“So,” Lung Ma sat back in his chair, clasped his hands over his belly and asked, “any likely prospects coming up in this year’s provincial tournament?”
His business associate, Tchau Pu, poured their wine before answering, “Semi-long term ones; a pair of brothers still under age.”
“You’ll have to take the long term there,” agreed Lung. “Put them into a cage fight before they’re eighteen and the authorities would be down on you before you could turn around. How did you find them?”
“Their gi teacher owes me money. He’s no judge of a cage battle but he keeps putting down cash with my bookies.” Tchau smirked, “You could say I’ve enough of his markers to make him hurt.”
“Enough to make him hand over his best students to you?” Lung grimaced. “That is a lot of markers.”
“Actually,” Tchau sipped his wine, “he came to me about them. Wu Tang’s people have been sniffing around, their mother’s a recent widow and my man sees me as the lesser evil.”
“He’s right there,” acknowledged Lung.
“So, the boys stay out of the flesh-peddler’s hands, I get a couple of cage fighters or enforcers, and the third brother…”
“Is the best of them all. Worth sponsoring their teacher says.” Tchau smiled broadly.
“Legitimacy?” Lung smiled back.
“Real respect,” corrected Tchau.
This is followed by A First Class Train Trip From Kwailong To Bao Shung.