Chapter 470: Unexpected Betrayal

“Qingshu, no matter how skilled you are in martial arts, can one person withstand all the heroes of this world?” 

Seeing both sides temporarily deadlocked, Zhang Songxi was worried that the heroes might act impulsively and charge in. He quickly appeared to stabilize the situation, especially when members of the Wudang faction stepped forward. Even if someone intended to act, they would have to consider the status of Wudang.

“Qingshu, if you are innocent, why not let everyone inspect the cave to clear your name?” Yin Liting chimed in.

In fact, a year ago, neither he nor Zhang Songxi would have suspected that Song Qingshu would do such a thing. After all, Song Qingshu had mistakenly killed Mo Shenggu due to peeping on Emei sect female disciples.

But after Song Qingshu’s attempt on Kangxi’s life, the world was astonished. Even Zhang Sanfeng admitted he had misunderstood Qingshu. The three of them had already regarded Song Qingshu as a member of Wudang again and were unwilling to believe he would risk everything for Huang Rong, especially since the situation seemed suspicious. So the two decided to secretly help Song Qingshu.

Song Qingshu smiled bitterly, “Fourth Uncle, Sixth Uncle, it’s not that I’m unwilling to let everyone inspect, but because…”

“Because why?” Xuancheng’s gaze was sharp. He had suffered losses at Song Qingshu’s hands several times, but he never believed it was due to the other’s superior martial arts, rather his cunning. If not for Wudang’s reputation, he would have challenged him openly to settle the score.

“Because I was just… engaged in intimate affairs with the lady inside. Her clothes are in disarray, making it inconvenient to be seen by everyone,” Song Qingshu answered sincerely.

‘Who’s your lady? Who did that with you?’ Hidden in the cave, Huang Rong spat out secretly. Seeing him lie so naturally with his eyes wide open made her secretly impressed, though she worried if someone really barged in, wouldn’t this statement confirm something untoward had happened between them? Anxiety crept into Huang Rong’s heart.

“In any case, you have to let us inspect inside. You can’t fabricate whatever story you want,” Qiu Chuji, helped up by his disciple, looked pale, obviously suffering from internal injuries.

“According to what Master Song said, it’s indeed not suitable for men to enter the cave. However, if women were to inspect, it shouldn’t be an issue,” Zhao Min was very curious about who the woman inside the cave was. Although she assumed it was likely Huang Rong, she wanted to confirm it personally due to her gossip-driven curiosity.

With this suggestion, everyone nodded. The cave entrance was narrow, and with Song Qingshu guarding it, it would be difficult for anyone else to enter. Zhao Min’s proposal was reasonable, and Song Qingshu naturally had no reason to refuse.

“Well…” Song Qingshu hesitated.

“Do you have something to hide that prevents you from allowing an inspection?” Xuancheng mocked.

Song Qingshu smirked coldly, “Senior Monk, you seem full of desire, are you also eager to see women inside the cave, breaking your vow of celibacy?”

“You brat, watch your mouth!” Xuancheng was furious, but knowing that the person inside was likely a woman, insisting on searching would only confirm Song Qingshu’s accusations. He had to suppress his anger and wait for the truth to come out, then deal with this villain.

Song Qingshu shifted his gaze across the crowd, then spoke loudly, “I value my reputation, and I cannot allow Lady Huang to be wronged by my selfishness. Therefore, send three women to verify if the person inside is Lady Huang.”

Huang Rong inside the cave felt ashamed and anxious, hearing Song Qingshu’s bold words. How would everyone react when they saw her?

“Why only three?” The heroes in the crowd exploded with questions.

“Hmph, I’m considering Lady Huang’s innocence to allow this inspection. But my privacy should not be invaded further. Don’t overstep your bounds!” Song Qingshu huffed, emanating an unparalleled aura, causing everyone to be wary.

Zhang Songxi and Yin Liting quickly stepped forward to mediate. Upon reflection, three women were sufficient to identify the person inside, without getting tangled in the details.

The selection of these three women, however, became a challenge. 

Guo Fu was certain, being Huang Rong’s daughter. Zhao Min was a suitable candidate due to her Mongolian background, having no allegiance to Song Qingshu. The only concern was her potential to slander Huang Rong. Yet, with two other women present, her falsehoods would not be credible.

The final selection remained uncertain. Most attendees were from reputable martial sects, with few women present. Ideally, Emei’s head, Zhou Zhiruo, would be the best choice. However, being Song Qingshu’s wife complicated matters. Other potential candidates either lacked prestige or had questionable reputations. 

As discussions stalled, a clear, cold female voice emerged from the crowd, “I’ll go.”

Everyone turned to see a woman in plain clothing, slightly tired but still beautiful—Xia Qingqing, widow of the former leader of the Golden Serpent Camp.

The people nodded; Xia Qingqing’s authority as the current leader made her a suitable representative. Additionally, she had no known connection to Song Qingshu.

Seeing everyone agree, Song Qingshu chuckled inwardly. If they knew his relationship with Xia Qingqing, they’d be furious.

Among the three, Xia Qingqing was an ally. When they discovered Huang Rong, she wouldn’t expose everything in front of everyone. He could explain things to her later. 

Guo Fu, straightforward and stubborn, would succumb to the Soul Catching Technique. 

As for Zhao Min, her intentions remained uncertain; they’d have to adapt to the situation.

Concerned for Huang Rong’s safety, Guo Fu hurried, glaring at Song Qingshu as she passed. His eerie, black eyes bewildered her, leading her to hastily divert her gaze, pondering the strange encounter.

Huang Rong, anticipating the worst, saw Guo Fu’s arrival with dread, only to find her silence perplexing. Curious, she opened her eyes to see Guo Fu staring at her, equally baffled.

Guo Fu shared Huang Rong’s confusion; despite familiarity, she couldn’t identify her. Reassured, she happily left the cave.

As Xia Qingqing entered, her gaze met Huang Rong’s. She was shocked at first, then she concealed her emotions and spoke in a voice only Song Qingshu could hear: 

“Expect retribution upon your return.”

Unintentionally, Zhao Min was the last to approach, smiling faintly. She passed Song Qingshu without a word, making a beeline for the cave. Upon seeing the alluring woman nestled in the hay, her smile widened.

As each woman exited, the people outside eagerly inquired:

“How was it?”

“Who’s inside?”

“Is it Leader Huang?”

Learning her mother was unharmed, Guo Fu beamed, “My mother’s not inside.”

Xia Qingqing nodded, “The girl inside is Young Master Song’s confidante. I recognize her but cannot disclose her name.”

Their unified response brought relief and disappointment to various factions, either favoring Song Qingshu or Huang Rong, none wishing for a scandal.

Others visibly despaired, regretting missed opportunities to witness a sensational scandal firsthand.

Meanwhile, Zhao Min approached the cave entrance, hands clasped behind her back. 

Sensing the crowd’s attention on Guo Fu and Xia Qingqing, Song Qingshu leaned in, “Let’s negotiate.”

Zhao Min smiled knowingly, “I expected as much. Let’s finish here. Accompany me to Blackwood Cliff.”

“Agreed!” Song Qingshu replied without hesitation.

“Why didn’t you use the Soul Catching Technique on me earlier?” Zhao Min maintained her smile. Since their last encounter, she’d familiarized herself with his abilities, bolstered by the formidable information network of the Prince Ruyang’s Palace, she was aware that he practiced the Nine Yin Scripture, which included the Soul Catching Technique.

“Because you’re clever…” Song Qingshu acknowledged. Zhao Min cared little for right and wrong, focusing on maximizing her benefit. Revealing Huang Rong’s identity held no advantage, so she should keep silent.

“Thank you,” Zhao Min blinked, “Or was there another reason? Perhaps, friendship?”

Song Qingshu hesitated before nodding subtly.

“What were you whispering about?” A sudden roar interrupted—Xuancheng was dissatisfied with the outcome, suspecting collusion between them.

“Why so fierce, Grand Monk? Have you forgotten our previous lesson?” Zhao Min smirked, triggering the Prince Ruyang’s Palace elites’ alertness.

Xuancheng hesitated, cautious of the experts before him. Although he considered joining forces with Xu Zhu, tomorrow’s challenges required restraint, so he suppressed his anger.

“Princess, what did you see?” Although a Khitan, Xiao Feng harbored deep affection for Han people, hoping to avoid conflict.

“Perhaps my answer won’t please you, King Xiao,” Zhao Min’s words alarmed the perceptive.

“Please, Princess, speak plainly.” Despite his shock, Xiao Feng’s tone remained steady.

Smiling, Zhao Min glanced back at Song Qingshu before clarifying loudly, “Inside is a stunning beauty, a rare woman on earth. Since arriving, I’ve only seen Lady Huang possess such grace. Believe it is her.”

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