To Push Down, or to Not Push Down
Ye Luo stared at my face. Her pitch black eyes looked like they could see through me.
Could it be that she didn’t pass out that day at the city outskirts and she now knows my identity?!
I’m left with only one option then…. And that is to push her down! My shifu told me that you have to make a woman become part of your family for her to keep a secret!
In a serious tone, I said: “Miss, I don’t think it’s such a good idea to stare at me like that. This is our first meeting.” I deliberately emphasised “first meeting” to remind her that we were meeting for the first time. I’m doing this for your benefit too.
You were virtually nude the first time we actually met. So it’s best for both of us that we don’t mention it.
Or do you want me to push you down and taste my Eighteen Subduing Dragon Gropes?!* My eyes were filled with murderous intent.
Ye Luo blinked and then her expression brightened up: “I remember now. You three are a pair from Liu Shan Men’s newly formed Three Swordsmen, right?”
I let out a sigh of relief.
Thank god I don’t need to use the Eighteen Subduing Dragon Gropes. But I somewhat regret it after seeing Ye Luo’s beautiful face and her alluring body that night…
“Oh?” Tie Hanyi was also a little surprised, “they’re the Three Swordsmen? I’ve long heard of your reputation.”
What the heck? The three of us are famous now?
Ye Luo laughed and said: “There’s a guy called Tang Ye in your group, right? He’s got great martial arts skills and is handsome. The news of him fighting on even-footing with Mount Hua’s leader, Jia Yunfeng is spreading. He’s also challenged many others this month and destroyed the plaques of their martial arts schools. People call him Evil Tang Ye behind his back. I reckon he’ll place well at the imperial martial arts tournament. He might even face off against me.”
Tang Ye did that…?
I recall Miss Ye being ranked in the Pink Reflection. They stated that she was a rare amazing female hero among warriors of the imperial court, and has solved quite a few cases. She’s also beautiful which is why those in the pugilistic world speak well of her. I think she was rank… Twenty-two on Liu Shan’s Elites Rankings.
It’s an honour for someone like Tang Ye who’s not even in the top one-hundred to be acknowledged by the top Jia ranking warriors.
Ye Luo then said to Su Xiao: “You’re Su Xiao. I was right then. The outside world says that you’re an enchanting guy whose beauty is greater than that of Pan An and Song Yu. Hmm… You truly are handsome.” After she finished speaking, she looked at Su Xiao who was distressed and laughed out loud.
Su Xiao waved his hands with a red face: “Don’t say that. It’s embarrassing. How can I compare to our forefathers?”
Ye Luo then looked at me who was awaiting praise, giggled and said; “I told you I met you before. People say Ming Feizhen is a messy guy. If he’s not gambling, then he’s at a tavern drinking. I saw you last time I went to Dongpo Tavern. You asked the waiter Liu Zi for braised pork shoulders, but you got dragged off by your superior before you could finish, right?”
Yeah, I felt slightly awkward.
“Cough. Cough. Let’s not talk about us anymore. You two came here to find out about the culprit, right? Let’s head outside and talk. Hey, uhh… Liu Zi, prepare some dishes for us.”
Yi Yixian got so mad he started jumping up and down: “Call me Liu Zi and I’ll kill you!!”
Huh? That’s not him? That’s strange. I remember seeing Liu Zi from Dongpo Tavern just a moment ago. Why do I always mistake others for him.
“Never mind if you’re not Liu Zi. Just prepare some dishes for us. Let’s talk outside.”
“I’m not a waiter!!!!”
We found ourselves a quiet place in the Qilin Guards main courtyard.
The relationship between the emperor’s security detail and the Qilin Guards isn’t so bad. Tie Hanyi was here for business. He’s got quite the reputation, so borrowing a place to have a chat was a walk in the park.
Tie Hanyi sounded surprised as he asked: “You said that the Assassins’ Association sent an entire organisation. Is there an organisation in the pugilistic world that can create wounds identical to those seen on the corpses?”
“Yes, the fifth rank group of assassins in the Assassins Association, Black Wind Thirteen Wings.”
After I finished speaking, everybody looked stunned, Su Xiao included.
The Black Wind Thirteen Wings assassination group is building quite the reputation in the pugilistic world. There are thirteen of them in total. All of them are skilled with internal and external styles. Each one of them possesses skills comparable to top level martial artists. The thirteen of them also use different weapons, from sabres, to swords, halberds, bows and arrows, to hook swords and axes. They even fight empty-handed.
The thirteen of them always cover their faces with a black mask when carrying out assassinations. They’ve been around for over a decade, yet no one has any accurate information pertaining to them. Members from both justice and unorthodox sects have fallen victim to them in that time, so they have enemies all over the world. But it’s weird. You can find at least some clues on other groups, but there’s not a trace of the Black Wind Thirteen Wings group to be found. There’s never been any news on them. So other than being frightening, they’re also very mysterious.
“How are you so certain?” Ye Luo looked at me with suspicion, “Judging solely by their wounds, it’s possible that another group was responsible. Based on all the assassination groups I know, there are no less than ten who are capable of killing them.”
“Intuition.” I waved my hand and said: “This is only my conjecture. Don’t ask me for evidence. You can ignore my conjecture if you like.”
Tie Hanyi looks rude, but he’s actually quite honest. He felt embarrassed to say: “It’s not that we suspect you, it’s just that this is a very important matter, so we want to be certain.”
“I certainly can’t be certain, but…” I looked at the two of them and waited for them to look at me. I then revealed a smile and said: “Think about it, even if there are other groups capable of assassinating them, would they dare to? The victims certainly are skilled and it’s not easy to kill them, but finding the gall to kill them is even harder.
Who are the dead? They were either Jia level or Yi level warriors. They were considered talent the imperial court heavily relied on, right? Not only did they kill them, they killed them in the capital a few days prior to the imperial martial arts tournament. Clearly they’re trying to give the imperial court their middle finger. Other than the Black Wind Thirteen Wings group who work solo, I can’t think of anybody else who’d do this.”
Every time I finished a sentence, their expressions looked grimmer than the last. When I finished, they were already sweating.
Tie Hanyi and Ye Luo became seemingly anxious, as though they themselves were at risk. It was clear they believed me now.
I don’t blame them.
The League of Assassins fifth rank is scarier than the top three of the Divine Moon Cult. The Divine Moon Cult rewards its members based on their achievements. Certain criterion must also be considered when handing out annual salaries. Members don’t just get more because they’re ranked higher.
But the League of Assassins is different.
Assassins in the League of Assassins don’t meet each other, so they don’t fight for rankings. They’re ranked based on their kill-counts, components, reputation and other factors. The fifth rank in the top one-hundred of the Black Wind Thirteen Wings group was built on lots of blood and skeletons. Their reputation was built on the lives of thousands of martial artists.
While the Divine Moon Cult does carry out assassinations, their assassinations skills are nothing compared to those assassination groups.
Tie Hanyi and Ye Luo exchanged looks and then apologetically said: “We intended to discuss the matter with you two today, but since we know who the culprit is we need to head back immediately to prepare.”
Ye Luo added: “The Black Wind Thirteen Wings group is not to be underestimated. If they’re the culprits, we must be very careful. That goes for you guys from Liu Shan Men too. You guys should return and notify your captain as well, got it?”
The two of them quickly left. It’s only normal for them to leave in a hurry. They can’t sit around and have tea with us while knowing that their comrades are being targeted by the Black Wind Thirteen Wings group, can they? It wouldn’t be such a big deal if they were just assassins. But if the Black Wind Thirteen Wings group are the ones taking action, there are bound to be deaths.
Based on their rate of one kill per day, it looks like somebody else is going to die today.
I stretched my limbs out after the two of them left.
“Ah, I’m so sleepy today too. Let’s go after Tang Ye arrives.”
I looked at Su Xiao and found him staring at me sternly.
Su Xiao looked at me with tears brimming and softly said: “Big Brother Ming… How are you so knowledgeable?”
“Huh?” I was slightly bewildered.
“It’s like you transformed into another person today. Normally, you’re just lazy and uninterested in work. But you said a lot today. And you actually spoke in a comprehendible language. Even the two Jia level warriors were amazed with you.”
Fuck! I was careless because I was so used to Su Xiao’s slow personality.
“Big Brother Ming!” Su Xiao’s pretty face dropped down. He stared at me with suspicion, pouted his lips unhappily and said: “Are you hiding something from me? Hmm?”
With Su Xiao pressing me for answers, two deadly options appeared in my mind.
To push down, or to not push down.
*It’s a parody of Hong Qigong’s Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms from Jin Yong’s Condor Heroes series.
Pan An and Song Yu were famous pretty boys.