The Only One Who Is Generous, Benevolent and Modest Is I, Cheng Kong
Fu Xiang’s reputation was severely damaged by Long Zaitian in the flying fish pavilion. But thankfully, his men had finally come back to report in and make a good showing. And it wasn’t just one team that came back. A total of one, two, three, four, five, six, seven teams returned!
They didn’t return to report in for a long time, but now they had, and seven teams had returned at that. Fu Xiang felt relieved and daggered Long Zaitian, but Long Zaitian just looked unhappy. Fu Xiang, feeling relieved loudly ordered: “Come up and report to his highness. Hurry up!”
Of course, he didn’t forget to turn around and seek credit for their work: “I did tell you they would return anytime now. Please do not worry, your highness. The people that this old man trained cannot be failures……”
Before he could finish, Long Zaitian started taking shots at him: “Wow, wow, wow! Are you seriously talking to his highness in that rude tone? Throwing your weight around because of your advanced age, huh? Wow, ‘this old man’? What, you think you’re old enough or do you think you’re of high status?”
That was a very disparaging remark, hence why Fu Xiang’s expression changed: “Long Zaitian! What are you after?! I have always spoken like this. His highness is right before you. Don’t even think of trying to sow discord.”
“Wow, wow, wow. Now that’s just overboard. You need to brush up your acting skills.” Long Zaitian looked at Fu Xiang as if he had high hopes for him and continued: “Old Fu Xiang, in the political world, reason is vital. I shall educate you on the topic as your senior on the topic.”
Fu Xiang was speechless. Fu Xiang was sixty this year while Long Zaitian couldn’t be more than forty at most. He was old enough to be Long Zaitian’s father, yet he was calling himself his senior? Long Zaitian was a brash man and looked brash for that matter. Fu Xiang placed heavy emphasis on looking after his appearance so he looked lively and energetic even though he wasn’t handsome. If they stood next to each other, you really wouldn’t be able to tell who’s older. He didn’t know what to verbally sling back at him so he just brushed it off.
Long Zaitian then said: “There’s no minister that doesn’t act. Ask his highness. Ask him if it’s common for us vassals to act. But your acting fails! You can’t get in over your head with your acting like that. You’ll make his highness angry like that. I can understand you accusing me of sowing discord, I mean, I get that you’re just trying to look good in front of his highness. But your tone is too overbearing. You’re going to ruin the harmonious atmosphere between us as colleagues. Am I right, your highness?”
Long Zaitian is seriously a scumbag. He actually went and accused me of acting in front of the orange prince.
Ministers acting and pretending in front of ruler is something that has always been done since the existence of imperial courts. But the court-veteran Long Zaitian could come up with all sorts of trickery. He’s even informed of the environment the orange prince grew up in so he was able to take advantage of the orange prince’s sensitive thoughts.
“Keke. It’s not good for there to be too much tension between colleagues. You are both important pillars of mine, so stop arguing.”
The orange prince helped neither side and instead suggested they stop. But then the orange prince went on to say: “Fu Xiang, you will be following me on my journey in the future. Calling yourself ‘this old man’ is kind of……” The orange prince said in a softer voice: “I’ll make you the military chief, so you should refer to yourself as ‘I’ in future.”
Fu Xiang was aware that a military chief was no insignificant rank. However, it was a far cry from Long Zaitian’s grand general of the front of the hall. And because the orange prince was the one who recruited Long Zaitian which dealt another blow to Fu Xiang’s arrogance. Fu Xiang couldn’t help but show his reluctance: “Thank you, your highness. I mean, your minister thanks you, your highness.”
With Long Zaitian stirring trouble like this, Fu Xiang knew that his achievements today might be reduced to naught. He couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed since he was skilled and was an intelligent individual in the pugilistic world where he had spent half of his life, and yet was felled by the schemes in the imperial court.
The orange prince ordered: “Alright, you’re all here. Report in to me one by one.”
The team-members came over one by one. They all squat down like they were taking a dump neatly in front of the orange prince.
Fu Xiang wanted to reclaim his glory with this group of men he trained. However, he turned gloomy when he saw their pale expressions and shortness of breath like they just escaped death.
Just as he was about to give them a hint, one of them reported in loudly like a ringing bell: “R-Reporting, your highness! Th-The fifth team is no more.”
“Uhm.” The orange prince nodded at first but then realised what he said, “Huh? No more?!”
Long Zaitian furiously grabbed an orange and tossed it with his Helmet Smasher Orange technique at the face the guy who reported in causing the guy to nearly pass out from the impact. Long Zaitian scolded: “Vanished?! I can’t believe you can lie like that! What sort of bullshit are you spouting when Emperor Cheng Kong’s ascension is right at hand today?! Say something that makes sense!”
The orange prince was more surprised than he was angry. But after hearing the three words “Emperor Cheng Kong”, he regained his composure. He then noticed that it was indeed a serious matter that couldn’t be neglected. He therefore naturally started to become unhappy with the members of Mystery. As a result of his actions, the orange prince saw Long Zaitian in a better light yet again. He felt that at the end of the day, Long Zaitian was a truly talented minister. My hand-picked general knows how to be considerate on my behalf. He scolded them before I could.
“Calm down, Minister Long. I understand that it’s common for people in the pugilistic world to be crude and brash.” That was Fu Xiang taking a dig at Long Zaitian. Fu Xiang’s expression changed a little and he felt momentum. He’s an old and prudent man. He’s not impulsive. The orange prince demanded: “Explain in detail what exactly happened.”
“R-Roger!” The guy crawled back up and stuttered: “When we went past that place and realised someone had gone in, we went in to take a look, but we were unexpectedly ambushed. I was the only remaining person in my team in the blink of an eye. I rushed to come back and report, and… and here I am.”
“Explain yourself properly!” Such a confusing explanation would make any listener bewildered. The orange prince frowned and said: “Do you know how important this is? There is no room for playing around here. Are you messing with me right now?”
Anger surfaced in the orange prince’s eyes. The guy was so frightened he straightened up. Long Zaitian stood up again and exclaimed: “That sounds stupider than a story of a horse taking a shit at a park! If the person standing before you wasn’t our generous, benevolent and modest Emperor Cheng Kong, your head would be rolling on the ground right now!”
“Yes! Yes! I! I!”
Fu Xiang knew that guy was a skilled fighter but poor with words, so he immediately picked a better speaker from another team: “You explain it. Explain to his highness what happened.”
He was a good talker alright. He quickly described the phenomenon their team witnessed while on their patrol, providing a time-stamp and precise location. They were searching for the emperor, but then they suddenly heard about it.
“The captain is missing.”
Their captain was Zhong Ning. He was in charge of managing these mercenaries, but then he suddenly disappeared. Since that was odd, the mercenaries searched for their captain whilst searching for their target, the emperor, thereby costing them a lot of time.
“We then ran into… that person. He sent us all flying out without evening raising a finger. We did not even see his face clearly. We… we do not even know if he is a human or a ghost. But we were attacked and thrown out as soon as we entered that place. And the members who were thrown out were all thrown out in an unconscious state. We could not wake them no matter what we tried. We were told to not let an entire team lose contact in training. Therefore, we are the last remaining member of our respective teams. As such, we rushed back here to report in.”
The orange prince finally understood the situation now. Zhong Ning is missing and his status is unknown. But based on what this guy reported, there’s somebody messing with him in the palace and knocked out a number of mercenaries. How dare they!
Today is my big day and yet someone dares to mess with me?! Does he think I have no men?!
The orange prince frowned and asked in a frustrated tone: “What’s the place you mentioned?”
The guy who reported in looked like he was in a dilemma. He stuttered: “A-At the imperial kitchen……”
When Master Cheng realised what he said, he picked up a tomato on the table and threw it at him, causing him to be covered in tomato juice.
“The imperial kitchen?! How could there be a skilled fighter at the imperial kitchen?! What are your men doing?!”
“N-No, it is true.” The guy with his face covered in tomato juice continued: “That person is at the imperial kitchen. He is very skilled. One punch and……”
“One punch the fuck what?! A skilled fighter from the imperial kitchen?”
The orange prince jumped up and down like a rabbit trying to reach an eagle in the sky and kicked the unlucky mercenary in the face, leaving him with a bloody mouth. The generous, benevolent and modest Emperor Cheng Kong finally lost it and got aggressive.
“Don’t fucking bullshit me!”
*I can imagine that the first section about ways of referring to yourself is tiring to read to you. As you may already know, there are heaps of ways of referring to yourself in the Chinese imperial court. Essentially, they’re talking about a number of different ways, which in this case are essentially
Both of them basically mean “I” in English. The difference being, the first one is used by officials and ministers, while the second one is used by elderly males who aren’t officials. In the imperial court, you should be referring to yourself based on your role in the palace, such as a minister, servant, eunuch, prince etc. For sanity purposes and reading efficiency, I will revert to using “I” for all subjects unless I must differentiate like in this chapter.