Finally. Everything Commences. (Part 3)
Stupefied, Green Prince whispered to Yi Wangyou, “What’s going on? How did they suddenly have, like, a hundred men join them? Aren’t they supposed to jump them?”
“I… do not understand, either… If they did not lose a weapon, then their friends were robbed, so they have lost their rights to visit Luo Sword Manor. They should be furious with Dragon Phoenix Inn’s group,” responded Yi Wangyou.
“Furious? Look at those bright, boot-licking smiles! They look like they’re bowing to their saviour! They look more ready to toil for Dragon Phoenix Inn than the eunuchs are for my father! We don’t have much time left today. We must win an invitation to the island to welcome my foster father’s return!”
“Understood. Young Master Luo has not arrived, though, when he is supposed to be the host, so we cannot commence.”
“Who cares? We have, what, a hundred witnesses now? They can’t lie about the results. Skip the drum roll, and get started!”
Be that as it may, asking the likes of Elder Shou, Lie Shang and Yi Wangyou to fight without a proper official was tantamount to telling them to stoop to the level of a street brawl.
“Who is Big Boss Sis?!” thundered Su Xiao, stamping his feet. “Line up, and stand properly!”
“Yes, Big Boss Sis!” The men formed ten columns and twelve rows as you would expect to see in an army.
Su Xiao moved his hands to clap but stopped himself when he recalled how they addressed him: “What nonsense is that? Do laps now. Go!”
Grown men running laps with smiles…
Green Prince’s white knuckles were going to become white arms due to having to wait when he heard Lie Shang grouch, “Can we start yet?!” Green Prince, therefore, decided to strike while the iron was hot, opining, “Hero Lie, if you would be so inclined, this one will back you up if there are any disputes should you start.”
“Perfect.” Lie Shang put down his wine jar and hopped off the beam before launching himself as if he was arrow from where he stood – footwork that would be dangerous to deal with in a fight. Howbeit, he belched loudly along the way, ticking off the jogging men with his toxic breath. He laughed over the top of their enraged reactions, convincing them to pipe down if they didn’t want to make an enemy out of him. It took a moment to occur to them that his laughing was a signature wine-spreading technique as he turned up the volume. A droplet of blood flung out of his broadsword’s sheath as he drew and swung in one motion. “Who’s first?”
“Constable Ming, he is not easy to defeat. Who are we going to send out?” Emperor Yuansheng questioned from the pavilion with his head down.
“Leave it to me, Master.” Ming Feizhen wobbled out of the pavilion and hollered, “Brother Lie, you remember this one?”
“And if I do?”
“I have looked up to you ever since I met you at the small town. Being able to share a drink with you still feels like yesterday to me.”
“Hahaha, still the wordsmith I remember you to be, Young Master Zhong. I’m a man with an insatiable hunger for battle, though. This blade isn’t going back into its sheath until it gets some blood on it. If you want to play, I’m down. Otherwise, I’ll drink with you after this is over.”
“I am no match for you, Brother Lie. All I have is a request.”
Lie Shang aimed his weapon at Ming Feizhen: “I’ll pass on it. My only question is, who will my opponent be?!”
“Since we are dispatching a junior of yours, I would like to ask you to hold back.”
Lie Shang cast his gaze to Tang Ye: “I heard someone was unable to answer to twelve of Yi Wangyou’s Desolate Sword Dance. I’m keen to see how many moves you’ll last against me.”
Tang Ye looked to the ground.
“You are superior to Patriarch Yi,” Ming Feizhen claimed with a smile. “That is why I would like to ask you to set a cap for how many moves you will use so that people will not speak ill of you.”
“Hahaha, since he defeated you in twelve moves, if I can’t defeat you in eleven, I’ll surrender.”
Yi Wangyou shook his head, thinking, “I only achieved that because it was Tang Ye’s first time against Desolate Sword Dance. With the experience he now has, I doubt I could defeat him in twelve moves.”
“You do not have to go that far. Let us begin, then.” Ming Feizhen paused and then called, “Su Xiao, come over!”
“Wh-what? You trying to kill her?!” Su Xiao’s underlings exclaimed, echoing everyone else’s thought.
Ming Feizhen just smiled, while Su Xiao gestured for silence with a raised hand and headed to the arena.
“Ar-are you serious?” questioned Lie Shang.
Su Xiao stared straight into Lie Shang’s eyes with what felt awkwardly long and then uttered, “Three.”
“If I can’t defeat you within three exchanges, I’ll forfeit. If I gain the upper hand, please yield.”