Chapter 64 – Assassin Lesson #1: Pretending to be Stupid
Early morning, Sacred Heart Institute.
“Speaking of which, the Wing Chun Fist fighting style is really suitable for girls. Let me tell you, when I first started learning it, it only took me around a day to learn it all.” Standing by the shore of the man-made lake, Shasha boasted proudly, “I’ll execute a set for you to see first, so you can slowly… Eh, since Lingjing and I are teaching you, you will definitely learn it quickly.”
Patting Kaoru on the shoulder, Shasha smiled in encouragement and then got into position, “Watch me carefully.”
Shasha had practiced this style for a few years, so she was very familiar with the three forms: ‘Siu Nim Tau’ (Little Idea), ‘Chum Kiu’ (Seeking Bridge) and ‘Biu Ji’ (Thrusting Fingers). Jiaming and Lingjing had gone out to buy breakfast, leaving Shasha, who had volunteered to teach Kaoru martial arts, behind. After she finished one complete set of forms, she proudly turned back to look at Kaoru.
“This is the Wing Chun style. The first time you only need to watch so that you have a general idea of how it works. Father Ye originally taught me the forms like this as well. Then afterwards, you can put it into practice, and then by repeating it multiple times, you'll fully learn it. I gotta say though; this fighting style looks silly and doesn't look elegant like Taekwondo. It also doesn't look very powerful but it's very useful when separated into different parts. It depends on how you good you are at adapting it to the situation. Even that dummy Jiaming can perform all the forms, but he doesn't know how to put them to use. Ok, you should first learn the forms, then increase the speed of the movements and apply them to the wooden dummy. When you're competing with someone, the most important thing is speed…”
Shasha complained about Jiaming's inability to adapt while speaking about her understanding of the fighting style of Wing Chun. However, she ended up somewhat stunned. She barely finished talking when the expressionless Japanese beauty who stood next to her started practicing the forms. Shasha even said, “Oh, you remember some of it?” but soon became speechless, as Kaoru completed all the forms even though she had only seen them once.
“Did… did you learn this before?”
“I haven't,” The beauty said calmly. It was obvious from her demeanor that she was treating this like it any other usual daily task.
“Then how did you… One time! You only saw it once!” Shasha felt the pride at her genius was collapsing. At that point, Lingjing and Jiaming had returned with soy milk and meat buns for breakfast. Jiaming was smiling brilliantly at Shasha and praised, “Wow Shasha, you're incredible! Such a short time and you've already taught her the Wing Chun style. I feel that it won't be long before father Ye asks you to help him teach other students!”
“Oh, that… Hahaha, of course. But Kaoru's talent is incredible as well, haha…”
Shasha decided to take it as it is and grinned brilliantly. Lingjing smiled in response and passed the breakfast over, “You really are amazing, also… Kaoru, here, your breakfast.”
The four of them sat at the pavilion by the lake and watched the many members of the martial arts club do their morning exercises. They were sprinting at their fastest speeds, clearing obstacles and fighting each other. The truth was that when they saw Shasha teaching Kaoru the fighting style, they had been watching them derisively, because they considered the Wing Chun style a woman’s fighting style and not something they would learn. To them, styles such as Jeet Kun Do, Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, and other fierce fighting styles were the ones that should be learnt because it would allow them to take out an opponent quickly. As for Tai Chi, that was something that only old people would be interested in.
When they saw Jiaming appear, the club members looked at him with either anger or disdain. They still considered his win against Lu Jianchuan and Han Gangcheng a result of Jiaming’s luck and clumsiness. Even though his escape skills were good, if they were to fight seriously, all the martial arts club members were confident that they would be able to defeat him. Especially since they had already seen what happened with Han Gangcheng. If they were to fight him again, they would definitely not be complacent and make the same mistakes.
Both sides looked at each other, but did not make any moves despite their mutual dislike. After they finished breakfast, the four of them returned back to the classroom area, and after Lingjing and Shasha left them to go to their classrooms, Jiaming said calmly, “Next time when you learn something, pretend to be dumber.”
“Pretend… to be dumb?” Kaoru’s expression did not really change, but a hint of doubt appeared in her tone, as if she did not know how to be stupid. The two of them were just about to turn around the corner of the building, and seeing that nobody was around, Jiaming stopped and turned towards her, “I know that it might be difficult for you, but let me tell you, being able to put up a pretense is an important skill. You know what, since the Tsukichi clan’s stupid training has already turned you into a block of wood, currently what we need to do is to thoroughly change that. Everytime I look at you, and I want to teach you something, I feel like giving up, because the basics are… do you even know how to smile?”
A second passed, and then another, and then the perfectly sculpted porcelain doll’s face warped into something akin to a melted doll. Jiaming laughed bitterly, reached out and patted her cheeks twice before stretching them out. “Do you call that a smile? That expression is even more horrible than Sadako from The Ring. Let me tell you, a smile should be like this… You need to squint your eyes a bit… The corners of your mouth turns up a bit… I’m not requesting you to show any teeth right now, but you should at least include some dimples… Uh… Forget it, just go back to your usual face. This is why I’m saying that I want to give up. You only know how to be blunt and direct…”
His hands fiddled around with her perfect expressionless doll cheeks before finally giving up and turning to return to the classroom. Kaoru followed behind him with her head lowered, seemingly pondering about the meaning of his previous actions.
The first class of the day was self-study. When Jiaming saw Kaoru immersed into looking through her drawer for something, he grudgingly handed over his pencil case. She retrieved a ruler and then nodded with a quick “Thanks”, while Jiaming rolled his eyes at her and started talking.
“You do know the deal about Peroka, right?”
Kaoru nodded her head and quietly said, “Peroka is the world’s largest organization of assassins.”
“Then do you understand what it means to be an assassin?” Jiaming glanced at her and did not expect a response, seeming like he had been talking to himself before continuing, “Hitmen are different from ninjas. It seems that a ninja is also an assassin, but that is due to the training. Ninjas conceal themselves and then carry out the assassination, but to a hitman, as long as the target dies, any method is acceptable. You consider Peroka an enemy, and you want to become an excellent assassin, so the most important thing is to learn how you change and conduct yourself through the art of deceit.
“The art of deceit covers a broad range of domains, and you've probably learned some basics. Of course, there are some cold-faced assassins like you, but this type of assassin would never become a first-rate one. An assassin that is truly difficult to deal with should be able to become anyone, at any time and any place. If we take you as an example, if you had good disguise skills, you could become an 80 year-old granny, an 18 year-old teenager, a 28 year-old prostitute, a 38 year-old successful woman, 48 years-old or even 58 years-old… But if you keep this blank-faced look, you're finished. Instead of training a disciple that would end up being easily killed, I might as well kill you now.
“When killing, a ninja would use an all-out method, but hitmen are different. At any point in time, one has to have an escape route and leave some leeway. If you could complete a task with three parts of your ability, you are absolutely not allowed to apply four parts, as that one extra part is to always be kept as a reserve card to play. Thus, what you should do is maintain your dead expressionless face, but at the same time secretly learn to smile and cry. You should give everyone the impression that 'Tsukichi Kaoru’ is a doll, but secretly you should be able to become anyone you wish. Only by doing this would you be able to withstand Peroka’s onslaught. Mmm, ok, starting from today, you should learn to be stupid. If the girls teach you more fighting styles and you end up showing that you’ve learned it after watching it only once like today, I will kick you!”
Having finished what he needed to say, Jiaming slumped down on the table and started sleeping. When the class finally started, the noise and bustle in the room woke him up. He looked up and saw Dongfang Wan and Huang Haobing both standing on the podium. They made two announcements.
First, the school’s basketball game would be held after National Day and would, as usually, be hosted early in the year, just after school commenced. This event was a good opportunity for the students in the lower grades to mingle with the students in the higher grades. In this class, Huang Haobing was one of the people to take the lead as he was naturally good at basketball and came from a good family background.
Second, the school’s associations had been looking for new people to join their group and Dongfang Wan wanted to establish a new social club. She wanted to hear suggestions from everyone, and the students all eagerly put forth their opinions.
Jiaming, however, was not interested in this kind of thing and attempted to continue sleeping by laying on his desk. He idly thought back to a few days ago when Shasha had mentioned that she wanted to establish her own club — one that did not need to have a lot of members. She mostly wanted to have a club with Jiaming, Lingjing and herself, so that if the three of them were usually seen together, it would not rouse other people’s suspicion or criticism. However, there was a school rule that establishing a club needed a minimum of five people. That natural airheaded Tsukichi Kaoru could be included, but then trying to find the last person would be rather difficult, and also, what kind of name could they come up with for this club that was to be ultimately used as a cover for them?
Gu Jiaming’s Harem?
Ye Lingjing’s Harem Study Club?
Queen Shasha’s Private Space?
Hahaha… coming up with a good name was such a mind-racking matter…
Additional info on Wing Chun forms - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wing_Chun#Forms_and_San_Sik
1/2 chapters (next release is May 11).