"Your Majesty, your subject has something to s-"
Before Jin Wangsun could finish his sentence, he had to quickly get out the way of a length of metal hurled his way. He fumed, "You want to kill in His Majesty's presence"
"I was returning your sabre to you. Don't take it if you're so tough."
Indeed, the length of metal hurled toward Jin Wangsun was Golden Crow Moon Eater, which Ming Feizhen held a moment ago. Granted he was irate, Jin Wangsun took his family treasure nonetheless.
Ming Feizhen then folded his arms and nonchalantly said, "Jin Wangsun, think carefully. You'll regret it if you mention it."
"What You scared now I'd like to see you slip your way out of this!"
When Jin Wangsun intended to speak up again, Ming Feizhen suddenly cut in. "Night Fortress had five-thousand four hundred and seventy one members. Three-thousand and fifty members at Hangzhou City acted as reinforcements, who were led by twelve warriors. You even gave the twelve another alias. I think it was Twelve Iron Gods what was it again Some second-generation rich good-for-nothing kid might come up with that, but as a patriarch, you're treating it as if you're running a kindergarten."
"You!" exclaimed the stunned Jin Wangsun.
Indeed, that was his arrangement at Hangzhou City. He never told anyone, besides his most trusted subordinates, the details, yet Ming Feizhen, who should've been the last person to know, exposed him. Instead of concerning himself with Ming Feizhen's ridicule, he did his best to try and work out how Ming Feizhen knew his secret.
Having observed the two converse for a long time, the curious Emperor asked, "Wangsun, what is unfair"
Jin Wangsun examined Ming Feizhen's look that resembled a smile, yet not. Put on the spot, he couldn't decide on a course of action and, consequently, didn't reply. Ming Feizhen replied on his behalf, "Young Master Jin said that tonight's feast is sumptuous, yet the two of us have to compete unfortunately. As such, we are missing out. He would like to ask you to grant us a table of the delicacies to satisfy our cravings."
A melancholic feeling involuntarily came onto the Emperor. With a wave of his hand, he said, "Hey! What sort of problem is that Don't you two bring your games here. The results of the first round have been decided. Take a short break, and then we shall begin the second contest."
Though he said that, the Emperor did have servants provide the two contestants with a table of delicacies in the end. The Emperor stroked his beard with a magnanimous aura.
"Thank you, Your Majesty. Thanks to you, your incompetent subject will not need to starve to death. My, my, let me tell you: I must say that our imperial chefs are experts. Look at the pattern carved on this chunk of lamb. If a commoner asks to bless their eyes with a glimpse of this, your subject recommends charging him two-hundred taels. Ooohh, hot, hot."
Ming Feizhen popped a large piece of delicious lamb into his mouth then started exclaiming it was hot. Seeing him behave as if he was in a market, the people in the hall couldn't help but lament, "You only one the round by a fluke; you seriously consider yourself fuma already, treating yourself as if you're family with His Majesty Is this any place for you to be acting insolent! You're a gross sight to behold, lowlife!"
Jingan watched Ming Feizhen feeling puzzled. Hongzhuang, to the contrary, nearly laughed. She thought to herself, "He sure is a glutton. To think that he's Lord San Sh-, wait, it's not confirmed yet."
Ming Feizhen picked up a few more pieces of lamb. Noticing everyone look at him oddly and even the Emperor looking slightly unhappy, he laughed. "Please pardon me, Your Majesty. Your subject is a boorish commoner and is not refined. Your subject is used to being uncouth, so your subject has embarrassed you here. Your subject shall head outside the hall to eat and come back once done."
Ming Feizhen carried his entire table out. Every single warrior in the hall wondered to themselves if they were supposed to stop him or not. Even the Emperor was left wondering how to react. He knew Ming Feizhen was a walking mess, but never expected him to be so bad.
"Fine, fine, fine, I'll let him eat as a reward for winning Jin Wangsun in that round," decided the Emperor, then waving his hands to the warriors to signal for them to let him go.
Jin Wangsun's treacherous gaze wouldn't settle. He had no clue what Ming Feizhen had up his sleeve, but he didn't have the leverage required to expose Ming Feizhen's identity. As he got ready to try to pry an answer out of Ming Feizhen, he spotted someone rushing in from outside. The individual approached Jin Wangsun. It was a family slave of his.
Jin Wangsun's slave reported, "Master… this is extremely urgent."
"Keep your voice down. Follow me… take your time."
The slave was one of the slaves in charge of collecting and reporting information. In other words, all important information had to pass through him. He was Jin Wangsun's best informant. Owing to having to wait for a letter from Hangzhou, he stayed at their lodging and, therefore, was late. Nevertheless, judging from his panicked demeanour and the mention of something being extremely urgent as his first few words, Jin Wangsun surmised something major had transpired.
Jingan's expression began to look serious somewhat. Clearly, the Princess with extraordinary wits had grasped a fair amount of information merely by reading the expressions on several faces.
The slave quietly reported, "Master, I have received a letter from Hangzhou. Two days ago, the one-thousand-plus martial artists we recruited into Night Fortress launched a revolt all of a sudden. Under the lead of a young man with glasses, their forces dominated. Our brothers at Night Fortress either died or fled after the savage fight that carried on for two days. Over two-thousand others were subdued by them. They then rode their wave of momentum and made their way down the mountain to wage more battles, sweeping all of our forces along the way. Our empire we spent months establishing in Hangzhou has thoroughly devastated."
The impact of the news almost had Jin Wangsun's blood flow in reverse. His vision turned dark. Peripheral blood flow ceased. His conscious almost left him.
"H-How could that be possible!!" fumed Jin Wangun, clenching his teeth to muffle his raging voice. Nonetheless, his teeth trembled and banged against each other as if he was freezing in snow.
"I arranged almost five-thousand elites at Night Fortress' mountain, yet one-thousand men were enough to drive our forces out!"
The slave also trembled and shakily replied, "They employed a ploy… to lure the majority of our team to the rear of the mountain, and then launched a sudden attack, killing our brothers who remained in the fortress and occupying it."
"That's ridiculous! The rear of the mountain is where our supplies are located. Since our main forces defended the rear of the mountain, how could they have not retaliated How could they have fallen in two days!"
"Master, th-that is because they were sly! You have to avenge us!" raged the slave. He seethed with anger. "According to the letter received, their one-thousand-plus men were originally members of Night Fortress. They had laid in ambush in the fortress for half a month, eating our supplies if not stealing them. They emptied out our entire warehouse at the rear of the mountain. Then, they lured us to the rear. They then sat and waited. Owing to the rear of the mountain being flat terrain, they had the advantage. Damn sly bastards…"
"Quit **ting out of your mouth. We need tactics against you lot" suddenly remarked a guard in golden armour next to Jin Wangsun. "On the day of the fight, you people sent two-thousand men as vanguards to try and crush our Night Fortress. We only dispatched a small team of five-hundred men and fought your men from every direction face-to-face, man-to-man and we stomped your elites at being **! We had a quarter of your numbers. Each of us took on four each, yet you still ended up getting stomped. Why would we even need to plan how to whoop your behinds"
The family slave went red in the face with embarrassment. He exaggerated the story so that his fallen brethren wouldn't look bad; however, he didn't expect an irrelevant passing guard to call him out on his lie.
Jin Wangsun vigilantly asked, "Who are you! How do you know so much"
The guard in golden armour looked up, revealing a young and ordinary face that contained a tinge of swiftness and ferocity. "This guard is Hong Daoqiang!"
"Hong Daoqiang!" exclaimed Jin Wangsun. His eyes darted back and forth before recalling who he was. "Aren't you Master Eighteen, who sells me information Wait… A-Are you Night Fortress' second-in-command Hongjiu!"
Of course he was Ming Feizhen's junior martial brother, Hongjiu.
"No wonder why he knew everything. He's the darn leader," realised Jin Wangsun. "You're the second-in-command of Night Fortress, yet are hiding behind the disguise of Hong Daoqiang. You're as much of a joke as your master. You too shady to show the world your real identity"
Hongjiu raised his chin and smugly said, "You never heard of knacks Lord Hongjiu here is known in the pugilistic world as Master of Myriad Transformations. I can be the golden armoured guard Hong Daoqiang, the farmer Hong Tukang, the prostitute Hong Saolang and even you, Hong Dagang."
*It's completely lost in translation, but here is the pronunciation and meaning behind the names Hongjiu mentioned at the end.
Hong Daoqiang = Hong Dowchiang = Swords and Spears Hong
Hong Tukang = Hong tookarng = Kang Bed-stove Hong
Hong Saolang = Hong Sowlarng = Slut Hong
Hong Dagang = Hong Dagang = Big Vat Hong
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