In which the Alliance Leader gets his clothes taken off.
Xie Junming’s idea was extremely simple and rough.
He was preparing to go find the Alliance Leader directly at night, telling the other about a friend who had invited a fortune-teller and was informed that if he remained unmarried, then next year would be a year of terrible ill-fortune. And this supposed marriage partner was a man, who was located somewhere in the southeast, whose surname had something to do with gold and silver metalware, and whose lower back had a birthmark shaped like the Big Dipper.
Ye You repeated, “Your friend?”
“Yes, my friend.” Xie Junming laughed ostentatiously. “And it just so happens that the Alliance Leader hasn’t remarried. What do you think?”
Ye You sighed very ruefully. “Ah, you’re truly going to so much trouble for the sake of your friend that you’re even willing to take off the clothes of an old man who’s already passed fifty years of age.”
Xie Junming said, “There’s not many friends who can make me go through all this much trouble. It’s enough to have only that one.”
Ye You then knew that the other wanted to use him as an excuse. He gave the other a look before weakly leaning his head against his Senior Brother’s shoulder. Wenren Heng immediately reached out a hand to his waist and pulled him into an embrace, softly asking, “What is it? Not feeling well?”
Ye You said, “Yes.”
Wenren Heng then lifted the person up and, acting as if no one else was there, carried the other over to the bed, asking where the other felt unwell. Then, upon hearing his Junior Brother saying, in a thin voice, that it was the chest, he couldn’t help but smile and ask, voice soft, “Want Senior Brother to rub it for you?”
Ye You said, “Yes.”
Xie Junming, “…”
He had only just put forth an idea to make fun of a certain someone, and this scoundrel immediately retaliated with trying to blind his eyes.
Wenren Heng turned back to look at him, politely chasing out this guest, “Temple Master Xie, my Junior Brother is feeling unwell, and he’s truly not fit to sit for a long period of time. Let’s stop here for today. I won’t see you out.”
Xie Junming stood up and left the room, silently looking at the scarred man who had been standing guard outside.
The scarred man’s entire body tensed up.
Temple Master Xie was good friends with Sect Master Ye, and so there was the distinct possibility that the other had discovered Sir Xiao’s true identity. And now that Sir Xiao had suffered from such a loss, if he learned that the Sect Master had always been lying to him, how could they ever make it right? And in the case that he recovered his memories, wouldn’t his relationship with the Sect Master return to how it was before? What then could their Sect Master do?
Xie Junming slowly said, “What’s the relationship between your Sect Master and Sir Xiao?”
The scarred man calmly said, “Disciple-brothers.”
Xie Junming continued silently looking at him.
The scarred man was once again nervous, feeling as if all the hair on his body was standing on end, and he stared unblinking at Temple Master Xie, afraid that this big lord was going to say something earth-shattering. He couldn’t help but tactfully remind, “Temple Master Xie, our Sir Xiao’s mood hasn’t been good these past few days. He can’t take being provoked too much.”
Xie Junming patted his shoulder, rather as if he was lamenting the state of the heavens and pitying the fate of humankind, and threw down a, “You’re still far too young,” before turning around and leaving.
The scarred man was completely at a loss, and he followed the other’s departure with his eyes. When he saw that the room door was still open, he went over to close it, also taking the opportunity to take a peek inside, finding that the Sect Master was sitting at the bedside, appearing as if comforting Sir Xiao. He couldn’t see anything wrong with this scene, so he guessed that Xie Junming had been referring to the matter of, “Sir Xiao is actually Sect Master Ye.” He then considerately helped them close the door.
Wenren Heng was holding his Junior Brother’s hand and slowly playing with it. He said, “Will he really go to take off the Alliance Leader’s clothes?”
Ye You laughed and said, “He will.”
Xie Junming had exactly this kind of unbridled temperament. Something that’d ordinarily be easy to do, he’d impatiently go and find a complicated way to do it.
And the Alliance Leader’s temper was good, and he was known as an inoffensive person. It was only taking off some clothes; even if he was truly angry in his heart, he wouldn’t show it on his face, and the most he’d feel was a bout of helplessness and a headache.
Wenren Heng said, “He came to see you today, and tonight he’s going directly to take off the Alliance Leader’s clothes. They’ll definitely suspect that you said something”
Ye You was very calm. “It doesn’t matter. Right now, other than me, they also can’t find another person who seems like the black piece.”
Wenren Heng said, “You want to take this opportunity to pressure the Alliance Leader again, and let him feel that you’ve started suspecting him?”
“We could try. Regardless, I can’t stop Xie Junming.” Ye You sat up. “It’s just that there’s one thing that I feel is very strange.”
Wenren Heng understood and asked, “You’re wondering why the white piece’s next move still hasn’t arrived?”
Ye You made a sound in agreement and leaned against the headboard, muttering to himself.
Since the matter of Bodhi Prison had been exposed, the white piece should’ve learned that there was no way to conceal this matter, no matter what mess was constructed to divert people’s attention, and that the only thing that could be done was to find a scapegoat. And from the way that they killed Shaolin’s people with that flute playing, one could see that they were capable of reacting very quickly. Although Li Hua, Fuping, and Mr. Xiao had been captured afterwards, and one of them had been buried by him, there should at least be some kind of countermeasure in place.
It couldn’t be that the white piece had only Fuping and Mr. Xiao to receive orders, and so with these two people under control, those people no longer knew what to do, right? Was it possible?
Wenren Heng asked, “How many of their matters do you know?”
“Only a few. They’re too cautious. Some things they’ve cleaned up very well, and I can only make a guess that it has something to do with them, but I don’t have any evidence.” Ye You said, “Bodhi Prison was something that I sent people to watch year-round before I finally learned something. And I knew that they were making drugs because I was clear that there was that villa in the mountains.”
Wenren Heng suddenly thought of those map pieces which had tormented everyone to no end, and then he also thought of the year they were written. He guessed, “Did you learn about this from that matter with Master?”
Ye You said, “Yes, at the time, the fleeing adventurer had escaped from precisely that villa. That swordsman who suffered from a qi deviation most likely was fed the drug, and the product had yet to be completed at the time, so he ended up killing anyone he saw. Before his death, the adventurer stuffed a strip of paper into my clothes and, after saying a few words, died.”
Wenren Heng said, “And then you just kept it to yourself, and thought of that pretense to fake madness?”
Ye You didn’t want to bring up old grudges, so he simply gave a nod before continuing to speak, “Over the years, I’ve always been observing them, and I knew that they had a miracle doctor, a trusted advisor, a drug that can change a child’s memories, and a troop of drugged men as well as a few monsters who are still alive… Senior Brother, if you were them, what would you do now?”
Wenren Heng said, “If it was me, since everything has blown up to the point where it’s become known to everyone, why not just move that troop of drugged people. Then, I’d have them start showing some movements, even perhaps cause a tragedy, elsewhere, so as to lure people over there, all so that I can find an opportunity on the road there to contact my own people. Anything would be better than staying at Shaolin, constantly kept restricted under watch. And I’d also need to think of a way to first get rid of you. Without you in the middle spoiling things, matters would become much easier to deal with.”
Ye You said, “I also thought it’d be like this. Since things have already gotten this vicious and brutal, I don’t think that they’d mind being burdened with a few more lives…”
As he spoke, his heart skipped a beat, and he met his Senior Brother’s gaze. Upon seeing his Senior Brother wrinkling his brows, he guessed that they had probably thought of the same thing and asked, “Do you think that they’ll capture some people to surround us?”
Wenren Heng said, “It’s very possible.”
For the entire afternoon, all was still and quiet, and evening quickly arrived.
Although those elders were extremely unwilling to sit at the same table with Xie Junming, for the sake of their honorable reputation, they still came out and ate a meal together. And, in a rare sight, Xie Junming didn’t voice any criticisms over the Buddhist meal he was given. As if he was presenting himself as a sterling example of the adage ‘don’t speak while eating’, he stayed completely quiet, which actually caused some of the elders to feel quite moved.
The Alliance Leader had originally wanted to go down the mountain and take a walk today, but he was stopped by the earnest and well-meaning Academy Master Ge and the others. He couldn’t so easily refuse, so the only thing he could was resign himself and give up the idea. But since his son’s whereabouts were unknown, he had absolutely no appetite, and he ate only a few simple bites before no longer moving his chopsticks.
Xie Junming gave him a look before unhurriedly continuing to eat, internally thinking that Shaolin’s food sure was terrible, no wonder a certain someone refused to come out by faking illness. He suppressed his temper and endured until they had all just about finished eating. After patiently sitting for a while, he saw the skies gradually darken and went to find someone to make some inquiries before turning around to go to the Alliance Leader’s room.
Having received Sir Xiao’s suggestion, the Junior Sect Masters had separated into groups to watch the Alliance Leader. Right now, the ones responsible for being on watch just so happened to be Ding Xilai and another Junior Sect Master. The two were huddled in a corner, staring wide-eyed as they watched Xie Junming knock and open the Alliance Leader’s door. They faintly felt as if they had just discovered the reason for Xie Junming suddenly coming to Shaolin — this person couldn’t be the white piece’s man, right?
They were immediately excited, and they surreptitiously scooted forward little by little.
At this time, Ren Shaotian suddenly said, “There’s sounds of a scuffle. They’ve started fighting.”
This was the first time Ding Xilai had been so unwavering in the face of something big happening, and he quickly stood up. “Rush in to save that person!”
Ren Shaotian didn’t raise any objections, and he rushed forward and kicked the door open with his foot. Ding Xilai and the Junior Sect Master didn’t dare to approach, but they found a place where they could clearly see the room. Thereupon, they saw that Xie Junming was currently taking off the Alliance Leader’s clothes; his speed was very fast, and he had already reached the last layer. And the Alliance Leader was simply standing there, motionless; it was clearly evident that his acupoint had been hit.
The three people, “…”
Xie Junming gave them a glance.
Ren Shaotian had been shocked stiff at the entrance, and he didn’t know if he should enter or retreat.
Ding Xilai’s heroic spirit just now hadn’t yet entirely dispersed, and upon seeing his good friend’s old man on the verge of being tossed about, he felt his vision turn black. Without even thinking, he walked over. “Temple Master Xie, what are you doing?! Don’t get carried away by your delusions! Let go right this instant!”
Xie Junming threw away the Alliance Leader’s final layer of inner robes and looked at the Alliance Leader’s left shoulder before finally looking at them once again. He laughed very handsomely. “Say those words just now again. Who’s getting carried away by delusions?”
Ding Xilai and the Junior Sect Master behind him both felt their hearts tremble. That imposing air in Ding Xilai’s chest had also been completely used up, and he turned around and ran. “You wait! We’re going to call for others to come!”
Xie Junming had seen what he wanted to see, and without any sincerity, he apologized to the Alliance Leader for committing an offense. Seeing that Ren Shaotian was still here guarding the place, he then threw the person at the other and said, right before leaving, “If you want to know the reason, ask him.”
Ren Shaotian unsealed the Alliance Leader’s acupoint and asked, “Alliance Leader, are you all right?”
Since assuming his position, the Alliance Leader had never been treated this way by anyone. Added onto the fact that there was no information about his son, causing him to be incessantly worried, with how Xie Junming had messed with him just now, he felt the veins on his forehead visibly throbbing, and he looked as if he was practically going to explode with anger.
Ren Shaotian looked at him, hoping that he could say a few words. But the Alliance Leader, fearing that he’d start spitting fire the moment he opened his mouth, simply sat down with a stiff and cold face. Ren Shaotian shot him two more glances before deciding not to disturb him any further and leaving.
And then when Ding Xilai and the Junior Sect Master brought people over in a hurry, they heard only that Xie Junming had already left.
Pavilion Master Ding and Manor Lord Wei and the others hastily hurried to inquire about the reason. This kind of matter was inappropriate for the younger generation to listen to, so they tactfully avoided it. Ding Xilai was choked with discomfort, and as if fire was nipping at his heels, he ran to find Sir Xiao and say, “Sir Xiao, I know why Xie Junming came to Shaolin now! It turns out that he’s interested in the Alliance Leader!”
Ye You, “…”
Wenren Heng, “…”
Ding Xilai spilled the beans, the whole story coming out with clinks and clatters. With some lingering fear, he said, “He left only when he heard that we were calling for other people. It was lucky that we were around, or else the consequences would’ve been inconceivable. Don’t you also think that he’s especially shameless! The Alliance Leader is old enough to be his dad!”
Ye You really couldn’t endure it anymore. He lifted the teacup to sip at the tea so as to hide his smile.
Ding Xilai said, “Don’t you think so, Sir Xiao?”
Ye You said, in deadly earnest, “It sounds truly terrible.”
“That’s exactly right!” Ding Xilai said, thinking deep down that he had done a great deed. He was about to boast some more before once again asking for the other to accept him when he saw that Qin Yuemian had come.
Qin Yuemian walked over and sat down. He said, laughing, “Why is it so lively?”
Ye You gave him a glance, coincidentally meeting his gaze directly. Understanding that there was some business, Ye You then told Ding Xilai that, with this matter happening now, the white piece would perhaps take this opportunity to comfort and approach the Alliance Leader. Hearing this, Ding Xilai was even more excited and ran off. Ye You then finally turned to look at Qin Yuemian once again and said, “If there’s something, just say it directly.”
Qin Yuemian looked at Wenren Heng in astonishment, with questions in his eyes.
Wenren Heng poured a cup of tea for him and said, especially amiably, “My thanks for taking care of my Junior Brother for the past while.”
Qin Yuemian, “…”
Why does he feel somewhat cold?
Ye You said, “What is it?”
Qin Yuemian took out a strip of paper to give him and said, “It was received today. It says that that troop of drugged men might have already started moving.”
 The Alliance Leader is surnamed Zhong (鐘), which is the word for clock.
 續絃 Old-timey word specifically used to describe a man remarrying after his wife has passed away.
So there’s actually a hint to the white piece’s identity in this chapter, and I was originally going to point it out, but after some consideration, I realized it might make things a bit too obvious, even if I do put it under a details cut. And since I’ve already spoiled myself, I have no idea if what I say now would be a nice little hint or a complete spoiler, so I decided to just refrain. See if you can spot it though!