Editor: Areth Kyntaul
The Long Road to the Meeting with the Emperor (Part 2)
“Crying? What does her crying have to do with me? I’m walking on this street right now. You don’t look too bad, so I suggest you run along. I won’t stoop down to your level.”
Su Xiao ignored him and tried to comfort the girl in his arms. It didn’t take long for him to get her to stop crying and smile.
“Big sis, that man is so mean.”
“Yeah, I know. Having a brain is a good thing, except his brain has a problem. Also, I’m not ‘big sis’, but ‘big brother’.”
The young girl leaned onto Su Xiao’s chest. She smelt the scent on him and then titled her small head, “Big sis? Big brother?”
The man in white coldly asked, “Who did you say has a problem with their brain?”
Su Xiao stroked the girl’s soft hair and without looking at him replied, “Whoever doesn’t know how to make a turn is the one who has a problem with his brain. The road is public property. What right does one have to belittle people because they have some extra spare change? If people can’t respect others, all the money in the world is useless, right?”
The young girl smiled, “Uhm! Yup!”
The man in white snickered and then took out a broken piece of gold. He gently dropped it onto the ground. The hawkers in the distance with sharp eyes immediately ran over. Others behind them followed suit, resulting in a cluster of people fighting for it.
“See? It’s not that I look down on them, but that they are willing to take my money. Do they need respect?”
Su Xiao still refused to look at him, “My gosh, and he claims he has a brain. Of course, people are going to pick up money thrown onto the road. Even three-year-olds know that. I wonder which hole such a big ignorant fellow crawled out from.”
The people snatching the gold instantly burst out in laughter.
Although they found it funny, they did indeed view this wealthy man as a sucker using the money to make himself look good. They had nothing remotely close to respect for him. To the contrary, they felt he was overwhelmingly stupid.
The man in white got embarrassed, so he snorted, “Fine, if that’s how you want to play then there’s no point being polite with you.”
With a raise of the hand from the man in white, Su Xiao suddenly felt his feet gliding, so he swiftly focused his qi downwards to stabilise his body.
Ming Feizhen had taught Su Xiao some internal style mental cultivation techniques, so Su Xiao made big improvements this month. The man struck him with a vacuum palm strike, but that didn’t move him.
The man in white’s expression changed, “I couldn’t tell you knew martial arts. So you were deliberately picking a fight with me, then!”
As soon as he finished making his remark, he threw another swift palm strike. With the child in his arms, Su Xiao was unable to move nimbly, so he didn’t evade. He was bound to get hit with the palm strike. However, the man in white then felt a sharp wind and his body headed backwards.
The man in white didn’t lose his cool. He steadied his elbow, moved his palm downwards in a semi-circle and then precisely palmed Princess Hongzhuang’s wooden sabre.
Princess Hongzhuang wanted to teach him a lesson before Su Xiao appeared, so when she saw Su Xiao and the child in a pinch, she naturally went to their aid.
Seeing that he had help, Su Xiao quickly carried the child away from the battle.
Princess Hongzhuang slashed thrice consecutively with an average amount of force behind them.
The man in white was a sabre user himself, so he was aware that she was skilled and thus didn’t dare to contest it with his bare hands again. However, he evaded pathetically. He then hastily made a turn and used his sheath to guard her attack.
Princess Hongzhuang found out that her opponent possessed profound internal strength and a very solid martial arts foundation with those three slashes. She concluded that if they were to officially fight, then it was bound to be an intense fight.
Despite possessing a body considered to be precious, Princess Hongzhuang had practised martial arts from a young age and never used her status to push people around in fights.
She tightened her grip on her wooden sabre and then focused her eyes.
The man in white frowned when he saw the princess. He scanned her as though he was trying to determine the authenticity of an item.
Seeing the way he ran his gaze up her long legs to her slender waist, up to her breasts, where his eyes lit up, caused Princess Hongzhuang’s hairs to stand up.
“Heh, I never thought I’d see the female lead before the show.”
The princess had no idea what he was talking about, but she saw him draw his sabre at his waist.
True to her assumption, that expensive and resplendent sabre was better suited to be used as decoration. Though the handle was made of gold, the blade was blunt.
“Since we’ve met, how about seeing who’s stronger. Let see if I can control you.”
She paid no heed to what he said. Once the man in white drew his sabre, his aura instantly changed, making him much more imposing. He made a quick slash.
Princess Hongzhuang raised her blade to intercept it without a second thought. The two blades clashed loudly and then the two took a step back each.
Both of them were surprised with each other and made remarks to themselves.
The man in white said, ‘I heard that she was just eighteen or nineteen this year, yet her sabre skills are so refined. She is indeed a rare find.’
Princess Hongzhuang, on the other hand, said to herself, ‘His sabre looks luxurious and flamboyant, basically just a blade. In reality, however, the sabre matches his style. His sabre is best suited to close-quarters combat.’
The man in white raised his sabre and went at her again. He was much faster than he was last time.
Surprisingly, Princess Hongzhuang kept up with all of is attacks.
Their blades clashed and then disengaged. They competed in vision, arm strength, overall strength, speed, precision through their exchanges, which soon resembled a tornado.
They exchanged moves so swiftly it was akin to a string of fireworks going off on New Year. Before they knew it, they had traded over two hundred blows.
The man in white noticed that his opponent wasn’t tired in the least and detected her vitality rising through her strong blows, which were signs that she possessed profound inner strength and thus was not to be underestimated. He made a vicious attack and then suddenly retreated.
Princess Hongzhuang didn’t give chase, instead watching him to see what he was up to.
The man in white took three steps back and then tossed the expensive sabre aside. He shouted, “Bring me Yun Tou!”
His six slaves immediately took out a box from the carriage. They took out a large grey sabre. The blade was thick, wide and looked very heavy. That made it obvious the sabre was intended to be used for strong attacks.
He took the sabre and snickered, “Now is your chance to surrender!”
He raised his large sabre up and quickly slashed like a gust of wind. That was a strong strike.
Princess Hongzhuang realised something was wrong when she intercepted the slash, but it was too late to regret by then.
The techniques he used with the large sabre were akin to running water, in that he attacked continuously with no breaks.
Princess Hongzhuang got pushed back by his attacks and didn’t dare to take his attacks head on. She herself was fine, but her wooden sabre had nearly been shaved down to a pick. The superiority of their weapons was determined before who was stronger was determined.
The sabre was large, thick, heavy and sharp while Princess Hongzhuang’s wooden sabre relied on her speed. Her sabre wasn’t thick, so it could stand the blunt blade, but it was hopeless against this large sabre.
Princess Hongzhuang was on her way to the palace, so she didn’t bring the sabre she usually carried with her.
It was unlikely she’d be able to take three attacks from the large sabre with her wooden sabre if she wasn’t reinforcing it with her qi. However, she was now unable to keep up, allowing the man in white to chop it apart.
The man in white got excited as he fought. He didn’t stop even after seeing that his opponent had lost.
He shouted, “Your skills are atrocious!”
He slashed vigorously eight times consecutively, surrounding Princess Hongzhuang.
Not daring to intercept the blade with her body, the princess was forced to step back. The blade swung past as though it was trying to cut her clothes open.
“How dare you!!”
The man in white suddenly felt a hot attack like fire come from behind. He didn’t know what it was. He pulled his blade back to defend himself first. He saw a man dressed in a navy robe that was borderline black.
The man had an upright posture and looked handsome. The man struck at him with a palm strike from a foot away. The palm strike was akin to fire.
He shouted, “Insolence! Do you know where you are and who this is?!”
The man glided through the air like an eagle and landed stably between him and Hongzhuang.
The man in white knew he was the one that attacked him. He suddenly decided to switch hands, passing his sabre to his left hand and attacking with a reverse grip.
The newcomer didn’t expect his style to have such a unique twist, so he quickly retreated, but he used the Red Sleeve Sabre Art “Li Era Stiff Peach” before he was cornered.
The sabre attack was enveloped in darkness and light, leading to the man in white to suddenly change and stop.
Princess Hongzhuang was relieved to have his assistance, but she also knew that the man in white would attack again, so she quickly started moulding energy to fight again.
However, the man in white suddenly stopped. He took a big step back and put some distance between them. He swung his sabre in a way that made it look as though his blade was on fire and that he could throw at them at any moment. The heat around then vanished.
The man in white frowned, “Red Sleeve Sabre! Who are you? What’s your relationship to the Canyon of Yearning’s Bai family?”
The school he came from has been in a friendly relationship with the Canyon of Yearning for many years. Therefore, he had to clear things up, or else things could turn out bad.
“That has nothing to do with you.”
The young man in the purple robe that looked navy before with a cold expression was Tang Ye.
Su Xiao’s silhouette could be seen behind Tang Ye. Of course, Su Xiao was the one who went and called Tang Ye for help. Su Xiao had never seen the princess, but Tang Ye had seen her in the palace.
He saw the princess fighting and had to get involved, as she was about to lose. It’d be fine if she won, but he couldn’t just watch and let her get bullied.
Tang Ye stared at the man in white and bluntly asked, “Did you know that the girl you fought with is the current second princess, Princess Hongzhuang? Who are you? How dare you swing your weapon at her?”
The man in white glanced at Tang Ye with interest, “Who I am has nothing to do with you. And who are you?”
Tang Ye stood in front of the princess and replied, “A constable from Liu Shan Men, Tang Ye.”
The man in white froze for a moment and then laughed out loud. He casually threw his sabre away, and his people behind him caught it.
“Hahahaha, I thought you were some bigwig, but you’re just a constable? Your Red Sleeve Sabre is incredible, but I’ve already researched it thoroughly. I’m not afraid of your Dark and Light Manual.”
Tang Ye responded indifferently, “You can try me. I look for fights every day. How about giving me a try?”
The man in white revealed an eager expression, but then his people suddenly came up to him from behind and told him, “Master, you might be late.”
The man in white looked at the sky and worried a little. He couldn’t miss his appointment today. And so, he snickered, “You’re Tang Ye? I remember you now. We can fight next time.”
He then swept his gaze over to Princess Hongzhuang’s beautiful face and couldn’t help laughing, “Beautiful, we’ll meet again soon. We’ll have to do something about your fiery temper when we do. Hahahaha.”
Princess Hongzhuang hurled her sabre handle at him and fumed, “If it were not for my sabre being inferior, you might not have been able to beat me!”
Su Xiao suddenly came out from behind her and exclaimed, “Exactly! Exactly! You don’t fight fair!”
The man in white looked up at the sky as he laughed. He then sat back on his carriage and left. Surprisingly, he was headed in the direction of the palace.
Tang Ye watched him leave. He then turned around and knelt before the princess, “Your Highness, please forgive me for being late.”
Seeing his mannerisms, Su Xiao suddenly raised his voice like a thunderclap, “Th-This maiden is the second princess?!”
“What ‘maiden’? You’re supposed to address her as ‘Her Highness.’”
Su Xiao quickly took a step back and went to salute her, but Princess Hongzhuang calmly said, “It’s fine. We’re outside the palace, so you don’t need to salute me. Thank you for your help back there. I don’t know what would’ve become of me, otherwise.”
Princess Hongzhunag looked at Tang Ye and nodded, “You’re Tang Ye. I’ve heard of you. I heard that you came from Mingjing Palace in Beihai. I heard that you defeated Tie Hanyi at the Imperial Martial Arts Tournament and that you are even stronger than Long Zaitian. I see that your reputation is true after witnessing your skills today. You are superior to me in empty-hand combat. You did very well at the Flying Fish Pavilion and the Imperial Study. I will report this to my father after some time. You will definitely receive a handsome reward.”
“Thank you, Your Highness.”
The princess then looked at Su Xiao, but she looked at his military official uniform with suspicion.
“Miss, you are…”
“I am not a girl!” Su Xiao then quickly went to explain, “Your Highness… I… I am Su Xiao. I am working at Liu Shan Men. Umm, umm… I am a Baihu.”
Su Xiao isn’t used to announcing himself as an official, thereby causing the princess to giggle at the end of his explanation.
Su Xiao didn’t feel awkward, though. He just poked his tongue out with embarrassment as he, too, giggled.
Princess Hongzhuang then responded, “You’re Su Xiao? I know of you, too.”
“You know of me, Your Highness?”
Princess Hongzhuang pursed her lips into a smile, “The eunuchs, maids and even the harem, basically anybody who has seen you, is full of nothing but praise for you. They say you look like Pan An and the prettiest official of our dynasty. Hmm, Let’s see, I think that’s an understatement. If you were to dress up, not even girls could compare to you.”
Su Xiao scratched his white cheek and replied as though he was in a dilemma, “I am not that great.”
“In my opinion, the rumours are still not accurate. You are kind. You put your own safety aside to save a child. That is a rare virtue. I hold that in high regard. Baihu Su, if you run into any trouble in the future, don’t hesitate to come and see me.”
Su Xiao felt like he found a strong backer after what he heard, so he quickly thanked her, “Thank you, Your Highness!”
“Seeing that the two of you were walking this street, are you planning to enter the palace?”
Tang Ye responded respectfully, “His Majesty has ordered us to come and see him. As such, we are on our way to the palace now.”
Princess Hongzhuang smiled and said, “I thought so. That’d be about the only reason you’d be heading this way at this time. How about going with me, since we’re walking on the same street?”
Before Tang Ye could reply, Su Xiao nodded with a smile, “Sure! I heard lots of girls in the palace say that you were a good person, and you really are. That child and I would have gotten hurt if you did not help us back there.”
Princess Hongzhuang froze for a moment. She had dropped the princess mannerisms, but Su Xiao completely tossed their difference in status out the window to walk next to her in a relaxed manner.
Tang Ye watched the two of them walk away. He then looked at the sky and said to himself, ‘Big bro, it’s not me that didn’t wait for you, but Su Xiao.’
He then quickly went to catch up with them.
*A “vacuum palm” is where you palm the air and then the wind itself attacks you. If you read Naruto, it’s the exact same as Hinata’s move.