“Hero Li, just leave them. Let us enjoy the show.” Shen Yiren escorted Emperor Yuansheng aside to relax.
Emperor Yuansheng glared daggers at Dragon-Bird Alliance whilst walking off. “You’re on your own, imbeciles.” He stopped to turn around and spit at their feet. “If you don’t win, your heads will roll.”
Long Zaitian cleared his throat: “Let us continue where we left off.”
“Okay, Dragon-Bird All-”
“Don’t mention that name again!” Long Zaitian, depressed over his salary and perilous situation, cut to the chase. “Brother Sima, we are pugilists. If we are to compete in a literacy contest, we may as well go to the capital to take the scholastic examination for an official rank, and we can use our ranking to determine our status. That would prevent us hurting each other. Of course, you would need to know who the examiner is. It is not easy.”
Sima Huai, hands behind his back, appeared indifferent: “We are not scholars. As pugilists, we should settle the score with our fists.”
Neither Long Zaitian nor Song Ou expected it to go so smoothly. As begrudging acquaintances of Ming Feizhen, they knew first hand that those from Mount Daluo were schemers. In Song Ou’s case, he spent a number of days with Hong Jiu; he knew what Hong Jiu was capable of. Their goal was to forbid Sima Huai and Tianfeng Xuanyuan from using anything besides actual combat skills.
Striking while the iron was hot, Long Zaitian expressed, “You are a true man, Brother Sima. So, will it be a culture or fists contest?”
“What are the specifics?”
“If it’s a sparring match, we can just draw a ring on the ground to spar in. Alternatively, we could have a taolu contest.”
“And a culture contest?”
Long Zaitian flashed a corner of his white pearls: “Simple: you punch me once, and I punch you back. We repeat until someone yields.”
“Sounds like you’ve thought this out. Do we have a handicap since you’re setting the parameters, though?”
“Since we decided the on the rules, you can choose the nature of the contest.”
Sima Huai pushed up his glasses: “Sounds fun.”
“Hahaha, in that case, let’s have a best of three contest. What do you say?”
Sima Huai tucked his arms into his opposite sleeves to muse and then questioned, “Do we get to choose our contestants?”
“Of course. You choose your contestants; we shall choose our contestants.”
From Long Zaitian’s perspective, everything went according to his desire. There were only two Mount Daluo disciples. On the other hand, the escort had two Divine Realm elites. Unless they were going to have qinggong contests, Long Zaitian couldn’t imagine them losing. If they lose a qinggong match, there were still two more contests. As long as Abels and Lai Jingzhen competed in the two remaining rounds, the escort’s victory was guaranteed.
From Sima Huai’s perspective, he had a qinggong contest won already. Tianfeng Xuanyuan had a robust body, which was why he deliberately brought up the culture contest.
“Shall we commence now?”
“Sure. What do you want to compete in?”
Sima Huai extended three fingers: “I shall compete in three qinggong matches.”
The bird and dragon: “You screwing with us?!”
Long Zaitian asserted, “No competing in the same event more than once!”
Long Zaitian and Song Ou could feel a judge’s glare drilling its way into their backs.
“You never said that.”
“Now I have!”
“We shall race on lawn in the first match, water in the second and have a pure sprint in the third round.”
“The first and third are the same thing, aren’t they?! It’s still a qinggong contest!”
“It’s very reasonable. The three are different contests. Do you classify marathons and sprints for jockeys as the same thing?”
“They’re different, yes, but I’m not convinced! You look like a scholar, but you’re insidious inside!”
“Didn’t you say I could decide on the nature of the contests?”
“But not like this! Qinggong can only be considered one contest!”
Song Ou voiced, “We will decide on the nature of the third contest! You can’t decide on all three!”
“Why should I agree with that? Why should I adhere to rules riddled with flaws? Sounds like you didn’t come prepared. We’re leaving.”
Long Zaitian and Song Ou didn’t need to look back to sense the seething ridicule aimed at them.
“Well, there is room for negotiation.” Sima Huai gave Long Zaitian and Song Ou a warm smile. “Call me Third Brother.”
Sima Huai was now also ridiculing them with his grin. “The first match shall be a qinggong match. Any objections?”
Long Zaitian and Song Ou had a quick consultation prior to nodding.
“I don’t think anyone among us can win against you in a qinggong contest.”
Lai Jingzhen had to stay by Emperor Yuansheng’s side at all times; running off would defeat his goal. Abels may not lose; however, their contest could go on for ages. Neither Long Zaitian nor Song Ou had any place demanding Abels to run around for an hour.
“We shall have Dugu compete against you in a qinggong contest, but we can declare it your victory here and now.”
“Fine. If I were to compete against him, I’d be exhausted after the match, so I’ll have to leave the second match in my junior’s hands. He specializes in strength. I believe my junior would lose his life against the two over there, so I concede the match.”
“Hahaha, great. Let’s jump to the third match.”
“You are choosing the third match. What will it be?”
“Hahaha, let’s keep it simple. Brother Bodhi, please lend us a hand.”
Abels smile meant tacit agreement.
Sima Huai glanced over to Abels and said, “Nobody can match him in a strength contest. We forfeit the match.”
Song Ou and Long Zaitian gave each other a high five.
“So, in accordance with Miss Shen’s proposal, we will be taking over the chain of commands from here.”
“Wh-what? What do you mean you are taking over when you lost?”
“Do you still remember what Miss Shen proposed? She said to me, ‘If you win, you get to have the reins for this operation. If I win, same goes.’ In other words, win or lose, I get the right to the reins. Am I mistaken? Why do you think I’d agree to the wage? That’s exactly what she said. Miss Shen, I hope you are not regretting your decision now. Henceforth, I will be in charge here.”
Shen Yiren looked up, but her arresting smile was creepily arresting.