Imperial Harem's High Official. What kind of joke is it that he conspired against me with the Temple of Tempest? This is what your High Official did!"
"Humph" Song Siwen was startled. He glared at Chu Li and shouted, "Nonsense!"
Chu Li coldly explained, "Nonsense or not, don't you know how to investigate? Go ask the monks from the Temple of Tempest, and then you'll know!"
"You're really cunning!" Song Siwen coldly smiled. Even though what Chu Li said was completely out of his expectations, even to the point of shocking him, he immediately regained his composure.
"If Brother Zhao Zilai intended to kill you, he wouldn't have to go so far. He could just end you with his own hands."
"On his own?" Chu Li's mouth twitched. He continued, disdainfully, "He doesn't have the ability!"
"Such confidence coming from a no-name Innate Master like you!" Song Siwen turned and smiled at Siao Tieying, "Master Siao, your Public House certainly houses a talented one!"
Siao Tieying explained, "Chu Li's Light-body Technique is superior. High Official Zhao can't kill him."
"What a joke!" Song Siwen scoffed.
Siao Tieying continued his explanation.
"If the Temple of Tempest really wanted to kill Chu Li, why would they even need High Official Zhao's help? Chu Li would've been so easy to kill. The Temple of Tempest shouldn't have failed to kill him after sending so many people after him. They were much closer to succeeding this time, too! High Official Zhao really did help a lot!"
"I'd like to examine his injuries." Song Siwen scoffed.
"Go ahead." Siao Tieying said: "That's right, does anyone of you know what caused the fatal injury on High Official Zhao's chest? Protectors of the Imperial Harem should be experienced and knowledgeable enough to recognize and identify it already."
"What about you, Master Siao?"
"I haven't a clue." Siao Tieying shook his head. "I've never seen it before."
"We don't know either." Song Siwen sighed to himself and shook his head.