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Chapter 416 - Finding Zhao Ji
After Gu Qi and Gu Zuo disappeared, the Zhao Family realized that Zhao Ji’s handwriting was all over this incident. Fortunately, Zhao Hewei had always been obedient and well-behaved. On the contrary, he wasn’t detected by anyone. It was just that, due to this matter, the Zhao Family’s tolerance of Zhao Ji had reached its limit. They knew that Zhao Ji was rebellious by nature, so they wanted to force him to marry and have children. However, since Zhao Ji’s weak spot had vanished, he no longed feigned civility with them, and immediately refused without hesitation.
The Zhao Family once thought of slipping drugs into his food and drinks as a method to control Zhao Ji. Whether it was poisons, stimulants, hallucinogens, or even hypnotics, they utilized all types. Yet, Zhao Ji’s willpower was incredibly strong. Every time it happened, the instant he started succ.u.mbing, he would give himself a heavy blow. Moreover, he was very cautious and attentive. Unless these types of pharmaceuticals were forcefully shoved down his throat, he would immediately detect them. He would’ve rather starved to death than be taken in by the Zhao Family’s deceit.
After several rounds of torment, the Zhao Family still couldn’t make Zhao Ji compromise. Later on, they directly shut him inside a room as solitary confinement. They intended to wear down Zhao Ji’s willpower to control him.
Through theses attempts at wearing him down, several years pa.s.sed. There were quite a few times when Zhao Ji was delirious and out of his mind, but nevertheless, he still remembered Gu Qi and Gu Zuo. Other than them, he didn’t allow anyone else to approach him.
Speaking up to here, Zhao Hewei’s expression couldn’t help revealing a hint of admiration: “Elder brother and I are considered to be in the same boat. He did it for you two and I did it to avenge my mother. As a result, we made a deal back then, and developed a bit of brotherhood. After elder brother was put into solitary confinement, I had to work even more carefully.
“Besides occasionally disrupting the Zhao Family’s line of sight, I couldn’t actively contact you guys to prevent the Zhao Family from discovering any clues. It’s just that hiding you guys for eight years means that elder brother has been imprisoned for eight years. He should still have some level of consciousness right now, but if this continues, he might go insane — It really wasn’t easy for elder brother to accomplish this. Thus, when I saw Brother Qi appear at the ancient martial artists’ small gathering, I realized that an opportunity might’ve arrived.”
Everyone didn’t focus that much on this backstory. Gu Qi suddenly spoke up: “Zhao Ji, right now, is he—”
Just as these words were uttered, they came to an abrupt halt.
His heart was filled with worry, but he didn’t know what he ought to ask. It was because Zhao Hewei had already spoken quite clearly. As a result, he only turned his head, and cast his gaze towards his own son.
Gu Zuo furrowed his brows. His fingers made a tightening sound as they clenched in fists. He restrained himself, and said to Gu Qi: “Dad, you can rest a.s.sured. Father won’t be staying with the Zhao Family for much longer.”
Zhao Hewei watched Gu Zuo’s expression darken with gloom for a split second, and couldn’t help recalling that person who was slapped to death by Gongyi Tianheng. He inwardly trembled.
Tianheng was watching Zhao Hewei: “What you said is very organized and tidy. It sounds truthful, but in the end, these are secrets of the Zhao Family. We can only listen to you, but we can’t ascertain whether you’re telling the truth or feeding us lies. Nor can we tell the degree of truthfulness or falsehood. How can we trust you?”
He spoke with some hidden implications: “After all, you’re also a member of the Zhao Family.”
For the sake of winning the trust of these people, Zhao Hewei talked about his own experiences: “The only thing I hold towards the Zhao Family is resentment. My mother, Liu Qianxin, was once the school beauty of a key university. She was outstanding in all aspects. In her family, she was also considered one with a literary reputation. Her nature was graceful and subdued, gentle and soft.
“She should’ve had excellent future prospects. However, after she graduated from university, she met a handsome man. He took the initiative to woo her, and pledged his undying love…”
He following words were just as Tianheng and the others had guessed.
However, the degree of the Zhao Family’s disgusting nature was beyond their expectations.
The man who romantically pursued Liu Qianxin was Zhao Hongying. At that time, he was thirty-something years old. This was the time of a man’s life when he was at his most mature and charming. He concealed his marriage status, and played a love game with Liu Qianxin. Of course, while he thought nothing of it, she didn’t know the reality of the situation until she was pregnant. At that point, she was dumbfounded. Liu Qianxin’s upbringing prevented her from wrecking another person’s family, let alone becoming a mistress.
What was even more tragic was that, before Zhao Hongying cast aside his third wife, he seduced Liu Qianxin, exchanged vows of love, and had s.e.xual relations with her. Once he divorced his third wife, Liu Qianxin had become pregnant. At this time, it was clear that he hadn’t taken a fourth wife yet. Although Liu Qianxin was a pretty daughter from a humble family, and her background was pure enough for marriage, he only ever treated her as a mistress. As a result, the child Liu Qianxin carried was likewise recognized as a b.a.s.t.a.r.d son. He utterly refused to marry her, and instead found another woman to be his fourth wife.
Speaking up to here, Zhao Hewei’s eyes flickered with traces of fury.
Liu Qianxin naturally wasn’t willing to be someone’s mistress, and she wanted to break up with Zhao Hongying. However, because all of his wives failed to conceive, he suppressed his feelings, and became extremely chauvinistic. Indeed, he didn’t particularly care about b.a.s.t.a.r.d sons, but he did care about his own face. As a result, just as the Zhao Family threatened Zhao Ji, he used Liu Qianxin’s parents to threaten her. Zhao Hongying forced her to quit her job, give birth to the child, and become his actual mistress.
Afterwards, Liu Qianxin had no choice but to temporarily accept this fate, but she was a sensible woman. Although she hated Zhao Hongying, she didn’t vent her anger onto her own child. On the contrary, because of Zhao Hongying’s indifference, Liu Qianxin raised Zhao Hewei by herself after the birth. With great effort, she taught him to be a person whose three world views were at least normal. He was completely unlike the rest of the Zhao Family.
Zhao Hewei, who was given this kind of guidance and care, naturally loved his mother very much. In addition, Liu Qianxin wouldn’t tell Zhao Hewei anything flattering about the Zhao Family just for the idiotic reason of wanting to give the child a good impression of his father — She told Zhao Hewei exactly what kind of household the Zhao Family was and what kind of person Zhao Hongying was.
It was because she knew that the Zhao Family didn’t like illegitimate children. Any b.a.s.t.a.r.d sons would never be truly recognized by the Zhao Family. Zhao Hongying himself wasn’t a compa.s.sionate father, so Zhao Hewei didn’t have any genuine affection for him either. Rather than Zhao Hewei holding onto false hopes and expectations for Zhao Hongying, it was better to show him the real colors of the Zhao Family. This was to avoid being exploited in the future until nothing was left.
Therefore, Zhao Hewei’s feelings for the Zhao Family remained very faint — Even when he was taught some martial disciplines pa.s.sed on to non-Zhao Family members, even when he didn’t have to worry about food or clothing, or even when he received a good education. Because the things given to him weren’t based on feelings, Zhao Hewei only regarded them as a kind of utilization that he would return later.
If everything progressed like this, Zhao Hewei wouldn’t have grown up hating the Zhao Family. After all, they never treated him unfairly. He would pay the Zhao Family back by working a little for them.
But when Zhao Hewei was a teenager, while he was attending school, Zhao Hongying came over and sought out Liu Qianxin to vent his frustrations because he hadn’t been able to sire any children in a long time. As for Liu Qianxin, she stopped consenting to Zhao Hongying’s advances long ago. Only when it was really impossible to refuse would she reluctantly endure it. On that fateful day, Liu Qianxin refused again, but in return, she was furiously strangled to death by the drunken Zhao Hongying!
Later on, the Zhao Family pretended that when Liu Qianxin’s parents came over to visit, they felt that she was a disgrace. During the dispute, they inadvertently killed her in an accident. Meanwhile, Liu Qianxin’s parents were immediately thrown into prison by the Zhao Family as scapegoats.
This was what the Zhao Family did the most often — Cutting the weeds and eliminating the roots. Once Zhao Hewei returned from school, what he learned was the news of his mother’s death.
However, Zhao Hewei didn’t believe that his maternal grandparents would do such a thing. It was because, when he listened to his mother talk about the elderly couple, he knew that they were magnanimous and tolerant people. Although they had already retired, they had been teachers for many years. They weren’t the sort who adhered to old ideals. When children made mistakes, they would be given guidance and not corporal punishment. As for accidentally killing a person, that was simply absurd!
Liu Qianxin’s life was destroyed by Zhao Hongying. Liu Qianxin and her parents, this small household, had been utterly ruined.
When the news spread of the two elderly people dying in prison under the heavy burdens of injury and illness, Zhao Hewei had secretly found some clues. From that moment on, he knew that the Zhao Family had already become his personal enemies.
Afterwards, Zhao Hewei acted even more “unsophisticated and naive”. Moreover, his behavior was cold, detached, and fickle. During Liu Qianxin’s funeral, he didn’t even shed a single tear. Then, he pretended to curse that she died too soon to leave him any inheritance. This gradually lowered the Zhao Family’s guard, but he was continuously acc.u.mulating strength in private.
When Zhao Hongying was just short of taking medicine like they were regular meals to really have a chance of producing a rightful heir, when his body was already proven to be mostly incapable of siring children, when the entire Zhao Family was practically falling into madness… Zhao Hewei was extremely happy in his heart. Granted that the days of the b.a.s.t.a.r.d sons like him weren’t so easy during this time, he was quite glad for it.
Following this, the Zhao Family finally discovered Zhao Ji and brought him back. Zhao Hewei was in a poor mood, but after realizing that Zhao Ji was an unwilling partic.i.p.ant and that he was completely different from the members of the Zhao Family, the two naturally hit it off once they sounded each other out. The Zhao Family was huge, but the two of them developed a bit of a friendship.
At this point, Zhao Hewei could say that his own scars had been cut open and laid bare for Gu Zuo and the others to see. From Zhao Hewei’s words, they naturally trusted him a little more. The most important thing was that they saw the sincerity revealed through his state of mind and spoken inflection.
Tianheng asked: “Did you say all this just to lend us a helping hand? Will you give us the opportunity to rescue Uncle Zhao?”
The hatred on Zhao Hewei’s face settled down. He spoke solemnly: “If…you guys can destroy the Zhao Family, I would be happier.”
The corner of Tianheng’s mouth curled up: “How do you know that we can destroy the Zhao Family?”
Zhao Hewei took a deep breath: “Your strength and your ability to rally supporters.”
To speak frankly, what Tianheng displayed was the ability to protect the Qi Generating Pills amid numerous ancient martial artists, and Gu Zuo possessed those pills that could win over the ancient martial artists — So long as they were willing to provide enough benefits, they could prompt some ancient martial arts organizations to beat down and destroy the Zhao Family!
Most of all, Zhao Hewei already confirmed that this group of people truly cared about that disadvantaged elder brother of his. As such, they were definitely going to clash with the Zhao Family.
Moreover, this group of people also held the Rejuvenation Oral Fluid in their grasp — Although the oral fluid’s effects were minimal to ancient martial artists, Zhao Hongying had nothing else to lose. After taking the medicine, his body had a somewhat comfortable feeling. This made the Zhao Family think that, if they could rope in the producer of the oral fluid, perhaps that person could manufacture a drug that could rapidly improve the illnesses of ancient martial artists. This kind of guess was seventy to eighty percent confirmed when they discovered that the Tian Family, whose madam was plagued with a terminal illness, was no longer so fretful as before. The Zhao Family was wild with joy, and impatiently wanted to make friends with Mister Gu and Mister Gongyi, who recently appeared. They were convinced that, so long as they could cure Zhao Hongying, that stubborn mule Zhao Ji would lose any importance.
When Zhao Hewei thought that this group of people, whom the Zhao Family recognized as “saviors”, actually held such great animosity towards the Zhao Family, he couldn’t have been happier.
Gu Zuo noticed the trace of schadenfreude that Zhao Hewei tried to conceal. Shortly thereafter, he thought of something, and asked: “What else is the Zhao Family up to?”
Zhao Hewei didn’t hide anything: “They want to get a hold of the concentrated Rejuvenation Oral Fluid, but now it’s impossible to think about it.”
When Gu Zuo heard this, the anger that clouded his mind dissipated a little. A rare trace of cold ridicule also flashed across his face: “I have better things, but the Zhao Family won’t get them even in their dreams!”
Zhao Hewei nodded his head: “If you don’t mind, when you guys plan on doing anything to the Zhao Family, you can count me in. However, it’s best to take care of the Zhao Family as quickly as possible. The confinement room isn’t a good place. The longer elder brother stays there, the more harm is done to his body. Although you guys have good medicines, they can’t treat injuries to the mind.”
Gu Zuo was given such a reminder, and his impression of Zhao Hewei improved a bit: “You won’t have to do too much.” He considered something, and said, “We’re in a hurry, too. So you’ll bring us directly to the Zhao Family tonight.”
After he finished speaking, Gu Zuo realized that he didn’t discuss it with his family, and made a decision on his own. He promptly turned to look at Tianheng and Gu Qi.
Tianheng said: “This matter should be handled sooner rather than later. It’s fine.”
Gu Qi naturally had no objections. He believed that the strength of his son and Tianheng were extraordinary. So long as it was mentioned, they could accomplish it. Thus, he hurriedly agreed — Zhao Ji had been suffering for so many years. Gu Qi wished to immediately bring that person back, so how could there be the slightest intent to wait?
Meanwhile, Zhao Hewei’s complexion changed. He involuntarily uttered: “What?”
This was a joke, right? It was too reckless!
Yes. He was convinced that Tianheng’s strength was incredible, but the location where Zhao Ji was imprisoned was the Zhao Family’s ancestral residence. That place had layer upon layer of defenses, and surveillance was extremely tight. In addition, there were many guards and ancient martial artists adhered to the Zhao Family keeping watch. It would’ve been fine if the Zhao Family was forced to let him go willingly through external pressure and slow schemes, but the Zhao Family could harm Zhao Ji at any time if they marched up to the front door so brazenly! At worst, so long as they used the concentrated Rejuvenation Oral Fluid to contend with the others, they would most likely be able to get him. So what was this supposed to be now?
Zhao Hewei’s voice was rushed: “I’m telling you guys these things because I want you to be prepared, not to make you act so impulsively! By doing this, you’re basically disregarding the safety of elder brother!”
It was a bit harsh to say, but it also sounded pretty good to the ears.
Gu Zuo smiled placatingly at him: “You can rest a.s.sured. All the previous discreet inquiries were only for the sake of confirming whether father is really at the Zhao Family’s household. So long as I find father’s whereabouts, there’s no need to worry about the remaining matters.”
Zhao Hewei didn’t understand.
Gu Zuo said: “Wait until nightfall. Then, you will understand.”
For a short while, Zhao Hewei was speechless. He thought about the methods of this group of people as well as those miraculous medicinal pills. When he glanced at Gu Qi again, he noticed that Gu Qi’s face was still filled with worry for Zhao Ji, but there wasn’t anything to suggest that these two were handling matters inappropriately. Zhao Hewei slowly calmed down.
To be honest, compared to Gu Zuo, this adopted son who hadn’t seen Zhao Ji for many years and didn’t remember much when they were separated, Zhao Hewei had more trust in Gu Qi, who persevered and raised Gu Zuo for so long, never sought the company of other suitors, and still longed to save Zhao Ji even until now.
En, this actually made him believe in love again… Unlike his mother, who had been deceived by a sc.u.mbag, and whose entire life had been gradually reduced to an unfunny joke.
Hence, Zhao Hewei and his trusted aide were arranged inside one of the villa’s rooms. Meanwhile, Gu Zuo and Tianheng moved closer to Gu Qi to placate him.
Gu Zuo said: “Dad, go to sleep early tonight. When you wake up, father will be returned to your side.”
Gu Qi held his breath: “…Son, you’re really sure?”
Gu Zuo pulled himself together, and spoke without the slightest hesitation: “Naturally. Even if I can’t do it, there’s also big brother. At worst, we’ll fight with the Zhao Family and cause some trouble. We can always think of another way to settle this.”
Gu Qi heaved a long sigh: “Then, I’ll hand over the matter of your father to you guys.”
He knew that these two still had many fantastic and astonishing abilities they hadn’t revealed yet.
Tianheng also faintly smiled: “Uncle Gu, rest a.s.sured.”
Gu Qi’s heart slowly settled down.
However, having him go to sleep early tonight wasn’t something that he could do.
Very quickly, it was nighttime. Yet, to Gu Qi’s perception, the day dragged past like a year.
Gu Zuo and Tianheng sat upright on the sofa. It seemed that they were in the middle of meditating and recuperating their own energies — Although, regarding the martial strength of the people in this world, there was basically no one who could be their opponent. But when all was said and done, this matter involved Zhao Ji. Thus, they adjusted themselves to their most optimum states.
Once the two opened their eyes, Gu Qi was suddenly shocked.
Gu Zuo said: “Dad, it’s time.”
Gu Qi swiftly entered a room, and called Zhao Hewei and his trusted aide to come out.
— No one ate dinner. In this kind of situation, n.o.body had an appet.i.te.
Zhao Hewei still felt that this wasn’t particularly appropriate, and his expression was very solemn: “Have you guys really thought about it?”
Gu Zuo said: “Yes. Please help lead the way, Uncle Hewei.”
Zhao Hewei was staggered by this term of address. Afterwards, he could only sigh: “I’ll say this first. You guys have to be one hundred and twenty percent careful. Once they discover something amiss, you have to leave without delay.”
Gu Zuo nodded once more: “Okay.”
Following this, apart from Gu Qi who stayed in the villa, the others left the room.
With Zhao Hewei’s trusted aide driving the car, Gu Zuo and Tianheng sat in the back. Meanwhile, Zhao Hewei took the front pa.s.senger seat, and occasionally turned around to look at the two. He realized that, even at this point in time, they didn’t have any nervous expressions. For some reason, he also became less tense.
The Zhao Family’s headquarters were also in B City. After about an hour, they approached the Zhao Family’s ancestral residence.
This place was a tightly guarded neighborhood. One could hardly take five steps without b.u.mping into a policeman or ten steps without meeting a sentry. There were also many strong guards with exuberant qi and blood. Even from a long distance, powerhouses like Gu Zuo and Tianheng were capable of sensing them.
When they saw the large gates, Gu Zuo suddenly said: “Stop the car in this side alley. Don’t go through the gates.”
Zhao Hewei also didn’t intend to go straight in, and had his trusted aide do as instructed. After that, he asked: “I brought you guys here, but how are you going to get in? This place is my personal residence, but even if I’m just returning, the guards will run a rigorous check on the people in my car. There’s no way I can smuggle you guys inside.”
Gu Zuo said: “Don’t worry. We’re aware of this, so we won’t make things difficult for you.” Then, he warned, “Uncle Hewei is waiting for us here, but you can drive a little farther away so you don’t get noticed. It probably won’t be long before we bring father out.”
Zhao Hewei didn’t feel completely confident, but since things had already reached this stage, there wasn’t nothing else to say. As such, he simply withdrew deeper into the alley: “Then, we’ll be keeping an eye out for you.”
After that, he gave a detailed description of the directions to the ancestral residence, which imprisoned Zhao Ji.
Gu Zuo and Tianheng exchanged glances.
Tianheng reached out a hand: “Shall we?”
Gu Zuo nodded: “This time, big brother will have to exert himself. I will investigate.”
Once the pair agreed on this, their figures flashed. Suddenly, they soared high into the air!
Zhao Hewei was startled.
They were f-flying?
This was unscientific!
Although today’s martial artists could quickly generate inner power with their body techniques, it was impossible to fly without the use of modern tools.
In that case, what was he looking at right now?
Were they superhuman?
For a moment, Zhao Hewei was left dumbfounded.
If it was like this…
He couldn’t help looking up with a wooden expression like the similarly shocked trusted aide. As a person who practiced martial arts, his exceptional eyesight could only catch a glimpse of an extremely small black dot. Beneath the night sky, this black dot flashed away. In the blink of an eye, it vanished.
Therefore, to enter the ancestral residence like this — It seemed that there really wasn’t any need to worry.
Back to Gu Zuo and Tianheng. Even if they hadn’t used this skill in the modern world these days, flying through the air was as easy as lifting a finger. Once they were high above the ground, Gu Zuo didn’t forget to cast a layer of psychic power over the both of them — Otherwise, if they were scanned by satellites, it wouldn’t be a laughing matter.
At the same time, Gu Zuo’s psychic power continuously spread downwards. Within almost a second, he found the ancestral residence mentioned by Zhao Hewei. After that, he didn’t hold back, and completely covered the building with his psychic power. Because there were no holes or crevices that his psychic power couldn’t enter, he was able to find that well-concealed and secretive confinement room in an extremely short amount of time!
One should know that not even Zhao Hewei knew the location of this confinement room — Every year, the position of the confinement room would change. Thus, Zhao Ji’s place of imprisonment would also subsequently change.
Just as Gu Zuo’s psychic power explored that confinement room, he discovered a dark figure in the corner.
That dark figure was a person. He looked incredibly skinny. Practically the only thing left was a mere skeleton. His back leaned against the wall, his head was buried in his arms, and his breathing was weak and shallow.
One almost couldn’t tell if this person was dead or alive.
In a split second, Gu Zuo’s expression turned unsightly. Could it be that this person was his father?
Unexpectedly, he was tortured by the Zhao Family to this extent!
T/N: Thanks for the corrections, Charysa.
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