Dead End (Part 2)
The escort’s vigilance metre maxed out as soon as they heard River Monster’s allegation, something Emperor Yuansheng deemed his line.
Emperor Yuansheng wanted Liu Shan Men to spearhead the abolishment of the Seven Champion White Princes. However, he was privy Shen Yiren wasn’t ready for the daunting task and required the imperial court’s training. To that end, he demanded Liu Shan Men partake in the rescue mission in spite of Tang Ye being the only effective combatant. Emperor Yuansheng believed Su Xiao possessed gifts that would be nurtured into something greater. Ming Feizhen, however, was classified dead weight.
Besides Ming Feizhen being the labelled as the embodiment of what not one ought to be, he was shrouded in mystery. Who better than Emperor Yuansheng to understand how a man in power for a long time spoke?
Emperor Yuansheng didn’t buy Ming Feizhen was enlightened and didn’t desire riches at his age. Emperor Yuansheng tested Ming Feizhen’s martial proficiency in the past, and the latter didn’t impress, yet the number of pugilists that approached them didn’t even rustle his feathers when others would be on edge.
Capturing Mountain Monster, calm despite bears surrounding him and scaring off bears… The burgeoning list of surprises led to Emperor Yuansheng speculating Ming Feizhen was Night Fortress’ master. If Ming Feizhen did wield that much power, yet was willing to put himself through the wringer, his intricate and maleficent designs were threatening.
Dugu and long Zaitian vigilantly watched for Ming Feizhen’s reaction. Ming Feizhen’s lips subtly moved. He lowered a brow.
“Night Fortress’ master?” Ming Feizhen repeated with his head angled. “How come I don’t know anything about this?”
“Cut the act out. You think you’re an award-winning actor? If there’s anything I’m absolutely confident at, it’s reading people. You are no amateur. If you’re with Night Fortress, then you are undoubtedly Night Fortress’ master,” accused River Monster.
River Monster cracked a smirk and added, “Ever since we received news Night Fortress’ master was coming to Huzhou, we monitored everyone from the martial world entering Canhu Town. You’re the only group affiliated with Night Fortress.
“We couldn’t fathom why he’d suddenly come to Huzhou and announced his intention beforehand. Now it’s explainable. Night Fortress is cooperating with the imperial court and used Night Fortress’ name as a cover. Master was right. You’re after us, aren’t you?”
“You… don’t honour your words, do you?”
“Don’t try and malign me.” River Monster extended her hands, revealing her iron nails she used as weapons and disarmed: “I will keep my word. Arrest me if you will. I just can’t help laughing you didn’t realise you had someone so monstrous in your ranks. I worry for you, Mr. Fangzhang. Night Fortress’ master is hailed as Jiangnan’s Face-slapping King. Given your face is rather large, I would keep that chin tucked if I were you.”
River Monster successfully sowed discord. Emperor Yuansheng didn’t respond, but the others monitored Ming Feizhen’s every movement.
Ming Feizhen slowly retreated a few small steps. Accompanying a hand signal, he commanded, “Go.”
Hot qi spun through the air above. Tang Ye was on standby the entire time. He couldn’t apprehend River Monster until then as she stood too close to Ming Feizhen. Thankfully, Ming Feizhen noticed Tang Ye and realised his comrade’s intent.
“That’s underhanded!” cried River Monster, livid she was caught before her plan bore fruit. After a few exchanges, she cried, “Ultimate Eagle Claw? You’re Eagle Claw Sect’s, Three Lifetimes Claw? You’re from Nanjiang? What technique is this now?!”
River Monster didn’t plan to put up a resistance. She merely wanted to see a few more of Tang Ye’s clawing styles, but he had her in the palm of his hand within ten exchanges.
“Nice,” applauded Ming Feizhen. He pivoted around to see the suspicious stares on him. He performed a palm and fist salute: “Mast-”
“Skip the drivel,” Emperor Yuansheng cut in. “You have worked in my employment for some time. I don’t want it to come to this, either. However, there are too many coincidences that put your credibility into question. I can’t find any defences for you, so I can’t let you stay by Shen Yiren’s side. Explain yourself now. I won’t let someone suspicious hang around me. Ming Feizhen, answer me.”
“Hang around me,” actually referred to the imperial court.
“Are you Night Fortress’ master or not?”