Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The Great Zhou Sacred King looked at Liu Zong and smiled, saying, “Well, we have so many proud sons and daughters here today, all in such a good mood. Are there any of the young people who’d like to show what they’ve got for a little bit?”
“Sacred King, while it is true that many here are our juniors, many of them are already sages. It would be rather unsuitable to have them perform. Wouldn’t it be fun to simply admire the dance and the music while chatting and drinking away?”
“Speaking of dance and music, I heard that there’re people from Yue House today. The ones that you hired pale in comparison,” the Great Zhou Sacred King then took a look at the Qi State’s corner.
“True words indeed. Who in the nine states doesn’t know that the Yue House excels in such performing arts, better than anyone else throughout the nine states?” Saint Xihua said.
“Please, you’re being too kind,” the people from Yue House bowed and said to Saint Xihua. “Since both Saint Xihua and the Great Zhou Sacred King are in such a pleasant mood, Liuyun, how about you play something for everyone?” He looked at a young man who was dressed in a clean white robe beside him. The young man looked pleasant and dashing, with a hint of air of sorrow about him.
“Yue Liuyun.” An elder from the Jixia Holy Palace said, “One among the younger generation of Yue House known to be incredibly talented in the art of music, and the personal student of the Music Saint. Everyone here is in for a treat today indeed.”
“Is that so?” The people of the other states all looked rather amused, and their interests were piqued as they looked at the young man. He had not participated in the Nine State Forum, which meant that he was probably a young age, who happened to look incredibly dashing.
“You’re dismissed.” Saint Xihua waved at the girl who was playing music at the moment. The troupe all rose and bowed, leaving the stage shortly after.
Yue Liuyun stepped onto the stage slowly, cupping his hands and saying, “I hope you’ll find my performance to your liking.”
“Please,” Saint Xihua smiled and said in a friendly manner.
Yue Liuyun sat before the guqin and put all of his fingers on the strings. He looked as if he had turned into someone else in an instant. A crisp sound was heard from the strings as his fingers moved, playing a bright and light-hearted tune. The music from the guqin slowly rose in volume, bringing a powerful air with it, easily enabling all within earshot to steep into the scene illustrated by the sound of the instrument. The guqin’s sound was loud and sonorous, like a high and mighty song. It was as if heroes had gathered there. Figures of legends were everywhere, steeping themselves in martial arts, fighting each other on the battlefield. There were dragons howling in the sea and phoenixes crying in the sky.
Many vaguely saw silhouettes of elusive figures, with the shadows of true dragons and phoenixes appearing. At that moment, everyone felt as if they had been brought back to the forum stage of the Nine State Forum, fighting on the stage and seeing who among the geniuses from all nine states would be crowned champion.
The power of the sound was incredibly penetrative, enabling one to feel as if they were in the scene itself. There was no noise of any kind heard in the banquet but the sound of the guqin. Many looked at Yue Liuyun and found the young man looking incredibly dashing while performing with astounding skills.
The loud music gradually took a more tranquil tone. The elders chatted away, and things had calmed. It was as if the battlefield scenes had turned into that of a banquet. The song had a hint of flightiness in it, as if the song was one from the heavens, with clouds floating around and spreading all over the banquet, making it seem like a banquet held among the gods. Colorful phoenixes soared above the clouds and danced about. The scene looked incredibly peaceful and prosperous.
“Splendid.” Many lifted their heads and could not help but gasped. The young man is indeed a capable student of Yue House. His music indeed sounds like its from the heavens.
The sound of the song gradually ebbed, but many were still steeped within that mood. Many great figures throughout the nine states smiled, and Saint Xihua did not hold anything back when singing praises to the young man, saying, “The Yue House is indeed the number one in the art of song and dance throughout the nine states. Be it guqin or flutes or anything else; all are known throughout the nine states. I have experienced it and tell that it is all true today.”
“You’re too kind, senior.” Yue Liuyun behaved in a composed manner. He slowly rose and bowed, returning to the area assigned to Yue House of Qi State shortly after.
“I think the song has probably gotten quite a number of girls falling in love with him,” the Great Zhou Sacred King said with a smile. There was something charismatic about performances by musical sorcerers indeed. Yue Liuyun was among the best of them, which made his performance even more exceptional and charming.
“Do you know that other than the Yue House, there is another one of the younger generations from the nine states who is incredibly capable in the musical arts, Saint Xihua? His aptitude at the art is, I dare say, comparable to that of the students of Yue House,” a voice said. Many turned to look at the one who spoke, and it was none other than Kong Yao of Zhisheng Cliffs of Yu State.
Many wore peculiar looks on their faces. Participants of Zhisheng Cliffs of Yu State had all been eliminated, and it was an incredibly embarrassing matter. As such, none expected Kong Yao to actually speak at the banquet.
“And who might that be?” Saint Xihua asked with a smile. Kong Yao’s words piqued the interests of many. One whose aptitude in the musical arts is comparable to that of the students of Yue House? That’s probably quite an exaggeration.
“Have you all heard of the Ukiyo Song?” Kong Yao said.
“The Ukiyo Song composed by Donghuang the Great?” Saint Xihua’s expression turned solemn. The higher one’s plane was, the greater one’s respect became for someone at a level like Donghuang the Great from the bottom of their heart, so much so the mention of Donghuang the Great’s name required one to behave seriously and solemnly.
“Indeed.” Kong Yao nodded. “There is one of the young generation among us capable of playing the song left by such a great figure.”
“Who would that be?” Saint Xihua asked, and many turned to look at Kong Yao. Even the people of Yue House were rather interested.
“It is none other than Ye Futian, Palace Lord of the Holy Zhi Palace of the Barren State,” Kong Yao said. Everyone was stunned for a moment when he finished speaking, before turning their eyes at Ye Futian.
Ye Futian sat quietly where he was and felt rather cold inside, hearing Kong Yao’s words. Zhisheng Cliffs and the Barren State, in general, were enemies. If it had not been for the appearance of Emperor Xia, Zhisheng Cliffs would have had Ye Futian killed. With the beef between them having worsened during the Nine State Forum, Kong Yao would probably want nothing more than to kill Ye Futian where he sat.
As such, it was apparent that Kong Yao had ill intentions mentioning Ye Futian at such a place, wanting to embarrass him in front of the crowd. When Saint Xihua said that Yue House of Qi State was number one in the musical arts, Kong Yao went on to immediately tell everyone that Ye Futian knew the Ukiyo Song.
Ye Futian had played a song during the battle outside the Holy Zhi Palace. Kong Yao would have easily found out a lot if he really wanted to dig for information. Furthermore, the Ukiyo Song was not a secret. However, Kong Yao’s action of mentioning that at a time and place like this spoke volumes of his ill intentions.
Everyone from the other states looked on with curious expressions. Ye Futian was chosen as a leader of a sacred ground of the Barren State when he was still just a noble. The Glass Saint had also said that he broke the Celestial Dragon Chess Game a short while ago, which naturally meant that he had exceptional skills in chess. Now, Kong Yao came up and told everyone that Ye Futian knew the Ukiyo Song, the song that an emperor composed.
Is there anything that this Palace Lord of Barren State isn’t good at?
“Is it true?” Saint Xihua asked with a smile.
“I had come across the score of the Ukiyo Song by chance in the past, and I have been practicing it since. Yet, I’ve been unable to understand more than what is on the surface, even now. My skills are currently unfit for a performance.” Ye Futian said humbly, “The Ukiyo Song is a song of emperors. My plane is low, and I’m still unable to grasp the key parts of the piece.”
“You’ve played marvelously outside the Holy Zhi Palace in the place, Ye Futian, why so humble now?” Kong Yao said plainly, “Everyone is in a mood for a song right now, why not play the song of emperors and entertain everyone for a bit?”
Many from the Barren State side went to glare at Kong Yao when he said those words. Unlike Yue Liuyun, Ye Futian’s current status was a leader of the Barren State. Are you really telling Ye Futian to play and entertain everyone, the people of other sacred grounds here, Kong Yao?
It would not have mattered if Ye Futian was just one of the younger generations from a sacred ground like Yue Liuyun, but his current status was a Palace Lord, so it was obvious that Kong Yao was deliberately insulting Ye Futian.
Many looked at Ye Futian, but none said anything. Ye Futian smiled and said, “I dare not show off in front of the seniors of the nine states, but since you put it that way, I’d be willing to play a song. It would naturally be better if someone could accompany the song with a martial arts performance. Would you be in the mood to perform for us, Senior Kong?”
“There are so many geniuses from the Barren State and there are also many from the Holy Zhi Palace. As such, I don’t see any need for me to perform.” Kong Yao then added plainly, “Given your reluctant attitude about the matter, Palace Lord Ye, would I be wrong to assume that you think no one from the nine states is worthy enough to hear you play?” Kong Yao’s words were as sharp as blades, cornering Ye Futian at every turn.
Ye Futian looked at Kong Yao and then saw many looking at him. He then smiled and said, “Well, since there are so many who are in such a mood, I hope my performance is to your liking.”
He stood up right after he finished and walked to the guqin. Many eyes were on him. Ye Futian sat down quietly, and just like Yue Liuyun, the air emanating from him felt different within an instant. He was quiet and tranquil, no longer looking like the exceptionally capable young Palace Lord of the Holy Zhi Palace. At the moment, he was simply a musical sorcerer.
Ye Futian was handsome and had an exceptional bearing. When his slender ten fingers began to pluck at the strings, the sound of the guqin penetrated the minds of many, enabling all to enter the scenes illustrated by the song of his music. Many were able to tell right from the second he started playing, that his proficiency at the art was not inferior to Yue Liuyun’s.
The sound of the music was winding, crisp, and pleasant to the ear. The tone was low, and it seemed as if he was telling a story with music. It was an ancient tale. The main characters of the tale were two young men who were growing, witnessing the fickleness of human nature and how the strong preyed on the weak, yet they persevered with the initial intentions and grew along the way. Ye Futian’s emotions at the moment were infused within the song, which made it felt as if he was telling a story about how he was being treated in the Nine State Forum, prompting many to wear peculiar expressions. However, no one interrupted him. The illustrations of the song resonated within the minds of many. It presented the images right before them, enabling them to witness the growth of legendary figures.
At the moment, someone was seen walking out, and many turned in that direction. That someone turned out to be Huang Jiuge, a student of the Holy Zhi Palace. Huang Jiuge bowed to Saint Xihua and said, “The Palace Lord claimed that it would be best to have someone accompany the song with a martial arts performance. My name is Huang Jiuge, and I’m a young student of the Holy Zhi Palace. I would like to perform with the song.”
“You may.” Saint Xihua nodded. Huang Jiuge walked out and came to stand behind Ye Futian. He turned around to face Zhisheng Cliffs and said, “Before I came to become a student of the Holy Zhi Palace, I heard that the Son of Zhisheng Cliffs, Qin Zhong, had been to the Holy Zhi Palace and bested many of the students. I’d like to spar with a student of your sacred ground as a way to accompany the song.”
Kong Yao frowned. Is the Holy Zhi Palace retaliating now?
At the moment, the sound of the guqin gradually grew louder and came to sound more penetrative. If there were people to accompany the song with martial arts, things would indeed be more interesting.
“This is the banquet of the Nine State Forum and ill-suited for sparring,” Kong Yao said plainly.
“I’ve acquired permission from the saint. Given how you’re so reluctant to perform as requested, would I be wrong to assume that you deem the people of the nine states unworthy of witnessing a Son of Zhisheng Cliffs perform?” Huang Jiuge said, returning the words of Kong Yao right back at him.
Kong Yao glared at Huang Jiuge with cold eyes. He had never expected a student his junior would actually dare speak to him like that.
Qin Zhong turned his eyes at Huang Jiuge. As one of the Nine Warriors of Zhisheng Cliffs, he saw fit to rise up, seeing how they were being challenged by a student of the Holy Zhi Palace.
“If you’re in such a mood, I’d be willing to oblige.” Qin Zhong walked out slowly and came to stand somewhere not far away from Ye Futian. He then said, “Qin Zhong of Zhisheng Cliffs, pleased to make your acquaintance.”
“Huang Jiuge of the Holy Zhi Palace, pleased to make your acquaintance.”
Both gestured courteously at each other in a dashing manner, yet there was a formless aura clashing in the space right before them!