Barking Up the Wrong Tree – The Dynasty’s Female Constables
While Ming Feizhen and his colleagues left Liu Shan Men, an interesting matter took place at Liu Shan Men. It was the day the female constables welcomed their new colleague.
Shen Yiren set up the female constables division at the age of fourteen. For the record, they were an official team the imperial court acknowledged. Their reputation was on the rise as of recent, leading to people perceiving them to be a law-enforcing team with plenty of potential. The dynasty’s system was impressive, considering there was room for there to be female constables in an era where eunuchs and women could work as officials.
Female constables existed long ago, and there most certainly were a decent number of excellent female constables comparable to Shen Yiren. Now, due to constables being treated as personnel as opposed to officials, Shen Yiren needed to jump through lots of hurdles to legalise them as officials. Strictly speaking, then, female constables were around before female officials were acknowledged. Having said that, there was a lot of doubt in the imperial court. See, if females could fulfil the roles of a constable, was there really a need to establish an exclusive “Female Constables” team. To compound the matter, it was suggested during Liu Shan Men’s period of decline.
Shen Yiren had plenty of sound reasons. Her response to the criticism and scepticism earned the acknowledgement and support of Empress Dowager, the Empress, the consorts and high-ranking officials’ wives. She said: “Females can hold up half of the sky.”
There were cases of female soldiers in military history. There were sects led by females in the martial world. The Emperor’s Entourage and the Qilin Guards also had female adepts, such as Ye Luo and Si Fu. The only missing entity was an official female combat team.
Shen Yiren stated she wanted to form a team proficient in combat, capable of apprehending criminals, collecting intelligence, being able to bear with admonishment and physical pain and was fearless. She argued females were also able to take risks on the frontlines. They performed the same work as males, including jobs inconvenient for males.
The team operated exactly as Shen Yiren described. They bolstered Liu Shan Men’s withering forces. They exhibited the ability to crack cases as proficiently and effectively as the veteran constables of the office as well as punishing crime. They solved a string of over a dozen cases. As a bonus, they were able to deal with cases involving housewives, family issues and palace maids, which would’ve been inconvenient for males to handle. At the end of the day, ordering a man to ask one of the consorts how her underwear thief sneaked in, its colours or her period was ridiculous. Hence, Female Constables’ integral part in the grand scheme of things was soon accepted, gaining them fame.
Liu Shan Men’s vice-captain, Shen Yiren, was a female. So accordingly, she needed female subordinates to assist her. With that said, the female constable’s proficiency was evaluated to rival the Qilin Guard’s elites thanks to Shen Yiren’s training.
The biggest hurdle Female Constables faced was their small numbers. Shen Yiren’s target population when she initially established the team was elites. She aimed to have them focus on the imperial capital; she didn’t want too many members. Unfortunately, dozens of them was evidently insufficient. As such, she began recruitment for new female constables before she left. In fact, she already conducted interviews. The examinees who passed only needed to sort out their paperwork and undertake their recruitment ceremony. Today was the day of their ceremony.
Among the interviewed females included Ming Feizhen’s Young Shiyi, Ming Suwen, who joined via under-the-table means. Hong Jiu was kicked out of Liu Shan Men, so he returned to his natural habitat: sleeping on the streets. The room he parted with was handed over to Ming Suwen. Hence, she only needed to go from the North courtyard to the South courtyard to report in, easy and joyful.
Hands behind her back, Ming Suwen walked along the stunning scenery underneath the winter sun. Her strides were relaxed and mischievous; even the air found her joy contagious. Miss Juese was thrilled to join Female Constables. She was very pleased with Ming Feizhen’s arrangement. It was a testament to their childhood friends’ relationship. He treated her as someone close (read: as an Empress) and personally took care of her (read: served her). Her martial nephew knew exactly how to please her.
Ming Feizhen knew her temperament very well. She was the type who enjoyed a lively lifestyle. She wouldn’t be able to sit still and idly wait for him to return every day. That aside, he didn’t want her to be a pitiful housewife pitifully waiting for her husband to return every day.
Ming Suwen loved praying pranks in the pugilistic world than anything. She certainly wasn’t an orthodox character or justice advocate. Her “Demoness” nickname wasn’t given to her without rhyme or reason. She always wanted to be involved with anything fun. Female Constable, a one and only female team piqued her interest.
Ming Suwen entered Female Constables’ courtyard from inside the grounds and headed straight to their training grounds without going through the inspection at the door. She sensed a group more heated than the male’s spirits. Though there were barely more than thirty of them, their training ground was over ten times more spacious than the males. The females were engaged in free sparring. They used everything at their disposal and fought sparred vigorously. Loud clangs and shockwaves were ubiquitous in there.
All of the female constables donned form-fitting black robes. A visual judgement suggested they were catered for movement; however, they didn’t appear to be appropriate uniforms outside of the office. It was safe to assume they were designed to be training fear.
Interested, Ming Suwen went inside for a closer look. The female constables possessed impressive martial prowess. Actually, they were fantastic enough to surprise her. One of them could easily wipe the floor with eight to ten men solo. Even Su Xiao might lose. Some were extraordinary. Ming Suwen reckoned they could rival Tang Ye.
Ming Suwen touched her smooth chin as she pondered. The difference in abilities between the female and male constables was enormous. It stood to reason, then, that Liu Shan Men managed to solve several major cases despite them withering. Liu Yuan and his cronies wouldn’t be able to solve the cases. It was safe to assume the female constables cracked the cases.
Ming Suwen was unaware Shen Yiren personally trained the female constables unlike the male constables under Song Ou’s management. Since Shen Clan headed Liu Shan Men for generations, their martial arts was based primarily on Shen Clan’s best aspects. As Shen Yiren possessed a more comprehensive grasp of her own clan’s style, her disciples were far superior to those trained by the older constables.
Several of the girls who joined Liu Shan Men possessed decent martial arts skills before they entered Liu Shan Men. Shen Yiren’s teachings, therefore, enhanced their skillset. They, by all means, could make a name for themselves in the pugilistic world if they wanted to leave Liu Shan Men.
Ming Suwen nodded as she watched.
A grunt followed by a gale generated from a sword tip rushed toward Ming Suwen. The wind simply glided off her ultimate smooth skin. Ming Suwen turned her head and evaded the sword. Her slender opponent slipped into her line of sight. Ming Suwen saw a twenty-nine year old female in her prime. She was stunning from head to toe; however, she had an unapproachable air about her.
The woman aggressively said, “That was a quick evasion, but let’s see you evade all of my strikes.”
The woman performed Sword Flower, proceeding into Liu Shan Men’s exclusive style. To be specific, it was one of the most advanced moves from Six Harmonies Swordplay.
Ming Suwen didn’t have the foggiest idea as to why the woman suddenly thrust a sword toward her as soon as they met. Judging from her tone, she didn’t seem to mistake Ming Suwen for somebody peeking on their training. She, as a matter of fact, seemed aware who Ming Suwen was, yet still launched a sneak attack.
Miss Juese wasn’t the type to just wait for the guillotine to come down. She shifted her centre of mass over her left foot and rotated, giggling as she dodged every attack the woman offered. The woman didn’t pull any punches; she struck seventeen times in the blink of an eye. Her attack speed demonstrated her level of skill.
The woman attacked even rapider. Once she noticed Ming Suwen rotate on her left foot, all the force of her attack had dissipated. Next, the woman threw a lethal attack, putting everything behind her attack. She spawned five sword clones and surrounded Ming Suwen with them.
Ming Suwen suddenly reversed the direction she spun. The most sensational aspect was that she managed to rotate in the reverse direction at the same speed, thereby defying logic. Hence, the woman slipped past without suffering any damage. Ming Suwen’s manoeuvre was named Reverse Extraordinaire, which originated from Ming Huayu’s Heavenly Net Sacred Records. The manoeuvre’s main focus was the reverse. However, that didn’t mean the woman’s execution wasn’t sudden and vicious. She just happened to meet her bane: Ming Suwen, who was well-versed in all three generations of Mount Daluo’s best styles.
A female with a stern voice interrupted when the woman tried to launch another attack: “Stop!”
A female with a serious demeanour dashed over. She had her eyebrows pulled together to form a stern expression: “Lan Kelan! You done?!”
Ming Suwen recognised the female constable who came to her aid. Ming Feizhen once promoted her: Bai Yeshuang . Bai Yeshuang saw what transpired; therefore, she scolded Lan Kelan, who initiated the attack: “Lan Kelan, what were you trying to do? Do you know who she is?”
“I do,” responded Lan Kelan, sulkily sheathing her sword. “She’s the genius Vice-Captain was eager to recruit but failed to, right? I don’t need an introduction. I can see for myself.”
Ming Suwen finally figured out the motivation behind the attack from Lan Kelan’s tone. Shen Yiren fervently persuaded her to join when she was at the exams, and even went as far as accepting Ming Feizhen to force her to visit Ming Feizhen. All of the female constables most probably knew about it. That explained why Lan Kelan decided to test her skills. To sum up, it was jealousy!