Sima Huai’s Ruffled Feathers
Shaolin, Wudang and Mount Daluo all had their primes. For Mount Daluo, their glorious days were when Hero Shenzhou aided the formation of Li Dynasty. The days he was considered the greatest fighter in all the land lasted for a century, during which Mount Daluo led the martial world by its nose. Wudang was now in the driver seat, though the current generation was an embarrassment compared to the previous generation.
While Shaolin and Wudang have been failing to produce disciples with the capacity to uphold their reputations, Mount Daluo has been thriving with talent.
A young disciple of Mount Daluo once wreaked havoc everywhere he went and inadvertently thwarted a conspiracy that six gangs of Beiping hatched. Using Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms, he became an overnight sensation when he crushed the seventeen elites in one fight.
Three years ago, one of Mount Daluo’s swordsmen, who went on a journey to expand his horizons, lent a hand to a village that a mob was terrorising. Subsequent to apprehending the descendants of Bai Clan, he fought his way through their place at Valley of Yearning to confront their elder. Though they were aware that they were in the wrong, they, as one of the Seven Champion White Princes, couldn’t just bow their heads in apology. They decided to settle the score with a fight, and Mount Daluo’s disciple put all of Bai Clan’s disciples away. Mount Daluo’s disciple apologised to Bai Clan for affronting their dignity after he had Bai Clan’s elders punish all of the perpetrators. That was how one disciple from Mount Daluo convinced Bai Clan to shake hands with them and how Swordsman Lian Zhuiyue rose to prominence.
Ever since Mount Daluo’s senior disciple of this generation set foot in the world over a decade ago, he left behind a trail of unimaginable wreckage in his wake; the impact and impression that he left has yet to be erased from anyone’s memories.
Shen Yiren, nonetheless, knew what the weakness of this generation of Mount Daluo disciples’ was. Ming Feizhen, reclined on the cushions and, tucking his hands behind his head, had a smug upward curve at his lips.
“Hmm?” Shen Yiren suddenly lost the urge to poke the youth’s head for his childish behaviour. “What?”
“Me. If there’s a weak link among my siblings, it’d be me.” Projecting his memories onto the ceiling, Ming Feizhen expanded, “They’ve always did as I told them… to a problematic extent. I’m not saying they’re unable to make decisions for themselves. To the contrary, I’m basically the leash that’s supposed to prevent them from turning the world on its head. I’m the only person they unconditionally comply with.”
“You’re the chink in their armour?” Shen Yiren wanted to ask, “Doesn’t that make their weakness their greatest strength?” but Ming Feizhen’s cocky demeanour told her not to go there.
“What?” Ming Feizhen suddenly leaned in close enough for Shen Yiren to feel his breaths on her face. “You reckon I’m cool, h-, ow! Where do you keep that inkstone hidden?!”
After breaking down the semantics of the wager and its flaws, Sima Huai asserted, “As per my wager with Miss Shen, I am in charge whether I win or lose.”
Long Zaitian reeled off, “This unrivalled shamelessness really does make you Ming Feizhen’s junior! Shut your mouth! Cut the bullcrap! We’re not taking orders from you! Listen, smart aleck: Ma’am Ming isn’t the only one we take orders from here. Hero Li is also one of our commanders. If he refuses, you don’t get to say squat,” and then started communicating with Emperor Yuansheng via facial expressions.
Emperor Yuansheng refused to budge no matter what Long Zaitian tried to signal.
Sima Huai, with no cares to give, questioned, “Miss Shen, you do not mean to rescind on your promise, do you?”
“No way. As warriors, we do not go back on our word. Besides, people of our standing cannot be dishonourable. I have some free time on my hands right now. Can we step aside to speak?” Shen Yiren headed into a carriage with disregard for the opinions of others.
Shen Yiren’s authority wasn’t graceful or menacing. To the escort, “familiar” would be the most accurate description. Had Sima Huai not stopped Tianfeng Xuanyuan from entering the carriage, the latter would’ve entered.
Why is she… so similar to First Brother?
“Nobody is to interrupt us until we are done speaking,” Shen Yiren instructed. “I don’t have much time, so go ahead and tell me what you wish to now.”
Sima Huai: “You seem indifferent to the change. I’m truly curious if this is a ploy or yours or pure confidence. I don’t have anything I really want to say. All I ask is that you do as you promised and heed my commands.”
“… It’s fine?”
Shen Yiren let triumph flick across her face. “Naturally. If there is a problem, I would not have set it up to transfer the reins to you.” As Sima Huai was obviously befuddled, she elucidated, “Feizhen told me that you go for the minutia, which is why I crafted minutia that would be in your favour.”
“It was on purpose?”
What’s she really after? Why would she trust the escort to me?
“I’m trusting you for your sake and my sake, get it?”
While Abels kept a pulse on the escort, Sima Huai had infiltrated their ranks for long enough to collect a mountain of information to analyse.
They refer to her as Ma’am Ming, which means she is the wife of the proprietor. They also mention Chairman Ming… Chairman Ming? First Brother? Chairman Ming. Ma’am Ming. Vibes similar to First Brother from her…
Sima Huai raised his head upon finding enlightenment.
Shen Yiren let her joy bloom on her lips: “Guess you’ve worked it out.”
Shen Yiren’s face gradually went from white to rosy: “No, what?! What are you thinking of?! Steer back on track!”
Steer back on track… Their goal this time is to slay Six Evils. We know more about them than anyone else. First Brother, therefore, should be leading. Due to his post, however, it’ll be weird, and possibly difficult, for him to be ordering them around. Thanks to the wager, there’s justification to pass authority to First Brother. In other words, her goal was to transfer control to First Brother from the get-go, and I was only the catalyst. That explains what she means by our sake and her sake. First Brother is with Mount Daluo and Liu Shan Men at the same time, after all. Now it all clicks together… But why is she so nice to First Brother? … Oh, I see. I see.
Shen Yiren fashioned a smile once again: “Looks like you finally get it.”
Sima Huai’s astonishment surfaced on his face once again: “Sister-in-Law!”
“You want to catch these hands?!”