Chapter 51: Mermaid Yuchan (Part One)
“Father! Sit down and rest.”
As the Ember Dragon King entered the room, Qianqi leapt up from his chair and poured a cup of hot tea for his father.
The Ember Dragon King was surprised; his son was always careless and had little concern and consideration for others. It seemed he had matured a lot lately.
“How was the journey? I didn’t get to talk to you properly yet,” Qianqi said a little bashfully.
If it was in the past, he wouldn’t have said these words. But the hardships he had experienced during the journey made him realize what an easy life he had had at home. When he was in Dongyao, all he could think about was getting away from his father and he didn’t even bother to talk to his father. But after he finally got his wish, he missed his father and Dongyao dearly.
“It was fine. I was just shocked and saddened by the desolation I saw on the road; I stayed in Dongyao for so long and didn’t realize things had gone so bad. Perhaps due to my old age, I’m more sentimental than before.” The Ember Dragon King was deep in thought. He had locked himself in Dongyao to gain peace of mind, but it turned out he was wrong. After all, the world outside Dongyao was indispensable to him, or more accurately, to his descendants. He’d die without regrets but Qianqi would continue living in this world and face the inevitable war and chaos.
“The world outside Dongyao is different from what I imagined, and it gave me many new ideas. With my companions, I defeated Mother Rakshasa, visited Hongye and Xiaoleng’s residence in the human world– the Old Ouyang Manor, went to the Yellow Spring Kingdom in which we saw the Yama King, became good friends with Hyacinth, and battled fiercely with Soul Guarding soldiers. Then we went through the Golden Firefly Maple Forest and saw the legendary Feather Crane Immortal at the Crane Spring Land…”
Qianqi told his father all the things he had done after leaving Dongyao but didn’t mention Xia Qiu’s name. His heart always ached at the thought of her.
The Ember Dragon King had noticed that something was bothering his son. Qianqi’s sparkling eyes when he talked about his adventures dimmed suddenly; he had never had such an expression before, especially in front of others. He was open, frank, and very stubborn; he used to laugh so heartily as if nothing in the world could disturb him.
“By the way, Yuchan and the other dancers came with me. They’ll perform on the coronation with the musicians.” The Ember Dragon King changed the subject as he remembered Yuchan was his son’s friend.
“I saw her when I welcomed you on the road but didn’t have time to say hello to her. I’ll see her before the coronation.” Qianqi remembered his father hadn’t rested after the long journey.” Rest for a while, please. I’ll come and escort you to the coronation later.”
“Okay. I didn’t feel it but I’m truly tired. There’s still time to rest before the coronation,” the Ember Dragon King answered.
“See you later, then, Father.”
Qianqi left his father’s room and went to the residential court behind the Kaiyang Hall where the musicians and dancers were staying.
In the clearing in the courtyard, the musicians were tuning their instruments and dancers wearing veils were doing stretching and practicing dance moves. They stopped what they were doing when they saw Qianqi and bowed to him.
“Where’s Yuchan? She’s not here?”
Qianqi looked around but didn’t see Yuchan. The dancers wore veils but he could recognize Yuchan immediately. She was one of the Merpeople he had met on the bank of the lake in Dongyao City when he was a child, so he was very familiar with her. Among the beautiful mermaids, Yuchan was one of the best both in figure and looks.
“Young Master, we haven’t seen Yuchan after we arrived here,” one of the dancers answered.
“Oh? Do you know where she is?” Qianqi was puzzled. Was Yuchan so curious about the North Star Palace that she went out to have a secret tour in the palace? She was bold enough to do that.
“She didn’t tell us. But she’s been wanting to see the youth who visited Dongyao.”
“A youth?” Qianqi paused and then realized that she referred to Ouyang Xiaoleng. He recalled that Yuchan had invited Ouyang Xiaoleng into the lake to dance with her on the day when the latter came to the Dongyao Palace, he understood instantly and nodded. ”Got it. You guys continue.”
Yuchan had indeed gone to seek out Ouyang Xiaoleng. When she learned that she and other dancers would go to the capital city of Yongchuan with the Ember Dragon King, she had been thrilled that she’d finally see the youth whom she had given a bracelet to. She had wanted to see him the moment they reached the North Star Palace but didn’t know where he was. The North Star Palace was much bigger than she had expected and looked like a huge maze to her.
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