Martial King’s Retired Life is a Webnovel produced by Lee Taibai, Lee太白.
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Volume 11.5 Chapter 10
“Brother Ming, what do you say?” Yan Shisan lifted his cup of tea to his lips as though it was strong alcohol despite his groomed appearance.
Ming Huayu, sitting slanted similarly to his splayed hair, indulged in yet another puff out of his expensive pipe, seemingly using it as a means of combatting the stress that his red eyes suggested. Paintings of famous people hung from the wall, yet he never once spared them a gander. “Further deliberation is in order.”
“What happened to the fire in you that you used to cut down evil and set fire to the imperial palace? Did it go into seclusion along with you? Why are you so wishy washy at your young age?”
Ming Huayu raised an eyebrow. “Are you seriously going to push me?”
“Hah, you speak in jest, Brother Ming. The stars have retreated to their slumber, and the argent rays have been replaced with golden rays, yet we are still waiting for you. It seems you think the three of us are pushovers.” Daoist Jinguan smacked the table. “Do not push it!”
“Brother Jinguan, we are brothers. Let us not ruin our friendship over something this trivial.” Yan Shisan may have spoken with a smile and respectful tone, but he was ready to throw hands at the drop of a hat. “Brother Ming, we have waited, and you have contemplated. Don’t you think it’s time you give us an answer?”
Be it the power behind his name or his limbs, Yan Shisan could give Ming Huayu a run for his money. As such, Ming Huayu couldn’t marginalise what Yan Shisan said.
Ming Huayu continued brooding until the incense stick in the cauldron at the centre of the table went out and the sunlight shown through the windows. “Fine… Don’t blame me for this. You forced my hand.”
Yan Shisan smiled amiably. “H-”
Ming Huayu extended his hand over the table faster than the other three could follow. The three waited all night to catch him, yet their plan fell through after foregoing their sleep.
“Shifu, you done?”
“Oh my G.o.d!” Ming Huayu abruptly slammed the mah-jong tile he picked off the table back down. “c.r.a.p! White dragon again!”
Zhang Tianshi: “Win!”
Yan Shisan abandoned his demure image as he jumped out of his seat. “Flush! I win! Take that! Pay up! Pay up! None of you are getting away! I’m not letting my night go to waste!”
Daoist Jinguan whacked his thigh. “G.o.d d.a.m.n it!”
Zhang Tianshi: “I’ve only lost a little. I’m still doing much better than all of you.”
Yan Shisan slammed the table. “Ming Huayu, you’re out of tricks this time, aren’t you?! You want to switch tiles?! Hah. Pay up. I’m going to beat you into bankruptcy!”
Ming Huayu reluctantly paid up. He dawdled all night to mentally tire them out so that he could switch his tiles. Not only did his plan fall through, but he also lost money on tobacco. He pointed his shaky finger at Ming Feizhen and stammered, “You… You…”
Ming Feizhen pointed to himself. “Me, Shifu?”
“You… You… You plague!”
“Why is it my fault?!”
Ming Huayu grabbed his chest as though he was suffering a heart attack, body trembling. “Why… Why… Why are you back?!”
“Weren’t you the one who called me into Three Gorges Dam because you had something to tell me? Ever since I arrived, you’ve only been playing mahjong. Your eyes have gone red from playing for three days. Can’t you take a short break?”
“I can.” Ming Huayu performed a series of arcing arm motions resembling Tai Chi, each technique demonstrating his martial arts prowess. Then, he picked up a tile.
Ming Feizhen inflated his cheeks: “Keep this up and you’ll have to sell all your belongings on the mountain. If you keep playing, guess what I’ll tell shiniangs when they ask me where your money went.”
“You don’t know anything.” Ming Huayu had another puff from his pipe. “What did I teach you? Modest wealth is a result of thrifty spending. Considerable wealth is dependent on luck. Ma.s.sive wealth is the result of not paying after losing.”
Zhang Tianshi, Daoist Jinguan and Yan Shisan: “What was that?!”
Ming Huayu: “Ahaha, apologies, apologies. Slip of the tongue. Start up the next game, Bosses.”
Ming Feizhen watched them shuffle the tiles for a while before asking, “Shifu, what did you summon me for? I noticed it’s not exactly a haven for civility around here. There are some suspicious peeps. Are we going to do something about them?”
“Some people from the Western Regions with special skills. I tailed three of them, but I couldn’t dig up anything worthy. Captain Yan, do you know anything?”
Eyes on the tiles and one hand caressing his chin, Yan Shisan responded, “You’re not wrong. They’re some lunatic cult. Brother Shen has locked onto them. It’s only a matter of time before they’re finished… Character! They won’t be able to achieve anything.”
“… Shifu, the martial arts community in Three Gorges Dam is rather messy at the moment. I heard several people have died one after another.”
“Messy? It’s a stinking dump.” Ming Huayu pulled his eyebrows in and, still touching tiles, quietly uttered, “… Dot.”
Zhang Tianshi beamed. “Pair! My win now, isn’t it?”
Ming Huayu whipped his sleeve. “You plague! Didn’t I tell you to stay six metres away from me when I’m playing, or you’d curse me?!”
“That’s called being superst.i.tious!” Ming Feizhen snapped.
“What you said is called superrubbish! Ever since I took you in, I’ve never won in any gamble!”
Daoist Jinguan raised his hand to speak. “This old one can testify. He’s not lying. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have lost you to me. Feizhen, you been well recently?”
Ming Feizhen bowed. “h.e.l.lo, Grandpa.”
Daoist Jinguan said to Ming Huayu, “Try to do something proper for once.”
“All right. Feizhen, step outside with me.” Ming Huayu led his disciple to the bank of Jialing River. “How are your martial arts skills?”
“How about your network?”
“Thanks to you, I know quite a number of people.”
“Explain to me, then, why are you still unable to hold your own weight?”
“How old are you?”
“Have you tasted a woman yet?”
“Are you still a virgin?”
“A resounding ‘yes’.”
“That’s messed up! You’re fourteen years old, yet you’re still single! This is the source of the problem!”
“Wh-what problem are we talking about?”
“A man must have a woman, you dullard. You’re not a real man if you don’t have a woman!”
“Shifu, are you on something?”
“I’m on facts. A man must build a family before he builds his career. You’re fourteen years old. Even though you are engaged to Yu Feiyuan, are you planning to marry as a virgin?”
“Is there a problem with that?”
“Of course there is. It’s embarra.s.sing!”
Ming Feizhen had no retort.
“When I was your age, I was already the man women wanted. As my disciple, how can you not even be one-tenth of the man I was?”
“ Uh… I heard you were still a virgin at thirty, though.”
“Who told you that lie?! Who?! Are you really just going to take someone’s word? You need to up your game. You must. This is your weak point, understand?”
“Look at this land. Look how vast it is. This is what you young ones should pursue. Don’t waste your youth, understand?”
“Shifu, why do I get the feeling that you’re trying to get rid of me so that you can play mah-jong?”
“… Does it look like that to you? You break my heart!”
Ming Feizhen turned his head to the side, looking at Ming Huayu out of his peripherals.
“Ahem, in any event, you need to bring a wife home. It’s time for you to taste a woman. Else, you’re going to be annoyingly useless when you run into people who try to use honey traps against you. You’re not welcome home until you lose your virginity, understood?”
“This is an order!”
“Yeah, yeah.” Ming Feizhen scrubbed his hair vigorously. “I’m off, then. Made me come all the way here for this sort of stupid c.r.a.p…”
“In addition, bring back a hundred thousand taels for me.”
Ming Huayu sighed, seemingly disillusioned with his disciple. “Why are you so slow? I just lost a hundred thousand. If you don’t bring back a hundred thousand, I’ll have to sell you again.”
“Fret not. As long as you bring the money back, it doesn’t matter how you get it. Do whatever is necessary. Given my status in the pugilistic world, hoho, I can protect you no matter what.”
“Ming Cheater, hurry up. We’re not waiting for you!”
“Aye, wait up. Coming, coming!”
“Remember: a wife and a hundred taels!”
“Wife. Wife. A hundred thousand taels. A hundred thousand taels.” Ming Feizhen clutched his fists.
“We’ve finally arrived.”
Whether it was attributed to Ming Feizhen guarding them or finding relief for the first time since receiving the threat, Su Li’s shoulders finally left her ears once they disembarked. Though her safety wasn’t guaranteed yet, both her and her attendant were enjoying life again. He even didn’t mind Su Li taking in a beggar if it made her happy.
“Stop overreacting. It’s like it’s your first time outside of your house,” Ming Feizhen remarked.
Ming Feizhen, resembling someone from India due to the head wrap he had on, whinged whilst browsing all the stalls along the busy dock. “I heard there are radish dumplings here. Where are they? Is it that stand?”
Su Li grumbled, “Where are your manners?! You’re the one overreacting. Young Master Hua, tell him… Young Master Hua?”
Hua Qing systemically walked in a half-squat, hiding his darting eyes under his green hat that came out once they disembarked.
Ming Feizhen, coming back with piping-hot radish dumplings he just bought, commented, “I must say, he looks coolest when he’s being his thieving self. It’d be a waste for him to pursue a career in any other field.” He took a bite of his soft dumpling and then stretched his eyes. “Mm, good stuff.”
“Do you never have anything nice to say? Young Master Hua, where are you going?”
Ming Feizhen: “Wooing other girls behind your back?”
Hua Qing really did sneak over to a maiden cautiously looking around near the dock. “… Yanran.”
The slightly tanned seventeen-year old maiden spun around. In a soft voice, she hollered, “Brother Hua! Your ship arrived late. I was worried something happened to you. I’ve been coming to check every two hours since I don’t want to risk loitering for too long.”
Hua Qing helplessly smiled. “It’s a long story. I’ve found a capable helper to help us get through us.” He walked off before Xu Yanran could reply, instructing softly, “Follow me.”
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