At this moment, the atmosphere in the banquet hall was quite lively. Third Master Wu’s two foster sons and his various trusted subordinates already had left the stage. They started to celebrate the birthday for Third Master Wu in the order of their ages. Everybody all carefully prepared birthday gifts. Compared with those of the guests on the scene, of course, since their birthday gifts were carefully selected, they were priceless.
The first one to come on the stage was a middle-aged man, who looked to be in his 50s. Looking almost the same as Third Master Wu, he was somewhat hunchbacked and had white hair on his temples.
He looked calm and held a delicate Jade Goddess in his hands. Since Third Master Wu believed in Buddhism, of course, he did so to cater to his fancy. He slowly kneeled down and said in a low voice, “Old Master, I wish you boundless happiness and long, long life!”
Stroking his beard gently, Third Master Wu smiled happily as he said, “Okay, okay, okay. Eldest, you are so considerate.”
The Jade Goddess was also displayed on the screen. After that, a waitress walked forward, took the birthday gift, and placed it respectfully on the long table nearby. The Eldest stood up and stood by the Old Master’s side.
Another man stood on the Old Master’s right side, who did not participate in the birthday celebration. Instead, he stood there expressionlessly, observing everybody on the scene peacefully. Normally speaking, Qin Sheng thought that he should be the Old Master’s bodyguard. Whoever he was, he certainly was not easy to deal with.
The royal sister, who was by Qin Sheng’s side, let out a sigh as she said, “Poor Eldest.”
Qin Sheng asked somewhat curiously, “Sister Yang, what do you mean?”
Since Qin Sheng had spoken with this beauty for some time, he already knew her identity. She was a representative sent by a tycoon from Suzhou. She was dressed in a slim and black dress and looked pretty feminine.
Sister Yang replied with surprise, “Could it be that you don’t know the inside story?”
Qin Sheng shook his head as he said, “Honestly, I don’t know it.”
Sister Yang explained slowly, “Previously, The Eldest was Third Master Wu’s most valued successor. However, he became somewhat flighty and impatient in later days. Several years ago, he drew a group of founding members to his side, intending to fight for power. Unfortunately, he was suppressed by the group of young and vigorous members. Old Master was pretty disappointed in him and cleared away a large number of founding members. That was the reason why those people could be elevated to the upper positions.”
Upon hearing Sister Yang’s words, Qin Sheng finally came to his senses. It did not occur to him that such an issue had happened before. However, he could totally understand it. After all, every circle was the same, wasn’t it?
A man who was on Qin Sheng’s right side echoed as he said, “As the saying goes, a man whose heart is not content is like a snake that tries to swallow an elephant. Every time someone rises, another will fall. Mobility is the only thing to guarantee the passion and the enthusiasm of this circle. I almost suspected that it was a trap set up by the Old Master himself at that time.” Coming all the way from Shanghai, he was sent by a big boss there who had been taken up by Third Master Wu in the early days.
Qin Sheng said thoughtfully, “What Mr. Qian has said makes sense.”
After that, Qin Sheng found the situation become pretty interesting. These two friends on either side of him continuously elaborated on what had happened to him. When Qin Sheng saw the man dressed in Western-style clothes and leather shoes, whom he had seen in the club last time, he asked them eagerly, “How about this one?”
Sister Yang smiled happily as she said, “He is Yuan Zhou, Boss Yuan. If he were not married yet, I would like to marry him. He is one of the most powerful tycoons in this circle. The most high-end nightclub in Hangzhou so far is under his charge. What do you think? Since he could even easily take control of such a location, he must be pretty capable. Third Master Wu thinks pretty highly of him. It is said that he takes over the largest number of connections and resources and achieves the greatest success now.”
Qin Sheng nodded silently. No wonder he had been so arrogant and proud. He did not even give a damn about the group of people at all, including Boss Hu, Luo Changgong, and Yang Deng.
A while later, it was Luo Changgong who came on the stage. This time, Mr. Qian, who was on Qin Sheng’s left side, said happily, “Brother Luo is the most sociable one in this circle. He knows all sorts of people. His strength also comes out at the front. After all, in the beginning, he possessed the connections of the grey industries. The most interesting thing about him is that he does not get along with Yuan Ke, who is on the Old Monk’s side.”
Of course, Qin Sheng knew all of these issues. Apparently, Brother Luo was greatly loved and supported. The gift Brother Luo sent to the Old Master today was a string of Buddist’s beads, which should not be ordinary ones at all.
A while later, Yang Deng’s brother showed up, whose gift was a bronze sword, which was originated from the Warring States period. Though it was covered with rust, it looked pretty valuable.
Sister Yang explained to Qin Sheng again, “Xiaochuan, he is an eligible bachelor who knows how to carry himself in society. Plus, he is intelligent and well educated. He is in charge of the investment of this circle now. Old Master’s money is all under his charge. A lot of people’s money in this circle is also in his hands. He is the so-called God of Wealth. He is closest to Yuan Zhou. They are in the same boat.”
Qin Sheng broadened his vision once again. Compared with Wu Yongchuan, who was a prince, Yang Deng was simply a loser, who only knew about daily playing and killing. Qin Sheng took a glimpse at Wu Yongchuan’s costume and knew he must have hit on many girls in Shanghai.
Everybody most likely wanted to take their best shot in front of the Old Master. Every gift presented made all the audience on the scene cry out in alarm. Obviously, they all had put great effort into the birthday gifts. Qin Sheng was eager to know if the Old Master could earn tens of millions of dollars from these gifts that he got at the birthday party this time. How amazing he was.
And the last one to go on stage, of course, was Yang Deng, since he was the youngest among them. He held a small box in his hands. Qin Sheng really did not know what his birthday gift would be.
Yang Deng smiled happily as he said, “Foster Father, I wish you a long, long life, a healthy body, and a vigorous state. This is a string of Buddha’s relics, which I asked an eminent monk for on Mountain Wutai several years ago. May the Buddha be compassionate to bless you with kindness, Foster Father.”
Old Master stroked his beard, smiled graciously, and said, “Get up. I will pay tribute to it in later days. You are such a good child.”
Though Old Master replied to many people’s words in a quite polite manner, but he spoke to Yang Deng quite casually instead. Obviously, he liked Yang Deng very much. That was the reason why he allowed Yang Deng to act on his own free will and did not interfere with him. He did not set up specific requirements for Yang Deng deliberately.
“Yang Deng is a weirdo in this circle. However, Old Master likes him the most. He often stays on Putuo Mountain. If it were somebody else, Old Master would drive him away before.” Smiling happily, Sister Yang explained to Qin Sheng what she knew about this amiable boy.
Mr. Qian echoed as he said, “What Great Beauty Yang has said is right. Yang Deng does not have much ambition. Never does he do anything disgusting. Consequently, Old Master is willing to keep him by his side. Others can’t be treated in this way.”
Qin Sheng listed to what they had said, smiled, and did not say anything at all. No wonder Yang Deng could talk to the Old Master. Others might be powerful, capable, and of high social status. However, Yang Deng was Old Master’s favorite. As long as the Old Master was still alive, others had no choice but to take Yang Deng seriously.
After Yang Deng finished presenting his birthday gift, it was time for the guests to present their birthday gifts to the Old Master. Of course, they did it voluntarily and did it in the order of their table number. These people, including Luo Changgong and Yang Deng, stood behind the Old Master. After all, the Old Master didn’t know all the guests. They certainly needed to explain the guests’ identity to him. If they did not do so, how should Old Master thank the guests in return?
Speaking of those who came out first, as expected, they were Qu Huanxi and Yuan Ke. They had carefully selected their birthday gifts. After all, they came here on the Old Monk’s behalf. They brought the Old Master a set of stationery, which were all old antiques. The Old Master liked to practice calligraphy and do paintings.
Acting pretty obediently, Qu Huanxi said, “Grandfather Wu, as your junior, I wish you longevity and wish you a good life on my grandfather’s behalf. He said he would come to Putuo Mountain after a while to drink tea and discuss Buddhism with you.” This lad liked acting the most. He would put on different shows based on people’s social status. Yuan Ke was by his side. He could not interpose on such an occasion.
Old Master Wu smiled happily as he said, “Huanxi, you actually are so tall now. Back when I saw you last time, you were just in your teens. As the saying goes, time and tide wait for no man. We are all old now. The world belongs to the young people like you.”
Qu Huanxi, who was ingratiating in speech, said, “Grandfather Wu, you are not old at all. You are still so young.”
Third Master Wu waved his hands as he said, “You sit down and have dinner quickly, naughty child.”
“Okay.” Qu Huanxi walked off the stage with Yuan Ke happily.
After the man of the Dugu family finished presenting the birthday gift on the Dugu family’s behalf, the procedure of presenting the birthday gifts went on. Whether they were Qin Sheng’s acquaintances or not, Qin Sheng got to know them gradually now since there were two senior gossipers by his side. They made a comment about Qu Huanxi, saying, “This lad is quite bad and ruthless. Whoever runs into him should be careful since he conducts abductions and deceit often.” As for Dugu Qingning, they thought highly of him and said, “He is young and talented. He is the future of the Dugu family.”
As the procedure went on, as expected, Qin Sheng saw his brother-in-law, who came on the stage with the birthday gift. The speech he gave out was quite ordinary. His birthday gift was a delicate painting of the Goddess.
Qin Sheng asked on purpose, “How about this one?”
Sister Yang said with interest, “He is the son of Lin Changting and comes from the Lin family. Alas, he is nothing but a rich playboy. Speaking of his half-sister, she is quite amazing instead. However, after she made the Lin family a joke, she completely disappeared.”
Qin Sheng did not question her closely what had happened since he was the root of the issue.
As expected, presenting the birthday gifts was boring. Qin Sheng chatted and drank with the two senior gossipers, watching the scene of bustle. He was waiting for his turn to go on the stage.
Half an hour later, it was finally his table’s turn. The others who sat at the same table as Qin Sheng did not intend to present their birthday gifts. After waiting for a short while, Qin Sheng held two gifts in his arms and stood up slowly in the end.
The royal sister, Great Beauty Yang, and Mr. Qian, who liked gossiping more than the royal sister, were both somewhat surprised. It did not occur to them that Qin Sheng, who had been talking with them for so long a time, actually intended to present his birthday gifts.
As everybody on the scene fixed their eyes on him, Qin Sheng took his time to get to the front of Third Master Wu gracefully. Along the way, he observed quite a lot of people, including Qu Huanxi, Yuan Ke, the brother and sister of the Dugu family, and of course, his brother-in-law.
After Qu Huanxi and Yuan Ke saw him, they stared at him attentively. As for the members of the Dugu family, Qingning nodded to him smilingly. Qingyu glimpsed at him and snorted directly. After that, she lowered her head and went on playing the mobile game.
As for his brother-in-law, Lin Ze, he simply did not expect to run into Qin Sheng here. He only focused on chatting with a beautiful lady who was at the same table as him. He probably could pick her up today.
At this moment, Qin Sheng put a smile on his face and lowered his head slightly as he said, “Old Master Wu, I am one of your juniors and my name is Qin Sheng. I wish you longevity. May you have the glory of today forever. This is a painting named The Old Horse in the Stable, which I asked for from a master. I hope you will like it, Old Master.”
Yang Deng quickly walked forward as he said, “Foster Father, this is Qin Sheng, whom I have mentioned to you. You should remember him, right?”
Old Master stared at Qin Sheng, nodded quietly, and said, “I know you. You are good, quite good.”
This was Old Wu’s opinion of Qin Sheng.
After the Old Master saw the real appearance of the painting The Old Horse in the Stable, he stroked his beard gently and could not help sighing as he said, “It’s a good painting, such a good painting.”
All the audience on the scene wondered and thought, “How powerful is this Qin Sheng? He actually could ask Master Liu to do him a favor. Who on earth is he?”
Both Qu Huanxi and Yuan Ke squinted. Dugu Qingning looked thoughtful. As for Qin Sheng’s two friends who were gossipers, they looked stupefied. All the audience whispered to each other.
Lin Ze, who was chatting with a beautiful lady enthusiastically, did not know what had happened. He looked in the direction of the stage subconsciously. Upon seeing the familiar figure, he stood up all of a sudden as if he had seen a demon. Standing on the spot, he was dumbfounded and stared at Qin Sheng attentively.
It turned out to be him. Surprisingly, it was him actually…
All the guests who sat at the same table as him were startled. They did not know what had happened.
Qin Sheng did not notice Lin Ze at all, nor did he take notice of the scene in which all the audience on the spot made frivolous remarks about the painting. Instead, he continued as he said, “As your junior, though I am incapable, I do know a little about calligraphy. Old Master, knowing you like calligraphy, I ventured to finish a piece of calligraphy and brought it here. I hope you can appraise it for me, Old Master.”
Third Master Wu was still appreciating the painting named The Old Horse in the Stable. Speaking of the masters throughout all of the Jiangsu and Zhejiang regions who could win his favor, Master Liu was the only one. He replied quite casually, “Oh. It turns out you are also good at calligraphy. Let me have a look at it.”
Two more attendants walked forward. They took the piece of calligraphy from Qin Sheng’s hands and untied it gently. Then, they unfolded it gently.
Old Master Wu lifted up his head casually. Though he had seen calligraphy written by many people before, he had not thought highly of most of them, including those written by the so-called masters of calligraphy. Furthermore, Qin Sheng was just a young man and was not well-known. He should not be that capable. Consequently, Old Master Wu did not take him seriously at all.
However, after lifting his head up, when Old Master just finished reading the first line of the calligraphy, his expression froze in an instant. He was completely stupefied. When he finished reading half of the calligraphy, he already could not hold back the excitement in his heart. He trembled as he stood up.
He exclaimed, “A stunning work. What a stunning work of the world.”