We’ll Meet Again
“Who’s the peasant who poisoned me?!” Legs in a horse riding stance on his bed, core braced, hands poised for combat, Emperor Yuansheng belted as soon as he woke up.
Emperor Yuansheng had numerous nightmares of peasants harming him and bandits kidnapping his daughters, riling him up. He couldn’t get a clear visual of the despicable kidnapper, but the kidnapper looked depraved even when he wasn’t making lecherous remarks. Thankfully, he had Mount Daluo’s senior disciple, Ming Feizhen, to consult, or so he thought. When he turned to his strategist, Ming Feizhen had his arms around the hips of a docile Shen Yiren who wouldn’t heed his call. Instead, she chased Ming Feizhen’s lips with her lips. That was how His Majesty came to and ended on his feet first thing upon waking.
Emperor Yuansheng shifted his gaze down to where the soft voice came from. Lyu Yaoqin, who took care of Emperor Yuansheng voluntarily the entire time, had no idea how to respond. Emperor Yuansheng started racking his brains for some means of defusing the embarrassing predicament, when Lyu Yaoqin jumped up to cling to him, adding confusion to his embarrassment.
Shedding tears whilst beaming, Lyu Yaoqin choked out, “Mr. Li, Mr. Li, you’ve finally come too. I-I have been praying to the heavens and Buddha over the last few days, and they have finally granted my wish.”
Emperor Yuansheng had an inkling as to what happened and quickly recovered his memories. Rather than being worried about his poisoning, he was worried about what to do with Lyu Yaoqin. Being as inexperienced in romance as he was, it only then occurred to Emperor Yuansheng that Lyu Yaoqin had developed feelings for him. He was concerned about what to do as he was old enough to be her father and wasn’t Ming Huayu. He thought he was lucky there was nobody around to see her clinging to his arms with all her might. Otherw-
“Hook it here, and we should be done.”
“Wow, you know how to draw, Big Brother Ming?”
“If you want to survive in the pugilistic world, you need to be equipped with an assortment of skills. I’m not good at drawing scenery, but I’m a master at drawing geography.”
“M-Ming Feizhen, what are you doing?!” thundered Emperor Yuansheng.
Ming Feizhen looked up from the desk and winked subtly to gesture, “Fret not, Your Majesty. Your subject will not get in your way,” and then voiced, “Drawing, Master.”
Lyu Yaoqin ran off with her face on fire to inform the others that Emperor Yuansheng had come to. Once she was gone, Su Xiao grabbed his ears and offered the ground his knees, conveying, “Your Majesty, I… I… I accidentally knocked you out with my dish, causing you to lose five days. I apologise. Pl-please punish me.”
Perhaps the terrifying flavour erased all memories of its taste, so Emperor Yuansheng smiled helplessly: “What shall I do? Get up. We can discuss it later.”
Su Xiao refused to stand up, insisting on taking punishment when Dugu and company came waltzing in. They called for the imperial doctor to check on His Majesty, provide a prescription and then they checked on him using their martial arts knowledge. While His Majesty dined, Dugu, Ye Luo and Tie Hanyi stood in a triangle formation around him to forbid anyone coming close. Meanwhile, Long Zaitian briefed His Majesty on the recent events and status quo.
“A five-man tournament? Sign me up,” enthused Emperor Yuansheng.
Once he learned of how Su Xiao beat the throng of hostiles yesterday with a pan of fried eggs and tomatoes, Emperor Yuansheng wanted to know more.
Those who Su Xiao didn’t knock out with his concoction were repulsed, while those staking out in the inn showed themselves to aid their leaders. Ming Feizhen considerately offered treatment in exchange for a peace treaty, which they accepted without much thought given the supposed critical condition their leaders were in.
Aware that using true qi to resuscitate them was futile, Ming Feizhen slogged the fried tomatoes, eggs and previous day’s dinner out of them. Since it was easy to imitate, Long Zaitian and the others took leisure in pounding the food out of the other victims. Even though the victims came to, they were only thirty percent of what would be their normal condition.
The hostiles were intimidated after the poisoning, and Ming Feizhen mentioned Su Xiao was the one who poisoned them, dialling up the intimidation factor. Despite being heinous criminals, they praised Su Xiao and requested to be “her” underling.
“Constable Ming, why did you leave me asleep when you woke Ye Luo up?” grouched Emperor Yuansheng.
Ming Feizhen shrugged: “Ye Luo had a nibble, while you stuffed your face. Besides, punching you is…”
“This is a lot to process in one sitting. By the way, what were you drawing just now?”
Ming Feizhen fetched the map from the table, displaying what appeared to be the direction of water current and a red line going through the map: “We have an eye witness account of Vice-Captain Shen floating unconsciously in water. I surmise she fell into the water during the fight with Abels. The account should be trustworthy as the manor that she clashed with Abels at is not far from Taihu. I, therefore, invested some time scrutinising the outskirts, studying places that she likely could have shown up. I also interviewed people who might have travelled around the area during the incident.”
The map was visibly illustrated after days of thorough research, and the information gleaned from interviews in the current climate proved dedication, not to mention the anti-traditions required courage to speak to. Thus, nobody interrupted Ming Feizhen.
Ming Feizhen, guiding with his fingers, relayed, “After shrinking the area that Vice-Captain Shen likely ended up based on the information I collected, which includes time, current and more, there are several places that she might logically end up. The people who provided the eye witness testimony have evaporated into thin air. Accordingly, I ruled out this area. Further deduction leads me to,” Ming Feizhen drew a circle over a spot and added, “this place being where she ended up.”
“Have you checked the location?”
“Unfortunately, there are no remaining traces. Since a number of people purportedly spotted her, I believe it is reasonable to hypothesise that somebody pulled her out of the water.”
“Many people… go by the area usually?”
“Not really as it is close to the entry to Lotus Root Ground. Fishermen, ordinary citizens and even the majority of martial world members avoid going to the area since it is virtually Luo Sword Manor’s territory. Master, owing to the abruptness, I would like to request for several days off.”
“I want to hear what your plan is.”
“Before I set out, I asked a few colleagues to go on ahead. They should have imperative information we currently lack and need. Since you are afraid of being exposed, I shall operate with a disguise on. We have to act on this now if we are to save Vice-Captain Shen.” Ming Feizhen wasn’t convinced Zha Pi was at Luo Siming’s place purely out of coincidence.
“Big Boss Sister?” Luo Siming repeated as a question after hearing Yi Wangyou’s recount of the fiasco at Dragon Phoenix Inn after the latter rushed back the same night.
“Yes. This one would not have come back right away to report to you, otherwise,” responded Yi Wangyou.
Luo Siming wrinkled his nose and blinked in disbelief: “They subdued those monsters into obedience? One maiden won over those ruthless murderers? That is unbelievable…”
While Yi Wangyou returned to Luo Siming in defeat, Mr. Qian retreated to his newest brothel branch to cry. Had they not been late to the event, they would’ve also been victims to Su Xiao’s fried tomatoes and eggs; Yi Wangyou would’ve had his fight record tainted.
Green Prince voiced, “She’s that good? I need to visit the inn when I have time to try out their fried tomatoes and eggs.”
Needless to say, Yi Wangyou wasn’t going to let Green Prince risk his life.
“By the way, how are they managing? We have our five participants, do we not?”
Yi Wangyou expressed, “Lie Shang has agreed to join our lineup. Elder Chen has also convinced Elder Shou to help us. With this one and invincible Reverend Zha, we should have the victory already. Sadly, Elder Chen will be out of commission for years due to the damage absorbed against Reverend Zha. This one has considered other notable pugilists, such as Jie Daqian, but they are not up to par.”
Simply speaking, Yi Wangyou and Lie Shang were even in the seniority field. Elder Shou was an elder of Wudang Sect. Reverend Zha was a deity. Chen Wanyun shared the same seniority in comparison to Yi Wangyou. Hence, they needed someone with the same seniority and was closely matched, which wasn’t easy.
“Hahaha, I have someone in mind. Hahaha.”
“Who might that be, Your Highness?”
Green Prince answered, “Me. Doesn’t that make it five?”
I know you have an itch to scratch daily, but must you scratch one now?
Luo Siming demurred, “Brother, you cannot lower yourself to their level.”
Green Prince lifted his chest and went on, “We have Shandong’s best broadsword wielder, Wudang’s Elder, Kunlun Sect’s Elder and an empyrean. Who else besides my esteemed self would be qualified to stand alongside them?”
“No buts. Do you think I’m mindless? The four fighting ahead of me are chosen elites. Unless we lose two matches, I don’t even need to fight. Who do you think will win between our elites and Dragon Phoenix Inn’s punching bags? Can you even fathom us losing? We got this, hahahaha.”
Yi Wangyou tried his hand at what Luo Siming failed at, only to give Green Prince another win. Yi Wangyou was more concerned about Green Prince’s safety than he was about winning. Indeed, it was impossible to see them losing. Nonetheless, if things really went south, Yi Wangyou figured they could just surrender at the last match.
Luo Siming wished to see what Dragon Phoenix Inn was capable of solely owing to his suspicions surrounding them. After the debacle at Dragon Phoenix Inn, howbeit, he couldn’t imagine them having what it took to commit such a serious crime.
Yi Wangyou reported to Luo Siming, “The two of them can make people quake in their boots, yet he was robbed without getting a chance to see his assailant. Similarly, other victims who managed to get a glimpse of their assailant can’t identify their attacker. All accounts of the assailant suggest there are multiple people involved. Young Master Zhong’s opinion is actually worth considering. He said…”
Snacking to stave his boredom as he listened, Green Prince suddenly jumped in, querying, “By the way, I heard you have a distant relative in a coma at your place. What’s that about?”
“D-distant relative? Sh-she’s actually…” Lying wasn’t a skill that Luo Siming honed.
“Hehe, why are you stuttering? Which relative? Do I know them?”
Even though Green Prince saw a green sky, he never laid off his habit of women hunting. Therefore, Luo Siming didn’t want to let Green Prince see Shen Yiren, whom he had unknowingly developed feelings for, and risk losing her.
“I’m quite certain I know all of your relatives, right? I’ll be waiting for you to tell me. I’m cool with waiting one day, ten days, thirty days or a month. Let’s see who has more time on their hands.”
If there was one thing Green Prince couldn’t be defeated at, it’d be having the time to chase down his “wives”.
“I… will need to start from the beginning…” Luo Siming, deflated, gave Green Prince the story.
“If Reverend Zha said feeding her the medicine mouth to mouth would wake her from her slumber, why didn’t you take advantage?” asked Green Prince.
As red dyed his face upon recalling how he swallowed the pill when he attempted to feed Shen Yiren, Luo Siming replied, “If you have questions, why don’t you personally consult Reverend Zha? He is staying at the manor, after all.”
With Green Prince finally gone, Luo Siming resumed, “Patriarch Yi, let us continue on from the corpse part.”
Envying Luo Siming’s ability to switch channels so quickly, Patriarch Yi commented, “If this one could switch bosses, perhaps he would live for longer.”
“Haha, this one cannot possibly afford your service.”
The two compared the corpses they had examined thus far, discovering that there had been surprisingly only three corpses thus far as well as the fact that their injuries were minor compared to the end. In other words, the assailant did their best to avoid killing their target.
“Stealing weapons is akin to trampling on one’s pride, an offence that the offended would never forgive until they redeemed their pride, yet they held back?”
Yi Wangyou hypothesised, “Perhaps they are confident they will not be caught, or perhaps they are insufferably hubristic.”
“If they were the latter, they would not hide their face. I think I am seeing a pattern that leads me to this conclusion: perhaps they are trying to steal without killing. From what we have seen, they might be killing because they are forced to strain themselves in order to win, thereby forcing them to kill.”
“If your conjecture holds up, then killing is unintentional. They might resort to using their true skills when they are under pressure!”
Despite their new theory, they couldn’t find any common points between the corpses. The most suspicious corpse was the one the assailant killed using yang energy in their fatal finger jab.”
“Yang Realm is rare. The yang skill they used could be Yang Blood True Qi. Nobody besides Tang Ye would have such precise control of yang qi.”
“Maybe… he revealed his true skills? It is hard but not impossible to learn multiple styles. With that said, it would take decades to have that true qi potency…”
“What is the matter? Did you think of something?”
“No, no, it’s not him.” Though he denied it, Luo Siming’s expression betrayed him, insinuating he had a suspect in mind.
Yi Wangyou read Luo Siming’s expression: “Young Master Luo, your speculation is justified. Scorching Sun Spirit… is also one of the most advanced styles for Yang Realm users.”
An uneasy feeling permeated in their minds.
If it hasn’t been emphasised enough, let’s emphasise it again: once Green Prince, always Green Prince.
After leaving the main hall, Green Prince, knowing Yi Wangyou and Luo Siming would be stuck discussing business for a long while, reckoned it was the perfect opportunity to go visit the sleeping beauty. There were ample rooms in the backyard. Therefore, he had to check room by room until he saw two sentries in front of a particular room. He meandered over jovially and inquired, “Why are you two here so late?”
“Don’t worry about the pleasantries. What are you two doing?”
“We are protecting a maiden under Young Master’s orders.”
“Young Master has been taking special care of her ever since he saved her; even Doctor Luo was called for. That is why we are also doing our best.”
“Oh, I see. I see… My brother called for you, you know? He said he needed to go out for something and was reorganising personnel. You should hurry over.”
The two guards didn’t question Green Prince as they were told he was a trustworthy and special guest.
Green Prince waited for them to depart then ran his fingers through his hair and licked his lips: “I wonder if it’s really true you have to kiss her to wake her up. I’m not convinced a beauty is just going to lie on her bed, waiting to be kissed. I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it.”
If Ming Feizhen was there, he’d likely be yelling, “Your feet and mouth don’t correspond!”
Green Prince sniffed the scent of the young maiden’s skin saturated the room as he crept closer to the door: “Smells like roses. I like it. I wonder if her lips have the same scent. I’m not trying to take advantage of your misfortune; I’m just trying to save you.”
That’s what they call misconstruing facts for your own ends. Reverend Zha specifically explicated that they were to pass the pill mouth to mouth. Green Prince was only thinking about tasting Shen Yiren’s lips.
Wait… A man must’ve once gone to my woman’s room and pushed the door open just as I’m about to. Thanks to him, I grew another strand of green hair. Every single time, I’m the one who has to weep alone in the dark…
“Fourth Brother must’ve fallen for her if he’s gone so far and done so much for her. As his brother, is it appropriate for me to steal her from him? How would I be any different to the men who stole from me if I do this?” Green Prince mumbled under his breath. In the end, he removed his hands from the door and walked away without looking back.
Luo Siding, the one man who couldn’t ever see eye to eye with Luo Siming once in their shared history, stepped out from around the corner within earshot, which he’d been hiding behind ever since he heard Green Prince lie. While his father did instruct him to keep a pulse on Luo Siming’s every movement in Canhu, his male instincts led him to the brothels. To his annoyance, all of the decent-looking girls had moved to an inn. Had Green Prince not used his wiles to dismiss the guards, Luo Siding wouldn’t have been given free rein in the courtyard. With a desire to be fulfilled and a chance to get on Luo Siming’s nerves, Luo Sidings welcomed himself into Shen Yiren’s room.
“What is this fragrance? God damn it’s nice.” Luo Siding ignited a match, fearing someone might notice him in the room if he lit up the candles. Upon seeing the beauty, who resembled a girl sleeping rather than a sick patient, he gulped as he eyed every inch of her: “So this is his cup of tea, huh? He’s got good taste.”
The pervert didn’t know where to start for every inch of Shen Yiren took over any rational thoughts that’d manifest. Luo Siding rifled through ideas until his eyes settled on her lips, associating them with Green Prince’s muttering. His breathing sounded more and more laborious as he bridged the gap. Alas, a sudden draft billowed up Luo Siding’s robe when he was so close to those rosy lips.
As soon as he found out his adopted brother lied to his guards, Luo Siming bolted to the courtyard with Yi Wangyou. Yi Wangyou could tell Shen Yiren was important to Luo Siming based on the latter’s reactions and knew it would be bad news if Green Prince did cross the line. Upon reaching her room, they heard a man shrill, prompting them to storm in.
Luo Siding, pallor, curled up and with his hands between his legs, rolled about with his hands on his crotch as he groaned in a high-pitch voice comparable to some eunuchs. Upon shifting their line of sight up a tad, they saw a long, smooth and slightly muscular leg stretched out from beneath the blankets.