All her suitors exchanged dismayed stares when they saw Qiu Honglei’s encouraging expression.
Her skills at the zither had clearly reached great heights. How could any of these laymen hope to say what she wanted to hear?
Even if some of them did know a thing or two about playing the zither, how could they ever compare to an expert like her?
If they made a rash guess and pointed out something by mistake, wouldn’t they just make a fool of themselves?
That was why they all looked at each other, but not a single one of them was willing to take a risk. After all, there was only a single opportunity! They would lose their chance to get closer to their goddess if they couldn’t satisfy her.
All of them wanted to listen first and scope things out.
When he saw their fear, Chen Xuan sneered. These young masters who lived like princes were all anxious and worried over nothing. They couldn’t be considered real men at all.
The thing about women is that the more you flatter them and tend to them, the further away they will stay from you!
As such, he walked over casually. Thumping his chest, he said, “Lady Qiu, I do not know much about the details of playing an instrument, so I won’t embarrass myself. However, in your music, I was able to hear the story of how a love was betrayed. I do not dare guarantee anything else, but if anyone dares to bully you in the future, I will immediately have my men cut him down, and I will make a wine cup out of his skull!”
His appearance was wild and strong to begin with, and his words served to further enhance his masculinity. His proud, manly figure clearly set him apart from the other sissies in the hall.
“In that case, this humble girl will truly have to offer my thanks to such a brave warrior.” Qiu Honglei looked at him with her bewitching eyes. Her beautiful red lips parted slightly, and her eyes almost welled up with tears of gratitude.
Seeing how he had obtained Qiu Honglei’s favor, the surrounding young masters were instantly regretful. Had they known that this would have been the result, they would have stepped out first.
The first man always left the deepest impression on a girl.
Having been embarrassed by Chen Xuan earlier, Wang Yuanlong was in a rush to redeem himself. He said in a rush, “Lady Qiu, I am but a humble young master of the Wang clan, and I do not possess many other skills. However, my clan’s caravan routes extend far under the heavens, and so I still know a thing or two about the many different lands. If my lady has a need for anything, I am most willing to have my men help you. I am sure that they can swiftly find what you seek.”
After a slight pause, he looked at Chen Xuanand continued, “After all, no matter how formidable a single person is, their energy is still limited in the end. How could it possibly compare to the power of a clan?”
He knew where his strengths lay. Even though his cultivation was far inferior to that of Chen Xuan, he was still the Wang clan’s only son. Where wealth was concerned, this barbarian wasn’t even worthy of wiping the dirt off his shoes.
Chen Xuan naturally knew what he was referring to. With a sneer, he said, “Just another piece of trash who depends on his family. Not even your words are original.”
He was clearly implying that Wang Yuanlong was imitating his style.
“What did you say?!” Wang Yuanlong became furious.
“Hm? Could it be that you want to fight? Come on then!” Chen Xuan also stood up, favoring the young man with a sinister smile.
Wang Yuanlong’s expression turned sickly. They hadn’t even won when it was three-against-one earlier, and he himself had been left half-dead from a single kick. How could he possibly dare to fight with this person again?
However, there was no way he would admit that he was scared when such a beauty was present. He froze, unsure of what to do.
Fortunately, Qiu Honglei helped him out of his predicament. “Sirs, please do not be like this. If the mood was ruined because of me, that would truly be an irredeemable sin.”
As Qiu Honglei blamed herself, tears about to fill her eyes, the sound of countless hearts shattering echoed across the hall. Everyone turned to glare furiously at the two miscreants.
How dare they hurt Lady Qiu’s feelings?!
Setting Wang Yuanlong aside, even Chen Xuan, someone who was used to licking the blood off his blade, grew flustered. He hurriedly apologized and promised not to cause any more trouble.
With that, Qiu Honglei beamed. Her smile radiated with the warmth of spring that melted away ice and snow and heralded the blooming of a field of flowers. The hearts of all the men thumped wildly. They knew that they would never be able to forget this smile.
Pei Mianman couldn’t help but sigh. “She really is a great beauty… it is hard even for a girl to resist her charms.”
After a momentary silence, the hall quickly grew lively again. All the suitors seemed to regain their confidence, as if they had been given new life by that smile.
Chen Xuan and Wang Yuanlong had blazed a trail for them, and now all of them began to speak up, giving comments on Qiu Honglei’s earlier playing.
For the sake of winning her favor, all of them began giving it their all.
Some of them flexed their literary prowess, praising her performance as if nothing in the heavens above or earth below could compare, and only occasionally sprinkling in one or two comments on her so-called ‘flaws’. As he listened to their rambling, Zu An grew more and more stupefied. He never expected this world to have this many graceful and elegant adjectives.
Some of them flaunted their family backgrounds. Zu An was surprised at how many of them were scions of wealthy merchant clans in Brightmoon City. At the very least, he now had a better idea of how this world was structured.
Some displayed their strength and potential, and there were even some fifth rank academy students in the mix. However, with a sixth rank cultivator present, they only paled in comparison.
Zu An continued to watch as the show unfolded, idly chewing on some melon seeds. Only then did he remember that he was actually a teacher at the academy.
Hmph, I’ll remember that student. He didn’t even greet me when he saw me! I’m going to fail him in my next class.
Qiu Honglei responded to each one of her suitors with a sweet and engaged smile, making them feel as if they were wrapped in a warm spring breeze.
Zu An felt endless admiration for her. This woman’s communication skills really were top-notch.
But why hadn’t that crazy fan Chu Hongcai said anything yet?
While he was still trying to puzzle it out, he noticed Chu Yucheng bringing Chu Hongcai to the front to see their goddess up close. They got so close, in fact, that they even managed to catch a whiff of her fragrance.
Chu Hongcai almost fainted.
Fortunately, he still remembered what he had come for, and asked hurriedly, “I wonder who Lady Qiu pictured while playing that song. Who could have had the fortune of obtaining Lady Qiu’s favor?”
Noticing that he was the young master of the Chu clan’s second branch, Qiu Honglei scanned the area around him, but didn’t see the one she was looking for.
Letting her gaze roam further, she noticed that Zu An was talking and laughing with Leng Shuangyue at one side of the hall, completely unconcerned with what was going on.
She was bewildered.
Have I not revealed enough of myself? Or are his standards just too high?
You have successfully trolled Qiu Honglei for 128 Rage points!
The influx of Rage points left Zu An startled. The previous time might have been an accident, but for it to happen twice in succession can’t possibly be a coincidence, can it?
Why did this girl keep targeting him?
Could it be…
That I am too handsome, and she can’t help but drool over my suave face?
By the time she looked at Chu Hongcai again, Qiu Honglei’s expression had long since returned to normal. She said with a smile, “I’m afraid the Chu clan’s second young master has misunderstood. I do not have a lover. The song I shared just now was an interpretation of a folk story.”
Despite it being known that Qiu Honglei was pure and unblemished, many of her suitors still secretly harbored fears. When they heard her say that she didn’t have any lovers herself, there was a collective sigh of relief.
This was how men were. They would be able to brush it off if they couldn’t obtain something themselves. However, if someone else obtained that very thing, there was no way they could handle it.
“No wonder!” Chu Hongcai exclaimed, like someone who had suddenly seen the light.
Those around him became impatient. “Are you done yet? Everyone else is waiting!”
“Exactly! What are you playing at!”
Chen Xuan also muttered, “If you have a fart, then release it. Why are you beating around the bush?”
Chu Hongcai’s breath caught momentarily. A hint of anger flashed across his face.
Qiu Honglei didn’t seem to have heard any of this. A curious expression appeared on her face, and she asked, “Why did you say ‘no wonder’?”
A smile spread across Chu Hongcai’s face. Only then did he reply, “No wonder I caught some disharmony as I was listening to Lady Qiu’s song earlier. I was sure that it was because of Lady Qiu’s tender age. Without personally experiencing such an unforgettable love, there wasn’t a way for you to truly reproduce such a soul-wrenching feeling.
“With Lady Qiu’s brilliant skill at the zither, I was worried I might be spouting nonsense, just like those academic critics who constantly nitpick the works of others, fussing over nothing.”
Many of the suitors around him nodded inwardly. This fella was indeed quite clever, playing his cards in this manner.
In reality, everyone could understand this reasoning. Even though Qiu Honglei was a courtesan who made endless connections, she had never taken it further with another man.
Since she had no experience with true romance, she could only rely on her imagination to portray these emotions that only existed for her as literature. As such, they couldn’t be considered real emotions.
However, her performance had really been too moving, so no one had pursued such a thought. Even if some did, they felt like voicing this out would be disrespectful, so they didn’t dare to say it.
Chu Hongcai’s breathing became ragged. He had been preparing for this moment for a long time.
All of this was for the sake of leaving behind a deeper impression on his goddess.
The flattery that some of the others resorted to was certain to fail. Those who flattered while trying to point out some make-believe flaws were even more unacceptable.
Only he himself, who pointed out an issue that really existed, might truly obtain her favor.
As expected, Qiu Honglei’s expression did indeed change. After a long pause, she let out a long sigh. “I had hoped that the second young master of the Chu clan would have some penetrating insight. However, it seems like you weren’t able to understand my playing at all.”
Seeing Qiu Honglei’s disappointment, the suitors around him—who had initially been full of regret—were overjoyed, and began roasting him.
“Exactly! Why don’t you take a moment to think about who Lady Qiu is? Of course she can put in true emotions when playing!”
“Instead of being a decent person, you just had to try a dirty trick like this! You’re definitely getting what you deserve!”
“Who does this fellow think he is? How dare he criticize Lady Qiu like this?!”
Chu Hongcai couldn’t care less about the others hitting him while he was down. Right now, Qiu Honglei’s disdainful expression was the only thing that filled his mind.
After all, no matter how coarse and boorish the others acted, she had always maintained a pleasant countenance. He was the only one she had treated with absolute ruthlessness.
I’m finished, I’m done for...
These words echoed throughout his mind as his soul slowly left his body. He could see Chu Yucheng moving his mouth, but he couldn’t hear anything.
Zu An was surprised by this unexpected development. Even though Chu Hongcai’s words had been a little too direct, they were still reasonable. Qiu Honglei had served as a courtesan for so many years, so there was no reason why she would lose her composure just like that.
“Little catgirl, why would lady Qiu get so upset?” Zu An asked the young lady next to him curiously, subconsciously rubbing her ears.
Leng Shuangyue’s face immediately reddened. “I… really… don’t know… ah…”
Zu An was brushing her ears with more force than before, causing the cat girl’s entire body to tremble continuously. She hurriedly stammered, “Maybe… maybe it has something to do with that matter…”
As Zu An listened to her explanation, a sudden revelation came to him.
Qiu Honglei’s gaze had already moved towards the second floor. “Young master Xie arrived a while ago, and yet he still hasn’t said anything. I wish to hear the opinion of young master Xie.”
Chen Xuan was stunned. “Young master Xie? Which young master Xie?”
“How many young master Xies does Brightmoon City have? Of course she’s referring to Xie Xiu!” Someone near him sneered. What a bumpkin. He was completely led by the nose, and he still has no idea!
Chen Xuan immediately erupted in fury. He glared at Zu An. “Damn brat, you had the nerve to mess with me earlier!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter