Chu Li sat near the window on the third floor of Alfresco Inn.
He heard the assistant of the inn coming over to report to him and listened as he was told that the Ren Public House had claimed that their young lady was not willing to see just anyone.
He nodded his head. Lu Yurong was venting her anger on him and trying to destroy his reputation.
He won during every one of their previous exchanges, which Lu Yurong must have found hard to accept. Thus, since she had been given such an opportunity, why wouldn't she take advantage of it?
Although he knew this would happen, there was nothing he could do about it. He was here for peace.
It looked like such an invitation did not work as Lu Yurong was well aware of his intentions but still proceeded to act the way she had. She was emboldened and probably wanted to be the dominant one in this alliance. Or did she really not intend to cooperate at all?
Chu Li gestured for the assistant to leave. After this, he stood on the top floor of the inn with his arms folded behind his back as he stared down at the passersby below.
Green Mountain Town was busier and more lively than Chong Ming Town. Standing above the busy street, he could really feel the city as a living, breathing entity.
The sun was setting in the west, as nightfall slowly blanketed the town. Everyone was hurriedly going about, each with their own matters to attend to.
He sighed and turned to walk into a corner of the inn before disappearing.
The next moment, he appeared at the back garden of the Ren Public House.
"Who are you?" An elegant maid turned her head and suddenly spotted him. Her jaw dropped out as she screamed in fright.
She had never thought that a stranger would enter through the back garden. Normally there was just the young lady and the maids. There were usually no men.
In the sea of perfectly trimmed flowers, nine beautiful maids appeared out of nowhere and encircled him. Their hands were positioned on the hilts of their swords while they glared at him, ready to draw their weapons at any moment.
Chu Li glanced at them and raised his brow.
Each of the nine maids' position was intentional. They were positioned to form the Enchanting Girls Technique, whereby each an every one of them was giving off an indistinctive killing intent.
Thus, although they looked fragile and weak, they harbored a murderous aura. Belittling them right now would be a mistake.
"Chu Li! How dare you!" Lu Yurong stood up and placed her book on the table. Her face tightened as she spurted out coldly.
Chu Li answered, "Miss Lu refused to see me, so I have to come to you instead."
"Looks like you're absolutely set on seeing me." Lu Yurong walked out of the pavilion at a slow pace. She wore a loose, oversized robe that emphasized her petite body and carried herself with poise as she came up to him and examined him from head to toe. Eventually, she nodded. "Your Light-body Technique is indeed as impressive as its reputation!"
"Thank you," Chu Li closed fist saluted. "I came over to discuss something. Is this the way Miss Lu treats her guest?"
The nine maids snorted.
Lu Yurong replied lightly, "And is this is how Chief Chu behaves as a guest?"
Chu Li smiled. "I had no choice this time."
"Nonsense!" Lu Yurong rebutted. "Fine, speak then. What is the matter?"
Chu Li pointed at the maids surrounding him and raised his brow.
Lu Yurong coldly replied, "Speak if you want to, or don't, I don't care. I'm being nice by even letting you speak instead of killing you."
Chu Li sighed. "There's no need to be violent. Everything can be discussed."
"I want to kill you, so let's talk about that." Lu Yurong flashed a grin.
Chu Li responded, "This is an important matter. It's better to speak to you in private."
"The nine of them are my right-hand women. Nothing you want to say can't be said in front of them." Lu Yurong frowned. "Are you going to speak or not?"
Chu Li shook his head and sighed.
In a flash, he appeared in the pavilion and sat down slowly next to the stone table.
"Do you really want to die that bad?" The nine maids were momentarily confused, but seeing that he was able to free himself, they became enraged.
They unsheathed their swords and charged toward the pavilion.
"Let it be, let it be," Lu Yurong waved her arm dismissively. "You're all excused."
"Young lady?" Maid Xiao Xing took one worried glance at Chu Li.
They had always looked down on Chu Li. He wasn't a Grandmaster and was not a threat to the young lady. However, after witnessing his Light-body Technique, they sensed danger. He could genuinely hurt the young lady.
Lu Yurong knew what they were thinking and remarked, "He can't hurt me. You're excused."
"...Yes." Thus, the nine maids disappeared from the sea of flowers back into the woods.
Lu Yurong's long robe fluttered as she walked over and sat opposite Chu Li. "So what's the matter?"
Chu Li answered, "King An is after the throne. Are you aware of this, Miss Lu?"
"And you've only just realized this?" Lu Yurong smiled coldly.
Chu Li muttered in a low voice, "There's enmity between you and King An, right?"
Lu Yurong shook her head "Says who? I have no ties with him, no enmity whatsoever."
Chu Li smiled. "I know that you have once exchanged blows with him, after which Miss Lu had heavily wounded King An. Impressive!"
Lu Yurong stared at him from head to toe with an icy cold gaze. "It seems like my defeat was not unjust. You know me well."
Chu Li responded, "I had to. King An has yet to heal from his wounds. He was hit by a highly skilled heart technique. Miss Lu is an unknown master and has hidden herself from the rest of the world. However, King An is by no means forgiving."
Lu Yurong replied, "I am not afraid of whatever revenge he is plotting. Are you suggesting we team up?"
Chu Li explained, "King An has been unhappy with all the High Duke's Public Houses for a long time now. Once he becomes emperor, he will be the first to go after the High Duke's Public Houses, thus eliminating all of them!"
"How sensational! Please tell me, where did you get your sources from?" Lu Yurong wasn't bothered in the slightest when she heard this.
Chu Li replied, "Let's not talk about whether my information is true or not. Let's talk about him taking over the throne. He will become an Enlightened Master, after which..."
Lu Yurong snickered. "Him taking over the throne? Dream on!"
Chu Li added, "As far as I'm concerned, the forces he has gathered are strong - Green Hill, Feng Huang Hill, Titanium Temple. I'm sure there are a few other martial art sects as well."
Lu Yurong flung her arms out in annoyance. "These influences are considered strong? They can't determine who becomes the emperor. Only His Majesty can! No matter how strong his forces are, it means nothing in front of His Majesty!"
"How can Miss Lu be so sure that His Majesty will not entrust him with the throne?"
Lu Yurong smiled coldly. "If that was the plan, then he wouldn't need an army in the first place. He wants to be emperor through force and pure ruthlessness? How absurd!"
Chu Li smiled. "Oh? I heard that His Majesty's character is quite similar to King An's though."
Lu Yurong frowned as she looked at him.
Chu Li shook his head. "Knowing well enough he can't, yet still trying anyway. A steadfast and persevering personality, aren't these assets to an ambitious person? King An is ruthless and cold-hearted. He disregards human life. He is not a good person but will be a good emperor. I cannot think of why His Majesty wouldn't choose him."
Lu Yurong's face darkened.
Chu Li continued, "Miss Lu must realize that His Majesty would first consider the nature of a person when choosing a successor in order to avoid future retaliation against him. However, His Majesty is an Enlightened Master, so what is there for him to be afraid of? Since there is nothing to be afraid of, there is only one criterion for his selection whether or not the candidate will help the Leng empire. Unmoved by the Ji Dynasty's first beauty, reaping benefits by hook or by crook. Wouldn't this type of person be suitable to become emperor?"
Lu Yurong's thin brow raised as she pondered.
She had been startled by Chu Li's statement.
Earlier, she was going to stand on the sidelines and watch them fight because she was sure that King An would never succeed the throne. Thus, no matter much he tried or how much blood was shed, it would all be in vain.
However, after hearing Chu Li's words, she suddenly realized that she had been too careless.
If there was even the slightest chance that he would succeed, then she could not allow King An to try.
Chu Li continued, "All the Houses have grudges against each other. However, none of those petty grudges are enough to affect our foundations and shake the existence of the High Duke's Public Houses. This is not the case with King An. Once he gains control, with or without the throne, the High Duke's Public Houses will be in grave danger. With his current influence, one blow with all his might will be enough to vanquish any one of the Houses. Not to mention, if he really does so, would His Majesty be angry enough to kill him?"