“I, therefore, concluded that Mount Daluo’s successor this generation isn’t a martial arts expert but an intellect,” declared Emperor Yuansheng, speaking in a firm but composed voice.
“Your Majesty, you have the wrong person. I am but a fool.”
“If you aren’t deliberately playing the fool, then you must have a fetish for hearing me praise you. I suppose you’re going to keep up the act until I expose you. Reports on you have always been shrouded in another layer of mystery. Though I’m annoyed with your activities, the worst thing I could possibly do is chase you out of Liu Shan Men. What really triggered my suspicion was your performance on this journey.
“Even though I was present, I have no idea how you convinced the elites we met at the inn to leave. Do you think it’s conceivable for me to believe you’re an ordinary disciple of Mount Daluo after witnessing the way you communicated with them? That takes serious guts and wits.
“At Bishui Town, you bluntly dismissed famous people from the pugilistic world, and none of their offerings could pique your interest. What sort of man could remain so calm in the face of allures that every man is weak to? If I was in your shoes and at your age, those maidens would’ve won me over. That’s what led to me suspecting you’re the master of Night Fortress.”
Guess I now know what sparked his suspicions now. Have I been standing out too much on this trip?
“Don’t be so tense; I don’t possess godly divination abilities. I shouldn’t have had any reason to keep suspecting you after witnessing your bravery and resolution as well as confirming you aren’t Night Fortress’ master. Nevertheless, you overlooked an aspect that I admit I also overlooked at first. Your mistake, which I’m also inclined to judge consider your praiseworthy trait, is how much you care for Yiren.”
“I… do not understand.”
The shock I felt was considerably bigger than the size of my eyes upon hearing those two words. My arms almost shot forward to silence Emperor Yuansheng.
“You captured Mountain Monster, correct?”
“I… do not understand.”
“Still feigning but okay.” Hiking up the corner of his lips, Emperor Yuansheng explicated, “I find it hard to believe you could subdue someone of Mountain Monster’s calibre, especially in such easy fashion. As an insurance policy, I had someone watch over the place Mountain Monster was confined when River Monster came last night, yet I found her iron cage empty. My first assumption was that Mountain Monster absconded. When I went closer… Hahaha.”
My brows were locked. What was I supposed to make of Emperor Yuansheng’s laughing?
“Being wise does not mean being infallible. I don’t know what she took umbrage to, but she left behind, ‘Piece of dog turd, Ming Feizhen, I must be mentally demented to help you’, hahaha.”
“There is nothing surprising if she cursed me before she slipped away given I captured her.”
“Where could she possibly flee to? Where would she run to when both Abels and River Monster were there, the opposite direction they went? Moreover, ‘I must be mentally demented to help you’ is a very informative sentence. My guess is you’ve got her around your thumb and assigned her a task. Let me guess again: she hasn’t returned to Abels. You’ve hidden her, correct?”
Young Shiyi always said my plans weren’t thought through enough and that I neglected details. I couldn’t argue with her judgement anymore.
“Additionally, capturing Mountain Monster risks exposing your identity. If you didn’t prioritise Yiren, you wouldn’t have taken the risk. That is what I meant by praiseworthy.”
I honestly couldn’t keep up based off all the information I had to work off. He didn’t sound mad after finding out I’d been deceiving him for months. What was I supposed to think he was thinking?
“Ming Huayu is known for being an enigma, and this decision absolutely is a splendid move on his part. Shall I say he stunningly used retreat as a means of advance? He’s had me in the dark all this time. Master Ming’s appearance proved you aren’t Master Ming, but it proved your identity as the successor of Mount Daluo.
“Night Fortress and Mount Daluo are connected. What you also don’t know is that your shifu shows up on Night Net Mountain annually. That’s why I’ve speculated you’re part of Night Fortress for a long time but had no evidence. When I heard Master Ming mention you were acquainted, it all clicked together for me.
“You purposely entered the employment of Liu Shan Men. That’s a good move. I’ll give you that. It has direct ties to the imperial court, is the simplest and the last place anyone would expect you to choose. Shen Yiren has the judgement to spot talent. Maybe she has, maybe she hasn’t noticed something. Either way, she saw your strong suit, which explains why she’s constantly pushed for you to be promoted to more significant roles.
“You encountered Fu Xiang during Cheng’er’s mutiny, yet you managed to escape with your life. There’s no way I’m buying it was all thanks to luck. I certainly did think you were incredibly lucky to have recovered after a month. As I contemplated things last night, I surmise you identified him prior to your match and, consequently, implemented preparations to survive his strike, correct?”
I absentmindedly nodded.
“You managed to win last the three rounds against Jin Wangsun to my surprise. I assume you had some strategy for it. As for the carving not affecting you, I suspect it has to do with your status as a direct disciple of Mount Daluo, correct?”
I absentmindedly nodded.
“You’re the one who saw through Kong Duan. So far on this journey, you’ve been the strategist behind the curtains. Am I wrong? The only explanation I can offer for your ability to pull off these would-be miracles is that you are Mount Daluo’s successor.”
While I was trying to come up with another spiel for why I joined Liu Shan Men, I heard, “It seems you have come to a decision.”
“Mount Daluo has always maintained a neutral stance and not involved themselves in the pugilistic world’s troubles; however, Mount Daluo’s decision is clear this time.
Does this man think I’m here to negotiate forming an alliance with the imperial court as Mount Daluo’s representative or something?
“I can see your genuine desire to join the imperial court. Worry not. For as long as I reign, Mount Daluo is our friend.”
“Y-you are a genius, Your Majesty…”
Let me tell something. I’ve seen the most ridiculous conclusions people come up with, and I can tell you this: it’s not thanks to their genius. It’s thanks to their stupidity!
How do you people do it?!