Upon the arrival of the guests, the celebration began. Drinks were exchanged and the sound of laughter and conversation filled the air. The older party-goers formed their own small circle while the younger party-goers did the same. Other than presenting their gifts and exchanging words of common courtesy, everyone was discussing interesting new happenings within the City of Donghai. Somewhere along the line someone brought up the topic of Qingzhou City.
"I heard that the historical remains of 'that person' were discovered in the City of Qingzhou, and that you even went to investigate personally. Is that true, Xia Fan?" someone asked with their sight set on Xia Fan.
By 'that person' they obviously meant Emperor Ye Qing but because he was a taboo character in the Divine Prefectures of the East Sea, it would be inappropriate to use his name in a public place such as this.
"It is true indeed. However, a demon king, or perhaps even higher leveled Snow Ape demon stood guard there and we were unable to enter. My younger brother even lost his life at the hands of that monster," said Xia Feng.
"What Chief Xia Feng said is true. I wanted to take part in it like every else and traveled to Qingzhou City. Indeed, no one was able to get close to the historical site. I heard that the path was blocked by demons and monsters," said Lin Xiyue's father. Many people nodded in agreement. Many powerful individuals have sent their people to Qingzhou, but they all returned with no results.
"If really was a demon of higher level than a demon king, then forget about us. Probably even the Nandou Nation wouldn't be able to do anything about it," someone sighed.
Hearing their words, Ye Futian felt a twinge of sadness. If the Snow Ape had not refused to leave the mountains, then Ye Futian would not have to beware of his every move in Donghai City. He would have been able to do whatever he pleased, even in the Nandou Nation. Ye Futian debated whether or not he should find time to head back to Mount Tianyao to persuade the Snow Ape to leave with him.
"Brother Lin, your daughter, Lin Xiyue should be about 16-years-old now, right? She's getting more beautiful by the day," said Lord Luo. His eyes drifted to Lin Xiyue in the crowd. Her beautiful eyes contained a hint of timidness.
"Thank you for your compliment, Lord Luo," said Lin Xiyue's father.
"Has she been betrothed?" asked Lord Luo.
"Not yet, but she is still young. She is still focusing all her attention on cultivation. There's no hurry," answered her father.
"That is true, but looking around this venue, there are many worthy young men. It couldn't hurt to meet them," chuckled Lord Luo.
"Speaking of worthy young men, I heard that the Art Saint's disciple, Zhou Mu, is already in the five-starred Glory Plane," Lin Xiyue's father said. He looked over at Zhou Mu, who stood behind the Art Saint.
"It's all thanks to Master's guidance." Zhou Mu smiled lightly in response.
"Nandou Kai beside Nandou Wenshan does not pale in comparison to Zhou Mu," the Art Saint said modestly as he looked at Nandou Wenshan.
"Nandou Kai is slightly older and his gift is not half bad, but in comparison with Zhou Mu, he is still lacking. He will need to work harder," said Nandou Wenshan.
"How is she doing?" the Art Saint asked suddenly. Nandou Wenshan was stunned, but then shook his head with a bitter smile and said, "My younger sister is still the same."
"I heard that her daughter is back and is an exceptional person. Zhou Mu keeps pestering me to let them meet," the Art Saint continued to speak.Everyone exchanged a look. Indeed, the Art Saint was trying to set up his disciple with the young miss of the Nandou family. Shockingly, he did not seem to care that she was the Guqin Devil's daughter. It was probably a "love someone and love everything about them" type of situation. After all, the Art Saint had always been madly in love with 'that' person.
"It is true, Hua Jieyu is exceptional. She is now practising cultivation at the School of the Emperor Star within Donghai Academy." Nandou Wenshan smiled.
Upon hearing this exchange, his heart was no longer calm. The Art Saint wanted to set up his disciple with Hua Jieyu? In addition, it seemed that Nandou Wenshan was the older brother of Master's wife, which would make him Hua Jieyu's uncle.
"Hua Jieyu's gifts are top-notch within the Emperor Star school. It would be hard to find a person who could compare with her in all of Donghai Academy," said an elder of the School of the Emperor Star. Since Hua Jieyu was a student of his school, he knew quite a bit about her.
"You guys are all complimenting her. It makes me want to meet the young miss of the Nandou family." Lord Luo laughed.
"Hua Jieyu?" Xia Fan's lips twitched into a wicked smile. His eyes landed on Ye Futian, who was playing the guqin. In the City of Qingzhou, he had seen Hua Jieyu and Ye Futian together by the lake. The relationship between the two did not seem like that of ordinary friends. Xia Fan wondered, what would happen if the Nandou family found out the ambiguous relationship between Hua Jieyu and Ye Futian?
Just the thought of this brought a smile to Xia Fan's face. Of course, there were other ways to crush Ye Futian. He did not have to do it this way. If he were to expose their relationship in a setting like this, he might offend the Nandou family. After all, they were a big, powerful family, and cared a lot about their reputation. Hua Jieyu was also the apple of their eyes. They would not permit anyone to try to drag her through the mud.
Ye Futian felt that something was amiss and lifted his head to look at Xia Fan. Right now, everyone was talking about Hua Jieyu, so Ye Futian knew immediately what Xia Fan might have been thinking. He could not help but raise his eyebrows at Xia Fan. As a person, Xia Fan was sinister and treacherous, a truly despicable person. Ye Futian had gotten a taste of this back in the City of Qingzhou.
"When the chance comes, I shall have Hua Jieyu come to pay respect to you, Lord Luo." Nandou Wenshan smiled at Lord Luo's words. "You should stop talking about Hua Jieyu now. Since we have so many talented young people gathered here today, and since Lord Luo is in such a good mood, why don't we have the youngster perform?"
"That's right! This would be the perfect opportunity to catch a glimpse at all the young talent in the City of Donghai," someone chimed in.
This piqued Lord Luo's interest as well. Thus, he went on to say, "Then, let's have any youngsters willing to perform show off their skills in front of us elders. There shall be hefty rewards for the best performances."
"Lin Xiyue, how about you go first?" Lord Luo set his sight on Lin Xiyue.
She blinked a couple times then nodded with a smile. With light steps, she carried herself to the middle of the crowd. "Lord Luo, I hope you will enjoy my lacking performance." After she spoke, Water Spiritual Qi began to gather around her. Her hands danced in the air, carrying the Spiritual Qi with her every movement. Slowly, the character for 'longevity' formed in midair and floated towards Lord Luo. It only disappeared once it had reached him.
"Lin Xiyue, you're already a three-starred Glory Plane sorcerer! How fast. That was very interesting," complimented Lord Luo.
"Thank you for your compliments," said Lin Xiyue. She bowed to him and retreated into the crowd.
A young man stepped up. "I will perform a sword dance for you, Lord Luo." He drew out the sword he carried on his person, and it began to dance through the air. With every slash of the sword a stroke was left in the air. When the young man finished his performance, five words were left in midair: May you achieve boundless eternity."
"Nice!" Many people applauded him. Following that, other youths continued to put on their performances to present their blessings and best wishes to Lord Luo. At the same time, they were able to put their talents on display. Their performances brightened up the atmosphere of the party venue.
"Brother Hua, does your disciple not wish to perform?" someone asked the Art Saint. The Art Saint's surname was Hua, a different Hua from Hua Fengliu.
"Go," commanded the Art Saint.
"Yes, Master," answered Zhou Mu. Stepping up, he held a pencil in his hand. Then, he laid out a large piece of paper on the bright golden yellow carpet. Zhou Mu bent down and began to draw.
"It's rare to see Zhou Mu in action. We are all so lucky to be able to witness the Art Saint's disciple in action," said one of the youths in the crowd. All the youngsters at the venue admired Zhou Mu.
"I've never seen a conjurer in action before, so I don't know what it's like," said a young girl. Her eyes glowed in interest as she observed Zhou Mu.
Zhou Mu drew with great speed. His movements were natural and graceful. Lord Luo complimented, "Brother Hua, your disciple has such a grand aura for a person of his age."
"That's true," everyone else agreed. Even Yun Rou and her group of dancers tried to look on as they danced. Ye Futian was also aware of all the happenings, despite playing with his head down.
He was thinking to himself. Hua Fengliu and the Art Saint were old rivals, not only in power, but also in love. To be able to take Mistress away from someone like the Art Saint, Ye Futian could only imagine how charming Hua Fengliu must have been in the past. If Hua Fengliu did not have his powers disabled, then he probably could have been like admired and respected like the Art Saint. To have ended up in his situation, Ye Futian felt really bad for Hua Fengliu.
Zhou Mu drew as Ye Futian played the guqin. One was the disciple of the Art Saint, one was the disciple of the Guqin Devil. However, everyone's focus was on Zhou Mu. Finally, Zhou Mu's work was complete. A Fire Phoenix escaped from the artwork and circled the skies above. Covered in the flames, it let out a screech. Then, it landed by Lord Luo's side and began to dance for him.
"The phoenix is a symbol of success. What a wonderful omen. We wouldn't have expected anything less of the Young Art Saint." Everyone was full of praise for Zhou Mu. Even Lord Luo gave him a look and smile of approval. He said, "You shall be rewarded,"
"Thank you, my lord," Zhou Mu bowed and then returned to his spot by his master.
"Watching Zhou Mu, I was reminded of a person. A couple days ago, Nandou Ku paid a visit to the Guqin Gardens and saw Hua Fengliu," said Nandou Wenshan. In a split second, he had captured everyone's attention. The Guqin Devil was back in the City of Donghai?
"However, he's handicapped now and is being protected by Tang Lan. He even took in a disciple," Nandou Wenshan elaborated.
"Handicapped?" Everyone was shocked.
Even the Art Saint was surprised. "What a shame."
"Why is it a shame? Even if he weren't handicapped, he wouldn't dare show his face in front of you, Art Saint." Someone laughed.
"That's right! In the past, Hua Fengliu had no understanding of his own capabilities and brought the humiliation on to himself. Who would've thought he would still have the nerve to come back after becoming disabled? Would he even be able to groom the disciple he took in? If his disciple met with Zhou Mu, he would probably have to walk in the other direction," another person mocked Hua Fengliu.
"He can only live under someone else's protection now. Why is he even thinking about anything else?" People began to speak up against Hua Fengliu. All their words were meant to suck up to the Art Saint.
Xia Fan watched Ye Futian. He could not wait to see how long it would take for Ye Futian to explode in anger.
Just as everyone was enjoying their time making fun of Hua Fengliu, they were interrupted by the sounds of the guqin. The style has shifted. The once soft notes were getting louder and faster as well. Slowly, Yun Rou and the other dancers became influenced by the music. The women began to dance their hearts away, their long dresses flowed with their movements. They all looked like goddesses.
Under the influence of the music, the youngsters got more excited and the elders were in an even better mood now. The atmosphere of the entire party venue was pushed to the highest point.
"What piece is this?" asked the Art Saint. His eyes drifted toward Ye Futian. Not only him, but the other high authority figures as well felt something amiss. Their emotions were being controlled by the music.
The youths at the party were getting agitated and the dancers on stage looked like they were unable to pull themselves away from the music.
Behind the stage, a young man was playing his instrument silently. He seemed to be in a world of his own. His looks could be said to be one of the best amongst the younger party-goers. When he played, he released a mystical force that was incorporated into his music.
"The Melody of the White Feathers Garment. Who are you?" The Art Saint's gaze sharpened and his utterance interrupted the music. Many people began to wake up from their previous trance. The all stared at the young guqin player in shock.
They watched as the young man lifted his head slowly. His eyes were clear and clean with no sense of lowliness. Looking towards Lord Luo, he spoke. "I am the Guqin Devil's disciple, Ye Futian. I am here to convey blessings in place of my Master with a single piece. The Melody of the White Feathers Garment."