To the east of the capital was a flowing river. Before it reached the mountains, it gradually slowed and formed a pond whose surface was as tranquil as a mirror. Every night, many decorated boats floated across with their beautiful lights, making the pond look like a crystal palace.
The people all knew what went on in those boats, but the knowledge was passed around so much that no one really objected.
The Drunken Immortal Tavern was not the biggest of these brothel boats, but it was of the highest class. The boat was intricate and beautiful, with two elegantly-built levels. The most important aspect was that Si Lili, the most popular girl in the capital, was there.
Si Lili’s appearance spoke for its
elf. She was also quite talented, being able to play instruments and sing. While she didn’t really have many actual achievements, the many scholars in different capital cities had praised her enough for her to receive a reputation as a talented entertainer.
But that wasn’t the only reason for her sudden rise above other women of the same occupation. On a much grander level, there was a rumor that Lili’s family name was not actually Si, but Li, denoting royal lineage. Supposedly, this young woman was the remnant of the royal family which first founded this kingdom, but due to her ancestors’ committing a grave mistake, she ended up in her current state.
The ones who truly understood the royal family tree scoffed at such rumors, and the common people actually knew such rumors were false, but Si Lili never bothered to explain. If some people believed the rumor, then let them. It’s not like the emperor would care about the family name of a prostitute. That was an understandable thing to do, since her various clients would probably be quite delighted if they believed her to be a "distant relative" of the emperor.
She was the reason why the Drunken Immortal Tavern was so popular despite its high prices. The boat was rowdy every night, and countless people had willingly thrown away all their valuables in order to become one of Si Lili’s regulars. But today, something was different. The decorated boat was docked at shore, but the usual crowd of eager young nobles was not allowed to board. A few fierce-looking strongmen stood guard at the boarding plank. A fight would have erupted had the madam not come down to explain that the entire brothel had been rented out by someone for the day.
How much did it cost to rent out the whole place? As those young nobles left in a bad mood, they all secretly cursed the one who rented out the Drunken Immortal Tavern as a disgraceful and wasteful brat.
Fan Xian stared at the intricate pastries on the table as he drank high-class alcohol from a pair of delicate hands. He too felt he was being a disgrace to his family. The money had come from Count Sinan’s treasury. Although Fan Xian’s father was in charge of the Kingdom of Qing’s finances, the Fan treasury was but a measly one. It pained Fan Xian to think about the amount of money he had spent on this. Fan Xian was also restless from not knowing how his father would react once he learned official funds were used in this way.
What really made him restless, however, was the young woman in his arms.
Si Lili’s brows were sharp and shapely like willow leaves, while her dark pupils were lively and expressive. Her lips were colored red with lipstick and parted slightly, giving her a natural expression. Most enticing of all was her voluptuous figure. Sitting on Fan Xian’s lap, the lightest touch would put him in a slight daze.
Feeling the heartbeat of this pretty rich boy gradually getting faster, Si Lili snickered to herself. Having confirmed this young master from Fan manor was still new to such matters, she stopped teasing him and got off his lap. She poured some more alcohol, raised the cup to his lips, and drizzled it in.