Chapter 238: Stop Talking, I Can Already Picture it!

“Courtesan's Meeting?” Zu An’s eyes brightened. How could such courtesans, who used the arts to entertain instead of selling their bodies, be missing from the historical dramas and novels in his past life? His interest was immediately piqued.

He never expected to be able to experience such things personally! Just as he was about to agree, a sudden thought struck him. He shook his head and said, “Take a good look at this pure and upstanding face of mine. Do I really look like someone who would go to a brothel?”

Chu Yucheng was speechless.

His eyes, which had been reduced to slits by his excessive smile, instantly widened.

This brat… that’s exactly the type of person you are!

Even Chu Hongcai, who had been standing aloof by the side, turned around in astonishment. The fellow in front of him truly was shameless beyond imagination.

Zu An snickered inside. He hadn’t been in the Chu estate for long, but it had been long enough that he wasn’t a stranger here. Neither branch had chosen to engage with him much during this period, and yet, they were suddenly inviting him to some Courtesan's Meeting? How could that not seem suspicious to him?

If he ended up going with them, only for them to suddenly rat him out to Qin Wanru or Chu Chuyan, he might be forced to take his own life to avoid their wrath.

Chu Yucheng’s round little eyes twitched. He seemed to guess Zu An’s thoughts, and said with a smile, “Ah Zu, you’re thinking too much. Visiting brothels is a noble and distinguished affair in our Great Zhou Dynasty. As long as you don’t bring anyone home, no one would consider it a big deal, not even your own cousins.”

“That’s correct!” Chu Hongcai chipped in with a nonchalant affirmation.

Zu An narrowed his eyes at him. This fellow really cherished his words like gold! At least his bearing was more suave than that father of his with the dark eyebags.

Chu Yucheng said with a laugh, “The two of us were planning to head over ourselves, but we suddenly thought of inviting Ah Zu to join us for this happy occasion. You’ve  already been in the estate for so long, and yet we are still not close at all! This would be the perfect chance to give you a big welcome. Don’t worry, we’ll foot the bill this time. You can just focus on enjoying yourself.”

Zu An’s suspicions grew. Were these two fellas really that nice?

Their voices sounded sincere, however, and there was no hint of a lie.

Ah, could this be because I was too brilliant during the Clans Tournament? I even rescued Chu Chuyan from the dungeon! They must feel that my position is pretty much secure. That’s why they are trying to curry favor and get on my good side!

Noticing the change in his attitude, Chu Yusheng reached out his chubby hand to tug at his sleeve. “We must hurry, or else there’ll be way too many people later on. By then, we won’t even be able to squeeze our way in!”

“Could it really be that bad?” Zu An was extremely doubtful.

“We can’t blame you for not knowing.” Chu Hongcai’s eyes glittered, and he dropped his proud and reticent attitude. “Ever since Qiu Honglei arrived in Brightmoon City two years ago, she immediately became the undisputed number one courtesan. Not only is she devastatingly beautiful, she is exceptionally talented in the arts, and is perfect in every respect. Her zither skills and the way she dances are even more dazzling. In my opinion, if not for her status as a courtesan, not even Chu Chuyan would be able to sit comfortably on her throne as Brightmoon City’s number one beauty.”

“Ahem ahem…” Chu Yucheng hurriedly tugged at his cousin’s sleeve. “What are you saying? Qiu Honglei is a brothel girl! How can you compare her to our cousin?”

Chu Hongcai snorted irritably, but didn’t argue further. He clearly acknowledged what had just been said.

“Qiu Honglei?” This name seemed very familiar. Zu An suddenly remembered how that lecher Ji Dengtu had offered to treat his condition, as long as he could obtain the personal underwear of several ladies. Qiu Honglei had been one of those mentioned.

Even though he didn’t need that old dirtbag to treat him anymore, his curiosity about this woman remained. After all, she was a woman that even Ji Dengtu couldn’t forget, and the others he had mentioned—Yu Yanluo, Shang Liuyu, and even Qin Wanru—were all one-in-a-million beauties.

Hm?

A thought came to his mind. “How old is this Qiu Honglei?”

Yu Yanluo and Qin Wanru were both from Ji Dengtu’s generation. There was no way this was true for this courtesan as well right?

When he thought of a courtesan auntie…

Zu An’s expression immediately turned bizarre. However, as he thought about how Yu Yanluo and the others still maintained their exceptional appearances, he became less concerned with Qiu Honglei’s age.

Since this was a world of cultivation, living to a few hundreds of years, or even over a thousand years, was completely possible. Once a cultivator reached a certain level of cultivation, they could prevent aging from affecting their physical appearance, making a person’s age less of a consideration.

“No one knows her exact age. However, from the various fanclubs’ rumors, she should be about the same age as our cousin.” Chu Hongcai spoke like one who was exceedingly familiar with the matter. If Chu Yucheng hadn’t hurriedly cut him off, he might even have started preaching about the different Qiu Honglei fanclubs in Brightmoon City.

Zu An was completely stunned. This fella’s aloof and reserved appearance was falling apart! It turned out that he was also a celebrity-chasing fanboy!

Pah, what celebrity? Isn’t this just lusting after someone’s appearance and figure?!

“Let’s head out first. We can talk about these things along the way. Otherwise, we really won't be able to find any seats.” Chu Yucheng pulled them forward, one in each hand, hurrying them along.

“Wait!” Zu An still remained hesitant. “Chuyan is sick, yet we are still going out for such… Ahem ahem... Isn’t it irresponsible for us to go out for some cultural appreciation while she’s in such a state?”

Chu Yucheng stared blankly. “Isn’t she just experiencing a minor problem? What is there to worry about?”

“Exactly.” Chu Hongcai echoed him. “She will get better after resting for a few days, but Qiu Honglei’s Courtesan’s Meeting is a one-time deal! According to the rumors, Lady Qiu might even choose someone to meet her in private.”

His eyes sparkled brilliantly as he spoke those words. It was clear that he had already begun to fantasize that he would be the lucky one chosen.

Zu An gave them his best smile. “You’re right, Chuyan will get better after a few days anyway. We have to go pay this courtesan a visit.”

Chuyan my love, it’s not that I want to go about womanizing, but I have to in order to hide your condition! This humble husband can only pretend to follow them in a carefree manner. Sigh… I must sacrifice my actual feelings and entertain those vixens!

“Ah Zu, what’s with that wide grin? What are you thinking about?” Chu Yucheng patted his shoulder with a meaty palm.

Zu An was startled. “No… nothing,” he said with a guilty conscience. He looked around to make sure no one else had noticed anything, then sighed in relief. 

Several fine steeds had been prepared for them at the gates of the Chu Estate. Since they were all men, there was no need for them to go by carriage.

Zu An studied their little group, and realized that he had forgotten to bring Cheng Shouping along. He was just about to call for him, but the other two rushed to stop him, their expressions altering noticeably.  “Ah Zu, you mustn’t fret over trifles!”

“Indeed, we brothers merely wish to drink merrily together with some girls. Why would we bring any subordinates?”

Noticing their strong reactions, Zu An began to suspect them of setting a trap for him, and reminded himself to be vigilant. However, he recognized that, even if he were to fall into a trap, Cheng Shouping’s presence wouldn’t really make a difference, and so there was no need for those two to fret like this.

He peered closer and saw the nervousness in their eyes, and a ray of understanding struck him. It seemed that, having stayed with the Chu clan for so long, Cheng Shouping’s reputation as a blabbermouth was already common knowledge. If he accompanied them to the brothel, it was certain that everyone in the Chu clan would know of their visit within half a day’s time.

Even though visiting prostitutes in the Great Zhou Dynasty wasn’t a shameful act, it wasn’t anything to brag about, either. If word of their visit reached the Master’s or Madam’s ears, he would be in big trouble.

Having considered these issues thoroughly, Zu An decided not to bring Cheng Shouping along after all. Thus, the trio mounted up and rushed towards Immortal Abode.

“By the way, I am slightly curious. Is it true that this Qiu Honglei doesn’t provide sexual favors, but instead takes pride in entertaining others with her artistic talents?” Zu An asked along the way.

“Yup, this is common knowledge, and not just in Brightmoon City.” Chu Hongcai seemed extremely proud as he said this. “Tales of Lady Qiu’s beauty have spread far and wide, and even people from the neighboring commanderies flock to catch a glimpse of her. It is precisely because she has remained principled and incorruptible that so many men have gone crazy over her.”

“The brothel has so many gentle and beautiful girls, yet none of you cherish them. All of you insist on scrambling madly for this unobtainable girl. Tell me, isn’t this kind of rude?” Zu An couldn’t help but sigh.

Chu Hongcai and Chu Yucheng exchanged incredulous looks.

Only after a moment did Chu Yucheng break out in laughter. “Ah Zu, even though your words are somewhat crude, you have hit the nail on the head! This is human nature.”

“Also, as for Qiu Honglei’s purity, who could confirm such a thing? Do we just have to trust her on this?” Zu An shook his head. “I still can’t believe it. If she really has the body of a goddess like you all say, there’s no way she could remain untainted after spending so many years in a brothel.”

Chu Yucheng was completely stunned. “This… has indeed never been proven before.” How would one even go about proving such a thing? Moreover, if it was confirmed that she had been with a man before, wouldn’t it mean that she wasn’t pure anymore?

Chu Hongcai couldn’t hide his displeasure. “Brother Zu, Lady Qiu isn’t that type of person. Please do not speak nonsense about her or bring disgrace to her spotless reputation!”

You have successfully trolled Chu Hongcai for 168 Rage points!

Spotless reputation? 

Zu An almost choked. How could a famous brothel courtesan ever have a spotless reputation? There was no way he would believe that.

He laughed and said, “This isn’t idle speculation, but rather, logical deduction. Think about it. Not only is she a ravishing beauty, she is also a brothel girl. You can easily imagine how many big shots are drooling over her. Moreover this is a world of cultivation, where the strong prevail. Could a brothel ever be in a position to refuse a request? 

“Perhaps a certain official of high standing developed a strong interest in her. Would he be deterred by a flimsy claim that she was only selling her artistic talents and not herself?”

Chu Hongcai had been full of indignation, and was ready to counter Zu An. However, as he listened to this string of arguments, his complexion gradually mellowed. These really were reasonable deductions.

When he thought about how the perfect goddess in his heart had been pushed down and toyed with by who knew how many bigwigs, he immediately felt extremely unwell.

Chu Yucheng noticed how his cousin’s soul seemed to have left his body, and acknowledged how formidable Zu An’s mouth really was. He hurriedly said, “Brightmoon City is part of our Chu clan’s fief. Master has always acted with fairness, so he naturally wouldn’t get involved in such a thing. The city lord is also known for being generous and refined, so there’s little chance of him engaging in such disgraceful behavior either. With the two of them overseeing things here, who else would dare do something like this?”

Zu An frowned and said, “That may be true, but I just feel like this matter is still far from settled. If someone were to completely lose themselves to mindless desire, let go of all restraint…”

Chu Hongcai immediately cut him off, covering his ears and shaking his head fiercely. “Stop talking, stop talking! I am already starting to picture things!”

Chu Yucheng laughed. “Our plan is to enjoy ourselves, so let’s not talk about things that will spoil the fun. Ah Zu will understand once we lay our eyes on Qiu Honglei.”

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