Editor: Areth Kyntaul
Search for Lord Shan Shen
The air smelt like three-day-old dog shit; dry and astringent.
His Machesty stared at me for a long time before smiling helplessly, “No wonder why Yiren said you are a man without restraints and cannot be viewed with common sense. She said you are unpredictable, and commonly say things that surprise people.”
I scratched my head, “Boss Shen praised me like that?”
“Boss? Heh, only you would dare to address Yiren like that.” The emperor wore a look of nostalgia in his eyes.
“You were able to see through the Black Winds Thirteen Wings arrangements and come up with a plan for Yiren to have Long Zaitian neutralise Thorn Tears using poison. Though those feats of yours were not publicised, I do know that you are a talented man that can handle big jobs.”
“Frankly, I don’t like you at all.” His Machesty glared daggers at me, again, after he finished speaking, “Because I had a man who served at my side just like you, back then, but his greed got the better of him and he violated the law. In the end, he threw himself into the abyss. You two are identical in a lot of ways.”
‘His Machesty must be talking about the living treasure Yan Shisan. I’m surprised to hear that His Machesty hasn’t let go of that after so many years. It looks like Old Yan will have to continue waiting before he can return.’
“However, I have also come to realise that it’s not right to treat you like that. You are you; he is he. I can’t cut off a young man’s future because I mind what somebody did in the past.”
The emperor then suddenly raised his arm up and went to reach for my shoulder.
I unconsciously evaded by shifting my shoulder downwards.
However, His Machesty didn’t stop. Instead, he struck at me with a powerful palm strike. He struck at me using just his arm strength alone without moving his. But, but it was enough to show that His Machesty was an expert at both internal and external strength techniques.
I didn’t dare to slack.
I utilised Taji Fist, which I learnt from the uncle planting vegetables at the foot of Wudang Mountain. Unfortunately, I had forgotten a few moves, so I had shoved a few random palm strike moves from Mount Daluo into the mix. I’m different to Tang Ye. I fail to remember techniques, so my fighting style doesn’t look aesthetic.
However, my strength was enough to withstand His Machesty’s internal strength, so he didn’t hurt me.
He then suddenly retracted his arm and stepped back before nodding as an out of this world expert would.
His Machesty stroked his beard, “Not bad, not bad. It’s quite impressive for you to have such splendid skills at your age.”
‘Can we just talk properly without the theatricals? I had over two hundred opportunities to knock you flying into the toilet of Kunning Palace, Your Machesty.’
His Machesty then said, “You have enough internal energy. You are the disciple of a reputable sect, no doubt. It’s just that your skills are terrible. There’s virtually no firepower, just as Yiren told me. You possess good vision and quick hands, and you also react fast. As long as you’re willing to train diligently, I guarantee you’ll be able to rank in the Seventeen Hidden Dragons.”
I submissively tucked my chin, “I was born lazy. I have no patience for martial arts training, so I am afraid I will not amount to much. As such, I am afraid I will disappoint your kindness.”
His Machesty dodged the topic, “You come from Mount Daluo?”
His Machesty nodded, “You’re not actually similar to the person I’m thinking off, but more similar to one of the people in your sect. I think you know who I’m talking about.”
“You would not be talking about…”
“Your Patriarch, Yuhua of the World, Ming Huayu.”
‘I knew it!’
‘I don’t understand why everybody who is my senior always says I’m like my shifu when they see me. How are we similar in any capacity?! My shifu likes visiting brothels and hitting on girls, while I like eating pears and pork shoulders!!’
“Perhaps it is a unique characteristic you people of Mount Daluo possess. I don’t blame you. I called you here for a job I need you to do. You must do your best.”
His Machesty’s gaze then became serious, “Do you know of the Divine Moon Cult?”
‘Hmm? I feel like this topic is going in a direction that’s bad news for me…’
But it would be even stranger for me to claim I don’t know of it. The Demon Sect is the nemesis of disciples of orthodox sects.
“Your Machesty, that is a Demon Sect.”
“Correct. Have you heard of the legend of the Demon Sect’s Lord San Shen?”
‘This is bad news for me!!’
“That makes things easier, then.” His Machesty nodded with a grim expression. He then acted extremely mysterious.
He suppressed his voice as he said, “I have a huge secret to tell you. Not many people know this secret, so you must promise to keep a tight lid on it. If it spreads, I’ll have your head.”
“Oh, oh! Yes!”
“Good. I won’t hide it from you anymore. Last month, the Orange Prince revolted and brought incredibly formidable assassins in. Nobody in the Imperial City could defeat the assassins. The princess almost got killed by the assassins.”
“Fortunately, a man came to our rescue at the last minute. Not only did he defeat the assassins and save myself, along with a number of high-ranking officials, but he also rescued Princess Hongzhuang, whose life was hanging in the balance.”
I nodded in a completely ignorant manner, “Oh…”
“Said person was Lord San Shen of the Demon Sect!”
The emperor smacked his own thigh with regret, “Unfortunately, I was immobilised at the time. My meridians were sealed not long after I could use my martial arts, again, or else that punk Lord San Shen wouldn’t have gotten to do anything. Unfortunately, he was successful. After that… Hong’er has yearned for him all the time.”
I reacted with shock, “Huh?! The Princess… likes me, I mean, our nemesis Lord Shan Shen?”
“That’s right. You know that the Demon Sect is the nemesis of the Imperial Court. There is no way we will have peace between us. Further, I have already made up my mind to marry Hong’er to a heroic disciple of an orthodox sect, so Hong’er’s feelings for him will just be a fantasy.”
I nodded, “So you want me to come up with a way to make the Princess forget him?”
“No. The exact opposite, in fact.” His Machesty thought to himself for a moment before explaining, “I want you to help me find Lord San Shen.”
I was caught off guard.
His Machesty continued, “Hong’er misses him every day. I know her temperament. All is well if she has no feelings. What I’m most afraid of is that her feelings will be etched into her heart and she will yearn for him forever, despite not being able to be with him. That will only make her life miserable. I would never want for that.”
His Machesty looked like a kind father as he went on, “Hence, I want you to find Lord San Shen’s location, even if it’s just a small hint. I know that you know the schools and sects of the pugilistic world and are very smart. I know about Mount Daluo playing to both sides with the orthodox and unorthodox sects. I won’t restrict you from using any method. Do your best to locate him for me. Arrange for him to meet with Hong’er, so that she can lose any ideas. Consider it my compensation for not being able to let her have her way, I guess.”
The emperor gave him a heavy pat on my shoulder. His gaze was filled with hope and expectation.
I blankly repeated the job, “You want me… to go and find Lord San Shen?”
I patted the emperor’s large hands and nodded firmly. I then responded with a firm gaze, “Your Majesty, you have a keen eye for talent!”
The vassal and monarch met with each other’s eyes. There was no need to say anymore.
After a long while, His Machesty smiled and said, “You’re a good man. You’re much better than your Patriarch, who’s never sensible.”
Just when I was excited about the compliment, the emperor suddenly let out a breath of relief, “I thought you’d ask for some reward. All the people of Mount Daluo are money mongers.”
‘Fuck! I forgot about it!!’
‘My heart is bleeding! I finally had the fortune of having a true dragon coming to me to bless me! I was so focused on talking about some father daughter love, I forgot about the reward part. How puzzling. What’s their father and daughter business have to do with me?!’
“Additionally, Ming Feizhen, there was initially no need for this, but I have another problem I can’t untangle at the moment that I need to discuss with you.”
Thus, His Machesty gave me an overview of how he made a promise to betroth a princess to the Gold and Silver Sect, and how Jin Wangsun came to the conference today to ask for Princess Hongzhuang’s hand in marriage.
Now I understand why the new master of the Gold and Silver Sect came into the capital today in a grandeur fashion and caused a commotion in the city.
‘So it turns out that he was trying to come in flaunting himself. Was he trying to be powerful and prestigious when asking for her hand in marriage?’
His Machesty then told me about his plan.
“I didn’t have an idea, but I remembered the Imperial Martial Arts Tournament when I saw you!”
“Oh?” I circled with my eyes and then suddenly understood what the emperor meant. I smiled mischievously, “Your Machesty, that idea of yours is really underhanded!”
His Machesty made a cupped fist salute, “Hahaha. You’re too kind. You’re too kind.”
What His Machesty meant couldn’t be any clearer. He promised to betroth the Princess to the winner of the Imperial Martial Arts Tournament at the tournament.
I lost to Fu Xiang, so I was eliminated, but there were lots of other people who weren’t yet eliminated.
Some of them are still in Jinluan Hall right now. That includes Tang Ye and Su Xiao. His Machesty wants to find a few shields for Jin Wangsun’s attack.
‘Oh shit! Congratulations you two Fumas. There’ll be a fun show to watch, in a bit. I’m not going to miss out!’
*The part where Ming Feizhen reacts: “Huh?! The Princess… likes me, I mean, our nemesis Lord Shan Shen?”
In Chinese, “I” is written 我 (wo; third tone) and “we” is written 我们, so when Ming Feizhen slipped up, all he did was add the second character to cover his slip up. Unfortunately, “me” and “our” have no resemblance whatsoever, so it was impossible for me to keep it intact.
**The “true dragon” reference, is a reference to the emperor. Emperor’s wore robes with dragon designs and metaphorically associated with dragons. It’s nomenclature.