The Aroma of Chicken Makes a Man Dance
“Brother Wu, Brother Wu.”
“Hmm? What is it, Young Master Ouyang?”
“Nothing. You just seemed to be zoning out. Did you remember something?”
I had no idea where my panic attack came from. If I had to put it into perspective… it was akin to your new wife running into a pervert, except I couldn’t recall any familiar scenario of that nature.
“The bout against Granny Lianhua didn’t hurt an organ or something, did it?”
We had no choice but to pull out yesterday due to the flood in the dungeon. For all the expertise Yuan Kou had in water, the man’s internal energy was lousy, while the water resistance was particularly high, not to mention the absence of light. Hence, he didn’t find squat when Zero sent him on an exploration expedition down there.
Apart from the Yan brothers being easy prey, I took into consideration the fact that they would be the closest to the flood when the water came in. If I couldn’t stall until the flood, then my ploy would fall apart. For those reasons, I chose the specific time I chose to wake up.
If Zero had anyone to blame, it was himself. Despite being aware I could breathe internally, he locked me up in the deepest part of the dungeon just to torment me; every time the water level rose, I’d basically be submerged in freezing water for two days. That told me half of the dungeon was actually underwater. Extrapolating from that, we were either next to water or on an island.
My strategy only bought me two days’ time, at best, and one day was almost gone already.
Zero only instructed us to wait in a hall, forbidding us from wandering around. This was a clear sign that we still weren’t cleared of guilt. Needless to say, the two primary factors for this was me ordering the guards to lower the heavy doors and injuring Elder Lianhua. Keeping us all in one place made it easier to supervise and limited our chances of trying anything.
They truly underestimated me. Even with all of them watching me, there was plenty of stuff I could do. For instance, thinking up my detailed profile for Wu Ping. My profile was that of a dashing, taciturn, tight-lipped young man. The reason for the particular profile wasn’t due to fear of saying something wrong. The reason was the shoddy design of my mask that didn’t accommodate for much movement, so I was stuck in a deadpan face. Luckily for me, the silent hero who always looked as if he was mourning his late father was a common archetype in the pugilistic world. Considering Wu Ping’s honest and relatively quiet nature, people would assume I was acting rather than being an imposter. Sure, I did a lot of talking before, but it was understandable since I was trying to survive.
This mask stinks.
The inside and outside of the rotten mask was smothered with blood, but I couldn’t wash my face. If Ol’ Xue was here, she could’ve made me a proper mask in just five days.
“Allow me to check your pulse, Brother Wu,” expressed Ouyang Xiucai.
With an aloof vibe with a hint of boundless loneliness, I slowly shook my head. “You need not exert yourself, Brother Ouyang.”
Ouyang Xiucai forced the smile of a man ready to bolt for from a man who just took a big bite of coptis. “As you wish…”
Don’t do this! I didn’t mean it! Come back!
“You scared him off, you fool.”
To match my character’s personality, I turned back with the gaze of a hero. “What insight do you have to share?”
The maiden who insulted me scrunched up her face upon making eye contact with me. As her man went to speak, she pulled him aside to say, “Why are you bothering with him, Brother Xian? He’s a coward who lowered the eight doors over something trivial. We wouldn’t be stuck here if it wasn’t for him.”
Liaodong’s Gu Xianxian couple was as famous for their combat prowess as their ability to rub people the wrong way. I was surprised to learn they were working for Jiang Chen because they had slain plenty of underworld and unorthodox sect members.
Last year, Ning Zhuoru, now also known as Lady Gu, was ranked twenty-seventh on Pink Reflection. This year, she had slipped to thirty-fifth place. She might’ve been married, but she showed no signs of losing her youth.
Nobody in Liaoning dared to start with Ning Zhuoru as she was trained, and her family was influential in the region. One day, the descendant of another big and influential sect in Liaodong, Gu Xianxian, proposed to her in person. Henceforward, they were a couple.
While Gu Xianxian was famous outside of the border, I never had an opportunity to meet him. Therefore, I didn’t know his true capacity. One thing I could objectively say was that he was so ugly it hurt to look at him.
Gu Xianxian ran his eyes up and down me, then bobbed his head. “Dis ain’t ya house. Ya just drop dee doors when ya want to drop dee doors? Me would’ve dropped ya already if ya weren’t hurt, ya fool.”
Frankly, I couldn’t understand everything Gu Xianxian said due to his Liaodong dialect.
“I merely did what I ought to do. If you have a problem with it, walk yourselves out.”
The only reason the free-spirited couple stuck around was their fear of Zero.
“Who do ya think ya speaking to?! Me can go wherever me wants. Me just doesn’t want to leave. Ru, let’s wait for a while longer.”
Frustrated that she had to be stuck in the same small room as so many men but with no alternative, Ning Zhuoru irritably sat back down.
A Fiends’ Genesis goon knocked, came in and went up to me to inform, “Mr. Wu, Mr. Zero has asked for you.”
Everyone’s gazes made their way to me.
I nodded and replied, “Not going.”
“Please walk in fr-, wh-what?”
“Not going. I’ll make my way over later. You can report back now.”
The goon stared at me dumbfounded for a while, then raised a thumb. “All right, you have my admiration. I shall report back.”
Once the goon was gone, Ouyang Xiucai chuckled. “Zero holds the same rank as us, yet he expects us to take orders from him without question. I understand your intention, Brother Wu. It certainly is a good idea to show him he is not the rule around here.”
I shook my head. “You misunderstand.”
“Hmm? I do understand.”
Ouyang Xiucai returned to his seat to muse.
I’d wager Zero just wanted to test me, not kill me, so there was plenty of wiggle room. I already played prisoner for half a month, so I couldn’t care less if he was trying to stress he was the boss. Why did I refuse to go, then, you ask?
I picked up another drumstick and took a hearty bite.
Because the chicken was nice.
Note: Don’t take translated dialects as actual representations of how they sound in Chinese. I’m simply modifying pronunciation to show a difference, not to depict or insinuate anything.
Gu Xianxian shortening Ning Zhuoru to just “Ru” – This isn’t exactly common since “Zhuoru” is her first name