Unscathed Murder, part 5

   “Chief Master is back!” several people cried out. 

Lin Zhennan dismounted his horse and saw that his wife, Madam Wang, looking extremely angry. 

   “Look! Humph, someone is trying to challenge us in our home,” she exclaimed. 

A pair of broken poles lay on the street; each had a flag attached to the end. These were the flags of the Escort House; someone had cut down the two flagpoles and left them lying on the ground. The broken ends were very smooth, apparently cut with a very sharp blade. 

Madam Wang was not carrying a weapon, so she drew Lin Zhennan’s long sword out from the sheath at his waist. With two sharp tearing sounds, she cut off the two flags from the broken flagpoles. Picking up the flags, she went inside through the gate. 

   “Escort Cui, cut the stumps of the two flagpoles down,” Lin Zhennan instructed. “Humph, it won’t be an easy task to take down the Fortune Prestige Escort House!” 

   “Yes, sir,” Escort Cui answered. 

   “Damn them! What a bunch of cowards they are, only daring to play these dirty tricks when the Chief Master is not at home,” Escort Ji cursed. 

Lin Zhennan beckoned his son and the two went into the house while Escort Ji poured out even more profanities. Father and son went into the East Hall where Madam Wang had already spread the flags on two tables. On one of the flags, the eyes of the yellow lion had been cut out, leaving two empty holes. On the other flag, the word “Prestige” had been cut out from the name “Fortune Prestige Escort House.” 

Lin Zhennan was a patient man with an even temper, but even he could not stand these insults any longer. He struck the table with a resounding blow. One leg of the sandalwood table broke with a crack. 

   “Father, it’s…entirely my fault. I got the family into this situation!” Lin Pingzhi trembled. 

   “Yes, the Lin family has killed someone. So what? If I ever saw a punk like him, I’d kill him too!” Lin Zhennan roared. 

   “Who got killed?” Madam Wang asked in surprise. 

   “Pingzhi, tell your mother about it,” Lin Zhennan said. 

Lin Pingzhi pleaded guilty and took responsibility
Lin Pingzhi pleaded guilty and took responsibility

So Lin Pingzhi told Madam Wang everything that had happened: How he killed the man from Sichuan, how they found the body of Escort Shi in the garden of the wine shop, and so forth. 

Madam Wang had heard about the mysterious deaths of Henchman Bai and Escort Zheng. At the news of the death of Escort Shi, she exploded. 

   “Husband, how can we let others push the Fortune Prestige Escort House around like this? Let’s gather our people and go seek justice from the Qingcheng Sword School in Sichuan. We can also invite my father and my brothers to join us.” 

Since her youth, Madam Wang had been known for having a bad temper. As a maiden, she had no qualms about pulling out a knife for even the smallest of disagreements. Her family, the Golden Blade Wang Family, was a large and powerful family in the city of Luoyang. Everyone would defer to her out of respect for her father, the Unbeatable Golden Blade, Wang Yuanba. Even now, after her son was already a grown man, her hot temper still had not improved much. 

   “We are still not sure who our enemy is. It might not even be the Qingcheng Sword School. But whoever they are, I doubt they’d stop at two broken flagpoles and two dead escorts…,” Lin Zhennan replied when he was suddenly interrupted by the bellowing voice of Madam Wang. 

   “What else do they want?” 

Lin Zhennan cast a sideways glance at Lin Pingzhi and Madam Wang understood instantly. Her heart started pumping fiercely, and her face paled with fear. 

   “I caused all the trouble. A true man should take full responsibility for his own actions. I won’t…won’t be afraid.” Lin Pingzhi’s words were brave enough, but his trembling voice gave him away. 

  “Humph, they’ll have to pass through me first before they can get to you,” Madam Wang exclaimed. “The banner of the Fortune Prestige Escort House has been held high for three generations. We’ve never lost our glory.” She turned to Lin Zhennan. “If we can’t even settle this little problem, what good are we? How can we look at ourselves in the mirror for the rest of our lives?” 

Lin Zhennan nodded to Madam Wang in agreement. “I’ll send people to search the town for new faces. Meanwhile, I’ll have more people on patrol around the Escort House. You wait here with Pingzhi. Don’t let him run around by himself.” 

  “Yes, I understand!” Madam Wang acknowledged. 

The couple both understood that Lin Pingzhi would undoubtedly be the next target. The enemy was hidden in the dark while they themselves were exposed under the light. Even if Lin Pingzhi only stepped out of the Escort House for one minute, he would be in grave danger.  (To be continued)

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