Amidst such foul weather, a great number of soldiers were seen standing straight like stone pillars on top of the city wall, casting watchful eyes into all directions. The bad weather could be used as a good cover, leading to many crimes and strange events. Thus, these soldiers had to raise their vigilance to the highest level, killing all bad thoughts and intentions when they were still sprouting. Before Yan Dan came out from his secluded cultivation, the effort of defending Ji City could still be slackened slightly. But as he had completed and come out from his secluded cultivation, if these soldiers still had the same slackened behavior like before, they would be just courting death.
Therefore, on top of the city wall, a soldier armed to the teeth was deployed at a distance of every two steps. Under the dim light shone from custom made torches that could resist wind and water, these soldiers maintained a sharp vigilance as they watched over rows of coaches and people that traveled slowly through the streets. These were the people that just came out from Imperial Palace, and they were all supreme, prestigious people in Great Yan Dynasty. If anything bad happened to any one of them, the captain in charge of tonight's defense would have his skin ripped off. Hence, these soldiers had no choice but to be extra cautious.
As the weather was bad, an unsightly expression was brought upon the face of all prestigious guests, who had just come out from the palace. Among them, some of the younger members were now bowing their heads while sitting comfortably in their luxurious coaches, murmuring and pondering over and over again on the three questions. The three questions asked by Yue Tan had baffled all the ministers and noblemen in the grand hall. An awkward silence lingered in the Towering Palace for a full fifteen minutes, and none of them stood up to answer the questions.
Between the state power and a beauty, which was more important?
Between longevity and a beauty, which was more important?
If there was a girl who knew you, understood you, believed in you, loved you, risked everything just for you, and since young had been accompanying you, assisting you, protecting you, contributing everything she had just to aid you... For a girl like this, how was one going to treat her?
Just three simple questions, yet they had placed this group of Great Yan Dynasty's supreme members in an awkward position, as none of them could come out with any answers. Or perhaps, they did have answers in their mind, but at the same time, they did know if their answers would be deemed fit by Yue Tan. Thus, rather than saying their answers out and receiving mocking comments from her, it was better to hide their inadequacy by keeping quiet. In the mind of these supreme members, state power obviously weighed heavier than a beauty, and longevity was definitely more important than a beauty as well. As their marriage was arranged by the senior of their clan, how could they have a lover who knew, understood, gave unconditional love and risked everything just for them?
They were all men with prestigious status in Great Yan Dynasty, and none of them could throw away their face and lie in front of a few thousand men with similar rank. If Yue Tan asked the questions to a single person in a remote and quiet corner where nobody else was around, these men would definitely give her a flowery reply. But, when these questions were thrown out in front of so many people, no one would want to risk their reputation and lie in the face of the public.
Because of these three questions, the well-planned banquet of celebration had fallen into a complete silence. Princess Zhang Le had her face turned pale with anger and waited for nearly half an hour. In the end, none of the influential officials came forth and answered the questions. The Princess was fuming with rage, threw the narrow table in front of her, spun and returned to the inner palace. Since the master of the banquet was gone, left with no other choice, Yan Qijun announced the end of the banquet, and all the influential officials left the place hastily. With merely three questions, the Grandmaster of zither, Yue Tan, had blown off the celebration banquet of Princess Zhang Le. It looked like this event would become the gossip among the prestigious members of Ji City for many months to come.
"Between the state power and a beauty, which is more important?"
"Between longevity and a beauty, which is more important?"
"If there is a girl, who knows me, understands me, believes in me, loves me, is willing to risk everything just for me, and since young has been accompanying me, assisting me, protecting me, contributing everything she has just to aid me... For a girl like this, how am I going to treat her?"
A company of few hundred guards was seen clustering around Wu Qi and Lu Chengfeng's coach as they traveled slowly in the deep and quiet long street. Tiny specks of light could be seen at a far distance before and after them, from the coaches of other influential officials who were also rushing back to their own mansion. Within the coach, Lu Chengfeng was fiddling with a small knife that he used to carve array pillars. A thoughtful expression was hanging on his face, as he kept pondering on the three questions asked by Yue Tan.
However, for Lu Chengfeng, who was born and raised in Lu Clan, a place where he received ill treatment and was discriminated while struggling hard in keeping his life, although he had lost his virginity to a serving lady, the so-called love was not something he could relate to. He didn't have a beautiful girl that grew up together with him since he was young, who understood him and knew everything about him. Similar to all other young prestigious members of Great Yan Dynasty, unless he compromised his integrity and lied in front of everybody, it was not possible that he could answer to these three questions.
He sighed faintly, shook his head and said, "Wu Qi, in your opinion, which is more important? The state power, longevity or a beauty?"
Wu Qi was leaning against a soft couch with his legs crossed, holding an upper tier water element energy stone tightly in his palm. While absorbing the energy from the stone, he sneered and said, "In my opinion, I'll want them all. For me, I want that state power, I want the longevity, and I want the beauty. Who dares to seize the state power from me, I'll kill him; who dares to stop me from obtaining longevity, I'll kill him; who dares to touch my beauty, I'll kill him… But before that, I'll first castrate that guy. A bear's paw is what I hunger for, and same goes for a fish. Although someone said you cannot have both of them at the same time, but if anyone told me that I can't have them both together in front of my face, I'll chop his dog head away from his neck. With that, I'll be able to have them both."
Wu Qi's answer made Lu Chengfeng nearly choke on his own breath and suffocate as he pointed at Wu Qi with trembling fingers. At length, he suddenly broke out in a loud laughter and said, "I just can't communicate with a guy like you on this topic! There is a great mystery hiding among the three questions of Grandmaster Yue, and it is worth a meticulous ponder. Does the beauty in her questions really refer to a girl? No, I don't think so… She should be referring to some other thing. Hmm, what exactly does she refer to?"
Lu Chengfeng's brows knitted into a tight frown, then he brought his fingers and lightly tapped on his forehead. He kept pondering on the questions over and over again, and the more he thought of them, the greater the mystery seemed to him. As a result, a great pain came from his head, and he realized it got tougher to solve the mystery. Eventually, Lu Chengfeng simply sat down with his legs folded, like an old monk sunk into a deep meditation, focusing all his mind in studying the questions asked by Yue Tan.
Wu Qi found it funny. He shook his head and said, "What a group of innocent and pure men! How could you be entangled with the questions asked by a bitter and lonely lady, who is merely putting on an act? Hehe, state of power, longevity and a beauty, not only the skill cultivated by Yue Tan seems queer to me, her questions are strange as well. Oh, keep posing, go on with your posing… This lady is fooling all of you, a group of prestigious men who have never seen much of life, with such a petty act."
Wu Qi shook his head. He didn't attach importance to these three questions asked by Yue Tan. Questions related to state power, longevity, and a beauty? Before he came to this world, when he was still on Earth, what was the true meaning of asking these questions? A beauty? There were plenty of them in the red light district of Netherlands. As long as one had enough money, nothing could stop one from having a lot of them. Not to mention beautiful girls, even if one was looking for a transvestite or a psycho, so long as his pocket was deep, they would be swarming before him like bees towards honey.
All of a sudden, the parade came to a halt. A coach came through from an alley beside the street, stopping and barring in front of Wu Qi's coach.
The window of the coach was opened by someone. Bai Zhu'er poked half of her face out from it, waving her hand toward Wu Qi's coach and said, "Is Mister Wu Qi here? Princess is looking for you. Be haste, Princess is not feeling happy right now."
The door of Wu Qi's coach opened. He sprung out from the inside the coach like a rabbit from its hole, and had arrived before the coach with two leaps. A layer of faint water vapor was lingering and hovering above his skin, and before the dense rainwater could fall closer to him, it was repelled by the water vapor. Not a single drop of them could touch him. Wu Qi tidied up his expression, then stood beside the coach with a solemn manner and bowed deeply. "Wu Qi offers my greatest gratitude for Princess's kindness. The return gift sent to me by your highness is too heavy."
A palm as fair as the flawless jade came from beside and pressed on Bai Zhu'er's face, pushing her aside. Princess Zhang Le, with her long hair hanging down loosely and her brows frowned, revealed her face from the window. She glared at Wu Qi, lowered her voice and cried out, "Save your breath on those unimportant things. What value do those items have that makes you remember them until now? Have you heard the questions from that woman of affectation today? What are your answers?"
"Me?" Wu Qi was surprised, as he brought his finger and pointed at his own nose.
"Yes, you. What are your answers?" Princess Zhang Le had her eyes rested straight on Wu Qi's face, and continued asking with a low voice, "Between state power and a beauty, between longevity and a beauty, which one carries more weight to you? Also, for the last long question which was filled with whatever understood and assisting, what is your view on it?"
Wu Qi hesitated for a while. The five colored divine ray suddenly grew stronger from within the coach, as Princess Zhang Le widened her eyes and gazed at Wu Qi, shouting at him, "Tell me quick, and don't try to take me lightly. You have to give me three answers today, or else I'll bring down the entire Duke Yan Le's Mansion!"
Wu Qi pondered for some time, then brought his eyes over to Princess Zhang Le's face and smiled. He stretched out a finger, then said with a soft voice, "State power, is referring to the career of a man."
Princess Zhang Le frowned and nodded her head slowly. In Great Yan Dynasty, state power solely belonged to Yan Dan, and no one dared to answer openly to a question related to state power. Wu Qi had to substitute the career of a man with state power, and it was a correct way to tend the question. Or else, if any influential official of Great Yan Dynasty claimed openly that the state power belonged to him, perhaps he would be brought into a jail the second day, and killed by some scouting officers.
Wu Qi nodded his head and continued, "Fame, wealth, and achievement, a future of richesse and honor, for that, men rage wars amidst steel and horses to seek for the title of nobility. For a belt forged with gold, a man could commit murder and arson; he could throw a whole city in a massacre. Yet for me, fame, wealth, and achievement are a vast ocean, and the man is a small boat sailing through this fierce ocean. The beauty that understood me is my dock and harbor. For a boat without a dock and harbor, it would fall and sink in the storm, sooner or later."
The angry Princess Zhang Le suddenly turned happy. Her beautiful eyes were now narrowed into two fine lines, as she looked at Wu Qi smilingly and said, "How about the second question?"
Wu Qi thought for a while, then said with a slow voice, "To know what love is, which can make you devote all your life. Wild geese travel in pair across the country, with feather tarnishing over seasons. Happiness in being together, sorrows on getting apart… Such an infatuation, such feelings in mind… A journey covering thousands of miles, through passing clouds and foggy mountains, for whom your loneliness exists."
Wu Qi looked deeply into Princess Zhang Le's eyes, then continued in a deep voice, "To me, longevity is a boundless sky. It stretches tens of thousands of miles, reaching beyond a distance that one could ever set foot in. Those who seek longevity are like a wild goose. Although it can soar high and fly far, but when it loses its companion, what fun is still there for a lonely goose? Flying wing to wing with someone you love, singing a harmony tune together with the one you love, only then will the road to longevity not be full of loneliness and misery. Longevity oh longevity, if you are forever alone in such road of longevity, what is the purpose of obtaining longevity?"
Princess Zhang Le stared blankly at Wu Qi for some while, murmuring the poetry read by Wu Qi under her breath, who shamelessly stole it from someone. Then, she suddenly sighed faintly, "And?"
Wu Qi looked back at her, lowered his voice and said softly, "If there is a girl who knows me, understands me, believes in me, loves me, is willing to risk everything just for me, and contributes everything she has just to aid me, then I'll love her back, spoil her, follow whatever she tells me to do, and pour all my heart and soul in repaying her love. We'll stand together through storm and stress, helping each other when both are in humble circumstances, supporting each other in this world full of bustle and troubles. Hand in hand, nothing is going to part us, not even death."
The five colored divine rays once again grew stronger from the coach. The wind and the rain came to a sudden stop, as gentle moonlight was now pouring down from behind the breaking dark clouds. Within the blink of an eye, all the dark clouds hanging above Ji City vanished, and a large and round bright moon now revealed itself, lighting up the entire world with a tender gleam, such that one could even see the finest hair on their arm.
Melting in a smile, Princess Zhang Le looked at Wu Qi and asked, "Are you true in every word you said?"
Wu Qi shrugged and replied indifferently, "Of course, if there is really such a girl, my words are true."
Princess Zhang Le's eyes turned watery. She suddenly put down the curtain and covered the window. The palace guard who drove the coach here let out a soft call, then the coach rode away quickly.
Wu Qi stood still and stared into the direction where the coach went. After some time, he tilted his head up and looked at the bright moon above him. The moonlight shone like the gentlest water, sprinkling down and spilling all over his body.