Chapter 136 - Hero Ranking
Xie Lianzhen kept his promise. The name-list was sent to Lu Mingshu the next day.
The journey to the Jade West Mountain Forest was one of the conditions to cooperate with Nine Jade Palace. Not many disciples went - less than thirty.
The name-list that Xie Lianzhen sent had the personal details of every disciple.
Name, sex, age, place of birth, experience… it like a résumé. A name-list that told the life stories of the disciples who went.
After studying the name-list in detail, there was no one whose information seemed out of place.
The name-list was perfectly normal. Even the family history was written down, and there was nothing that seemed suspicious.
Since the name-list couldn't help much, she could only investigate it herself.
If Lu Mingshu could have a chance to talk to the disciples in-person, she might find some clues. However, Xie Lianzhen would never agree to that because it would be an invasion of the Seventh Truth Platform's privacy.
Xie Lianzhen gave her the Metro Star because he wanted to lend her a helping hand, not because he owed her anything. He could reject any request that was too unreasonable.
Let me figure it out myself. If I owe him too many favors, I'll have to return them all later.
"Junior Niece Lu," Tan Yubing knocked on her door, "We have to get going."
"Okay," Lu Mingshu folded the name-list and put it in her mustard seed pouch.
The Qilin Festival started tomorrow, and the participants had to gather at the meeting place.
The Qilin Festival wasn't held at Tianyun City, but to the north of Tianyun City, on the Greatest Morning Mountain - where the Seventh Truth Platform was located.
They left the hotel together. On the way, people were all staring at them and whispering.
Tan Yubing chuckled, "Junior Niece Lu, you're famous after your battles. All of them are looking at you!"
Her competing at the arenas every day wasn't a secret, and Lu Mingshu had no intention of hiding it from Tan Yubing anyway.
However, Lu Mingshu didn't look pleased with what she saw; "It's hard to tell if they're praising me or criticizing me."
Tan Yubing burst out laughing.
Indeed. Some were admiring her while some were talking nonsense about her. "A person who is full of knowledge is generally quiet, but one who only has partial knowledge makes a lot of unnecessary noise," or "A genuine successor disciple came here just to battle with commoners?" or "Can't she have some moderation? Let's see how she competes during the Qilin Festival."
She rarely even left the hotel, and yet word got around so quickly that even Yin Hong sent some people over to yell at Lu Mingshu.
Lu Mingshu was too lazy to give a damn. Whether she would be sold or not and for how much was out of Yin Hong's control anyway. Lu Mingshu still hadn't met the person who had the final say.
When they arrived at the plaza, both of them were shocked.
"So many people!" Tan Yubing gasped in surprise.
With the Kowloon Stage in the middle, this was the biggest plaza in Tianyun City. It could surely hold more than a million people.
The corner of the plaza was filled with different vehicles. There were ships that were as tall as ten people, shining golden ships, and pavilions on the backs of the spirit beasts.
Disciples from different sects could be seen going around making new friends, and servants were all busy helping settle the luggage.
"There should be around a thousand people here, right?" Tan Yubing muttered.
Lu Mingshu scanned around the plaza and did some mental calculation, "Our group has thirty-four people, and based on the vehicles, at least twenty clans are here for the festival. It's no doubt there's more than a thousand people."
The Qilin Festival was also known as the gathering of the best martial artists in China. If there wasn't at least a thousand people, then it wouldn't live up to its name.
"Hurry and follow!" somebody shouted.
Both of them got on the vehicle of their clan. When everyone boarded, the vehicle soared up to the sky.
More than ten vehicles soared up to the sky at the same time, making such a big bustle that the Tianyun City citizens rushed out to have a look at this marvelous scenery that only happened once in a blue moon.
The Seventh Truth Platform and Tianyun City were interdependent, and they each formed one side; thus, the venue for the Qilin Festival was at the Greatest Morning Mountain, where the Seventh Truth Platform was located.
The Greatest Morning Mountain stretched several hundreds of kilometers. It was mighty and gigantic, and one of its peaks was named Qilin Peak.
A few hundred years back, the king of Zhongzhou built a palace on Qilin Peak and invited the best of the different sects to a pageant. This became a tradition, known now as the Qilin Festival.
"Look! That's the Flying Immortal Palace!" Tan Yubing stood on the veranda, sighing in admiration as she pointed to the palace below them. "It's such a marvelous creation!"
Where Qilin Peak was located, there was a large river twisting around the peak, intertwining all around the mountain.
This type of terrain was strange. Near the top, the river formed a ring, and it continued spiraling down the mountain, cutting it into different sections, as if it was a man-made pathway around the peak. To make it even more beautiful, in between the ring at the top, there was a lone bit of mountain in the center.
And that's where the Flying Immortal Palace was located. Its steps were made out of white jade, and the roof was made of glazed ceramic. It was surrounded by trees, as if it was a heavenly temple.
The lone peak was slightly trimmed into a sort of rooftop. On the rooftop, there was a stone tablet standing tall and mighty, and names were carved on the stone tablet.
The Hero Ranking!
The Hero Ranking that had such a famous reputation in China.
Only the top ten of every Qilin Festival could leave their name on it.
The top ten stood for the top ten of the Spirit Realm.
The original Qilin Festival only allowed martial artists in the Spirit Realm to participate. As time passed, in order to encourage the younger generation, they allowed Harmonization Realm disciples to take part too. The Spirit Realms would be ranked in the Hero Ranking, while the Harmonization Realms were ranked in the New Generation Ranking. Members of the New Generation Ranking couldn't carve their names on the stone tablet, but they would still become famous.
"What about the Sky Ranking? Where's the Sky Ranking?" somebody asked excitedly.
The Sky Ranking, which was also known as the Grandmaster List, wasn't something from a competition.
As long as a Grandmaster emerged anywhere in China, their name would be carved on the Sky Ranking.
Lu Mingshu could remember clearly that, years ago when Zhou Yinru sent the divorce letter, her servant girl Rui Xiang said that, if Fu Shangqing hadn't been held back by her family, he would've been on the Sky Ranking already. What a joke. She sneered since she knew the truth.
Even though Fu Shangqing had some talent, it was impossible for him to be a Grandmaster. He probably couldn't even make the Hero Ranking, let alone the Sky Ranking. So what if he cultivated a bit quickly? Did he have any actual ability?
Everyone looked over to where the guy was pointing. The disciples all sighed in awe at what they saw.
A cliff was right beside the peak, and it had been cut to be as flat and as shiny as a mirror. It had flamboyant calligraphy on it, and each name belonged to someone well-known.
Lu Mingshu saw a familiar name on the cliff: Xiang Hongfei.
The pride of Nine Jade Palace. As long as one of their disciple's names was still engraved here, the Nine Jade Palace would never fall.
It was a pity that her master's name couldn't be here. Lu Mingshu still remembered that her master became crippled shortly after he entered the Spirit Realm. There was no doubt that his name would be carved on the Hero Ranking if he hadn't been crippled.
The vehicle descended toward the peak and stopped outside the palace.
This palace could hold so many that, even with a thousand people inside, there was still enough room to spare.
As Lu Mingshu settled down in her room, she heard a knock on her door; "Junior Sister Lu."
"Senior Brother Shao?"
It had been a long time since they met. Lu Mingshu was busy battling at the arenas while Shao Zhengyang was busy socializing. They were both caught up with their own things, so they couldn't meet each other.
Shao Zhengyang smiled warmly at her, "We're having a gathering, do you want to come?"
"Gathering?" Lu Mingshu furrowed her eyebrows.
Shao Zhengyang chuckled, "With the best genuine successor disciples of all the clans. They are interested in meeting you."
Chapter 137 - Rare Kindness
Greenery surrounded the area, hiding the pavilion among the trees.
Shao Zhengyang guided Lu Mingshu to a courtyard.
"You've constantly been going to the arenas these past few days, so I didn't inform you earlier because I didn't want to disturb you."
Lu Mingshu nodded in response.
Being used to Lu Mingshu's quietness, Shao Zhengyang continued, "Junior Sister Lu, your situation right now is tricky, and they might be able to help you get through it."
Only then did Lu Mingshu finally reply, "Thank you, Senior Brother Shao."
Shao Zhengyang nodded, "I was afraid you'd think I'm a busybody."
As soon as he finished, both of them stepped into the courtyard.
"I'm so bored. I'm so bored!" a young man sighed as he was sprawled on the table. He tapped his teacup with some chopsticks. Suddenly, Shao Zhengyang entered with Lu Mingshu. The young man realized how unsophisticated he looked and abruptly stood up, knocking the teacup over and spilling tea all over himself.
"I'm so sorry. Welcome in," he apologized profusely while trying to clean himself up. He jumped up in pain as he accidentally knocked into the table.
Lu Mingshu bit her lips to control her laughter. They hadn't even said anything yet and this guy was already putting on a one-man show.
"Hahahaha!" laughter could be heard from the stairs as a few people walked down.
"Aiyo, Little Brother Qi, thanks for sacrificing your image to lighten up the mood! I appreciate your sacrifice!" Yue Lingyin joked.
Kou Wei fanned himself, "That's because he has admired Miss Lu for too long. His image is nothing compared to her smile!" he added.
"Senior Brother, why are you spouting nonsense?" Qi Sheng turned red as a beetroot. He looked over to Lu Mingshu, and after seeing that she was smiling, he suddenly couldn't feel any pain.
"Why are you smiling like an idiot?" Yue Lingyin pinched him and turned toward Lu Mingshu. "Hello, Miss Lu, I am Yue Lingyin from the Amethyst Phoenix Pavilion, and I have been looking forward to meeting you for a long time."
Lu Mingshu bowed in return, "I have been looking forward to meeting Miss Yue for a long time too."
Yue Lingyin got into the top ten in the last Qilin Festival. She had only just entered the Harmonization Realm back then, so she was rather famous.
Similar to Lu Mingshu, she became famous because of a competition. The difference was that Yue Lingyin competed with the best of the best, and she had only just entered the Harmonization Realm when she achieved it. She could be considered the best martial artist in the Harmonization Realm.
On the other hand, the Heavenly Door competition was just an internal competition of Nine Jade Palace, so the results obviously weren't as valuable as the Qilin Festival. Lu Mingshu's result could only prove that she was above average, not that she was the best.
"I'm Kou Wei," Kou Wei introduced himself in a refined manner, then pointed to Qi Sheng, "As for this idiot over here, he's Qi Sheng, my junior brother."
Lu Mingshu bowed politely.
Kou Wei - he didn't need much introduction. Any disciple in the same generation as him would know his name.
To Lu Mingshu, Yue Lingyin was already considered part of a higher social class. As for Kou Wei coming to meet her, it was like he was lowering his own class.
"This is Lan Ruoyun, and that's Zhu Hanguang."
One by one, she was introduced to all the people who were present.
The gathering today had fewer people than their other gatherings. Since everyone only just reached the Flying Immortal Palace, not everyone was free to come over. Those who came were Kou Wei's close friends.
"Miss Lu, how's your injury?" as soon as Kou Wei sat down, he asked her this. So, they really have been watching me for a long time.
"I'm okay. It's an external injury, so it will heal fast."
Kou Wei nodded, "The Qilin Festival is going to be very intense, so please take good care of yourself. Even minor injuries may hinder your performance."
"Thank you for your concern."
Kou Wei chuckled, "Spare the politeness. I'm way older than you, so feel free to call me Senior Brother the way Yue Lingyin does."
Lu Mingshu paused for a while. She wasn't too aware of how each clan operated, but she knew that the Amethyst Phoenix Pavilion and the Heavenly Sea Pavilion had close ties, so it was perfectly reasonable for Yue Lingyin to address Kou Wei as Senior Brother. For Mingshu to do it was a bit much.
Ever since she entered Nine Jade Palace, nobody had treated her with so much kindness, and moreover, Kou Wei was just a stranger to her! Being used to keeping a distance from people, Lu Mingshu felt awkward at Kou Wei's kindness.
Shao Zhengyang nudged her and smiled, "Junior Sister Lu, Senior Brother Kou is very friendly, don't be so reserved."
He changed how he addressed Kou Wei from Brother Kou to Senior Brother Kou. It was a good chance for him to pull their relationship closer.
Kou Wei smiled warmly at her, "It's okay. We will become closer as time passes."
After the conventional greetings, Qi Sheng couldn't contain his curiosity anymore, "Miss Lu, how can you tell the recipe of a medicine just by tasting it, could you please teach me?"
Lu Mingshu smiled in reply.
Yue Lingyin pulled Qi Sheng's ear, "You idiot. Who asks such a question, huh? What do you expect her to say?"
"Hey! Senior Sister Yue…."
"It's okay," Lu Mingshu shook her head. "I can't answer anyway."
"Can't answer?" Qi Sheng raised his eyebrows. "So, it's a natural talent?"
Qi Sheng pouted, "Haish, a natural gift. I'm jealous. Why do I not have such a gift?"
It could be considered a natural talent, right? I've lived with the Heavenly Wheel for such a long time now….
A girl called Lan Ruoyun asked her another question, "Miss Lu, I heard about your competition at the rune-carving shop. Is it true that talismans can be used to fight?"
"Of course," Lu Mingshu replied. "I'm not the one who came up with it; some rune-carvers of the past used talismans to fight back when humans were fighting the barbarians. The technique was no longer passed down when rune carving waned after the war."
"Really?" Lan Ruoyun's eyes brightened up in excitement. "I am researching rune-carving, but I have never seen any written account about that. May I know where Miss Lu found this information?"
"Some ancient books have records on it. For example,
Lan Ruoyun sighed in awe and admiration, "Miss Lu is extremely knowledgeable. I still have so much to learn."
Lu Mingshu learned about talisman fighting from some random ancient book that Lan Ruoyun hadn't even heard of. Even if she had heard about it, she never paid much attention to those books. This Lu Mingshu is younger than me, yet she's so good in so many areas. Wow!
But Lan Ruoyun was unaware that Lu Mingshu had the Heavenly Wheel. With that, she had much more time to read compared to others. On top of that, during her childhood, she rarely left Green Jade Valley. She spent all her free time reading since there wasn't much for her to do. She finished all the books in the Heavenly Ascension Pavilion as well as various books she exchanged for in the Heavenly Wheel. She may not be comparable to the best disciples of the clans in other ways, but knowledge-wise, even a Confucian scholar may lose to her.
"Miss Lu, what about your fight with Yu Kuang…?" after she answered Lan Ruoyun's question, another question popped out.
The gathering was in high spirits as they chatted until the sky darkened. They unwillingly prepared to leave.
Before she left, Kou Wei called her, "About Xie Lianzhen… may I know what your plans are?"
Chapter 138 - Boots
They only just met, and it was inappropriate to ask such question.
However, the Qilin Festival was tomorrow, so there wasn't much time left.
Kou Wei looked at her with worry, "I know it's rude, but please tell me if you need any help."
Lu Mingshu was flabbergasted. However, she calmed herself within no time and gave Kou Wei a stiff smile, "Thank you very much for your concern, Senior Brother Kou."
Finally, her "Senior Brother Kou" didn't sound awkward.
It was funny how she had been in Nine Jade Palace for so long, yet the first person to really care for her like a brother was an outsider.
"We aren't related to each other in any way, so I wouldn't have a say in your matter, but disrupting it would be possible. You could approach me or Junior Brother Qi. As long as you give the word, we will try to help."
Lu Mingshu stared blankly at him. Does he really mean that?
"Erm, Senior Brother?" Qi Sheng, who was standing beside them, turned as red as a beetroot, "This is…"
Kou Wei laughed out loud. "Of course… the queen's your elder. If you plan to refuse, you'll need a good enough reason."
Lu Mingshu kept quiet for a moment before bowing to him, "Thanks for your help, but I do not think I'm currently at that stage yet."
Kou Wei nodded, "It's good that you're aware of what you're doing."
Kou Wei turned around to leave, but he was stopped in his tracks by Qi Sheng, "Senior Brother!"
Kou Wei turned and saw that Qi Sheng was rooted to the ground, and he laughed, "What are you doing now?"
Qi Sheng hemmed and hawed. He didn't know how to start, but he was unwilling to give up on the matter.
"Isn't it obvious that she's stubborn?" Kou Wei sighed.
"I know! But…" Qi Sheng muttered, "Isn't it better to help her? If we help her, she wouldn't need to go through so much trouble!"
Kou Wei had thought that Qi Sheng was just fascinated by Lu Mingshu's talent, but listening to Qi Sheng now, he realized that it was infatuation. He has just started with his puberty. Kou Wei straightened his face.
"Junior Brother Qi."
Qi Sheng, who never cared about formality, got a shock.
Seeing Qi Sheng's reaction, Kou Wei felt like laughing, but it wasn't an appropriate time.
"She should make her own decision, and you should change your mindset," he sighed.
"What for?" Qi sheng pouted. "I'm just trying to help."
"You should only help if she wants you to," Kou Wei looked at him sternly. "I don't give a damn about your crush on her. I just want to remind you that, no matter what you want to do - court her or just notice her in silence - never interfere in her business when she is unwilling. You won't help her that way, you'll just make things worse."
As soon as she got back to her room, a disciple came saying that Elder An was calling for her.
"Senior Uncle An."
An Tongchen sat by the window, looking at the river below. "You've already heard about it, huh?" He didn't even turn around to look at her.
"Does Senior Uncle mean the queen?"
An Tongchen turned to face her. She's calm. He heaved a sigh of relief. "Xie Lianzhen is the queen's son."
This information was so sudden that Lu Mingshu just stood rooted to the ground, not knowing what to say.
No wonder Tan Yubing said they had a special relationship. She initially figured they were relatives, but they were way closer than she thought.
"Senior Uncle An…" Lu Mingshu hesitated. She was lost on what to do.
"A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity. It dares to do all things and crushes down remorselessly against all that stands in its path. I am sure you are clear of this. Moreover, she owes this child of hers too much," An Tongchen sighed. "I have sent people to gather information about this, and I found out that the queen already has her eyes on you. The only way to solve this is for her to agree."
Lu Mingshu kept quiet.
"I heard that you went to meet Kou Wei?" An Tongchen changed the subject.
"The Heavenly Sea Pavilion could get a say."
Lu Mingshu looked up at him, raising her eyebrows.
An Tongchen looked down and sighed, "Sometimes, you will have to give in temporarily. Giving in temporarily doesn't mean that you will be stepped on for your entire life, it's just to help you get through one difficult part of your life if you're powerless."
Lu Mingshu didn't get it at first, but she recalled what the Grand Elder said; "The strongest ones will break and the most powerful will be humiliated, just do your best."
Lu Mingshu suddenly saw red.
She shut her eyes to calm herself down for a moment, "Senior Uncle An, isn't Xie Lianzhen's father… the king of Zhongzhou?"
An Tongchen shook his head, "The queen remarried to the king."
No wonder. No wonder she "owes this child of hers too much."
"Senior Uncle, if I hadn't come to Zhongzhou, what do you think the result would be?"
An Tongchen looked at her in surprise.
"I know that the queen's initial target was Ling Wuxia, but she didn't come. What about the others?"
An Tongchen bit his lips as he was sent into deep thought, "I know that she would prefer something over nothing."
Lu Mingshu nodded, "I got it. Thanks, Senior Uncle, I'll excuse myself."
An Tongchen looked at her leave, but when Lu Mingshu reached the door, she turned back abruptly, "Senior Uncle An, maybe some other people can give in, but I can't. When you give in once, there will be a second time, and it'll never end until, maybe one day, I would never be able to lift my head up again."
She bowed to him and left.
An Tongchen sat down in silence and muttered to himself, "Senior Brother Liu, I always thought you were the most stubborn thing I had ever seen, but your disciple is even more stubborn."
Lu Mingshu pushed opened her room door. She was still steaming about what happened.
She sat down in silence to calm herself down, and she saw something out of the corner of her eye.
That's weird. All her belongings were in the mustard seed pouch, so why was there a package on the table? Who left it here?
She went to open the package, and what was inside took her aback.
It was a pair of boots - boots made out of hide. They were tanned until they were soft and glossy, and the stitches were fine, but they looked like the tailor was new to this.
She grabbed the pair of boots and rushed out.
"Ah!" Lu Mingshu accidentally bumped into Tan Yubing, who was walking to her room.
"Senior Aunt Tan!" Lu Mingshu grabbed her shoulders in panic, "Did anyone come over to my room?"
"Yeah!" Seeing her in this state, Tan Yubing was at a loss. "I was just about to come and tell you that somebody sent you something, and I placed it on your table."
"A servant girl." Knowing what she was going to ask next, Tan Yubing added on, "Just an ordinary servant girl around here. There's nothing special about her. Wait, what happened? Is there something wrong with the package?"
"Where did she go? And when did she leave?" Lu Mingshu didn't answer any of her questions; she didn't have time to explain.
"She went that direction. Eh? Where are you going?"
Lu Mingshu ran out without hesitation.
When she rushed out, she was at a loss. The whole palace was filled with servant girls with the same clothing and same hair style.
"Junior Niece Lu?" Tan Yubing followed, "What happened?"
Lu Mingshu hugged the boots tightly and shook her head, "Nothing."
At a secluded area in the palace, a servant girl bowed, "I have delivered it."
"Okay. Were there any questions?"
"Your servant didn't meet her, Miss Lu wasn't around."
"Very well, you may leave. Never speak anything about this and pretend it never happen."
After the servant girl left, somebody else came out and left.
Chapter 139 - Opening Ceremony
Lu Mingshu went back to her room, hugging the boots tightly.
"This hide is not bad, I'll keep it to make you a pair of shoes." That's what he once told her.
However, the hide had to be processed first, and it couldn't be done in a day. Time was tight back then, so she never got it.
She never expected that she would receive a pair of boots made out of hide five years later.
Was it Yan Wugui who gave the package to the servant girl? Other than him, there's no one else who would do this.
Lu Mingshu stared blankly at the boots, and there was a strange sensation in her heart.
Memories were always beautiful with time. Those short two weeks with him now seemed warm to Lu Mingshu.
If he knew I'm in Zhongzhou, why didn't he come to meet me? Is it that his identity cannot be known?
She felt something bulging out slightly from the boots on her fingertips. Lu Mingshu slowly took out a paper ball from the boots.
Safe and sound, do not worry.
She looked at these six words. It must be Yan Wugui then. He knew that I was looking for him, so he sent someone over to deliver a message. Is it because he doesn't want me to continue looking for him? Or is it that he really can't meet me? Doesn't that mean I troubled him when I mentioned him to the Alioth Star Lord?
Lu Mingshu bit her lips and tore the paper into pieces.
Since she didn't know about Yan Wugui's situation, the best thing to do was nothing.
When Lu Mingshu woke up the next day, the Flying Immortal Palace looked totally different.
In one night, the main palace was filled with a colorful canopy. Rare flowers, colorful lanterns, and spiritual birds decorated the Flying Immortal Palace. The spiritual birds made it look like the palace came out of a fairy tale.
The younger disciples were in high spirits. They ran around, and their laughter filled the place, bringing it to life. It was hard to witness such a scene elsewhere.
When the sun had risen up, it shone on the Flying Immortal Palace, making the palace shine brightly. A long bell followed the sunrise.
Everyone from Nine Jade Palace gathered at the courtyard. Upon hearing the bell, the chaperone Kang Tian stood up, "Let's get going."
The peak was packed like sardines in a can as more than a thousand disciples from each sect went up with their leaders and elders.
Even though it was packed, everyone was behaving in an orderly manner.
When the bell stopped, everyone stopped as well.
A ray of red light shone down on the peak in the direction of the main palace. The red light shot down onto the rooftop. Mist covered the rooftop, and the light disappeared. When the mist dispersed, there was a woman in a purple gown.
"Dear ladies and gentlemen, I'm Xiahou Shan."
Xiahou Shan was dressed fancily in a pretty evening gown, and she wore a pearl crown on her head, giving off an aura that she was wealthy but earnest.
She slowly prepared herself before she started her speech, "The gathering of heroes - the Qilin Festival. I'm here representing the king and queen. We are sincerely thankful for your participation……"
While Xiahou Shan was making her opening speech, Tan Yubing nudged Lu Mingshu.
"Look - the barbarians," she whispered.
Lu Mingshu looked over. The barbarians were further away from the sects. They were all dressed in capes, and they had horns on their heads. It was a totally different style compared to the rest of the area.
"That's weird; why did they invite the barbarians to the Qilin Festival?" Tan Yubing commented softly. "Are they competing with us too? I heard that they are unaware of what etiquette is, and they are hot-tempered. What if they suddenly go on a killing spree?"
Something struck Lu Mingshu's mind, "Wait, they don't stay at the hotel, do they?"
"Nope, they don't."
The barbarians arrived at Tianyun City at the same time as them, and they even got into a conflict with them. After that, Tan Yubing had no idea where they were arranged to stay.
"Since that's case, Zhongzhou should have taken precautions. Anyway, we have so many elders in the Spirit Realm here. If they really want to fight, our elders will most likely win, right?"
Tan Yubing pondered for a while and laughed, "I have too many groundless fears."
While they were chatting, Xiahou Shan had finished her speech, and there were fireworks.
Among the fireworks, there was a red cloud surging the palace. It stopped on top of the rooftop, dispersed, and turned into specks of mystic lights like pearls floating in the starry night sky that surrounded a couple who slowly descended to the rooftop.
Everybody's eyes were on them.
"Wow!" Lu Mingshu heard some younger disciples gasp in awe.
The guy wore a king's robe and had a crown on his head. There was no doubt that he was the king of Zhongzhou. To most people's surprise, he only looked about thirty, which was way younger than his actual age. Rather than having the look of a serious tyrant, he looked like a young martial artist who only cared about learning more to upgrade himself and nothing else that happened in this world.
As for the woman, she was simply… beautiful. Even that word couldn't perfectly describe how good-looking she was. She had a babyface and eyes which shone brightly like stars. Her eyebrows were arched perfectly to match with her red lips. It was as if her face was made by magic. Even the fancy dress she was wearing couldn't compare with her face. She was beautiful just with her bare face.
Now Lu Mingshu knew who Xie Lianzhen took after. With such a beautiful mother, it was hard to grow up to be ugly.
Lu Mingshu was so starstruck by the queen that she didn't hear a single word that the king said.
The queen's appearance was totally different from her strong character. She was smiling throughout and looked absolutely gentle, like the perfect wife and mother, always cooperating with her husband and smiling all the time.
After the king made his speech, both of them settled themselves, and the opening ceremony began.
Delicacies and fine foods were sent up to the tables consecutively, and a performance had started, lightening the mood.
Younger disciples were all in a good mood. None of them enjoyed the boring speech, but the current festivities lightened up their spirits.
Lu Mingshu was distracted, so she didn't pay attention to a single delicacy that was sent up.
Seeing that she had her eyes on the main palace, Shao Zhengyang smiled, "Does Junior Sister Lu also think that the king is easy-going? I wouldn't know that he's in the Assimilation Realm if it wasn't mentioned."
Lu Mingshu nodded her head absent-mindedly. "Ah, sure…."
Suddenly a familiar figure entered her eyesight; "Who's that?"
"The one talking to the queen."
Shao Zhengyang looked over in that direction. "Oh, that's State Master Jia Yan. She's the daughter of the king of Yijun - the brother of the king of Zhongzhou."
No wonder she addressed Xie Lianzhen as cousin, but not by blood.
Shao Zhengyang seemed to be interested in the topic, since he continued on, "The royal family doesn't have many people. The king of Zhongzhou only has one brother, and the king of Yijun only has a daughter. Counting the prince, they only have two for the next generation. The king of Yijun has been trying to find a son-in-law, but this State Master is too spoiled, so it's hard to find one."
Of course she's spoiled, Lu Mingshu thought. She came to harass me because of such a small thing. Looking at how she treats Xie Lianzhen, maybe she's interested in him? Wow. Their family is so messed up.
"And that's the prince."
Lu Mingshu looked over in the direction where Shao Zhengyang was pointing. A teenager was chatting happily with the queen, and both of them had smiles on their faces. The queen looked at him lovingly and adjusted the crown for him.
Mingshu then looked over to where the Seventh Truth Platform was seated.
As one of the Big Dipper Seven Star Lords, Xie Lianzhen was right in front, which made him easily spotted.
His clothing was formal today. He was dressed in dark blue, which made his pale skin stand out more. He seemed to be too absorbed in the performance on stage to even spare a glance toward the main palace.
Lu Mingshu's heart squeezed upon seeing this scene.
They were a family, and yet he wasn't related to them… just like her in the Nine Jade Palace.