Editor: Areth Kyntaul
Talent of Night Fortress
The muscly guy who was dressed up as an Indian in torn and tattered clothing, but couldn’t change his refined demeanour, was my Second Brother who was once a beggar, Hong Jiu.
The people of the pugilistic world call him ‘Chrysanthemum that blooms and overshadows the flowers,’ ‘The King of Hell wants me to die at midnight, but I’ll be able to seek death until sunset,’ and ‘Number One Death Seeking Lunatic of the North’, for his skills in seeking death were not to be underestimated.
Of course, not only was he born with the skill to seek death but was also amazingly talented and had poor luck. In other words, he could seek death, but he couldn’t run. He could win fights, but that wasn’t necessarily good.
My Grand-master was well versed at reading fortunes.
One time, when he was reading my fortune, he shouted, “Be wary of women,” then suddenly paused before shouting, “And men!”
I froze upon hearing him.
When he read my Second Brother’s fortune after that, he shouted “Nine lifetimes of misery! You’ve got another eight to go!”
As a result, it became publicly acknowledged that my Second Brother was the unluckiest around.
With that said, I can’t confirm if the fortunes he proclaimed were genuine or not. That’s because when he was with my Shifu, he shouted, “Your mother is boomshakalaka. Your mother is boomshakalaka.” Not only did he not figure anything out, he ended up teaching my Second Brother a few curse phrases, too, which led to him loving to say this phrase.
However, it was a fact that his luck was poor.
He got busted without question, whenever he worked as a spy, definitely got caught whenever he tried to dine and run, and enemy reinforcements would arrive just in the nick of time when he won fights.
I’ve seen people with luck that bad before, except they were antagonists in picture books.
Sometimes he’s so miserable that I don’t even dare to approach him, out of fear that it’ll rub off on me and I’ll be unlucky for months on end.
“We’ve been here in the Capital for several days now and finally saw our Senior Brother.” He revealed a spooky mysterious look as he spoke, “And he was bringing along such a pretty girl. Comrades, does this look right to you?”
The other two transformed Indians, who looked as though they were a part of some shady organisation, responded in unison, “No!!”
“The Master must have a plan in mind to leave us, and stay in the capital.”
My Second Brother let out a sinister chuckle, “In my opinion, he’s here for this woman. Look at her. Not only is she beautiful, but she’s got a milk-white perky butt and amazingly long legs. Senior Brother loves this best. Fufufu, something is strange.”
‘Hey! Don’t suddenly go talking shit about me! What do you mean I love long white legs…? Okay, I admit I like checking them out, but every man likes that, doesn’t he?!!’
My Third Brother still moved slowly, just as he did back then. He still wore his glasses with the golden string. He nodded and took his time with his response, “Indeed.”
My Fourth Brother appeared to have grown up a bit. He should be twenty-two this year but was still as awkward and simple-minded as before.
Somewhat angry, he replied, “Of course not! Senior Brother likes Martial Grandaunt. How could he be with another girl?”
My heart suddenly felt heavy, upon hearing him say Martial Grandaunt.
Their so-called Martial Grandaunt is my Shiyi. Come to think of it; I’m the only one who can call her Shiyi.
Second Brother glared at Fourth Brother, “You sound as if you’re worried that nobody will hear you. Is Martial Grandaunt’s matter something we can share with the outside world? Our Shifu is a man that loves polishing his reputation, while our sect is a big name.”
“Senior Brother will be succeeding the sect as Patriarch. Can we tell the outside world about him and Martial Grandaunt being together? Are you going to tarnish our sect’s name?”
Every sentence that Second Brother said, near enough, added another wall to my heart and suffocated me.
He was right. I couldn’t let Mount Daluo — which had been around for centuries — be ruined in my hands. That’s one of the reasons I don’t want to lead the sect.
Further, Shiyi let me stay in the Capital so easily, probably because she realised that. If I actually succeeded the Patriarch seat, we probably wouldn’t have any hope of being together. But even so, we’re currently in two different locations.
The two of us face countless things that we can’t help.
“Then why are we capturing this woman?” Confused, Fourth Brother scratched his head, “If Senior Brother is with her then doesn’t that mean that he no longer likes Martial Grandaunt? Can’t we just release her, then?”
“Fourth, I’m not calling you stupid; you’re actually stupid. What are we here for this time?”
I was wondering the same thing.
‘What did they come here out of the blue for? You’re not going to tell me Mount Daluo was set on fire and they have no home to return to now, are you?’
Fourth Brother blankly replied, “Are we not here on Martial Grandaunt’s orders to tell Senior Brother about that and help him?”
Second Brother wore a look of a smart man, as that of Zhuge Liang. He stroked his fake beard and exuded the noble aura of a man selling lamb skewers.
“That’s one reason. The most important one is to let Senior Brother meet Martial Grandaunt.”
“Ah? Is it?” Fourth Brother touched his head, “But Martial Grandaunt cursed Senior Brother so badly. They’ll fight if they meet? Moreover, Senior Brother can’t keep secrets. What are we going to do if the fact that he likes her gets exposed? Martial Grandaunt will get angry.”
“That’s why I said you’re stupid.” Second Brother shook his head at his incorrigible brother.
“When has Martial Grandaunt ever genuinely cursed Senior Brother? She’s done that so many times, since we were young. Can you still not tell what’s happening? She may commonly reproach him, but when has she ever sincerely meant it? Additionally, haven’t you seen the look on her face and her temper on the mountain during this time? She scolded our Shifu as if she was scolding a damned dog. And what for? What else, but because he made Senior Brother succeed the sect? If you ask me, Martial Grandaunt may actually have feelings for Senior Brother… Sigh, let’s ignore the future, for now. Let’s get them to meet first, and then we’ll figure things out later. Otherwise, Martial Grandaunt is going to pull all Shifu’s hair out.”
“I get it now. So we find Senior Brother first; then have them meet.”
The two spoke in a neutral tone.
Meanwhile, Third Brother didn’t say anything. He maintained his mysterious gaze, as he calmly watched the two of them. He stood in front of the Princess, with a short rod in hand, as if he was waiting for her to come to…
After a while of talking, Second Brother suddenly uttered, “Only that way can we make up for our mistake.”
I was puzzled by what he said.
‘Hmm? What mistake?’
“It wasn’t easy for us to draw Senior Brother as an Indian; put on make-up and hide here as Indians.”
‘Huh? You were the one who drew me as an old Indian man!!’
Second Brother sighed, “Well, it’s for the sake of making up for losing Night Fortress. Sigh, I can’t believe the massive Night Fortress got taken.”
‘Huh? You lost Night Fortress?’
“You useless bags of trash!!” I couldn’t listen to any more. I jumped out and pointed at their faces.
‘You bastards. I spent years maintaining such a stable sect, and you lost it just like that!’
But before I could begin my verbal assault, the three revealed gazes of surprise. They stared at me as if they had frozen.
The frozen atmosphere between us was instantly broken and became heart-warming.
The three of them were the same as the three younger brothers I remember from my childhood. They leapt over to me, as soon as they saw me.
The three of them hadn’t actually changed.
Just when Second Brother sprinted over, he suddenly felt himself moving sluggishly. He lowered his head to see that Third Brother had stepped on the front leg of his trousers. When he lifted his leg, Fourth Brother stepped on the rear leg of his trousers. Since he was in motion, his pants got pulled down when he ran over.
I kicked him back!
Second Brother… truly hadn’t changed.