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MCAB - Chapter 50

The city they arrived in was a small one, and its name was Gui City.

After morning arrived and the city gates opened, Jun Zishu, Shen Zheyan, and Wei Zinan entered the city. However, instead of looking for the suspicious man from last night, they first went to look for an inn to stay at.

While walking through town, the trio carefully observed their surroundings.

Based on their observations, it would seem that martial artists frequently visited Gui City. Even when the average citizen in the city saw Shen Zheyan's sword, they did not offer much of a reaction. At most, the passersby would take a few extra glances at Jun Zishu.

Jun Zishu didn't pay any attention to the stares she was receiving. She felt that this city was no different from any other. The residents here looked peaceful, and none of them showed signs of anxiety or fear.

Like Jun Zishu, Shen Zheyan also realized that last night's incident wasn't an isolated case. In other words, there should be more than one person murdered. Yet, the normal expressions of Gui City's residents made it seem as if such a thing had happened. This was strange no matter how Shen Zheyan looked at it. After all, Gui City wasn't a big city. People were bound to know if a few people had gone missing.

After asking around for directions, the three arrived at the city's largest inn. Though, while it might be the city's largest inn, it would still be an insignificant establishment compared to the inns in Jinling City.

Shen Zheyan asked for three rooms. As there were more than enough rooms available this time, Jun Zishu did not have to share a room with Shen Zheyan, so she couldn't help but feel a little melancholic over the situation.

"Innkeeper, the total doesn't seem right," Wei Zinan said when he saw the change the innkeeper returned.

"Beauties get half off here. Inn rules. As for you, full price," the innkeeper replied with a smile.

The innkeeper was a young man with a refined temperament. While fiddling with his abacus, he even gave Jun Zishu a wink. Jun Zishu responded with a smile on her own, and she couldn't help but find the innkeeper to be an interesting person.

"Is that so?"

This was the first time Wei Zinan had heard of any inn having such a rule before.

"That is so."

"Thank you, innkeeper," Jun Zishu said to the innkeeper and accepted the plaques he offered. Then, she turned to Shen Zheyan Zishu and continued, "Let's go upstairs."

As Jun Zishu held the plaques for the rooms, she made sure to place herself next to Shen Zheyan's room.

However, before returning to their respective rooms, they first gathered in Shen Zheyan's room to discuss their subsequent actions.

"We'll first ask around for information. That man yesterday said something along the lines of 'not to blame him, blame the master instead.' So, it's safe to assume that the mastermind should be someone of high status in this city," Shen Zheyan analyzed, to which the other two nodded in agreement. "We'll split up and look into the influential individuals in this city. It doesn't matter if their reputation is good or bad. Also, ask if anyone has gone missing from the city. Try to get as much information as possible without alerting the mastermind."

"Okay."

Jun Zishu decided to randomly stroll around the city, the red dress she wore making her stick out like a sore thumb.

After walking for some time, Jun Zishu sat down in front of a dumpling stall and ordered a bowl of dumplings.

When the middle-aged woman manning the stall saw that her latest customer was a pretty lady, she took out a rag and cleaned the bowl in front of Jun Zishu. After doing so, she also wiped the table in front of Jun Zishu.

"You seem like a new face, young lady. Are you a foreigner?"

"Mhm, mhm."

"Did you come from Jinling? Are you planning to head to Weishui?" the middle-aged woman asked while placing some partially cooked dumplings into a pot of boiling water.

"How did you know, Madam?" Jun Zishu asked, pretending to be surprised.

"It's because there are many other foreigners like you. They stop in our Gui City as they head to either Jinling or Weishui. Although my dumpling stall looks plain, I get many customers every day."

A minute later, the middle-aged woman scooped up the dumplings and placed them into the white bowl in front of Jun Zishu. The dumplings were brimming with meat and green onions, making them look very appetizing.

"Are you a local here, Madam?"

"That's right. I've been living here my entire life."

"Ohh."

Jun Zishu scooped up a dumpling with her spoon and blew on it. Then, she carefully bit half of it.

"How's the taste?"

"It's delicious."

Jun Zishu gave the middle-aged woman a thumbs-up.

"You bet it! I've been running my stall for over a decade now, and everyone says my dumplings are delicious! Many foreigners even come back just to eat them!" the middle-aged woman said proudly.

Jun Zishu smiled and nodded. Then, she continued eating the dumplings bite after bite.

"By the way, Madam, can I ask you something? Are there any fun places here?"

"Fun? You're out of luck. There's nothing fun to do here. Gui City is quite small; you can probably walk around the entire city in half a day. Most people who come here tend to stay for only a day or two before setting off again. So, even though you see many people here, there aren't many who are actual residents. Everyone living in this city probably knows each other," the middle-aged woman said, revealing plenty of the information that Jun Zishu was looking for.

"Is that so. I was even planning on staying here for a few days."

"You're planning to stay for a few days, young lady? Don't say that I didn't warn you, but there's nothing interesting to see here. You'd be better off traveling to Weishui City sooner."

"That sucks. But I need to wait for someone here, so I have to stay. There shouldn't be any bad guys here, right?" Jun Zishu asked, putting on a frightened face.

The middle-aged woman laughed when she saw Jun Zishu's expression. Then, she heartily said, "You can rest your worries, young lady. There are no bad people in Gui City. Security here is excellent as well."

"Is that so?"

"That's right," the middle-aged woman affirmed. She felt that Jun Zishu was overly anxious.

After finishing her dumplings, Jun Zishu paid the bill and left the stall.

According to the middle-aged woman, although Gui City had high foot traffic, only a small number were actual residents. Moreover, the woman had said that all of the residents were more or less acquainted with each other and that security here was excellent. If the woman was telling the truth, it meant that the corpses buried in the forest weren't residents of Gui City. Instead, they should be the travelers staying in Gui City.

As Gui City was akin to a transfer station between Jinling City and Weishui City, many people traveled through the city every day. Peddlers, merchants, wandering martial artists, scholars hurrying for exams, poor people, rich people...all sorts of people would travel through Gui City. So, even if one or two of these people disappeared, nobody would notice.

Jun Zishu walked as she pondered. In her absent-minded state, she suddenly felt someone bumping into her.

[Host, a child stole your money.]

I noticed. The security here truly is excellent.

Immediately, Jun Zishu turned around to chase after the pickpocket. With Little Fairy keeping track of the little thief, Jun Zishu wasn't afraid of losing track of the other party.

After exiting the busy street, Jun Zishu arrived at the back of a house. According to Little Fairy, the little pickpocket was inside the house.

Jun Zishu stopped to ponder whether she should enter.

After thinking for several seconds, Jun Zishu agilely jumped into the backyard and snuck up to the house. Then, she held her breath and placed her ear close to a window.

There were two people inside the house, and they were currently talking to each other.

"Are you sure it's a pretty lady, Xiao Shitou?"

The sound of a young man's surprised voice came from inside.

"I swear she's a very pretty lady. I've watched her for a very long time. She wears a red dress and looks incredibly beautiful. You'll definitely like her."

"You've finally done something good for once. Give me the money."

"Here."

"Where is she now?"

"I pickpocketed her near the alley's entrance. She should be nearby if she notices that her purse is missing."

"Okay." Meng Lingxiao nodded and opened the door with Jun Zishu's purse in hand, only to come face to face with Jun Zishu. After a brief pause, he called out, "Xiao Shitou."

"What is it? I still haven't eaten."

A young boy's grumbling voice came from inside the house.

"Did you say this purse's owner is a pretty girl wearing a red dress?"

"That's right."

"Does she have snowy-white skin and a hairpin on her head? Also, does she have a mole at the corner of her eye?"

"Maybe? I didn't look that closely."

"Come out for a moment." Meng Lingxiao gulped as he called Xiao Shitou out of the house. Then, after seeing Xiao Shitou walk up to his side, he asked, "Is it her?"

"That's right, that's right, it's—"

Xiao Shitou suddenly realized what the problem was and stumbled backward in shock. Then, he timidly hid behind Meng Lingxiao.

The atmosphere instantly turned awkward as Meng Lingxiao looked at Jun Zishu's artificial smile. Then, he raised the purse in his hand and said, "That… Xiao Shitou is still a kid and can be a little mischievous at times… I just taught him a lesson and was about to return it to you…"

Meng Lingxiao awkwardly smiled and handed the purse back to Jun Zishu. While doing so, he couldn't help but let his eyes wander around Jun Zishu's body. Sure enough, just like Xiao Shitou said, the girl in front of him was indeed a beauty.

"I heard everything you two said just now," Jun Zishu stated, exposing Meng Lingxiao's lie.

This whole situation was probably a scheme Meng Lingxiao had come up with to pick up girls. First, he would have Xiao Shitou pickpocket his target. Then, he would return the purse Xiao Shitou stole to its owner and use the opportunity to flirt with the other party. With Meng Lingxiao's handsome appearance combined with that kind of scenario, Jun Zishu felt that there was an 80% chance that the girls Meng Lingxiao targeted would fall for his ploy. Of course, Jun Zishu was an exception.

"Hahaha, it's all a misunderstanding! A misunderstanding!" Meng Lingxiao said, scratching his head. He had no idea what he should say to get out of this predicament.

"How did you find us?" Xiao Shitou asked. It looked like he had just seen a ghost when he looked at Jun Zishu. He had slipped out of the street very quickly. Moreover, the alleyway he ran into was filled with twists and turns. Someone unfamiliar with the area wouldn't be able to reach this place at all. Xiao Shitou could confidently say that Jun Zishu was the first person he had seen accomplishing such a feat.

"I followed you here," Jun Zishu nonchalantly replied. In reality, though, it was all thanks to Little Fairy GPS's efforts.

"I'm sorry, Miss. It really is a misunderstanding. It'll be difficult to explain, so I'd rather not explain. If you have no other business with us, we'll be taking our leave now. May we meet again if fate lets us," Meng Lingxiao quickly said before grabbing Xiao Shitou's hand and turning around to run away. He could tell that the girl before him was a skilled martial artist. He would only be asking for a beating if he chose to stay.

"Wait a moment; I still have business with you," Jun Zishu said.

"Please speak, Miss," Meng Lingxiao said, forcing himself to act normally as he turned around to face Jun Zishu.

"I want to ask you two about something.'

"Feel free to ask away. I know almost everything there is to know in Gui City. What do you wish to hear, Miss?" Meng Lingxiao confidently said as he patted himself on the chest.

"Do you know if there have been any people missing from the city?"

"Missing people? No, I've never heard of anything like that."

Meng Lingxiao shook his head and waved his hand. Xiao Shitou, however, looked like he had something to say but hesitated to speak.

"Do you really not know anything?"

"I don't know. Our city is a very safe place. How could anyone go missing here?"

"By missing, are you talking about people suddenly disappearing?" Xiao Shitou asked.

"Yes. Do you know something?"

Jun Zishu crouched down and looked at Xiao Shitou.

"I don't know the exact date, but many days ago, when I was returning from an errand at night, I saw someone walking into the bamboo forest. Then, that person never came back out. I got curious and ran in to take a look, but I never found anyone inside. That person disappeared, just like that," Xiao Shitou said as he tried to recall his memories.

Hearing Xiao Shitou's words, Meng Lingxiao gave the boy a tap on the head and asked, "Why didn't you tell me about that?"

"I thought I saw a ghost! You'll definitely laugh at me if I told you that I saw a ghost!"

Hellscythe's Notes:

MCAB's first patreon goal (150$) has been met! So, expect to see two chapters released on Sundays from now on!

If you would like to read ahead and help increase release rates for MCAB, please consider subscribing to my patreon!

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Other novels I translate on Hosted Novel:
Pantsu Hero Alice (PHA)
Reincarnation of the Strongest Sword God (Side Stories)
After Being Bent By Reader (ABBR)(GL)
Written by 小吾君 Xiao Wu Jun. Translated by Hellscythe. Edited by Grammarly.