Mesmerising Maidens’ Machinations. A Hard Story to Tell.
“Why did His Majesty tell us to all go out? Yangyang, His Majesty is nicest to you. Do you know what this is all about?”
“I don’t know myself,” Yangyang answered. “Brother His Majesty said nobody is allowed inside. Judging from the fact that only cries and groans are audible, maybe it’s an interrogation?”
“That’s a reasonable guess.”
“This one is out of your wheelhouse.” Hong Jiu popped up out of nowhere, gazing into space and posing as though he was a wandering poet. “The sages said: a sharp blade comes from sharpening. A heroine comes from the secular world. Scholar graduates eat crap. Beauty is the worst trap. Forging requires one to…”
“Stop! Brother Shiba, I can’t even understand what you just said. Please keep it simple.”
“To keep a complex lesson simple, Leader is toast.” Hong Jiu exhaled a long breath as he shook his head.
If I could go outside right now, I’d beat Hong Jiu until he has two heads! The bugger must’ve written something he shouldn’t have when I told him to send a letter back to Baimu!
“Should you really be distracted right now?” Young Shiyi twisted my ear.
“Ah! I sincerely apologise from the bottom of my heart, with every fibre of my being. I never had any intention of blaspheming you two goddesses. On the account of my long journey and earnest service to the people – and the fact that you two have assaulted me for over two hours – please spare this lowly one.”
“Spare you?” Young Shiyi cracked a smile that made me wanted to make for the hills.
I didn’t run because I didn’t want to lose my legs… and maybe my spear.
“I have a question for you: if you answer truthfully, not only will I spare you, but I’ll also buy you some candy.”
“Great Young Shiyi above, please ask!”
“Who were those girls?”
You might as well kill me now!
I sifted through my database to find the most appropriate answer.
“Friends! We are just friends! We were just giving each other a massage and singing. That’s all!”
Why… does something not feel right?
“That’s exactly what your shifu said when he got caught red handed at brothels! Innocent, you say?!”
Useless shifu, you can’t even set a proper example for escaping these situations?! You’ve been caught a hundred and ten times already, yet you haven’t found the correct response?! What are you good for?!
“I shall spare you for now.” Young Shiyi released my ear that had nearly doubled in size owing to her wrenching at it for nearly an hour. ”I’ll let your superior deal with you first.”
Boss, who had kept mum the entire time, walked over.
Whack! Inkstone – one. Ming Feizhen – zero.
Whack! Inkstone – two. Ming Feizhen – still zero.
“Wait! I have something to s-”
Whack! Inkstone – three. Ming Feizhen – and still zero.
Why won’t you people listen before you start getting physical?! I’m human, woman! You’ve already smacked me over two hundred times since entering!
Shen Yiren proceeded to assault Ming Feizhen with her inkstone as soon as she entered and continued stealing ganders, waiting for an opportunity to hit him again.
“If you have queries, ask! Don’t just keep assaulting me!”
Boss Shen stared at me with the intensity that tightened my chest. “You sure you want me to ask?”
“At your service.”
“Why is all of your hair white?”
My brain stuttered, and the cat caught my tongue. I promised Boss I wouldn’t tell her a lie, so… “Hit me.”
Boss’ lips subtly but noticeably gave in, but she immediately adjusted back to a straight face. “All right, let’s put your appearance aside for now. You have to tell me what you’re doing, though. What’s this Shaman Faith and Shaman Monarch business? How are you ‘His Majesty’ now? If someone in the imperial court finds out people are calling you ‘His Majesty…” Boss sliced across her neck with her hand.
“I have my reasons.”
“And those reasons are what I’m asking for.”
“Uh, but… it’s not time to disclose it yet.”
Boss tightened her grip on her inkstone.
I’m done. I’m done! One more hit to my face and I won’t be able to make a living off my handsome face.
Boss loosened her grip and bit down on her lip. What caught my attention, however, were her red eyes.
“I promised not to pry… so I won’t.” Boss faced the other way.
I had an idea of what to expect, but I tried nudging her shoulder, nonetheless. Since she wouldn’t give in, I forcibly turned her around to see two crystal pearls streaking down her eyes. I don’t know if there was ever a moment as quiet as that.
Boss and I looked over to where Young Shiyi was sitting cross-legged.
“Young Shiyi, what is your great self doing?”
“I can see that, but… I want to ask why you are suddenly terroris-, gracing the paper with your eloquence.”
God forbid I could depict the monstrosity on the paper with words. Worst of all, whatever the creepy thing she drew was, was supposed to be me…
Young Shiyi flicked her hair. “We’ll need it sooner or later.” She proudly held it up and queried, “Don’t you know a portrait of the deceased must be displayed at funerals?”
I know it’s the scariest thing I’ve heard all day!
“We’ll probably need it next year.”
I’m going to die?!
Young Shiyi wiped her eyes. “Poor Feizhenie, so young, yet… yet…”
I’m dead?! Am I dead?! I’m right here, aren’t I?! More importantly, that abomination isn’t me!
“I’m not the one who wishes for your death. Somebody made a blunder and isn’t showing a very remorseful attitude. I think this painting needs to be hung up. Don’t you agree, Yiren?”
Boss’ vision devolved in a foggy field; her breaths made my heart ache. “… Why should someone tell me what happened? Joy or pain, it’s none of my business. Does my concern amount to anything? I shouldn’t have come here… I’m leaving.”
I chased after Boss to seize her hand. “I’ll talk! I’ll tell you everything, okay?! Come sit down, and listen to me!”
I looked over my shoulder to see Young Shiyi shaking, hands over her gut, face red.
“Puhahaha, air. I need air! How gullible, hahaha!” Young Shiyi laughed tears out of her eyes. “How can you be so gullible, Feizhen?”
“Huh? Gullible?” I looked back to Boss Shen.
Boss Shen checked her makeup for any smudges in a mini mirror with her free hand and then looked askance at me. “Next time, start talking sooner. That was tiring.”
Are you an award-winning actress?! Can I retire to the life of a farmer? Women are freaking scary!