The Sun Has Set Many Times
The sun had set but Ming Feizhen had yet to come back.
The Qilin Guards and Liu Shan Men’s members had gotten into another tussle at Liu Shan Men’s doors again.
The Qilin Guards are sly. They don’t enter into Liu Shan Men’s office grounds, nor do they actually destroy Liu Shan Men’s furniture. They only beat up Liu Shan Men’s constables whenever they meet one without rhyme or reason.
Every day they bring a squad over. The leader of today’s squad was the guy who won three of four bouts, is commonly misrecognised as Dongpo Tavern’s Liu Zi, the undercover waiter, and got a free promotion due to too many Qilin Guards dying recently, Yi Yixian.
Based on his martial prowess, he’s not even qualified to be in the Yi rank. At most, he’s at the Bing rank or Ding rank like wandering warriors. He was just fortunate that his family had money to spare, and “shared” large amounts of money with people, which allowed him to bypass the regulations and become an Yi rank warrior.
That’s the highest rank he’ll ever reach with his skills.
However, with the recent chain of events that transpired, the Qilin Guards in the Jia rank in the capital had all been killed, forcing Long Zaitian to move Yi rank warriors up to replace the dead ones. But at the same time, he was worried that more would be assassinated if he were to promote those that were truly skilled. So due to the circumstances, Yi Yixian was promoted. And the punk managed to gain the greatest glory in his life like that. Nobody expected that.
Song Ou tried to get back at the Qilin Guards today in Xuan Wu hall to no avail, instead getting himself into an arranged duel with Long Zaitian. That in turn got the Qilin Guards further hyped up, subsequently escalating their bullying towards Liu Shan Men.
Yi Yixian brought over sixty men to lay in ambush on two sides of Liu Shan Men’s office’s dark alleys, waiting for a constable to come out to jump him so that he could report “mission accomplished”. However, after beating up five just before, not one person stepped out again, leaving them somewhat disappointed.
At the same time, at the door on the other side.
Su Xiao was flustered. Very flustered.
Because of his three wins in the ring today, he attracted the fervent support of countless young girls, ladies, and maids, thereby causing him to get cussed at by every Qilin Guard and member from the emperor’s entourage when they entered the ring. It wasn’t too much of a big deal with the emperor’s security detail since the two offices didn’t have any animosity between each other, and so they were slightly tolerant.
However, the Qilin Guards went bat-shit crazy. They were so furious they were jumping around like a rabbit that had its tail set on fire. They looked like they just wanted to rush up on stage and skin Su Xiao alive. Another group was shooting strange glances at Su Xiao, as they sinisterly discussed how to kidnap Su Xiao, take him somewhere nobody would know and skin him alive in secret there.
And because somebody took a beating today, Su Xiao was not permitted to leave after returning to the office.
It wasn’t a huge deal. He was just tired from fighting for an entire day. But as luck may have it, Su Xiao ran out of his favourite Chinese jade honey locust. He couldn’t wash up without it.
Su Xiao was contemplating whether or not he should go out and fight with the Qilin Guards for a bath. He can’t win against them in a fight, but… when Su Xiao’s small white nose felt like it was being violated when he sniffed himself. He couldn’t wait until tomorrow. The problem was that there was an ambush waiting for him outside.
“If only Tang Ye or Big Brother Ming were here.” Su Xiao sighed and said: “Tang Ye would definitely be willing to go and get some for me. Mmm… If I gave Big Brother Ming something good to eat, he would do me the favour too.”
Su Xiao saw someone walk past and his eyes lit up.
“Grandpa Huang! You’re off work now?”
The old man responsible for cleaning Liu Shan Men’s office, old Huang turned his head around to look, saw Su Xiao who was all smiles, and he immediately knew he had a favour to ask of him. Don’t underestimate him for being illiterate. He’s been cleaning and tidying Liu Shan Men for his entire life.
It’s tough to tell if he’s a ghost or human, if you know what I mean.
“Do you have a favour to ask of me? I can’t, I can’t. Not today. My grandchildren from the village are visiting me tomorrow. I need to hurry home and clean up. I can’t help you.”
“Wait, grandpa Huang!” Su Xiao grabbed old Huang’s sleeve, “Please help me just this once. I need to buy something, but the people outside won’t let me out. You are the only one at the office who can come and go freely. Please help me.”
Su Xiao tugged at old Huang’s sleeve. He was young, and the way he tugged his sleeve was like a grandson begging his grandpa for a favour.
Old Huang softened up: “What did you want to buy? I won’t buy it if I have to travel a long distance.”
“You’re the best, gramps!” Su Xiao cheerfully told old Huang the name of the item.
“Huh? Honey locust?” Old Huang stared at him with his eyes wide: “That’s what you wanted? Jeez, you don’t need to buy that. I still have a block left over after cleaning the toilets. Take it and use it. You don’t need to buy it.”
“It’s not the same. The one I want has a special fragrance. I can’t sleep if it’s another scent. It’s also good for your skin.” Su Xiao daggered old Huang disappointedly as if to say “You don’t know anything, gramps”.
Old Huang scratched his head: “You want something good for your skin too? What a fussy lass you are.”
“I’m a guy!”
Su Xiao glared at old Huang, and then took out five silver ingots. Old Huang’s eyes sparkled. That was the equivalent of his entire month’s salary. This lass sure spends generously.
“The honey locust costs four ingots, the remaining ingot is for you.”
“Alright, I’ll make a trip for you.” Old Huang quickly took it and shoved it into his pocket as if he was afraid Su Xiao would change his mind. When he was about to leave, he looked at Su Xiao and repeated, “It’s a promise, the remaining ingot is mine. Don’t trick me.”
“I’m not tricking you. All is well if you bring me what I want. Oh right, I only want the one from Elegant Pear House on the Eastern side of the city, and nowhere else.”
“Hehe, the East side of the city, huh?” Old Huang smiled with his eyes narrows and continued: “The East of the city is too far, this much is… You’re being too harsh with me. It makes you look stingy, no?”
You old geezer, you’re a thief!
Su Xiao grumbled as he took out some more money.
“Here’s another two ingots, the extra is for you.” Su Xiao nodded and cheerfully said: “Aren’t you going to see your grandson tomorrow? Buy him something nice to eat and some new clothes.”
“That won’t do, that won’t do. It’ll be bad if I spoil them too much.” Old Huang nervously waved his hands, “If I must buy something, I’ll buy books. Nothing beats reading more, don’t you agree? Otherwise, I’ll save money for them so that they can go and learn martial arts at a martial arts school. It’s good to know martial arts in this day and age.”
The cute old geezer cracked Su Xiao up.
“That’s good too. The money is yours. You spend it how you like.”
“My, my, Miss Su, you truly are so nice, unlike that thieving, conniving Ming Feizhen. He’s always scamming me for wine when we place dice games.”
“Gramps, I’m a guy!” Su Xiao angrily stamped his feeds, then immediately became happy again. He shook his head as he said: “Big Brother Ming lacks manners. He likes to mess around all day.”
“That’s nothing strange.” Old Huang chuckled and continued, “You constables usually don’t think highly of us. You’re the only lass that greets me. I may not say it, but I’m glad that you greet me. As for your Big Brother Ming, nothing about him resembles a constable. We get along really well. I’ve been here for a long time, but I’ve only ever met two people like that.”
Su Xiao blinked his eyes quickly: “There are two people like that? Who’s the other one?”
“The other one? Heh, you won’t get to see him.”
After stashing the money away properly, old Huang checked both sides, made sure all was well and then turned around to leave.
When Su Xiao watched his silhouette leave from behind, he suddenly had an uneasy feeling.
“He… won’t scam me of my money, will he?” Su Xiao shook his head and resolutely said: “Grandpa Huang is a good person, he won’t scam me!”
At that moment, dark shadows by the wall behind the rear door started to move. Su Xiao was completely oblivious as to what was about to happen.