Unexpected (Part 2)
“The Wang fellow then sighed: ‘Unfortunately, despite our united stance, we are mere decoration for others.’
“So, I asked, ‘What do you mean? The convention is a contest of skill. It does not get any fairer than winning through pure skill.’
“He replied, ‘Analyse it more thoroughly. Our chances are slim to begin with. Do you think we could win against the likes of Mount Lu Sword Sanctuary, Wutong Jin Yuxuan or Wudang? No, right? Our chances have gone from slim to slimmer. And now, Night Fortress is also intending to take part. As Master Ming’s old friends, you would have heard of him if you have not met him. Is he a pushover? Remember when Mount Lu Sword Sanctuary’s master personally went and apologised to Master Ming after Master Ming beat the snot out of their young master? We thought there would be a war, but we were all wrong; he is more respected than the Emperor. If he was to participate, what chances do we have to speak off?’
“I disputed, ‘Even so, that is despicable. Moreover, if we were skilled enough to frame him, we would not be worried about him in the first place.’
“He argued, ‘Brother Cha, think about this: even the likes of Mount Lu Sword Sanctuary is going to take a weapon and be out of there. They will be handing out twelve weapons in total. Remove them from the equation, and a few weapons will be left over. We are fish willing to bite the bait to make a name for ourselves. That being the case, what is the issue with competing with each other? Master Ming, on the other hand, is a totally different beast. He asked his friends in the pugilistic world to do him a favour. Think about what he means by favour. What else could it be besides not competing with him for a weapon?’
“Qian Clan’s fatty said, ‘If he was going to vie for any of the weapons, it would be the last one, the divine weapon. His competition is the Seven Champion White Princes, Wudang and all those heavyweights. What would he bother with us for?’
“He claimed, ‘See? That shows how cunning he really is. Keep in mind he is so skilled that Mount Lu Sword Sanctuary bow to him. How, then, does it make any sense for him to as us to do him a favour? We’re side characters compared to the big names who are striving to find just an ounce of hope from the big factions. To decipher what he means, he means he will be taking the divine weapon and all twelve weapons!’
“Horse Divine Association’s Ma Jun concurred, ‘That… certainly sounds like tyrannical Master Ming. I think you’re right.’
“Qian Can’s fatty thundered, ‘What an unreasonable tyrant!’
“I asked, ‘But there is no evidence to substantiate your claim. We cannot be rash. Also, how are we going to frame him given his skills?’
“‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way, Brother Cha. Look at this. This is a special poison I bought off the black market. Reduce it to powder then scatter it using your energy. In less than ten minutes after it makes contact with the victim’s skin… We can then frame Young Master Zhong, forcing Master Ming to withdraw. He will definitely try to investigate why he was framed. It would take him two to three months before he finds out the poison came from Beijiang. It will be too late for him to come to the convention by then!’
“The three of us debated it, but we were still afraid of you. We did not trust him, either. That was when he said, ‘If you three still do not trust me, here. Please accept these silver taels. Consider it a token of our friendship. As for the plan, we can wait and see if he will accept our gifts. I estimate around eighteen clans will try to ingratiate themselves with him. If he needs our help, he will like, at least, one group’s presents and accept them. If it fails… you will know his intention is the latter. We can always strike then.’
“We deemed it an appropriate approach and agreed. If you accepted our gifts, the matter ended there. If you did not, we would enact the plan. We were going to choose someone random, but the man decided Miss Lyu was the best target since she hails from a reputable clan in the martial world.”
“You still went ahead with it after meeting me?”
“My humble self has only seen you once when you met with my brother. I was not sure it was you. That was just a fluke, hehehe.”
I stomped on him again: “Clever, are you?!”
I didn’t expect my broadcasted message to be misconstrued to that extent. I was positive many others were thinking the same thing as Cha Bao. It would explain why Miss Lyu was delighted upon learning I wasn’t going to Luo Sword Manor. The strange part was I couldn’t name many of my enemies in Jiangnan who were so cunning. He formulated the entire scheme real quick.
The success rate of the plan was decent. The mastermind just wasn’t aware Zhong Clan’s Young Master Ming was also Master Ming and wrongly assumed I couldn’t neutralise the poison. Piecing it together, the mastermind was unlikely somebody I knew. Else, they wouldn’t have assumed incorrectly.
“You idiots were used…”
“Ar-are you really not going to Luo Sword Manor?”
“I didn’t receive an invitation. How would I go there? Slaughter my way in? Attendees need to bring their own famous weapon and invitation with them. You’ve been active in the pugilistic world for years. Whenever have you heard of me using weapons?”
Cha Bao’s jaw dropped: “The scoundrel tricked me!”
“You’re the scoundrel!” I booted Cha Bao in the face: “Miss Lyu is your clan’s friend, yet you were willing to sacrifice her.”
“No, no, no, I would never dare to commit murder! The man said it was potent but would not kill her as long as we came back in time to help her.”
“That still makes you a scoundrel! A grown man poisoning an innocent girl for his own greed, you’re an embarrassment.”
Defeated, Cha Bao lowered his head.
It wasn’t difficult to identify the man with the surname Wang. Beijiang was involved again. If I wasn’t wrong, the enemy was going to appear soon.
“You lot came knocking on my door, so don’t blame me for meeting you at the door with closed fists.”