Why Should Depraved Talent Shy From a Scrap?
You have to be kidding me… I only came up with this name to curse my shifu. I don’t know a lick about Zhong Hualiu. Not only am I hiding my identity but even my fake identity now? No, no, let’s focus on thinking of something first…
“Hahahahaha,” Ming Feizhen hysterically laughed in an uncomfortably loud voice after his eyes did laps. “Interesting. Interesting. Young Master Luo really has given me a big surprise this time, hahaha.” Ming Feizhen continued pacing back and forth until he saw the dumbfounded performers, to which he started fanning himself and continued, “I don’t remember paying you to stand there. Do what you were paid to do. Don’t ruin my mood. Bai, don’t just space out on me. Start writing.”
An erhu player resumed playing, only to be told, “Why are you playing the erhu when you have fine vision? How good are you with your hands? Don’t pretend.”
Ming Feizhen reproved one person after another until the performers and Bai Laimu resumed their tasks. As Long Zaitian listened in to the clash of poems, music and footsteps, Long Zaitian started clapping and commenting, “We’re screwed. We have a mad man. I keep telling you the guy doesn’t train enough; all he trains is his gums. Now he’s lost his mind because he’s been outmuscled.”
Su Xiao didn’t need long to work out Ming Feizhen’s plan due to how well he knew the latter and pointed out, “Big Brother Ming is planning to pester them perpetually.”
Long Zaitian berated, “Pester them into what?”
“I reckon Su W-” Mountain Monster stopped herself from saying “Wench” and then finished, “is right.” Mountain Monster pulled out a chair to sit in – literally because of her size. Her mannerisms resembled the spoilt young lady of a rich household, yet nobody felt it was unreasonable owing to her appearance. She went on, “When has he never used bluffs? He’s stalling for time.”
Su Xiao reached for the firmament: “Present!”
“Don’t just idle there. What is the towel on your shoulder for, decoration?”
“On it! Move, move, I’m busy.” Su Xiao weaved through the tables and people to clean the tables.
“I’m also worried about the kitchen. Chef Zhang, come over here…” called Ming Feizhen.
Yi Wangyou voiced, “Young Master Zhong, you were just preaching a moment ago, earning my admiration. You were not putting on a bluff, were you?”
“I am doing this so that your friend does not evaluate our service as lousy. The music can create a nice ambience. I have nothing to fear if Young Master Luo is in doubt.” Ming Feizhen sauntered over to Mr. Qian and greeted, “How do you do, Mr. Qian?”
Mr. Qian pulled his hands behind him and elucidated, “This is enough to prove you aren’t Master Zhong’s son. I last met him last year. If you’re his son, you would know me as we address each other as brothers. Moreover, you don’t even address me as Second Uncle Qian.”
Though the hostiles trained suspicious gazes on Ming Feizhen, it wasn’t enough to throw him off his game: “Elder, you claim to be my father’s close friend. My father has multiple ‘close friends’ who visit him on a daily basis. If I had to address all of you as uncle, how big would my family be? Are you going to feed all of us?”
Despite calling Zhong Hualiu a close friend, the two were in competition at the end of the day for they were in the same industry. Yes, Mr. Qian addressed Zhong Hualiu as a brother, but that was in his drunken stupor. They weren’t as close as he insinuated and clashed in numerous ways. Hence, with a ripe tomato for a face, Mr. Qian thundered, “Have you no manners?! How hubristic can you be?! Nobody in Luoyang has heard of Master Zhong having a younger son, you imposter!”
“Have you heard about his eldest son, then?”
Of course people knew of Zhong Ning. His name was taboo within the family, though, due to his deeds, and Mr. Qian was privy of that.
“You might think you have the gift of the gab, but you’re just being unreasonable!”
“Relax, relax, Mr. Qian. Wait… I did not accidentally reveal your intent to leech, did I? Even if I did, you can rest assured. We always spare a couple of mantous for the con artists who try to defraud us annually. We don’t mind sharing our wealth with the people.”
Someone scoffed, “You mean, ill-earned wealth doesn’t last,” switching up the popular idiom that promoted, “Do not covet ill-earned wealth.”
Mr. Qian erupted, “You claim you’re from Zhong Clan without any proof. This old one must teach you a lesson!”
“Mr. Qian, you are in the same… line of work. I see. I see… Which brothel do you own?”
“I own Purity House in this town.” Mr. Qian swept his gaze over to the dancers and stated, “They’re from Purity House.”
No wonder why this man is flipping out at me. Long Zaitian and the others must’ve just hired anyone they could.
“I now see your priority in coming here is to pick a bone and catching up is but an excuse. It’s just, hahaha, how are you going to prove I’m my father’s son? My father isn’t here to testify. You accuse me of lacking proof, yet you are doing exactly that. What proof do you have?”
“Proof? You already exposed yourself with your slips.”
“Oh, so you inculpate people without proof?”
“You might think words are you weapon; however, that doesn’t negate anything I’ve pointed out. There’s a quick and easy way to test your lineage. The question is, would you dare to take the test?”
Don’t tell me you have Zhong Hualiu’s blood on hand to conduct a test.
“I am all ears.”
“As you claim to be the second son of Mr. Zhong, you should be educated on the way of ‘romance’. Let’s test your knowledge on various topics, in that case. If you cannot answer, this old one is proven right!”
You want to test my knowledge on brothels?
“I think… umm, I do not think it is a wise idea to discuss the topic in the presence of so many people…”
“That’s your issue, not mine. First question.” Mr. Qian took in a big breath then asked, “What is the biggest brothel in Nanjing?”
“Qinhuai Heavenly Fragrance Garden.”
“Green Shadow Descending Brothel?”
“Old Town Golden Valley Garden.”
“If a man doesn’t know?”
“Climb up a tree branch in the middle of the night.”
“If there is a red plum tree (if a wife is unfaithful to her husband)?”
“H-h-how… What is Soul Rinsing Formation?”
“The wine is to be poured on top of the pool of hot water. The five inside are dressed. The five farthest away are undressed. The sensational art the eyes see and ears hear spin you around. The smell and taste of wine rinse a man’s soul.”
This guy is more of a professional than a man in the business.
Ming Feizhen’s long response meant, “Relax in a pool/tub of hot water with a tray of wine floating by. Among the ten women in the man’s arm, the five immediately around him are dressed scantily. The five farthest have stripped completely. The man gets to touch the five immediately around him, but the one he wants is the one with the beautiful voice, far out of reach.” It was the mantra for a brothel owner that, in summary, stressed they should coax the customer into forking out big sums with something seemingly unattainable. Very few, including Mr. Qian, were able to actually complete the challenge.
“How many in Beiping?”
“Thirty-two big ones, sixty-seven small ones, two for officials – North Gate Golden House and South Wall Green House. If we include the legally approved ones run independently, there are over two hundred.”
“Were you born and bred in a brothel?!”
Ming Feizhen peered up to the ceiling and, with a sigh, remarked, “I didn’t have a choice.”
Long Zaitian blurted, “Holy, his old man really is Zhong Hualiu?”
Ming Feizhen arrogantly fanned himself again: “Any other questions, Mr. Qian?”
“Yes!” Regardless of how fast he spun his brain cogs, Mr. Qian was at his wits end. Accordingly, he threw a random question: “Miss Ruyan from Jinan Man-”
“Married four months ago and gave birth to a boy right after she joined the family.”
“Xian Manor’s gifted Qingzh-”
“Miss Qingzhu opened up her eighteenth branch last month. I have yet to give her my congratulations.”
“Miss Qingzhu?! D-do you know H-Hangzhou’s biggest broth-”
“Mama Pang not doing well recently?”
Mr. Qian wobbled backward: “My goodness gracious me! Even Jade Brothel?! Y-y-you depraved scum!”
Mr. Qian wiped his tears on his sleeve and ran off without another word.
“What do you mean I’m depraved scum? Gosh.”
That’s my shifu, not me!
Ming Feizhen kept fanning himself with his cheap fan, biting the bullet because he couldn’t reveal it was his shifu.
“You’re pretty good,” gushed Long Zaitian. “Oh, I get it now. It’s already written in bold font on your fan. You’re a “depraved talent’.”
Everyone: “Depraved talent?!”
Ming Feizhen looked down at his fan: “It says handsome and talented. Don’t read it backwards, morons!”
Ming Feizhen’s retort didn’t work when he already proved himself knowledgeable in the world of brothels.
“Ah, so he’s a prodigy in the brothel business. Let’s give him a title so that we can praise him when he’s mentioned. How about… Depraved Talent Zhong Ming?”
“I’ll make whoever says that regret being born!”
Long Zaitian: “What was that Depraved Talent?”
Tie Hanyi: “Please forgive the insensible, Brother Depraved Talent.”
Dugu: “I take back whatever doubt I had. I believe your family owns eighteen brothels.”
Ye Luo: “We’re going to need you to sleep somewhere else, or people will think this is a brothel.”
Mountain Monster covered her breasts: “… Horny cornhole.”
What did Zhong Clan ever do to earn the love of the god of brothels?!