Chapter 28 – Upheaval (7)
“Xiao Che! What do you mean by that?” The First Elder Xiao Li suddenly bellowed: “Don’t tell me you’re implying that Clan Master had stolen the Profound Opening Powder from himself, and then shifted the blame to Xiao Lingxi! You’re the reason why Xiao Lingxi had stolen the Profound Opening Powder. If you keep blabbering such nonsense, be careful or else even you will get punished together if you don’t step down!”
“Don’t be agitated, First Elder.” Xiao Che shook his head as he laughed, appearing harmless: “Where would I get the courage to even dare question Clan Master, I’m just voicing out the suspicions in my heart, and I believe, that most of us here have the same question too. Many of us here understand Clan Master’s nature and must be puzzled as to why Clan Master had handled the situation that way. Of course Clan Master is innocent. He couldn’t have done this kind of low and dirty thing that even the world would despise. I’m sure Clan Master will give a perfect explanation. Am I right, Clan Master.”
(TL: “low and dirty” was interpreted from Chinese idiom that literally meant “worse than pigs and dogs”)
The people of Xiao Clan and the nobles of Floating Cloud City all stared at him surreptitiously… The Xiao Che they knew was a weak and timid person, someone who was terrified of even coming into contact with outsiders. However, not only was he able to be speak frankly under the watchful eyes of the crowd in this tense atmosphere and situation, his expression did not even change when the First Elder had shouted at him… This Xiao Che and the Xiao Che they knew seemed to be two fundamentally different people.
“Low and dirty that even the world would despise” These few words caused Xiao Yunhai’s face to cramp momentarily. He raised his head to look at Xiao Che, faintly smiled and said: “There’s no need to get agitated First Elder, it’s normal for Xiao Che to question this way and just like he said, many of our friends here should have the same question as well. Actually, when I received the Profound Opening Powder from Young Master Xiao yesterday, I indeed had prepared to keep it by my side. However, the Profound Opening Powder is a high grade medicine from the Xiao Sect that’s also extremely precious. The higher the grade of the medicine, the easier it is for the effects to dissipate. In the case of this treasure elixir, even if the effect was to dissipate by a bit, it would still be a great loss. If I were to carry it with me, it will often come into contact with impure vital energy so even though it is protected by the Black Profound Ebony box, its effects will still dissipate easily. That’s the reason why I placed it inside the infirmary. After all, in the infirmary, a numerous variety of herbs have been gathered over the years, resulting in plenty of ‘medicinal energy. In places with ample ‘medicinal energy’, the elixir’s energy will not dissipate that easily… That is the reason.”
“Another reason is that we of the Xiao Clan have always been serious about abiding to the law. I never would have expected a ‘domestic thief’ to appear, or even think that she would have the audacity to steal the important gift the Xiao Sect had brought… But no matter the reason, it is nonetheless my fault that the Profound Opening Powder was stolen. In regards to this, I can’t escape that responsibility. I won’t complain if Young Master Xiao also demands my punishment.”
Xiao Yunhai sighed heavily after he finished speaking.
Xiao Yunhai explanation was completely perfect. The First Elder suddenly yelled once more: “Xiao Che! Did you hear that clearly? Clan Master had left the Profound Opening Powder in the infirmary was because of this meticulous reason and wanted to protect the Profound Opening Powder’s potency! Who would have thought a house thief would appear! What else do you have to say?”
“Oh, oh! So that’s it!” Xiao Che nodded his head, as if he was pleased with Xiao Yunhai explanation: “To even know the existence of ‘medicinal energy’, Clan Master sure is knowledgeable. Then, the second question that I wanted to ask is coincidentally related with this ‘medicinal energy’.”
Xiao Che narrowed his eyes and faintly laughed as he continued: “Regarding ‘medicinal energy’, our Xiao Clan’s infirmary has accumulated a variety of herbs over the years and they are indeed ample. Furthermore, the highest quantity herb we have in our infirmary is the “Thin Net Grass”, so the medicinal energy’s odor should be a sweet fishy one belonging to that of the ‘Thin Net Grass’.”
“Clan Master also knows that the box containing the Profound Opening Powder is made from the Black Profound Ebony and Black Profound Ebony is very good at protecting the effects of elixirs from dissipating to the surrounding, then does Clan Master know the reason why Black Profound Ebony can protect the effects of elixirs… Well, in fact, the reason is pretty simple. Black Profound Ebony has a very strong particle absorption ability, so when the medicinal force in its surroundings come into contact with the Black Profound Ebony, they will get firmly absorbed and will be difficult to diffuse. After the surface has absorbed enough until full capacity, the medicinal force still would be unable to scatter even if it wanted to. I believe that anyone here with a bit of medical knowledge should understand this theory.”
Quite a number of people present nodded their heads silently.
“Then, if the Black Profound Ebony Box that contained the Profound Opening Powder had been placed in the infirmary for a certain period of time, its surface surely would have absorbed a large quantity of ‘medicinal energy’ when inside the infirmary. According to the nature of Black Profound Ebony, it absorbs fast but diffuses slowly, so even if it was removed from the infirmary, you should still be able to smell the ‘medicinal energy’ even after two to three days… the sweet fishy smell of the Thin Net Grass…”
Once these words were said, Xiao Yunhai complexion immediately changed slightly.
Xiao Che had calculated accurately that Xiao Yunhai would not really have placed the Profound Opening Powder in the infirmary because if the Profound Opening Powder had really been stolen, he would have cried his eyes out… And Xiao Yunhai indeed did not place the Profound Opening Powder in the infirmary. As for the infirmary doctor, Xiao Gu, he had already been informed about this beforehand, and under the Xiao Sect’s deterrence, Xiao Gu did not dare to refuse.
“I wonder if Clan Master dares to bring the box over, and let us smell to check whether or not the odor that should be there, is actually on the box?” Xiao Che said as he chuckled.
“Xiao Che! As expected, you’re still suspecting Clan Master, simply preposterous!” Before Xiao Yunhai said anything, Xiao Li once again erupted agitatedly: “In order to protect your little aunt, you are actually going to forcefully question Clan Master, simply ridiculous! Unreasonable! Our Xiao Clan had totally raised you in vain all these years, why haven’t you withdrawn!!”
“Hehe, there’s no need to be agitated, First Elder. Their aunt and nephew relationship has always been close, his attempt to exculpate at all cost is understandable. Furthermore, what he said is also reasonable and fair. Since he wants to know if there are any problems with this box, we shall just prove it to him. But, both the Profound Opening Powder and Black Profound Wood are precious treasures, how could we let anyone touch it as they please.” Xiao Yunhai turned to face Xiao Kuangyun after he had finished speaking and respectfully continued: “Then, can we please trouble Young Master Xiao to be a witness. I believe that if it’s Young Master Xiao, his word will convince the masses more than anyone else present today.
Xiao Che secretly sneered but his expression did not change, and nodding slightly: “Of course, if its Young Master Xiao, he will be the most trustworthy. Can Young Master Xiao please do us the honor of smelling the odor on the box, to clear the doubts in my heart.”
Xiao Kuangyun and Xiao Yunhai’s gaze met. At the same time, they both thought that it was impossible for the dumb Xiao Che to realize that they had been cooperating from the very start. Xiao Kuangyun held up the box in his hand, smiled disdainfully, and casually replied: “This suspicion is quite interesting. That being the case, I shall smell it on your behalf.”
After he said that, Xiao Kuangyun lifted up the box that contained the Profound Opening Powder, brought it to his nose, and started to earnestly smell it. He then knitted his eyebrows and spoke: “Even though the smell is not strong, there indeed is a sweet yet fishy smell.”
He narrowed his eyes and indifferently said: “Come over and smell it as well First Elder, to avoid other people suspecting that I am collaborating with the Xiao Clan Master.”
“How could it be possible that someone of Young Master Xiao’s status would bother to lie to us.” First Elder Xiao Li immediately flattered as he walked over obediently and strongly sniffed. He then nodded his head: “That’s right, it does indeed have a sweet but fishy smell.” He glared across the room and raised his voice: “What else do you have to say, Xiao Che? Young Master Xiao and Clan Master have already given you a heaven’s amount of face, if you continue to pester endlessly, I will personally chase you down.”
“Whoa! Calm down First Elder.” Xiao Che waved his hands up and down as his expression became strange: “Both Young Master Xiao and First Elder unexpectedly smelled a sweet fishy smell, this this this… *Cough cough* Actually, I was not careful just now and had misspoken… Young Master Xiao being of the noble status, surely only come into contact with the highest grade of elixirs. As for the common herbs like that of the Thin Net Grass, you surely would not bother to take a second look. Clan Master and First Elder wholeheartedly dedicate themselves to training and does not dabble in medical knowledge, and therefore naturally has no time to visit the infirmary, so you might not know that the odor of the Thin Net Grass is actually not a sweet fishy smell, but a sweet bitter smell. Any one of you know that if you go in the infirmary and take a sniff… eh? Yet both Young Master Xiao and First Elder had smelled a sweet fishy smell, this makes me unable to understand. I wonder if anyone here can do me a favor to explain this for me?”
Once those words were said, everyone’s expressions had changed, becoming incomparably brilliant, while on the other hand, Xiao Kuangyun, Xiao Yunhai, and First Elder Xiao Li’s expressions instantly became rigid… Although it was only for a moment, many people clearly saw that change. Meanwhile, the Xiao Clan disciples who often frequent the infirmary, were familiar with the smell of the Thin Net Grass and burst into stares…
Numerous people’s hearts began to pump violently…
They began to scent an atmosphere, different from before…
“Xiao Che! You still don’t want to shut your mouth, brat… Not only did you try to shield Xiao Lingxi in vain, you still went as far to question Clan Master, to question Young Master Xiao! I see you are deliberately playing with us, and continuing to babble nonsense!” Xiao Li face ashened and revealed an ominous glint in his eyes: “Young Master Xiao, Clan Master, don’t listen to his nonsense anymore! Since the truth of the stolen Profound Opening Powder matter is already out, we need not waste any more time. Xiao Che, this brat, not only caused all this mess, he still tried to shield the culprit and offended Clan Master and Young Master Xiao. He ought to be penalized!!”
As long as one was not deaf, one could clearly hear that Xiao Li’s words contained a hint of humiliation in his rage. As for the topic of “smelling wrong”, he had completely avoided the issue and didn’t even give out a word of explanation.
“Since Elder Xiao does not want to hear my nonsense, then I shall cut to the chase. As for my last question, I want to ask this friend call Xiao Jiu from the Xiao Sect. This should be an extremely simple question and I expect you to answer it. If you are able to answer it, then I will admit that my little aunt had indeed stolen the Profound Opening Powder and I won’t utter a single word of complaint. Even if you want to punish my little aunt, or even punish me together as well!”
Without waiting for Xiao Yunhai and the rest to respond, Xiao Che’s gaze had landed on the corpse-like face of Xiao Jiu. His expression remained bland but his eyes had become incomparably sharp, each word sounded like a small gong: “Xiao Jiu, you say that the Profound Opening Powder was found under the pillow of my little aunt’s room. Then, can you tell me whether the bed in my little aunt room is facing east or west? What is the color of the pillow? And if the pillow was placed on the southern end or the northern end of the bed?”
Xiao Jiu’s expression instantly stiffened while Xiao Kuangyun and Xiao Yunhai’s expressions all of a sudden became incomparably unsightly.
“If you did go into my little aunt’s room and found the Profound Opening Powder under her pillow, then those questions should be extremely simple to you… Come, tell me your answer, you just need to say out, my little aunt and I will immediately plead guilty without a second word. Yes, I guess you, Young Master Xiao, Clan Master and all the elders here want to settle this case quickly and start the main business for today, am I right? Then you should quickly tell us. It would be bad to delay your master and everyone’s time here… Say it? Say it… what? Why aren’t you answering me? Didn’t you clearly go into my little aunt’s room? Why can’t you even answer such a simple question?”
“Don’t tell me… you never even went into my little aunt’s room in the first place? But you claimed that the Profound Opening Powder is found under my little aunt’s pillow… How did that come about? Could it be that you know the legendary Thousand Mile Chicken Snatching skill?”
(TL: Mile still refers to the Chinese mile, li, which is still half a kilometer.)