Bai Yunfei was shocked that the wound on his arm had only taken minutes rather than days to heal. He shook his right hand again to reconfirm it had healed. “This… this is ‘hydrotherapy’? How amazing…”
“Haha, it’s only a very rudimentary treatment. Since your body was already healthy and strong, my treatment was far more effective without any problems.”
From the side, Chu Qingxue smiled at the two, “Tingting, you are far too modest. The healing techniques of the Water School are known to everyone on the continent. Aside from hydrotherapy, there aren’t many other techniques that could measure up to it. Furthermore, your own skill was very clear to see, Tingting. Like Xiluo said, your skill with it is perfect, how admirable for your age.”
“Tingting,” Tang Xinyun spoke with a grateful voice, “Thank you…”
Smiling in return, Kou Tingting said, “Xinyun, why must you be this polite? Even Yunfei hasn’t said thanked me yet. Are you thanking me for him?”
What Kou Tingting said made Tang Xinyun’s face redden while Bai Yunfei gave a small cough of embarrassment. Opting to change the topic, he said, “Ah, Xiluo and Tingting, why don’t we look around Mo City again? I’m sure there are plenty of places we haven’t been to yet!”
“Haha, yes.” Chu Qingxue nodded in agreement, “Let Xinyun take you on a tour, just be sure to be back before evening.”
Since there was nothing to do in the Tang residence, the two readily agreed to Bai Yunfei’s suggestion. Together, the four of them bade farewell to Chu Qingxue and Zhao Mancha before leaving for the city. The plan was to visit all the sights in the city and return to the Tang before night time.
Every year on the ninth day of the ninth month, the Tianhun Empire would celebrate the Reunion Festival. It was regarded as one of the empire’s more ceremonious holidays, but many people would rather call it ‘heartwarming.’ As the name implied, the Reunion Festival was a day for workers, merchants, and other people to return to their homes and celebrate with their families.
Families that were mainly soul cultivators didn’t normally regard such a ‘mundane’ holiday as something worth celebrating like the rest of the commoners, but the Tang chose to uphold tradition by hosting a family banquet. The majority of the house had come back to Mo City for the day, and the spacious courtyard was filled to the brim as people jubilantly laughed and chatted with one another.
Dozens of massive tables lined the courtyard. People of similar standing sat with one another. They exchanged toasts and laughed during the banquet. It seemed like a very rich merchant family was celebrating the Reunion Festival with how loud and cheerful everyone was.
Tang Xinyun had said before that every Reunion Festival was often observed with both her and her mother off in a corner. Even the ‘returning’ family members would ignore them due to the third mother.
However, this year was different. Instead of where they would normally be placed, Chu Qingxue was seated at the centermost table, right next to Tang Qianlei no less.
Bai Yunfei and Tang Xinyun along with Zhao Xiluo and Kou Tingting were seated at the table Tang Zhi was responsible for.
Bai Yunfei was visited by several other older members of the house, like how Tang Xinyun had to see to her second, third, and whatever-uncle. Each member was of high status and strength, and even though they spoke to Bai Yunfei courteously, they would often bring up the Crafting School as a topic.
It was an attempt to peer into Bai Yunfei’s status—though this was to be expected.
If Bai Yunfei wasn’t the disciple to the previous headmaster, Zi Jin, would they ever pay attention to a young man like him?
The more important figures to the house of Tang, like Tang Xinyun’s grandfather or great-grandfather, didn’t come partake in the banquet. Like Zi Jin once before, they spent their days in isolation without ever peeking at the mundane world.
At last, Bai Yunfei was finally able to see Tang Xinyun’s third step-mother, Hua Yueying. He felt that this woman had the heart of a snake or even a scorpion.
Unexpectedly, she looked nothing like he expected. At first impression, she was calm, graceful, and dignified to the eye, even amiable. She sat on the other side of Tang Qianlei and was speaking to Chu Qingxue without at all looking as though the two were enemies.
Her skin was snowy-white, and she wore a dress as red as fire. Her lips were a cinnabar-red and her eyes were elegantly shaped, like those admired in a phoenix. She didn’t look any younger than sixteen, and her charm was loveable to anyone who saw her. If Chu Qingxue was a snow lotus herb, then Hua Yueying was a dazzling rose.
If one were to ask which women was more captivating, everyone would definitely point to the later.
Several members from the Tang, in the same age group as Bai Yunfei, were at Bai Yunfei’s table conversing with him. He didn’t know if they had been instructed by their parents or if they were doing it out of their own freewill. Either way, they didn’t speak or treat Tang Xinyun badly, and they spoke to Bai Yunfei and Zhao Xiluo with great respect.
As a straightforward young man, Zhao Xiluo spoke to the group congenially, but Bai Yunfei didn’t enjoy scenes such as this. He chose to eat his food and listened to Tang Xinyun and Kou Tingting talk.
There were four sons and one daughter in the direct line of ascension under Tang Qianlei. Aside from the third son who had been sent away for his studies, there was still the eldest son, Tang Zhi, the second son, Tang Zhi, the third eldest, Tang Xinyun, and the youngest child, Tang Ming. Tang Ming was Hua Yueying’s son, a genius child with talent that came once every hundred years in the Tang. At the tender young age of sixteen, he was already a late-stage Soul Sprite, and he was expected to become a Soul Ancestor soon.
Bai Yunfei had never seen Tang Xinyun’s youngest brother even after visiting. After asking around, he learned that second grandfather had taken Tang Ming on a training trip.
The banquet wrapped up some hours after, allowing everyone in the courtyard to stretch their legs. Still continuing their conversations, many of the younger generation began to head to where the older generation was, hoping to gain their approval or even be noticed by someone such as Tang Qianlei.
When it was Bai Yunfei and Tang Xinyun’s turn to reach Chu Qingxue’s side, Bai Yunfei retrieved a small wooden box from his space ring and offered it up to her. “Auntie Xue, here is a gift for you. May your body recover soon and your youth remain forever!”
“A gift?” Chu Qingxue repeated in surprise. Even Tang Xinyun didn’t know Bai Yunfei would give a gift, so she was shocked as well.
Bai Yunfei smiled, “It’s nothing special, but I hope this gift will meet your expectations, auntie Xue.”
“Child, there isn’t a need to be this polite…” Chu Qingxue ‘chastised’ him, but she took the gift gratefully, “You’ve already brought my child all the way here. This auntie doesn’t even know where to begin to thank you, so why offer a gift as well…?”
Now that the box was in her hands, she clasped the lid and slowly opened it, revealing a single amber-colored earring.
Tang Xinyun became astonished, “Yunfei, isn’t this the soul armament you bought yesterday?”
“Soul armament!?” Chu Qingxue’s eyebrows flew up on her face.
“Xinyun,” she picked up the earring, “You said this is a… soul armament!?”
Bai Yunfei smiled, “Correct, this is indeed a soul armament. It’s not too high in quality, but it has the ability to strengthen the body. If you wear this, auntie Xue, the illness you have will hopefully be alleviated by a bit.”
Only soul cultivators who’ve seen an accessory-type soul armament would know how expensive they were, but when Bai Yunfei said that the quality of the item was slightly ‘low,’ the other people near him were speechless, “No wonder he’s from the Crafting School, giving gifts as ‘casually’ as he wants.”
Since Bai Yunfei was so sincere, Chu Qingxue didn’t press the issue. She accepted the gift with a smile before making conversation with them.
The people watching the interaction, where Bai Yunfei gave his gift, slowly revealed pensive looks on their faces…
The sounds of fireworks shooting off into the night sky came to the ears of everyone afterwards. They exploded in a flurry of multi-colored lights that dazzled the eyes of everyone that saw it, but no one knew just which household in the city set it off.
The fireworks had been a catalyst however. Shortly afterwards, fireworks from all over the city started to shoot off into the skies. They exploded in all sorts of shapes and colors, some of them exploding in ways that made auspicious words such as ‘best wishes to everyone’.
As they smiled and watched the fireworks show over the city, Bai Yunfei felt that the previously oh-so-boring banquet was getting just slightly better.
“Haha, Yunfei, look! There’s one shaped like a bird over there…” Tang Xinyun pointed out to an explosion to the left of them with great curiosity and joy.
“I see it! That fireworks artisan is really amazing if they can pull of something l….”
Bai Yunfei replied with a smile of his own. He was about to say something more when all of a sudden, something up in the skies caused his eyes to widen in shock.
Craning his neck up, he began to look up at the sky as if he couldn’t believe his eyes.
Up there in the night sky amidst all over the other fireworks was an especially strange one. It contained a series of words that weren’t even remotely happy-sounding, instead, it read….
“I am the Bandit Chief!!”