At the backyard of the mansion, a wooden platform was built in the center of a lake. Wu Qi and Lu Chengfeng were now sitting comfortably on the floor. With a queer look in his eyes, Lu Chengfeng was looking at Wu Qi, from head to toe. The teacup in his hand was still full, as he hadn't taken a single sip from it. Sourly, Wu Qi had finished three teacups of tea, then he glared at Lu Chengfeng and said, "Speak now if you have anything in your mind. If you have nothing to say, finish your tea and take your rest. Hehe, the Emperor has named you personally. If you can't show him any result within a year, you'll have to retire in cultivation!"
Lu Chengfeng coughed dryly, took a sip of his tea and said with an indifferent tone, "I'm quite sure I can handle my job well, and that should be enough to answer the Emperor. But as for now, the biggest question is: in terms of seniority in the clan, Princess Zhang Le is my grandaunt. Hmm, if you married her in the future and took their clan name..."
Wu Qi glared at Lu Chengfeng with a wild and fierce expression. Lu Chengfeng narrowed his eyes, his mouth opened up as he brought a weird smile on his face, then hastily drank up a few cups of tea. He didn't say anything again. Helplessly, Wu Qi threw his teacup far into the lake, then murmured under his breath, "Marry her and take their clan name? Hehe, I, Wu Qi, is a man with a straight back. It is, of course, a pretty girl who will marry me. Marry someone else and take their clan name? Me? Impossible!"
Once again, Lu Chengfeng coughed dryly, then said with a strange expression, "But according to the Imperial Law of Great Yan Dynasty, a Princess can never marry to someone else, as her husband has to marry her and take their clan name."
After a long silence, Wu Qi stared back at Lu Chengfeng with a queer look in his eyes, gnashing his teeth and said, "Firstly, there is nothing between Princess Zhang Le and me. Secondly, even if there is anything, she will have to marry me, and as for whether I will accept her, that will have to depend on my mood. Thirdly, if you still want to tease me with this, then you'll have to call me granduncle now! And if you still want to talk about this topic, I'll marry myself to her tomorrow, my lovely nephew-in-law!"
Lu Chengfeng was wise enough to shut his mouth. He evaded the subject and started talking about a few other insignificant matters, then brought up the topic regarding Wei Xiaoxiao. "What do you think? Would Sect Leader Nie kill that Wei Xiaoxiao? Wei Clan has a great reputation, and about seventy percent of the military equipment in the Lu Kingdom is handled by the merchants under them. I've long heard about this huge monster in Great Yan Dynasty. If Sect Leader Nie really kills her, I am afraid we'll have to face a great deal of trouble!"
As a serious topic was brought up, Wu Qi put away his banter attitude, frowned his brows and carefully weighed the matter. After a while, he started talking slowly, word by word, "Firstly, from now onwards, we will have to address him as Master. We cannot address him as Sect Leader Nie again. Then, have Yan Bugui make a copy of the secret records in Scouting Office tomorrow. We need a copy of all the detailed information related to Wei Clan."
A fierce gleam flickered from his eyes as Wu Qi continued saying with a ferocious voice, "Though a man doesn't have the intention to hurt a tiger, the tiger would always try to hurt the man. Rather than sitting passively and waiting for the assault to come, it is better to be proactive and rip a large chunk of meat from Wei Clan. Young master, with your current status and position, as long as you can hold firmly to the title of Duke Yan Le as well as the position of West Supervisor, with the Emperor supporting us from the back, there is nothing much this Wei Clan can do to us. In addition to that, by relying on the power of Heaven Breaking Sword Sect, I don't believe that we can't deal with a clan of merchants!"
Lu Chengfeng too had a ferocious expression brought upon his face. He squeezed and smashed the teacup in his hand, then said with a fierce voice, "What you said fits perfectly to my thought. Since Wei Clan is trying to seize my foundation, then don't blame us for striking back. In order to gain a firm foothold in Ji City and establish a career that could last for at least thousands of year, without money it would be merely a fancy dream. As Wei Clan has delivered themselves right to our doorstep, we can't just let them slip away from our grip so easily."
While both men were discussing the strategies of dealing with Wei Clan, a small whirlwind suddenly surged up from the edge of the lake. Amidst the whistling noise of the wind, a white figure made its debut out of nowhere. Wu Qi was shocked, and without hesitation drew the Sword of Greedy Wolf and sprung before Lu Chengfeng, resting his eyes straight onto the white figure in front. The whirlwind coiled up the white figure as it walked gracefully and slowly in an enchanting manner, gliding through the surface of the lake and towards the wooden platform.
As the white figure was approaching with a strong wind, Wu Qi was able to have a clear glimpse of it. It was a lady clad in a white mantle, with a white veil upon her face and a zither in her arms. She was none other than the Grandmaster of zither, Yue Tan. It was she who asked the three questions at the celebration banquet held inside of the Imperial Palace, and with that, she managed to blow away all the influential officials of Great Yan Dynasty, and nearly forced Princess Zhang Le to kill someone in order to vent her anger. The night was deep, yet she suddenly appeared like a ghost in the backyard of Duke Yan Le's Mansion. As to why she came, Wu Qi could not guess at all.
A cry came from the Sword of Greedy Wolf. Wu Qi stared at Yue Tan, who was now hovering at a distance of less than one hundred feet away from the wooden platform. He sneered and said, "Grandmaster Yue, this is a private residence, and no entry is allowed without permission. The night is old, so if there is nothing important, please leave now."
Yue Tan sighed faintly. While hovering firmly on the surface of the lake, she peered through the darkness of the night and looked into Wu Qi's eyes. Then, she said with a soft voice, "Mister Wu Qi, Duke Yan Le, the visit of Yue Tan brings no bad intention. It is just that when Yue Tan left the Imperial Palace moment ago, I overheard the conversation between Mister Wu Qi and Princess Zhang Le. It had struck me into deep thought, and also brings me to here, though it is very late now. If my visit has offended you, I hope you can forgive my rudeness."
While trembling, Yue Tan bowed toward Wu Qi and Lu Chengfeng.
Wu Qi narrowed his eyes. He could not sense any evil from Yue Tan. He turned and looked over his shoulder towards Lu Chengfeng, who was frowning and staring at Yue Tan. Their eyes met, and Lu Chengfeng nodded his head slowly, before he said out loudly, "Chengfeng's humble mansion is honored by Grandmaster Yue's presence. If Grandmaster does not consider this place too simple, please have a seat and enjoy some tea with us."
Wu Qi put away the Sword of Greedy Wolf and returned to his seat. Although the flying sword was no longer in his hand, Wu Qi was secretly hiding a couple dozens of explosive talismans under his sleeve, which could be thrown out any time he wanted. Although Lu Chengfeng didn't show any action on the outside, he too had stealthily prepared a few Nine Cloud Piercing Crossbows inside his storage bag. If something amiss happened, he would pull them out immediately and release the bowstring.
Slowly Yue Tan walked onto the wooden platform, and soundlessly bowed towards Wu Qi and Lu Chengfeng again. After that, she brought herself to sit down on the floor. Not saying a word, Wu Qi took out two new tea cups and filled them with tea: one for himself, and one for Yue Tan. Yue Tan thanked Wu Qi and gently took over the teacup. Then, she lifted and removed the bamboo hat woven from silks of purple bamboo from her head, revealing a face that made Wu Qi and Lu Chengfeng nearly forget how to breathe.
The pale-gray moonlight sprinkled down onto the magnificent face. After the bamboo hat was removed, Yue Tan looked as if a dark orchid bloomed silently and alone within the depths of a remote valley. Her appearance was elegant and poised, which carried tiny threads of sweet scent, and was now exposed plainly before Wu Qi and Lu Chengfeng. It was a face that one could not find any flaw with, fully filled with a dense sweetness and warm fragrance. By just looking at her from a distance, it would make one feel like he was standing in a vast ocean of flowers, struck with a false impression that his eyes were filled with myriad colors.
She was such a beautiful lady, yet she was giving off a feeling that felt exactly like Yan Dan. Her expression was damped with a strong tiredness, a feeling of weariness that came from the deep within her bones, as if she had traveled a distance of tens of thousands of miles and had gone through a very long period of time on the tramp. However, it seemed like an unknown spirit was supporting her. Thus, although her weariness had gone deep into her bone and her heart almost stopped pumping because of the tiredness, she still kept walking within this mortal world filled with bustles and troubles.
Quietly, she brought the teacup to her lips, then gently took a sip. "Gentlemen, do you wish to listen to a story? The purpose of Yue Tan's visit is just to have some words with Mister Wu Qi, and I'll leave with that being done. Yue Tan has offended Princess Zhang Le today, and Great Yan Dynasty is no longer a place I can linger in further. Fortunately, there are more than a hundred vassal kingdoms under Great Yan Dynasty. The world is boundless, and there are still places where Yue Tan can go." said Yue Tan with a soft voice.
Wu Qi and Lu Chengfeng exchanged a glance. When faced with a lady that bloomed like a dark orchid, they just couldn’t come out with any courage to reject her.
Wu Qi sighed, straightened his back and said with a fairly peaceful voice, "Please tell us, Grandmaster Yue."
Yue Tan put down her teacup, then she placed her fingers on the zither strings and begun to stroke them softly. Like the fine drizzle in a spring night, a tune drifted from place to place, broken and mild to the ears. With the sad and heartbreaking melody lingering in the background, and with an indifferent voice that was as plain as fresh water, a story was briefly narrated by Yue Tan.
"A teenage girl, who was crowned with the title of the prettiest girl in her clan, had vowed to give everything of hers to a man, a man who was crowned with the title of the divine dragon among mortal, a man she loved with all her heart and soul. For the sake of a great matter told by the man, the teenage girl, who had her love for the man deeply rooted since she was young, went through all the hardship in the world of mortals. She played different roles each time, putting up a show of grief at separation and joy in the union, and witnessed the rise and fall of hero after hero.
She plunged herself into the world of mortals, again and again, and she left them, again and again. She fell in love, she was hurt, she hated, sorrow filled her, bitterness took her, and sadness brought her down, and she did all these just for that man. The so-called gaining experience through the mortal world had cracked and shattered the heart of the teenage girl, which was once as clear as crystal but as fragile as glass. However, her desire for his smile and words of praise had led her repeatedly struggle in the rolling and rocking river of the mortal world.
She witnessed how a girl with peerless beauty was killed by someone with a sword; she witnessed how an invincible king of war had killed himself in front of everyone. The billow of the river could never wash away all the love and hate in the world of mortals, and could never bring away the love and compassion that this teenage girl had for her lover. The man now owned state power, authority, and influence, endless life, great and lofty ambitions. He devised strategies while sitting aloft, determining the life and death of ten thousand civilians with every single decision he made. Yet, the teenage girl was still struggling arduously within the world of mortals, barely keeping the heart that still loved the man.
When she eventually became so weary that her heart was almost turned into ashes due to all her encounters in life, she turned them into three questions.
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 you, understands you, believes in you, loves you, risking everything just for you, and since young has been accompanying you, assisting you, protecting you, contributing everything she has just to aid you… For a girl like this, how are you going to treat her?"
The tune of zither lingered faintly in their ears, and it carried a magical force that could move one's soul. Tears burst out from Lu Chengfeng's eyes like a fountain. He suddenly fell down on his back while tears were still flowing down from his face as he sunk into a deep slumber. The tune had virtually hypnotized him, disintegrated all his alertness and defense, and brought him into a sweet dream that lasted over a thousand years.
Drops of tears fell and hit the zither strings. Bowing her head, Yue Tan had her fingers stroking the strings unconsciously. She sighed and said, "Over all these years, the answers given by Mister are the most satisfying answers Yue Tan has ever heard. Thus, Yue Tan is here to fulfill my pledge, to remove my veil and show my face to Mister."
Wu Qi placed his hands upturned on his knees, staring quietly at Yue Tan. Even with the incredible intelligence he inherited from Le Xiaobai, he still couldn't reckon the background of this lady, and what kind of experience she had gone through. Her narration was so plain that it felt like a cup of plain water, yet it was filled a weariness that even Wu Qi felt like going into a deep sleep after listening to them.
Suddenly Yue Tan smiled. It was as if her smile could make all the flowers under the heaven bloom instantly, and the entire backyard was brightly lit.
She raised her head and smiling told Wu Qi, "Mister's answers have left Yue Tan speechless. With the inferior appearance of Yue Tan, I wonder if I could serve you, my Mister, and spend a night of pleasure together?" While saying that, a faint layer of redness suddenly emerged on the fair face of Yue Tan that looked like a jade statue. A great air of seduction caressed Wu Qi's face, which struck and stiffened all the cells in his entire body.
It was a great and irresistible force of seduction. Wu Qi felt all his cells were now shivering, and they were all emanating an explosive desire and lust.