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Chapter 11 (Modified Version)

Princess Nihuang walked over gracefully, surrounded by an air of power. She walked straight to Mei Changsu and paid no mind to the many pairs of eyes on her. She smiled and said, “The warm hall is too stuffy, it does not suit someone from the battlefields like me. If Mr. Su does not object, would you join me for a walk along the corridor and see how the tournament below is progressing?”

Ignoring the fact that this was the famous Princess Nihuang, there would be no reason to refuse even if she were an average lady. So, Mei Changsu smiled and accepted. He quietly left instructions for Feiliu and accompanied the Princess, strolling towards the long corridor outside the warm hall.

Feiliu stood still with a cold expression, his eyes staring straight off into the distance. It was as if he turned into a statue. The other three gentlemen couldn’t exactly turn into statues like him, and stood conflicted at the stairway. Should they leave? But they were worried about Mei Changsu. Should they stay? But this was not a place where they may simply idle. While they were hesitating, Eunuch had walked over. He said, all smiles, “The Princess has kept him behind as a guest. What are my young masters worried about? Please rest in the tents below. It would be much too restrictive for you to stand here, no?”

His words were tactful, but his meaning was clear. There was no other choice. The three could only walk down the stairs. What surprised them was that even though Gao Zhan had always lived within the depths of the Royal Palace, he appeared to be very clear about Feiliu’s identity. Even though he chased away the three noble young men of high status, he paid no mind to this cold youth and allowed him to stand like a pole at the stairway.



Meanwhile, Mei Changsu had accompanied Princess Nihuang to the outer corridor. The two stood side by side and watched the lively combat upon the stage below.

“Mr. Su.” Light sparkled in Princess Nihuang’s eyes, which rested upon Mei Changsu. She asked, “I awaited your presence at the Manor of the Marquess of Ning yesterday, only to hear that we were unable to meet you as you were unwell. As I see you today, it seems that you have recovered?”

“Yes, I have recovered.” Mei Changsu answered without care. He did not have a hint of the awkwardness resulting from a false excuse being uncovered.

“I wanted to admire how Mr. Mei of East River would respond to the honour of recruitment from the Empress. A pity.” Princess Nihuang looked at him with greater interest. “Do you know how your predicament came to be?”

“Predicament?” Mei Changsu turned, “Do I have a predicament?”

“I can be certain that when you return to your tent in a little while, the Crown Prince and Prince Yu will go visit you immediately. Do you believe me?”

“I dare not pay disbelief to the words of Your Highness.”

“Don’t you find it strange?” Princess Nihuang’s gaze was like a sword, and her voice was full of pride. “Yes, you command over the world’s largest clan, and the talented name of Mr. Mei of East River is well known. Even so, you still remain a commoner. You should not be able to provide much assistance to the disputes of Court. Yet, why are the Crown Prince and Prince Yu so interested in you?”

Mei Changsu grimaced, “Honestly speaking, I find this very strange indeed. I am very mediocre, and gained some small fame only through the support of my comrades. I do not have any notable accomplishments to deserve such favour from the Princes. Since Your Highness is so insightful, I beg of you to speak with the two Princes. Please tell them that Mei Changsu is too useless to recruit.”

Princess Nihuang laughed brightly. She took a long look at Mei Changsu and followed his eyes into the distance. They gazed at the city resting in mist. After a long moment, she started slowly, “Your predicament…originates from Langya Hall…”

Langya Hall.

It seemed to be the name for a place, or perhaps the name of an organization. From another point of view, it should be more like a store. A store to do business.

The business procedure was as follows. You enter Langya Hall. You ask a question. The Hall Master quotes a price. If you accept this price, then pay. Langya Hall will give you the answer to your question.

There have been people who accused Langya Hall of being a scam, saying “If they cannot answer your question, then Langya Hall will quote an impossible price. Since you can’t pay, they will not need to answer. Isn’t that a scam?”

Even so, carriages lined up like long dragons at Langya Hall, and money flowed into the Hall like rivers. Everyone still believed that whatever you wished to know, you will receive a satisfying answer as long as you bring enough money into Langya Hall.

This authority had never been broken.

“My predicament originates from Langya Hall? What does that mean?” Mei Changsu turned his head and his expression flickered slightly.

“Do you know what comment Langya Hall has for you?”

“Yes,” answered Mei Changsu lightly, “The top rank in the List of Gentlemen. It’s just some fabrication”

“The few annual rankings provided by Langya Hall are free, but they are definitely not fabrications.” Princess Nihuang’s voice was clear. “The world’s ten greatest martial artists, the world’s ten greatest clans, the world’s ten wealthiest people, the world’s ten greatest gentlemen, and the world’s ten most beautiful ladies. Nobody with their name on these major lists is ordinary.”

The corner of Mei Changsu’s lips shifted, but he remained silent.

Nobody doubts these five major lists of rankings due to the mysterious and astonishing ability for Langya Hall to collect information. The East River Alliance sits at the top of the ten great clans, and the Chief is the top rank in the List of Gentlemen. Mei Changsu definitely cannot deny that he has an impressive name.

“However… The East River Alliance has been the top clan for years, and this is not the first year for you to be the top rank in the List of Gentlemen either.” Princess Nihuang chuckled softly, “The reason for the Crown Prince and Prince Yu’s unusual enthusiasm to recruit you recently is due to a new comment by Langya Hall.”

“What have they said now?” asked Mei Changsu with pain.

“The Crown Prince brought heavy rewards with him to Langya Hall, requesting a recommendation for a prodigy to help govern the world.” Princess Nihuang looked at him with sympathy, “You were unfortunately recommended.”

“He who does not hold a particular office should not plan its duties.” Mei Changsu responded coldly. “Governing the world is still the responsibility of the Emperor right now. What are the others thinking to worry about it in advance? Even if I really am a prodigy as Langya Hall states, shouldn’t I only be of use after the new Emperor ascends the throne?”

“Do you really think he wants a prodigy to help the empire? Still, there is no need now to go into what he asked. The answer from Langya Hall is really memorable.” Princess Nihuang spoke slowly, “As far as I know, the answer was thus: ‘Mr. Mei of East River, the qilin[1] prodigy. Obtain him to obtain the world.’”

———

[1] A mythical beast, “said to appear with the imminent arrival or passing of a sage or illustrious ruler. It is a good omen thought to occasion prosperity or serenity. It is often depicted with what looks like fire all over its body.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qilin


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