Drifting in and out of Reality, A Day of Inactivity
“In summary, I’m not the one trying to harm you all; it’s Jiang Chen. Shouldn’t you be attacking me physically and verbally? Let’s shout our mantra together now: Jiang Chen is a piece of crap! Jiang Chen wipes his butt crack with his hands, not paper!”
The best way to resolve an internal conflict was to redirect the target of hate to something or someone else – or create a common enemy. Jiang Chen just happened to be the perfect scapegoat.
Come on, guys! Don’t be scared! Don’t stay silent! How can we have any hope of succeeding if we’re already mentally defeated! Muster up your warrior spirit!
Lang Qing folded his arms. “Makes no difference to me. I only joined Fiends’ Genesis to fight him. I couldn’t ask for anything more than to force him to move the match forward.”
Stop! You better not! Who knows how much manpower he’ll bring back. You might get us all killed!
All thanks to Lang Qing’s uncalled for comment, everyone else started thinking about things I didn’t need them thinking about.
Yan Jiangnan, Gu Xianxian and Ning Zhuoru discussed the feasibility of restraining Jiang Chen once he returned to find an escape.
Are your brains just there for the sake of it?! He’d stomp the three of you simultaneously without needing a warm-up!
Yuan Kou, smirking, whispered to me, “Don’t worry. It’s nothing.”
Do something about it! Had you not gone and exposed me for eating all the food, would I be getting the boycott treatment?!
Teng raised a fist. “… He doesn’t use paper!”
You’re too late! And speak louder! It sounds weird as hell with the first part being enunciated so quietly!
Ouyang Xiucai, still not convinced, voiced, “I have another question.”
“And that is?”
“What about Mr. Zero?”
Everyone ceased talking.
Lang Qing: “That’s tough.”
“Mr. Zero is our superior on paper and the person in charge. Ignoring whether he is aware of the circumstances or is on our side of not, he will find out about this meeting sooner or later. Brother Wu, have you consider how you’d deal with the situation if he decides to punish you?”
Yuan Kou condescendingly replied, “Off him.”
Ouyang Xiucai: “Are you serious right now?”
Yuan Kou robotically answered, “Jiang Chen appointed Zero. Now that we’ve discovered Jiang Chen’s scheme, why should we take orders from him. The person in charge he appointed, in particular, deserves to die…” he stopped and glanced at me before clearing his throat and changing his tone. “Murder is not a very fortuitous deed, so I suppose he can be spared. Everyone knows how powerful Mr. Zero is. That being said, given Jiang Chen chose him, I don’t think he’s, uh, definitely reliable, which isn’t to suggest he isn’t reliable.”
He hadn’t even been under my wing for long, but he had learnt a bit already. Just listen to him.
“So a fight is unavoidable,” opined Ouyang Xiucai. “If we’re going to oppose him, we need to be mentally prepared for his calibre. Having travelled in the Western Regions, I know a little more than you. Do you know who Zero is? Zero is Divine Moon Cult’s interim Lord San Shen. That puts him on par with Demon Sect’s three Great Guardians; in Lord San Shen’s faction, that puts him above them. He went undefeated during his rampage to conquer the Western Regions.
“Moreover, though his warriors from the Western Regions weren’t part of that rampage, all of them are elites. The cavalry captain is arguably on my level. There’s no guarantee we’ll win a physical clash. Additionally, if Jiang Chen wants us dead, then all of the Fiends’ Genesis members here will be our enemies, too. Don’t you think brazenly revolting is being rash?”
He was right in some ways and wrong in some ways. While Zero certainly was a menace in battle, a lot of legends were just the gum work of friends spreading stories to create the legend. I won’t go into detail about what I said and did in my youth. It’s embarrassing.
Anyhow, Ouyang Xiucai’s input triggered hesitation in the others, including Yuan Kou. Considering Divine Moon Cult was part of the only entity to dare oppose the imperial court, nobody would belittle them even when they were bruised and battered.
“Young Master Ouyang is correct. Zero does indeed deserve to be considered someone who can rule the Western Regions,” I said. “Having said that, that’s predicated on her being Zero.”
“I don’t understand,” expressed Ouyang Xiucai.
“Why, that would be that the masked individual we’re familiar with isn’t the real Zero, of course.” I ignored their surprised reactions and elaborated, “I can assure you all that, besides her mask being authentic, she doesn’t have the slightest connection to Zero. Take off her mask, and you’ll just be treated to the beauty of a young maiden, not some menacing Zero who’s unrivalled in the Central Plain.”
None of the men batted an eye, and who could blame them? Not one of them was in any position to be talking about girls.
Ouyang Xiucai questioned, “Who is she, then?”
“There’s no mistake that she’s an important figure in Divine Moon Sect. However, she can’t hold a candle to Zero when it comes to martial prowess, status or importance. We have the upper hand in a fist fight. With that said, there’s no need to go there. Instead, we need to join hands.
“I clearly remember mentioning that Jiang Chen’s targets are all of us. Else, there’d be no reason to alter the contraption without notifying the Zero imposter. If she was, then we’d still be in the dark by the time we die from starvation. As she is also one of Jiang Chen’s targets, we can work together. I didn’t invite her to this meeting because she has too many subordinates and a special identity. She’s the last person to convince. In regards to Young Master Ouyang’s points, they’re not hard to resolve, but that doesn’t make them easy to resolve, either.” I had a nip of tea, then asserted, “I shall personally confront her.”
Ouyang Xiucai furrowed his brows. “You?”
Teng: “… I do not know if that is a good idea.”
Yan Jiangnan: “Play dirty.”
Gu Xianxian: “Big Bro, I don’t want to say this, but why is it that you think with your lower half whenever it comes to girls?”
What are all of you even talking about?! That’s not what I meant!
Ning Zhuoru – being the only woman around – applied her meticulous nature and sixth sense as a woman. “She’s your wife?”
“You were referring to her when you mentioned missing your wife? No wonder why you said you can deal with her.”
Ouyang Xiucai: “Ah, a marital spat…”
“I’m not that tasteless! My wife is much prettier. She’s…”
Everyone pinned their gazes on me: “Who is she?”
“Your mom! Get back to business! Why do you care who my wife is?!”
Suddenly, the door flew open, and everyone went silent as they slowly turned their eyes to the door, where they saw a silver mask hiding the so-called pretty maiden.
It was just her, staring at me. I was some distance away, but I could feel a fire burning me from her eyes.
“You, come with me. We need to talk.”