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Xiao Bing stared at Poisonous Fox, and found his eyes gloomy and emotionless. Poisonous Fox was a pro mind-game player, so he would not let his emotions be discerned, so easily.
Xiao Bing asked, “How do you compare yourself with your Master?”
“He’s far better than me.”
Xiao Bing grinned and asked, “Lord Long can cast your Master aside at any time. What do your think you can get from Lord Long, by showing him your support?”
Poisonous Fox replied indifferently, “Are you trying to sow discord between us?”
Xiao Bing laughed, “You will know after I put these questions to you. I’m a martial artist and my biggest challenge is to keep pursuing powerful martial artists and defeat them one after another, so that I can stand on the top of the world. And you, as an adviser, what do you desire most?”
“Don’t tell me that there’s nothing you desire. A man would be no different from a fish, if he has no belief or aspiration.”
Poisonous Fox finally spoke, “Ambitious men want an empire, and advisers help them to build it.”
“If truth be told, it is the sense of fulfillment that we crave.” Xiao Bing grinned, “Lord Long is powerful enough to fulfill his dream. Even though an arrogant man like him, tries to act as if he has a big heart for the talents, he does not necessarily need them. So how can you help him build up this empire?”
Poisonous Fox suddenly asked, “What should I do then?”
Xiao Bing grinned, “Follow Master Hou, which is what I would do if I were you. Firstly, Master Hou has a solid foundation of success. Secondly, Master Hou is at a disadvantage. You will be of great help of him, whereas there’s little you can do for your present master. Thirdly, Master Hou knows that his martial cultivation is much inferior to Lord Long’s, so he knows how to accommodate and use these talents. For instance, though I killed his North Heaven Queen, he still made me his ally. So Master Hou is the best person, if you want to help someone to establish an empire.”
The Poisonous Fox seemed taken aback, “I thought you would say that you are the one.”
Xiao Bing laughed, “You’re wrong. I have zero interest in the underground world. And besides, I don’t have a solid foundation, like Master Hou. I’m doing all this for you.”
“You can stay here as long as you wish, for your Master and I won’t kill you. But do you believe that I can make Old Mr. Zhuge lose Lord Long’s trust in him? Rumor has it that, it is this Old Zhuge, who did most of the work for Lord Long, to conquer this world. Maybe by then, Lord Long might even want to kill your Master. Your Master would get nothing, and risk losing his life. And you… What can you possibly get when your loyal Master is barely trusted, by the man he is serving?”
“Not only will you be of no help to Old Mr. Zhuge, you will also lose the opportunity to advise the right man. Think of it. If you come to Master Hou’s aid, when everyone believes that he’s losing, won’t you be renowned in the underground, after you help him to reverse the situation? By then, all of them will know that Zhuge Jiangnan has a pupil, who is far better than him. As for the guilt of betrayal, do you think advisers give a fig about this kind of thing? After all, history can only be written by the winner.”
“The praises received by the advisers in history, is equal to the infamy given to them by people.”
Xiao Bing’s eyes brightened, “You figured this out?”
“Give me some time, if you trust me. I need a night to contemplate on this.”
“Okay, I will wait.” Xiao Bing stood up and grinned, “Then I’ll see you here tomorrow morning. Hope you won’t disappoint me. By the way, that girl of yours is a nice person. We did nothing to her, except to knock her out. She’s in the room upstairs.”
Poisonous Fox spoke again, “I also want to know why you are so sure that Jiang Zihou will defeat Lord Long? Lord Long seems unstoppable now. Though advisers love challenges, none of them would want to play a game, in which they are doomed to lose.”
Xiao Bing grinned, “Because Master Hou is more daring when it comes to using a talent. And Lord Long is an arrogant man who is losing his trust in Zhuge Jiangnan. If that’s not enough, then what about you?”
“Me? What can I possibly do?”
“I’ll give you the answer, when you give me yours. Before that, I can tell you nothing.” Xiao Bing then looked up towards the stairs, “Hongyan, you can come down now!”
Zhan Hongyan sauntered out of the woman’s bedroom. She walked slowly down the stairs, looked at Poisonous Fox and said, “Brother Bing, that woman will be waking up soon.”
When he heard what Zhan Hongyan said, Poisonous Fox exhaled a discreet sigh of relief, which was discerned by Xiao Bing. Though Poisonous Fox seemed to be an aloof man, he obviously cared a lot for this woman.
Xiao Bing nodded and said, “Let’s go. We’ll be back tomorrow morning.”
Zhan Hongyan cast another look at Poisonous Fox, and said, “Brother Bing, we are not familiar with this place. Aren’t you afraid that he will tell Lord Long about this, right after we leave?”
Xiao Bing smiled, “No, he won’t. Mutual trust is an important thing between two parties if they seek collaboration. Mr. Poisonous Fox, I’ll be waiting for your reply tomorrow.”
Poisonous Fox watched Xiao Bing leaving, his eyes reflecting the complication in his mind. The words Xiao Bing just said, still lingered, “Mutual trust is an important thing between two parties if they seek collaboration…”
Poisonous Fox’s beliefs had been shaken, when he thought about what his Master had been through these days.
Xiao Bing left with the other two. He was still prudent and chose to stay at a small hostel for the night, instead of a standard hotel. Though he said he believed that Poisonous Fox would not betray his trust, he did not trust this man, entirely. Because if he really told Lord Long about it, not only would Xiao Bing die, the people around him would also be involved.
Xiao Bing was only half certain that Poisonous Fox would be convinced. He had already told this man about the pros and cons. He knew that Poisonous Fox wanted to build something great and splendid. All he had to do now, was wait for the reply.
After Xiao Bing and Hongyan had taken their leave, Poisonous Fox walked upstairs and went into Zhizi’s room. Zhizi was a beautiful woman, but more importantly, she was gentle and considerate.
As a man who lived in the shades of darkness, he craved a woman like her. He was not being contradictory. Usually an introverted person liked the company of an out-going person, otherwise he or she would have nothing to talk about, if they were with someone alike.
A person needed someone to complement him or her, in terms of characteristics.
It was the reason why he found himself caught in a trap. Although he tried to run away instantly, it was not that he did not care about this woman. He was just a rational man. He knew that if he stayed, he would never have the chance to defeat the ones who set this trap. He was nothing, but an adviser who had no martial art skills.
He sat quietly beside Zhizi, waiting for her to wake up. There was slight fear in the girl’s eyes when she regained consciousness, but then it turned into bewilderment, when she found her man sitting beside her.
“I was… Someone broke into our house and knocked me out. It was a woman.”
Poisonous Fox reached out and gently ran his fingers through her hair, to comfort this girl. There was warmth in his customarily cold eyes. Perhaps even the coldest person in this world, has a warm side.
Poisonous Fox told her everything that had happened, then asked in a soft voice, “Zhizi, in your opinion, what should I do then?”
Smiling, Zhizi looked at Poisonous Fox and said, “You’re my man. Is there any other person who knows you better than me? Why are you asking me that question, when you already have an answer?”
“What does that mean?” he asked.
Zhizi replied, “You have already made a decision, otherwise you would have told this to your Master, wouldn’t you? Actually what that man told you, is true. Men must make good use of the things he learned, no matter what it is, otherwise he will spend the rest of his life, regretting the choice he made. I know you are a proud man. You will live in sorrow, if your talent is ignored forever.”
Poisonous Fox’s eyes was stern, as he looked at the girl, “You know me very well. I have come to a decision. But I want to hear your opinion, because, perhaps you have become an important figure in my heart.”
Zhizi asked, “You asked me. So now, have you made up your mind?”
“Yes,” Poisonous Fox replied gravely, while looking at the girl, “You should leave this place tonight. Take a taxi and tell the driver to go to Jiang City in Black Province, and find a hotel to stay.”
“Then, what about you?” the girl asked, fretfully.
“Me?” Poisonous Fox grinned. “Lord Long is a proud man, who does not care enough to take a second look at me. So he definitely doesn’t know about your existence. I will stay here and listen to what this Xiao Bing will say. Since he and I are about to be allies, I need to present him with a sincere gift!”
“Poisonous Fox, I want you to come back alive,” the girl said, worriedly.
Poisonous Fox smiled, “I will. Just wait for me.”
Zhizi took only her ID and bank card, then went to the bus station, without even a suitcase, according to Poisonous Fox’s instructions. Then, she got on the bus to Jiang City.
At the same moment, Zhuge Jiangnan was in his mansion, feeling upset. Even a wise man like him, found it hard if he did not care about anything. It was just like what Xiao Bing had told him: An adviser’s desire was no lesser than the martial artist’s.
Zhuge Jiangnan had been hoping that he could help a man to build an empire, for most of his life. Not long ago, he finally chose Lord Long to be that man. But now this man did not even trust him.
Zhuge Jiangnan sighed, under the flickering light. “Alas. Lord Long’s conquest of the three provinces in the north, seems unstoppable now. Since he’s losing his trust in me, perhaps I should live a reclusive life from now on. But the knowledge that Jiang Wu and Poisonous Fox learned from me, will go to waste. It’s indeed a pity. It’s likely that Lord Long will never put them into any important positions”.
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