The Imperial Martial Arts Tournament is…… Get Lost If You’re Trying to Listen in for Free!
I hopelessly asked: “What exactly happened? How do I know who I should help if you don’t tell me?”
Su Xiao who was leaning on me suddenly jumped up, turned around and blinked his large eyes. He looked at me with disbelief: “You’re not helping me? Shouldn’t you help me unconditionally since we’re buddies?”
When did this kid learn to become so unreasonable like women?!
“Yeah, yeah, I’m always on your side.” I scrubbed his small head and then changed the subject: “What happened?”
Su Xiao revealed a comforted expression like a cat sunbathing. He pursed his lips into a smile and said: “We chatted for a while. We were having a proper chat…”
I knew it. Su Xiao’s personality actually goes well with Bai Lian, so they should be able to become good friends.
“But! When we started talking about the imperial martial arts tournament, she said some frustrating things.”
“Imperial martial arts tournament?”
“Yeah. She said something about there being a fair number of contestants this time, but not many were skilled. She was worried that not even three would be selected from the contestants this time.”
I almost laughed out loud. I could virtually imagine Bai Lian putting on airs as she usually does, acting proud like a teacher that enjoyed educating people. She must’ve pretended to cough twice, and then raised her head to say: “Since you asked, I shall kindly tell you.”
She definitely then turned to face Su Xiao and bragged about how she can read things so well and is knowledgeable about the martial world. She must’ve given him an analysis for all sorts of stuff. She likes to talk to people about things in the martial world.
I couldn’t help but smile and shake my head. You’ll scare off all your new friends like that, General Manager Bai.
Su Xiao then continued: “She suddenly coughed, and then something like ‘since you asked, I shall kindly tell you. I don’t tell this to everybody’. Then she happily went blah blah blah.”
Hehehe. I didn’t laugh. No, serious, I didn’t laugh… Pfft!
“I was listening to her properly at the start. But then I got frustrated when she said we don’t have anyone talented. What made me mad most was that she underestimated Liu Shan Men.” Su Xiao grumbled: “She said that while four of us made it, it’s guaranteed that none of us will make it to the end. She even said the winner will be one of the wandering warriors if not Long Zaitian. God damn that pissed me off!”
……. She’s quite right.
Nobody would think that Liu Shan Men is something worth paying attention to given the state we’re in. Even Boss Shen feels that us making it to the finals in itself is a win. The strongest in the emperor’s security detail, Tie Hanyi has been defeated, and now there aren’t many skilled contestants left. From Bai Lian’s point of view, she can judge a person’s skill without much observation. But Bai Lian lacks people-skills. If she happily disparages Liu Shan Men right in front of him, of course she’ll piss off Su Xiao.
“Didn’t she tell you the reason?”
Su Xiao angrily nodded and grumbled: “She did tell me. She said that all four of us have problems. She said I lack the skills. She said I won in the semi-finals thanks to a stroke of luck and that I would lose in the finals in less than twenty moves. She said Tang Ye may possess solid skills, but he lacks luck. He got paired up with Tie Hanyi in the semi-finals and was forced to go all out, thereby revealing everything he had in the bag. He caught the attention of too many people, so he’s very likely to lose in the upcoming matches. Song Ou’s skills aren’t bad, but he doesn’t have much real experience. He can’t win in ring fights. And she said you’re garbage.”
“Say something, Big Brother Ming.” Su Xiao looked upset. He looked at me seriously, “Forget you guys; my skills are lacking?”
Can you be any more retarded?!
The most correct thing she said was the part about you! No wait. Her comment about you should be considered a compliment!
“She’s right.” I waved my hand, “You don’t realise how important the imperial martial arts tournament is. All the participants give it their all. We’re just here to carry out a mission, so we can’t compare to them.”
Su Xiao angrily retorted: “What do you mean we can’t compare? Isn’t it just a martial arts contest?”
“You don’t get it.”
I patiently explained what made the imperial martial arts tournament special.
A martial arts competition of this level requires a lot of manpower. Traditionally, it’s only held once every five years.
It’s been three years since the last imperial martial arts tournament so the emperor has done Boss Shen a big favour. If it weren’t for their connection, with the emperor’s nature of keeping business strictly business, he wouldn’t have held the imperial martial arts tournament two years early.
The imperial martial arts tournament has always been a trick the reigning emperors used to promote and recruit talent. Since Liu Shan’s Elites Rankings came into existence, the imperial martial arts tournament became a tradition which has been practiced until now.
I took out a Black and White magazine from three years ago from inside my shirt. I flipped to the page that reported in detail the imperial martial arts tournament three years ago. While the level of importance and level of skill the contestants had back then was far superior, its meaning was about the same. It was a martial arts contest, and was for the sake of finding talent for the imperial court. The difference was the ultimate three fought for the title of the strongest under heaven. Normal imperial martial arts tournaments are opportunities to make a name for oneself.
Winning in the martial arts tournaments was for a warrior what passing the imperial scholastic exams was for scholars. Besides having a brighter future, their path in life could be vastly different.
“Look at what’s written here.”
I pointed to that page and read it to Su Xiao.
Three years ago, in other words, at the last imperial martial arts tournament, there was a talented guy who possessed great skills, beating all his opponents and left everyone at a loss. And thus, he took out first place.
The emperor was elated. Not only did he promote him to third rank official, he also highly valued him afterwards. But that’s not all. After the tournament, the emperor betrothed the eldest princess to him, thereby bestowing him with the title Fuma Jingan in front of all the officials of the imperial court.
“Why was he called Fuma Jingan?”
“Do you seriously not know?” I widened my eyes as I looked at Su Xiao. Frustrated, I said: “Because the princess had the title Princess Jingan, so of course her husband would be Fuma Jingan.”
Su Xiao nodded: “Oh, so the princess was called Li Jingan~.”
“You’re… right there.”
Since we’re on this topic, we have to mention the fact that the emperor is fairly careless. A princess’s maiden name is usually known only by a small number of people, but the emperor went and used her name as a title, thereby sharing it with the entire world. And so, everybody came to know Princess Jingan’s name……
Su Xiao tapped on his head with his finger as he listened to me. When he heard that part, he widened his eyes and asked: “Oh, so you can marry a princess if you win?”
“That was an unprecedented imperial martial arts tournament because he became royalty-class so quickly.” I closed my eyes slightly and said: “The three of us care only because it’s our mission. But it’s a rare fate that is hard to come across. Therefore, the degree of effort put forth is different. You should take care. If you get paired up with someone that fights like a suicide attacker, just run. Don’t fight him. You won’t die if you surrender, but if you lose, you’ll have to die as well. That’s a terrible business proposition.”
Su Xiao nodded like an epileptic, smiled and said: “I wonder what reward the winner will get this time. Last time the winner was awarded a princess, so the reward this time should be decently big too, right?”
Hard to say.
Come to think of it, the emperor didn’t seem to mention any reward this time. He’s not going to marry off another princess, is he?
Let me see… the emperor has three daughters. The eldest princess is married, while the second and third princesses are waiting to be conferred maiden names. If the emperor’s thinking gets muddled, he might actually marry them off.
“He just might marry off a princess.”
“I’m gonna have to give it my best then.”
“Easy-peasy! I’ll show the emperor my strong points!”
Why are there so many voices replying all of a sudden?!
I looked behind me and behind me stood seven or eight people I don’t even know. They were listening in keenly. Wait a second. They’re all contestants that are taking part in the upcoming finals. They don’t know the value of the imperial martial arts tournament either? Are you people serious?
A guy even asked: “Hey bro, do you think I have a chance at marrying a princess?”
How the hell would I know?!
What the hell are you people doing?! What are you all leaning over in this direction for?!
*Fuma means son-in-law, but son-in-law here isn’t your typical son-in-law. It’s a special title which indicates that the holder of the title is the son-in-law of the emperor.