The Emperor Arrives
Following the announcement, a tall, large and handsome man dressed in a stunning robe came into the garden. There were two rows of people following behind. Only the emperor would be able to pull this off.
Not many people from Liu Shan Men have seen the emperor before. They were all curious but didn’t dare to look in case they angered his majesty.
The current emperor, a wise ruler whose bad luck streak didn’t end until after forty had eyebrows that were starting to turn white. It’s not easy to be a wise ruler, and dealing with his six sons who are fighting it out really takes its toll on him. He looks a lot older than when I last saw him. He looks like he’s fifty plus when he’s in his early forties.
Emperor Yuan Sheng had gotten a little chubby. Perhaps it’s due to his lifestyle in the palace. I couldn’t help but sigh when I saw him walk through. He and the Orange Prince look like they were made from the same mould.
While their features looked strikingly similar, the area between the eyebrows of the Orange Prince makes him look more aggressive. The emperor had a very kind gaze making him feel more like a close uncle.
The Orange Prince was acting like he found back up. He seemed to completely forget about his corruption case and yelled like an idiot: “Father! Father! I’m here. This evil woman is threatening me!”
Su Xiao like the idiot he is, bravely – in a bad way – knocked the prince with his sabre’s handle so hard you could hear the bang ring in the air in front of the emperor.
“Argh! Oww! Look father, she’s hitting me.”
“Well deserved. Who are you calling a woman?”
I suddenly felt like young Su Xiao here was a treasure that I needed to pamper. I don’t think I’ll find another with his level of talent in this life. He’s knocking the prince’s head in like it’s a wooden fish…
Nan gonggong got flustered and exasperated, and shouted: “Insolence! How dare you swing weapons around in front of his majesty! Is this mutiny?!”
Su Xiao quickly said: “Your majesty, please forgive, umm… Umm…” He got nervous when he saw the emperor. He barely managed to utter a few sentences: “Please forgive my insolence. This punk… His highness is too much. He brought people here to harass us. I’m worried that he’d run off if I let go of him and won’t be able to capture him.”
Emperor Yuan Sheng paused and then said with a frown: “Insolence. How dare you behave so audaciously in my presence, let him go!” He spoke in a very domineering tone. Even those highly skilled in martial arts and those who’d gone through life and death could not help but feel their heart rate speed up.
“Your majesty, it’s not that I don’t want to let him go, but what if he doesn’t own up to his crimes and tries to harass me?”
The Orange Prince chuckled and said: “We’re treating you courteously here! My father told you to let go of me, so let me go! As for starting with you, our quarrel…”
Watch me save a comrade!
I gave Tang Ye a shove and he took a step back. I took the chance to throw the book on the floor, creating a loud smack sound. The entire courtyard went dead silent and everybody turned to look in my direction.
“Brother Tang, watch where you’re going. You made my drop my stuff.”
Now that’s some Oscar-level acting! We didn’t even rehearse and yet he was able to react perfectly. He even picked the book up for me.
I slowly and eloquently extended my hand out to take it. Everybody was watching us as though we were putting on a show. I took the book and then waved it around to make sure everybody got a glimpse.
The Orange Prince who was some distance away nearly dropped at the sight of it.
“Father, the matter between me and them is a misunderstanding. It’s no big deal. I’ll overlook this if he lets me go.”
Su Xiao quickly withdrew his sabre and ran to our side as soon as he heard that. Jia Yunfeng didn’t make things difficult for Su Xiao either since the prince had spoken out, so he let the pretty girl off.
“What on Earth?!”
The emperor got impatient, so he waved his hands and then pointed over to Captain Song and Shen Yiren: “Song Ou, Shen Yiren, step forward and answer me.”
“Liu Shan Men is your place and your responsibility. What should I make of it when you create a mess like this? Shen Yiren, you invited me to inspect the place many times. Did you invite me here to witness this joke?”
Shen Yiren faintly said: “Your majesty, I honestly did not know his highness would come here today. As soon as he arrived, you accused us of housing a thief. Captain Song tried to reason with him but he went and ordered his men to attack us instead. Had Su Xiao not stopped him, we would most likely have been hurt by his highness.”
Emperor Yuan Sheng coldly snorted as if to say: Shen Yiren’s trying to play me. What, you’re saying the prince’s men could hurt you when your that skilled and in your own territory? Now I want to hear the rest of your fib.
“Who was it that threatened my son before? Step forward.”
“I-it was me.”
Su Xiao walked over and knelt down. He was so nervous seeing the emperor for the first time. He replied with a stutter: “H-hi, your majesty.”*
Shit! You actually said “hi” to the emperor?
Su Xiao’s white face went completely red as he stuttered: “I mean, greetings, your majesty.”
The emperor saw the sweat on his forehead and almost laughed out loud but managed to resist the urge. He then cleared his throat and said: “Who are you? Why did you do something so audacious?”
“My name is Su Xiao. The ‘su’ character from Su Zhou, and the ‘xiao’ character from the word ‘dawn’. I am sixteen this year, my family lives in Nan Jing. My family runs a martial arts school. I…”
The emperor signalled to stop with his hand and asked: “What are you telling me so much for?”
Su Xiao pouted and said: “Your majesty, did you not ask me to tell you?”
The emperor pursed his lips together, but everybody could tell he was fighting the urge to laugh.
In just a few exchanges of words, the emperor had taken a liking to the simple-minded kid.
“Keke. Just get to the main point. Tell me why you threatened the prince.”
“Right. Your majesty, his highness came here for no rhyme or reason today and started an argument with Captain Song. He even ordered his men attack us.”
“Nonsense. The Orange Prince is a prince. Why would he attack a government office?” The emperor noticed that Su Xiao was distressed. To relieve him, he gestured for him to rise and said: “Stand up and speak. Tell me what happened from the beginning again.”
Su Xiao replied and then ran a few steps. God knows what he was doing.
Su Xiao ran over to the Orange Prince and suddenly yelled: “You bastard!”
His words were slower than his fist which smashed right into the Orange Prince’s face. The Orange Prince was stunned and groaned in pain. He then swiftly reached for his sabre with his other hand and held it up against the Orange Prince’s neck again.
Su Xiao: “Hahahaha. Now let them go.”
The young deadly and brutal maiden is back once again.
*The word “greetings” for “greetings, your majesty” is made up of two characters. Su Xiao was so nervous he only said the first character, which in Chinese can sound a bit like “Cripple”, which in this context basically sounds like “I’m going to cripple you”. Since I couldn’t replicate the joke in English, I’ve altered it to make it sound rude as possible while still being within sensible parameters. So I substituted it “Greetings” (formal) with “Hi” (informal). If you have a better one, hit me with it.
In today’s special segment, we have two special guests. They’re childhood friends. Please welcome Ming Feizhen and Ming Suwen in their childhood:
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