Chapter 71: One Raises Their Cup and Asks the Heavens
The arrival of those important figures instantly lifted everyone’s spirits.
Mayor Gu Tailai rose from his seat and personally led those six people to their seats, before introducing them one by one.
“This young master is from the Qi family of the capital city. He is the Qi family’s ninth young master, Qi Shun!”
A round of applause rang out.
Almost all of the young mistresses present turned their attention toward that young man, who appeared to be about sixteen or seventeen years of age. He wore robes as pristine white as snow, and his features seemed as if they had been carved out of flawless jade. He was tall and thin, and extremely handsome. There was a white sword-shaped insignia on his glabella that gave him a sense of mystery and intrigue.
He looked around with a smile, and his entire body was exuding a sense of natural charisma. The blood of countless young women was set alight in their veins, as blushes appeared on their faces.
What a peerless prince!
In comparison to that Young Master Qi Shun, the number one prince of the Celestial River County, Duan Gucheng, wasn’t actually lacking in the looks department. However, their dispositions were completely different, and in the face of the graceful and refined Qi Shun, Duan Gucheng was like a sewage-rummaging manual laborer.
“This is General Qi Kaiyang of the Qi family! Twenty years ago, General Qi Kaiyang was deployed to the border, and the number of enemies he slew could stack an entire city to the brim!”
Everyone turned to the muscular elderly man with expressions of awe and veneration.
“This is the seventh young master of the Yan family, Yan Beigui.”
Once again, many of the young mistresses in attendance turned their attention to him.
Yan Beigui even managed to trump the stunningly handsome Qi Shun in the looks department, but was somewhat lacking in his disposition.
“This is General Yan Nine of the Yan family! General Yan Nine has never fought on the border, but he was once a bodyguard to the former prince, who is our current king!”
Everyone turned to the thin and elderly Yan Nine, and they were even more astonished by his identity, than that of Qi Kaiyang.
A former bodyguard of the king’s?
He was most likely that legendary figure who was said to be able to speak to the king as an equal!
Yan Nine smiled as he surveyed his surroundings. His expression congealed slightly as his eyes fell upon a certain spot, but he quickly concealed that flicker of emotion and moved on.
“This gorgeous Young Mistress is Qin Susu of the Qin family.”
The banquet was very silent.
That was because everyone was simply intoxicated by just looking at her!
In contrast with Lu Feifei’s seductive beauty, Qin Susu’s beauty was much more natural and purer, like that of a work of art. She was like a goddess whom men wouldn’t dare to soil, and drew heartfelt admiration and praise from other women.
Qin Susu wore a faint smile on her face, and she also cast her eyes around in an obligatory gesture of politeness.
All of a sudden, Qin Susu’s expression stiffened as she caught sight of something, and she appeared to have fallen into a slight stupor.
The middle-aged woman sitting beside her furrowed her brows and transmitted her voice to her. “What are you looking at?”
Qin Susu only came to her senses then, and withdrew her gaze before replying in a nonchalant manner, “No, nothing. I saw a pretty bird fly past.”
“A bird? Was there? Try not to focus your attention on anything in particular. You are the jewel of our Qin family, and anything you do or say, no matter how insignificant, represents our Qin family. It’s nothing of consequence in an insignificant setting like this one, but make sure you don’t reveal that kind of expression again one more important occasions.”
Qin Susu nodded, but she still couldn’t help but steal a glance at the object of her fixation.
Was that really him?
Three months had already passed, but he really had kept his promise and came to find her…
It was just that…
A film of tears welled up in Qin Susu’s bright beautiful eyes.
“This is Madam Butterfly of the Qin family.”
Everyone gave an obligatory round of applause. That Madam Butterfly had maintained herself quite well, and retained some of her former beauty, but the wrinkles at the corner of her eyes, and her slightly rotund belly showed that she was unable to completely escape the effects of time. She wore a haughty expression on her face, which was pissing a lot of people off.
The banquet officially commenced, and the atmosphere was quite harmonious. Even though the celestial-maiden-like young mistress and the arrogant Madam Butterfly didn’t really say anything, the young masters, Qi Shun and Yan Beigui, were both quite talkative and extroverted. Qi Kaiyang of the Qi family wore a stern expression the entire time, but Yan Nine of the Yan family was conversing quite freely with the leaders of all of the major families.
During the banquet, there was also a group of female dancers that put on an exquisite performance accompanied by beautiful zither music, which many of the guests in attendance thoroughly enjoyed. Those self-proclaimed poets began to recite poems again, and Young Master Qi Shun also joined in. He presented an original poem of his own, drawing much praise and applause from the audience.
‘This Qi Shun really is… an exceptional man…’
An Ruyi thought to herself as she looked at him.
All of the young mistresses in the Celestial River County viewed him as their new Prince Charming, but they knew that those feelings would be unrequited. In the eyes of a man as prestigious as Qi Shun, the young mistresses of the county were like farming village girls; none of them would be considered as true romantic interests in his eyes.
For some reason, she was struck by a sense of familiarity when she looked at him.
An Ruyi then turned to Qi Ying to find that the two of them were somewhat similar in appearance.
They shared the same surname as well, so could it be that they were somehow related?
That thought was quickly flushed out of An Ruyi’s mind, as she discovered that Qi Ying was staring directly at the most beautiful woman present, Qin Susu!
“That b*stard! Look at him, drooling over her like a pig! He’s never looked at me like that before!” She grumbled under her breath.
The banquet was quite lively, but it drew to a conclusion not long after. Everyone actually wanted to stay a bit longer, but “Mr. Poker Face” Qi Kaiyang suggested that everyone should retire for an early night, in anticipation for the tournament that was about to commence the next day. Even though it was supposed to be a friendly suggestion, it was regarded more as an order, coming from a hulking man of unfathomable cultivation base like him. Thus, everyone dispersed and prepared to return to their respective abodes.
The woman of Qi Ying’s dreams also disappeared into the night with Madam Butterfly, and he was quite dejected as he got onto the horse-drawn carriage with Lu Feifei.
However, Yan Thirteen didn’t go with them. “I have some things I need to take care of, so I won’t return to the county for now. Black One, Black Two, Black Three, Black Four, protect Madam Lu and Qi Ying! If any mishaps arise, use the flare immediately to alert me!”
The horse-drawn carriage left the mountain villa and quickly headed into the county.
Within the carriage, Lu Feifei turned to Qi Ying and said, “By the way, have you remembered that poem?”
Qi Ying only came to his senses after being nudged a few times, as if he had been roused from a dream, and he replied, “Yes… Mother Yu did teach me a poem like that… It goes… When did the bright moon first appear? One raises his cup and asks the clear sky. One does not know what year it is in the heavens this evening…”
“One does not know what year it is in the heavens this evening! I wish to ride the wind and return to the heavens, but I fear that the heavenly spires are too tall, and that I would be unable to bear the cold. My shadow dances under the moonlight and I think to myself; how can the heavens compare to the mortal realm?”
There were two people standing atop the tips of two tall trees in the mountains.
After a slightly husky voice recited the first part of the poem, another voice sighed before continuing, “The moonlight shines through my window, and sleep continues to evade me. The moon shouldn’t harbor any resentment to anyone, so why is it always round at times of separation? Countless heartbreaking separations take place, while the moon transitions between whole and incomplete. I wish we could always be together, but seeing the same moon as you from afar will suffice… Long time no see, Brother Nine!”