Zhong Ming


Chen Wanyun swung his eagle hands as tough as iron, angering Huofeng. Even if she wanted to help, she had already expended most of her energy.


"Stop! Have some shame!"


Chen Wanyun deemed Su Xiao and me to be the tallest walls to climb because he recognised how exhausted Huofeng was already. As long as we couldn't interrupt, he had the luxury of time to steal the black container.


What makes your senile mind think Su Xiao is tougher than a born fighter, god of combat (we'll skip the remaining hundred-odd other titles)? I'm the face-slapping king of Jiangnan! How dare you! Hmph!


"How does he look so ugly?" commented a maiden.


Who was that? This is a temple, not a teahouse. This is not the place for gossip!


"Freak."


"Weirdo."


"Monster."


"Eyesore."


You're not commenting on my appearance anymore! You're outright insulting me for the sake of insulting me!


"Give it your best, Handsome. Don't let the old man get you."


"Hey, move you tree. You're getting in his way."


One silver tael says Chen Wanyun went after Su Xiao because he was jealous of Su Xiao's looks. I suppose Su Xiao did seem more threatening since he carried a sabre, while I disguised myself in shabby clothing and smeared mud on my face.


Huofeng's angry glare was a directive to help out, but I shrugged her off for it was time for Su Xiao to prove his worth.


Su Xiao stepped away from the overhand, puzzling Chen Wanyun for Su Xiao's movements didn't appear deft. Su Xiao easily dodged a horizontal hook using purely head movement.


The reality is, despite the amazement exhibited whenever someone goes from sword qi to qi sword to sword spirit - even though sword spirit realm was more of a mental achievement than the previous two - it was merely the act of manifesting one's qi outside of their body and imposing it on external objects. Regardless of style, that was always considered an advanced unlockable.


The best way to put Chen Wanyun's ability to manifest his qi outside of his body and impose it into perspective was the wall he smashed down. Sure, he made himself a punch line with the way his attacks failed to hurt Huofeng. Nevertheless, anyone who knew what they were talking about could see the power behind them. I'd argue he deserved to be ranked higher than Black and White Reflection ranked him for he was strong enough to deserve being instated as the chief of Beggars Sect.


After using two moves from Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms and still not acquiring his target, Su Xiao capitalised on an opening to whip his sabre faster than Chen Wanyun expected. Chen Wanyun's delayed reaction meant Su Xiao would clip the former's shoulder without a doubt, yet Su Xiao stopped.


"You win… You can decide what you wish to do with me, Young Man."


Su Xiao swept his gaze over the corpses and, in his attempt of a deep voice, stated, "I'm taking you to a magistrate office."


"You would humiliate me like that?!"


While magistrates and the pugilistic world were part of the same gig, they dealt with "fairness" differently. To say one was active in the pugilistic world was tantamount to saying one was an outlaw. Thus, being taken to court was a death penalty - for the most part - since the magistrate usually never struggled to list a number of crimes they committed that'd warrant the death penalty. As such, those in the pugilistic world would often rather commit suicide than present at a magistrate office. To those in the pugilistic world, being interrogated in court was as humiliating as it could get.


"Humiliate you? You attempted to mug them and then started killing people when they refused to fold over. You think that's reasonable?"


"Everyone in the pugilistic world walks around with his neck out. This old one lost. Kill him if you will. Spare him the drivel."


"Don't speak of death so lightly! Every person you killed has family waiting for them at home. Do you realise the number of tragedies you've created?"


"This old one repays every favour and avenges every grudge. Nobody has ever pontificated him before. Where did you learn such childish ideas from? If this old one bats an eye in the face of death, he's a coward."


"You are old, famous and strong. People have treated you kindly all your life. Your parents gave birth to you and raised you. Your teachers educated you, respected you and promoted you. Your sect members look up to you. Is all of that just for you to kill people?!"


The maidens' faces were alight, wishing they could smack their lips on Su Xiao's face. Chen Wanyun's face was equally flush, though that was because he was livid he had no retort despite his decades of experience in the pugilistic world - plenty of time to steel his heart.


I suppose I could score the outcome fifty-one out of one hundred. Damn kid takes forever to learn one style. It took months for him to figure out Night Steps - with my help, for that matter - and is still a second-rate user. I would've given up if he wasn't likable.


Chen Wanyun busied himself with checking his body, partially due to Su Xiao winning the verbal tirade: "Why did I deplete my internal energy so quickly…?"


Busted…


Although I didn't interrupt the match, I did pull some strings to secure Su Xiao's victory. Prior to being caught outside, I started my plan. Expecting me to magically support Huofeng from the other side of a wall was ridiculous, not to mention how noticeable it'd be. I'd rather storm in and lay the smack down on everyone than try to create a true qi armour from her on the other side of a wall. It would be even worse if the indiscriminate armour ended up harming her, instead.


Not even Hong Jiu could use Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms the way Chen Wanyun did when he was trying to hit Huofeng from a distance because the style rapidly exhausted one's internal energy. The reason his mighty blows couldn't reach their target was because I connected a strand of celestial spider silk to his feet. Since I trickled internal energy to him, he felt more and more invigorated after each shot and even blew apart the wall.


When I stopped dripping him internal energy Chen Wanyun was under the false impression that he still had an ocean of internal energy when, in reality, he didn't have enough, resulting in him expending more than he should've. In addition, he couldn't notice himself becoming sluggish over time for his reaction time was also suffering. Su Xiao wasn't faster; Chen Wanyun just got slower. I did keep the thread on Chen Wanyun's foot, nonetheless, in case he surprised me, and I needed to floor him within one step.


Using Voice Transmission, Huofeng queried, "That must've been your handiwork."


"The best way to stealthily defeat an enemy is to make him overconfident and waste his internal energy. All you have to do after is lay into the depleted opponent - wisdom of the ancients."


"… You're referring to the saying, 'Food and fodder should go ahead of troops and horses'?"


"Get out of here with your literacy finesse!"


"Sad for you, illiterate one."


You didn't even know how to spell 'porn' when I already read three hundred porn books, you impolite brute!


Huofeng lowered her head and muttered under her breath, "What do I like about him? He's just an idiot…" Nothing nice came out of her mouth.


If it wasn't for my shifu crushing on your shifu and some sparks between us, I wouldn't have come to your rescue!


The youth wasn't flustered despite witnessing Su Xiao subdue Chen Wanyun. Instead, he clapped his hands: "Elder Chen was my navigator in the pugilistic world. Without him guiding me, this is going to be harder than a struggle. Is there any chance you could return him to me?"


Not being able to read the situation is worrying, but… actually delivering his request sincerely was what had me and Su Xiao turn to each other! Su Xiao responded, "Of course not. You two are equally guilty. Both of you are coming to the magistrate office with me."


"Wait," I hollered. "My bro here isn't the brightest of folks, so let's put that on the back burner. Could you tell me what your name is, brother?"


"Big Brother Ming, what are you doing?!"


I whispered, "If you take him to a magistrate office, how are you going to explain Master's situation?"


"We can't just let them off scot free, though, can we?"


"That is why negotiation is important. He looks as though he has deep pockets. Let's have him pay a thousand taels to each of the dead so that their families' financial situation is under control first."


"You want to let them go for money?!"


"I keep stressing that you have to be low key and thoughtful when you handle any situation. Stop being so childish."


"Lecturing me again…"


"What did I teach you about handling complicated cases?"


"Mm… Try to brainstorm as many methods as possible, collect more information and don't get stuck in a tunnel."


"Exactly. Find out who they are now. Once this mission is over, I'll go arrest with you in uniform. Then, you can interrogate them all the same. Any issues?"


Su Xiao expressed amazement at my strategy with his eyes.


"Young Master, might I be able to ask for your name?" I requested.


"Hehehe, it's a long story," answered the young master.


"I am all ears."


"Okay. I am a citizen of Luoyang."


"They are your bodyguards and servants?"


The youth sighed: "There is nothing I can do about being born as the only rich, tall, handsome successor to my wealthy inheritance. It's perfectly normal for someone of my status to hire some bodyguards."


I swear I've heard this somewhere before.


"Might I be able to ask which clan you hail from in Luo Yang? What does your family do?"


"My father is the owner of the eighteen brothels along Changjiang - Zhong Hualiu!"


Hold the fook up! If your old man is Zhong Hualiu, who the flip is you?!


"My surname is Zhong and my first name is Ming."


Who am I if you're Zhong Ming? You're going to copy my backstory and name? Get original!


"Haha, what was your name again?" the young master queried.


"I… I… I…"


You just stole all of my lines! What do you expect me to say?! Come up with something better. I have the copyrights to those lines and the name! If you can prove your identity isn't fake, I'll kowtow to you!


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