Up to the present Huang Wenyuan still did not get it.
But it was arranged by his grandfather in person, so he could not say no to it.
Given that he felt wronged and was flustered by the whole thing, he dawdled along the road. When he arrived in Chang’an, he did not immediately set off for Taibai County. Instead, he decided to have a taste of the prosperity of the province capital first by plunging into the enchanting red light district and spending his gold in some attractive woman’s arms. That indeed sounded more appealing than the forlorn practice in the sect.
Bai Xuan, the madam in the Holy House, had come to accompany him with a broad smile.
Although she seemed happy, she was still a little worried.
From what she had heard in the past few days, this young man, who had attracted all the big shots in the city to visit him, tag along with him, and butter him up, and even received quite polite and warm treatment from His Lordship, turned out to be the one to replace Li Mu as the magistrate of Taibai County. Moreover, Li Mu did not appear to be promoted to some other place but be dismissed from his post. And there was no new appointment for him after he was relieved of his office.
After working in the brothel for so many years, Bai Xuan’s ability to take her cues from people’s words and facial expressions already reached high excellence. By then, she had a vague feeling that the current trend was rather disadvantageous for Li Mu.
Like many other folks in Chang’an, she also had no idea what had really happened outside of the main hall of the Xiongfeng Martial Art Club on that day, nor did she know how big the trouble Li Mu made was or how high his current cultivation was. Therefore, it was hard for her to be unconcerned.
Among all those young heroes Bai Xuan knew, Li Mu was undoubtedly the one Bai Xuan found the most outstanding and the most admirable. From his entrenched love for Hua Xiangrong, she could tell that the youth who received varied comments from the ordinary people in Chang’an was a man of integrity.
Bai Xuan hoped that Hua Xiangrong could settle down with a wonderful man, so it was natural that she did not want anything terrible to happen to Li Mu.
“Madam Bai, I’ve heard that Hua Xiangrong, the Top Beauty who once worked for your Holy House, has the beauty of a fairy and is the number one good-looking girl in Chang’an. Is it true?” As if it just occurred to him, the slightly drunk Huang Wenyuan asked Bai Xuan with a happy smile.
Bai Xuan forced a bright smile and answered in a sweet voice, “Young Master Huang, let the bygones be bygones. Hua’er is no longer in the business, so she is not the Top Beauty anymore. Today, Qin’er, the girl sitting right to your side, has a national beauty and heavenly fragrance. She is the best girl in our Holy House now, not a bit less than that Hua’er. I hope Young Master Hua could take care of her…”
The girl sitting by Huang Wenyuan was at the age of sixteen. She had an oval face, the skin smooth like jade, a curvy figure, thick and shining hair. It was true that she looked stunning. She was a newly selected maiden in the Holy House, who was good at all kinds of arts, such as composing poems, singing, and dancing. In the entire Musical House, she was a remarkable prostitute.
It was just that she was still a little outstripped by Hua Xiangrong, who had practiced the Xiantian Skill.
Bai Xuan intended to make Qin’er the second Hua Xiangrong. Yet, due to Huang Wenyuan’s intimidating background, Qin’er was forced to be sold to Huang Wenyuan and lost her virginity. Since then, the hope that she could compete for the Top Beauty had been dashed.
“Haha…” Huang Wenyuan laughed, “So it turns out that Hua Xiangrong’s beauty is roughly the same as Qin’er’s, isn’t it?”
Bai Xuan hastily confirmed that.
Qin’er also smiled gingerly and refilled the wine for Huang Wenyuan, displaying her tenderness and obedience.
But Huang Wenyuan gave a scornful laugh and continued, “If that Hua Xiangrong is just like Qin’er, well, she is merely a cheesy, commonplace woman. But the rumor somehow says she is the fairy under the moon and her dance takes the breath away… What a bummer!”
As those words were out, Qin’er’s face instantly stiffened. She stammered in disbelief, “Young Master Huang, you…”
Bai Xuan’s face turned stern as well, for she also sensed the ill intention in his remark.
Huang Wenyuan shot an airy look at Qin’er and smiled. There was a hint of mockery in his eyes. He leaned back on the back of the chair and said with a half-hearted smile, “I’ve seen many famous beauties in the martial arts circle—Xu Ying, the Dark Female Sword from Yue Mountain Faction, Zhao Ci, the Drifting-in-wind Leave Sword from the Wind-ride Sword Sect, Zhu Jiuzhen, the Fiend Sword from the Ancient Sword Sect… But the one who is truly a fairy descending in the mortal is Zhuo Wenjun, the number on beauty among all the martial sects within Western Qin Empire, the Flying Rainbow, and Iron Rider from my Guanshan Pasture. Compared with those wonder women who amazed the world, how can a whore who only knows to please men with her beauty tolerable to the eye?”
Staring at Qin’er, who was heartbroken and looked incredulous, he said calmly, “What’s the matter? Did I say anything wrong?”
Slowly, Qin’er lowered her head and cried without making a sound.
She was the daughter of a government official. It was because of a calamity that her family declined, and so she came down to the Musical House. Fortunately, she was picked by the Holy House and then treated with respect. But now that the romantic story about Hua Xiangrong and Li Mu had spread across the city, all the prostitutes envied Hua Xiangrong very much. When she first met Huang Wenyuan, she knew he was one-up from his status and demeanor. Although he did not impress Chang’an City with his talent in poetry as Li Mu did, he also became the man all the other influential people scrambled to befriend. Given all that, Qin’er gave all her love to the man, including her chastity, in the hope that she could earn his affection and be rescued like her senior Hua Xiangrong…
But only heaven knew that was a vain hope…
Gazing up at the man who just said that snide words to her after being her sweet lover for days, Qin’er felt her heart had sunk into an ice cave.
Huang Wenyuan’s mockery eyes almost pierced through Qin’er like a sharp sword.
She entrusted the wrong man with her heart, which now broke into pieces.
Bai Xuan struggled to suppress her rage and pulled Qin’er into her arms. Even though she was well aware of Huang Wenyuan’s high standing, she said, “Young Master Huang is too heartless. If you don’t fancy my girl, why did you…”
“Why did I take her virginity?” Huang Wenyuan cut her off with a bland smile. “You know, a man fed up with delicacies of every kind occasionally longs for a crude dish to work up his appetite.”
Those in the vicinity all very cooperatively broke into a roar of laughter.
Anyway, it was no big deal to taunt a prostitute.
Qin’er’s pretty face turned white as the snow. She stumbled to her feet, cast a look at Huang Wenyuan, and swept away from the room in despair.
Tears spattered to the floor and splintered into many small drops.
Huang Wenyuan put down the wine glass and said drearily, “What a killjoy! With all her wailing and tears… Humph. Madam Bai, tell her to get some makeup and come her to tend me in fifteen minutes.” His tone showed that he certainly did not allow anyone to doubt or contradict him.
Swallowing her fury, Bai Xuan turned around to leave.
Private Adviser Tian from the Chang’an government suddenly cracked a smile and said, “To be fair, Qin’er is a gorgeous girl indeed. But in comparison with Miss Hua Xiangrong, she is a far cry. Young Master Huang, I happened to have a star deployment film on the solo dance of Hua Xiangrong in the moonlight on the day of the Top Beauty Competition. Please have a look.”
He fished out a long stroll and slowly unfolded it. The inscriptions on the star deployment swirled, and a video record started to play, which was precisely the scenes that Hua Xiangrong was dancing while singing the song When Will the Moon Rise. Cold moonlight poured on the stage as Hua Xiangrong’s graceful figure descended from midair. She looked just like a fairy maiden left in the mortal world, a little too beautiful to be real…
The crowd watched the film with their mouth open.
As the film proceeded, Huang Wenyuan’s breathing quickened involuntarily.
“There is such beauty in the world?”
He exclaimed without realizing it.
Li Mu’s Beauty Poem that had been popular for a while instantly surfaced in everyone’s mind.
“Where is this girl right now?” demanded Huang Wenyuan, his eyes scorching.
Private Adviser Tian beamed and answered, “She is in Taibai County. Li Mu has taken her back. But rumor has it that Li Mu holds the girl in great respect and has not slept with her yet.”
Huang Wenyuan’s eyes lit up.
“Great. Tomorrow, I’ll head for Taibai County to take office.”
Upon hearing that, Private Adviser Tian smirked. He had reached his goal today and could go back to report to the Chang’an magistrate.
Right at the moment, a shriek sounded from the upstairs. “Ahhh, Qin’er, Qin’er, you…”
The most beautiful, kind, and talented girl in the Holy House had just hung herself in her room on the higher floor. She finally left this world in humiliation, despair, and devastation…
The girls of the Holy House all scurried over, but it was too late to save her.
Weeps were heard.
Qin’er was a nice, good-hearted girl. After being picked as Bai Xuan’s principal cultivating object, she enjoyed a high status in the Holy House. She had also shown her kindness to everyone and gave the other girls a ton of favors, which reminded the others of Hua Xiangrong. Thus, her death caused a lot of girls to shed tears despite themselves.
When Huang Wenyuan and the others heard the tragedy, their countenance also paled.
“How damned unlucky today is…” Huang Wenyuan snorted, “Madam Bai, tonight send me another your best girl. She’d better look like Hua Xiangrong…” At the moment, his desire was raging. Because after watching the film of Hua Xiangrong’s dance under the moon, he was burning with lust and needed an outlet.
“Lord Zhenxi finally lost his temper?”
Staring at the bodies of Liao Zhi, the Gold Sliver Lethal Ring, and the other three men, Li Gang remarked pensively.
“It’s almost sure that Lord Zhenxi has rebelled and sneaked into the northwest. The four were Lord Zhenxi’s most faithful men. Does their appearance in Taibai County imply that Lord Zhenxi himself is staying about Taibai County, lucking in the dark?”
“Or, Lord Zhenxi is hiding in Fufeng City?”
Zheng Dengke, the magistrate in Fufeng, was the adopted son of Lord Zhenxi. That was a widely known fact. But ever since that snowy night of the coup, Zheng Dengke had submitted memorials to the throne several times to defend himself and explicitly expressed his loyalty to the crown prince. Further, he also searched for the evil reminders of the second prince in Fufeng City with great fanfare. He was, after all, a Commanders of Border-provinces with the military power. Although all those efforts were not enough to rid himself of the suspicion, the crown prince and his allies dared not take on him at once. So, they had to take it slow.
“Bring the bodies away. Cut off their heads and send the heads to the capital. Just say that they were killed on the outskirts by the guards of the Chang’an government. Don’t mention Li Mu’s name.” Li Gang ordered and waved Zheng Cunjian away.
Zheng Cunjian took the order and asked servants to take the bodies away.
Shortly, Private Adviser Tian came to the door and asked for a meeting.
“Your Honor, the thing is done. Huang Wenyuan is a lecher. The second he saw Hua Xiangrong’s amazing dance, he almost lost himself. He has decided to go to Taibai County to take the office tomorrow morning and asked me to get ready all the inaugural paperwork by the next dawn,” said Private Adviser Tian with a simper, “Huang Wenyuan has also solicited that scroll.”
A trace of cold smile climbed to Li Gang’s features. “Private Adviser Tian, based on your observation, what kind of man is this Huang Wenyuan?”
Private Adviser Tian replied, “He is a disciple who just left the Holy Clan and entered society. His cultivation is unfathomable, but his knowledge of the ways of the world is limited. Perhaps it’s because he has spent years in the sect and seldom had contact with the secular world. He is arrogant and self-conceited, heartless and cruel, opinionated, and lust for women. I believe he is the kind of man who always aims too high and bites more than he can chew!”