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Fu Wanqing would never like Shen Shengyi, nor would she ever give Yu Shengyan the opportunity to like Shen Shengyi.
In her heart, Yu Shengyan was quite an important person.
An admirable person, an enviable person, a likeable person, a rival person.
Fu Wanqing had no friends. If she did, only Yu Shengyan would fit for it.
Descendants of the Whitepath Alliance’s five families had all arrived. In order to manifest the Martial Forest’s position and convince the populace, they often threw Forest contests, inviting a good deal of fighters to participate. When Fu Wanqing received an invite, it was already early October. Its large, gold-printed couple of characters were quite garish. Gently sliding her hand across the bright red invitation, her lips hooked up into a smile.
All participating in this contest were younger gens from every possible sect. It wasn’t that the older folks didn’t care for it, but rather that the Alliance had set its location at Spring Wind Grin this time around, and elders conceited about their dignity wouldn’t go there. Gossip swirled through the air of jianghu, so that was nothing more than dissolution waiting to happen.
“Those old farts in Yangzhou must be raving mad,” she said with a smile.
Yang Wugong would have never dared to choose somewhere like Spring Wind Grin, but the matter was beyond his control since Chun Fengxiao refused to leave it, and his people also had no way to snatch her away. Third Young Master had kept her word in sending folks to defend her, which the Zhong brothers had permitted her to do. Amongst the Alliance’s young talents, no one conformed to anybody.
Familiar places, familiar faces. The prostitutes had long since completely fled, and there were only a few jianghu warriors on scene. Fu Wanqing brought Yu Shengyan to sit in a very subdued spot, then gathered close to her ear and whispered, “See the looks on those fighters’ faces? They’re so disappointed. There’s no warm spring wind in Spring Wind Grin, only a blade-like chill.”
Clink, clink, clink — the sound of hanging pendants resonated.
Chun Fengxiao didn’t show up. Who did walk out was Third Young Master changed into women’s clothes, as well as the two brothers behind her that were ashen-faced as they glared at each other.
“Where’s Chun Fengxiao?”
“Where’s the jade Guanyin?”
The people sitting below all questioned impatiently.
“Get lost!” Zhong Shiling suddenly bellowed, but not at the other warriors. He was glaring viciously at Zhong Shixiu as if looking at his father-murdering enemy, his handsome face horrible due to the distortion. “I’m the eldest, I go first! It’ll be your turn after I get married!”
“Quit your bullshit! Zhong Shiling, don’t think that being older means anything!” Zhong Shixiu roared. “You’ve long been an eyesore to me! You always use your age to push me around! This time, no matter what, I won’t give in to you!”
“Then let’s just see which of us has the real skill here!” The two shouted in unison, gnashing their clacking teeth. “Whoever wins is the one that will marry Third Young Master!”
With those words said, they drew their weapons and fought without a care.
It was clamorous spectacle. People either sighed or laughed.
Two brothers, quarreling over a woman.
“See?” Fu Wanqing nabbed a handful of peanuts and tossed them into her mouth, chewing as she spoke. “They had gone on and on about admiring you, but now they’re fighting over some other woman. Their old man’s only just died, yet they’re not even seeking out their foe, wanting to slaughter each other instead. Is that ridiculous, or what?”
“Mn. It is.” Yu Shengyan replied indifferently, reaching out and moving the dish in front of Fu Wanqing away. The latter grabbed empty air, but then turned and clutched Yu Shengyan’s hand tightly.
“Come over here a little,” she whispered, “I’m kinda tired.”
Yu Shengyan peered at the sky outside, then compliantly sat beside Fu Wanqing, allowing her to pillow her head on her shoulder.
She didn’t think to care about this trivial Forest affair, to say nothing the fact that Fu Wanqing was the one actually invited for it.
Sabres thrown onto the ground, the Zhong brothers brawled into a big ball.
Yang Wugong shut his eyes in recuperation, while Shen Shengyi coolly observed the farce.
Third Young Master gave a captivating smile, the look extraordinarily similar to Fu Wanqing’s. “Have you two made enough of a racket? Don’t you feel ashamed?” she asked, gently.
The black-and-blue faced brothers froze, then promptly separated, doing backflips into their standing positions on either side of her, heads lowered. When Zhong Tian was alive, had they ever dared to be so unbridled? The men that had been so strictly controlled for over twenty years suddenly broke free of their binds, and their hearts were like feral horses shaking off their reins, never to come back.
A trace of revulsion flit past Shen Shengyi’s eyes. “Miss Young Master, where is Chun Fengxiao?” he asked mildly.
Third Young Master whirled around, walked up to the table edge across from Shen Shengyi, poured a cup of wine, and brought it to his lips herself, blinking at him with a smile. “Young Master Shen, are you calling me a Young Master, or a Miss?”
He took the offered cup right in front of the Zhong brothers’ man-eating gazes, downing it in one gulp. “Don’t they both apply to you? Is there a difference? The most important thing right now is to call Chun Fengxiao over.”
“Gu Yu.” She chuckled, then turned to Yang Wugong to pour another cup of wine. It really looked like she was the host of Spring Wind Grin, politely entertaining guests that harbored evil intentions.
‘Gu Yu’ happened to be her name.
Zhong Shiling had never asked, nor had Zhong Shixiu, yet she readily gave it to a young man whose face she had seen only once. The first couldn’t hold his anger, and the second couldn’t contain his emotions. They took single steps forward and abruptly slapped the table, rattling the cups until they almost fell over. At this moment, they were enemies turned to comrades, shouting out at the same time, “Shen, what’s the meaning of this? Do you want to contend with us brothers, too?”
They had injuries on their faces, so them putting on fearsome looks had no menacing power, instead looking pretty comical.
“Shen, you dared to drink that wine?” Zhong Shixiu yelled.
“It isn’t some sort of love potion. Why would I not dare to drink it?” Shen Shengyi chuckled. “Why so angry, Second Brother Zhong? You know that I have only Lady Fu in my mind. As for certain other people…”
He said nothing, shaking his head, then placed his sights on Fu Wanqing and Yu Shengyan in their remote corner. The light in his eyes darkened. He felt at the wounds on his face, losing his calm and easygoing demeanor for a split second.
Yang Wugong stood, his sword-like brows scrunched. He took Third Young Master’s wine, then merely placed it at random to the side, completely ignoring the profound and meaningful grin she had. Scanning his surroundings coldly, he shouted, “Enough.”
Seeing everyone’s gazes come to focus in on him, he covered his mouth and lightly coughed. “Where is Chun Fengxiao? What’s her location? I need some clarification in regards to the Protectancy’s name.”
“Why don’t you go seek out the escorter, Ma San?” Third Young Master asked frostily.
“Right, where is Ma San? He was the one escorting. How about him?”
His face turned green, lips pursed. “Ma San is dead,” he answered a long time following.
“I just saw him not too long ago. He was a bit dispirited, but why did he die?”
“How about we talk about why he got expelled, Young Master Yang? Wasn’t it over the Guanyin? He had toiled strenuously and achieved high merit in your Protectancy for many years, never once letting you down, and people on the road even gave him respect. Was the escort ‘robbed’ just because you claim it was?”
“It has to be someone from the Demonic Creed’s doing!” Yang Wumin stood up and shouted. “I saw the Head, Yu Shengyan! She had left Thousand Jadeite Island to come to our Jiangnan! There has to be some sort of conspiracy abound, because I saw her with Fu—“
“There’s no proof! Don’t randomly slander people! Miss Yu is not the kind of person you’ve described!” A young fighter now spoke up on Yu Shengyan’s behalf. “Creed people are the utmost of terrible, but none of this has anything to do with her! She’s… she’s a good person!”
“Yeah, yeah! How could she be equated with the devils of the Creed? Eldest Lady Yang, did you see her kill Ma San with your own eyes? Did you see her steal the Guanyin?”
“Y-You all…” She trembled with anger, the provocation causing her words to no longer pass through her brain first. Wholly disregarding her brother’s obstruction, she started yelling loudly. “Yu Shengyan is the Creed Head! Are your heads all gunked up with lard?! Uncle Zhong, leader of the Divine Mystery Sect, has been murdered, and even Uncle Fu said that he had died beneath the Huaixiu sword! Who else in this world can wield that besides her? The proof exists, you’re all just acting like you don’t see it! How is she a good person?! Hah, maybe you all don’t know yet! She’s consorting with Fu Wanqing, who had been the original intended of the Guanyin! With all these secrets coming about all of a sudden, maybe she and the Creed have joined hands to frame our Protectancy!”
There was a crisp smack. Yang Wumin covered her face, face full of disbelief as she stared at her brother.
“Enough!” he scolded her. “The Manor has had good relations with us for generations! How can you speak so recklessly? This doesn’t have anything to do with her!”
“Brother, all you know how to do is protect that bitch!” she raged with hatred as she pointed at Fu Wanqing, who was resting against Yu Shengyan’s shoulder. “Then let her explain today, to the faces of so many jianghu folk, whether the woman in white next to her is Yu Shengyan herself!”
The translator says: This party blows.