Sing This Perfect Song Properly
“Affair, my foot!”
My eyes couldn’t stand it anymore. I quickly approached Third Brother from behind and smacked him on the back of his head. Meanwhile, Tang Ye watched me approach him and smack him with his eyes wide.
“Big Brother, you…”
The case of the attack on the Emperor exhausted me all night. I’ve finally found the time to come back. My Junior Brothers didn’t have a penny on them. They didn’t even have enough for a meal after selling Lord San Shen paintings in Bright Lane. As a consequence, my only option was to bring them back for a meal. Else, if Second Brother was to continue leading, the three of them would go off and beg for food…
I explained everything to Tang Ye and company.
“These are my three junior martial brothers. They recently passed by the capital for business. Boss took a number of men with her when she left, didn’t she? We have a good number of spare rooms. After contemplating it, I thought it was better to bring them back than let the inns rip them off. They’ll be in charge of miscellaneous jobs around Liu Shan Men, so if somebody has anything that needs doing, order them around as you need.”
All of a sudden, Tang Ye said, “So they were your junior brothers, Big Brother. No wonder why they were so skilled.”
“They have just arrived today. Keep an eye on them.”
“Big Brother’s concerns are my concerns. I shall do my best.”
As soon as Tang Ye finished, Si Fu and Tie Hanyi scanned me in a bewildered manner.
‘Hmm? What’s the matter?’
Tang Ye and I looked at them feeling stupefied, ourselves.
Si Fu frowned, then pursed her lips and asked, “Brother… Brother Ming, you are of Ding Rank, correct? How come Tang Ye…”
I finally understood the reason for their bafflement.
Tang Ye has recently been promoted into the ranks of the Seventeen Hidden Dragons and ranked above a Jia Rank warrior, thereby enjoying many special privileges in the Imperial Court. His ranking is no lower than Third Rank military officials. The Seventeen Hidden Dragons are also a one-and-only existence, with only the seventeen of them. For someone in the Ding Rank such as myself to be able to speak to him is amazing in itself. However, I just ordered him as if he was my underling.
Tang Ye also grasped the situation, but maintained his cool demeanour, “He is our team captain, and thereby rightfully my big brother. There’s nothing strange about that.”
‘Hey! Badass Tang, you sounded badass saying that, yes! But! Doesn’t that mean I’m leveraging your popularity to boost my standing?! Hey! Si Fu and Tie Hanyi, what are you two laughing at me to scorn me for?! Liu Shan’s Plague has been just as popular recently! Be careful, or I’ll jinx you to death!’
“In any case, my junior brothers will be staying here for some time. They came straight to Nanjing after leaving Mount Daluo. Kids in the mountains don’t know how to behave…”
Fourth Brother wasn’t pleased with what he heard, “Senior Brother, what do you mean I came straight to Nanjing? I still haven’t worked at lots of brothels in Beiping.”
Tang Ye and Si Fu, who just got frightened by Fourth Brother before, were even more scared now, so they took a step back. Their greatly astonished expressions remarked, “How did this man turn gay at such a young age?’
I, too, was furious, “Don’t spout nonsense!”
“What do you mean ‘spout nonsense’?” Fourth even proudly gave a thumbs up and added, “I’m famous in Beiping. They call me The Small Iron Gate Man.”
‘Fuck me, cut out the bullshit, okay?! Your alias is worse than your damn job! The person who gave you the alias definitely hates you to the core!’
I couldn’t stop Fourth Brother from running his mouth full of shit. Third Brother then pushed his glasses. He looked at Si Fu and Tang Ye with interest, “You two have not yet answered me. You two are having an affair, correct?”
Tang Ye remained indifferent. Si Fu, however, snickered. Astonished, she asked, “You are an interesting fellow. You and I have only met for the first time, and yet you are asking me this sort of question?”
“I guess it makes sense.” Third Brother stroked his chin, “He doesn’t look as though he cares about you. So, I guess that means that it’s one-sided love for you.”
I smacked Third Brother over his head and fumed, “Stop asking! Can’t you see she’s gone from shy to angry (Why would I be shy…?)! When it comes to this sort of stuff, women want to maintain their dignity; how could you blurt it out (Why would I care about my dignity over this? I just can’t stand Tang Ye’s conceited mannerisms)?! Even the blind can tell what’s going on. What would she be sparring with Tang Ye daily for if she didn’t like him (Who said I like him?!)? Of course she’ll deny it if you ask her that way! Who would reply to such a question (I…)?! Aren’t you putting the maiden in a tough spot by exposing her feelings?!”
‘Huh? What did I just say?’
While I was lecturing Third Brother, Si Fu’s pretty, white face with a calm expression turned redder and redder and it eventually looked as though smoke was coming from her head that she lowered. In the end, she stomped her foot and exclaimed, “You watch out!”
She then turned around and stormed off.
Third Brother and I were stunned silent for a moment, but then we gave speechless Tang Ye a few pats on the shoulders, “Brother, be careful. She told you to be watch out.”
Tang Ye: “…”
I then suddenly saw Su Xiao chasing down Second Brother in the distance and beating him. Second Brother was now rolling and crawling on the ground. Seriously, my eyes just couldn’t watch the tragedy anymore. I swiftly shouted, “Stop! Stop! Stop!”
Second Brother’s martial arts prowess is an entire level above Su Xiao, but it was evident that he didn’t dare to hit back. My Second Brother usually speaks crudely, but he’s a very graceful gentleman deep down with an ugly appearance. He’s always very soft when it comes to women. He never likes to fight with any female. Fighting women is the toughest task for him.
That’s why Third Brother had to step in and knock the Princess out that day. Otherwise, he would’ve just kept endlessly exchanging blows with her, which would lead to his downfall sooner or later.
‘However, Su Xiao isn’t a female!!’
‘Second Brother, you took a beating for nothing!’
Su Xiao, however, didn’t show any signs of showing mercy. It’s a rare opportunity for him to cross paths with a criminal he can actually defeat, so he was delighted, and therefore enthusiastically chased down Second Brother.
I went up and grabbed the back of Su Xiao’s collar, thereby slightly revealing his white neck. I then yanked him back as if he was a kitten. Because he was just running around, he was panting a little and his pretty, uh, handsome face had red flushes.
He landed on my chest when I yanked him back. Su Xiao couldn’t quite make sense of the situation. He just glanced at me as soon as he came to his senses. He blinked his beautiful eyes for a long while before he wrapped his head around what happened. He swung his hands and legs around as he exclaimed, “Big Brother Ming! Let go of me. I’m going to arrest this punk! So many sisters were victimised by him.”
‘What do you mean so many sisters? If you’re included, there were only three people in the bathhouse! Speaking of which, how come nothing happened to you when you were in the female baths?! Just how messed up have morals in this world become?!”
“Enough; he’s my junior brother. Forget it.”
“He is your Junior Brother? So that means he went to pick up the soap for you…”
Su Xiao went red in the face as though he just had a crooked thought.
‘Hey! Girl, you filthy!’
‘You choose now to believe he went to pick up soap? But, he went to pick up an apple that rolled in there for Third Brother!’
‘That reminds me; why do you know male body parts so well, yet not understand what it means to pick up the soap?! I see you reading books every day for training. Those are definitely indecent books, aren’t they?!’
I gathered my three juniors and re-introduced them to Su Xiao, Tang Ye and company, then added some drivel here and there. I just said that they had jobs in Beiping, but beggars in Nanjing look down on beggars from the North, and housing prices in Nanjing are really high, and how Nanjing’s brothels are squishy, all that sort of bullshit to settle the matter.
“Anyway, my junior brothers will be temporarily staying at Liu Shan Men. Besides miscellaneous jobs, I’ll set them up with temporary constable identities. As for their salary, they will work for free.”
Before my junior brothers could start arguing against it, I shut them down with my intense stare.
Tang Ye seemed to realise something and folded his arms. He knows what my martial arts skills are truly like, but didn’t know my identity. However, he’s smart and sharp, so I don’t know how much he managed to discern.
Su Xiao, on the other hand, cutely blinked as though he didn’t understand what he heard, because none of my bullshit connected up. I don’t think any ordinary person would’ve understood it.
“In short, get along with each other. Tang Ye will take you to lodge some registration papers in a moment.”
Boss gave me a fair bit of authority before she left, which includes allowing me to recruit somebody to handle miscellaneous tasks for less than three silvers and apprentice constables that don’t need to be paid a salary. Thanks to those two privileges, my three junior brothers became constables that brought glory to Liu Shan Men.
The only one who had an opinion was surprisingly the one who just passed by, Tie Hanyi! When he saw me, he looked as though he finally found his target. With a grim expression, he said, “Ming Feizhen, I have business to speak with you about. Let us talk about it in detail over there.”
The two of us walked off to one side. Only then did I realise Tie Hanyi came here specifically to question me.
It was about Jin Wangsun having his men beat up the Emperor’s father-in-law, Elder Statesman, the Emperor and the Princess yesterday. The Emperor had grounded Jin Wangsun in his estate for it. Of course, the majority of the testimonies were provided by me. I have no clue as to what Tie Hanyi wants with me.
“I have some testimonies I would like to verify with you.”
I nodded, “Go on.”
“According to what you said, the person who led the gangsters to Elder Statesman was a man by the name of Zhong Ning. Did you personally see that?”
Oh, so this is what it’s about. At the time, my goal was convenience, so I put the blame on Zhong Ning. He’s not dead yet anyway. It won’t matter if he takes on the blame for a few more crimes.
“Yes, that’s right. He kept muttering, ‘I am Zhong Ning. I never leave my name behind’.”
Zhong Ning has already been castrated, so it’s no big deal if I smear some more crimes on his name.
“Uhm, I see. They did say that a man by the name of Zhong Ning pointed them in their direction, too.” Tie Hangyi folded his arms and stopped to think, “Zhong Ning is infamous in the pugilistic world for being evil, so it is unlikely they misrecognised him. However, Brother Ming, Zhong Ning has already been captured for his participation in the Emperor Jun Kong incident. He was then sent to the castration room. He should still be bedridden. Was the person you saw truly Zhong Ning?”
‘Shit. I was so occupied with passing blame that I forgot about that.’
Stumped, I folded my arms, “Maybe… they share the same surname and first name?”
“Brother Ming, are you really going to resort to sophistry?” Tie Hanyi’s gaze turned cold. I already asked His Majesty’s father in law. He said that while there were many people present at the time, he personally saw you speak to those people, but never saw the person you claim to resemble Zhong Ning. Further, Elder Statesman said that you were the one who revealed their hiding location. Brother Ming, you were not the one who lured the thugs to Elder Statesman, were you?”
That’s the look I gave Tie Hanyi.
I’ve successfully planted the blame on Zhong Ning so many times already. I never imagined it’d fail this time.
Tie Hanyi emphasised his words, “I have been given the order to get to the bottom of this case. Your testimony is critically important. Brother Ming, I shall ask you again. Is everything you said, true?”
“… O-Of course…”
‘Hey! Bro! What happened to the brotherhood?!’
‘Have you forgotten my graciousness of letting you spar with Tang Ye to help you improve?!’
Suddenly, a guy from the Emperor’s Entourage came running over and whispered in Tie Hanyi’s ear.
Tie Hanyi froze when he heard what was said. Perplexed, he said, “Zhong Ning suddenly vanished from the palace yesterday. Even Nan Junfei, who was imprisoned with him, has vanished. The timing coincidentally fits with the timing of the incident yesterday…”
“See? I told you he was Zhong Ning!”
I let out one massive breath of relief!
‘I can’t believe Zhong Ning managed to escape with such timing, and help me perfect my story! Damn, I never knew he had that skill, too.’
‘But wait… I beat him into a retard and he was ‘purified.’ Eve nif he can move now, he’d just be a crippled retard. He managed to save Nan Junfei, as well? It can’t be so simple.’
‘I’ll have to let the Emperor’s Entourage get to the bottom of this. I can’t interfere here.’
“Zhong Ning, who has been castrated, should have been lying in the palace on the brink of death. He does not have the strength to escape; but… he vanished without a trace and took Nan Junfei along. All of the criminals from Mystery we captured have escaped. God damn these wicked creatures of the League of Assassins!”
Good ol’ Tie drivelled with me. He then gave me a cupped fist salute and said, “I shall write a report to report this to my superior. I must leave now!”
He then swiftly left.
I watched Tie Hanyi leave. I then looked up at the clear blue sky and folded my arms. I leaned onto a large tree in the courtyard and began contemplating.
Winter has walked in, but the sky is still as far as ever.
I slowly shut my eyes.
The situation is more complex than I imagined.
His Majesty is trying to betroth his Princess to me against his will, since he has no other choice. I don’t want to marry the Princess, while Jin Wangsun is determined to marry her. At the same time, I still need to snatch back Night Fortress and Night Net Manual from Jin Wangsun.
‘Eh? Can’t I exchange the Princess for Night Fortress then?’
‘Kekeke, it’s a decent tactic, but a little too underhanded. My fellow disciples may look down on me if I use that tactic.’
I analysed the intel and people in detail one more time. I tried to think about it objectively from a perspective where it most makes again.
I then considered the feasibility of the method.
When I got there, I opened my eyes.
My loyal deputy, my forever unlucky Second Brother responded as a police dog sentry when he heard my voice. He popped up out of nowhere.
“Compose some lyrics for me.”
“Ah? Lyrics?” Second scratched his head. He then glanced at my expression, “Big Brother, who are you harming this time?”
“Harming my foot! Does this count as harming somebody?” I waved my hand, “The more you can smear Jin Wangsun’s name with the lyrics, the better. Go out and see if you can dig up any of his embarrassing news then add it to the lyrics to compose a song. Teach the kids on the street the song and have them sing it on all the streets. I want to piss him off. He can’t do anything except feel infuriated at home.”
Second Brother shifted his eyes back and forth, “Why are you doing this?”
I took out from my shirt the three test topics the Emperor announced today.
“Because I want to beat this punk. I want to make him regret pissing me off. I’ll show him why they call me, Ming Feizhen, the professional tutor for naughty kids.”