Book 12: Chapter 59
As the moon silently travelled to its peak, I exited the kitchen. I chose to hide in the kitchen, technically the staff kitchen, for three sound, profound reasons: firstly, people usually didnt think of it as a hiding spot. Secondly, the aroma of food covered the smell of my pork shoulders. Thirdly, I was hungry.
I was sure I was as stealthy the way I put a few dishes into my basket, yet, as soon as I stepped outside, I heard, “Ming Feizhen!”
How the hell did you people find me!
The leader with about a dozen henchmen behind him simpered. “Huh, youre a slippery one. Had I not caught you sneaking into the kitchen, I wouldve lost you.”
Where have I seen this pig-dog-looking barrel before Ooh, hes Li Muyes lackey.
I pointed at him and called, “Xiang Babang!”
“Its Xiang Baxian! You itching to get hit!” Xiang Baxian rolled up his sleeves.
“Hold it… What proof do you have”
Xiang Baxians rage was replaced with confusion. “What”
I directed my rant to his minions. “Hey, you guys have any proof hes Xiang Babang Just because he looks like him How careless.”
Xiang Baxians minions whispered to each other, looking as though I had a good point, impelling him to bray, “Shut up! His Highness wants to see you.”
“And Im supposed to just take orders”
Why would he want to see me I may be a duke now, but its a joke of a duke rank. Theres no reason for him to pay me any respect. Uhm, when the motive isnt clear to you, deploy speculation. What if there are hundreds of armed men waiting to ambush me
“You think you have a say Men, capture him.”
Only students and staff were allowed on the academy grounds, so Xiang Baxian recruited his brothers who were planning to take the imperial martial arts exam. How good could they have been if they were serving him, though
It was impossible for me to utilise qinggong in my condition, but they wouldnt have learnt any advanced qingong. Therefore, itd just be a running contest between us. When it came to running, I had a pair of legs and strategy I was proud of. My shifu developed a mental cultivation discipline to escape from any sort of debt in any sort of situation, which he later imparted to me. I was grateful for the knowledge… until his debt collectors started coming after me, too. Combining that mental cultivation with my battle-tested experience, the only person in the world who could catch me… his parents had yet to even marry.
After I made them run a few laps with me, I brazenly headed out via the academys front door. Even if they couldnt find me, they wouldnt think Id leave the academy. That being said, I needed a wall to stay upright and time to catch my breath.
Everything is going wrong today. Its better if I just call it a day and go home.
“Brother up ahead, are you Ming Feizhen”
… Who the flip is it now!
I turned around to see a group of men in military uniform lazing on a wall. “Can I help you, sirs”
Their leader flashed his pearly whites. “Need you for boxing practice.”
I frowned. “I am a constable of Liu Shan Men. Although we are under different leaders, we all serve the imperial court. Is this a rebellion against the imperial court”
“Well, no, I wouldnt have the balls to do that. Do you remember who youve offended recently, though”
I scratched my head. “G-give me a hint.”
“… You lit up my young masters face into a bloody mantou, and this is your attitude”
Bloody mantou Why would a lover of peace and food, like myself, ever…
“Your young masters surnameMian”
“General Zhao Tiankui sent us here to ask you if you have any respect for the five militaries.”
Oh, Zhao Xin, right, right… But why are they here to see me now
I held my hands in salute. “It is a pleasure to meet. Farewell.”
“Hes going to run! After him!”
Hell yeah, Im going to run! What the hell is wrong with today! Why is everyone coming after me today!
The soldiers took three laps to shake off, and all the running gave me a stitch, bloody hell. As if that wasnt bad enough, I discovered I was at… I didnt even know where I was. All I could see was a couple of people; even the tea stall was nigh empty.
Ah, whatever, nothing more important than being safe.
“Would you happen to be Ming Feizhen” The man at the tea stall by the corner of the street queried.
Ah, damn it.
I turned to the stall. This time, there were four people wearing bamboo hats, short garments and carrying iron blades on the belts.
Ah, great, the pugilistic-beginner-player set.
Judging from their stances and breathing, every single one of them were around Xiang Babangs level. Thanks to their attire, they were the kind of people whod have no problem blending into the crowd of pugilistic-world folks and disappearing out of sight. Why dress in a stereotypical manner So that they could quickly blend into a crowd and flee once they eliminated their target.
“And you four are” I asked.
“You crossed someone you shouldnt have.”
How! Where the hell are all of you coming from that even your lines are similar Are you all from the same group!
The fact that they were indifferent to my tone of disdain indicated that they were hired assassins. Their strategic positions to surround me showed professionalism.
I inhaled deeply. “I have one sentence for you: if you want to catch me, get in line.”
The groups previously chasing me had somehow come together and caught up to me.
“You think you tough Come on, all at once!”
Two hours later, I crawled out from a bale of straw and suavely tripped onto my face. Id be lying if I said I couldnt move, but I could feel the fatigue deep inside. As soon as they had me encircled, they laid into me without hesitation. Unluckily for them, there was only so much space they could cover, and there were over a dozen of them going at me simultaneously, so it was unlikely anyone even landed ten shots on me. I waited for their adrenaline to peak, then dropped a blood bomb to escape.
Why is everyone coming after me when Im defenceless and Second isnt around Im just good at accosting people I always was good at that, so why now of all times are they coming after me!
Damn, it hurts… They really didnt hold back.
The last four had weapons, yet they chose to bash me with kicks and punches, so I surmised their instructions were only to teach me a lesson.
Just who in the world did I offend
Come. On. There are still more of them!
“Wh-wh-who-who goes there! Stay back!”
“Constable Ming, calm down. Its me.”
He had a familiar, domineering visage, the beard that was masculine, yet refined, the kind gaze that made people want him as their father. Who else could it have belonged besides Li Fangzhang
“Your Majesty! Your Majesty! Your Majesty!”
His Majesty sympathetically expressed, “It has been hard on you.”
I grabbed His Majestys hand tightly. “Your Majesty! Why are you h-, wait. Can you please answer three questions first”
Xiang Babang – Literally, Elephant Mussel Opener.-