I Shall Provide the Best Service I Can
I inferred Green Prince heard about Refining Divine Convention months ago while in Nanjiang, implying that he had always been in contact with Luo Clan. His Majesty must’ve pieced together what I did after hearing about the event but kept a lid on it, worried about what role his son played. Whatever this mire was for, we were already airborne and on our way into it. The next step, then, was to finally eat something. To that end, Su Xiao and I visited the most prim-looking inn – Bright Jade Restaurant.
Chewing his snack, Su Xiao questioned, “Long-story short, Master wants to sneak in to see his son.”
“What a troublesome family. Vice- Capt-, Miss… Miss Shen’s whereabouts are still a mystery, for crying out loud.” Su Xiao screened those in the inn and whispered, “Since Vice-Captain was spotted nearby, why don’t we ask the troops in this area to search for her? Why does His Majesty refuse?”
“This convention is most probably shady. The fatty is close to Luo Clan and has been in contact with them all this time. If a Prince is involved in this event, the imperial court will be rocked. You forgot about Orange Prince’s rebellion? His Majesty might make light of it around us, but it’s a scar deep down. He won’t feel secure until he confirms the deal with his own eyes.”
I refrained from contacting Zha Pi because I was afraid we didn’t have a way of explaining ourselves to His Majesty even though I was eager to know if he found out anything. Huofeng definitely had some clues. Sadly, given our respective sects’ relationship as well as me and her senior sister… that bridge snapped long ago.
What I needed most was more information, witnesses and clues. Running blindly around Taihu didn’t promise anything no matter how fast I ran.
To enter the event, we either had to copy Green Prince’s strategy or somehow whip out a rare weapon that’d tickle Luo Sword Manor’s fancy. Similarly to Boss’ situation, we needed information and clues, meaning I had to…
“Big Brother Ming.”
“Have we eaten too much? Can we even afford this much?” Su Xiao queried, pointing to the stack of plates in front of him with his hand not holding the plate of green-bean cake.
Should you be asking me that when you ordered over twenty of the most expensive dishes?
“If you can’t afford it, don’t eat here.”
“You ate even more than me!”
“That’s because you’re confusing me with all the stuff you said.” Su Xiao turned his full mouth away and continued, “It took a lot of brain power to follow what you were saying. By the time I can wrap my head around it, I’m hungry again, so I have to eat again. You then spout a whole load of more complicated stuff.”
Lass, snacks fuel your brain now? You trying to be the only constable who cracks cases on green-bean cakes and biscuits?
“Didn’t I tell you we came here to collect money?”
I eyed the inn and then poured some powder from a small bone china bottle in my hand, flipping my hand over and back four times.
“What are you doing?”
“Remember what I’m doing. Don’t forget it. I only do this once.”
I closed my fist and then opened it, while Su Xiao watched earnestly since it was one of the few times that I was serious around him. The next time I closed and opened my hand, a pigeon came along for the ride.
“It’s time to go.”
I flicked my wrist for the pigeon with brown feathers on its back to take flight. It flew clumsily as though it was flying for the first time, resulting in an awkward flying posture. I turned around and placed a finger on Su Xiao’s lips when he went to speak.
“Focus. Focus on the air, scenery, sound, things, reasons and changes. Focus on everything.”
The pigeon led us from the second floor up to the sixth floor. The first floor was so rowdy and busy that it was impossible to make out what was being said. Strangely, the second and third floors were deluxe floors, while the sixth floor wasn’t.
A lanky man in a yellow robe, eyes resembling that of a sleazy businessman, merrily drinking with his friends threw the pigeon away when it landed on his table and then resumed his partying as though it was never there. I pulled Su Xiao to a quiet corner to find a vacant room to enter.
“Don’t mention a word of anything you see from now to anyone, not even in your dreams, to your wife kids or your grave.”
“Big Brother Ming… You look scary… What are you talking about?”
“This is where your journey in the pugilistic world commences. Before rejection, you must try to understand what it is you are rejecting. The only time you are to mention what you witness today… is when you find a successor.”
I lifted the corners of my lips: “That’s what my shifu told me back then.”
“Really? Phew. Why do you have to show me what your shifu did?”
I just smiled.
“Shifu, why do you have to do this?”
“Because my shifu did it.”
“Why can you only mention it once?”
I didn’t want to see my dickhead shifu in my mind. I ended up recalling the conversation, alas.
“Also, why can you only mention it once?”
I rubbed Su Xiao’s head: “Because things worth remembering only need to be mentioned once.”
Su Xiao lowered his flush face and let me scrub his head.
Su Xiao recoiled upon hearing the voice behind us and reached for his weapon until he identified it was the lanky man attired in yellow.
Stoically, the man conveyed in a monotone voice, “The encyclopedia that is all knowing, the pugilistic world’s Black and White Reflection is at your service.”
I politely smiled: “Thank you for helping this one time and time again.”
“Black and White Reflection? Isn’t that your favourite book?” Su Xiao blurted.
“That shouldn’t be what occupies your mind right now. You should be trying to come up with a nickname for yourself,” I pointed out.
“You’ll find out soon.”
The man presented a book from his shirt: “This one is the pugilistic world’s Black and White Reflection’s 26,033th guardian. May he ask for a name?”
I answered, “This one’s membership is: 01087267190”
“What the heck?” Su Xiao blurted.
“Tsk, all secrets in the pugilistic world are like that.”
“Found it. May I ask if you are Mrs. Lightning Bolt Mr. Heavenly Overlord?”
Su Xiao’s gaze could kill me with embarrassment.
Stop! When my I opened my account with my shifu, I was only nine years old! What sort of nickname would you expect a nine year old handsome boy to come up with?!
“Can you tell me what this is all about yet?” Su Xiao inquired, still holding his nose.
“This is the pugilistic world encyclopedia of Black and White Reflection, the most published magazine in the pugilistic world. They’re most reliable and trustworthy walking bank in the pugilistic world. They’re spread out across the entire land, going all the way to the seven kingdoms in Western Regions, Nanjiang and Beijiang. You can withdraw your savings from them anywhere.
“All you have to do is pay a small annual membership fee to access the service. The quality of service, of course, changes depending on who you are. Some people can trust them with ten thousand taels, while there are others who can’t even store a hundred. This is only one of the services they provide.”
Black and White Reflection can procure a book, a bookshelf or even secret manuals if requested. They base the quality of service for their customer based on the customer’s ranking in Black and White Reflection. Members’ rankings indicated their credibility, which impacted how much they could store and the sorts of orders they could put in. Some believe the Supreme Ten Saints have silver and gold mountains stashed with Black and White Reflection.
“If you’re going to dip yourself in the pugilistic world, this is fundamental,” I told Su Xiao.
“And… we withdraw money from them?”
“Mrs. Lightning Bolt Mr. Heavenly Overlord, you have three taels and two coins, a drumstick you have taken a bite out of off, two pears, five meat buns, fourteen melon seeds…”
Su Xiao, last warning about that look, all right?
“… and two hundred porn books. Would you like to withdraw them?”
Su Xiao tugged on my collar: “Let’s hear about this, runt.”
“You plan to use your porn collection as mattress, pillows and blankets tonight?”
I’m actually scared!
I made some big promises to bring Su Xiao’s intense flame down to a simmer and then explained to the guardian, “This is a friend. Please open an account for him.”
“As you wish.”
The guardian started jotting down information on Su Xiao. He also handed Su Xiao a sheet of paper that detailed their policy and so forth in addition to a form with over a hundred sections to fill out.
“My membership is ‘01087… yeah, yeah, that. Something like that. Also…” I took a step forward and, using Voice Transmission, requested, “Please login to another account.”
“I am at your service.”
I took his brush from him and wrote down on a blank spot – Ming Feizhen.
The man nodded and, without needing to check his records, whispered, “Esteemed Customer, what can I do for you.”
“Money, medicine for external injuries and an inn.”
The man bobbed his head.
“I’m finally done,” drawled Su Xiao, coming back after a few minutes. “My hand is as tired as after training. What are you two doing?’
The man passed me a brocade box: “There are herbs from Shaolin, Wudang, Mount Daluo, the Seven Champion White Princes and sky palace, each of which have been categorised accordingly.”
Su Xiao had trouble keeping up.
The man pointed to the ground: “This inn will be cleared out in an hour so that you can move in. Please give me a moment.”
“Eh?!” exclaimed Su Xiao.
The man then took out a stack of papers: “Here are your three hundred thousand taels.”
Su Xiao’s toe tag: passed away at fifteen years of age due to excessive blood loss from coughing during an encounter with a rich a villain.