The previous Duke Yan Le, Yan Buji, was a man who was exquisite in his way of living. In his back garden, besides flowers that bloomed all year long, there were also strange fruit trees that bore fruits in every season, and countless peculiar and weird wisteria plants. In the center of this back garden was a small lake with the circumference of nearly one mile. Old trees of over two hundred feet height were grown along the shoreline of the lake. Innumerable light purple wisteria poured down from their branches like a purple waterfall.
These light purple wisteria belonged to an ancient species, 'Heavenly Purple Wisteria'. Hanging down from the tall old trees, their leaves formed into a light purple curtain on the east and south side of the lake. Countless thumb-sized fiery red flowers of wisteria were in bloom, which gave forth a strong fragrance of flowers in the dusk, filling and indulging the air of the entire back garden with this rich flowery scent of Heavenly Purple Wisteria.
A couple dozens of great white birds had built their nests amidst the densely twined wisteria bush. Dimly illuminated by the moonlight, these elegant, great birds were stretching their wings and singing with a crystal clear, melodious and long tune. From time to time, a few great birds would be attracted by the moonlight, flap their wings soundlessly and soar into the sky, chasing and dancing around the shadow of the moon, leaving their graceful movements on the rippling surface of the lake.
In the center of the lake was built a floating platform of a couple dozens of feet in length and width. Wu Qi and the others were drinking and having a fun time on it.
Princess Zhang Le, who bustled here to denounce the crime of Wu Qi and Lu Chengfeng, was now sitting beside Wu Qi with her face melting in a smile, as she kept clinking her wine glass with Wu Qi's.
She was just a fifteen years old teenage girl. Since she was born, she had been living in the palace. Her mother died even before she knew her, and her father and grandfather, who loved and spoiled her, were always in a secluded cultivation. As a result, she was not restricted and properly taken care by anybody, let alone having a few good friends. Since Zhang Le was born, although she lived a luxurious life and had no worries in foods or clothes, as a matter of fact, she was like a stray goat in the hillside; nobody really disciplined her.
Since she was a kid, she never heard such splendid praising words that Wu Qi said to her. After all, who dared to praise her like that in front of her face?
Even though many people wanted to be friends and close with her, yet, among those sons of influential clans, who would have the courage to speak these love words filled with tenderness to Princess Zhang Le? Who would talk to her in a rather frivolous manner, that was filled with an undertone of flirting? Only Wu Qi had the courage, and he had really done it. Therefore, in just a short period of fifteen minutes, he had conquered the heart of this fifteen years old teenage girl, Princess Zhang Le, who had just started to think about love.
"Wu Qi, tell me the truth, is Zhang Le really beautiful?" The petite face of Princess Zhang Le was flushed with drinking; she was half-drunk now.
"Not just beautiful, but extraordinarily beautiful. I swear to the heavens, even after living for so many years, I never saw or met with another girl that was prettier than you. If I've to compare all the girls under the heaven, I'd say they are not worth even a tiny strand of your hair." Bravely, Wu Qi stretched his hand and picked up a strand of Princess Zhang Le's long hair, slowly let the hairs slip through his fingers and fall by. A dark green glow shone in the dimmed moonlight.
Princess Zhang Le took a deep breath. A shy look was brought to her flushed little face.
"Is that for real? But, no one ever told Zhang Le… No one said Zhang Le is that beautiful!" Princess Zhang Le brought herself closer to Wu Qi, and nearly half of her body was now in Wu Qi's arm. Lu Chengfeng and Yan Bugui had their eyes gone wide, baring their teeth while pouring wine after wine into their mouth.
Wu Qi smiled, revealing eight pure white teeth of his. He gently stroked Princess Zhang Le's braids, then said using a deep yet charming voice, "For all the girls under the heaven, none will praise your magnificent beauty in front of your face, because they are jealous of you. For all the men under the heaven, except for me, no one has the courage to describe your perfection in front of you, because they feel ashamed by just standing in front of my princess!"
Princess Zhang Le took up the wine glass, smilingly clinked her glass with Wu Qi's and said, "But, why did you tell Zhang Le the truth?"
Wu Qi pointed his finger at the surface of the lake. A light pink lotus flower floating twenty feet away from him hovered up in the air and gracefully flew into his hand. He brought the lotus flower and presented in front of Princess Zhang Le, and said under his breath, "The tenderness of your bow is exactly like this lotus flower, shy and gentle in the cold breeze! Princess, compared to this flower, you're ten thousand times prettier!"
Princess Zhang Le stared into Wu Qi's eyes, both her mind and soul intoxicated. She snorted under her breath and said, "You haven't told me, why are you so honest with Zhang Le?"
Placing the lotus flower in Princess Zhang Le's palm, Wu Qi sighed and said, "The dark night had given me my black eyes. Using them, I tried my best in seeking the most beautiful ray in the seemingly desolated darkness. The reason Wu Qi is honest with Princess, it is because I was born solely for appreciating Princess's magnificent appearance.
Lu Chengfeng shuddered, shivering as he turned his head to the other side, staring blankly at the blossoming Heavenly Purple Wisteria on the shore of the lake.
Princess Zhang Le brought the lotus flower to her nose, then took a deep breath. Her sparkling eyes had turned watery and her cherry lips curled slightly up, giving the man the brightest smile she could. She stretched her hand and boldly touched Wu Qi's cheek, then gently said, "You're born because of my magnificent appearance? You're born because of Zhang Le? What you just said, Zhang Le has never before heard from anyone else."
"You're good, you're a very good man." Princess Zhang Le murmured, "Taba Qingye, he is a bad guy."
Wu Qi daringly grabbed tightly on Princess Zhang Le's tiny palm, then said gently, "My Princess, Taba Qingye wanted to kill Wu Qi, yet he asked Princess to witness the entire process from not far away. It is obvious that he was trying to use Princess, pushing Princess forward to bear any consequences. If not for Wu Qi possessing some abilities, perhaps he would have succeeded in his treacherous scheme, and I would not have been able to meet with Princess today."
He sighed, and looked deeply into Princess Zhang Le's bewildered eyes, "The toughest thing for a man to find in his life is a bosom friend. But now, Wu Qi has Princess as his bosom friend. I've lived many years, and this is the first time Wu Qi speaks out the words that have been hiding deep in my heart to a girl."
Princess Zhang Le laughed, it was a charming and enchanting laugh. She gently touched and stroked Wu Qi's cheek, then said softly, "Bosom friend? Yes, Zhang Le understands now. That Taba Qingye did indeed harbor an evil intention. He knew Zhang Le was bored, and purposely sent someone to tell Zhang Le that there was a good show to watch. He asked Zhang Le to wait at the place where he ambushed you, and by that, he tried to borrow Zhang Le's power to wash off his sin!"
Wu Qi nodded his head heavily, "Princess is a girl with peerless intelligence, the petty intentions of those trifled beings could never be concealed from Princess's witty mind!"
Princess Zhang Le's face turned slightly unsightly as she said coldly, "I had forgotten this. Earlier today, right after Taba Haofeng arrived at Ji City, he immediately mentioned this incident to me. Hmph, thinking back now, he was trying to bewitch me so I'll hurt Wu Qi?"
Wu Qi nodding his head continuously, "That must be his intention! Princess, both Taba Qingye and Taba Haofeng are taking advantage of yours!"
Wu Qi sighed lightly, resting his eyes tenderly on Princess Zhang Le's face and said, "Princess is of immortal dew and dazzling pearl, an existence like the Heavenly Immortal. The mortal world is a billowing and bustling place, it shouldn't bring any stain to the flawless soul of Princess. Nevertheless, the world is inhabited by countless vulgar people, and they would always find ways to take Princess's advantage. Princess, you've to be extra careful in future, don't ever fall into the evil plot of those people."
Princess Zhang Le's face darkened. She clenched her jaw tightly and said with a cold voice, "You're right. If anyone tries to talk to me in the future, I'll come and seek your advice. Hmph, they thought by staying in the palace, I'll be a naive girl that did not know anything? Wu Qi, you're a good man. You're an honest man, I can see it now."
Wu Qi smiled. He beckoned at Lu Chengfeng and Yan Bugui, asking them to give Princess Zhang Le a toast together. After that, with his face filled with a smile, he drank a few more glasses of wine with Princess Zhang Le.
After the toast, Wu Qi purposely picked some stories that a prestigious Princess who dwelt in palace never heard of before, telling her some peculiar stories that happened in the remote village. From small things that happened in the marketplace of Little Meng City, the career and history of Barbarian Hunters, the legend of Rangers, and also including how Yan Bugui led a team of eighty subordinates and lived in the remote mountain forest… Wu Qi was an eloquent storyteller. He narrated these incidents with the striking likeness, as if he himself had personally witnessed and experienced them.
Princess Zhang Le never heard these kinds of stories before. In addition to that, Wu Qi used the style of a historical novel and gave embellishment to the life of those barbarian hunters and rangers. It simply made Princess Zhang Le lose in the fantasy stories. She even thought those rangers and barbarian hunters who earned their living on the edge of the blade were all mighty heroes.
When Wu Qi was telling her the story of how Yan Bugui and his subordinates went through an untold hardship, and went through a tough battle with a slim chance of surviving, finally bringing back three precious black stone tablets for Great Yan Dynasty, he purposely gave the story an artistic touch. In the story, he described Yan Bugui as a lofty and near perfect man of Great Yan. In addition to that, the hardship and dangers Yan Bugui met in the Meng Mountains had become like an epic Hollywood movie.
Princess Zhang Le was entranced by the story, and couldn't help but nod her head at Yan Bugui. "You're Yan Bugui? You're a good man. I'll tell my father next time, and ask him to make you a Chief General."
Yan Bugui was startled, and couldn't come out with any response for a long time. The fabricated wild tale told by Wu Qi had made his face blushed, yet, such story actually made Princess Zhang Le promise him the military post of Chief General? With the tremendous love and spoiling Yan Qijun had for Princess Zhang Le, if she really told him that, perhaps this assignment would really come true.
As the moon raised to the top of their head, the night grew cold. Zhang Le, who was eighty percent drunk, had to return to her palace. In front of many servants and serving ladies, she placed her palm in Wu Qi's, and walked side by side out from the Duke Mansion. She was laughing joyfully along the way, and looked really happy.
At the front entrance of the Duke Mansion, while holding on Wu Qi's hand, Princess Zhang Le promised him smilingly, "Wu Qi, you're my best friend now. Sometimes, I've to spend time in cultivation, so I can't come here and look for you always. If you have free time, do come to Palace Zhang Le or Imperial Palace and visit me."
She moved her hands to her neck and untied an oval shape jade pendant. Then, she tied this jade pendant over at Wu Qi's neck. Her intimate behavior had dumbfounded all the surrounding Palace Guards. On the other side, Lu Chengfeng and Yan Bugui were stunned and their bodies stiffened like two standing wood. Princess Zhang Le had just given her jade pendant to Wu Qi?
That was an item that hung next to Princess Zhang Le's skin!
Without hesitation, Wu Qi pulled out the three thousand eight hundred years old pearl of Innate Water Serpent and gave it to Princess Zhang Le.
"Wu Qi doesn't possess any valuable gift. I only have this core of spirit beast, which I used to aid my cultivation. This will be my gift for Princess!"
Princess Zhang Le stared blankly at the pearl of Innate Water Serpent in Wu Qi's hand, which shone like a crystal-clear sapphire. She smiled and grabbed it with her palm. Her eyes blinked with a bright gleam. From the corner of her eyes, she gazed at Wu Qi, and said, "I'll take it. Zi Xuan really likes this core."
She brought her cherry lips to Wu Qi's ears, then said softly, "Remember, Zhang Le's real name is, Zi Xuan."
Gracefully she boarded the coach under the protection of many guards and then Princess Zi Xuan left the place.
Wu Qi took a deep breath, placing his hands behind his back and staring at the bright moon in the dark sky. He suddenly sighed, "Young master, I don't know why, but I feel guilty."
Lu Chengfeng and Yan Bugui exchanged a glance, before they nodded their heads together.