Early in the morning, the melodious sound of a guqin came from the Laurel Chamber. The music was very staccato, as if a pearl was bouncing atop a jade plate. It was light and quick, bright and beautiful, making the servants around the wing unable to help but feel cheerful as they listened.
Chen Luan entered the courtyard and saw Chen Mo supporting a guqin. This music came from none other than the strumming of his very fingers.
“Little Brother, I heard you’ve been staying together with that woman at the Profound Theory Courtyard the past few days. Hmph, it looks like you had a good harvest.”
“Her guqin is not bad indeed. I’ve benefited quite considerably.” Chen Mo also slowly polished a bit of Profound Sound’s mystery.
Chen Luan did not discern the meaning in his words. Her heart was sour. “In five years, no man has ever been able to enter the Profound Theory Courtyard, Little Brother. Now, you have actually become her regular.”
“Third Sister, we have a very pure relationship.” Chen Mo smiled.
“Elder Sister is not saying you lack the qualifications. As the White Clothed Tanhua who scored perfect in the Divine Warrior Examination, even Yu Youwei is one of your connections.” Chen Luan shook her head. Right now, Chen Mo was simply a legend in Chang’an, to have even defeated Jiang Yanyu, who proved his match in this generation.
“Right, Jiang Yanyu has already regained consciousness. At noon, Father wants us to go visit Jiangnan Mansion together.”
“Go to Jiangnan Mansion?” Chen Mo immediately understood the reason. Jiangnan Mansion was equal to their father in status. In this Divine Warrior Examination, Chen Mo had seriously injured Jiang Yanyu, even nearly killing her. Presumably, this would have made all of Jiangnan Mansion lose face. To go visit Jiang Yanyu could be considered a way to warm the relationship between the two families.
Fine. Chen Mo also had a question regarding her True Spirit that he wanted to ask her.
As Chang’an Mansion’s carriage sped towards Jiangnan Mansion, Chen Mo found that his Second Brother was not aboard the chariot at all. Only when he asked Third Sister did he learn that after Chen Mo obtained tanhua, Chen Lin entered the Long Saber Army and wholeheartedly trained himself.
Second Brother’s personality was loose. That he actually would cultivate made even Chen Mo shocked.
“He’s finally put away that laziness of his. He knows he can’t keep being throwing his time away. Your Second Brother is extremely talented, but he dislikes training. Otherwise, Jiang Yanyu would never have become the Great Chong Dynasty’s number one genius.”
“It seems like Second Brother also feels that Chang’an Mansion’s future situation will be unstable.” This made Chen Mo feel enormously relieved.
Chen Luan did not disagree. Too many incidents occurred after this Divine Warrior Examination. The Tang and Chen Clans were already at daggers drawn before, but following the Thirteenth Highness’ death, they could possibly be met with reprisal at any time.
“In truth, Emperor Tang’s fears are baseless. With Father’s personality, it’s completely impossible that he would devise a plot to seize the throne. The Tang Clan has controlled the Great Chong Dynasty for a century, and Chang’an Mansion has always been faithful and true.” Chen Luan’s tone completely showed disappointment in the current emperor.
Chen Mo truthfully did not find this strange. Since ancient times, those in high offices have always been extremely jealous, to say nothing of the fact that Emperor Tang was not even the heir apparent before he ascended the throne. It was only because of the death of the heir apparent that he had a chance. Rumor spread through the world that the death of the then-crown prince was related to Emperor Tang.1
“Maybe Emperor Tang is afraid Father will join hands with others in the imperial line.” Chen Mo said.
“The current Tang Clan is full of useless wastes of space. There are basically no suitable candidates to be ruler. Father would never do such a thing.”
“Elder Sister, do you know what plans Father has?”
“I’m not sure about Father’s thoughts, but they say that Emperor Tang is currently in secret negotiations with the Sword Casting Villa.” Chen Luan was the Supreme General of the Square Battalion of the Eight Great Battalions. She had many secret contacts in the imperial court.
When Chen Mo heard this information, his brow rose.
The Sword Casting Villa.
That was the Great Chong Dynasty’s strongest sect in terms of weapon forging. Even the Four Great Sword Sects maintained respect for it.
“Your thoughts are the same as Big Sister’s. Perhaps Emperor Tang wants to upgrade the Star Weapons of the Four Great Imperial Guards. So long as their Star Weapon levels increase, heh, heh, then handling Chang’an Mansion would be like trussing a chicken.
“The Four Great Imperial Guards have a thousand people. That’s a lot of Star Weapons to upgrade.” Chen Mo was unable to imagine how much energy that would take. However, by relying on the nation’s power, Emperor Tang might actually be able to do so. Besides, there was also the Sword Casting Villa helping from behind. It seemed that the situation was far more urgent than he had imagined.
Jiangnan Mansion was an extremely beautiful manor. There were multiple pavilions, a rock garden and a river. Everywhere in the middle of the mansion, the waterways style of Jiangnan was on full display, making one carefree and relaxed.
The master of Jiangnan Mansion, Jiang Ruxiu, was in the Water Scooping Pavilion entertaining Chen Zhangtian’s group. At first meeting with Jiang Ruxiu, Chen Mo found that the Two Lords of the Great Chong Dynasty were far warmer than he had imagined.
If it could be said that his father had a domineering aura as if he held Heaven and Earth in his palm, then the Jiang Ruxiu in front of him was like a warm piece of beautiful jade. Even the corners of his brows were refined.
No wonder Emperor Tang was so fearful of his father and so favorable to Jiang Ruxiu. His father, Chen Zhangtian, was like a character who could seize the world at any moment. On the other hand, Jiang Ruxiu had the tranquility of a beloved daughter; anyone would be relaxed around him.2
After exchanging pleasantries, Jiang Ruxiu could not avoid showering them with every kind of flattering praise.
“Is Princess Yanyu alright?” Chen Mo asked.
“Currently recovering in her chambers. Many thanks to Nephew Chen Mo for your mercy. Jiangnan Mansion shall remember this favor.” Jiang Ruxiu appeared very magnanimous, showing no narrowmindedness at all.
“Right, Daughter has specifically requested that if Nephew comes, that she would like a chat with you.”
“Me?” Chen Mo looked around at everyone.
Chen Zhangtian faintly smiled: “Since the Princess has invited you, Mo’er, hurry and go. See if the Princess has recovered, if Chang’an Mansion has anything to compensate.”
Chen Mo assented and followed a maid away from the Water Scooping Pavilion.
Walking past several green gates, he saw a building wreathed in flowers. Even from outside, he could see countless different flowers and grasses from faraway.
This was the Fragrance Pavilion that Jiang Yanyu resided in. It occupied a large space, and the inside was filled with many varieties of flowers, as if all of the named species of flowers in the Great Chong Dynasty were here.
There were many bodyguards around the Fragrance Pavilion. Some had hid their auras that were Greater Thunder Tribulation in strength. It appeared that Jiang Ruxiu protected this place especially thoroughly.
There was a man-made lake at the center of the courtyard, inside which were many lotuses and daffodils. Nine winding corridors led to a quiet pavilion here.
There were three words on the signboard.
Competing Beauty Pavilion.
In the pavilion, there was an absolutely beautiful young woman learning against a pillar. With one hand, she sprinkled fish feed for the hundreds of koi in the lake.
Chen Mo entered the Competing Beauty Pavilion under the maid’s direction.
“Young Miss, His Highness Mo has arrived.”
“En. Have everyone else leave. I want a bit of quiet.” Jiang Yanyu’s gaze remained on the koi in the lake, her attitude as she tossed fish feed a bit laidback.
The maids and bodyguards quickly withdrew.
Jiang Yanyu seemed to be entranced in feeding the koi, showing no intent to speak. Chen Mo carefully looked her over and noticed the girl’s complexion was pale. Although she was a bit depressed, she was still in the middle of recuperation.
Chen Mo pondered and was just about to open his mouth.
Jiang Yanyu suddenly spoke: “It has not been long since This Princess returned from the Inner Star Field, but so long as you have some feed, these koi will form a crowd in front of you, waiting for you to show them favor. Truly lamentable.”
“Little Sister Yanyu is too pessimistic, very unlike a person who suffers defeat with bad grace.” Chen Mo fake coughed.
“The concubine who used to feed them has already been completely forgotten. The care she gave for several years does not compare to the care that Yanyu has given for but a few days.” Jiang Yanyu sprinkled the last of the feed into the lake. She dusted off her hands and finally turned her gaze over, staring face to face with Chen Mo. “Am I still not allowed to be pessimistic?”
“This depends on how you think about it. Koi only care about their survival; they will naturally gather around anyone who feeds them, but I think that if you grabbed a blade, they would not do the same. On the contrary, even if that concubine did not use any feed, that several years of care will be enough to make the koi naturally swim around her.” Chen Mo thought.
Jiang Yanyu beautifully smiled. Even with her sickly expression, this smile honestly could captivate all things.
“As expected of the one who has received the Wanshou Temple’s approval. You are able to hear new interpretations form Yanyu’s little sigh.”
“Little Sister Yanyu, is your body alright?” Chen mo asked.
“Little Sister? Chen Mo, are you sure your age is greater than mine?” Jiang Yanyu teased.
“That’s a rumor. Little Sister Yanyu, don’t mind it.”
Jiang Yanyu hinted to Chen Mo to sit down, “It isn’t. If you count from when I entered the Inner Star Field and then returned to participate in the Divine Warrior Examination, then indeed, it has been more than twenty years.”3
Chen Mo was taken aback. He did not expect her to admit it so readily.
“If Yanyu may ask, how did you obtain your True Spirit, Chen Mo?” Jiang Yanyu softly inquired.
“By accident.” Chen Mo summarized the events in the underground palace, and then he returned the question to Jiang Yanyu. Legend said that Star World had at most 108 of these Evil Smiting Original True Spirits.4 That Jiang Yanyu had one as well was too surprising.
“Basically the same. I obtained it while I was comprehending sword intent. There are some affairs of the Inner Star Field that, even if I told them to Your Highness, you would not understand very much.” Jiang Yanyu smiled.
“Presumably, the Inner Star Field is very interesting.” Chen Mo smiled and said. “You Servant truly is a bit impatient to see it.”
“Interesting?” Jiang Yanyu felt this truly was an odd way to describe it. Star Generals were numerous in the Inner Star Field, and cultivators in that place practically had no position to speak of. To any cultivator, the Inner Star Field was full of even more challenges.
“That Your Highness was able to obtain Servant Star also was outside of everyone’s expectations. I wonder who the Star Name is?”
“Can’t say.” Chen Mo shook his head.
Jiang Yanyu understood. Matters like a Servant Star was inherently private. She did not plan on Chen Mo actually telling her. “Your Highness is able to have days like these. You surely have a closely intertwined relationship with this Star Name. Yanyu truly is jealous. And Yanyu has a question to ask.”
“Chen Mo, do you want to go to the Inner Star Field?”
“Your talent is greater than mine, and you have a contract and a True Spirit. Yanyu dares to guarantee that every sect in the Inner Star Field will be very willing to receive you.”
“You’re preparing a recommendation for me?”
“En. Exactly. You have an Original True Spirit with you. Sooner or later, there will come a day when you will be targeted, and those who want to overthrow the Central Star Field will require your help, understand? Do you have any ambition to end the rule of Star Generals over Star World?” Jiang Yanyu narrowed her eyes.5
Her words made Chen Mo a bit shaken.
“Ending the rule of Star Generals. This ambition is too big.” Chen Mo shook his head. As one who had received the destiny of a Star General’s inherited Star Name, Jiang Yanyu herself admitted that cultivators basically had no position before a Star General.
“There are some things I am not at liberty to elaborate on, but in the time since the Purple Rose Star Emperor was able to unify Star World a thousand years ago, we cultivators can achieve the very same now.”
“You’re talking about Romance Of The World?”
“Not just that. Currently, some sects in the Inner Star Fields have the ability to contend against Star Generals. There are even some Star Generals who stand on our side. If you are willing, when Yanyu returns to the Inner Star Field, Yanyu can recommend you to the sect master…” Pausing, the girl added: “And Chang’an Mansion is already at a precipice right now. Huan Wen is breaking through to Yellow Court during her secluded cultivation. When that time comes, you should understand the consequences. But if you agree with me, I can give you details.”
Upon mention of Huan Wen, Chen Mo immediately calmed down.
“I will carefully consider the Princess’ proposal. Why not the Princess talk to me about the Inner Star Field’s affairs.”
Jiang Yanyu smiled. She beckoned with her hand, and a bag of fish feed flew from the stone table to Chen Mo’s hand. She pointed and released sword qi.
“Very well. I also wanted to know, if Your Highness feeds the fish and Yanyu holds a blade, would these koi still gather.”
Chen Mo: “…”
- Well, that was to be expected. ↩
- So he has quite the demure demeanor? ↩
- A deal must have been struck between the emperor and Jiang Ruxiu. There’s no way her father is unaware of the rules. ↩
- Yes, the vocabulary changed from a couple chapters ago, it seems. ↩
- Oh, boy, here comes the overarching background plot, I guess? ↩