The Tranquil Lake
As its name suggested, the Tranquil Lake was actually a “lake”, which was located outside the eastern city border. Yet, during these years, the city wall had been through several renovations, and now the lake was encircled within the city walls.
The size of the Tranquil Lake was far from large. Strictly speaking, it could only be called a reservoir. However, people from the Yue Family liked to call it a “lake”, so others just followed suit. Interestingly, the Tranquil Lake was not made of a pool of stagnant water; rather, it was always caught by big, incessant waves, stirred by the blowing wind.
“Is this the Tranquil Lake? Nothing special, huh?”
Under the lead of Yue Niang, Qinghan, as well as the other young lords, arrived in front of the Tranquil Lake. The surrounding beautiful sceneries all reflected on the surface of the limpid water, which made the mountain look even greener, and the trees even more verdant. However, as a holy place to hold the festival, it disappointed the young lords, and they thought that it should’ve been as breath-taking as the beauties…
“Yes, as for the lake, it’s a normal one. Well, do you see the island in the center? It’s where the descendants of the Yue Family live – various types of beauties! Only during the Summer Fire Festival will it be opened. Normally, it’s a forbidden place for men. During these fifteen years, we’re the first group to visit here. I really feel honored about this.” Feng Zi whispered in Qinghan’s ear, while his sword was still hanging on his back.
“Oh? A forbidden place for men?” Qinghan was stunned by this, looking from afar at the hazy island, he turned to Feng Zi in unbelieve, “Not a single man lives there, right?”
“Absolutely not!” Feng Zi nodded his head affirmatively.
Qinghan felt a little bit creeped out towards this weird island, as though a chilly gust went through his heart.
“What if that bunch of women ferociously swoops over us, how will we escape once we’ve set foot on that island? After all, they haven’t seen a single man for fifteen years!” Qinghan murmured to himself anxiously.
“Young lords, please get on the boat!”
In the middle of Qinghan’s wild imagination, Yue Niang made a soft gesture, showing them in the direction of a boat, which was paddling towards them.
“Qinghan, after you.” Feng Zi shivered his chest muscle, and let Qinghan step on the boat first.
“Ah? Is it time to climb on their bed? Oh, sorry, it’s a boat!” Qinghan mumbled an illogic sentence, and grabbed the corner of Feng Zi’s clothing, “Feng Zi, you first. I… I’m incompetent in that regard. I mean… physically…”
“Oh, since you two are so reluctant to go, I’ll step on the boat first.” Wuhen waved his folding fan, and slipped onto the boat.
The beautiful-looking Hua Cao closely followed behind Wuhen. Finally, Feng Zi and Qinghan also climbed on the boat, which was decorated with a silky curtain on each side. Through the filmy curtain, the surrounding sceneries could be clearly seen.
The middle of the boat was like a small parlor, where two lines of chairs were arranged on each side. Yue Niang bowed to the young lords, and filled the cups on the desk with tea. Soon, she retreated, standing in front of the boat.
“Wow, look at the paddler her body…” Feng Zi looked around the boat, as his eyes finally landed on the woman on the back of the boat. Looking through the transparent curtain, a slim, feminine body was paddling slowly. She wore a green imperial dress, and her face was veiled by a piece of white silk. The curving body, as well as the special aroma, already tempted Feng Zi, though he had no idea about her real appearance.
Following Feng Zi, several other young lords jerked their head towards the paddler, staring at her while drool was uncontrollably escaping from their mouth. Quite to the contrary, Wuhen waved his folding fan up and down, pretending to be calm, yet the rapacious light in his dual pupils betrayed himself. As for Qinghan, he only threw a glimpse at the paddler, before he turned back around. He felt so disgusted by Wuhen’s hypocrisy. For one thing he was really not in the mood to appreciate a woman; for the other, he was so afraid to see a crowd of hungry women, who might be running towards them for hugs or kisses…
Sitting several seats away from Wuhen, Qinghan was so tempted to go and punch him to death. Nevertheless, remembering what Ye Qingniu had told him three days ago, he pulled back his fist, and grabbed a cup of tea to mollify his mixed feelings.
Three days ago, when they were at the Yue Pavilion, Qinghan was determined to kill Wuhen. To his surprise, Ye Qingniu instructed him to withhold his fury. On Qinghan’s bedside, Ye Qingniu had a secret conversation with him. At that night, Ye Qingniu told Qinghan all the details about the agreement he had signed with other families, and how he would plan to use the enormous amount of treasure compensated by the Xue Family, to buy a pill of the Spirit Immortal Dan. In the end, Ye Qingniu burst out an evil, yet subtle smile, and said, that once they received the treasure from the Xue Family, it would be up to Qinghan whether to kill Wuhen or not. However, Qinghan had to do it smartly, at least leaving no trace for others to follow.
After the Summer Fire Festival, all of them would go to join the Elite Prefecture War. Qinghan figured it would be better to kill Wuhen at that time. Fortunately, he had released some of his fury on the stupid Shuiliu, otherwise, it was hard to say whether he could control himself so well.
“Yue Niang, when will we set off?”
After appreciating the gracefulness of the female paddler, their interest in entering the island grew. Some of them just couldn’t wait to have a view of the beauties there.
“Young lords, please wait a minute. There is still one person… Oh, he’s coming!” Yue Niang replied politely, and the other people turned around in surprise, wondering who that last person would be. Through the vague view from the curtain, a handsome face with curly hair came into view. When that person got closer, they all smiled.
“You’re all so early. Sorry, I’m late.” Shuiliu stepped on the boat, with his face glowing with radiance, quite different from three days ago.
“Hey, Shuiliu, welcome!” Wuhen pointed his folding fan to an empty seat, and pushed a cup of tea in front of Shuiliu.
Meanwhile, Qinghan sipped his cup of tea, and sneered, “What a brazen face!”
“What were you guys talking about just now?” Shuliu asked.
“We’re marveling at the slender body of this paddler. Even the woman paddling the boat is so enchanting, let alone those on the island.” Feng Zi replied friendly. It was said, that he was a man of bad temper, who would be easily irritated like a crazy ox. However, judging from his behavior these days, Feng Zi was a slick man, who was capable of dealing with all kinds of people. He was certainly not the “all brawn, no brains” type.
“Oh?” Shuiliu intentionally looked backwards, and smiled viciously, “Wow, with the first glimpse, I’m already obsessed with this woman. It’s a pity that she conceals her true appearance behind a veil.”
“No, that’s not true! Disguising her beauty under a veil has only made her more attractive. You know, the mysterious element adds to her charm.” Disregarding the occasionally glares received from Qinghan, Wuhen expressed his view on beauty.
“Wuhen, you have the potential to become a poet.” Hua Cao let out a soft sigh.
“Haha, I agree with you, Wuhen. It’s said that when a woman takes a shower, or strips her clothing off, that would be the most charming moments. However, I have to say, the curiosity that is aroused in us to unfold her beauty, is all due to her wearing that veil.” Feng Zi cut in with great enthusiasm.
“Right! You’re all intelligent people, who can describe women in the most beautiful way. Well, in my opinion, a woman with a veil should fall into two scenarios: she is either a beauty or a disfigured monster. However, I believe, that in this case, she is a beauty.” Shuiliu added.
Meanwhile, Qinghan remained silent, sniffing at their hypocrisy.
“Hey, Qinghan, do you have any opinions to share with us?” Feng Zi noticed the uninterested Qinghan, and asked in curiosity.
“No comment on that. I suggest we should set off right now, otherwise we might miss lunch.” Qinghan replied indifferently. The flattering, nasty conversation among these young lords made him want to vomit, especially the pretentious Wuhen, and the brazen Shuiliu. Right now, he was more concerned about his sister back in Grey City.
“Ah, alright. Niuniu, let’s go!” Yue Niang had been standing there for a while, but now she urged the veil-covered paddler to set off.
The paddler replied with a soft “Yes”, which, once again, grabbed the young men’s attention. They were almost out of their mind by hearing this crisp sound, which very much resembled a cuckoo.
The boat floated slowly on the lake, since there was still some distance from the island, Yue Niang patted on the paddler’s shoulder, and said, “Niuniu, why not sing a song for these young lords? They’ll feel relieved and soothed by your voice.” She then turned to the young lords, “Hey, guys, would you mind to hear a couple of songs from her?”
“Yeah! We can’t wait to hear it.” Shuiliu urged.
“We’re all ears!” Wuhen added, and both Feng Zi and Hua Cao replied with a smile, only Qinghan reluctantly nodded his head.
After a long while, the veil-covered paddler began to sing, “The sunset rays pour on the wall of the red mansion, and cast a shadow under the jade tree. Inside the silver decorated room, a woman with heavy makeup is tearing a piece of gold clothing with a pair of scissors. Embroidery decorations spread all over her bed. She let the pigeon carry a letter to her lover…”
Without any musical instrument, or any luminous lights, her performance already captured the young lords’ mind. Niuniu was really a vocal talent, because simply the quality of her voice made the young lords intoxicated in such an illusion: they now felt as if they were in a heavenly palace, surrounded by numerous beauties…
“Fabulous! Only the immortals in the heaven would have a chance to hear it. Barely anyone can convey such a beautiful voice in this nasty, mortal world. Niuniu, I’m your fan from now on! You know, my heartbeat has accelerated after hearing your song. Oh…” Shuiliu laughed out loudly, while he kept his eyes on Niuniu’s curved body.
– Pia! –
Wuhen folded his fan, and stood up, “I heard that mandarin ducks always appear in pairs, they’re famous for their solid affection for their loved ones. Niuniu, I hope you’ll soon find your Mr. Right. Based on your beautiful outlook and vocal talent, you aren’t supposed to be left alone. You know, we already have a crush on you…”
“Awesome! Although I know nothing about music, I believe this is an amazing song!” Feng Zi also flattered.
“Yeah, I agree.” Hua Cao followed.
Only Qinghan, holding a cup of tea, looked into the distance with blank eyes. No one knew what was really on his mind.
“Young lord Qinghan, don’t you like this song?” Yue Niang couldn’t retain her curiosity, and walked towards Qinghan.
Following her question, the other young lords also fixed their eyes on Qinghan, waiting for his response. They couldn’t understand Qinghan’s silence, after all, compared with their passion, Qinghan seemed so weird.
Under the gazes of all the people, Qinghan didn’t make a sound until he finished his cup of tea, “I like it, the melody as well as the lines. This is the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard. However… the artistic atmosphere created by this song was unfortunately ruined by some nasty morons! What a pity…”
“What? What does that mean?”
“Who are the morons he refers to?”
Feng Zi and Hua Cao were totally baffled; Shuiliu and Wuhen suddenly wore a surly face, as they knew what Qinghan meant; and Yue Niang managed an awkward smile, with the corner of her mouth slightly lifted…
On the other side of the boat, the mysterious paddler unexpectedly turned around, revealing a pair of piercing black eyes above her veil. She quickly stole a glance at Qinghan, as if she was rather interested in this young lord…
Translated by http://www.xianxiaworld.net/Beast-Piercing-The-Heavens/