Shen Yiren had no time to explain to His Majesty subsequent to Sima Huai and Tianfeng Xuanyuan’s escape for an order to march immediately with haste was given. All incapacitated personnel were to be carried along. She only had time to tell Emperor Yuansheng about the two brothers once they were alone in the carriage and on the road.
A gust blew as Abels zipped over to notify, “The two have returned and slept two of our men.”
By the time the escort begun discussing a strategy to counter the two brothers’ plot, the escort had arrived at its next rest station for the night.
Still irate about the embarrassment he brought upon himself, Emperor Yuansheng never took out “Nanjiang Quest Strategy Guide” out again. “When Ming Feizhen gets back, I swear I will mete out the w-”
“Hero Li,” Shen Yiren interjected. “He did share some information on his juniors with me prior to his departure. How about I share it with you?”
“Go ahead.” Although awkward, Emperor Yuansheng sat down with as much decorum as possible. “If you also spout nonsense, I’ll make sure he receives s-”
“Sima Huai’s discipline is Shadow Steps from Daluo’s Five Divine Styles. While I have not seen the extent of his combat abilities, Ming Feizhen told me his internal energy is potent and movement is exceptional, especially his qinggong. He says that the only person who can catch Sima Huai is Sima Huai himself.”
Long Zaitian scoffed, “They’re from the same sect. Of course he’s going to blow things out of proportion to sell his brother. I’ve never even heard the name Sima Huai. If he was so good, how come he isn’t famous? Potent internal energy and fast? Relative to Ming Feizhen, we’re all gods.”
Emperor Yuansheng demurred, “That is not true. According to my knowledge, Young Ming’s combat are skills are sh-, but his qinggong isn’t bad.”
“Your subject knows his abilities than anyone else. One time, the two of us had an argument on the street, so we decided to settle it with a race. He runs as slow as a turtle. His qinggong is an insult to qinggong.”
“So you won?”
“He really is a jinx! Your subject was ahead of him, yet your subject suddenly crashed into a tofu store out of nowhere. Your subject had to go to the pharmacy for burn ointment.”
Song Ou looked askance at the dragon lying on the ground and mocked, “His second brother is Ten Thousand Mile Dragon Rider Hong Jiu. Hong Jiu is far more famous than you are, is he not? Plus, didn’t a fake monk stomp you today?”
Long Zaitian perked up from his stretcher to exchange a palm strike with Song Ou.
Song Ou may have only mentioned Hong Jiu to add salt to Long Zaitian’s injury, but Emperor Yuansheng didn’t see it so simply. Frankly, Emperor Yuansheng didn’t give Seventeen Wyrms that much weight, but the fact that his eldest son, their clan’s best swordsman, was only ranked fourth put into perspective how formidable Hong Jiu was.
Song Ou’s low blow also put a new perspective in Shen Yiren’s head. She assumed Abels pulled punches against the two younger brothers and didn’t want to hurt their allies, so he told them he couldn’t catch them. What if the truth was Abels gave up because he judged it was beyond him to catch them? Even though she didn’t witness it herself, Ming Feizhen defeating Luo Ming was incontrovertible. For him to praise Sima Huai spoke volumes of the latter’s prowess.
“Tianfeng Xuanyuan is the name of the one who fought Long Zaitian. He has introduced himself. I believe everyone here recognises the Tianfeng surname.” Shen Yiren checked with Emperor Yuansheng for permission before elaborating, “Tianfeng Clan is the previous dynasty’s Tianfeng Clan. After their clan’s downfall, female thief Tianfeng Yu, who is most notorious for stealing Shaolin’s Yijin Jing, Parjna Palms and Seventy-Two Dragon Claws from their temple, is their descendant. To this day, the three manuals’ whereabouts are still unknown.
“If the rumours can be trusted, Tianfeng Xuanyuan is their clan’s last descendant. It would not be surprising if her nephew inherited the manuals and their skills. We saw him perform Prajna Palms to a high standard on the mountain, and their connection should explain why.”
Emperor Yuansheng murmured, “You say he was stabbed in the belly, and Brother Bodhi tagged him with a punch, yet he did not sustain any damage?”
“I can explain that,” voiced A-Lan. While she wasn’t friends with Shen Yiren, A-Lan no longer held resentment toward Shen Yiren as Ming Feizhen evened their score when he severed her arm as payback for crippling Shen Yiren’s wrist, not to mention they worked together against Luo Clan. “Tianfeng Clan’s original home is Nanjiang. Like in the Central Plain, they are equally well-known in Nanjiang. Their clan’s signature discipline, Black Tortoise Glacial Records, is without equal in Nanjiang. One of the skills within, namely Martial Rock Mystic Skill, trains their body to be as sturdy as rock.”
Shen Yiren piggy backed off what A-Lan said: “Tianfeng Xuanyuan learnt Golden Deity Manual from Daluo’s Five Divine Styles. If he also learnt Martial Stone Mystic Skill as A-Lan says, then it is expected for him to be impervious to blades.”
Emperor Yuansheng grabbed his head: “Just why do two adepts have to be so eccentric? God knows when they’ll strike again.”
“That, you do not need to worry about. As for when they will return,” Shen Yiren gazed up at the ceiling, “I am guessing that will be now.”
Lai Jingzhen opened his eyes and dragged someone from the ceiling down through a vacuum he generated with his hand. He clutched the individual in his hand and exclaimed, “Who are you?! You shall be shown no mercy!”
The guard wet his pants: “Th-this one is Wang Sandong. He apologises for farting. He will never dare to fart again.”
“If you fart over my master’s head again, you will perish!” Lai Jingzhen then saluted Emperor Yuansheng with both hands: “He is insolent.”
Emperor Yuansheng palmed his face.
Shen Yiren vocalised, “No need to heave a breath of relief. Sima Huai, I know you are here.”
Breaking the transient silence, SIma Huai complimented, “I did not know you also learnt divination, Miss Shen.”
“Enough with the tripe.” Shen Yiren glued her gaze to the closed door. “I know you want to test whether or not we are worthy of ordering you around. Our objectives coincide, so why waste your time on this meaningless endeavour? Let’s make a deal. If you win, you get to have the reins for this operation. If I win same goes. What do you say?”
“… You sure?”
The door opened without any trace of a draft, and Sima Huai had flashed over to Shen Yiren. “Please give me three high fives as an oath.”
Shen Yiren thereupon gave Sima Huai three high fives as requested.
“Don’t regret this now.”
Shen Yiren smiled back: “Right back at you.”