"Big Brother Xiao!" shouted Miao Yi as he ran over.
At first, Huo Lingxiao wanted to transmit a message over to Miao Yi and tell him not to come over. However, he was afraid that the ripples of transcendence energy from it would fail to escape the scrutiny of the lady before him. In the end, he decided to try his luck.
Yet, Miao Yi didn’t give him any face at all. He actually leaped atop the waves and landed on his ship. Huo Lingxiao was utterly lost for words.
Outside the curtained pavilion, two incomparably handsome men stepped up and stuck their arms out, stopping Miao Yi and barring him from entering.
"Who are you!?"
"I am looking for my Big Brother." Miao Yi replied while pointing at the silhouette behind the white curtain.
Miao Yi’s boat already changed course and was heading over. Miao Yi had ordered his men to wait on the boat, but Luo Shuangfei couldn’t resist leaping over to stand beside Miao Yi. He poked his head around trying to get a good view of the inner reaches of the ship.
The sound of the flute came to a stop, the lady resting on Huo Lingxiao’s thighs lazily opened her eyes and gave a command, "Stand down!"
The two men that stopped Miao Yi immediately responded, and retreated behind the screen, where a group of musicians were seated alongside their instruments.
Miao Yi walked over and lifted his hand to pull open the cascading white curtain. As he entered, he couldn’t help being startled when he saw the lady on the couch.
The lady had just gotten up from Huo Lingxiao’s body, her lush, black hair leaving his thighs. Her lips were a luscious red; her eyes intelligent, yet seductive; while her flawless face carried an air of nobility. Her half-bare, snow-white bosoms bounced as she moved her perfectly rounded slender thighs, and touched the ground with her bare feet. It was a sight that would make any person’s face flush red to their ears. The slit on her long gown was really just over the tip of her groin.
Her long gown draped over her tall, voluptuous figure as she slowly walked forward, dragging it along the ground as she went. Her long tresses cascaded down to her waist, fluttering freely in the wind. The corner of her lips arced into a smile, which she leisurely threw at the dazed Miao Yi as she invited him in.
This lady wasn’t exactly peerless beauty—she wouldn’t be able compete with Fairy Hong Chen in terms of looks. However, the unique air she exuded together with her seductive attire, was enough to instantly send Miao Yi into a daze.
Luo Shuangfei stared at the lady, then shot a glance at Miao Yi. He couldn’t help pursing his lips as he gazed upon him mockingly. However, he was afraid Miao Yi would ask him to leave, so he didn’t dare run his mouth.
With furrowed brows, Huo Lingxiao got down from the couch as well. Regaining his senses, Miao Yi hastily entered and cupped his fists towards him, "Big Brother. I didn’t expect to run into you here."
"What are you doing here?" asked Huo Lingxiao with his brows creased.
"I just so happen to have a matter to attend to around these parts. This is… ?" Miao Yi felt a little uncertain when he looked at that lady. He thought—‘Isn’t Meng Lan the one Xiao Yizhu is wooing? But I clearly saw this woman lying on his lap earlier. How could they do something like this if they are in a normal relationship?’
Huo Lingxiao was worrying about how he should introduce this lady.
She abruptly took the initiative with a smile and said, "Just call me Xiao Xiao."
Her voice was pleasing to the ears; filled with a mature charm, whilst carrying an air of calm seductiveness. What’s more, there was a hint of superiority under her succinct and polite manner of speech. All these factors coming together made her voice very enticing to the ears.
The lady calling herself Xiao Xiao, gave her beautiful waist a twirl, her long gown trailing behind her as she walked over to a short table beside her, filled with various delicacies and all kinds of fruits. She lifted her hand and invited with a smile, "Why don’t you sit down and talk?"
Miao Yi was observing Huo Lingxiao, and realized that he seemed a little displeased about Miao Yi coming here.
However, the lady already invited them in. No matter how displeased Huo Lingxiao was, he had to play along with her wishes. Extending his arm, he also invited them. "Have a seat, dearest brother."
Even though he asked them to take a seat, there wasn’t a single chair in sight. They basically sat where they stood. With a sweep of her gown, the lady was the first to sit down.
Miao Yi only just sat down for a moment, when he realized there was someone who shouldn’t be here next to him. Luo Shuangfei had taken a seat of his own accord, when Miao Yi abruptly shouted, "Why are you here? Go back!"
"I came here to protect you, Milord." rebuked Luo Shuangfei, pursing his lips
He would occasionally throw a glance at Xiao Xiao’s snow-white breasts and barely visible jade-like feet. He seemed a little annoyed at the sight of them.
‘Even if you’re here to protect me, I didn’t say you could sit down. Where in the world is there a subordinate like you?’ At that point, Miao Yi sternly said, "My Big Brother is here, so I don’t need your protection. Go back!"
"Not even the hosts themselves are chasing me away. Why are you in such a hurry?" Luo Shuangfei looked like he was determined to stay. He even turned to Xiao Xiao and Huo Lingxiao and shamelessly asked, "You won’t chase me away, will you?"
Huo Lingxiao was completely indifferent. On the other hand, Xiao Xiao closely examined Luo Shuangfei. Then, her seductive figure moved to Luo Shuangfei’s side, and she stretched her perfect arms as she leaned on his shoulder. With a playful air as though she just found a new plaything, she looked straight at Luo Shangfei’s eyes, and gently traced her flawless fingers over his bearded chin, teasing him. "Since you’ve already come here, that makes you my guest. Where is the logic in chasing one’s guest away? Especially with a rare guest like yourself."
Miao Yi stared wide-eyed in disbelief as he realized this Xiao Xiao was rather promiscuous. She actually went up to Luo Shuangfei of her own initiative. ‘Given his lewd nature, wouldn’t she be in trouble?’
He snuck a peek at Huo Lingxiao and sure enough, his expression was already darkening.
Luo Shuangfei shot Miao Yi a glance from the corner of his eyes and snickered, acting like he was just that attractive. If he hadn’t seen Xiao Xiao resting on Miao Yi’s so-called Big Brother’s lap earlier, he would have reached out and grabbed her by the waist. However, since he was being pressured by Miao Yi’s glare, he pulled his arm back.
Xiao Xiao turned to Huo Lingxiao and asked, "How come I never knew that you had a younger brother?"
Unsure of how to explain himself, Huo Lingxiao coughed. Fortunately, Miao Yi answered for him. "I am Miao Yi. East Arrival Cave Master, and also Big Brother Xiao’s sworn brother."
"Big Brother Xiao? Your sworn brother?" Xiao Xiao voiced in surprise.
Huo Lingxiao didn’t wish for Miao Yi to know his real identity, so he hurriedly transmitted his voice over to Xiao Xiao—explaining how he got caught up in the moment and was forced to swear the oath of brotherhood with Miao Yi. Xiao Xiao immediately burst out laughing and teased, "You are always such a meanie."
After he finally managed to explain everything, Huo Lingxiao breathed a sigh of relief. Then he asked Miao Yi, "East Arrival Cave Master? Weren’t you demoted to Steed Deputy by Yang Qing? Could he have reinstated you as Cave Master?"
Miao Yi was lost for words—‘Why are you revealing my secret?’—and awkwardly replied, "Right now, I am still the Steed Deputy."
"Ah!" Luo Shuangfei’s eyes were large to begin with, but now they widened even more, "You’re a Steed Deputy? Yet you still dare to recruit me!?"
"Well, how do I put it? I still have the highest authority in East Arrival Cave," said Miao Yi, rubbing his nose.
"Che! A Steed Deputy is a Steed Deputy. Why are you acting as if you’re the Cave Master!?" Luo Shuangfei swept his arms disdainfully. He immediately lost all his respect for Miao Yi. The final restraints binding him back were completely gone. He reached out and plucked a grape from the table, but stopped right just as he was about to toss it into his mouth. Gazing at the perfect arm wrapped around his shoulder, he gaily brought the grape to Xiao Xiao’s mouth.
Xiao Xiao spread her luscious lips, revealing her glossy teeth as she gently bit on the grape. She even stuck her red tongue out and licked Luo Shuangfei’s fingertips.
Miao Yi and Huo Lingxiao’s expressions both twitched simultaneously. In stark contrast, Luo Shuangfei was laughing like a sly fox that had stolen a chicken. Reaching out, he grabbed a cluster of grapes and began plucking them one by one, happily tossing them into his mouth. Every once in a while, he would bring them to Xiao Xiao’s mouth and feed her.
"How are Xiao Xiao and Big Brother related?" Miao Yi asked Huo Lingxiao. He was a little uncertain about their relationship. If she really were Huo Lingxiao’s woman, how could she flirt around so openly with Luo Shuangfei?
"Don’t you understand this much?" Luo Shuangfei rolled his eyes at Miao Yi with food still in his mouth. Brazenly wrapping his arm around Xiao Xiao’s beautiful waist, he chuckled and asked, "Xiao Xiao is your stage name, right?"
Xiao Xiao leaned against him and teased, "What do you think?"
"HAHA! I knew it." Luo Shuangfei chuckled, "As expected of the capital city in the Fifth Earthly Branch. It is quite a rare sight to behold such a beautiful lady in brothels. May I know which establishment my fair lady belongs to? I will be sure to pay you a visit another day."
Xiao Xiao shook her head and teased, "Not telling you."
Huo Lingxiao coughed a little, then brought his cup to his lips and downed his wine.
Miao Yi appeared to have finally realized, and surmised that this Xiao Xiao was likely from a brothel.
Suddenly, Luo Shuangfei lifted Xiao Xiao off her feet and laid her down on his thighs. Lifting Xiao Xiao’s chin with his finger, he said, "This Lord is a wealthy man. Spending an exorbitant amount of money is but a normal occurrence to me. Won’t it be a shame to miss such an opportunity?"
Xiao Xiao replied, "Oh. Is that so?"
"Go!" Luo Shuangfei pushed Xiao Xiao up. "Go and show me how you dance and sing. This Lord will reward you well."
"Hehe!" Xiao Xiao knelt down and tapped on the table. She lifted her face up and revealed a beautiful smile, then lowered it and shook her head; her lush, dark tresses sliding over her shoulder.
"What’s the matter? Afraid that this Lord can't reward you?" jested Luo Shuangfei.
Xiao Xiao swung her hand about as she twirled around and stood up. She sashayed to the center of the deck, her long gown trailing behind her. Her full, ravishing figure was truly remarkable. With eyes holding a hint of melancholy, she gaze up towards the radiant night sky beyond the fluttering white curtains.
Like a trickle of water, the melody of a qin was suddenly audible from behind the screen on the ship’s deck. The stirring vibrato of stringed instruments quickly followed in accompaniment, along with the hushed tones of a flute slowly coming after. Xiao Xiao made her move then. Lifting her arm up into the sky, she bent her lithe waist back and slowly twirled around; her long gown rising with her every move.
Gripping onto his wine glass, Huo Lingxiao’s hand froze as he stared wide-eyed in disbelief. It seemed he never expected Xiao Xiao to actually perform a dance.
Her dance was truly the epitome of elegance and grace, especially when her long gown rose as she twirled around, and her flawless bare feet gently stepped over the ground. Miao Yi found himself unable to look away.
"Great!" said Luo Shuangfei, clapping his hands as he praised. Then, he casually tossed a handful of Gold Crystals onto the table. He really did have a reward in store.
When the melody of the qin started to become a little faint, Xiao Xiao’s dance became even more enchanting with light, nimble steps. As she swept her arms and sleeves across, the wind blew strongly against her lush hair. Indulging herself in her performance, she raised her arm to the sky and slowly lifted her gaze in a melodramatic fashion, staring at the orchid-like gesticulations formed from her fingers, as her voluminous sleeves slid down to her shoulders. Then, her lips slowly parted as she began to sing in a deeply haunting voice.
"Oh time~ it waits not for any man~ waits not for any man~"
"Oh beauty~ shall never age~ shall never age~’
"Traversing across the mortal realm~ this mortal realm~"
"He who pursues his dreams lies at the endless horizon, lies at the endless seas~"
It was a grand and beautiful song. Together with her pure and clear voice, the performance completely moved one’s heart and drew one’s soul to it. The way she sang was so hypnotic that it rooted her three spectators to the spot like statues. As they watched her alluring figure and lily-white limbs gracefully dancing about in her fluttering gown, at times she would go slow and gentle; and other times, it would be hurried and powerful. Such a mesmerizing sight that any who caught sight of it would not be able to resist wallowing in it. Such was it, that they could faintly discern the silhouette of a person in their minds—going through the fickleness of life, and lost as to where he, or she belonged. They could not tell if it was a man or a woman, or even they themselves.
No one knew when the song came to a stop, but Xiao Xiao eventually stood in place quietly, her long black tresses and light yellow gown fluttering in the wind. She looked misty-eyed at the desolate night sky beyond the fluttering white curtains, seemingly unwilling to part with it.
Only when everyone came to their senses did they realize that the performance had already ended. Luo Shuangfei stood up and gave a rousing applause. "Great. Extremely impressive. What a spectacular performance!"
Huo Lingxiao and Miao Yi couldn’t resist giving a standing ovation as well.
Miao Yi’s gaze was glued to Xiao Xiao’s alluring back as he sighed in admiration, "Truly exemplary! It’s a first for me to have witnessed such a moving performance. My trip to Jade Lake has not been in vain."
Qian’Er and Xue’Er would frequently dance and sing for him as well, but he had to admit that Xiao Xiao was on an entirely different level. Without comparing the other factors, just the emotion reflected in her theatrical performance was not something Qian’Er and Xue’Er could compare to. It carried a deep philosophy towards life that was completely melded into the performance.