Yiren and River Monster. If a Man Can’t Think.
I lost game after game after game to Boss, costing me over ten thousand taels, which would take me around ten years of free labour to pay off, until I successfully taunted her into putting everything she had on the line without realising she had played into this veteran’s hand. After playing her last pair, Boss cracked a confident grin in the face of my worried eyes. Noticing her gaze on me, I simpered.
You’re too naïve, Boss.
No way. Don’t tell me…
Yes way. Life is full of surprises. I have two sixes! Quiver, shake, tremble and kneel to Daddy, hahahaha!
Of all the times she could enter, River Monster had to return to the building right then. “River Monster is back!” Boss Shen immediately informed, performing a leg sweep that kicked all of the cards, including those in my hand, away.
You kicked them on purpose, didn’t you?! Was that leg sweep necessary?! My ten thousand! My pair of six! My ten-plus years! My retirement funds! My youth!
“Tidy up. I’m going back to sleep.” Boss Shen went back to her sleeping position in the blink of an eye.
Grumbling to myself, I packed up the cards until Boss Shen frowned to express respect for my amazing speed – presumably. She more likely suspected I had been caught in a similar situation a lot of times in the past. Anyway, I expeditiously erased any traces that we had been active in the room, and River Monster came in as I shoved a blanket into the cupboard.
River Monster didn’t notice I was behind her when she stomped in and went to the bed. For Boss to have not budged despite the lethal locations River Monster took aim at was attributed to not just her skills in a fist fight but also her ability to control her mind.
While River Monster cried, I hastened the cleaning and then handed River Monster a handkerchief. I was quite surprised when she took it without noticing my presence right away.
“Don’t just stand there without a word, Zhong Ning! You trying to give me a heart attack?!”
“Your subject was standing behind the door, but you were not paying attention from the moment you stepped through the doors,” I awkwardly explained.
Face radiating similarly to heated pans, River Monster put up facade: “You didn’t hear or see anything, clear?”
“Your subject only just arrived and found you here.”
“Good. Now, what were you doing here?” Realising her question pointed out the fact that I couldn’t have just entered, River Monster corrected, “What did you come here for?”
“Your subject came here to relay some new information he heard. The imperial court plans to fight with Kunlun’s patriarch on the thirteenth at a vacant place five kilometres outside of the town. Both parties are currently making preparations for the fight.”
“What a coincidence…” River Monster murmured, “How unpredictable this world is.”
“Who can predict the future?” I remarked with a sigh, prompting River Monster to look at me as though I was homeless.
Screw your sympathy! If you didn’t come back, I wouldn’t have lost so much to Liu Shan Men! I joined them for the benefits, yet I now owe more than a decade of free labour!
My infectious forsaken tone brought a red tinge to the outline of River Monster’s eyes again. I wasn’t sure what she was so upset about, but I supposed it had something to do with Abels since I witnessed him give her the cold shoulder before.
“If you have something weighing on your mind, how about sharing with your subject?”
“Who are you?! How are you qualified to ask me about how I feel? One more thing: watch your tongue if you value your life.”
“Understood, understood,” I responded with a hopeless smile. “Your subject only wanted to see if he could help you.”
“What can you do to help me?!”
“Ma’am River Monster, while your status is above this old one, you are young. This old one, on the other hand, is already seventy-two, so he has experience a little bit of everything life throws at us. You cannot bottle up emotions. You can treat this old one as a rock or tree to get it off your chest.” Because River Monster wouldn’t talk despite her urge to – evident from her biting her lips – I took a seat on a stool in the distance and went on, “We really can’t beat age. Stand too long and my back feels sore.” I took out a piece of cloth from my backpack and started knitting under the candle light. “I wonder how long it will take me to finish this with my poor eyesight.”
River Monster understood that I was implying that she was invisible and that I would keep her secret.
“… Master… has changed…”
That’s what I thought!
Boss Shen opened her eyes a tad to tell me with her eyes, “I see your ability to trick girls has reached new heights in the short time I haven’t seen you.”
River Monster talked about Abels’ character changing, giving her the cold shoulder and other relationship issues with him but never touched on Evil Spirits’ secrets. Had her heart not been shattered, she wouldn’t have told me that much, let alone divulging their secrets. Generally speaking, she was markedly bolder than girls from the Central Plain, which I assumed why she spilled so much about their relationship.
Abels, Abels, Abels, you’re mistreating your wife. River Monster, River Monster, you might need a hole for when you discover Boss Shen heard everything you just said.
I eventually yielded to River Monster’s tears and meandered over with the aim of passing the handkerchief to wipe her face. By some magic she happened to lift her head right into my outstretched hand. I reactively scrubbed her head, only for her to stare at me.
“Uh… mosquito, mosquito… Th-there is a mosquito, a big one…”
Say something! You waiting for me to lie that there’s a toad on your head or something?!
River Monster threw herself at my abdomen and wailed, fastening her arms around me.
Ma’am, please mind your manners! What if you want to silence me later on? I can’t use my Zhong Ning identity if you’re hunting me. How about you hug me somewhere else? Can you not cling around my waist? Are you challenging my resistance as a gentleman?!
I turned to Boss Shen for help on an angle that River Monster couldn’t see. Boss carefully extended her hand out to give me a thumbs up.
How does egging me on help?!
Boss slowly formed a fist finger by finger and mouthed something.
Bag her? How?
A smile spreading across her lips, Boss Shen thrust her thumb through an aperture she made using her middle and ring finger repetitively.
You so lewd! And why you beaming as you do make that gesture?! Who taught you that?
Boss then gave me a thumbs again that I think meant, “Go for it. I support you.”
You can’t do this just because she made me violate your hooters!
Boss mouthed, “It. Is. Okay,” then rejoiced with her lips.
Smiling isn’t helping me! Do you hate her that much? Okay, I forgot about her crippling your hand and tormenting you, but you’re nuts, woman!