He looked at his husband for help but there was nothing that Ao Jing could do. Right now, he could only help himself. He already wanted to clear his throat and pretend that he hadn’t done anything when the merchant already nudged him in the side.
“What are you waiting for? Show them the pendant already. They’ve been waiting for so long to see it!”
Merchant Wang was all smiles when he said so, giving Shangguan Yu a sinking feeling. Something told him that if he didn’t react immediately, things would turn even worse. He glanced from the merchant to the people and then back again and furrowed his brows. “You … Have you lied to me?”
The merchant raised his brows as if in surprise. “What are you talking about? Why would I lie to you?”
Shangguan Yu narrowed his eyes. “You said he was a bandit who endangered the livelihood of all the people here. But why does it seem as if they think differently about that?”
Merchant Wang just raised his brows. “What are you asking so much for? I said he was a bandit so he was a bandit. What else do you want to hear?”
Shangguan Yu once again looked at the people who seemed more than ready to take out the pitchforks and make short work of them.
The merchant shook his head. “It seems you don’t really care about your reward. I guess in that case, I might as well leave.”
He already turned around but Shangguan Yu called out. “I don’t care for any reward. I just wanted the people here to be safe. Now, tell me honestly! Was that person really a bandit or were you just telling me that so I would do your bidding?”
Merchant Wang turned back to him and raised his brows even higher. “I? I didn’t do anything. Isn’t it all on your head?” He shrugged his shoulders as if this really had nothing to do with him, and then turned around, waddling back to his carriage.
Ao Jing flicked a glance at him and then slightly moved his hand, the movement so small that neither the merchant nor any of the other people around noticed it.
Shangguan Yu still stood in the middle of the market square, fuming. Even though this could be called his own fault, and even though this person wasn’t even real but just a string of data in a game, he still felt enraged that this person would dare to do something like this. He’d really like to see what that guy would say if he was the one who was called because somebody else accused him of something he hadn’t done!
The people of the city continued to talk among themselves, some of them glancing over at Shangguan Yu. Their gazes still weren’t friendly but at the very least, they did not seem as if they blamed him quite as much anymore. Instead, there was a sliver of pity in there.
Shangguan Yu furrowed his brows and then went over to Ao Jing’s side. “Well, looks like you were right.”
Ao Jing sighed and then motioned in the other direction. “Let’s leave for now and then investigate slowly. Even though we managed to get out of it without too much trouble for now, I’m afraid that there will be more than that happening in the future.
Shangguan Yu nodded and the two of them left the square. As soon as they were gone, the discussion on the market square erupted even further. The people didn’t look like they were willing to swallow this any longer. Unfortunately, Shangguan Yu and Ao Jing weren’t there to hear any of the things that were said. Otherwise, they really might have thought twice about how to approach this topic. Without that input though, they could only play it by ear.
As for the first step … Ao Jing had already come up with an idea. “I’d suggest we look for a place to look at what we have. This is inevitably part of the quest. So the clues for how to solve it should also be hidden in the things we already know. Either we will be able to get a clue from the painting, the jade pendant or we will have to search the house of the merchant or the body of that supposed bandit. In either of those places, there should be something we can use to find out what this is about.”
Shangguan Yu nodded. “That does make sense. Actually, since we already have the painting and the jade pendant, maybe we should go and check the bodies right now. We just left them there. There’s no telling what will happen when we do this. For one, there might be wild animals destroying anything that is left behind or we might even get into trouble with the authorities if it gets out that these people weren’t bandits and we are seen as the culprits in this case.”
Ao Jing furrowed his brows but still nodded. “Let’s get back to the gate them. No, in fact, let’s just flip over the walls. I’m afraid we’ll be in trouble if we used the normal way in and out of the city.”
Shangguan Yu raised his brows at that. “Do you really think it’s that grave?”
Ao Jing tilted his head and raised one brow. “You don’t think so? I mean if you think of this as not a game for a moment but imagine that you actually traveled to a different world and now had to live here … Do you really think you would get away with just killing somebody in broad daylight? If that person is a law-abiding citizen and maybe even somebody who is held in high regard by others? Do you really think they’d accept this?”
Shangguan Yu rubbed his neck and nodded. “Alright, let’s flip over the wall.”
The two of them went to a spot in one of the smaller alleys in the city and jumped from the wall onto the roof of the house that was standing close by and then flipped over the wall itself. They landed on the ground outside of the city and Shangguan Yu gave a huff.
“Gosh, if they can make VR games, they could make it a little easier on the body.”
Ao Jing just laughed. “You probably be didn’t pay enough attention to the classes back in the sect. Otherwise, you wouldn’t feel like that.” He put an arm around his shoulder, and then pulled him forward, marching back toward where they had left that Liangqiu Min and his guards.