Husband and Wife to Battle – Not a Foolish, Ordinary Man
Yang Lianhua’s estate. Night time.
Yang Lianhua enjoyed a bath then changed into his pink sleepwear with golden seams and flower petals. His legs and chest were forests of hair. He splurged when it came to applying rouge on his face. He had a thin physique but sported a seductress’ eyes and demeanour. Still, his Adam’s apple stood out. He was a fan of dolling up after baths; in fact, he applied more than when he went out to see guests. Regardless of what others’ opinions were, he was pleased with himself. From other’s perspectives, he was more feminine than women, but his face was so revolting everyone wanted to punch it in.
Yang Lianhua squinted at the letter next to his makeup table. If someone tried to open the letter to read it, they would blow their own mind trying to decipher the contents. However, it was easier than telling flat out lies for Yang Lianhua. Truth be told, it was the writer whose handwriting was atrocious.
Evil Spirits created the secret code for communication. Leaders, such as Yang Lianhua, were proficient enough with their secret code to compose refined poems. Some were able to rank writers based on their usage of their group’s code. It was one feat that helped establish their uniqueness. It wasn’t all glamorous, however, for it posed a challenge for their underground world allies who needed to contact them. Their allies often turned their brains upside down trying to decipher the code to no avail. Mistakes in interpretation and usage would lead to nothing making sense. In a sense, those who could compose a letter using their code deserved applause.
The letter addressed to Yang Lianhua came from Secretary Kong. Secretary Kong waned to confirm the details of the operation to assassinate Secretary Lie and Lu tomorrow. The plan was for Secretary Kong to invite the two out alone to his private abode, giving his team the opportunity to assassinate the two. It was so straightforward that it bordered on fearless.
Secretary Kong reminded Yang Lianhua to try and poison Secretary Lie before striking, as the latter was a combat veteran. He also reminded Yang Lianhua to flee to the ship via the passageway arranged and so forth. His concern seeped through his own handwriting.
Amused, Yang Lianhua remarked, “Heh, imagine Confucius’ descendants teaching me, a villain, how to kill people.”
Yang Lianhua held the letter over the candle’s flame to burn it. When he turned back to the mirror, his smile gradually disappeared. A crafty look flitted across his powdered face as he pondered, “The sly Kong Duan is just leveraging Evil Spirits’ reputation to gain power. Tiezhen Kingdom has never been amiable with Central Plans. If we kill their officials, the tension will burst. Their Emperor could name our assassinations as a reason to declare war on us. What does Kong Duan, a peace advocate, stand to gain from a war between our two kingdoms?”
Evil Spirits was a fearless group of thieves in Beijiang. Their motto was “Rob everything and anything you can rob”. They lived by that motto to the T. Rumour was that their group had a hand in the chaos in Tiezhen Kingdom six years ago, leading to the reins to the nation changing hands.
Evil Spirits consisted of River Monster, Mountain Monster, Ox Demon and Feathered Serpent. As for their leader’s identity, they were shrouded in mystery. Yang Lianhua was the sly Feathered Serpent. Owing to his character, he was one of their brains. He wasn’t the type to help someone out after he was betrayed.
Whilst applying rouge, Yang Lianhua reflected on every single action and minutia Kong Duan exhibited during their conversations, even putting himself in the latter’s skin. Suddenly, he exclaimed, “I get it now!”
Teeth clenched, Yang Lianhua cursed to himself: “I can’t believe I could be so foolish.”
Kong Duan certainly was part of the peace advocate faction; however, who were the hawks? Once the assassination was successful, the hawks were dead, meaning the peace advocates would be the only faction to hold power. The assassination would trigger a war between the two kingdoms, forcing the imperial court to concentrate their military forces in the North. Needless to say the Seventeen Hidden Dragons and Ultimate Three would also have to join. So, among the remaining people in the imperial court, who would be able to offer resistance? By the time the two kingdoms had fought for several years, Kong Duan would’ve seized ultimate power in the imperial court.
Yang Lianhua in his mind: “What a conniving old man. You think you can buy my loyalty with just Feiyun Hall’s income alone? You’re underestimating me. Kong Duan, you may be cunning, but I’m no fool. If you want adepts to fight for you, find them from Central Plains. I won’t be giving you a finger, let alone a hand.”
Yang Lianhua and Kong Duan’s cooperation began with their joint operation of Feiyun Hall. The initial order Yang Lianhua’s master gave him for when he reached the Central Plain was to establish a foundation. He couldn’t do anything in the Central Plain despite having a team of warriors with him. Thus, Feiyun Hall offered the perfect opportunity to fight and earn money. It was later on that he was acquainted with Kong Duan, a Rank Two official, but that was pure coincidence.
The more involved Yang Lianhua was with Feiyun Hall, the more he felt there was more to it. There were so many adepts at Feiyun Hall’s Heaven Sector who could pull their own weight and could arguably rival him. It, therefore, begged the question, why would Kong Duan share the profits with him? Kong Duan had to be after something bigger if he could accept handing over profits for seemingly nothing. The key laid within the words “Beijiang citizen.”
If Secretary Lie and Lu’s assailant was from Beijiang, Beijiang would be held responsible. If the assailants were only from Feiyun Hall, the outcome would be drastically different. Kong Duan couldn’t say, “You must be from Beijiang,” when recruiting the assassins. Hence, Yang Lianhua made the most of that weakness to throw a wrench in Kong Duan’s plan, making it impossible for the latter’s plan to be one hundred percent successful. Yang Lianhua had no qualms making an enemy out of Kong Duan if it was necessary; his group never feared anyone in the first place.
Once he was pleased with his appearance, Yang Lianhua nodded. It was time for his “servant” to come “serve” him. Nobody was specified for the night, so he wondered who’d pay him a visit. The knock on the door hinted hesitance and fear. Pleasantly surprised the individual outside was shy, he responded in a high-pitched voice: “Coming. Who is it?”
Startled after hearing “seductive” tone, the individual outside was stupefied. Once he got over it, he answered, “This one is Lu Shangfei… This one wishes to have a word with you, Mr. Yang.”
Lu Shangfei figuratively splashed cold water on Yang Lianhua’s flame. As a result, Yang Lianhua stamped back to his seat and irritably stated, “It’s not locked. Walk yourself in.”
Lu Shangfei entered fearfully and with a surprised look. He wore clothes similar to what a broadsword wielder would wear. As he watched Lu Shangfei, Yang Lianhua thought, “He’s so scared he even brought a bodyguard with him. Why didn’t Kong Duan find someone with a backbone? Well, I guess it would be troublesome to clean up after he enacts his plan if they’re too skilled.”
Yang Lianhua threatened, “Brother Lu, are you here to disturb my sleep, because you can’t sleep? If I don’t sleep, my face will be ruined. I won’t blame you, but my subordinates might not be so kind.”
Lu Shangfei’s hairs stood up, and he felt something come up to his throat. The man next to him said, “Boss Lu, business, business,” to help stop the urge to puke.
Yang Lianhua turned his attention to the man with Lu Shangfei. The man was exceptionally tall. His shoulders and back were wide. His proportions were among the best Yang Lianhua had seen even if comparing him to men from the North. He wondered, “Where did Lu Shangfei find such a splendid man from?”
Overcoming his dilemma, Lu Shangfei questioned, “This one has a question pertaining to our discussion during the day. Where is this one’s brother at the moment? Is he… still alive?”
Kong Duan gave the order to kill Lu Xiazou, but he carried out the command; there was no arguing that. He was going to entertain Lu Shangfei but realised, “Kong Duan wants to set me up? Lu Xiazou was an official of the imperial court! Kong Duan took his corpse. The Central Plain’s adepts will be able to determine what style was used to kill him! Damn you, you old fox! I missed that!”
Yang Lianhua’s silence rendered Lu Shangfei nervous. Unable to contain his anger, Lu Shangfei pointed at Yang Lianhua: “Was Brother Hu right when he said my brother is dead?! Yang Lianhua, were you the one who killed him?!”
“… So what if it was?” rhetorically asked Yang Lianhua, with a laugh carrying a hostile undertone.
The Lu brothers were mere sacrifices in the two parties’ scheme. Nevertheless, continuously crossing his bottom line led to Yang Lianhua believing Kong Duan was setting him up, putting the former at the disadvantage. Consequently, Yang Lianhua had no patience for Lu Shangfei. He slowly stood up and walked over to Lu Shangfei: “But don’t blame the innocent. I don’t know your brother. Why would I kill him? It was your master’s order.”
Vigorously shaking his head in denial, Lu Shangfei exclaimed, “Wh-Why would he do that?”
Yang Lianhua smiled sarcastically: “You brothers have worked for the old fox for all these years and haven’t learnt a thing. You don’t know what sort of man he is yet? He discards you once he’s done using you. What’s scary about him is they still benefit him even after they’re thrown away. He’s done it to me, too. You Hans are despicable cowards; the only thing you’re good at is playing underhanded tricks. I find it hard just to brown nose someone. Now, I suppose it’s time for you to be on your way to join your brother.”
Yang Lianhua raised his sleeve. Because he avoided the sun year round as if it was the plague, his hand was ghastly pale. He stabbed the side of Lu Shangfei’s abdomen from an awkward angle and pushed his force in, decimating the latter’s vitals. Like the way he killed Lu Xiazou, his stab was meant to be lethal. Lu Shangfei, not even knowing he had been stabbed already, cried, “I’m going to kill you, you freak of nature!!”
Lu Shangfei ignored the gap in their strength and punched Yang Lianhua in the face.