“What did you say?! I dare you to say it again!” She stomped the ground and glared at him ferociously, seemingly wanting to eat him alive. A girl like her certainly wasn’t his match.
“Nothing.” He shrugged and smirked.
“Hmph, that’s what I thought.” She said while making a fist: “I’ll teach you a lesson if you keep on running your mouth.”
“Okay, little girl, I’m not interested in you, go play somewhere else.” He smiled.
“Bah!” She made a face at him: “Such shamelessness, I’m not interested in you either, don’t even dream about it.”
“Where is your mind wandering off to, little girl? You either have a rich imagination or are actually interested in me.” He looked at her and teased.
She didn’t hold back: “Nonsense! No one can like someone as annoying as you…”
She was actually angry because she was a famed beauty in Mingluo with plenty of suitors. But now, this unknown person was messing with her?
“I’m done speaking to you.” She took a deep breath and scowled: “I’m here to teach you a lesson.”
“Teach me a lesson? Why? This is our first meeting so we can’t have any prior grievances.” He shrugged.
“Because you spouted nonsense.” Her expression became serious: “You need to accept responsibility and pay the price for your words.”
“Oh? What did I say that warrant paying a price?” He wasn’t nervous at all.
“You told those beggars to spread crazy messages!” She glared at him.
“So that’s what you’re here for, why do you think it is crazy?” He smiled.
“What else can they be? You told those beggars to tell people about the destruction of the city and that the citizens should run away…” She coldly uttered.
So it turned out that she has heard of them as well. She naturally became startled about this ominous prophecy that sprung up overnight all over the city. After a careful investigation, she found out the source and came here with a mission.
“I’m simply telling the truth, it’s your problem that you don’t believe it.” He chuckled.
“The truth? Don't you mean mere fabrication? Our city is standing strong and bright, a beacon of prosperity, so what destruction are you speaking of? This is only to incite chaos!” She retorted fiercely.
“That’s only for now.” He smiled.
“Speak, who sent you here, and for what purpose? Be truthful or face the consequence.” She pushed it further.
“You come to question me while representing the city?” He looked at her and said with interest.
“...” She was only a disciple and couldn’t represent the entire city. She glared at him and proudly raised her chin: “Everyone is responsible for keeping the peace at Mingluo. Just you wait, our system will rise again.”
Li Qiye clapped as if he was watching a play: “Well said, but that’s only a pipe dream right now.”
She became unhappy right away and scowled: “What are you saying? We used to be the strongest system in Imperial Lineage. My master once said that as long as we can protect the embers in Mingluo, our system will rise again. That’s why we protect this place at all costs.”
“It’s good to have a dream.” Li Qiye nodded approvingly. He didn’t tease her this time after seeing her determination despite her tender age.
She continued: “It’s not too late to tell the truth. If my master or the city gets a hold of you, it won’t go well. Spreading rumors that negatively affect the peace of the city is a serious crime.”
“Little girl, this isn’t a rumor.” Li Qiye chuckled: “You better start running if you want to survive. Hope and dreams are useless when you’re dead. This city will disappear soon enough.”
“I’m warning you one last time! Stop spouting your nonsense!” She glared at him while stomping on the ground, vexed.
“Why do you not believe me?” He smiled.
“Hmph. Our city has defensive walls and vigilant sentries. Moreover, the Luo and our Stoneclearing Sect are working together. The city will definitely enjoy peace and prosperity, so how could it head towards destruction?” She strongly disagreed.
She had nothing against Li Qiye. It’s just that she grew up here and considered the city as her home. Moreover, her master has always taught her about keeping the city safe and revitalizing the system. This education instilled a deep sense of responsibility in her.
That’s why she couldn’t sit still after hearing about the rumors and immediately came here to confront Li Qiye.
“It’s whatever, think what you want.” He waved his sleeve and said dismissively.
“You!” She didn’t like his carefree attitude and gritted her teeth: “Your lies are negatively affecting our city, so you need to take responsibility!”
“Affecting your city?” He chuckled: “I thought you just talked about how unshakable it is. If that’s the case, why would a few rumors do anything to it? Are you sure it’s not just a castle in the sand that could be taken down with a single wave?”
She naturally couldn’t keep up in a verbal fight. Her finger pointing at him trembled as she tried to retort: “I’ve had enough of your fallacious arguments!”
“Okay, let’s not point fingers and accuse each other here, if your city doesn’t take it seriously, that’s just fine. They’re nothing more than rumors.” Li Qiye was losing patience.
The girl turned red and didn’t know what to say. She came ready to confront him but didn’t expect him to neutralize her questions so easily. It was akin to punching with full force but ending up hitting the air - no satisfaction could be found by doing this.
“You’re just good at sophistry.” She begrudgingly concluded.
“Why do you care so much about the rumors? No one will take them seriously.” He looked at her and said.
This indeed jolted her. Now that she thought about it, she got angry over nothing. Though it has spread all over the city, people considered it to be nothing more than a fun conversational topic.
On the other hand, she took it so seriously and wanted Li Qiye to take responsibility.
“Maybe, just maybe, deep down in your heart, you do believe that the city will face destruction one day. This fear makes you sensitive and afraid of the most insignificant rumors.”
“... Nonsense…” The flushed girl had nothing else to say.
“Go now, stop bothering me.” Li Qiye waved his sleeve again and smiled.
“Anyway, no more spreading these rumors. If I hear them again, I’ll really let you have it!” She stomped on the ground and left.
She actually thought he was praising her until she heard the second part.