Lu Qiji climbed the mountain at a tremendous speed.
Her pace brisk and her body light and graceful. With little effort, the dangerous, rugged rocks that seemed difficult to tread across passed under her feet.
Forest birds flew off in alarm, flapping their wings wildly and screeching as they gained height. Venomous snakes and insects came scuttling out of the dense thicket and the crevices of rocks to attack, to punish her for intruding their territory—-The sword in her hand flashed with almost no clear trajectory, sectioning the venomous snakes, toads and poisonous centipedes into countless pieces.
There was a strong anger in her heart so the moment she drew out her sword she did not show any mercy or forgiveness.
“Sister Qiji—-sister Qiji wait for me—–” Shouting from behind was a rounded-face chubby boy. Lu Qiji ascended the mountain too fast, no matter how hard he tried it was still impossible for him to keep up.
Lu Qiji did not care, continuing to dash towards the peak of Nameless Mountain without stopping.
She needs to summit the mountain at the fastest rate.
At least she has to reach the top before that stupid Li Muyang.
As the eldest daughter of the powerful Lu clan, she had already heard that she would encounter the four cardinal vices obstacles along the way. However, she did not take this to heart.
To ordinary people, the four cardinal vices are four walls; how many irresolute people have been kept outside of these four walls? But to Lu Qiji, how could this even be considered a test?
The scene in front abruptly changed, Lu Qiji entered into a different world.
A lonely pavilion hiding inside a bamboo forest.
An old man stood by himself with a bottle of spirit in his hand.
Clad in a gray robe, the kind-looking old man was enjoying a bowl of wine all by himself. As if he was startled by Lu Qiji’s footsteps, he glanced up and waved to her: “Girl, come drink with grandpa. The wine is called Bamboo Heart, bamboo does not have a heart, but after drinking my wine everyone will have no more worries. Drown our sorrows in wine and feel free—-what do you say?”
Lu Qiji walked over, confident and calmly settled herself on the stone bench opposite the old man.
From her side she reached for a wine bowl, placing it down in front of the old man, she said: “Pour the wine.”
Smiling, the old man carefully poured the wine into the bowl. “The wine, Bamboo Heart, is pure but strong, and is famously known as ‘one cup collapse’. You should start off with half a bowl and try it first.”
Old man filled only half the bowl with wine, then pushed the bowl towards Lu Qiji.
Lu Qiji wrapped her fingers around the bowl of wine and finished it off without pausing, she set down the empty bowl in front of the old man again and said: “Fill it to the brim.”
His smile became even warmer: “Girl you are a good drinker.”
He once again picked up the wine jar, filling the bowl to the brim with the Bamboo Heart wine, then pushed the bowl over to Lu Qiji.
Lu Qiji lifted the bowl and gulped down the wine, letting the wine trickle down and stain her lips. “Fill it again.”
The old man looked at Lu Qiji’s face. He then proceeded to pour a bowl of wine to the brim once again.
Lu Qiji lifted up the big bowl, without the slightest hesitation chugged down the strong alcohol.
Placing the bowl on the stone table, she said once again: “Fill it to the brim.”
Old man tightly held onto the wine jar in his hand and did not move, he looked at Lu Qiji and said: “Girl, although this is a test but if you fail this test, you also fail in reality. You’re drunk in the test—-then in reality you also won’t be conscious. I am not the real me, but you are the real you. This is not an unrealistic rosy view, not a dream. It’s fantasy and also real life at the same time.”
“Garrulous like an old woman, so annoying.” Lu Qiji snatched the bamboo wine from the old man’s hand, tilted her head and glugged down the entire jar.
In one breath, Lu Qiji finished more than half of the jar of bamboo wine that’s left.
She threw the empty jar onto the table. “Bring more drinks.”
The old man picked up the empty jar and cradled it in his arms looking distress, his eyes welled up with tears: “it’s wasted. So much wasted. Bamboo Wine is brewed with one hundred thousand bamboos, but you wolfed it down—-”
“The wine is pretty good. Do you have anymore? Hurry and bring it out.” Lu Qiji ignored the old man’s lament, she looked at the old man and asked.
“No. Not even one. Leave, get out of here.” The old man began to drive her away from here. “Don’t let me see you again. Too bad, it is too bad—– I wasted me a good jar of bamboo wine. That was my one month of supply.”
“Stingy.” Lu Qiji used her sleeve to wipe her mouth, flicking her purple hair back over her shoulders she turned away and walked out of the bamboo forest.
Cold and arrogant, like a spoiled little princess.
Chu Xun is arrogant and did as he pleases, although he wholeheartedly wanted to catch up to Lu Qiji but possibly because he headed in the wrong direction, no matter how fast he ran, he still could not catch a glimpse of Lu Qiji’s figure. Even the chubby boy who ran in front of him was nowhere to be seen, it seemed everyone had suddenly vanished.
As if he was the only person exerting effort, the only one still climbing up the huge mountain. In the eyes of strong people, they simply looked like ants on the mountainside. Ants that want to conquer the tall mountain.
Chu Xun is an extremely proud man. He doesn’t like to be an ant, but he even more dislike others seeing him as an ant.
So, Chu Xun was in a bad mood.
Just as he was very much preoccupied with his thoughts, Chu Xun misstepped.
Before, it was still at the height of the summer season but now it was winter, wind and snow were howling around in the air.
He found himself in a desolate land, overlooking a vast expanse of darkness; only at the foot of the mountain was a brightly lit thatched cottage with smoke billowing from the chimney, it looked like the owner of the house was cooking.
Chu Xun hesitated slightly, but in the end decided to walk towards the cottage.
He knocked on the door and cried aloud: “Is anybody in?”
A few moments later, a young man clad in a head-to-toe green outfit brimming with a scholarly appearance pulled open the door, his eyes quizzically looked at Chu Xun standing in front of the door as he asked: “Are you heading up the mountain?”
“That’s right. I’m exhausted from walking and it is snowing outside, so I came to ask for a bowl of wine to warm my body.” Chu Xun answered. He knew what was ahead of him so it would be better make things clear.
“Please come in.” The green shirt scholar stepped aside, letting Chu Xun walk past him.
Once Chu Xun stepped through the door, he hurriedly closed and locked the door to keep the snow and cold wind out.
The house looked simple and humble, with only a few pieces of furniture scattered around the room.
This was the poorest family prince Chu Xun had ever seen before.
A big pot was merrily bubbling away on the back of the stove, sending across a pleasant aroma of sweet potatoes mixed with rice. Chu Xun’s stomach rumbled, he found himself suddenly hungry.
The green shirt young man also felt a little embarrassed, he explained: “It’s sweet potato porridge, we only have this in the house—-if you don’t mind, we can eat it together? ”
“Sounds good.” Chu Xun replied.
The green-shirt young man ladled out bowls of the steaming, aromatic sweet potato porridge, set them down on the table and proceeded to wash two pairs of chopsticks. He and Chu Xun both took a seat, hunched over, they slurped down the bowl of hot porridge.，
The green shirt youngster’s eyes ran across the four walls of his house, he noticed even the pickled radish in his house was finished yesterday.
His gaze swept around the corner to where a dusty earthen jar was situated.
His eyes lit up. “Big brother, I have no dish to accompany the rice porridge, it really is no way to treat a guest—–There’s a bottle of sweet potato wine that I personally made. We could have it with our dinner?”
Chu Xun nodded. “I came here for a drink late at night and in the midst of a snowstorm. Being able to enjoy sweet potato porridge while drinking sweet potato wine in the snow is good enough.”
“That’s wonderful.” The green shirt young man scurried over to the wine jar, cleaned the surface of the jar and washed two teacups, one of which was chipped.
Then, he filled the pitch-black cups with wine.
The liquor was strong, a strong alcoholic aroma hits the nose even before tasting.
Chu Xun inhaled deeply and exclaimed: “Good wine.”
Bring praised by a guest, the green shirt youngster face was flushing in embarrassment, he said in a cheerful mood: “it really is a good wine. Usually I won’t drink it unless I have guests.”
The two toasted and drank together. Chu Xun complimented: “Although the sweet potato is the most common wine and has a slightly rough feeling in the mouth but what’s good is its fresh and clean taste, it is best accompanied with food. However, it is inferior to the palace’s Taibai wine.”
“Ah? Brother you have drunk Taibai wine before?”
“Correct. Taibai wine is a sorghum liquor, it is made from suxi rice crops. The mature and plump rice kernels are harvested and the hulls are peeled off, then they are repeatedly sieved and fried. After, they are soaked in spring water. After a series of cumbersome procedures, it is sealed and allowed to ferment, eventually it will become an excellent wine.” Chu Xun carefully explained.
The green shirt youngster listened attentively, swallowing saliva in his mouth. “Although I have not personally tasted myself, but from what I hear it must be the best wine in the world.”
“Although the wine is good but it is not the best wine in the world.” Chu Xun said: “the best wine is called Drunk Beauty. In the snow season, the flowers in the garden are stained with dew or snow—-the snow and dew are collected with a beauty’s lips, and then brewed together with hundreds of flowers, the taste is fresh and clean but intense. That is the best wine in the world.”
The green-shirt youngster said with a hopeful face: “if only I could have a taste of Drunk Beauty sometime in my life.”
“There will be an opportunity.” A hint of a smile played across Chu Xun’s lips, watching the green shirt young man he continued: “I see books on the table, are you going to sit the imperial exams?”
“One can find a beauty as good as a jade in books, and also find a house of treasure among them. Rich and honour is obtained from books, for this reason I am willing to work hard.” The young man in green answered in a clear, bright voice.
“What about after passing the imperial exams?”
“I hope I can taste fine wines around the world.” The green shirt young man said with a glistening and hopeful face.
“I am the little prince of West Wind Kingdom, I am Chu Xun, a member of the royal family—-if I recommend you into the palace for wine tasting and to taste fine wine around the world, would you be willing?”
The young man’s cheeks were flushed with excitement, without delay he rose from his chair and brushed his clothes before he knelt down: “I am willing to follow little prince for leadership. As long as little prince has any commands, I am willing to risk my life and limb to help out.”
“Stand up.” Chu Xun sat upright on the chair, raising the cup and gazing out at the snowstorm.
He knew that he had already passed this wine obstacle.
Temptation is a double-edged sword, it might hurt you or injure me. It only depends which side is stronger or which side is richer.