Cough, cough, enough with the bedroom cultivation. Shiyi is actually at the shrine nearby. I realised that from the first time she snuck attack me.’
That was the day I saw off Boss Shen when she left to go and send a New Year gift to the Seven Champion White Princes. I was afraid that Boss Shen might run into trouble on her journey, so I left placed an insurance measure on her. I had to distract her and make body contact with her to do that, and hence I audaciously hugged her.
The feeling of her soft body still echoes in my mind, cough, cough, excuse me, I was trying to say that it’s a miracle Boss didn’t beat me to death.
That was when I first met Shiyi as the maiden in black.
The second time was when I made an appointment to meet the Princess on the street, and I found myself in awe at her heroic, suave beauty. That time, Shiyi shot me a warning glare from her hiding location.
Both times was when I was interacting with pretty maidens. That’s why I had a decent rough guess as to why Shiyi didn’t outright reveal herself.
She was jealous!!
Because I was too close with Boss and the Princess, even going as far as to have body contact with Boss, Shiyi was absolutely unhappy.
Shiyi and I are different with regards to seniority, but she was always obviously unhappy whenever a pretty girl approached me. I remember there was a young girl selling mantou who’d smile at me when I went to go buy breakfast. As a result, Shiyi was immediately unhappy. Not only did she start up a meat bun store right opposite of the young girl’s, she even made up an excuse to beat the girl into a meat bun look.
I have an idea of what Shiyi thinks about me… But one, I can’t reciprocate her feelings. Two, I question what there is about me that she feels is worth her devoting her feelings to me. As such, I’ve always assumed that things would be a little better if she got married.
However, not only has she not shown any signs of getting married, nosy Shiyi doesn’t even have another male friend.
Normal girls have a candidate for marriage at fourteen to fifteen years of age. Rushing to find a husband at twenty years of age as the Emperor’s family does is considered very late, but they get away with it, since it’s the royal family. The Princesses from twelve to twenty seven could find a candidate for marriage any day. All that matters is who she likes. One imperial edict and he’s Fuma. I’d like to see somebody dare refuse.
Only my Shiyi is different. We don’t run a forcing marriage conning organisation. I can’t knock some guy out and gift him to Shiyi.
When Shiyi was twenty two, my Shifu asked me to persuade her to find a husband. Subsequently, I named all sorts of benefits of getting married early, such as giving birth to a little fatty, having a blissful home to return to and so forth. But then, Shiyi just stared at my face the entire time without saying a word. She appeared as though she was simultaneously angry and hurt. As a result, I couldn’t bear to continue with the attempt.
One time, she got mad when I tried to persuade her.
With tears in her eyes, she lashed out, “Fine then, Ming Feizhen! I doted on you for nothing! You’re so eager to marry me off to another man! Fine, I’ll go get married. I’ll get married to a bastard with terminal disease or a playboy. I don’t want you interfering even if they get me killed.”
The way she looked when she stubbornly withheld her tears looked pretty and intense. When I saw that look, I gave up and apologised. I took her out to play to placate her in the end.
I sometimes reflect on myself. Perhaps it’s because I always let her have her way that she’s fearless!!
After that, I lived in seclusion for a long time without contacting her. As such, she didn’t see me and played the endurance game with me, presumably due to anger. Time went on, and by the time we knew it, she had played the endurance game until she was twenty five. I don’t know why she went to such lengths…
Now that I think about it, Shiyi probably came to see me to meddle again.
The part about Jin Wangsun having a fiancée is true and so is the part about him abandoning her. I truly had to rack my brains to recall his fiancée to explain Shiyi’s sudden appearance without exposing her disguise and allowing her to believe that it was perfect, so that she wouldn’t be embarrassed!
Shiyi should, therefore, have met his fiancée; else, it must’ve been the former patriarch of Gold and Silver Sect who mentioned it to smack Jin Wangsun awake from his Fuma fantasy.
Jing Wangsun isn’t going to wake up with one or two slaps, though. He no longer purely wants the Imperial Court’s help by being Fuma. He has genuinely fallen for Princess Hongzhuang now.
Also, I can’t directly knock him out, for that would lead to conflict between me and Gold and Silver Sect.
According to the rules of the martial realm, if he challenged me to a one-on-one fight, he’d have to accept the results whether he won or lost. I’ll surrender without a fight. What’s taken is taken. I have the right to call a rematch, as well. Challenging him to a rematch as the master of Night Fortress to take back Night Fortress is the most feasible method.
With that said, that method goes against my original intention to retire, and it would mean I won’t be able to return to Liu Shan Men. Plus, defeating Jin Wangsun is easy, but taking out Gold and Silver sect is hard.
Trying to defeat one of the Seven Champion White Princes on my own is practically impossible.
Even if I ignore Cold Mountain Temple, there’s still Lushan Sword Sanctuary. They’ve been around for a thousand years and have watched power change hands all these years with smiles on their faces. Gold and Silver Sect has built themselves up for a century. They’re wealthy and have talent. Though they don’t have as many skilled fighters as the Imperial Court does, it’s not impossible for them to form a team of a hundred skilled men. Without me, they could massacre Night Fortress, revive them and repeat that for three times without an issue.
The reason Night Fortress was able to find a way to survive under the watch and pressure of the Seven Champion White Princes is attributed to the fact that all these clans and sects were wary of each other. If one side starts an all-out attack without consideration for the consequences, then there’s going to be one hefty price to pay. There isn’t a single one among the random people that I gathered that would show any loyalty. They’ll immediately flee as soon as something happens. In saying that, I don’t know what tricks Jin Wangsun would use to attack, but I wouldn’t put it past him to set fire to the mountain, so that nobody escapes.
Owing to Jin Wangsun being able to send over a thousand men in the capital to thrash someone on a street in a most flashy fashion – including the Elder Statesman, the Prime Minister, the Emperor’s father in law and even the Emperor, himself – I wouldn’t put anything past him.
In the worst case scenario, if he knows about the connection between Night Fortress and Mount Daluo, it might turn into a fight between Mount Daluo and Gold and Silver Sect.
Mount Daluo has stopped being involved with the pugilistic for many years now. Most disciples of Mount Daluo won’t leave their name behind when carrying out justice or heroic deeds. Back when the orthodox sects and the Imperial Court joined hands to take out Divine Moon Cult, Mount Daluo didn’t even send a cleaner to join them, which is enough for me to understand my Shifu’s stance.
A fight between the three largest orthodox sects and the Seven Champion White Princes must be avoided at all costs. If that fight breaks out, it’ll spell disaster for the martial world. All of the forces in the dark that are eager to take action might act at any moment.
The Divine Moon Cult’s destruction in the Central Plains brought peace to the martial world for many years, but who’s to say if there will be a new fuse?
The one and only thing to feel consoled about is that the former patriarch, old Patriarch Jin doesn’t agree to his retarded son’s method. With him being pulling on Jin Wangsun’s back leg, I can fight for the Fuma post without any qualms. The former patriarch reigned as patriarch for decades. The power he wields is far more than what Jin Wangsun managed to gain in mere months. I’m sure that the former patriarch had backup prepared for himself. Additionally, there should be many in the sect that oppose Jin Wangsun; otherwise, he wouldn’t have come to the capital on his own, which is the main reason that I don’t want to butt heads with him face to face at the moment.
If I give him too much pressure that he has to return to the headquarters of Gold and Silver Sect to call for help, the sect will unite to combat their foreign enemy, which would be me. It would be the equivalent of me helping Jin Wangsun unite Gold and Silver, which would only serve to make things harder for me.
“Gold and Silver Sect’s young master, who is also Fuma, united his sect and final defeated the public enemy of the martial world, Night Fortress.”
‘If that’s how the Black and White Reflection records it, how the hell am I going to be able to remain around?!’
I intuitively refocused my attention on how to deal with Jin Wangsun.
Shiyi and the Princess have both indicated that they’ll help me. They’re helping “Ming Feizhen,” while the person who wants to take back Night Fortress is “Night Fortress’s Master.”
It appears that I’ll have to dedicate some effort to recapturing Night Fortress.
At present, what I need to do is confirm Jin Wangsun’s situation. I need to find out exactly how much power he wields, in addition to how many subordinates he has at his command. If I can’t get a grasp on his situation and my own, it’ll be dangerous to act rashly.
After analysing all these things, it was daylight before I knew it. The first bright sunrays lit up the mountain forest. The creek continued to flow. The sunlight shone onto the water surface, giving the water a vibrant and lively appearance.
I slowly stood up in the creek and moulded energy to dry my clothing. Then I thought about what I needed to do next.
‘I’m hungry. How about going to eat something? Where shall I eat today?’
I suddenly remembered the person Jin Wangsun sent after me to give me grief when I was walking on the main street.
‘I have an idea now.’
There were rows of troops outside of Jin Wangsun’s estate, but I knew there was a hole in the formation that I could sneak into the estate from. After all, I was the one who went and called for Shuntian Office to send troops. Thus, I located the hole and somersaulted over the wall to sneak into his estate.
Jin Wangsun wallows in money. He lives a life of luxury, so I can’t go wrong sneaking into his kitchen for breakfast.
I could smell the fragrance blasting forth from the kitchen before I even set foot inside. I poked my head in to see the head chef in the middle of frying Jinling herbs. A vegetarian diet is popular among people from Nanjing. In fact, vegetarian dishes are particularly popular. There were the three Jinling herbs, namely goji, chrysanthemum nankingense and Indian aster. Every dish had its unique fresh fragrance. The scent wasn’t overwhelming, but refreshing when eaten.
I snuck into the kitchen and snatched up a plate of Jinling herbs as well as a bowl with pink soup. While I was at it, I took two plates of refreshments, too. Additionally, I took a plate of fried broad beans. After I turned to leave, I took big bites while strolling around in the courtyard without a single care.
I deliberately went slow and audaciously walked around in the courtyard. The family retainers quickly noticced my presence and twenty of them surrounded me faster than the time it’d take for me to finish a small cup of tea.
The leader of the group looked at my strange dress up.
I wore a large and baggy robe. On its back was a hood that was attached to the robe, which I used to cover my head, and thereby hiding my face. I deliberately let my hair down, which also contributed to covering up my face.
I had my head down in the food and drink without a care for the people around me.
Those few family retainers felt more panicked the calmer I was. When I nearly finished breakfast, one of them finally mustered up the courage to say, “Who are you?! This is the estate of the patriarch of Gold and Silver Sect. How dare you trespass? If you are here to see Patriarch Jin, leave your request card and wait outside for further instructions. We shall report to the Patriarch for you.”
I placed the last plate down and waved my hand, “Don’t be so courteous. I’m not here to visit.”
“In that case, what are you here for?”
I snickered. I raised my head a little to allow them to meet my vicious gaze. I revealed a savage look in my eyes, “This one is Zhong Ning. This one is here to challenge you!”
*Giving birth to a little fatty – While I suspect it may sound insulting in some cultures, it’s considered a good thing to have a “little fatty” in China, Vietnam, Korea (maybe others, as well) because they see that as a sign of the baby being healthy
**A small cup of tea in ancient China is about this big http://www.ishuocha.com/uploadfile/2015/1009/20151009035008240.jpg