Editor: Areth Kyntaul
Fuma, Don’t Curse Me
Jin Wangsun gawked at Princess Hongzhuang for a full fifteen minutes before shifting his gaze away. If he didn’t happen to be her fiancé, specifically, the warriors of Jinluan Hall would’ve apprehended him.
Jin Wangsun cleared his throat, regained his composure and then lowered his head to look at the broken bits of iron in his hand.
He seemed to be shocked. The loud sound made when the iron hit the ground indicated that it was obviously very heavy.
‘What’s this punk acting like it’s a big deal about?’
I heard him mutter “My Yun Tou. My Yun Tou.” or something or other. I had no idea what his muttering had to do with the broken bits of iron that were hidden inside the iron vat…
We’ve only met for a short time, but this new Master Jin of the Gold and Silver Sect is a clown to me. The only difference is that he’s a rich clown.
The emperor cleared his throat as well and then got down to business.
“Cough, cough. In short, Wangsun, I called you here because I had something to say to you. Your wedding agreement is genuine and I did, indeed, say that to your father. However, I only have three princesses. Jingan married off a long time ago. Airu is too young and is not yet ready for marriage. The only one among my daughters who is at a suitable age for marriage is Hongzhuang.”
Jin Wangsun formed a cupped-fist salute and responded, “I was already aware of that. That is why I asked you to betroth Princess Hongzhuang to me, Your Majesty. According to the rules of this dynasty, Princess Hongzhuang cannot marry an official. Wangsun may have succeeded the Gold and Silver Sect and I refer to myself as your vassal, but, as you are fully aware;, I do not hold an official post.”
“Furthermore, the Gold and Silver Sect does not have a bad reputation in the pugilistic world. With many years of history, we are also well established. Additionally, Wangsun’s family is adequate, financially, so it is a guarantee that Princess Hongzhuang will not have to suffer after marrying into my family. If you could kindly fulfil Wangsun’s request, then it will definitely be a beautiful romance.”
As a means of avoiding the royal family from losing power, there is a rule enforced in this dynasty which forbids officials from marrying children of the royal family. This was to prevent them growing their power in the harem. The current empress is, indeed, from a family of commoners, but her father is a hegemon in the martial world.
Hence, ever since the establishment of the dynasty, princes and princesses commonly married into the family of commoners, which was then referred to as examples of free love.
The family of the two lovers made the calls, even if the two were compatible. However, if the two of them loved each other, oftentimes, they still managed to have their wishes fulfilled; in spite of huge discrepancies in status and family backgrounds. There were many cases like this in the current dynasty.
‘In my opinion; Though I don’t know what the emperor’s ancestors were like, I know for sure that our reigning emperor is going to crawl through every crack and exploit every loophole.’
‘He’s got seven sons. Six of his seven son’s mothers are from families in the martial world. He’s basically playing edge ball with the ‘commoner family girls’ stipulation.’
‘The empress is the daughter of Blue Sky Swordsman, Ling Hanzhong, Mount Lu Sword Sanctuary’s master. Mount Lu Sword Sanctuary is the first-ranked sect among the Seven Champion White Princes. All of the disciples of the sect are experts with the sword and know unarmed martial arts.’
‘Can you imagine an army of over ten thousand people all being brave generals? That’s why they are considered on equal footing with the two big powerhouses Wudang and Shaolin in the martial world.’
‘You call someone with that sort of background a “commoner’s daughter?’ What do you expect the girls that are actually from commoner families to do?!”
‘With that said, though the emperor plays edge ball, he’s quite open-minded with his children. After all, Princess Jingan’s Fuma is… Sigh, my heart aches when I speak of it.’
‘In short, ever since the establishment of this dynasty, princesses had the right to choose who they married.’
‘But on the other hand… The ordinary people who were unwilling to marry a princess were doomed. They had no right to refuse if the princess liked them. In other words, if a princess liked a guy that passed by…’
‘Simply speaking, it’s no different to thugs in the mountains kidnapping a girl back to his home to make her his wife.’
The emperor stroked his beard, “Of course. Of course. Your Gold and Silver Sect has always been wealthy. I am not worried about that, either.”
He glanced at Princess Hongzhuang, out of the corner of his eye, to see her looking distracted and not giving a single care for Jin Wangsun.
Jin Wangsun looked over to her cold attitude and felt tremendously disappointed himself.
The emperor sighed to himself. All he could say was, “I understand your good intention, Wangsun. It is just that I cannot do anything about it at the moment.”
Jin Wangsun replied with astonishment, “How so?”
“You must not know then, Wangsun.” The emperor stroked his beard and spoke with utmost sincerity. In no capacity, did he appear to be trying to humour him. He was without a doubt, the emperor.
“A month ago, I didn’t know you would come, nor did I know you would come to the capital to ask for my daughter’s hand in marriage.
As such, I betrothed her to another, in front of everybody.
Jin Wangsun frowned. It was clear he was unaware of it, “Oh? May I ask who you betrothed Princess Hongzhuang to?”
‘The fun is about to start. I thought I missed out on a verbal annihilation show, but then, what do you know? I get one right away. I’m all smiles here.’
The emperor replied bluntly, “The Fuma candidate was selected from the Imperial Martial Arts Tournament. He is, like my Fuma Jingan, perfect, with nothing to pick on. He defeated fierce fighters and remained undefeated at the tournament. That is what caught my attention.”
I replayed the event to myself.
‘I remember… I was smacked flying in my fight with Fu Xiang. I don’t remember what happened with Tang Ye’s match against Long Zaitian, but I remember Su Xiao beat Ye Luo.’
‘Could it be…?’
The emperor then asked, “Bai Ling, what is the first requirement for a Fuma?”
Bai Ling answered properly, “Good appearance, good posture and good character.”
“Correct. As a Fuma, one must have a good appearance and character. After all, I can’t have my grandchildren looking demented, right?”
‘Even if the princess has the right to choose who she marries, the emperor can’t marry her off to someone looking hideous, right? The pride and dignity of the royal family is very important.’
The emperor did well in that aspect. All the ladies he married were beautiful maidens, which is why all the princes and princesses looked decent. The Orange Prince, who was just apprehended, is also a handsome flower boy.
“Fortunately, the two candidates this time…”
The emperor’s gaze slowly swept over Jin Wangsun, Tang Ye, Su Xiao and then finally me.
“Erm… Aren’t bad.”
‘Hey! Why did you stop after looking at me?! Was that a profane remark directed at me?!!’
‘But good appearance, good posture and good character, huh? Who else could there be but him? My, my! Appearance is the key when it matters!’
I took two steps over and patted Su Xiao on his shoulder. He reacted by tilting his head in confusion. His cuteness was indescribable.
“Congratulations. Congratulations, Fuma Su.”
“Piss off. Stop messing. I didn’t win the Imperial Martial Arts Tournament!”
“You had the best record. Don’t curse. I got your back. I’ll invite the Three Letters and Six Rites on your behalf.”
Su Xiao frowned beautifully, “Ming Feizhen, are you picking a fight?! Hmph! I’m not talking to you anymore.”
Su Xiao appeared to be quite unhappy. He pouted his small mouth and turned his head away.
‘Careful, Fuma Su… You’re even prettier than the princess. Careful, lest somebody destroys your face.’
Jin Wangsun appeared to have had his competitive nature stirred. He wore a long face and asked, “Can this individual compare to the Gold and Silver Sect, and Wangsun, to you, Your Majesty?”
The emperor smiled, “For him to be worthy of being my Fuma, of course, he has a good character and outstanding family background.”
“Needless to say, you also fit that criterion.”
“The victor is highly skilled, just, and upright, and is also from one of the strongest and prominent sects in the martial world. He makes for a strong competitor for you in every aspect.”
‘I see.’ I slapped my thigh.
That means it’s not Su Xiao, then. Su Xiao’s family runs a martial arts school in Suzhou. They don’t remotely fit the ‘strong and prominent sect’ description.
‘That means it’s Tang Ye, then!’
Tang Ye’s father came from Beihai’s powerful Mingjing Palace.
‘Fufufu. He’s tough competition, all right.’
I bounced over to Tang Ye’s side.
“Fuma Tang, remember to look after me in the future. Call me into the palace for braised pork shoulders.”
“…” Tang Ye lingered for a moment before scanning me, “Look out for yourself.”
‘Su Xiao getting angry was tough to understand, but why is Tang Ye spewing enlightened speech that’s difficult to decipher today?’
The emperor then looked over to me and smiled, “He defeated all his opponents, and rose to fame at the Flying Fish Pavilion. Those who have seen him can support my claim. I am not bluffing.”
I looked to the emperor with a smile and responded, “You are right, Your Majesty.”
Jin Wangsun then asked with astonishment, “Really?”
He looked around and then, with a smile, continued, “Your Majesty, you did not find a senior who has been famous for a while, did you? According to what Wangsun knows, among the young warriors of the Imperial Court who have achievements under their belt, besides the Qilin Guard God of Battle Yi Ya, there is no other that can match Wangsun. Your Majesty, Princess Hongzhuang is a beauty in her prime. Would you bear to betroth her to an old man, decades older than her?”
The emperor looked at me with a smile, “The individual I speak of is powerful. He is a handsome, young man.”
I nodded exaggeratedly.
All I was missing was a fan to fan myself with.
“You are right, Your Majesty!” I said.
The emperor seemed very pleased. He continued as if he was singing a duet with me, “It is true that I made a promise to your Jin family, Wangsun, but I also made a promise to the victor of the Imperial Martial Arts Tournament. My promises clash, so I am in a dilemma, too.”
I nodded, “It’s hard. It’s hard. You are right. You are right!”
Jin Wangsun couldn’t hold it anymore, “May I ask who this individual is, Your Majesty?”
“He is in the hall!”
“You are right!”
The emperor suddenly pointed at me.
“Him, Ming Feizhen! He is a third-generation disciple of the powerful and renowned sect in the martial world, Mount Daluo. He hails from a famous sect. Fuma Candidate Ming!”
I smiled ecstatically. As soon as I heard Fuma, I blurted, “You are right, Your Majesty!”
The hall would’ve gone silent all of a sudden if not for the echo of my sentence…
‘Damn, that was fucking awkward.’
I felt as though the time and air had frozen.
Countless eyes turned to look at me as if thousands of arrows were fired at me.
I sluggishly looked toward the emperor.
He wore a look of disbelief as though he was a victim. He looked like I kidnapped his daughter with his sad, droopy face.
“I didn’t believe it, initially. There was no victor at the Imperial Martial Arts Tournament. However, he was the only one whose opponents either lost or died before fighting him. The members of the Black Winds Thirteen Wings who were meant to fight him all died, too.”
“I went over the results many times, and he is the only qualified contestant. He won without fighting. He’s a young man close to the level of Qilin’s God of Battle, Liu Shan’s Plague, Ming Feizhen!”
‘Say that one more fucking time, and we’re going to have a death match Mr. Li!’
Su Xiao poked his head over and bluntly said, “I only found out when I heard Old Huang’s conversation.”
‘I want to cry, but I have no tears! Even old Huang knew more than I did!!’
‘Your Machesty!! You played me!!!’