"Have we run into the real Zhong Ming?" Su Xiao mouthed, not forgetting to pinch me. "This is what happens when you choose to role play antagonists. Of all the people you could choose, you choose the descendant of a scumbag. How are you going to slip your way out of this now?!"
Real Zhong Ming my good-smelling foot! I made up the name. Even if Zhong Hualiu really is Zhong Ning's old man and the king of brothels in the kingdom, there's no way his son is Zhong Ming and around my age, surely.
"We didn't run into the real Zhong Ming. They ran into the real Zhong Ming, fool," I rebuked.
Yeah, look stunned, kiddo. That's what I thought.
Zhong Ming was already a celebrity name in the pugilistic world because I met Wudang, Mount Lu Sword Sanctuary, Wutong Jin Yuxuan and Jiujiang's Great Spear Sect - not to mention all the witnesses that night. Hell as if I knew why the piglet chose the name Zhong Ming.
"May I ask what your names are?" sincerely queried the piglet, paying more attention to Su Xiao than me.
"Pfftkeke, my name is Su Xiao."
Maybe Su Xiao was going through puberty, or maybe it was thanks to the internal style I imparted to him that his physique started to change. He was a tad taller, but he also appeared thinner. Maybe the more developed muscles could be attributed to the fact that he spent more time meditating and performing breath work bestowed him with more recovery time compared to when he was always swinging his sabre around. He wasn't growing bulky, but his skin was paper thin. Don't ask me why his skin improved when I taught him the same thing I learnt, yet didn't see the same results.
I thought you had a crush on Huofeng. Why are you suddenly drooling over Su Xiao? The hell, son?!
"Brother Su Xiao is this one's sworn brother. This one's last name is Ming. It is an honour to meet you," I stated, blocking off the piglet's view.
The piglet backed off as if I was some human-monster hybrid that made his skin crawl; however, he maintained his courteous air: "A pleasure to make your acquaintance."
"This one is merely a wanderer in the pugilistic world and happened to drop by Canhu Town. He interrupted your scuffle for he thought it would not be auspicious if blood was shed right at the start of a new year. Please forgive him if he affronted you in any capacity."
I made it a point to not address him as "Young Master Ming", and he played along.
"Not at all. With your skills, it was within your rights to intervene. The pugilistic world's policy is survival of the strongest. We attacked when we believed we could win, but you defeated Elder Chen; it is only fair for us to fall back. All is fair. All is fair, hahaha."
I had to respect him from being able to move on and not hold grudges even if there was nothing else about him to praise.
"You certainly are a gentleman. Might this one be able to ask what prompted this fight?"
"Heh, you two must be here for the same reason as me. Luo Sword Manor forgot to send me an invitation which is why I came all the way here to see how skilled these adepts are. I did not expect this."
Mate, they invited weapon wielders, not adepts. Besides, Huofeng would've murdered you if she projectile spat saliva at you. What business do you have testing any adept?
He must be trying to sneak into the event just as we are but have resorted to banditry due to them not having any alternative method. It's not an honourable tactic, but I can't deny it could work.
"Hehehe, please do not take offence with me for not being honourable as almost half of the people in this town are also people without invitations. What do you think they came all the way here for now? There are sixteen days until the convention, and I can guarantee there will be an abundance of bloodshed before it even begins. I am only making a pre-emptive strike."
That explains why I felt a number of people monitored us as soon as we set foot in the town. Guess we also needed to be wary of the growing number of competitors.
I wasn't done speaking, but three adepts closed in outside, alarming Wutong Jin Yuxuan's group - minus Huofeng because of her combat prowess.
The three were direct disciples of the orthodox sect, Celestial Capital Sect. I could understand why the piglet had no issues with Chen Wanyun losing if he had the support of numerous big orthodox sects.
I almost burst out laughing when I heard what one of the adepts whispered to the piglet and planned to leverage the news against them to pry information out. Howbeit, the next thing I heard killed my desire to grin. Actually, I would have to help put a lid on it for him!
"What?! My wife, Hong Xing, got with another man?!"
You worried the world doesn't find out?!
"I'm supposed to marry her tomorrow, yet she's having a tryst with a servant and eloped?! That's the ninth one this year! I'm going to capture the wench!"
It was our privilege to witness green leaves growing out of the fake Zhong Ming's head.
"Please excuse me, but my wife has caught the cold."
"We understand. We understand."
We heard everything, you moron!
"We have seen innumerous doctors, yet nobody has been able to help. I am worried sick."
"It's okay. It's okay."
"So, I must head back to her."
"Please do not let us keep you."
Once he was on his horse, the piglet gave us a cupped-fist salute: "May we meet again."
"Safe travels, Hero." The piglet left Chen Wanyun around and took off as if his house caught fire.
Wutong Jin Yuxuan's group sat down to nurse their injuries.
"What a weirdo," remarked Su Xiao, turning back to me. "Big Brother Ming, why do you look so pale?"
"I-I'm good," I responded, wagging my hand.
The following is what I heard the adepts whisper to the piglet: "The ma'am you fell for has eloped with a servant. What should we do… Your Highness?"
Besides Emperor Yuansheng's elder brother, the only Princes in the kingdom were his sons. There was no way the piglet was the elder brother. Based on his behaviour, I could swear on my life that he was Emperor Yuansheng's fourth son, the one they call Prince Cuck - Green Prince!