Updated: Aug 29
Yan Yunsheng ceremonially bowed again, and introduced the young lady beside him, "Xing Bao Zhu, this is my dear sister Yan Yunxia. Yunxia, pay your respects."
The girl blushed slightly as she bowed, then said, "Yunxia is honored to meet Xing Bao Zhu. I have heard of Bao Zhu’s prestigious reputation. It is Yunxia’s great honor to meet you today.”
The corner of Xing BeiMing’s mouth raised a bit, “No need to be courteous, please have a seat. I heard your father, Master Yan, had passed due to an illness, my condolences for your loss."
Yan Yunsheng's expression immediately turned into anguish. Clasping his hands, he said, "Xing Bao Zhu, that you are willing to meet Yunsheng today, means you must have heard the rumors in Jiangju community. My father was still strong despite his advanced age. How could he suddenly die? In my heart, I know someone has harmed my father, but unfortunately...with no power and authority, I can’t even go near his body, making further investigation difficult...Bao Zhu, please help Yunsheng!”
After finishing his last words, overwhelmed by emotion, he knelt down on the ground and kowtowed. Yan Yunxia saw her brother kneel, and with tears in her eyes, she followed. "We beg Xing Bao Zhu, please help us, brother and sister!"
When Xing BeiMing saw this, his face showed a bit of compassion, and he raised his hand. The brother and sister felt a stream of energy, and within a blink, the siblings stood up from the floor! Yan Yunsheng was shocked. Xing BeiMing was indeed deserving of his reputation, for such an internal force was unfathomable!
"The two of you don’t need to be this way. No matter what, the late Master Yan was highly respected in the Jiangju community. If there is a chance that his death was due to unnatural causes, how can this Bao Zhu turn a blind eye! What do you have in mind?"
After Yan Yunsheng heard the remark, his excitement grew. "Bao Zhu, if you are present, that person will not dare to make any big moves. Allowing Yunsheng to investigate without barriers. As long as I can get close to my father's body, the culprit who harmed my father will emerge from the water! Yunsheng is going to capture him to bring comfort to my father’s spirit in the afterlife! "
Yan Yunsheng wiped his tears and took out an invitation from under his collar. “Bao Zhu, as long as we capture the murderer, Yunsheng is willing to be your buffalo and horse!"
Seventeen came forward to receive the invitation. Only then did the brother and sister of the Yan family finally see the attendant. At a glance, they just thought he was an ordinary guard. Now that they are closer, they realized he was not. Unlike common guards, this person brought chills to their bones. Yan Yunsheng had been with his father for many years, and had seen many characters. He understood that only people coming out of the stench of blood would have this aura. He dared not look more. However, Yan Yunxia didn’t have such knowledge. She looked curiously at Seventeen's features, but was faced with a pair of cold sharp eyes. So fierce, she felt a knife slash from the deadly gaze. Trembling, Yan Yunxia tightened her hold of her brother’s sleeves.
After the two left, Xing Bao Zhu took a look at the invitation and tapped on the table. "It seems like the coming days will not be boring ..."
Back at his residence, Xing BeiMing called Cheng Bo to the room and told him what to do during his absence from the Mansion. Afterward, he kept Ying Er to speak privately. "Ying Yi and Ying Shi Si, once return will head to Yanjiazhuang, Qizhou. Shadow Eleven and Shadow Twelve will be escorting. Everyone else will be on standby."
Ying Er acknowledged the instructions but quickly raised his head and asked, "Master, what is the role of Ying Shiqi?"
Xing Beiyi contemplated. "Forget it, let him stay behind at the Mansion this time. Currently, his role is my personal guard, so don't arrange any Shadow Guard tasks for him."
“Yes, Master, this subordinate will take my leave," Shadow Two, who already knew the response but still needed to ask, departed.
Xing BeiMing walked out of the study door and saw two servants carrying a bathtub, with Cheng Bo taking the lead, who saw Beizhen approaching. Cheng Bo hurriedly stopped, came over and said, “Master."
Xing BeiMing lifted his chin, “What is this?"
Cheng Bo quickly recounted the story. In short, a certain Shadow Guard felt hot and wanted to take a bath in the nearby river but was stopped by another Shadow Guard, who wanted to bring him back to Bai Mingju, which is the Shadow Guard's residence. On their way, they encountered the Steward, so Cheng Bo arranged for the bathtub to be delivered to the Master's quarters.
Cheng Bo bowed his head and said, "Master, currently, Ying Shiqi can't be soaked in cold water, so..."
Xing BeiMing indifferently said, "Very thoughtful of everyone. Carry it to the bedroom."
So Cheng Bo told the servants to take the bath barrel to the Master's bedroom. Shadow Seventeen watched silently as the two men greeted him then left. They don’t know who he was but probably thought of him as Master’s friend!
Ying Shiqi looked at the steaming bathwater in front of him and felt the clothes on his body begin to soak from the moisture. Finally, he couldn't help but remove his clothes and get into the water...unaccustomed to it, Seventeen frowned. Normally, all he needed was to just jump into the cold water for a bit, but…this is really comfortable ... Seventeen squinted his eyes, sinking his body down again, leaving just his eyes above the water surface.
Xing BeiMing’s eyes narrowed and stared at the top half of Seventeen’s head. A corner of his mouth evoked a sinister smirk, and casually said, "As a Shadow Guard, your awareness has fallen!"
Panicked, Ying Shiqi leapt from the water, grabbed the outer robe on the screen, and wrapped his wet body. His sharp eyes were directed at the person outside the door, when he realized it was Xing BeiMing, he immediately lowered his eyes, kneeling down: "Master."
His eyes were downcast. From soaked hair to the same soaked robe wrapped around his body, to feet that were barely covered, probably rarely exposed to the sun, far different than the exposed skin. Xing BeiMing’s eyes flashing with excitement, his gaze moved away from the body that looked abnormally seductive, and said, "Remove my clothes.”
Although he didn't understand what the master was going to do, Seventeen stood up and carefully removed Xing BeiMing’s belt, outer layer, and inner shirt. The Great Xing Bao Zhu settled himself in the tub, gallantly locked on the other person who was unsure where to look, and beckoned. "Come in."
Seventeen’s body froze. No matter how naive one may be, he still knows how highly inappropriate it is for a Shadow Guard and the Master to share a bath together! But such a command from the Master was still…still difficult to obey...
Xing BeiMing’s expression turned grim. He simply put his hand out, maintaining the posture as he waited for the other person to grasp, staring without blinking.
Clenching his fist, Seventeen discovered that this action had become more and more frequent. Before, the Master never had such strange thoughts in his head, but ever since...Seventeen eyed his stomach....Closing his eyes and then opening them, there were no emotions in his eyes. Avoiding the Master's hand, carefully he entered the water without touching the other’s body.
Xing BeiMing's right hand was imperceptibly rigid. He slowly placed it on the edge of the barrel. No emotions were seen on his face, but he pretended to stretch himself inadvertently.
Two large men squeezed in a bathtub would inevitably touch the other, their legs and feet had intertwined. Xing BeiMing’s stretch took up most of the space. Seventeen unavoidably bumped into the other's leg, while someone kept moving back and forth. Since childhood, Seventeen didn’t have much physical contact with people’s bodies. Blushing, he curled himself up.
This put Xing Bao Zhu in a good mood, gazing at the Shadow Guard who shrank into a lump. "Seventeen, this Master remembers that when you first joined the Shadow Guard division, you were still young, probably only reached the shoulder of Ying Yi. At that time, how old were you?"
Master still remembered? Seventeen recalled the situation at the time, when he was picked up by his elder brother who begged for the Master’s acceptance. The chilling expressionlessness of the youth’s face, said that if he could pass through the deep trap of the Shadow Guard Division, then he could stay. Back then, although he was still a youth himself, the cold appearance had not changed. At the time, Master was already the Lord of the Greatest Fortress, so many years have passed since...
"Master, this subordinate is the same age as you ..." This was only known after asking Ying Yi. As the head of the Shadow Guard Division, who followed the Master since the beginning, he knew a lot of things they didn't know.
"Oh?" Xing BeiMing was surprised. "This Master thought you were the youngest."
"Master, the youngest is Ying Ba." The order of the Shadow Guards depends on when they joined. Regardless of age, most Shadow Guards followed the Master when they were children, and by the time Seventeen joined, he was placed last, which caused a misunderstanding.
"So that’s why, it’s been years that I haven't seen Ying Ba..." Since being sent to the small country in Hanhai four years ago, there had been news, but he had not returned. Speaking of these, there were many countries around the Yan Kingdom. When the emperor pacified these small countries, then the Shadow Guards could return.
Seventeen shrank for a moment, finally summoning the courage and sitting upright. "Master…this subordinate finished bathing..."
Xing BeiMing returned from his contemplation, the eyes that locked on Seventeen felt strange. Sure enough, the next moment, Xing Bao Zhu's noble feet lifted and quickly but gently pressed on the lower abdomen of Seventeen. Internally satisfied by the other person’s need to yelp, but he wouldn’t dare make a sound. "Seventeen, this Master has found your courage growing more and more. This Xing Bao Zhu had not spoken, yet you opened your mouth first?"
Ying ShiYi quickly lowered his head. If he was not restrained gently by someone, he would have kneeled. "Master! I dare not! Please discipline this subordinate!"
Xing BeiMing chuckled, regrettably the person who was still bowing his head could not see the beautiful smile. "Okay then, how about I punish you to scrub my back, what do you think?"
Buffalo and Horse - A phrase for forever in indebted, as in slave.
Bai Mingju - Shadow Guard's residence
Ying Ba - Shadow Eight
Ying ShiYi - Shadow Seventeen
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the story and the characters. The original Author is GuiYu, who published the novel in Chinese. Unless otherwise indicated, all material on these pages is copyrighted.