“Younger brother Jiang, you were too impulsive.” Tian Shao sighed when the first prince’s men left. “You shouldn’t have agreed to the demonstration.”
“Jiang Chen, Xin Wudao is one of the ten generals of the Dragonteeth Guard. His training is foremost amongst the ten generals. He’s had many wondrous twists of fortune on his path of martial dao training, and he’s already broken through into the spirit realm. He numbers amongst the top select experts in the younger generation within the capital.” Ye Rong was quite worried. “If he issues a challenge later, I’ll find an excuse to reject it. Ten years is not too late for a gentleman to see his revenge.”
“Ten years?” Jiang Chen shook his head. “A gentleman cannot be cowed easily. Although I, Jiang Chen, am no particular gentlemen, I know that losses cannot be suffered overnight. Ten years for revenge? I can’t wait that long.”
“Ai, younger brother Jiang, this is an obvious trap that they’ve set for you and they’re waiting for you to jump in it.” Tian Shao still wanted to persuade Jiang Chen to give the match up.
“The distinction between geniuses and mediocrity lies in that although knowing full well there’s a trap there, geniuses will jump down without hesitation, whereas mediocrity will cower and shrink. Jiang Chen, it’s your choice whether you’re a genius or just mediocre.” Lin Qianli, who’d been silent all along, suddenly spoke up.
“Oh? Brother Lin, what would you choose if it was you?” Jiang Chen asked rather meaningfully.
Lin Qianli said proudly, “What a useless question.”
“I can answer this question for you on his behalf.” Fourth prince Ye Rong suddenly opened his mouth. “Qianli is an exceedingly stubborn person on his path of martial dao. He never leaves a way out for himself.”
“Haha, not bad, not bad. Even the fourth prince has spoken. Lin Qianli, I’m beginning to admire you a bit.”
Jiang Chen and the others had already followed Prince Ye Rong into the inner courtyard as they chatted.
This was where the birthday banquet was truly being held. All was already in readiness in the spacious inner courtyard, and it only awaited the young geniuses of the Skylaurel Kingdom to take their seats.
Everything would have been precisely prearranged for a banquet of this level. How many invites to send, how many seats to arrange, and everyone’s seating arrangement had all been previously arranged.
Therefore, the possibility of fighting for seats didn’t exist.
As a royal son, Ye Rong’s ranking amongst the princes was number four. Therefore, his arranged seat was the closest to the center.
The tables of this banquet were the long, rectangle sort and were placed on the two sides of the courtyard.
The first row of seats on both sides were naturally those of the first prince Ye Dai and second prince Ye Qiao.
Ye Rong had been arranged to sit on the the second row. Third prince Ye Zheng was at the table on the left, Ye Rong was on the table on the right and they sat facing across from each other.
Dan Fei sashayed up to the main table after everyone had taken their seats. Her almond eyes scanned the area and her skin was like flawless white jade. She appeared very lovely and moving.
Her pearly teeth showing slightly, Dan Fei smiled, “Dan Fei is very happy that on this day, every year, I get to see the young geniuses of my Skylaurel Kingdom gather under one roof. I see your growth and changes every year, and see you transform from green youths to strapping men who can undertake tasks alone. The honored tutor holds himself aloof from the world and he has long since made light of the affairs of human life. Why does he wish to celebrate his birthday every year? Not because the honored tutor likes a lively bustle, but because he wishes to see talent of exceptional ability appear in every generation, and to see the pupil outdo the teacher. He wishes for the youths of Skylaurel Kingdom to become stronger and stronger every generation. The kingdom only has hope when the young are big and powerful.”
Dan Fei’s words were sonorous and forceful, but they still retained a trace of her unique soft tenderness. It made the hearts of the young folk beneath the main table pound with emotion.
The young folk present had all more or less received Tutor Ye’s tutelage. Except, some of them were less fortunate and they had had fewer opportunities to receive teaching. They weren’t like the princes of the royal family who were able to receive Tutor Ye’s personal coaching everyday.
Receiving Tutor Ye’s tutelage was a glory, and it was a cherished goal that all these young people would beg for even in their sleep. There was also another key point that they could be close to Sister Dan Fei. She was a woman that filled the minds of young men with dreams and sent their hormones flying.
Looking at the reactions of the young men below, Dan Fei smiled faintly but she didn’t say anything. As smart as she was, how would she not know the thoughts of these kids?
“Alright, everyone be quiet now, the honored tutor is arriving.”
Dan Fei bent slightly and called out respectfully, “Lordmaster.”
An elder with white hair and a white beard wearing a loose robe walked in. A feeling of a mythological immortal emanated from his brow, giving others the spiritual feeling of floating away from the mundane world.
This elder was the totem figure of the Skylaurel Kingdom, Tutor Ye Chonglou.
Ye Chonglou’s pace was not fast, but his every step gave Jiang Chen the misconception that a great mountain had grown feet and was moving itself over.
Don… don… don… don…
In that instant, Jiang Chen’s “Ear of the Zephyr” actually heard all sorts of drumming sounds. The frequency of these sounds were actually becoming faster and faster.
This obviously wasn’t any drumming sound, it was the sound of heartbeats.
Ye Chonglou’s every step caused the heartbeat of those around him to speed up accordingly.
“He isn’t purposefully stimulating his aura and he isn’t using strong spirit power to suppress the scene! Tutor Ye is merely using the rhythm of his footsteps to create oppression and affect everyone’s heartbeat!” Jiang Chen was vaguely surprised. He originally hadn’t thought much of Tutor Ye, but he suddenly understood why everyone in the entire Skylaurel Kingdom revered this person as a totem character.
Even Chu Xinghan from that day would likely find it impossible to not be affected by this elder, much less Liu Can and Xin Wudao, those practitioners of the first level spirit realm.
At this moment, Jiang Chen’s “Boulder’s Heart” began to show its purpose. He calmed the various thoughts in his heart with some effort and he controlled his mind, unmoving as a mountain, as if a boulder.
Even though Tutor Ye’s footsteps seemed to be imbued with some sort of magic, as strong as those heartbeats were, he would strive with all his might to be as unmoving as a mountain.
Except, under such strong influence, it was difficult for Jiang Chen to truly be as unmoving as a mountain.
Just as he was unable to hold out —
“Haha, not bad, not bad. We haven’t met in a year, but you young fellows haven’t laid down your training. Sit, everyone, let’s not stand on ceremony.”
“Student Ye Dai greets Tutor Ye. May the honored tutor live a long life, with many happy returns of this day unto eternity, forever protect the mountains and waters of my Skylaurel Kingdom and pass down your legacy throughout the ages.”
“Ye Qiao greets the honored tutor. May the honored tutor’s happiness be as immense as the eastern sea, life as long as Mt. Tai, and remain forever ageless.”
“Ye Zheng, Ye Rong, Ye Hao… greets the honored tutor.”
The princes took the lead in stepping out and moving forward to make their bows and gestures.
Only then did the sons and disciples of the other nobles and dukes all step up and respectfully make their greetings, offering words of blessings.
When these ceremonies were observed, Ye Dai broke the ice and smiled, “Sister Dan Fei, it’s about time. Shall we present our gifts to the teacher?”
Dan Fei smiled merrily, “Ye Dai, you’re so eager. It looks like you’ve prepared something nice this year and want to come out on top?”
“Heh heh, sister Dan Fei is sister Dan Fei alright. You can see through even my little bit of planning.” Although Ye Dai possessed a sophisticated manner, he presented quite a nice manner in front of Dan Fei, and tried hard to create the role of a younger brother for himself.
He was well aware that Dan Fei served by Tutor Ye’s side, and she was the tutor’s favorite. As long as he appropriately fawned on Dan Fei, he would surely leave a good impression with Tutor Ye as well.
Having Dan Fei speak a few good words to Tutor Ye was something that a thousand gold would find it hard to buy.
Dan Fei looked back to cast a look of inquiry at Ye Chonglou when she saw the excited expressions of the young folk all itching to have a go.
The lordmaster didn’t look that enthused and flagging interest was hidden in between his brows.
“Dan Fei, come here.” He beckoned with his hand.
Dan Fei walked over leisurely and put her ear up to the lordmaster’s mouth.
His lips moved slightly, he seemed to be murmuring something. Dan Fei’s almond eyes blinked as her brows danced, and then she nodded afterwards.
“Everyone, the lordmaster has said that another segment will be added before presenting the gifts at today’s birthday banquet. Everyone, please be mentally prepared. The segment is, if anyone can solve this difficult problem, the lordmaster will owe them a favor.”
“What?” All the noble disciples beneath the main table were shocked.
Who was the honored tutor? He was the Mt. Tai and the North Star, the unaging totem of the Skylaurel Kingdom. A favor from him was definitely a medal that was an absolute exemption from death!
It wouldn’t even be an exaggeration to say that a favor from the honored tutor was even more useful than one from the king himself.
After all, the king’s favor would undoubtedly be either fame or riches. The noble scions present weren’t short of these, and these things could be earned.
However, Tutor Ye was a legendary character. His favor would absolutely surpass mundane glory and splendor!
Even first prince Ye Dai’s heart raced as joy blossomed on his face. He’d received some intelligence beforehand so he’d made full preparations before this year’s celebrations. When he heard Dan Fei’s words, he more or less guessed that the preparations he’d made were the right gamble!
As for fourth prince Ye Rong, he vaguely felt that he had missed something when he heard Dan Fei say that the tutor had something troubling him lately.
When he heard Dan Fei’s words now, that thoughtful feeling deepened. He then looked at the sense of excitement that the first prince couldn’t fully hide between his brows, and his thoughtful feelings become even stronger.
“This is bad, Ye Dai must’ve received some sort of advance warning this time and prepared for this matter beforehand. I must’ve missed something! I’m going to be caught on the wrong foot this time!”
Ye Rong was a bit regretful but also unwilling to accept his loss at the same time. His connections in the capital still had a gap compared to the first prince.
It was obvious from this matter alone. The first prince’s intelligence could even reach Tutor Ye!
“Sister Dan Fei treats me well and she would definitely not be biased towards Ye Dai and give him information privately. Ye Dai’s mother’s family has great power, wide networks, and many connections. Is he going to occupy the first mover advantage again this time?” Ye Rong felt more and more hopelessly stupid as he thought.
Setting down one foot wrong meant all his footsteps were wrong.
A favor from the honored master was something that even their father, the king, was unlikely obtain easily!
If the first prince took this advantage as well, he really would be like a tiger with wings. He would have subtly received the support of the honored tutor. Ye Dai already had an advantage in the fight over the title of Crown Prince, his momentum as a descending ruler would be even more irresistible then!
“Just what is it that could cause even the honored tutor to have a headache?” Ye Rong was deeply worried at heart and he was also silently praying, “I hope that even Ye Dai will be unable to resolve this problem. Otherwise, if this favor falls on his head, the rest of us princes will be unable to find any footing in the capital anymore.”
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