“Where shall I start…” Luo Ming caressed Yujings blade, gaze softening with each passing second. “How about from thirty years ago When I made my debut in the pugilistic world, I started with purging several unorthodox sects hideouts. I was in high spirits as I raised the fame of Luo Sword Manor in the martial world. One day, I happened to capture a reckless brat from the imperial family by chance.”
Shen Yiren couldnt resist a smile. “I have also heard the story of you capturing His Majesty when he trespassed into Luo Sword Manor. I still find it hilarious every time I recall it.”
“The character I want to focus on, however, is the one accompanying him, a skinny kid by the name of Shen Wuzheng.”
Shen Yirens smile vanished instantly. “My father”
Luo Ming adopted a smile reminiscent of an elder singing the praises of a younger man. “How much do you remember about your father”
Notwithstanding the time that had past, Shen Yirens memories of her generous and modest father were still as vivid as ever. Even his friendly voice never left her memories. Her mother used to tell her not to fight with boys, yet her mother would scold her if she lost a fight. In the end, shed go crying to her father, and her father would persuade her mother to let it go.
Dad, Mom… If only I could find out who killed you…
“Dont look like that. Looks like you remember quite a bit.”
“How can a child forget what their parents did for them”
“You may know him as a father, but you could never imagine how hard he is to get off your back.” Luo Ming cracked a nostalgic smile. “I didnt buy any of the nonsense His Majesty peddled when I caught him. In contrast to him, his helper was scared out of his wits. Although the young man dressed as a page was lanky, he wasnt weak or willing to resort to shady tactics. I was going to let him have the first three moves, yet he objected, insisting on honouring the rules of duels in the martial arts community.
“I fought him fair and square as he requested. He shouldve been easy for me to overwhelm given how many years I had on him, yet he survived a hundred exchanges and only lost due to one wrong judgement. Had he not made the wrong call, we wouldve been going for longer. Hes one gentleman I can never forget.
“Your father never lost spirit due to the defeat. While your father wasnt one to sweat the small stuff, it didnt mean he was oblivious or overlooked the small stuff. During his sojourn at my place, he picked up on the circumstances between Yujing and I.”
Shen Yiren acknowledged she recognised Luo Mings wife with a nod.
“Even though we were childhood friends, I couldnt make any promises to her because I was afraid Id let down my seniors if I married a girl from a clan without prestige. Your father discerned the conundrum from observing our reserved interactions. When he came to me with a sword, I assumed he was seeking a rematch. I didnt plan to heckle them from trespassing as I admired your father, so I told him,Youre quite good. You just lack experience. I know your style now, so I can floor you in under thirty exchanges. Youre welcome to try if youre not convinced.
“Your father smiled and replied,There is no reason to badger you when I lost fair and square. All I am here for is to ask for a drink.
“He dropped and rolled across the ground to Yujing, then thrust his sword toward her throat. I never expected such an honest gentleman to go for my wife. Luckily, I dismantled that technique in our match already, so I knew how to react. I single flowered the first thrust, but I couldnt evade the second variation; I could only shield Yujing with my body. Right as I arrived at the doors of death, your father burst out in laughter.
“Shielding another with her body, trading your life for hers, is there a love more precious than that Patriarch Luo, will I get an invitation to your wedding
“I looked behind me to see tears flowing down Yujings red face. Needless to say, I cast aside all of my previous doubts. No matter how intolerant and harsh I may be, I couldnt let them remain captives underground after your father did me such a big favour, could I
“It wasnt until later that I learnt His Majestys true identity. Before we knew it, we were close enough for me to share my familys opposition to our marriage. Your father dragged His Majesty to my place so that His Majesty could propose our marriage. His Majesty managed toconvince my elders to accept Yujing and me.”
Shen Yiren always knew her father had a keen eye for detail and a brain that could make use of that information, but this was news - comical and amusing news - to her.
“More impressive than your fathers knack for martial arts is his character. Yan Shisan could mobilise ten thousand men when he called for them. Nevertheless, only your father could convince the martial arts community to join his cause from the bottom of their hearts in a single breath.”
Despite being his daughter, Shen Yiren didnt know her father had so much sway.
“Be it friends or enemies, they respected your father alike. If I had to call out a flaw, itd be that he was too nice and gullible. Liu Shan Men would still be enjoying the highest glory if he was still around.”
“I am determined to avenge my father. Sadly, I still have not been able to identify the culprit…”
Luo Ming looked over to Shen Yiren. “Dont trust anyone. You are the expert at investigation. Though I pale in comparison to the worlds greatest constable in that department, you can trust this advice from me: when it comes to your fathers case, trust no one. If youve truly measured what result your fathers passing had on the martial world or if you truly understand your fathers standing in His Majestys mind, you would understand why I said what I said.”-