The name of Ye Chonglou was like the existence of a totem within the Skylaurel Kingdom. No one, from an eighty year old elderly man down to toddlers and children, would be unfamiliar with this name.
He didn’t have an awe-inspiring official title or a complex network of hanger-ons and power.
To put it even more plainly, he was just an old man who had nothing to do with the world. An idle, unoccupied person who busied himself with watching flowers bloom and fade. A person who concealed himself in the city.
However, when his name was mentioned, everyone from the king down to the commoners would be gravely respectful.
This was because this name was a monument and a totem to the Skylaurel Kingdom.
All the princes of the Skylaurel Kingdom had to respectfully call Ye Chonglou, “Teacher.”
Even the current king, who was a prince from the last generation had to respectfully call Ye Chonglou, “Teacher” as well.
Even the generation before the last, and the one before that…
At least five generations of the Ye family dynasty had to respectfully call Ye Chonglou “teacher”.
It could be said that tutor Ye Chonglou had passed his knowledge down to generation after generation of disciples in the royal family. No one could clearly identify how many generations it had been, and no one knew just how old Ye Chonglou was.
Generations of heritage and years of accumulation had resulted in Ye Chonglou’s current day standing. Even though he held himself aloof from worldly affairs, no one had the right to compete with him.
Ye Chonglou didn’t have any particular hobbies. He just had one habit, and that was to celebrate his birthday once a year.
Because of his habit, the royal family of the Skylaurel Kingdom had specially built a Tutor Manor for him.
This Tutor Manor was used only once a year, and that was to hold Tutor Ye’s birthday banquet.
Jiang Chen wasn’t born and bred in the Skylaurel Kingdom, and thus, he didn’t have any direct knowledge of Tutor Ye. Therefore, when he saw fourth prince Ye Rong and the others meticulously get ready, he was a bit surprised.
“Younger brother Jiang Chen, you’re here. Come, I’ll introduce you.” Ye Rong called out happily when he saw Jiang Chen. “You’re old acquaintances with Tian Shao. He will be accompanying me to offer birthday tidings to Tutor Ye this time as well.”
Ye Rong pointed at another young man with sculpturesque features next to him, introducing, “Lin Qianli, core disciple of the Azure Heaven Southern Palace. Your ages are similar, thus you can interact more.”
Lin Qianli’s expression was remote as he looked at Jiang Chen and nodded slightly.
When Jiang Chen saw him acting like this, he knew that Lin Qianli was likely someone with a haughty personality, so he smiled carelessly and was randomly polite, “I’ve long been looking forward to meeting you.”
If it was anyone else dealing with pleasantries, they would usually say something polite in response as well. However, Lin Qianli smiled faintly, “You’ve come from the Eastern Kingdom just a month ago and this is the first time we are meeting. Why have you looked forward to meeting me?”
Jiang Chen laughed involuntarily, he’d thought that this Lin Qianli was an enigma and naturally remote, someone who didn’t like to talk. He hadn’t thought that the other would be so sharp, and would seem to be latently hostile.
“The great name of the Southern Palace is illustrious and renowned. Of course, I’ve long admired it.” Since this fellow was going to be like this, Jiang Chen had no interest in wasting time talking to him.
Ye Rong hadn’t thought that Lin Qianli would suddenly be so intensely keen and smiled, “Qianli, you haven’t known Jiang Chen for long. When you interact more with him in the future, you’ll know that younger brother Jiang Chen is absolutely worth your friendship.”
“Jiang Chen, Qianli’s personality is just like this. He’s cold on the outside and warm on the inside. You’ll know what’s going on when you spend more time with him.” Ye Rong eased the situation.
Tian Shao also said with a smile, “Yes yes, things of a kind come together and people of a mind fall into the same group. Those who aren’t the same won’t walk together. Qianli, young Chen, I’m slightly older than both of you and I have quite an eye for people. I can promise that the two of you will become good friends after spending some time together.”
Lin Qianli smiled apathetically and declined to comment.
Jiang Chen shrugged slightly and he didn’t say anything either. He wasn’t the sort that had to make friends with someone, and would never put his hot face up to someone’s cold bottom.
“Alright, it’s about time, let’s go.”
Anyone could see that Ye Rong had made painstaking preparations to celebrate Tutor Ye’s birthday. His outfit was neither showy nor did it lose the splendor befitting the air of a royal disciple. He appeared quite suited to the occasion.
Ye Rong’s mood was quite cheery along the way as he chatted and laughed with Jiang Chen and the rest.
“Younger brother Jiang, there are many festive occasions in our Skylaurel Kingdom, the Wishing Tower temple fair for instance, the Precious Tree selection is another. The birthday banquet celebration of Tutor Ye is another one of those.”
Tian Shao was quite friendly with Jiang Chen. After all, they had gone through a lot together. At the end of the day, half of the reason why he’d been able to be promoted to vice general this time could be attributed to Jiang Chen.
Therefore, Tian Shao played the role of tour guide for Jiang Chen along the way.
“Tutor Ye a person who is indifferent to fame and wealth. He celebrates his birthday every year and he uses the banquet as an opportunity to examine the younger generation of the Skylaurel Kingdom. Therefore, those who receive the invite are all young wonders of the kingdom who are less than thirty years old. Of course, everyone who receives an invite can bring a certain number of guests. There’s no age restriction on the accompanying guests.”
“This opportunity is rare. Any disciple in the Skylaurel Kingdom who is anyone would be honored to receive Tutor Ye’s invitation.”
“Younger brother Jiang Chen, don’t feel too ill at ease at an occasion like this. Tutor Ye’s mindset is such that he neither worries nor cares about public opinion. He has a very unique eye in judging people and matters. Things like birth and status are all but floating clouds to him. To him, there is no foundational difference between a prince and a commoner.”
A senior elder who stood at the peak of a kingdom naturally wouldn’t have any distinctive stances. Jiang Chen didn’t doubt this point.
“I’m guessing that the people the first prince is bringing this time will be directed at you. Jiang Chen, you must be mentally prepared.”
Jiang Chen’s issue with the Dragonteeth Guard had caused such a furor, and Lu Wuji had been made an example of to within an inch of his life. As the person behind him, the first prince would surely be ticked off.
“Jiang Chen, don’t worry either. Even if first brother has some ideas or thoughts, he wouldn’t dare act too atrociously in front of Tutor Ye.” Ye Rong comforted Jiang Chen when he saw that the latter wasn’t speaking.
Jiang Chen smiled faintly, “Since we have come, let us stay and enjoy it. There’s nothing much to worry about.”
The Tutor Manor’s yard, a quiet and secluded spot within the capital.
The group of four quickly arrived at the entrance to the Tutor Manor.
At that moment, the entrance to the Tutor Manor was bustling with extraordinary activity and noise. Any young disciple who had received an invite all cleaned themselves up nicely and came to participate in the banquet.
There was a small, exquisite lady with a lithe, graceful body at the door. She wore minimal make up and a demure smile that didn’t lose the slightest bit of enthusiasm as she greeted all the guests with a smile.
“Jiang Chen, that woman is called Dan Fei. Tutor Ye adopted her when she was young. She’s Tutor Ye’s disciple in name, but Tutor Ye actually treats her like a grandchild and dotes on her hugely.”
When Tian Shao introduced Dan Fei, he lowered his voice as much as possible, obviously dreading this Dan Fei quite a bit.
Jiang Chen lifted his head to look at Dan Fei when he heard Tian Shao speak like this.
The girl was dignified and proper with white, translucent skin and slightly painted eyebrows. The feeling of a female superwoman exuded from her gestures, giving Jiang Chen the first impression that — this woman is not one to be trifled with.
“Younger brother Ye Rong greets sister Dan Fei.” Fourth prince Ye Rong’s personality was outgoing as he walked up with a smile of someone greeting an old friend, and sketched a bow.
“Ye Rong, you little monkey! Mm, you seemed to have grown a bit taller in the months that I haven’t seen you.” The girl called Dan Fei was roughly the same age as Gouyu and thus, she was naturally much older than Ye Rong.
“Sister Dan Fei, to still call me by that in today’s occasion is denying your younger brother much face!” Ye Rong purposefully appeared to be a bit depressed, but he was inwardly happy.
He knew that Tutor Ye’s treasured disciple Dan Fei still had quite a positive impression of him.
Dan Fei laughed lightly as her slender neck moved slightly, revealing the snow white skin at the nape of her neck and adding a few more traces of allure.
Her finger tip lightly grazing over Ye Rong’s nose, she said, “Hurry and go in! Your older brothers have already arrived.”
Ye Rong chuckled, “Sister Dan Fei, is teacher in good health?”
“Yes, he’s in quite good health. However, he’s been worrying over some matters lately. Eh, that’s right, you don’t know that already?”
Dan Fei looked at the three companions that Ye Rong had brought, and her almond eyes had a few traces of surprise in them when she swept them across Jiang Chen and the others.
“What’s happened?” Ye Rong started as his heart sank in that moment, feeling that he had missed out on something important.
Dan Fei spread out her hands, “Alright, go on in first. Let’s chat when we have a chance later on. I need to greet other people here.”
Ye Rong had a wry face, “Alright, sister Dan Fei, you need to tell me later. Teacher has been so good to me that I should at least take on some of his burdens for him.”
Dan Fei sighed lightly but she didn’t say anything.
Ye Rong knew Dan Fei’s personality and he appropriately led Jiang Chen and the others inside.
After passing through the door, a spacious yard came into view. It was quite expansive and it had been designed according to the style of a garden. It was as if a beautiful park.
There were artificial mountains, pavilions, running water, and bridges.
The elite disciples of the kingdom who had come to participate in the banquet were all clustered together in twos and threes, talking and laughing. All of them were in high, vigorous spirits.
The Skylaurel Kingdom was amongst the best of the sixteen kingdom alliance. The young disciples of the entire kingdom were suffused with the confidence and bearing that was found only within a strong kingdom.
Judging from this perspective, their overall level was indeed much higher than the noble disciples of the Eastern Kingdom.
From the noble disciples of the previous Eastern Kingdom, setting Jiang Chen aside, the only ones with the right to enter an occasion such as this would likely be the Long family brother and sister.
The least of any of the disciples here would be many times better than any of the other disciples of the so-called four great families.
“The Skylaurel Kingdom isn’t strong without reason.” Jiang Chen had this direct thought in his heart.
Since he was following in Ye Rong’s retinue this time, Jiang Chen would naturally not supplant his host. He kept a low profile next to Ye Rong and avoided unnecessary trouble to the best of his abilities.
Ye Rong’s personality was outgoing, with a few traces of humor within his joviality. This caused him to have quite some connections with the noble disciples of the kingdom.
Therefore, many greeted him with a smile everywhere he went.
“Number four, I recall that you’ve always been quite low key. Why do I feel that you seemed to have changed your style lately?”
Just as Ye Rong was greeting well known acquaintances, someone walked out from a side garden and walked over with a slightly mocking tone.
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