Watch Yourself. I Have a Black Bear.
Had it been under different circumstances, Shen Yiren would’ve scoffed at the notion that somebody divined her whereabouts on his fingers and accused Ming Feizhen of fibbing. He was lucky he told the right laughable lie at the right time because, coincidentally, things lined up.
“Empyrean Zha?” repeated Shen Yiren, chin tucked and nose wrinkled. “Isn’t that the fraud at Luo Clan’s estate?”
I was going to starch him after I came to. If he’s the one who told Ming Feizhen where I was, could he also be the inconceivably advanced adept who joined the fight at Luo Clan’s place?
“In that case, was Empyrean Zha also the one who subdued the two?”
“Beats me. Probably? He told me that, since fate allowed us to meet, he’d lend me a hand three times. Subduing them probably was the second favour,” Ming Feizhen responded.
“The first favour was guiding you?”
Ming Feizhen was going to nod until he had an enlightened moment and changed it to, “And how to wake you.”
Empyrean Zha did mention feeding me the medicine via mouth to mouth. Although Ming Feizhen didn’t have the medicine, maybe Empyrean Zha meant it only as a figure of speech to suggest that kissing was the actual fix? It’s too embarrassing to ask even though I want clarification.
Meanwhile, Ming Feizhen’s grin read, “Yep, I knew it all in advance. I’m a genius. I need to talk to Zha Pi to ensure our story is congruent. I’ll say he passed out as soon as he entered Luo Clan’s estate, and then some travelling safe replaced him. Bai Yeshuang knows where Zha Pi went, so it’s going to be a headache if he’s questioned as to how he pulled off all that crazy stuff.”
With that mystery out of the way, Ming Feizhen filled Shen Yiren in on recent events ever since the later was out of commission, including Green Prince’s presence.
“His Majesty is here? Why didn’t you stop him? Monarchs shouldn’t leave the imperial court unless absolutely necessary, let alone during New Year. His absence is going to leave the imperial court in a volatile state.”
“I’m sure he knows what he’s doing. He’s not here purely for you. I think he’s looking to speak to Luo Clan and has been preparing for a while. I suspect rescuing you was a last-minute addition to the agenda.”
“How do you know that?”
“I’m speculating. By instating Red Prince His Highness to a supervisor position, His Majesty can put His Highness’ abilities to the test on top of weeding out retainers who have been waiting for an opportunity to stir the hornet’s nest or forward an agenda. The excuse he came up with for his departure was accompanying Empress Dowager Her Majesty through New Year on Mount Zisheng. For all we know, it might’ve been Prime Minister Li’s idea. His Majesty might not have been the mastermind.”
“You sound more like the mastermind. Why do you make His Majesty sound like some sly strategist with superb foresight?”
The two laughed the way they usually laughed back at Liu Shan Men whenever inserting jokes into serious discussions, and then Ming Feizhen proposed, “We have no way of telling when those two are going to come to. I suggest we stick a knife in them and then rendezvous with His Majesty.”
“You serious? If we fight them fair and square, they’ll murder us.”
“Not only must we keep them alive, but I must also stay.”
“You’re not coming?! What did I come all the way here for if you don’t come with me?!”
“Behave. What are you even belting for?” Shen Yiren poked Ming Feizhen on the head as he kept bouncing up and down. She sat back down on the bed and covered her legs with the blanket then continued, “Feizhen, listen carefully to everything I say now. I can’t leave. The two of them are with Evil Spirits. They are planning something big. If they die here, Abels will call off their plans until he can resume when we least expect it. We have to foil Abels’ plan, which means we must spare them.”
“Don’t tell me you plan to c-”
“I plan to continue feigning I’m still in a coma. Only when I’m defenceless will they lower their guard and reveal more secrets to me.” Shen Yiren beamed with confidence. “I’ll humble them for challenging me.”
“Don’t do this to me! Boss, how are you going to go undercover with only one hand? Moreover, His Majesty has aged several years over the last two weeks just worrying about you. Are you seriously not going to go placate him?”
Though touched, Shen Yiren shook her head: “I can’t return empty handed. I must get to the bottom of Abels’ plan and thwart it.”
“He doesn’t need you to do any of that. He just wants you back safe and sound.”
Shen Yiren shook his head.
“Fine, you can stay, but” – Ming Feizhen crawled under the bed and got in nice and close to Shen Yiren, draping his arm over her – “I can’t let you take the risk alone.”
“Yes, Ma’am.” Ming Feizhen scurried out as fast as he could.
Shen Yiren smiled helplessly: “I can understand why you’re concerned. We don’t have a choice when dealing with this group, however. You may be witty, but undercover work is an entirely different beast.”
A smug grin came to Ming Feizhen’s lips: “Oh, you’re worried about me. I can easily get in. You want to bet on it?”
“You… sound like you really have a plan. How you going to do it?”
“I have my ways.”
“What do you want to bet on?”
“If I lose, you can do as you please to do with me. If I win, you owe me something.”
“Owe you what?”
Although Ming Feizhen wanted an answer as to who her “Big Brother” was, he replied, “I’ll let you know when I decide.”
I’m keen to learn more about Mount Daluo. He’s only going to ask for more days off or an extra meal.
“Fine, I accept.”
Ming Feizhen made sure to seal Poison King and River Monster’s accupoints using his internal energy system from Spring Wind Rainy Night Divine Art so that they couldn’t hear or see. He even sealed their conscious; they were basically in comas. They would need ten to fourteen days to undo a seal he set on them.
Once Ming Feizhen was ready, he sent transparent qi outside to release the duo’s sealed accupoints.
“Once I turn you into my puppet, I’ll have you kill anyone, even your lover, without batting an eye. If I want you to prostitute yourself, you will, hahaha.” River Monster was back to her position after force feeding Shen Yiren her pill and had no recollection of the events that unfolded while Ming Feizhen froze her.
Likewise, Poison King responded, “You are supposed to use her as an assassin, not for something as lame as prostitution. She’s the weakest among the five swordsmen we need and barely made it to Sword Spirit Realm. I need you to have her fight at Refining Divine Convention so that she can consolidate her entry into Sword Spirit Realm. If you let any harm befall her, she’ll need more than half a year to recover. If we’re one swordsman short, our plans will be delayed.”
River Monster could feel her hairs perking up as she listened to Poison King’s warning. She could sense that Abels treated Poison King as his equal whenever they conversed. Therefore, if she challenged Poison King’s warning, she had a feeling that he wouldn’t hesitate to harm her. While she had never seen him kill, she did see him feed a deer poison, corroding everything but the bones.
“Fine. Did you have to pontificate?” River Monster glared daggers at Shen Yiren to vent. Upon hearing knocks at the door, she questioned, “Who is it?”
Poison King bound to the door and opened it violently then had to look up as he saw nothing but a black screen. Upon seeing the beast over three times as tall as an adult, he was going to assault the monster when he heard River Monster cry, “My black bear king! That’s my black bear king!”
“Exactly!” An elder popped his head out from behind the black bear and added, “This old one is here to deliver a bear to you.”