After Minister Chu had gotten out of the city, he immediately changed his appearance. He went in the direction of the Jun Lu Lu's fleet, which had been planning to win the position of the top musicians for a long time.
The trip to Great Zhao was also finally coming to an end.
The Lotus Lake was in sight.
Chu Yang's figure resembled lightning as he swiftly passed through the willow forest on the shore. Suddenly, a gentle laughter was heard. Then, a loud voice said, "The Young Master whose boat was towed by a big fish? You came back?"
Chu Yang was startled. He turned his head to see a beautiful girl clad in white clothes. She was leaning against the same willow tree which he had barked upon before leaving. She had delicate features, and her eyes seemed to indicate that she was quick-witted.
This little girl looked like an adorable fairy.
"Eh? Young Miss, it seems like we have not met before. Why were you looking for me?" Chu Yang said as he moved. He continued to approach her until he was about 40 feet away.
"Humph! I invited you to come to my boat earlier, but you didn't come. So I had no other option but to come looking for you," the tender girl in white said foolishly. She then wrinkled her nose, "Besides… I am the Transverse Flute Master. Say, you did not know?"
"En, Transverse Flute. I have known your name for a long time!" Chu Yang said, nodding calmly. "It is hard to imagine that the renowned Transverse Flute Master is someone like this. Her looks make people want to spank her little butt right away."
"How dare you?" the girl pouted playfully. She even went as far as to hold up her fair fist, shaking it in protest.
"What do you want to say to me? Say it," Chu Yang asked hurriedly, seeming somewhat impatient, [It is shocking to think that the Transverse Flute Master, who has the capacity to shake the whole world, is really a little girl. Even if it is her, how can she be this naïve?]
This girl seemed to be adorable, but actually was somewhat artificial.
Perhaps these acting skills could deal with most people of the Lower Three Heavens, including the Jiang Hu people. She had gotten by very smoothly until now. Chu Yang, however, was not only wise but also had a strong insight. Moreover, he was also a Fourth Grade Revered Sword Artist. Hence, this kind of ploy seemed somewhat childish to him.
"Hee Hee," the girl laughed and tilted her head to look at him and said, "Actually I just wish to ask you… Whose side are you on?"
"Well, whose side I am not on?" Chu Yang asked indifferently.
"Oh, then why did you go asking for trouble with the Flute Master?" the girl asked, as she tilted her head and her eyes flashed at him. She seemed very curious.
"Why do you care?" Chu Yang said rudely, "I will not say a word if you use these childish and cheap tricks on me." [This is just a little girl. I did not expect her to know these flattery techniques.]
The girl was startled as she fixated her eyes on him. Her naïve appearance gradually began to fade away… little by little. At the same time, her expression became calmer and sharper.
However, her face did not change at all. She still looked like the girl of one's dreams, but one could clearly see that she seemed entirely different now. It felt as if the sheep had shed its own skin and had turned into a wolf.
"You have met me for the first time. How could you see through me?" the girl asked.
Chu Yang curled his lips and said, "You are behaving like a little girl. However, you are about 20 years old. Yet, you surprisingly still behave like a naïve, simple-minded and adorable girl. These traits should vanish soon. Otherwise, you will come across as a lunatic. Tell me, Transverse flute master, are you a lunatic?"
The girl was stunned.
"State your true motive." Chu Yang said somewhat impatiently. If he had not bumped into her, even a union between the two other factions would not have been able to deal with her.
"Of course I will tell you. But first I must find out, and be certain whether or not you are on the Zither Master's side," The girl's face became serious, only to expose a distressed expression. However, this expression disappeared within the blink of an eye, "The Zither Master has arrived with 56 people. I have information on everyone here."
She looked at Chu Yang with determination and said, "You are not included among them. Also, you had arrived here ten days before the Zither Master. Therefore, I consider that even though you had disrupted the Flute Master's performance, you wouldn't necessarily be on the Zither Master's side, right?"
"You are very clever. I am certainly not on the Zither Master's side," Chu Yang said bluntly.
"That is good," The Transverse Flute Master's expression was cold. "Moreover, your cultivation level is very high. I had sent people to catch that big fish. The hook that was found in the mouth of the big fish had traces on it. There was only one possibility — the fish had been caught under water, and a hook was shoved into its mouth.
"But the fish's scales were not injured in the least bit. This only proves that your agility and technique is better than average people. I have no one aboard who is as deft and shrewd like yourself. Hence, I reached out to you," the girl said with a cunning smile.
"What do you want to say? Come straight to the point."
"It's very simple… I will give you hundred thousand taels of silver. In return, you have to do something for me," the girl said as she smiled, and started walking gracefully towards him. Her perfect figure arrived in front of Chu Yang, and she said in a soft voice, "Can you?"
"No," Chu Yang bluntly declined. "I have no interest."
"100 thousand taels of silver are a lot… how about I add a sword to the offer?" the girl said unyieldingly. "This divine sword is ranked ninth in the whole continent. It has been handed down for more than 1000 years. It is called Limpid Autumn Waters."
"I am not even interested in the spring waters, let alone in the Limpid Autumn Waters." Why would Chu Yang care about a sword now? He could cut one using the Nine Tribulations Sword from the iron essence he held. In fact, could easily carve as many sharp swords as he pleased. And they would all easily be comparable to these so-called famous swords.
"If… " the girl said gracefully as she faced him. Her beautiful eyes were like 'limpid autumn waters'. She softly bit her lips and asked shyly, "What if I add… even myself?"
Chu Yang was finally paying attention. He carefully glanced at the girl and said, "You want to pay such a big price? What do you want to do?"
"Do you agree to give your word?" The girl asked.
"I give my word," Chu Yang replied without any hesitation, "with such a beautiful woman in front of me, how can I not be tempted?"
"For Gentleman a word?" The girl stretched out her jade-like hand.
"For Swift Horse a whip!" Chu Yang said in a righteous manner, "For a person of the Jiang Hu, this promise is the most important! You ought to know!"(1)
The two people struck their hands together.
The girl smiled with relief. For a person of Jiang Hu, this promise was the ultimate faith. The man who broke this promise was held in contempt. Naturally, she had no reason to doubt him. She neared Chu Yang's ear, and said inclining, "Since I am paying such a huge price… I want you to steal a zither for me… how about that?"
"Steal a zither?" Chu Yang frowned and thought, [In my previous life, Jun Lu Lu clan's precious zither had abruptly vanished during the 'Match of the Masters'. The Jun Lu Lu clan would have won if their precious zither suddenly hadn't been lost. In fact, that sudden disappearance had led to their brutal defeat.]
After that event, the Transverse Flute Master and the Flute Master's clans were also crushed by the Dark Bamboo people! Entire families, the old and the young, were wiped out. No one had been left alive.
Surprisingly, it turned out that this beautiful little girl was the main culprit. Moreover, this shady matter had all come to fall on his shoulders after his rebirth.
"Zither Master's zither?" Chu Yang asked to ascertain.
"Zither Master's zither!" The Transverse Flute Master girl nodded emphatically.
"Why? Is it because you don't have confidence?" Chu Yang asked, somewhat baffled in his heart. [This 'Match of the Three Masters' is to see who is greater. So why has this person suddenly come down to this type of cheap trickery?]
"I had previously gone to Iron Cloud to listen to the Zither Master's zither," the girl groaned and said, "I … I am not as good as her. Though, I am actually better than the Flute Master!"
"So you will steal your rival's Zither? Even if you win in this manner, what meaning would it have?" Chu Yang said as he gave her a cold shoulder.
"Why do you ask so many things? Anyways, you have already promised," Transverse Flute Master laughed complacently. "So long as I am number one under the heavens, I do not care about other things."
"I find it very odd. Since this sort of a matter ought to be a secret, why did you look for an outsider like me?" Chu Yang was bewildered, [this capable individual is truly odd. Isn't she worried that I may leak her secret?]
" …because the Zither Master's people… know mine! Moreover, our clans are heavily guarded. So going over there is not easy. But you are different. You sabotaged the Flute Master's performance; this was the most advantageous thing for the Zither Master. Therefore, as soon as you will make an appearance again, the Zither Master's people will automatically try to look for you. Moreover, it's possible that they will try to get close to you. You're the outsider with the biggest chance of finishing this task of stealing the zither."
The girl turned around, and started to play with her fingers. Then she sneered, "The Zither Master thinks of herself as high and pure, but likes to take unfair advantage of others. That lowly slave girl is also very happy in doing so."
"Your real purpose is only to gain false reputation like this?" Chu Yang said squinting. [Motherf**k. So it turns out that my catching a big fish, and using it to tow my boat has drawn me to this?]
"Number-one under the Heavens!" The Transverse Flute Master said in genuine hate, "Even if it is a false title, I want it!"
"Number-one Master under the Heavens? You think you deserve it?" Chu Yang said as he despicably spat saliva. If the Jun Lu Lu clan had not insisted on playing fair and square, Chu Yang would have choked this reckless girl to death.
"Did you just scold me?" The girl glared at him in confused. Then, she fumingly said, "Tell me, did you just scold me?"
"Scold you? Not just scold you, I will even hit you. Damn it! I really want to kill you!" Saying this, Chu Yang even proceeded to wave his hand in a gesture to slap her face. He showed no mercy to the opposite sex, and the girl was left startled for some time.
"You! But you promised!" the girl said as her face covered in grief. She angrily shouted as she looked at this man, "As a man, and as a person of Jiang Hu, is your oath of such little value?"
"Promise? Oath?" Chu Yang sneered, "What promise, and what oath?"
"You!" The girl said with grief and indignation. She hadn't even dreamt that something like this would happen, "You just said a moment ago that 'For gentleman a word, for swift horse a whip'… "
"You… what are you saying? Your 'fast horse whip' thing is gone now. Can't you understand?" Minister Chu stared at her and shouted, "So what if I don't abide by the promise? Do you even know who I am? You can go and tell everyone about this; I don't give a f*ck… "
Shaking his head, Chu Yang turned around to leave. As he spat a mouthful of saliva at a distance, his voice could be heard, "So it turns out that men aren't the only ones to be foolish; women can be foolish too. And this stupid c*nt is also brainless… motherf*ck. She has fried eggs in place of a brain. She was really odd… "
The girl was naturally annoyed, and almost threw up when she realized that she hadn't even asked his name. In fact, she had even dismissed her own bodyguards for this secret matter. Else that hoodlum would have not been able to behave like that.
That young girl shook uncontrollably for a long time, and then said fiercely, "Don't let me find out who you are! Otherwise your life will be worse than your death… boohoo… " she squatted on the ground crying.
Chu Yang took several turns, and after ensuring that nobody was trailing him from behind, he quickly disguised himself again. Then he secretly slipped into Jun Lu Lu's boat.
Just as he was about to go in, a man's shadow appeared before his eyes in a flash. Afterwards, that person's voice sounded, "It's you? Why were you arriving so sneakily? I was about to toss you down."
It was Young Master Yu.
The idiom "For gentleman a word, for swift horse a whip" means that: If a gentleman says it, it shall be done as if spurring a swift horse to gallop with a single strike of the whip. This means that if a gentleman gives his word consider it done immediately.
In short: A gentleman's word is as good as gold.