Su Xiao, Behave
I returned to Liu Shan Men’s main courtyard to recruit men for an impromptu meeting after my heartbreaking farewell with Young Shiyi. The team had their jaws gaping after I filled them in on what happened to Boss in Huzhou. I didn’t disclose all of the details since the Emperor going out in disguise was top secret. I simply informed them Boss Shen was missing in action, and we needed to form a team to search for her in Huzhou.
I had no clue what Su Xiao had been busy with recently. I was with General Manager Bai all yesterday, Young Shiyi and Guardian Long, so I didn’t have time to talk to him. Hearing his voice again seemed as if I hadn’t heard it in a long time. It was also the first time he looked straight at me in the last two days.
“Vice-Captain is in trouble?! Is Captain Song also in trouble? Those bandits are brazenly breaking the law!”
Su Xiao sounded anxious, very anxious, which was normal given his personality. That being said… there was something odd. Firstly, he didn’t name me. Secondly, he avoided eye contact with me. If I had to guess, I’d say he didn’t feel as close as before. I was a bit disappointed about that. I hadn’t seen him in days ever since we broke off into three different offices, after all, yet he didn’t appear happy to see me. I couldn’t explain the feeling…
Su Xiao’s face glowed red when he noticed his gaze on me. Maybe he was guilty or something. He muttered, “Big Brother Ming… what are you looking at me for…?”
I shrugged as usual: “Nothing. I just thought I hadn’t spoken to you in a long time.”
Su Xiao lowered his head and sighed gently. He continued mumbling, “The bond between brothers is worth gold in weight… I can’t say it. I can’t say it…”
‘What in god’s name happened?! How does a heartless kid have emotional problems?!’
I resumed business: “Accordingly, His Majesty gave the order to form a rescue team. All three of our martial world offices are taking part in the operation. I need to select team members to join me as Liu Shan Men’s representatives.”
Sir Sui Tuwan narrowed his eyes and smiled. Stroking his non-existent beard as a cultured man would, he expressed, “I owe Vice-Captain Shen for a lot of things. Whoever you need, just say the word, Young Ming. I doubt anyone in the office will refuse.”
As I listened to Sir Sui Tuwan, I noticed him waving to me under the table. I leaned in to hear what he had to say, “You can take whoever you want, but you need to send me a replacement for Zha Pi if you take him. We need a gardener.”
Sir Sui Tuwan then sneakily slipped me a silver ingot from his sleeve.
“Don’t worry. Don’t worry. I’m impartial. I’ll be sure you’re satisfied,” I assured. I switched to a deeper voice and continued, “We need a good number of people this time. I need useful people. Head Constable Bai, you are an experienced investigator, and Vice-Captain personally trained you, so you would know her modus operandi better than anyone. Please lead a team of your own to go on ahead.”
“Roger!” responded Bai Yeshuang.
I knew Bai Yueshuang would’ve gone to Huzhou by herself even if I didn’t tell her to go; she looked worried sick the second she heard Boss Shen was in peril.
“Zha Pi, we need people on the intelligence team. You’re the best candidate to blend in with the locals, so join Head Constable Bai.”
I chose another few members who’d be useful and assigned them to Bai Yeshuang’s team. Among them was the new constable who decided to step on my toes when I was first promoted to head constable, Luo Huaian.
I had Bai Yeshuang’s team head out as a separate company because I needed to keep the Emperor leaving the palace under wraps. Furthermore, we’d be able to get straight into analysing the information if they raced to Canhu Town to begin investigations beforehand.
“As for my team…”
“I’m going!” declared Su Xiao.
“There’s no party for you there!” I argued. “You’d end up captured with your skills. I’ll have to go to your rescue, too, in the end. Stay put!”
Su Xiao pouted: “And you’re skilled? Why would they capture me? Plus, we have Tang Ye.”
Su Xiao ran over to Tang Ye’s rear and averted his gaze from me.
‘H-Has he grown distant to me?! Why does this remind me of someone taking a cat I raised for a long time?! Su Meow, just you wait!’
“No, means no,” I stressed. “There’s no point in protesting. This is an order!”
Su Xiao contended, “Your orders hold no weight; my rank is higher than yours!”
I think Su Xiao was promoted again after catching Kong Duan. I was only a rank seven warrior, so he was right! Unable to argue, I turned to Tang Ye: “Then, you, too. The three of us are going together.”
Tang Ye: “Time, place and luggage?”
“Assemble two and a half kilometres outside of the city’s South doors. We will need things to disguise ourselves. We’ll eat buns, braised pork shoulders and buy pears…. Just… bring lots of money.”
“A thousand gold.”
Tang Ye left after I answered. The “gold” remark was a reference to the phrase, “A man’s word is worth a thousand gold in weight.”
I noticed Tang Ye had condensed his speech more and more recently…
I assigned Liu Yuan as the leader of the office in my absence. I went to pack my luggage with Su Xiao.
“Pay Su Xiao more attention,” Shiyi told me when I bid her farewell.
“Su Xiao? What’s wrong with him?” I asked, blinking. “He’s been weird recently. He’s been sick or something ever since we returned from Wuhua County, but he doesn’t look sick; he just looks lifeless.”
“Idiot,” softly remarked Shiyi. “Can’t you tell he has emotional baggage?”
“Emotional baggage?” I repeated. I thought, “How does a heartless kid have emotional baggage? I bet he’s just trouble because some girl confessed to him or his fan group of maids chased him around.”
As I watched Su Xiao take out his clothes from the cupboard, I thought Shiyi’s assessment was right. I called, “Xiao.”
Su Xiao juddered and quietly stuttered, “Wh-What?”
“Are you hiding something from me?”
Su Xiao looked over his shoulder. His face was red, but he tried his best to shake his head: “N-N-No.”
Clearly, Su Xiao wasn’t someone who could tell lies. I had to do something about the problem, nevertheless; otherwise, who knew how much longer he’d be hung up? I couldn’t always be by his side to protect him. Plus, the upcoming mission was dangerous. I had to force it out of him one way or another.
I took two steps forward and pushed a cupboard door shut. Next, I trapped Su Xiao inside the range of my arm. Startled, he hugged his clothing and trembled. He stuttered, “Wh-What?!”
I wore on a straight face and asked, “Do you know what I’m doing?”
Su Xiao struggled to lift his chin. Confused, he replied, “K-Kabedon?”
‘Yuck! What the hell?! The answer is interrogating!’
Angry, I wrestled Su Xiao onto the bed. He released a high-pitched, “Kyah” as he fell onto the bed despite it not hurting because I controlled my output. I said, “Behave.”
After pressing Su Xiao down onto the bed and staring at him for a brief moment, his face turned more and more red for some reason…
“Xiao,” I sternly started. “Who am I?”
Su Xiao stared and stared. He touched my head as if he was looking at a pitiful retard and answered, “What happened? You’re Big Brother Ming. How pitiful, you’re so stupid that you don’t even know who you are anymore.”
‘You’re the super-ultra,-mega stupid one! Why the hell is this interrogation so difficult?!’
“Correct. We’re best brothers, right?”
I sternly said, “Are you hiding something from me?!”
Su Xiao’s redness reached its peak. He frantically shook his head: “No, no, I don’t about Lord San Shen!”
‘Eh? Wait. I didn’t think it was about this… Oh, fuck! He just said Lord San Shen! What do you know?’
And so, I inadvertently cracked a big case! A case too big!
*Kabedon – The action of slapping a wall fiercely, which you often see in Japanese and Korean media.