Conversation Between a Monarch and a Servant (Part 2)
The emperor looked at Shen Yiren who raised her angry looking face high like a swan silently the way a benevolent father looks at his stubborn daughter.
Shen Yiren's father was the emperor's childhood friend. They were together all the time from when they were kids into adulthood. The Shen family has always headed Liu Shan Men. Had it not been for the unparalled genius Yan Shisan and his insanity and absurdness, the leader of Liu Shan Men would probably still be someone from the Shen family. That said, Shen Yiren's father was still the vice-captain. He controlled the martial world from within Liu Shan Men for the emperor. He accomplished many things for the emperor.
In the end he died at the hand of disciples from the Demon Sect while carrying out a secret mission. The emperor felt guilty towards the Shen family for these things.
He also felt pity and hurt for the stubborn girl.
Shen Yiren has no feelings for Song Ou. However, the Song family are a prevalent family in the martial world. Song Ou's father possessed significant military strength, so the Song family had a good deal of power. At that point in time, Liu Shan Men's skilled men were leaving one after the other. Shen Yiren's parents both passed away, so she sacrificed herself voluntarily. A beautiful and bright girl took the initiative to marry into the Song family. The proud, men-hating Shen Yiren decided to marry into the Song household for the future of Liu Shan Men.
Shen Yiren's lifetime dream is to become the captain of Liu Shan Men. After Yan Shisan left, the person most qualified to take the mantle was Shen Yiren. However, for his family's sake, he insisted that his son needed to be captain for him to be at ease. Shen Yiren agreed to it so as to not lose the support of the Song family. But behind her strong front, she wept many times over it.
The emperor was aware of all that, but he didn't have any right to stop it.
Yes, not even the emperor could have his way with everything in the world. During the time Liu Shan Men lost power, the emperor's entourage did all they could to fulfill their roles and serve, so should they be rewarded or not? The Qilin Guards shed much blood in their battles to suppress the influence and power of the evil sects. All their victories came at the cost of much bloodshed on their side, so shouldn't they be rewarded? He can't just promote Liu Shan Men citing friendship as the reason.
But he should be able to at least give them a chance as the emperor, right? The emperor is well-aware of Shen Yiren's efforts and how she's held the fort all these years. The emperor suddenly remembered her father after seeing her stubbornly prostrating herself before him. Her father behaved the same way as her back then when they had differing opinions and her father was insistent on his.
Emperor Yuan Sheng finally came to a decision after he was done thinking.
"To be able to have a daughter like this, Brother Shen did not live a life in vain."
The emperor gave Shen Yiren a nod and softly said: "The rankings for Liu Shan's Elite Rankings will be re-ranked at the imperial martial arts tournament. I gave you this chance, so it's yours, and nobody can take it away from you."
Shen Yiren's eyes started to tear up but she held it in, and while choking on her tears said: "Th-thank you, your majesty!"
The Qilin Guards have attempted to prevent Liu Shan Men's participation in the martial arts tournament before. The emperor's entourage have also tried to stop them. Even the Orange Prince has come and threatened to remove them from it. There wasn't a single particular reason for trying to prevent them. They all had their own reasons, but Liu Shan Men has faced many hurdles over it. However, with the emperor's word, Shen Yiren could finally let go of that burden.
"Do your best to prepare for the tournament. As for the Orange Prince, I'll tell him to keep his mouth shut. He won't dare to harass you."
"Understood, your majesty!"
The emperor then sighed and said: "We're done with business talk, so won't you sit and keep me company for a while?"
"I know you like to keep business matters and places strictly business, but there are no outsiders here, so won't you call me uncle?"
The word uncle brought back many memories when she was a kid for Shen Yiren. The tears she held back finally surfaced and she whispered: "Uncle… I've let you down."
The emperor helped her up and as soon as she raised her head up to look, she found the emperor's eyes were unsurprisingly brimming with tears too. The emperor who was the biggest authority in the entire country just moments ago had returned to being the endearing uncle she knew as a child: "Silly child… Why must you insist on separating yourself from your uncle as a monarch and his retainers? Aren't I your family? Come on, get up. Am I a stranger to you now that we haven't seen each other for a few months?"
Shen Yiren felt the warmth in her heart, the same kind felt by a lonely child with no one to rely on finally finding his father. She could finally put down the responsibilities as the vice-captain of Liu Shan Men and confide with someone close like a normal family member.
The emperor pulled her to her seat and brought up many interesting things in the past, making time feel like it was flying by. The workaholic, Shen Yiren looked at the sky and started to worry as to when the emperor would leave. She thought to herself: When will he leave? I still need to work.
The emperor was really getting into it as he spoke and had no plans to leave. However, they had pretty much talked about all there was to talk about with regards to her childhood days. Since Shen Yiren didn't speak, he thought of a new topic. "Oh, that's right. What's the name of the young man that passed out in the flower garden before…?"
Shen Yiren returned to her senses and said: "Ming Feizhen! He was the one who solved this case. He doesn't have any special skills, but certainly likes to mess around." Shen Yiren probably recalled the things Ming Feizhen did to tease and mock the Orange Prince, and couldn't help but laugh.
"It seems like I can't compare to him. I tried to get you to smile, but you wouldn't smile once, and yet now you're laughing as soon as I brought him up."
Shen Yiren continued laughing as she replied: "Don't tease me, uncle. Ming Feizhen just joined Liu Shan Men and there are a lot of rules and regulations he's not yet familiar with, thereby often doing laughable things. He's usually messy and unreliable, but he's very familiar with the pugilistic world and is also quite the smart one."
"He's smart? Heeh~"
Emperor Yuan Sheng laughed without saying anything. He's smart? More like slippery and sly.
He knew that he'd offend the Orange Prince if he were to hand me the book directly, which would cause Liu Shan Men to become public enemy. That's why he chose that round-about method to hand me the book without being detected and settled the chaos at the scene. Two birds with one stone. But it seems like he got poisoned by the piece of gold he touched…
The emperor felt a little guilty recalling his swollen face that was purple. That must've been due to the venom becoming active.
"Judging by his face, I think he got poisoned quite heavily. Is he alright?"
"I still don't know." Shen Yiren wiped the corner of her eyes which were yet to dry. She cried for a bit, but quickly returned to being her usual self. Shen Yiren is Shen Yiren after all. She wouldn't dwell in silence and weakness for long.
"I asked three highly-skilled doctors to take a look at him and then came to see you, so I don't know how he is yet."
The emperor laughed and said: "He's an interesting fella. His act completely shut Cheng'er (the Orange Prince) down. He really knows how to cause trouble."
Shen Yiren laughed and said: "That's just how he is. He looks like an absolute mess, but when there's a problem, he's always got a solution."
"Haha. Let's go. Come with me to pay him a visit. I have something to say to him."