“Bandits?” The people of the town seemed quite surprised to be asked something like this. “The bandits actually never bothered us that much. They normally just attack the villages. I do think they keep more to the ones in the west though.”
This kind of answer was no surprise. The Yun Zou Sect and the capital of the Long kingdom were both to the east. Naturally, the bandits would rather keep away from these two places. Even though the Yun Zou Sect had seldom gotten involved in matters of the secular world, the capital city was different.
If the public was angered too much because of these bandits, then they would need to dispatch soldiers to deal with the matter. But finding bandits that were hiding in a mountain range that they knew better than the soldiers wasn’t an easy task at all. Naturally, the capital wouldn’t bother about it as long as they didn’t need to.
Unfortunately, this didn’t tell Qiguan Cheng Da and Yu Jin much about where to go and look for the bandits. With Yu Jin not talking, Qiguan Cheng Da could only grit his teeth and continue down the road, asking more and more people. He couldn’t help but give Yu Jin an angry look. Even though he wanted to make a good impression on this person, he also didn’t like this task and he certainly didn’t want to do it alone. Unfortunately, this Yu Jin wasn’t even part of the sect. He could hardly demand him to do anything.
In the end, Qiguan Cheng Da had to do everything by himself but still couldn’t come up with any results. He had asked all the people out on the streets and had even gone to one of the inns to inquire for more information. Nobody had been able to tell him more than what they already knew: The bandits were active somewhere in the Long mountain range, they were more often sighted in the villages to the west and if anyone ever came to check in the cities to make sure things didn’t go overboard, then the bandits wouldn’t appear. What was he supposed to do with this?
He could only return to report to Wu Min Huan who, in turn, sighed dejectedly.
“I feared as much. That old woman didn’t know anything else either. She’s only going on about how her grandson must’ve been kidnapped by the demonic practitioners. I’m afraid we’ve run into a dead end. The only thing we can do is searching the west of the Long mountain range and hope that the bandits are really out there.”
Qiguan Cheng Da nodded. Going to search for bandits would still be better than asking these people. He really couldn’t take it any longer!
Wu Min Huan turned to Yu Jin. “Is there anything you noticed?”
Yu Jin glanced at him and Qiguan Cheng Da and then turned to look at the inn where they had previously asked for information. “The capital city sent only a few people to investigate this matter. There weren’t even many escorts with them It’s curious that the bandits would never make trouble when this kind of thing happened. From what the old man said that was sitting in the corner, this isn’t anything new either. They did so a generation or two before as well.”
Wu Min Huan looked at him blankly. “You mean to say … This isn’t a coincidence? That would mean that somebody has to be supplying them with information.” His eyes narrowed and he surveyed the people on the street. If they received information every time, then they either had to have a lookout close by or somebody in the city.
Having somebody here should be more likely. After all, this person could always be on the lookout and wouldn’t draw any attention — neither by the townspeople nor by the people who came to investigate. The person might even be someone in a prominent position. Somebody who owed a business that would be able to get news fast if foreigners came or maybe someone who had a lot of authority in the town. It should also be someone whose family had lived here for quite a while if this had already happened two generations ago. “A place that can gather information … It might actually be somebody from the inn.”
Yu Jin didn’t say anything more and just turned to look at the door of the establishment.
Wu Min Huan raised his brows. “If that person is in the inn, then they would have heard you talking about this matter. So they know that somebody is searching for the bandits and they should send somebody to inform them to lie low for the time being.” His expression lit up before he hurriedly schooled it, making sure not to give anything away.
He lowered his voice and motioned to the entrance of the town. “If that is the case, then we should pretend to leave and then see where that person is going. If we follow them, we should be able to either find the hideout of the bandits directly or at least find a person that will deliver this information to them in the person’s stead.”
Yu Jin kept quiet but Qiguan Cheng Da used the opportunity to butter up to Wu Min Huan. “That’s a brilliant idea, senior martial brother Wu! We should make sure that the person knows that we’re leaving though. After all, they probably wouldn’t dare to go if they think we might still be here. Wouldn’t that be too obvious then?”
Wu Min Huan nodded and turned to look in the other direction. “Wait here for a moment. I’ll take care of this.”
Wu Min Huan walked over to the old woman again and gave another smile. “My martial brothers and I have inquired about the location of the bandits. We’ll go and investigate in the mountains now. If there’s anything we find out about your grandson, we’ll return at once.”
The old woman’s face lit up when she heard this. She clasped Wu Min Huan’s hand and shook it excitedly. “Thank you, Daoist Master! Thank you! My family is really blessed to have your help!”
Wu Min Huan carefully took his hand back and nodded. “It’s nothing, it’s nothing. I have to leave now though. The sooner we find the bandits, the better.”
The old woman nodded happily and watched him leave. When the three of them had exited the town, she excitedly turned and walked to tell her family the good news as fast as she could on her old legs.
Naturally, in a town a small as this, the information that these Daoists had inquired about the hideout of the bandits and promised to find Ah Yang spread fast. Soon enough, a person left the inn with a big basket and went into the forest under the guise of going to gather some ingredients for the kitchen. Wu Min Huan and the other two that had hidden nearby glanced at each other and then followed the person deeper into the forest.