Liu Shan Men and the Three Swordsmen
“You three ready? Hmm… Not bad!”
Shen Yiren looked at the Su Xiao, Tang Ye, and I standing at the front of the desk in our full gear and said: “Good, good. You three can represent Liu Shan Men looking like this.”
I stole a look at the two punks beside me.
Tang Ye wore a purple robe with his collar up. His torso looked wide, but his lower body looked narrow, however he still managed to maintain a narrow waist. He looked like a true hero wearing the constable uniform. Every time he moved, he looked masculine. That’s a man with horseshoe triceps for you…
Su Xiao looked just as good. He wore a different uniform. He was dressed in blue and white. The colour scheme helped mask his narrow body. Thanks to his pretty face, people were bound to think of him as a beautiful *cough* trap *cough* swordsman.
As for me… I’m not sure if the person who grabbed my uniform did it on purpose or not but I got handed the uniform a gate guard would wear. Yes, I’m talking about the dress-up Yan Xiaoliu* wore in ‘Wulin Waizhuan’!! They’re obviously messing with me!! They’re giving me the role of an irrelevant NPC!
I voiced my objection: “I look lame!”
Shen Yiren looked at me helplessly and said: “Whatever, we don’t have that much clothing available. Just deal with it.”
Aren't I the face of Liu Shan Men?!
“I held the recruitment exams to find new-blood. I believe you’re all aware that his majesty wants to start asking us to carry out duties again, so I want to earn an opportunity to show our prowess in front of him, and I’ve placed my hope in you three.” Shen Yiren pulled her hair over her shoulder after she said that. Now that was feminine, although still a far cry from her brother “Miss Kuang… ”
"From now on, you three will be my colleagues. Introduce yourselves again, so that you get to know each other. Tang Ye, you go first.”
"I’m Tang Ye, my courtesy name is Yan Ling. I’m eighteen this year. I come from Yan Jing. I’m a student of the Tang family in the Ming Jing Palace in the Northern Seas, and I’ve also studied martial arts under more than ten masters.”
“Indeed, you do use a variety of styles. Ming Jing Palace of the North Eastern Seas is one of the powerhouses of the martial world up North. You mentioned the Tang family… Are you perhaps related to the late Ming Jing swordsman Tang Nuan?”
“Tang Nuan is my father.”
Tang Ye's face was expressionless, but his tone got more serious as he continued: “I learnt martial arts from him. The others only taught me a few techniques, I never completed any formal ceremonies with them, so you could say that I don’t have a master.”
Respecting your masters and teachers is a very important concept in the martial word, particularly when discussing which sect one is a student of. It influences businesses, marriages and even your travels. At Liu Shan Men, knowing your subordinates background and standings was important, as it could cause messes otherwise. For example, you can’t send a Shaolin monk to Shaolin to investigate if they embezzled donations or scammed people, and the same applies for Wudang. Subsequently, the first thing Shen Yiren wanted to find out about was our backgrounds.
“I’m Su Xiao, written with the Su character from in Su Zhou, and Xiao with character for ‘know’. My courtesy name is Xiao Han.” Su Xiao was very scholastic and didn’t have any hints of being someone in the pugilistic world. He continued: “I’m from Nan Jing, and I’m sixteen this year. My broadsword techniques were passed down to me from my family.”
Shen Yiren gave him a nod and called him by his courtesy name to show intimacy: “Xiao Han, your family is a prominent martial arts style in Nan Jing, so your sword skills aren’t simple. Make sure you train hard after joining us, understood?”
Su Xiao turned red and said: “Understood! I won’t let you down.”
The fact that Su Xiao even got accepted flabbergasts me, because to be honest, there are lots of people who have better martial arts skills than him out there. He doesn’t even have one-tenth of Tang Ye’s skills, yet he’s among the three selected. I can’t figure out what Shen Yiren’s thinking.
Shen Yiren glared at me and said: “What the hell are you looking at? It’s your turn.”
I’ll bet she’s giving me her attitude because she couldn’t get my shiyi to stay. I mean, she originally didn’t want me. “Ahem. I’m Ming Feizhen. I’m twenty-eight and from Nan Jing. My master is uhh… Daluo…Yeah…”
“Say it properly. Who’s your master, what style do you use and what sect are you from? You said you’re twenty-eight… And you don’t have a courtesy name?”
It's written Feizhen for god's sake! I can't tell you my name…
I bit the bullet and said: “I’m a twenty-seventh generation disciple from Mount Daluo. My master is… Priest Wu Shan. I don’t have a courtesy name.”
Priest Wu Shan is actually my shishu who’s got a disease, but it shouldn’t be a problem for me to use his name. First, he’s unaware I’m using his name, and even if he does find out, he’s too busy finding a cure up in the mountains to bother with something else. I shouldn’t run into him in the next decade…
To my surprise, Shen Yiren nodded: “Not bad. Since you’re gugu is a high rank member, you should be too.” But after some pondering, she said: “Hold on. Doesn’t Mount Daluo have a twenty-eighth generation of disciples? You’re saying you’re from the same class as the famous swordsman Lian Zhui Yue Jian?”
He’s my sixth brother** in the sect…
“I never thought you’d have such a high level of seniority. Good, that’s good.”
I don't know what Shen Yiren was recording but it looks like she was recording what we said.
“Now, weapons. You three are to use sabres.”
This incurred the rejection of both Su Xiao and Tang Ye.
“I use my bare hands.”
“I use broadswords.”
“Give them to me then.”
I’ll go sell them off for money.
Unfortunately, Miss Shen had to go and destroy our dreams: “Don’t back talk me. You’re members of Liu Shan Men starting today. You may not have official posts, but you’re still considered half-an-official. You can’t just change the rules as you please.”
Miss Shen is very domineering and persuasive when she handles business, but she’s different to how she acted before. She’s not as violent and more patient.
“Alright, one last thing. I want to know what your goals are. Men should work for their country. Women may hold up half the sky***, but I can’t let my subordinates be cowards. Am I clear?”
She sure knows how to say unexpected things and shock people… Miss Shen didn’t care about these things. She pointed at Su Xiao’s nose and said: “Alright, you three take turns in telling me what your goals are.”
*For your visual reference:
**As in seniority not actual blood brothers
***A proclamation by Mao Zedong