"Zhuo Feiyang proceeded to the East Garden to begin his seclusion. When he had finished, Zhuo Feiyang advanced to challenge the third floor. This is all your doing, am I correct?" said Su Ru. She had a starry-eyed look that gazed towards Chu Li in awe.
"Did you really initiate the duel?" Su Ru grinned. "You really are something Chu Li. After all, Zhuo Feiyang isn't someone to be trifled with."
"I didn't have a choice. I was forced to fight like a cornered animal."
"And he lost?" Su Ru's excitement grew by the second, "You know, he kept insisting on denouncing you; He even planned on denigrating you. Now, there's barely any word of it. Not even a shred of news about Zhuo Feiyang ".
Lee Yue chirped in excitement, "Chief! You should have seen him! Zhuo Feiyang was no match for Chu Li; he was vanquished without saying a single word."
"I thought your inner strength was inert?"
"Then how did you win..?"
"Chief, Chu Li's swordsmanship is extraordinary!"
"Hmm" Su Ru nodded with this sudden realization.
"Seems like you have great potential with the sword. It's such a shame."
"What is such a shame?" Lee Yue asked.
"Not having inner strength..." Su Ru shook her head. "You may have gotten away with the trained users, but with natural experts? You won't even be able to withstand their first blow!"
Chu Li nodded in agreement. He is an expert in the knowledge of martial arts and has read many books. From what he learned, trained users could only circulate their energy within themselves. However, a natural expert is able to transfer their inner strength into another inanimate object.
"Chu Li, you have been focused all your efforts on being a Scribe. You have a brighter future there that than being a Scribe." Su Ru said.
Chu Li smiled.
"Are you doubtful?" Su Ru tilted her head.
"Being a Scribe is definitely a better choice." Chu Li nodded, "...for manipulation, that is."
"You're smart", Su Ru covered her mouth and smiled. "It takes some time for Scribes to reap their rewards. Nonetheless, to those with potential, it no longer becomes a problem."
Chu Li nodded.
Su Ru always thought that Chu Li was a proven intellect. He could grasp whatever Su Ru wanted to convey with just a few hints from her. Being able to have this level of understanding for his age proves his maturity, "Let me have a look at the Moonlight Orchid. I've never seen one before!" Su Ru smiled.
"The East Garden does not purchase these orchids regularly, Even so, I've heard that the West Garden has a good history of purchasing multiple orchids at a single time!" Lee Yue added.
"Let us be mindful of our own business please." Su Ru shook her head in disapproval, "Mistress had banned us from buying any of the orchids. However, they're just too beautiful. It's really hard to resist not admiring them."
The three of them finally arrived at the parterre of the Moonlight Orchid.
Su Ru nodded. Satisfaction was written all over her face. "It's really clear why so many people are obsessed with these flowers. Chu Li, have you actually succeeded?"
"They grow within a span of a month. Thus, more should germinate within the following month." Chu Li answered.
"When the new one grows, you'll send it to the West Garden." Su Ru said.
"Why so, Chief?" Lee Yue asked in confusion.
Su Ru rolled her eyes at him with displeasure. "The eldest prince is Princess Siao Qi's master. Of course, we can't forget about him when we have something nice on our hands."
"...Right." Lee Yue silently agreed.
"I presume this won't be a problem?", said Su Ru as she looked towards Chu Li.
"No.", said Chu Li as he shook his head.
"Alright. Let's go and have a look elsewhere." Su Ru said, "Princess Siao Qi will be arriving in just a few days."
"Great!" said Lee Yue with high spirits, "Chief! After you!"
Su Ru walked around the East Garden, commenting on everything as she proceeded. Places that needed cleaning, flowers to be arranged; wherever she found something to be dissatisfactory for her standards. Chu Li would pen down her remarks alongside her.
Su Ru took the whole morning to complete her rounds. They finally ended back at the front of the Moonlight Orchids.
"Alright, that's all I would have to say", Su Ru smiled warmly. "Also, please don't make any mistakes to ruin Princess Siao Qi's fun!"
"Of course not!" Lee Yue pound his chest as a sign of promise.
"Words are nothing without actions!" Su Ru chided. She then stared sideways at him and said, "and don't be reckless. I'll be off now."
She waved her hand elegantly and departed. Her walk is as graceful as a swaying willow tree. The gentle elegance exuding from her is able to capture the hearts of bystanders.
Chu Li sighed to himself. She is a definitely a lady of high caliber. Which undeserving man could win her hand in the future? Even Chu Li himself must work hard!
For the next couple of days, Chu Li was only able to train during the night. It has become so incredibly hectic during the daytime. Chu Li was unable to catch his breath nor have a cup of tea.
One by one, they amended every flaw that Su Ru had pointed out previously from before. They rushed to complete their tasks with the gnawing possibility that the Princess could arrive at any minute at the back of their mind.
However, there was still no news from Marlow. All was quiet. This made Chu Li incredibly surprised.
Gu Li Tong is known to be fiercely competitive. He is eager to win. Besides that, he is highly infamous for his unscrupulous attitude. If he were to find out that Chu Li had been successful in breeding the Moonlight Orchid, he would never let it pass. A storm no doubt is brewing on the horizon.
He has guessed that the Herb Garden are still squabbling among themselves. Tensions were still running high, and whether he could enter back to the garden was still a mystery to him.
On the third morning, Chu Li was practicing asceticism in the Moonlight Orchid's parterre. At that period, the new Moonlight orchid had grown twice the size when compared to the first batch.
Suddenly, the area was filled with the sound of jade instruments. Lee Yue rushed over to meet his new guests.He quickly returned with six people alongside him. Their eyes were keen and a dense aura surrounded them.
Chu Li's eyebrows furrowed while he activated the Omniscient Mirror. Looking past the six of them, he saw the white, glowing meridian points along their bodies. It flowed with the milky-white inner strength that surged within them.
So, this is what an innate master looked like!
"Chu Li! These seniors are the Protectors of Princess Siao Qi! The Princess is coming!" Lee Yue sounded ecstatic.
Chu Li stood up and bowed. His fists closed as a sign of respect.
The six of them returned his greetings and proceeded to walk in pairs. Eventually, the six of them ended up occupying different corners of the garden. Standing guard at each strategic point along the premises.
Chu Li and Lee Yue moved to the shore beside a hollow tree. They were stood by for the Princess.
"Chu Li, you are down in luck at the moment. The Princess does not fancy the Moonlight Orchid all that much." Lee Yue stared out at the expanse of the vast lake, "otherwise, she'd have you in high regard.."
"Princess Siao Qi does not like them?"
"Indeed. She said herself that the orchids are far too luxurious. Furthermore, distracting people. She even added that is was best not to touch them!"
"I see" Chu Li nodded. It seems like the Third Princess does not indulge in materialistic possessions.
People like the Princess had a firm and stable personality. It was befitting for her post and her abilities. It was clear that this was the true reason for being the object of admiration among the guards of the Public House.
Chu Li had a thought; looking at the poor situation at the present moment, he would have to resort to flattery. Now, Princess Siao Qi had presented him with an enormous pair. He would have to first gauge her temperament.
The duo exchanged conversations as a boat slowly made its way towards them.
Chu Li activated the Omniscient Mirror and saw four individuals on the boat.There were two old men with completely white brows and beards, Su Ru in her apricot gown, and another lady with clothes as white as snow.
Chu Li did not spare any attention to the turbulent energy flowing within the old men. All of his attention was fixated on the lady between the two men.
Her skin was incredibly fair and radiant. She almost looks like a sculpture carved out of white jade. A pair of brilliant, bright eyes adorned her face that gave off a gentle glow.
What made her stand out, even more, was her ice-cold demeanor. She was like an eagle in the sky. Gazing below at the inhabitants and not caring for what happens on earth. A celestial being from the heavens.
Such magnificence was a rarity to find.
"I've come to fetch you, my princess!", said Lee Yue as he bowed. He then took two steps forward which then was mimicked by Chu Li.
Siao Qi gestured with her delicate hands for them to rise, "As you were."
Her ice cold eyes glared at Chu Li for a moment before she stepped onto the island.
Lee Yue and Chu Li followed behind of the two elders standing in front of them. They gave off a terrifying aura. Chu Li found it hard to even catch a breath. He wanted to turn and leave as soon as he could.
The third princess, Siao Qi was also an innate master. A peculiar trait of hers was the space between her eyebrows. That space glowed brilliantly like stars glimmering in the night sky.
From the tip of the forehead down to the middle of the brow was the empty space within the mind. If this point shined, it meant that her third eye was opened. She then had the ability to look through someone's heart.
Chu Li concentrated and observed carefully. It was very fortunate that the Omniscient Mirror was stronger than the Princess. He had the choice to look for the hidden secrets of her heart. However, if Chu Li were to dig too deep; she would know.
"Princess, let's go and have a look." Su Ru said.
"Hmm.", responded Siao Qi with a nod.
The group then arrived at the Moonlight Orchid's parterre. After looking at both the orchids, Siao Qi's icy cold eyes once again meet Chu Li's. "Is this really your doing?"
"Yes." Chu Li replied. His fists were wrapped tightly.
"How did you succeed?" Siao Qi asked.
Chu Li took a deep breath. He decided to make a wager. This was an opportune time for him; Zhuo Feiyang had improved so quickly, even he could not afford to stand still.
Siao Qi's eyes flickered.
Chu Li turned and looked around him.
"Besides Su Ru, I would like the rest to take their leave now."
Siao Qi signaled them to leave.
"Understood." The two elders glanced at Chu Li and proceeded to step out of the parterre.
Siao Qi quietly observed Chu Li, and realized how different he really was. His inner heart was as peaceful as a calm lake. His thoughts were pure and concrete, his mind stable from within. He definitely was not someone ordinary.
She then pondered about his background. She remembered that he grew up in the temple and was very fruitful in practicing the Buddhist austerities. It seemed he had a strong mettle to him!
"Proceed.." Siao Qi commanded.
Chu Li gave a gentle gaze towards Siao Qi, who returned it with her usual ice-cold stare. "Princess, I can communicate with plants."
"Hm?" Siao Qi frowned. She was highly doubtful on whether to believe him or not.
If someone else would have said it, she would have burst out laughing. However, this was Chu Li. When the study of Buddhism came to a threshold, supernatural powers weren't uncommon.
"Flowers have no self-awareness, but they do have emotion. And that is what decides their fate."
"And that is how you successfully bred the Moonlight Orchid?"
"To what extent are your powers capable of?"
Chu Li took another breath,
"Life and death."
"Young Su Ru, bring me the stars of winter." She instructed. Her head turned ever so slightly.
Su Ru answered and left.
"I heard from Meng Qinlin that you are interested in entering the Herb Garden? " Siao Qi asked.
Chu Li nodded.
"Why? Is the East Garden too small?"
Chu Li could praise for her wits in being able to ask such direct questions. He shook his head. "I would like to find my limit. See if I could control other herbs.
Siao Qi nodded.
This was the first time she had ever met someone this calm.A feeling of curiosity started to grow within her.
Ever since she had completed the austerities of the ancient scripture that her mother had passed down, she gained the ability to see through people's hearts. The world around her immediately lost its colours and warmth. Everything became so bland.
Su Ru then returned, carrying a pot of dark blue flowers. The flowers were small and scattered. They almost seem like the stars in the sky.
However, half the flowers had already dried up. It seems like they had experienced droughts for extended periods of time. Thus, deteriorating the flower's health.
Su Ru placed the flowers in front of Chu Li.
"Trying to help this pot of Winter's Star is a vain attempt. Meng Qinlin and the others have already tried."
Chu Li touched the flowers, connecting their senses. Its aura felt rough. By activating the Omniscient Mirror, Chu Li dug out the soil to see half that the roots had already decayed.
Chu Li removed the decayed roots, changed the soil, and then watered it.
He raised his head.
"They'll be alright by tomorrow."
"It can be saved?" Su Ru looked at Chu Li, puzzled.
Chu Li nodded.
"If you succeed, don't even think about joining the herb garden." Siao Qi said.
Chu Li looked at her, utterly dumbfounded.
"No one must know of this ability you possess." Siao Qi said, coldly.
"Understood!" Chu Li immediately replied.
"Send one to the West Garden the next time the orchids manage to sprout!"
"Go back to where you were."
Siao Qi dismissed them.
Chu Li and Lee Yue waved her goodbye and left.
Lee Yue let out a heavy sigh, to which Chu Li asked: "Why are you so nervous?"
"Well, what do you think!?" Lee Yue replied. He was clearly in a bad mood. "Are you not afraid of the princess!?" exclaimed Lee Yue.
Chu Li smiled as he shook his head.
"Can you really cure that pot of flowers?" Lee Yue scoffed a little at himself. Thinking how ambitious and forthcoming he was.
"It won't be a problem."
Lee Yue smiled, and replied: "But if Princess Siao Qi forbids your entry to the herb garden, what then?"
"Then I shan't."
"Hah...That's such a waste!" Lee Yue sighed in relief, before showing a hesitant smile.
Then, both of them returned. Prepared to be summoned at any given time.