Of course, compared to other courtesans, her reputation was not that much different.
Yu Youwei. Five years ago, she appeared at Chang’an’s largest brothel – Intimate Friend Pavilion. The moment she appeared, she overpowered the other beauties and became the head courtesan. She was accomplished in the four arts, proficient in everything, especially in verse and composition for the qin, she was considered unparalleled. Her “Melancholy Jiangling” could make the listener shed tears and captivate countless people.
However, there was a bit different from other courtesans. Yu Youwei not only refused to sell her body, very few young lords were able to enter her Profound Theory Courtyard3 and sit face-to-face with her, trading verse and prose. Even the current Emperor of the Great Chong Dynasty was unable. He could only occasionally invite her into the palace to play her guqin.
Therefore, some busybodies labeled her along with Seven Stars Huan Wen and Princess Jiang Yanyu to be the dynasty’s Four Great Aloof Beauties.
“Who’s the last one?” Chen Mo asked curiously.
“Your Third Sister, obviously.” Chen Lin rolled his eyes.
Chen Mo was speechless. In his memory from when he was young, Third Sister had a disposition that refused to admit defeat. She was even more unyielding than a man. He remembered that Third Sister had once said to him that only Star Generals could shine in Star World and leave their name in the history books. Although she herself did not succeed a Star Name, she vowed to surpass a Star General and create her own Star Name. This kind of spirit was rare these days.
But Third Sister was not aloof at all.
Most likely, other men felt she was hard to approach and thus considered her to be so.
“Although Third Sister once was the Divine Warrior Examination’s zhuangyuan, she loses out enormously compared to Huan Wen. And I wonder how Third Sister is doing right now.” Chen Mo muttered.
As he pondered, the carriage already came to a stop.
The two of them dismounted the carriage, having already arrived at the Intimate Friend Pavilion. Many fancy carriages were already outside the pavilion, their servants standing by. According to Chen Lin, practically all of these people had come to admire Yu Youwei.
“Brother Lin, you’re here.”
Chen Lin arrived at a table. There were already many young men and women waiting for him.
From their attire and breathing, Chen Mo was astonished to find that these youths all had high cultivation, “These are all my friends in Chang’an.” Chen Lin introduced them, whispering into Chen Mo’s ear: “They’re all some of the most influential aristocrats in Chang’an. You don’t need to care too much, though.”
Chen Mo nodded and introduced himself.
“So you are Chen Mo.”
“We have heard a lot about you.”
“You truly are a talented person. Your Highness Lin, to have such a brother really is good fortune.”
The group of young men and women showed astonished expressions, uttering their feelings of admiration aloud. Chen Mo showed acceptance of their praise on the outside, but on the inside, he was sneering.
He recalled that scene over a decade ago before he left Chang’an. He still remembered it.
Back then, when people learned he was unable to practice martial arts and had no choice but to leave Chang’an, topics about Chang’an Mansion’s cripple Fourth Highness were already filling the streets of Chang’an. He was the topic of conversation at every meal, the subject of enthusiastic discussion.
“Not only did Your Highness Mo the fine Hanshan Asks Shide dialogue, I even heard that a Thunder Tribulation cultivator suffered defeat at your hands upon your return to Chang’an. Things really do change with the passage of time. Your Highness’ transformation is truly the one and only since this dynasty’s founding.”
A magnificently garbed man could not help but sigh when he recalled things back then.
The others nodded, feeling very much the same.
“What’s the point of bringing up the past to him. My Fourth Brother returned this time to make those people who underestimated our Chang’an Mansion open their dog eyes and take a good look.” Chen Lin twitched his mouth.
“Well said.” Everyone applauded and smiled.
Chen Mo looked about the Intimate Friend Pavilion, noticing there were many people coming. As expected, Chang’an was a place full of crouching tigers and hidden dragons. Many of them surprisingly had the air of Three Flowers Gathered Overhead.
“What’s going on today for there to be so many people?” Chen Mo asked.
“Today is the Profound Theory Courtyard’s weekly ‘Enter Mystery.’4 Brother Lin, you forgot all about it.” A youth smiled.
“Enter Mystery. Oh, right, I completely forgot about this since my Fourth Brother returned.” Chen Lin had a sudden realization.
“Second Brother, what is Enter Mystery?”
“Your Highness does not know this, but the average person cannot enter Youwei’s Profound Theory Courtyard. Only those that can solve her profound theory can go in.”
“This steep?” Chen Mo raised his brow.
“This girl is but very brilliant. She utilizes this to stir up the interest of all parties and leave herself immaculate when everyone is debauched. It’s rather complex.” Chen Lin narrowed his eyes.
“Second Brother hasn’t solved the Profound Theory either?” Chen Mo asked.
Chen Lin shook his head, an expression that said he was completely unable to solve it.
Chen Mo was somewhat interested in this Yu Youwei, who acted deliberately mystifying, and chatted with the others for awhile. All the while, more aristocrats and noble sons with illustrious posts came over for toasts.
Chen Mo’s affairs were known by everyone in Chang’an right now. His writing was on the level of Zen scripture, and his martial ability subdued Thunder Tribulation. Across all of Great Chong Dynasty, no one else like him could be found.
Just as they were chatting merrily away, one of the fellow men at their table lowered his voice: “His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince is here.”
Chen Mo and his Second Brother glanced over. A man in a beautiful yellow robe swaggered in. This man’s bearing was out of the ordinary, each and every one of his movements full of charisma.
Escorting him were several well-dressed men, among them was Tang Lun, whom Chen Mo had traded blows with before.
When the man spotted Chen Mo, he narrowed his eyes, wearing a seeming smile on his face.
Even Chen Lin had no choice but to stand and follow etiquette, saying: “For even you to come here, Crown Prince, Youwei truly has great face.”
The current Crown Prince, His Imperial Highness Tang Feng, was thirty years old, but his health was superb. His face was like jade, refined and elegant like a young man. Chen Mo clearly sensed from his person that his Three Flowers was already well-developed. The Essence, Qi, and Spirit on him were well combined, a hint of returning to the natural state. Evidently, he reached Thunder Tribulation stage.
“Father Emperor is very fond of Lady Youwei. This Highness is only doing what he ought to.” Tang Feng slightly smiled.
“Tang Feng, you want to Enter Mystery, huh?” Chen Lin seemingly smiled.
“Of course, This Highness is very confident about this time.” “Youwei’s Enter Mystery” was currently the most famous activity for Chang’an’s noble sons. To be able to enter Youwei’s Profound Theory Courtyard was a very prestigious matter. Although Tang Feng was known to be the crown prince, his fame in the capital city Chang’an was nevertheless far from comparison to that of the sons of Lord Chang’an. In his heart, he was also in the mood to thwart Chen Lin and his friends’ time in the limelight.
Tang Feng gazed at Chen Mo and smiled: “Little Brother Chen Mo, it truly has been a long time. Presumably, your return to Chang’an this time was quite moving.”
“Chang’an has not changed at all. There is nothing to get moved over.” Chen Mo answered in turn: “There was some conflict with Tang Lun yesterday. Please do not mind that.”
“Not at all.” Tang Lun forced a smile.
Tang Feng said: “However, I heard Tang Lun say that Little Brother Chen Mo misunderstands that Jiang Yanyu is concealing her age to participate in the Divine Warrior Examination. Although This Highness knows that Little Brother Chen Mo is eager for the Divine Warrior Examination, this kind of thinking is inevitable. After all, Jiang Yanyu is indeed the incomparable genius of our time. If it was four years earlier, perhaps the zhuangyuan of the Divine Warrior Examination back then would be different.”
This guy talked so smoothly. The previous Divine Warrior Examination’s zhuangyuan was none other than Chen Mo’s Third Sister, Chen Luan. Tang Feng’s words firstly clarified to everyone that Jiang Yanyu had no need to hide her age, for she had absolutely formidable strength. Secondly, he was ever so slightly mocking Chen Mo’s wrong attitude, as if contrasting the two of them.
Chen Lin’s expression darkened, and he grew furious. But Tang Feng’s words were rigorous and not so easy to oppose.
Chen Mo unhurriedly said: “Where there is smoke, there is fire. Jiang Yanyu is indeed a genius, but, Your Imperial Highness Tang Feng, to be so certain that she can obtain zhuangyuan is nevertheless somewhat blind. As the future ruler of the country, Your Imperial Highness’ vision must see farther into the long-term.”
Everyone’s expressions changed.
This Fourth Young Lord of Chang’an Mansion was indeed as reckless as the rumors said, for he surprisingly dared to implicitly mock the crown prince for being short-sighted.
Tang Feng’s people showed unsightly expressions, but like Chen Lin, they could not easily intercede. This beast had but defeated a Thunder Tribulation warrior just the other day. No one dared to go and bring misfortune upon themselves.
“Fourth Brother, how can you speak of His Imperial Highness Tang Feng like this. Nobles are fond of collecting graceful and virtuous ladies, it is understandable that His Imperial Highness, as a man, also views Jiang Yanyu as important.” Chen Lin was filled with pleasure as he blurted this out.
A fleeting, cold glint flashed past Tang Feng’s eyes. Shortly after, he calmly smiled: “It sounds like Little Brother Chen Mo feels that he is capable of taking first place in the Divine Warrior Examination?”
“If I did not have even the confidence for this, then I would never have participated in the Divine Warrior Examination.”
“Good.” Tang Feng sneered: “Since you are so confident, then how about a bet with This Highness?”
“A bet?” Chen Mo wrinkled his brow, not expecting he would propose such a request.
“Of course. Little Brother Chen Mo is confident. This Highness is confident, not a blind person as you say. This being the case, let us make a bet.” Tang Feng showed a complacent expression.
“You cannot. Tang Feng, you are Crown Prince, the future ruler of the country. How can you so arbitrarily make bets with people.” Chen Lin immediately stepped in.
Tang Feng threw a glance at him, disdainfully saying: “What, is the Chang’an Mansion afraid? Of course, This Highness is not betting money. This is too crass.”
“What are we betting?” Chen Mo stopped his Second Brother from speaking.
“Whoever loses shall acknowledge the other as Master.”5 Tang Feng coldly said.
When these words were uttered, the whole place suddenly fell silent.
On teachers, Han Yu said thus, students of old must have a teacher. In Great Chong Dynasty, to serve as a teacher was a matter of great status. Even the emperor had a clear superior and subordinate relationship relative to his teacher. His future words and actions would all need to be reverent and respectful, and Tang Feng’s bet was showing off he was like an honest and sincere noble. This kind of bearing on the crown prince could convince even the masses.
Of course, he had another plan. If Chen Mo lost, henceforth, he would be recognized as Chen Mo’s teacher. Then, if Chang’an Mansion schemed against the country in the future, Chen Mo himself would bear the infamy for all time, his name synonymous with the betrayal.
His phrasing left Chen Mo without any room to refuse already.
“Your Imperial Highness, how can you treat my little brother as your master. This cannot be permitted.” Chen Lin still wanted to stop this.
Tang Feng sneered: “If This Highness truly loses, your Fourth Brother will have given This Highness a good lesson. What harm is there in him being This Highness’ teacher. However, if you lose, then please have Chang’an Mansion issue This Highness an apology.”
To make Chang’an mansion apologize, this would clearly show the world that Lord Chang’an’s people were low-class, an absolute disgrace to Chang’an Mansion.
“Sure. Since His Imperial Highness has such an interest, then you and I shall make the bet.” Chen Mo nodded nonchalantly, completely ignoring the severity of this matter.
Tang Feng wrinkled his brow: “You agree?”
“Why would I not agree? Your Servant is unwilling for the Great Chong Dynasty to produce an incapable ruler. If Your Servant can teach the crown prince, then that would be good.” Chen Mo laughed.
Tang Lun sharply inhaled from the side. This beast really was too gutsy.
Tang Feng did not bicker: “Good. With everyone present here today as witness, if in the Divine Warrior Examination you rank lower than Jiang Yanyu, Chen Mo, then do not blame This Highness for not giving Lord Chang’an face.”
“Then Your Servant shall offend you.”
“Hmph, This Highness shall wait and see.”
Everyone’s gazes were fixed on the two of them, the atmosphere extremely silent.
After a few more words, Tang Feng turned around and walked over to his own table. From the said, Tang Lun said: “Big Brother Tang Feng, what are you doing making a bet with someone like this. That brat is very shrewd.”
“So what? Do you feel that This Highness will lose?” Tang Feng coldly said.
“No, but I feel that brat was a little too happy to agree.” Tang Lun was somewhat wary of Chen Mo.
Tang Feng showed a look of displeasure, cursing in his heart against this trash: “How can a unique genius like Jiang Yanyu lose to a cripple like that. In this Divine Warrior Examination, you can wait for a good show. Hm, hm, to be able to help Father Emperor resolve the problem about Lord Chang’an, This Highness is in a very good mood today.”
“If you can pass the Enter Mystery, Your Imperial Highness’ limelight will cover that Chen Mo.” A man reverently said.
Tang Feng slightly smiled, his gaze shifting to the second floor. “Of course, Yu Youwei belongs to me as well.”