“Is that brat really as formidable as you say?” Xie Daoyun was still unconvinced. “Even though he didn’t perform terribly during the Clans Tournament, his strength is still pretty limited…”
Xie Xiu shook his head. “That guy seems brash and unrestrained, but he is actually extremely cool-headed and intelligent. Sometimes, even I cannot see through him.”
“I couldn’t care less about him, Chu Chuyan can have this headache all to herself.” Xie Daoyun turned her gaze away. In his current state, Zu An was clearly still not worthy of any special attention from her. She looked towards the pearl curtains hung on the second floor. Unfortunately, there was still no one there. “When is this Qiu Honglei going to show herself?”
She heard that Qiu Honglei’s artistic skills were peerless, and that her poetry and her singing ability were unmatched. Since she herself was serious about music, she had decided to come and see what she could learn from this renowned artiste. She hadn’t the slightest interest in Qiu Honglei’s other talents.
Xie Xiu explained, “I fear we might have to wait a bit longer. Sis, what I am more worried about is that you might be recognized. Even though you are dressed as a man, a more observant person would definitely see through your disguise. If that happens, our father won’t let me off easy…”
The more he spoke, the more regretful he became. Bringing his big sister here had truly been too reckless of a decision.
Women were terribly jealous and competitive creatures, and his big sister, who was usually content with a simple life, was no different.
Xue Daoyun sneered. “Hmph, aren’t you always causing trouble? Why don’t I ever see you so scared of our father all those times?”
Seeing her younger brother’s face scrunch up, she relented. “All right, all right. If you don’t speak about it and I don’t either, how would our father ever find out? I won’t even show myself later. If I have something to say or a comment to make, I’ll let you speak for me. Would that be enough?”
Xie Xiu’s eyes immediately lit up. “Really?”
He knew that he wasn’t the most skilled with words. When compared to those with true talents, he wasn’t even worth a second look. However, with his sister’s help, there was a high chance that Qiu Honglei might look favorably on him. Who knows, he might even be the one chosen to meet her personally.
“Of course! But if Qiu Honglei decides to meet with you, you’ll have to bring me with you.”
“What?” Xie Xiu’s expression fell immediately. He had envisioned an alluringly romantic date, where the two of them would engage in deep, intimate conversation that would continue naturally into the bedroom. However, with his sis accompanying him, all of this went up in smoke.
“Normally, I leave you alone no matter how many girls you play around with, since they are all girls from respectable clans. However, this is different.” Xie Daoyun pinched her brother’s ear. “No matter how pretty or how talented Qiu Honglei is, our father will still never allow a brothel girl into the Xie clan.”
Xie Xiu began to mumble to himself. “I was just looking forward to having some fun… I never said I was going to bring her home.”
“That’s even worse!” Xie Daoyun narrowed her eyes at him in annoyance. “Even though Qiu Honglei has a good reputation, her background makes it such that she would never climb up the social ladder. Since you have no intention of taking her as a wife, then don’t harm her chances of finding an ideal husband.”
Xie Xiu said with a bitter smile, “Sis, those who ask a girl in this type of place to marry and leave her trade are usually extremely foolish… heh…”
He trailed off. If another man had made the same argument, he would have looked down on them and given them an earful. However, since it was his big sister who said it, there was no way he could put her down.
“You men always treat girls like playthings!” Xie Daoyun said hatefully. Her expression suddenly stiffened. Her gaze had landed on Zu An, who was in the hall below. “You really are something! All of you are jackals of the same trade!” she yelled in a fit of anger, her face reddening.
Confused by the sudden outburst, Xie Xiu followed her line of sight, and was immediately struck dumb.
Zu An had his hands around a slender girl, and his hands seemed to already be moving inside her dress.
This guy, why… How did he suddenly become so bold? With a goddess like Chu Chuyan as his wife, why would he still… Don’t tell me that Chu Chuyan isn’t enough?
The extremely shocking scene that he had witnessed in the dungeon appeared in his head again.
With something like that, perhaps a normal girl really might not be enough… Bloody hell…
Xie Xiu’s face had gone as dark as charcoal. He had finally freed himself from that psychological shadow not too long ago, and yet he’d ended up remembering it again.
He drained the cup of wine in front of him in one gulp to drown out these thoughts.
Just as Zu An threw his tantrum and threatened to leave, one of the brothel-keepers in heavy makeup quickly strolled over.
“Aiyo~ It’s the young masters from the Chu clan! How long has it been?” As she spoke, she gently waved the handkerchief in her hands.
Chu Yucheng waved back excitedly. “Long time no see! Sister Hua has become so much more voluptuous, I see.”
This is how women should be! Most women are as skinny as sticks. He really didn’t understand what was wrong with some people’s eyes.
Chu Hongcai took the opportunity to explain to Zu An, “Sister Hua’s full name is Hua Weimian. Back in the day, she was also a famous courtesan within her region. However, as she got older, she became a brothel-keeper instead. In order to broaden their networks, many great figures maintain good relationships with her.”
Zu An stared blankly. Who would have thought that this damn fatty, Chu Yucheng, was such a veteran despite being so young?
However, wasn’t this fellow’s taste a bit eccentric? He seemed to prefer those who were quite a bit older. Also, wasn’t this Sister Hua a little too big?
His doubts were allayed as he considered Chu Yucheng’s own rotund figure. Perhaps, in his eyes, only bigger girls could be considered slim.
“You little demon…” Sister Hua teased playfully. Her gaze suddenly shifted to Zu An. “And this one is…?”
She had spent so much time in these love houses, and her eyes were incredibly sharp. With a single glance, she took in Zu An’s youthful facial features, his slight discomfort, and the curiosity in his eyes, and knew that he had never been to such an establishment before.
However, his clothing was made of very fine material, and he had accompanied the two young masters from the Chu clan, which made him someone wealthy and respectable. As such, she didn’t dare act carelessly.
A servant from the Immortal Abode whispered a few words in her ear, and her expression became jovial. “So you are young master Zu! No wonder young miss Chu ended up falling for you! You are clearly a talented person with a fiercely handsome face!”
Those in her trade knew the major players of Brightmoon City like the back of their hand. A recently-risen personage like Zu An was not only the young master of the Chu clan, he was also a teacher at Brightmoon Academy, and she had already prepared a dossier on him. However, this was the first time she was seeing his face.
Even though her words were clearly flattery, Zu An still felt amazing listening to them. Everyone always described him as a useless drafted son-in-law, and that he was nothing but trash. Only this female brothel-keeper had called him young master Zu, and didn’t even mention anything about him marrying into his wife’s family, instead saying that Chu Chuyan liked him. He immediately felt a closeness to this woman.
No wonder she was able to do so well for herself in this city!
Chu Yucheng patted her bottom. “My brother was upset that you had intentionally left him out by not giving him an invitation! Hurry and find some nice girls to help him cool off.”
“You wrong us, young master! Young master Zu is young miss Chu’s sweetheart, and he is also Brightmoon Duke’s ideal son-in-law. Even if I had ten times more courage, I still wouldn’t dare to send him an invitation! If I incurred their wrath, our Immortal Abode would be put in a tight spot!” However, Sister Hua knew that Chu Yucheng was giving her a way out, so she hurriedly added, “As an apology, we’ll waive all of young master Zu’s expenses here tonight.”
Spending a night in the Immortal Abode was an expensive affair, but it was well worth it to establish a good relationship with Zu An. After all, he was the young master of the Chu clan and a teacher at Brightmoon Academy.
Furthermore, rumors abounded that he had won over a million silver taels through gambling. If he were pampered well, it would make him more than willing to come back to play again in the future.
Envious whistles greeted her announcement, as the other patrons nearby overheard her.
Chu Yucheng tried his luck. “Sister Hua, you waived the bill for my brother, but what about us? Aren’t you showing too much favoritism? Besides, the two of us are already so close.”
Sister Hua rebuked him with a sharp laugh. “Who here doesn’t know that the head of the third branch of the Chu clan is a great salt merchant? The amount of money that our Immortal Abode brings in each month is equal to what your business makes in a single day. If I waive the bill for you, wouldn’t I be showing you great disrespect?”
Chu Yucheng rolled his eyes. “Your Immortal Abode is well-known as a place to blow money away. I might have believed you if you had said the opposite.”
Sister Hua was all smiles. “Aiyo~ let’s stop flattering each other over our businesses. How about this—I’ll arrange for some beast-clan girls to keep you company. These girls have just arrived and they haven’t even entertained any other guests before!”
As she spoke, she gestured towards the back of the hall. Three gorgeously-dressed girls walked over.
“They’ve never had customers before?” Chu Yucheng snorted disdainfully. He cast a skeptical eye over the approaching ladies. If you really insist that they’ve never entertained guests before, then this chubby young master is a pure and chase choirboy.
However, beast-clan girls were indeed a rare sight. When the humans had fought with the foreign tribes a thousand years ago, most of the foreign tribes had retreated to the borders of the empire. However, some of their clansmen had chosen to remain in the human territories.
Their fates were normally extremely pitiful. If they weren’t captured to serve as slaves or servants, they were sold to places like these. The most fortunate ones among them managed to marry one of the ordinary folk and lived simple lives.
Despite their tragic plight, beast-clan beauties were still considered rare treasures. Chu Yucheng had yet to have a chance to play with one, even after all these years.
With these thoughts in mind, he made no move to unmask Sister Hua’s lies.
Sister Hua sighed in relief as she noted their satisfied expressions. “Girls, treat these young masters well! I am going to receive other guests first. There’s just so much to do for today’s Courtesan’s Meeting, and I must beg young masters’ forgiveness.”
“Go, go, go!” Chu Yucheng was impatient to discuss the intricacies of life and the importance of proper ideals with a beast-clan beauty, and so he was naturally eager for her to leave.
Sister Hua smiled slightly and walked off, shaking her hips in an exaggerated manner.
Chu Yucheng pulled the largest and most well-developed girl of the three into his embrace. Then, he pushed the most slender and delicate girl towards Zu An.
The one left for Chu Hongcai was the most ordinary and mediocre one out of them.
However, he didn’t mind at all. He was whole-heartedly devoted to Qiu Honglei to begin with. None of the other girls could match up to his standards. Having an extra beast-clan girl at his side was just like having an extra person to drink with. The more the merrier, after all.
Chu Yucheng said to the young lady in Zu An’s embrace, “This is my brother’s first time in such an establishment, so serve him well! Don’t scare him away, now.”
The slender young lady’s face colored slightly. She lowered her head and said, “It’s also my first time.”
Chu Yucheng laughed loudly, not bothering to argue with her. He immediately began to work the girl in his arms. “What race are you?’
That girl lay in his embrace, her arm hooked around his neck. Her charming eyes were like silk. “This humble one is from the bear race,” she said.
“The bear race? That’s perfect! This is the sort of build I’m talking about!” As he said this, Chu Yucheng buried his head into the curves of her body.
This perverted fatty! Zu An was completely speechless. He still found such directness jarring.
He looked at the young lady who had been unceremoniously pushed into his arms and asked, “What is your name?”
“My name is Leng Shuangyue…” The young lady replied shyly, her gaze lowered and her voice as soft as the buzzing of a mosquito.
Zu An was stunned. Her name was completely unexpected, especially for someone who worked at a brothel like this! Could it be a fake name?
He was not swayed by her bashful expression.
Just because he had never done anything like this before didn’t mean he was completely clueless.
In his previous world, he had read the stories of too many experienced veterans. Those in her trade sometimes deliberately pretended to be fresh and pure to suit their customers’ tastes.
That was why all trades and professions had to be run by businessmen!
“What race are you?” The fluffy ears that stuck out from her hair had piqued his curiosity. He’d only ever seen beastmen on TV before, and had never expected to actually have a chance to embrace and play with one after arriving in this world.
“I am a cat woman.” Leng Shuangyue replied.
“Catwoman?” Zu An’s eyes lit up. His mind conjured up the svelte figure of Catwoman, Batman’s nemesis, leaning over a motorcycle.
His impression of the woman in his arms immediately improved.
“I’ve always wanted to know. Do you beastmen have tails?” As he posed his question, he reached a hand behind her. Looking down from the second floor, the angle made it look as if he was reaching straight into her dress.
“This damn pervert!”
It wasn’t just Xie Daoyun who was furious. In another private room, another blushing woman spat with disgust.
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