Jiang Chen soon arrived at the famous Jade Revel Lodge. Contrary to other brothels, it was designed more like a classy garden than a whorehouse. Even the doorkeepers were all great emperor cultivators, a rather mind-boggling detail.
What surprised Jiang Chen the most was the brothel’s demure character. There were no women outside the door clinging to potential clients or flirting with passersby. The entire establishment veered elegant rather than base and crude.
“Jade Revel Lodge is indeed a cut above the usual.” Jiang Chen had never been to a brothel, but he needed to gather information. With his jaw tightened, he entered the door.
Once inside, a staff member immediately came up with a smile. “Sir, are you here for a drink or something else?”
“I’ve heard much about Jade Revel Lodge, so I’ve come to get a glimpse for myself. I’d like to have a few drinks where the action is and experience the atmosphere.” Jiang Chen naturally wasn’t interested in the fox-girls.
Jade Revel Lodge conducted their business in a very principled manner. The staff didn’t ask who Jiang Chen was and didn’t look down on him simply because he’d come alone.
He was led to a seat by the window. Outside, a lake that rippled in the breeze and presented quite a pleasing sight.
“Here’s your wine, sir. And the fruit and delicacies you ordered.”
Jiang Chen nodded.
“You’ve come alone, sir. Would you like one of our girls to share a few drinks with you?”
Jiang Chen smiled faintly. “I’ll let you know if I want a companion.”
He had no need of one.
He sat at the table, leisurely enjoying his jug of wine while he used his consciousness to scan the other patrons. They all looked like people of high status. Regular wandering cultivators wouldn’t come to a place such as this. The more well-established ones were the exceptions.
Jiang Chen didn’t find anything useful after spending some time observing. After all, none of the patrons would announce that they were from the Ten Divine Nations. He was in no hurry. Another large group entered the brothel after fifteen minutes.
Jiang Chen was shocked when he got a good look at them. They were the Polylore geniuses who’d visited Winterdraw. He didn’t expect them to come to Miracle City as well!
He hadn’t cross paths with them in the Blackwraith Mountains and was now dressed differently. The geniuses therefore didn’t notice him.
Jiang Chen counted about a dozen of them. Some of the ones he’d seen were missing, and some that were present were new. The new ones looked a little older, about Jiang Chen’s age, if not even more.
The young men he’d seen on Winterdraw were mostly teenagers and young adults. None of them had been over thirty.
The group went straight to the private room they had reserved. Coincidentally, it wasn’t far from Jiang Chen’s table. He would be able to hear everything that happened inside. He pretended to not notice them. His consciousness, on the other hand, was listening in on their conversation.
They were talking animatedly about House Kuang, Xue, and Xuen of the eight aristocratic families. It was obvious from their tone that they were rejoicing in the three families’ suffering. There was no doubt that the eight families didn’t get along.
“Haha, I heard that the three families are protesting to Miracle City that the city isn’t taking their bounty seriously!”
“They’re out of their minds! What an embarrassment to Polylore they are!”
“I know, right? How shameless are they to spread the scandal? It’s been such a long time, are all three houses useless? They can’t even capture a murderer! No matter how powerful the murderer is, he can’t possibly vanish from this world.”
“The longer this drags on, the more serious the repercussions are. In my opinion, the three families are going to be the butt of the joke on Myriad Abyss Island if things don’t get resolved soon.”
“There’s no if about it. They already are the butt of the joke!”
From the mocking tones, it was clear that they had no sympathy for the three families. Instead, they found the whole ordeal amusing.
“It’s odd. Who exactly is this Jiang Huang? Even the authorities of Winterdraw Island don’t know who he is. Moreover, every person he’s come in contact with on the island has disappeared without a trace. It’s like they never existed.”
“Who cares about his identity? He must be someone with great influence. He wouldn’t have been able to take out Kuang Rong and Xuan Rui otherwise.”
“We got lucky. If we were the ones to get into this mess, we probably wouldn’t get off any better than the two of them.”
“Pfft, don’t compare us to that trash! I don’t think Jiang Huang is that strong. They were just too weak.”
Wasn’t the bounty for two people? How come I’ve become their only target?
Despite his bafflement, Jiang Chen didn’t care that much. He never expected Su Hong to share much of his burden. Besides, he wanted Huang’er to hear about Jiang Huang.
After a while, the group changed the subject to talk about the jade festival.
That was something Jiang Chen was interested in as well. He wanted to know how many delegates there were from the Ten Divine Nations. How had the major factions allocated their quota?
“I’ve been walking around Miracle City the past few days. The city really has created many miracles when it comes to ancient jade.”
“True. It’s about the only attraction in the Bluesmoke Isles. The ancient jade stones contain many heritages left from the ancient times. Encountering one of them will be a once in a lifetime experience.”
“Uh huh! That’s why the Ten Divine Nations is putting so much emphasis on the festival. They’re hoping they’ll get lucky.”
“Bluesmoke is generous to invite us here without asking for anything in return. If we take all the good stuff, they’re going to feel the loss keenly.”
“Tsk, they’re just trying to butter up the Ten Divine Nations like the Rejuvenation Isles.”
“You’re wrong. Bluesmoke isn’t at the same level as Rejuvenation. In Rejuvenation’s case, it’s an attempt to curry favor. In Bluesmoke’s case, it’s a favor given. The circumstances are different.”
“Maybe so. Bluesmoke is very well governed. Everything is in perfect order. It’s miles ahead of Rejuvenation.”
Jiang Chen could tell from their comments that they preferred the Bluesmoke Isles and took issue with Rejuvenation. The conversation was sporadic, and the topics they talked about were trivial. Frankly, it was getting rather boring.
“Why aren’t you saying anything, Brother Ye Zhou?” One of them suddenly piped up.
“Hehe, don’t you know that our Brother Ye Zhou is in love?”
“What? Is it true, Brother Ye Zhou?”
A slightly older man smiled slightly. “Keep chatting. Why did you drag this foolish brother into your conversation? Don’t spread such nonsense, or I’ll kick your butt.”
Ye Zhou was clearly a mild-tempered man. It was obvious that he was the most respected and influential person in the group. And yet these young geniuses had dared to tease him.
Of course, they knew not to cross the line with their jokes, lest they upset Ye Zhou.
“Is it true that you’re in love, Brother Ye Zhou? Who’s the girl?”
“Hehe, there are sixteen golden hairpins in the Ten Divine Nations. Shall we have a guess at which Brother Ye Zhou has set his eyes on?”
Sixteen golden hairpins?
Jiang Chen blinked in surprise. That was a thing? Was this kind of thing part of the popular culture in the Ten Divine Nations?
“Is she from our Polylore?”
“Nonsense. If it’s someone from Polylore, it’d be an honor for the woman no matter who she is.”
“Hehe, among the eight aristocratic families in Polylore, House Ye is the unequivocal first. Among the sixteen beauties, only one of them is from Polylore, and that one’s Brother Ye Zhou’s younger sister, Ye Ying. So I don’t think the woman Brother Ye Zhou’s in love with is from Polylore.”
“Come on, Brother Ye Zhou, tell us! Maybe we’ll be able to give you some ideas.”
Ye Zhou was a handsome and elegant man. There was an air of nobility to him. He folded his fan and knocked on the table. “Alright, you’re forgetting yourself. Drink up and stop gossiping.”
The young men laughed and cheered as they drank. Their deference for Ye Zhou was obvious.
“Let me guess, Brother Ye Zhou, is it Holy Girl Yao Guang from Radiance Divine Nation?”
“Or Miss Yuling from Martial Divine Nation?”
“Yan Qinghuang from Eternal Divine Nation?”
Jiang Chen took notice when he heard the name Yan Qinghuang. He didn’t care about the others. Yan Qinghuang was Huang’er’s full name. His curiosity was therefore piqued.
Is Huang’er one of the sixteen golden hairpins of the Ten Divine Nations?
To put it simply, a golden hairpin was a woman as beautiful as a goddess, publicly acclaimed for her beauty. The list of sixteen in the Ten Divine Nations ranked the top comprehensive beauties. Everything from talent to popularity was taken into account.
Jiang Chen missed some of the conversation due to his distraction.
“Give us a hint, Brother Ye Zhou. It must be one of the sixteen beauties. My guess is Miss Yuling. Am I right?”
“By the way, do you know how many of the sixteen beauties have come this time?”
“I know that Holy Girl Yao Guang is here. Miss Yuling too.”
“Also Holy Girl Si Tong from Sunrise Divine Nation.”
The group demonstrated their deep reserves of information. They brought up every of the sixteen beauties with great familiarity.