"Alright, I came to ask you about the incident concerning Ashoka Manor. But now, it seems like it doesnt matter anymore," Shangyang Jiuli said casually. "Oh, and even Black Crow can spot the Zombie poison on you. Youd best handle it."
"My Lord, may I know why that Senior Black would say that I was lying to him?" Lu Sheng suddenly asked after some silence.
"No idea. Maybe he sniffed some scent on you, or saw some telltale sign that betrayed you. Who knows? Anyway, to me, alls well as long as they show face to my Shangyang Family, and me, Shangyang Jiuli," Shangyang Jiuli pinched the cauldron in her hand. Suddenly, she asked, "Did you really kill the Officiator?"
"What makes you say that, My Lord? Theres such a wide chasm between my strength and the Lord Officiators. Do you think thats possible?" Lu Sheng chuckled.
"It may not be possible for you. But it may be possible for others," Shangyang Jiuli said meaningfully. "Best to stay away from things like looting corpses. Of course, unless every trip brings you something like this. Alright, Im leaving. Dont forget the annual tribute," she waved her hand and picked up the fainted middle-aged man, then leapt off the roof and soared into the sky like a seagull before disappearing.
Lu Sheng didnt know whether to laugh or to cry. Shangyang Jiuli had mistaken him for a corpse looter. Thankfully, however, she had come in the nick of time, preventing Senior Black from striking him. Otherwise, given his present condition, it would be difficult for him to survive him.
Without Yang-attribute inner force, all he could do was endure but not hurt Black Crow. There was no other option apart from fleeing.
A useless tiny cauldron of unknown origin in exchange for temporary safety from Ashoka Manor. Its worth it, gazing in the direction of Shangyang Jiulis departing figure, Lu Sheng arranged his collar, then strode down the stairs.
The contest was still going on. Su Yueer and the rest were waiting outside the Deer Hall. At the sight of Lu Shengs return, her eyes lit up and she hurriedly knelt before him.
"Dont be anxious. I still need to observe you. If your character and body constitution are not suitable to cultivate my martial arts, I wont take you in," Lu Sheng swiftly stopped her.
"Thank you, Sect Master. I will not fail you!" Su Yueers face immediately lit up with joy.
By the time Black Crow had barged in and interrupted the contest, it was already near its end. Since members of the upper management, including Chen Ying, were sent away for medical attention, the atmosphere in the hall was no longer as passionate as before. Looks of helplessness and grief appeared on many faces.
Although the path of martial arts could indeed change ones life, it was still too weak in their view. This incident dealt a lethal blow to their enthusiasm for training in the path of martial arts.
A gloomy mood fell on the entire Deer Hall. After Lu Sheng returned to his seat, Hong Mingzi distributed the awards for the top ten contestants, thus ending the contest.
Time trickled by.
Lu Sheng continued to rest and recuperate, soaking in medicinal baths every day and consuming large quantities of rare herbs. His injuries were turning for the better.
While he was unoccupied and unable to cultivate, he decided to settle all the affairs that he previously had no time for.
Among them, the most important was his engagement with Chen Yunxi.
Lu Sheng intended to pay a visit to her. Whether or not their engagement was going to work out... if she was still waiting, then he had to give her a reply.
Ever since Young Master Wang was made a handicap, Chen Yunxi had been passing her days awkwardly.
In the plum blossom garden, Chen Yunxi was in a gloomy mood. She clutched an intricately carved jade ornament, a treasure purchased by her dad from an exotic country.
White plum flowers blossomed in the garden. But, she was distracted and disinterested. No one knew what was going on in her mind.
"Young Miss, Plum Blossom Court has sent another gift," a servant girl walked in from the entrance and whispered into Chen Yunxis ear.
"What is it this time?" Chen Yunxi asked apathetically.
"Its cosmetic powder. A total of ninety-nine different types of cosmetic powder with different colors and scents," the servant girl replied, envy flashing across her eyes.
For a long period of time, Plum Blossom Court had been sending various assorted gifts every once in a while. They included cosmetic products, dresses, accessories, and all sorts of trinkets and novelties.
The rarity of some of these items surprised even Chen Daozao, Chen Yunxis father. As a result, he was already full of praises for Lu Sheng, whom he had never even met.
Although he had fainted from shock, as a merchant, how could he miss the meaning behind Plum Blossom Courts gestures?
Plum Blossom Court had a mysterious backer. But, as the wealthiest man in the city with his connections, Chen Daozao had already figured out the reason and origin behind these gifts.
But, Chen Yunxi was kept in the dark.
"Tell me, Yuer. Who exactly is Brother Sheng? Why would so many people bother to give me these presents on his behalf?"
The servant girl Yuer shook her head with a face filled with envy.
"Your servant does not know. But, he should be some really impressive big shot?"
Chen Yunxi fell into a daze.
"Really impressive big shot" her fingers rubbed against the jade ornament subconsciously. No one could guess her thoughts.
Standing beside her, Yuers emotions were complicated too.
Watching Chen Yunxis tall and slender figure, especially her long legs which occupied two-thirds of her height, she was slightly jealous.
Such a figure was truly ugly. On the contrary, cute petite figures like hers were in vogue now.
Who would have imagined that a lady of Chen Yunxis figure would find such an eligible partner? It was baffling.
Yuer stooped even lower. Why is it that Im smaller than her, cuter than her... yet cant find even an admirer of average standards?
Chen Yunxi understood as well that many people guessed that the mysterious big shot favored her because of her familys wealth, in light of her lousy figure. But she knew that was far from the truth.
Lu Sheng had never been like that.
Plucking a white plum blossom silently and holding it between her fingers, Chen Yunxi gazed at it, reminiscing. Beside her, Yuer put a jacket on her shoulders.
"Miss, Miss!!" abruptly, a servant girl dashed into the garden.
"Whats the matter! Making so much noise what if you frighten Young Miss? Dont you know the rules?" Yuer quickly chided her.
"No... its Young Master Lu, Young Master Lu is here!!" the servant girl shouted in between pants.
Chen Yunxis jade ornament fell to the ground. Almost racing, she rushed up and clutched the servant girls shoulders.
"Is what youre saying for real?!"
"Its real, its real! Ive seen Young Master Lu before. His horse carriage is still beside the Manor entrance and has not left!" the servant girl hurriedly replied.
"Ill go change and wash up!" Chen Yunxi spun round and dashed towards her bedroom.
Yuer hurried in her footsteps.
Lu Sheng was sitting in the main hall under the accompaniment of Chen Daozao. Many pretty artistes entered in a file and a musician also came into the hall. Slowly, the musician began playing a tune and the artistes danced to it. Before long, delicious cuisine was served.
"Mister Chen enjoys the finer things in life indeed," Lu Sheng smiled and tasted the wine in the cup set before him.
"If nephew  likes them, you can have them anytime," Chen Daozao laughed. "Were just unrefined people, yet we dont have any talent in martial arts either. So, we just make a fool of ourselves."
"Mister Chen, youre too modest. Youve put all your energies into your businesses. We merely have different pursuits," Lu Sheng shook his head.
"I wonder why youve come, nephew? Yunxi has been low-spirited, and doesnt even have the mood to eat. If you have the time, nephew, perhaps you can visit her?" Chen Daozao took the initiative.
Lu Sheng knew that Chen Daozao had already heard of some intelligence about him, but was unbothered. After all, there was no way to hide his identity as sect master of Crimson Whale Sect forever. Paper cannot contain fire.
"Ive come precisely to ask Yunxi out on a hike to Golden Light Temple. Coincidentally, theyre holding the Golden Light Temple Poetry Recital there and we can join in the fun. But I dont know if Yunxi would be willing to"
"Willing, willing! Of course shes willing!" Chen Daozao agreed before Lu Sheng could finish his sentence. "Yunxi has been waiting to go out with nephew for a long time," Chen Daozao added, perhaps because he realized how quick he was to agree.
"After all, a lady gets bored from being cooped up at home all the time. This old man was just intending to send her out somewhere for some fresh air when nephew came! What a coincidence! Haha! Hahahaha!!" he laughed drily.
"Thats truly a coincidence indeed," Lu Sheng naturally understood why Chen Daozao behaved in this manner. On one hand, his power was too great and brought him too much pressure, ruffling him and causing him to lose his composure. On the other hand, it was also because the Chen Family had already thoroughly offended the family of the Deputy Army Superintendent. It was now purely by Lu Shengs name that they were not being targeted in vengeance.
With these reasons, it was natural that Chen Daozao would become so amenable.
"Yes, its a coincidence, a coincidence," Chen Daozao laughed. "Its getting late today, though. Are you intending to attend the evening poetry recital, nephew?"
"Mm, thats the plan indeed," Lu Sheng nodded.
"That works, that works. It may rain later, so remember to bring an umbrella. It gets wet at night. This old man remembers that Golden Light Temple offers lodgings for the night. Nephew, you can just stay overnight there with Yunxi. If you can help it, dont come back. Thats safer too," Chen Daozao suggested with a grin.
Lu Sheng was speechless.
He was asking him to stay overnight in Golden Light Temple with Chen Yunxi. Wasnt that hinting at him to make Chen Yunxi his woman directly?
What kind of father is this? Previously, he tried to marry his daughter off as someone elses concubine. And now, he seemed to be in a hurry for his daughter to lose her virginity!
This left Lu Sheng at a loss for words.
Even Chen Daozao himself found his words too embarrassing. He opened his mouth, trying to say something to salvage the situation.
"Daddy!" Suddenly, Chen Yunxi strode in through the entrance, her face as red as beetroot, too embarrassed to look up. "What rubbish are you saying?"
"Shes here, shes here! Have a good chat! I happen to have an old friend whos just come to play chess. Ill make a move first," at the sight of his daughter, Chen Daozao hurriedly rose and left as if he were fleeing a crime scene without waiting for Lu Shengs reply.
The two of them were left alone with each other in the hall. Staring at each other, neither of them knew what to say.
Chen Yunxi seemed to have dolled herself up. She wore a knee-length jade green dress. Between the gaps of the seams on the sides of her dress, her ivory-white, slender and long legs were visible. It was as if only two pieces of cloth over her front and back covered her vital parts.
Raven black hair cascaded down her shoulders. A red jade hairpin and a pair of moon white pearl earrings dangling from her earlobes accentuated her elegance and beauty.
 TL/N: An elder calling a junior his nephew when they have no blood relations is an endearing and polite term of address.