Book 13: Chapter 12
Wang Muren – grand commander of the Qilin Guards and holder of the Baima title – was not only a legend but also the goal many wished to become. Most of the stories surrounding the exalted scion of Wang Clan were closer to myths than actual accounts of real events.
Wang Muren was credited with bringing the Qilin Guards back up to Liu Shan Men and Emperor’s Entourage’s levels. Despite him being considered inferior to Yan Shisan, Shen Yiren, more than anyone else, knew how powerful Liu Shan Men used to be; anyone who knew Liu Shan Men’s history well would know.
In an era where the man who was considered the closest to becoming the mightiest in all the land, Demon King Ximen, led the only faction that seemed powerful enough to topple the imperial court in the last century, Liu Shan Men was the only faction that didn’t back down against Demon Sect.
Liu Shan Men declined rapidly six years ago due to the loss of their three cornerstones – Shen Clan, which carried on Liu Shan Men’s authentic skills, Yan Shisan, who led them forward, and the twelve Divine Constables who were the main carries.
Liu Shan Men originally had what they called seventy-two Celestial Gates, where each captain of each Celestial Gate would lead three hundred constables each. These groups joined the Qilin Guards and immediately became the fifth strongest force – Qinglin (Cyan Scales), Chilin (Crimson Scales) and Feiyu (Flying Fish).
Liu Shan Men’s intelligence officers across Jiangnan’s north, Nanjiang, Beijiang and the Western Regions’ left for Emperor’s Entourage, making up 20% of Emperor’s Entourage’s agents.
Of the seventy-two Celestial Gate captains, twenty-six of them were immediately transferred to the five chief military commissions. Eight of them joined the Imperial Guards as commanders.
The Liu Shan Men trainees across the land converted to roving warriors, making up 30% of the imperial court’s freelance warriors.
A number of Liu Shan Men personnel retired from their job or followed their immediate superior to unknown places.
Even though many of Liu Shan Men’s branches were empty or left unattended owing to manpower shortages, Emperor Yuansheng didn’t let Qilin Guards take over those branches. If Qilin Guards needed new offices, he’d provide them with new places or land to build on. Clearly, Emperor Yuansheng still trusted Liu Shan Men. So, it shouldn’t be hard to imagine how much power he gave them during Shen Wuzheng’s time. In the same vein, it wasn’t hard to imagine the power Yan Shisan had when he was at the forefront of the war against Ximen Chuideng.
In spite of all that, Wang Muren clawed his way up and managed to stabilise Qilin Guards when their place on the board was constantly being reduced. When the time was ripe, he promptly snatched up Liu Shan Men’s resources to replace them as the imperial court’s strongest unit in the martial world. Without him, even if Liu Shan Men didn’t exist, Qilin Guards wouldn’t be what it was now.
Perhaps all of Wang Muren’s gifts were invested into his talents, resulting in his tolerance threshold being extremely low. He respected laws and regulations, but there was nobody he had qualms accosting. That was the reason nobody dared to make an enemy out of him. Had he not been protecting the border from foreign invaders, Liu Shan Men wouldn’t have had any space to breathe, let alone expand. Even with Emperor Yuansheng’s aid, it’d have been difficult for Liu Shan Men to rebuild for as long as he presiding over the capital.
“Grand Commander Wang… is coming back?” Shen Yiren blurted.
Ye Yu turned back to the fishes as he leisurely replied, “What would happen to the Qilin Guards’ reputation if they couldn’t squash the chaos in the capital? During the battle at Lawless Cliff, while Tianhu, Yingfeng and I were fighting, he didn’t lift a finger unless it was necessary; he behaved as though nobody was worthy of being his opponent.”
Shen Yiren smiled. “It is indisputable that few can measure up to Grand Commander Wang.”
“My foot. He has become the physical form of arrogance. He most certainly is strong, but he wasn’t invincible six years ago. Had he joined, though, I could’ve turned Ximen Chuideng to dust and avenged your father.” Ye Yu scoffed through his nose. “If he was there on that day, I wouldn’t have lost my legs to Ximen Chuideng, either.”
Ye Luo’s father was already famous across the land for his prowess from the erstwhile Emperor’s era. Ironically, he was equally as arrogant as Wang Muren in his younger days. If Shen Yiren was popular in the imperial court, then Wang Muren and Ye Yu, as the respective leaders of Qilin Guards and Emperor’s Entourage, were ultra popular.
Shen Yiren never judged Ye Yu his odd character the same way many others did for he was one of her father’s best friends. She remembered visiting Ye Yu’s home as a six year old, learning how to use hidden weapons, learning qinggong and how to ride horses from him; every time, her mother would feel an urge to grab a kitchen knife and pay him a visit. As a matter of fact, her excellent equestrian skills comparable that of equestrians in Beijiang was Ye Yu’s credit.
Following Shen Wuzheng’s passing, Ye Yu would lock himself at home and drown his woes in alcohol. Otherwise, he’d spend his time researching Demon Sect. During the battle at Lawless Cliff, he was the first to attack and the one who did the highest volume of work. Unfortunately, it was that battle that cost him his legs.
Shen Yiren believed Ye Yu was the last Tianhu. The current Tianhu was excessively young compared to others. Moreover, contrary to the current Tianhu, the previous Tianhu avoided public appearances. Six years ago, Tianhu’s whereabouts and actions were known to very few people.
Ye Yun wagged his hand. “Don’t give me that poignant look; save it for when I’m dead. You’re kind like your father, but kind people live short lives. I suggest you do something about that kindness as soon as you can. Nobody in the pugilistic world expects to age healthily. Ximen Chuideng is known to be protective of his people. If you think about it, I won considering I only lost two legs as a consequence for killing Wen Wudao. What happened to Ximen Chuideng in the end? He fell off Lawless Cliff. Is he happy?”
While some people would develop an inferiority complex over their “imperfect” body, Ye Yu had no issues talking about how he lost his legs.
“Wang Muren has improved a lot in recent years. None of the Beijiangers dare to challenge him nowadays. Given how arrogant he was before, I bet he doesn’t think he needs to personally bother at this point. He’ll send some minion over in his place.”