Barking Up the Wrong Tree – Looking Down on Junior Martial Sister
Miss Juese wasn’t fazed even after learning Lan Kelan was jealous. All women deserve to be forgiven when she starts swinging a weapon out of jealousy…
Bai Yeshuang: “Why did you attack her when you knew that? Apologise to Junior Martial Sister Ming.”
Female constables referred to each other as martial sisters and arranged seniority according to the date and time they entered employment. Ming Suwen was older than the two girls; however, she was their junior martial sister. She didn’t find it offensive. To the contrary, she was jubilant. She joined Liu Shan Men to overcome the seniority obstacle between her and Ming Feizhen. She was one grade his junior all on her first day already. Why wouldn’t she be happy?
Bai Yeshuang: “Junior martial sister Ming is a senior disciple of a reputable sect. She showed lenience, only evading your attacks, yet you continued to viciously attack her.”
Before Lan Kelan left, she said, “Humph, the one Vice-Captain wanted to recruit isn’t all that impressive. If you ask me, she didn’t dare to attack.”
Bai Yeshuang wasn’t well-versed with articulating her thoughts. She frowned but had no response: “You…”
Ming Suwen suddenly laughed: “Hey, Lanlan.”
Lan Kelan stopped in her tracks after her first stride and thundered, “What did you call me?!” You asked for th-“
Right as Lan Kelan reached for her sword, she noticed something whiz toward her, leading to her taking a step back to catch it with her hand. She checked to see it was an ordinary hairpin. Though ordinary, she felt a chill down her spine. Discovering there was a hole in her shirt, she freaked out.
Ming Suwen giggled: “Look after your stuff. Girls shouldn’t swing their sword around so carelessly. It’s not good for you.”
Lan Kelan looked as white as a sheet. She had no verbal counter. She bought the hairpin in her hand yesterday. She knew full well her hairpin didn’t grow wings and fly off; she knew Ming Suwen pinched it from her when they passed by each other before. The reason her complexion was ghastly pale was because Ming Suwen was able to take an item she kept on her without her even noticing. In other words, Ming Suwen could’ve taken her head without her even knowing. Lan Kelan finally realised Ming Suwen left her in the dust completely. She snorted and stomped off.
“She’s not a bad girl,” said Bai Yeshuang, watching Lan Kelan leave. She elaborated, “She is the faster learner among all of those Vice-Captain trained. That is why she is relatively proud. She has always considered herself to be Vice-Captain’s left and right arm, so when she sees you… She just doesn’t know what to do. Please don’t hate her for it.”
“I know. I won’t,” responded Ming Suwen, smiling. “Lanlan is adorable.”
“You have to refer to her as ‘Senior Martial Sister Lan’.”
“Can’t I call her Lanlan?” asked Ming Suwen, blinking rapidly. “Young Kelan? Young Lanlan?”
“Senior Martial Sister Lan. You may omit ‘martial’ at most,” answered Bai Yeshuang, shaking her head. Sounding as though there was a long road ahead, she calmly said, “Let’s speak as we go.”
The two girls headed to the courtyard. Tone neutral, Bai Yeshuang remarked, “Ming Suwen, you’ve finally joined.”
“What, did you wait for long?”
“Mm, over three months,” replied Bai Yeshuang, with a nod. “Vice-Captain mentioned you. She said you were very skilled and astute. I was not at the exams, and therefore had no basis on which to judge. After witnessing your skills just now, I am thoroughly convinced your skills are as impressive as Vice-Captain evaluates. I do not feel I can match you, either.”
Ming Suwen casually responded with, “Oh” at every remark, since she was focused on scanning Bai Yeshuang. Bai Yeshuang was straightforward and proper. Ming Suwen admitted Shen Yiren had an eye for people. When women fought, it was ten times more complicated than a fight between men, and that was an understatement. Only those with Bai Yeshuang’s temperament and personality wouldn’t be prone to getting into conflicts. Those traits made it possible for her to rein in the proud and skilled girls.
“Once you join us inside these walls, we will be senior and junior martial sisters who have each other’s backs. From now on, call me Senior Martial Sister Bai, and I will call you Junior Martial Sister Ming.”
“Yeye, you are Female Constables’ only head constable, right? Have you solved any major cases?”
“… “ Bai Yeshuang didn’t know how to deal with Ming Suwen. She resorted to repeating, “Senior Martial Sister Bai.”
“Okay, okay, don’t be so hung up on how to refer to each other so much.”
“We have to abide by the rules,” said Bai Yeshuang, starting to feel slightly annoyed. “You have to call me Senior Martial Sister.”
“Oh,” absentmindedly answered Ming Suwen. “How many senior martial sisters do I have, then?”
“You had sixty-seven, but the new group who joined from the front door have gone through their recruitment ceremony. You are late, so you are their junior. You now have seventy-two senior martial sisters.”
“Wow… I have an extra five just for being a little late? Take me to the ceremony now, then.”
There was no way of proving it; however, perhaps Ming Feizhen’s lateness disease was contagious. Both of them were late for important events, after all. Ming Suwen silently cursed, “Did he infect me with latenesstitis?”
Bai Yeshuang led Ming Suwen to their destination and introduced the places they passed by, such as the training grounds, training room, archives room, case conference room and so forth. Their place was far superior to the males’ side. Their rooms were newer, were fully equipped and more spacious. They also had dorms. There were enough rooms for the six new female constables unlike on the males’ side.
“Mm…” Once they finished their tour, Bai Yeshuang hesitated before speaking: “There is something I hope you understand. We did not anticipate you joining, so… you need to be mentally prepared.”
Baffled, Ming Suwen asked, “We’re all girls. Is it so strange for me to join Female Constables?’
“Our rule is the first to join is considered the senior as opposed to going by age. As such, you have to refer to me as your senior despite you being my senior in age.”
“That’s no big deal. Senior Martial Sister Bai. See? It won’t kill me.”
Bai Yeshuang’s speech was clunky due to her hesitation: “Not just us, but the five who just joined, as well.”
“So? I’ll just call you all senior martial sisters, no big deal.”
Ming Suwen was a passionate prankster. But nonetheless, she was very easy going. Titles weren’t important to her. She, consequently, couldn’t understand why Bai Yeshuang spoke so hesitantly.”
“Mm… I don’t know how to put it, either. Anyway, this is the front courtyard. They are your senior sisters. Go and see them.”
Ming Suwen stepped inside with many questions on her mind. As soon as she stepped through the door, she froze. She was insightful, but she never imagined she’d see what she saw. She was a step away from being stupefied. There were five young girls roughly six to seven years old in the courtyard… The group of girls nudged, chattered and played around. It was no different to watching a children’s stage play. One look and one might forget they were at Liu Shan Men.
It took Ming Suwen a while to finally utter, “Umm…”
In a dilemma, Bai Yeshuang explained, “We nurture female constables. We didn’t have enough hands before. At the time, we selected our recruits from young girls with a martial arts foundation. Now that our system has developed, we have begun training female constables at a young age… They… are your senior sisters…”
One of the lively lolis, a new recruit roughly seven years old, bossily said, “I’m the eldest among you, so I’m your senior martial sister.”
Ming Suwen finished her ceremony, and then went over to the girls. Her height cast a shadow over the loli. The loli turned around and naively looked at Ming Suwen: “Who are you?”
Bai Yeshuang awkwardly introduced, “Meng, this… this is your junior martial sister.”
Startled, the loli widened her eyes: “Wh-What a large junior martial sister!”
Ming Suwen did her best to contain her temper; else, her tyrannical aura would’ve been enough to hurt the loli. She folded her arms and looked down: “Young one… watch your attitude.”
*For simplicity and reading comfort sake, I will omit the “martial” part in the junior/senior sister’s whenever possible just to save you from the mouthful. You saw me inject the comment in the body. It’s still correct from a technical standpoint, as you can call each other “三妹” (Third Sister). Chinese speakers do that for the same reason I remove it.
*Meng – Pronounced similarly to merng