“I didn’t catch what you said, could you please explain it to me?” Feng Zi stood between Qinghan and Wuhen, because he sensed there was something wrong between them.
“Yeah, I’m also quite interested in different ideas.” Hua Cao urged.
“Their comments on the song are all cliché!” Qinghan took a breath, and continued, “Did you even know the underlying meaning of these lyrics? It is a song describing the lapse of youth, and the protagonist’s helpless wish to linger on in the good old days. Who said his heartbeat accelerated after hearing this song? How can anyone with common sense feel so excited in front of such a tragic song?”
“Alright, then what is your opinion about this song?” Wuhen challenged Qinghan while he quickly waved his folding fan, as though he was putting out the angry flames inside of him.
“I’m all ears to your ‘enlightening’ explanation!” Shuiliu also spat out in a sarcastic tone.
“Yo, Qinghan, are you also an expert on well versed poetry? The lyric seems like a poem.” Feng Zi’s eyes lit up with excitement. In the Flame Dragon Continent, only a few people knew something about literature, because most of them were focused on cultivation.
“Although I’m only a layman in literature, I do agree with what Qinghan just said. I mean, that song contains such a tragic story in the lyrics.” Hua Cao scratched his hair, and frowned at the others.
Despite the hot discussion, both Yue Niang and Niuniu remained silent. However, they did look at Qinghan appreciatively when he described the song.
“Excuse me, Niuniu. I have a question for you.” Qinghan suddenly turned around, staring at Niuniu’s sparkling eyes.
“Young lord Qinghan, please go ahead.” The beautiful paddler slightly twisted her waist, and bowed to Qinghan.
“If I didn’t guess it wrong, it should be a song written by Yue Yan’er, isn’t it?”
Qinghan’s question made both Niuniu and Yue Niang dumbfounded, for it was the first time Niuniu had performed this song in public.
“Yes, you’re right. It was written by the former holy virgin – Ye Yan’er. Have you heard about this song before?”
“No, never!” Qinghan slowly turned around, and leaned his back against the chair, looking attentively at the beautiful sceneries in the distance, “This poem can be divided into four parts: the first part deals with the girl’s upsetting feelings when she loves someone secretly. The sceneries in the march, and the embroideries she makes are all used to convey her loneliness; the second part reviews the girl’s solitude and helplessness towards life itself, rather than her missing of a man.”
Like a romanticist, who was let down by the mundane world, Qinghan bombarded a series of explanations. He even blamed Wuhen for wrongly explaining this beautiful song.
“The third part is about the girl’s disappointment at her impressive, yet short romance with the man. She longs for a more robust life and blessed love. I guess, according to what had happened to Yan’er, she was heartbroken when she wrote this song. So she expected some change in her life… Well, the fourth part encompasses her self-reflection based on her past experience in both social life and romance. “
“In general, this song is mainly about Ye Yan’er’s life. She resisted following the path arranged by her family, and decided to have a say in her own life. After she met Ye Dao at the Summer Fire Festival, she fell in love with this handsome man. However, destiny will always play tricks on us, Ye Dao had already established a romantic relationship with another woman. After knowing that, Yan’er cried her heart out, and lost confidence in love. In the end, Ye Dao died, and Yan’er’s beautiful appearance wilted as time passed. However, until the last minute of her life, she kept loving Ye Dao… Miss Yue Qingcheng, am I right?”
Wuhen and Shuiliu were waiting for the disapproval of Qinghan’s opinion; however, their lack of artistic sensitiveness pulled them back. They were accustomed to fight with fists, rather than this abstract literacy.
“Yue Qingcheng is the holy virgin of this festival. Oh, my god, is the paddler girl over there Yue Qingcheng?” Some of the young lords began whispering to each other, as they stared at her, waiting for her response.
The paddler girl put the paddler aside, pushed the curtain, and slowly walked towards the group of young men. She bowed to them all, hand said in a tender voice, “I’m Yue Qingcheng. Nice to meet you guys here.”
Like hit by a thunderbolt, all these pretentious young lords were greatly embarrassed by their previous nasty behavior. None of them had realized that Yue Qingcheng would reveal her identity out of blue. Originally, every young lord had prepared some performance, in order to show off in front of Qingcheng at the evening party during the Summer Fire Festival. However, right now, the only thing that had impressed Qingcheng, was their lust for women. They tried to weep, but failed to shed a tear.
“What’s going on?”
“It’s so unpredictable.”
The only two people who remained composed were Yue Niang and Qinghan. Yue Niang walked towards the other side of the boat, and began to shake the paddler. While Qinghan took the initiative, and bowed to Qingcheng, “I’m Ye Qinghan. It’s a great honor to meet you here, Miss Qingcheng.”
“Nice to meet you, Miss Qingcheng.” The rest of the young lords immediately did likewise. They tried their best to regain their gentle and cultivated manner.
“Please be seated, all of you.” Qingcheng slightly nodded her head, and sat on a chair.
“Young lord Qinghan, your understanding of this song has really impressed me. Every word you used is a gem. Honestly, I admire your talent in literacy… Are you the son of Ye Dao?” Qingcheng looked at Qinghan engrossingly under her long, curled eyelashes.
Following Qingcheng’s eyes, the rest of the young lords all stared at Qinghan. None of them expected Qingcheng to think so highly of Qinghan. The strangest part was, that Qingcheng had recognized Qinghan almost immediately. To their astonishment, Qinghan was the son of the famous Ye Dao!
Qinghan’s cultivation level had only improved in recent months, and only several people of the other families knew about this. In their view, Ye Dao’s son was still a piece of garbage. As for Qinghan, they thought he was only a specially-trained descendant of the Ye family.
“A piece of garbage?” Wuhen smiled bitterly. Several months ago, he had had the same misunderstanding, however, by now he knew how wrong he was.
“Yes, I am! I very much appreciate Yan’er’s love for my father, and felt sorrow for her death. Although I didn’t know the details about their relationship, I do feel some kind of guilt for Yan’er.” Qinghan stood up, and bowed to Qingcheng once again, to emphasize his apologetic manner.
However, deep inside, Qinghan complained, “Oh, daddy, because of your casual and unrestrained bearing in dealing with love affairs, your son has to clean up your mess!”
“That’s ok. Before she died, Yan’er said she never regretted falling in love with your father. You know, it isn’t your father’s fault. I remember, she said something like this: ‘In this world, only Ye Dao is a true man… and I never regret a bit about my choice, though it is in vain.” Qingcheng finished these words with a soft sigh, and her eyes blurred as she began to reminisce the past.
“Ohhh! Young lord Qinghan, haha. Why don’t you tell us, that you’re the son of Ye Dao? You are being dishonest.” Feng Zi threw a flirtatious glance at Qinghan.
Like any normal man, Qinghan couldn’t stand being “flirted with” by a muscle-laden man like Feng Zi… Therefore, he escaped Feng Zi’s eye contact, and answered, “You didn’t even ask me about it. I won’t tell people I’m the son of Ye Dao every time I meet a person. I figured, that all of you already knew.”
“Yeah, no one will do that. Feng Zi, will you yell at everyone, ‘I’m Feng Zi. Feng Zi is here!?” Hua Cao interrupted with a smile.
The crowd suddenly burst out into laughter, which alleviated the awkward atmosphere. Looking at the smiling Qingcheng, the young lords were so itchy to show off their prepared performance in advance, in the hope to make up for the previous impression they had left on Qingcheng.
However… when they were about to perform, the boat arrived at its destination – the island of the Tranquil Lake.
Yue Qingcheng said goodbye to them all, and left with elegant footsteps.
Looking at Qingcheng’s graceful figure from behind, as well as the breath-taking sceneries on the island, everyone was caught by a mixed feeling…