Thirteenth This Month. Fives Matches for an Invitation.
I wore on the robe of a rich young master on a whim and played the part from head to toe, except I held a covered big bowl instead of a bird cage.
“Where’s Master?” Long Zaitian whispered.
“Ask this,” I stated, passing Long Zaitian the bowl.
Upon taking the bowl off me, Long Zaitian cried, “Whoa” and threw it, continuing, “What the hell is that?! It’s black and stinks! What sort of criminal organisation invented that hidden weapon?”
No, Long Zaitian wasn’t exaggerating this time. It was the strongest secret weapon in the last ten years and next ten years – Su Xiao’s dish. There was nothing I could do to save the kitchen after Emperor Yuansheng didn’t heed my advice and knocked himself out. Hence, I told Su Xiao and Miss Lyu to guard the corpses while I went to slip on more opulent clothing. Thankfully, I made it in time to stop Yi Wangyou with Autumn King String.
Among the seven king string’s, Autumn King String was the most violent technique and heaviest hitting as the impact was concentrated at a single point. Yes, I did control my output, but I should’ve given Yi Wangyou more credit, evident from how he absorbed the impact without taking any damage, thereby forcing me to reveal myself.
Judging from Yi Wangyou’s sullen and surprised glare, he was dead set I was the one who knocked him back. I had a feeling he was being a classic Tang Ye. I, however, couldn’t indulge in a match with him owing to all those present.
I couldn’t work out what was on Luo Siming’s mind based off his… I couldn’t even describe his expression. From a quick glance, I would bet on him beating Tang Ye based on his internal strength since he had a few more years on Tang Ye. With that said, both of them were born to be martial artists. His four bodyguards stood in positions that’d allow them to react to attacks from any direction, and, if I was to be honest, they were more threatening than he was.
Luo Siming’s four bodyguards were named after the four swords forged on Samuume Island generations ago, all of which were classified as the four swords tasked with protecting the clan patriarch. The four swordsmen of each generation were taught different styles and inherited the sword they took the name of.
Ao Xue, the bodyguard closest to Luo Siming, quietly commented, “Young Master, you don’t seem to like him.”
Luo Siming took a step back: “I just heard there’s a group trying to rob groups for weapons while I was at Repository Island… The pugilists in this group are all savvy fighters, but they don’t have an invitation. I have been watching them ever since Patriarch Yi started fighting, yet I can’t tell how skilled they really are. For them to have forced Patriarch Yi to retreat, they’re either dominant fighters or are using hidden weapons. If the occasion calls for it, we will need to intervene.”
“Roger. Do we fight four on one?”
“Of course not.”
“… I apologise for forgetting you. We will fight them five on one.”
“… Stop kidding. We would be defamed if we did that.”
You do realise I can hear you two? Please stop killing my brain cells with your stupid discussion. Luo Siming does sound like he is a man who respects rules and formalities as they say, though.
I approached Tang Ye, who had his hair messed up and clothing frayed, to pull his bloody body up: “Can you stand?”
Seeing as I wasn’t going to get a response from Tang Ye in the state he was in, I pulled him up from his shoulder and arm. The qi I transferred to him using Yijin Jing forced him to eject a blob of dark-purple blood from his mouth, restoring his qi to normal status as well as unclogging his jammed qi and blood. All he had to do was actively recover from there. Even though he was in fighting shape again, he wasn’t mentally there, evident from the fact that he refused to look my way.
“You look like you got the short end of the stick, Overlord.”
Tang Ye wasn’t inflamed with Yi Wangyou or me but himself for failing to meet the bar he set for himself. Although he never quit training, he joined Liu Shan Men at quite a high level already. Athleticism and technical progress inexorably reach a point of diminishing returns in spite of the effort invested being equal or sometimes more. Accordingly, Tang Ye’s progress appeared to improve only by a tiny margin ever since joining Liu Shan Men. The defeat he tasted at Yi Wangyou’s hands perceptively cemented the fact that he wasn’t improving, rendering him bitter.
Tang Ye set the bar ludicrously high for himself because Yi Wangyou was in the same class as Abbess Bailou. Even if Tang Ye was provided with elite guidance, he’d still need ten years of blood, sweat and tears to catch up – provided none of the patriarchs of the big three sects and the likes of Mount Kunlun plateaued for ten years.
Tang Ye opened his doors and warmed up during his time at Liu Shan Men, but the defeat closed those doors, turning him back to the aloof young man he was when he first joined.
“… If you want to blow off some steam, seek me out around midnight.”
Tang Ye refused to reply.
“I take it you are Zhong Hualius’s son?” inquired Yi Wangyou.
“You… could say that,” I jovially replied
Can we please stop mentioning Zhong Bloody Hualiu? Is mentioning a sexually transmitted disease every time in fashion or something?!
“Wait,” voiced Green Prince. “Aren’t you umm… the one I met at the temple? You’re Zhong Ming?”
“Indeed. It has been a long time,” I answered with a courteous smile.
“Oh, no wonder why you reacted as if you were scared but also like you admired me when I called myself Zhong Ming.”
Are you implying Zhong Ming is an idol to you?
“Hahaha, oh man, I didn’t realise I was trying to claiming to be you in your presence.”
Is Zhong Ming that famous already?
“You recognise him, Master?” Yi Wangyou queried.
“He was the one who stopped me from robbing Wutong Jin Yuxuan’s goods at the temple. Young Master Zhong, you really are a lucky man, huh? After we left, all those chicks were yours.”
“I cannot compare to you, Brother.”
“A man from a brothel chain must know how to talk, hey? Hahaha.”
Though Yi Wangyou knew that offending Wutong Jin Yuxuan was a serious issue, he decided to focus on the matter at hand: “Young Master Zhong, this one hurt your friend. If you wish to get involved, please make your move.”
“I am nobody to accost you, Patriarch Yi. In saying that, I do have something to get off my chest.”
“Please speak your mind.”
“Though I do not know what Brother Tang has done to earn your ire, it seems serious. He had a big fight several days ago and has not had the opportunity to rest. He then had to spar with your subordinates before sparring with you, so it was not a fair match.”
“Are you accusing me of taking advantage of him?”
“He is an extraordinary fighter. It is not easy to beat him when he is at full capacity.”
“If that is your concern, I shall wait for him to recuperate before running it back. I will give him six hours.”
“Six hours? Matriarch Zi, injuries to nerves and bones would take a hundred days to heal, not to mention he was vomiting blood. He would need, at least, five days to recover.”
“Is there a point to buying time? Not to sound haughty, but the young man would not be a match for this one even if he had ten more years despite his potential and with Yang Blood True Qi fortifying him. If he is going to challenge Desolate Sword Dance, how about you personally try on his behalf? Why is there any need to waste time?”
“This one does not know any martial arts. This one does wish to finish getting thoughts off his chest, nevertheless. Brother Chubby, why did you try to rob Wutong Jin Yuxuan?”
“To get into Refining Divine Convention, of course.”
Yi Wangyou and Luo Siming turned to Green Prince.
“I see. Since you have been candid with me, I shall also be frank: we are also trying to see Refining Divine Convention.”
Luo Siming’s face read, “Say what?!”
“What are you talking about?!”
“Why are you talking crap when you know they’re with Luo Sword Manor?!”
“Does your brain develop in reverse?!”
“Hahaha, you, too? We’re in the same profession, then.”
“Haha, indeed, indeed.”
Green Prince and I stopped laughing in synchrony.
“That’s why you had your brother steal my wife, Cui Ping?!”
I bobbed my head with a smirk: “Damn straight.”
Long Zaitian, Dugu and Tie Hanyi and Bai Laimu’s faces read, “You’re scum among scum.”
Why are you jokes giving reactions when you clearly know I’m making this up? You don’t know anything about me, do you? Why do you believe that?!
“Since we all have enmity with each other one way or another, let us not waste time with pleasantries any more. Young Master Luo, I would like to ask you to be our witness,” I requested.
“I am listening,” responding Luo Siming, brows contracting a tad.
“I’d like to make a bet with our chubby friend here. Neither he nor I have an invitation to Refining Divine Convention. It’s now unbelievably difficult to steal an invitation in Canhu Town. Correct me if I am wrong, but I do believe you will find a way to permit him entry given your relationship.”
“Your point being?”
“My point being I want to make a bet as I said. If I win, I will not force my will on anyone. All I am asking is for a chance for my friends and I to expand our horizons.”
“And if I win?” questioned Green Prince.
“If I lose, I’ll return Cui Ping and add a thieving man. I’m on decent terms with Wutong Jin Yuxuan, so how about I give you the address of the nun?”
The promise was dandy and all, but the real allure was catching a man who stole his wife and getting her back for the first time in history, not that I had a Cui Ping to return to him.
Luo Siming, in contrast, was reluctant to accept the proposal as he hadn’t managed to prove or disprove me of being the one robbing weapons from others. Risky business wasn’t his style.
“You have yet to state how winning and losing is decided. You are not trying to deceive us, are you?” asked Yi Wangyou.
“I promise you will be satisfied with the terms. As we are people in the pugilistic world and you are fixated on my friend here, why not hold a tournament for an invitation? Both of us have capable subordinates, don’t we? Each of us can delegate five fighters. The tougher man wins. What do you say?”
Yi Wangyou and Green Prince took the offer like robbers finding gold, with the latter answering, “Let’s do it. Let’s do it tom-”
Yi Wangyou held his hand up to Green Prince’s mouth as the former believed he needed to be prudent about his line-up: “We need time to prepare. Let us compete on the thirteen of this month.”
“Be there or be square.”