No Regrets Left
Although she did furrow her brows, Shen Yiren didn’t seem puzzled. I never questioned her comprehension skills or would think I’d need to repeat everything three times as I did for Su Xiao. She was the type to deduce things even without people mentioning it. That’s one reason I chose to tell her the secret. That being said, I did need confirmation on one thing.
Thwarting the conquest of Six Evil Beasts wasn’t a brief mission; it was an undertaking that had been passed down for generations. Once Luo Ming was cold in the ground, their threat still loomed in Shen Yiren’s generation. Thus…
“That is the story Mount Daluo has passed down for generations.”
The specific ending was my test for Shen Yiren. Only when she could discern what I wanted her to could I continue to the end. Else, I could only do my best to bluff in order to protect her from further danger. It wasn’t intended to be easy, not after I just fed her so much information to digest.
Shen Yiren took a long time ruminating and then questioned, “This is Mount Daluo’s secret, correct?”
“Correct. We have been strictly ordered not to mention it to anyone outside the sect.”
Shen Yiren hiked up a corner of her lips: “And if an outsider finds out, you’ll silence them?”
I was disappointed Shen Yiren didn’t answer what I wanted, but I went along and smiled: “Pretty much. If you don’t wish to die, let Master Ming feel your hand.”
Shen Yiren gently massaged my index finger whilst maintaining her dimple.
We’re touching hands and skin on skin! Don’t think this is enough to seduce me!
Shen Yiren suddenly tightened her hold on my finger and bent it backwards.
“Ow! Ow! Ow!”
“Kekeke, you done touching, Master Ming?”
“Yes, yes, my finger is nearly done for! It’s going white!” I pulled my finger back and blew it. “What the hell?! It was just a joke! You almost ruined my braised pork shoulders eating utensil.”
“And who was the one who tested me?”
“Eh? Y-you realised I was testing you?”
“I understood it thoroughly, especially the word ‘story’.” Shen Yiren didn’t avert her eyes from mine, but I couldn’t tell if she was using Precision Scout of not as a lie detector. “The story sounds unquestionably authentic. Having said that, the story comes from back when Mount Daluo was founded, which is two thousand, if not a thousand, years ago. If you’re telling the truth, then the legend comes before Six Evil Beasts Chronicles was published. A story that has been passed down for thousands or hundreds of years is probably as diluted as Six Evil Beasts Chronicles. You want me to ask, ‘How can I trust its authenticity,’ correct?
“The fact of the matter is Mount Daluo has stayed on the mountain as the legend states. I’m not convinced you’d just stay there for generations without rhyme or reason. Therefore, there is persuasive evidence. At the same time, I can’t just believe everything I hear. A story is insufficient evidence. I need cases and testimonies to have faith in it. Unless you’re going to provide compelling examples and evidence, I’m sure you wouldn’t meaninglessly test me.”
I tucked my index finger in and extended my thumb: “Brilliant, Sister-in-law. That small head is functioning! Wu Song is ashamed he cannot compare!”
N-no hitting my face again! Curse that inkstone!
Shen Yiren suddenly went dead silent on me for a while. When she squatted down and rested her face in her hands, she asserted, “No lying to me.”
“… No hitting my face, then!”
“I’m serious. Strictly no more lying to me.”
I think she was mad I tested her and foresaw my intent to lie if she didn’t pass. I couldn’t think of any other reason for her to be grumpy.
Shen Yiren walked two steps over and crouched down again. Obviously, that’d leave me taller than her. Accordingly, she pulled me down by my lapels, almost sticking her face in mine so that we were eye to eye. “Don’t lie to me even if it’s for my own good.”
I didn’t know how to respond.
“Do not lie to me,” Shen Yiren demanded in a louder voice. “I don’t want you to lie to me for my sake. If you have reasons you can’t tell me, you can tell me it’s a secret or even straight up say, ‘I can’t tell you.’ What I don’t want is for you to deceive me.”
“… Given you know it’s a lie, does it even matter whether or not I tell it?”
Shen Yiren planted her gaze on my bandages. “Because I don’t want to doubt you. I prefer logic and evidence. Every case I work on, I always judge it based on irrefutable evidence, or I won’t close the case. Friendship, oaths and faith are intangible; they cannot become reasons, standards for me to act. For the first time, I’m choosing to ignore all of that to place my trust in you.” Continuing in her tapering-off voice, Shen Yiren stated, “I don’t want my unconditional trust in you to become my most foolish decision. Should you ever lie to me… I can never trust you the same way.” Her hand on my lapels started to shake. “And that’s the last thing I want to witness, understood?”
It never occurred to me how weak Boss was grabbing on until I took her tiny hands. Owing to the drastic size discrepancy, she was unable to wrestle her hands free once I grabbed hold.
Shen Yiren wasn’t good at trusting people due to her experiences and her environment. Cooperation may not be a challenge, but trusting another person was a foreign feeling to her. Being as close as family to His Majesty and swearing fealty to him wasn’t a cause or effect of understanding him. The only people in her life who she could unconditionally trust were her brother… and maybe me.
“You have my word.”
Shen Yiren cast her eyes down and whispered, “… You’ll keep your promise?”
I shrugged: “If I fail, I’ll be forced to marry a tigress wife and be at her mercy for the rest of my life.”
Shen Yiren jolted, and a pink tinge spread on the nape of her neck. “Breaking a promise wins you a wife? You planning to fail deliberately?”
“Swearing oaths isn’t my speciality. I can’t even remember the last time I had to bear any of the consequences, so it’s no different to telling a lie.”
Shen Yiren looked up and fumed, “Your punishment comes at a woman’s cost. I want a decisive answer now: will you lie to me again?”
“Listen closely, Shen Yiren.” I squeezed her chilly, shaky hands and chased her gaze that was on the verge of running away. “For the rest of my life, I will never lie to you again.”