“I believe our forces in the open will double once we enter Nanjiang, and our chain of commands will be more detailed. After all, we will have money to hire guards once we finish the trade. In turn, our cover will be more convincing.”
The wager made with Sima Huai was cemented the night before, but they decided to meet up around noon to discuss the details since the escort headed out prior to setting anything in stone. Catching up to them wasnt going to challenge Sima Huais hare feet, so it was no big deal.
Holding Ming Feizhens handbook for Emperor Yuansheng in her left hand, Shen Yiren ran her right index finger along a map. Dugu and A-Lan, liaising with Shen Yiren in the carriage, engaged in a strategy meeting for before and after entering Nanjiang. Dugu was called on for his experience as the head of the intelligence division and in light of him holding the highest rank. A-Lans familiarity with Nanjiang meant she was someone they should consult.
Grumpy Emperor Yuansheng had a sulk after Shen Yiren took Ming Feizhens guide and then played checkers with Lai Jingzhen to kill time. Since Lai Jingzhen was easy mode, Abels was summoned in to admire Emperor Yuanshengs profound checkers prowess.
Long Zaitian, having recovered, took over as Emperor Yuanshengs coach and, once again, shouted, “Miss Shen, I have called you multiple times.”
Shen Yiren gestured for those in the carriage to hit pause on their meeting and ground her teeth: “Thats Maam Ming to you.”
“Yes, Maam Ming.” Long Zaitian could swear he felt a cold draft down his neck.
“What is the point of profiling us if you are not going to adhere to them Hero Li is respecting the profiles, yet you think youre special”
“In my humble opinion, it would be wise to think of a way to win the wager. You have not mentioned it since it was decided. What if we lose”
“Its just a wage, for crying out loud. So what if we win or lose Seeing as you have so much free time, how about using your heads” Shen Yiren shook her head, then resumed her strategy meeting.
Long Zaitian returned to his riding duty and didnt pester them again.
Long Zaitian: Why does she not seem to care Sima Huai is faster than Abels… Wait a second. Theyre Ming Feizhens juniors! Even if Sima Huai does win, its no different to her winning! Shes blinded by personal feelings! Its all because of Ming Plague!
“Yiren is blinded by personal feelings. Its all because of Ming Plague!”
Hearing someone verbalise what he was thinking, Long Zaitian turned over to Song Ou, who also turned over, and launched a kick at the latter. “Why the hell did you turn over this way when I didnt say squat! You almost planted a kiss on me, you freak!”
Song Ou dodged Long Zaitians kick, then locked eyes with the latter again. “So you know what Im thinking.”
Long Zaitian unleashed another kick: “Why are you so damn gay!”
“What bullcrap is this now! Im talking about Ming Feizhen and his juniors!”
For the first time in his life, Long Zaitian didnt see Song Ou as a bug - though Song Ou didnt reciprocate the sentiment. They say the enemy of my enemy is my ally. The two of them had been at each others necks for years over one woman, yet some plague showed up out of the blue and won her over.
Dragon-Bird Alliance established 4th March, Yuanshengs 31st Year.
“Maam Ming told us to take matters into our hands, which proves that she doesnt care for it. We cant let some outsider boss us around. This dragons brothers are not someone elses errand boys. Hero Li and Maam Ming can tell us what to do, but no snotty-nosed brat is going to tell this dragon what to do. We must win this wager.” Long Zaitian dropped his head and leaned toward Song Ou. “What do you think, Brother Dalang.”
Song Ou pinched his chin. “In my opinion, wait, why am I Dalang! Why am I the cuck!”
“Maam Ming just stressed the importance of staying in character. Do you object Hero Li expects this much. I cant give you special treatment.”
“… Fine! Ill bear with it… In any event, Yir-”
“Come on. Respect the rules. Yi what Maam Ming. Else, you can call her Sister-in-law.”
“I just wont refer to her, all right! I was trying to say that we have to win this wager. We need to fool Sima Huai to win.”
“I agree. Catch fish once theyre in the net. Scatter rice to lure chickens in and smash them.”
“What are you An idiom dictionary How about saying something pertinent”
The corners Long Zaitians lips curved upwards after their discussion: “… Lets do that. I refuse to believe he has wings.”
“I look forward to seeing his reaction.”
The dragon and bird: “Hahaha.”
“Can you two shut up!” Emperor Yuansheng thundered. “You two can toil for the next three months without a salary…”
Sima Huai and Tianfeng Xuanyuan showed up punctually. While Sima Huai was his usual blithe self, Tianfeng Xuanyuan looked as pale as a man who had gone days without food.
Sima Huai requested, “We have arrived as promise. Miss Shen, please tell us how you would like to compete.”
Long Zaitian suddenly cut in line: “Miss Sh-, Maam Ming will not need to deign herself. You dont need a broadsword to butcher a chicken.”
“Yeah, Sister-in-law doesnt need to bother with you,” Song Ou added.
“Maam Ming Sister-in-law” Sima Huai repeated in confusion. “And who might you two be”
“We are the ones responsible for determining the nature of the wager and its rules. Maam Ming has personally given her approval.”
Shen Yiren nodded: “I did say they could take care of it.”
Despite finding out Shen Yiren was Maam Ming, Sima Huai didnt care to ask when she was married. “In that case, may I ask for your names”
“The surname is Long. His surname is Niao. Our team is called…”
Only the breeze reacted. Emperor Yuansheng scribbled onto a sheet of paper and passed it to the duo. It read, “If you dont disband, Ill have your heads and shoulders disband.”
Dragon-Bird Alliance disbanded at noon, 4th March, Yuanshengs 31st Year.
Dragon-Bird Alliance - “Dragon” comes from “Long” in Long Zaitian. “Bird” comes from “Niao” in “Song Niao”, also known as “Brother B******”. Song Ou is his real name in case were creating any confusion here.
Brother Dalang - Reference to Wu Dalang, the elder brother of Wu Song, who Pan Jinlian put a green hat on if you have forgotten from the previous volume.-