Chapter 6: Plum Blade (Part One)
The last step before making the blood pact was gaining approval from Ouyang Yong, the First Elder of the spirit world, since he hosted all important ceremonies such as the one for making a blood pact. He had hosted the blood pact ceremony for the second Fox Spirit King Ouyang Xueye and Ran Susu. To protect Xia Qiu, Ouyang Hongye didn’t want to make her identity known to the public for fear that some people in the capital city had sworn secret loyalty to Green Cloud.
Ouyang Yong had been a human orphan before he was adopted by Li, the first Fox Spirit King 1,000 years ago. When he was about five years old, his parents kindly took in two travelers passing through their village, but the two travelers coveted their money and killed the kind couple. Ouyang Yong’s mother took him out of the house with her last strength. When the killers chased them to the edge of a cliff, Li ran into them and killed the two travelers, saving the boy.
Li brought him back to the spirit world and raised him. After witnessing his parents’ deaths, Ouyang Yong had for some time feared and hated humans to the extreme, so he chose to dump his identity as a human and studied spirit power from Li; eventually he transformed into a spirit and became the first count under Li’s rule in the spirit world. He worked hard and won many victories on the battleground. Having served the first two Fox Spirit Kings Li and Ouyang Xueye, he knew everything happening in the spirit world in the past 1,000 years. Due to his good reputation and seniority, he was well respected in the spirit world. He loved and doted on Ouyang Xiaoleng like a grandfather, giving him the familial love that he rarely had in the spirit world.
Ouyang Yong had heard of Xia Qiu and was highly interested in the best candidate to make a blood pact with Ouyang Xiaoleng. In the past years, to balance different political forces in the spirit world, he had to hide his plan of putting Ouyang Xiaoleng to the throne. If Ouyang Xiaoleng could make a blood pact with Xia Qiu, Ouyang Yong would take this opportunity to have a clean cut with the past.
Two days later, Xia Qiu stepped on the soil of the spirit world again. To hide her identity, Ouyang Hongye concealed her with a plain black robe and a white mask; then he covered her human scent with a spell.
As she walked with Ouyang Xiaoleng and Ouyang Hongye on the lane leading to the entrance of the Fuxing Hall in the North Star Palace, she looked up and saw a magnificent black wall under a golden roof and rows of red windows in the main building.
Before they entered the spirit world, Ouyang Hongye had explained to her the structure of the North Star Palace. It consisted of four main halls and four side halls named respectively after the seven stars of the Big Dipper. Each hall had separate courtyards. The foremost hall was Tianshu Hall which was flanked by Tianxuan Hall and Tianji Hall; Directly behind Tianshu Hall was the main hall, Tianquan Hall, which was flanked by two side halls, Kaiyang Hall and Fuxing Hall, which they were heading to right now. The inner hall, Yuheng Hall, was in the rear. Tianshu Hall was the place for ceremonies; Tianquan Hall was for meetings; the inner hall was the residence for the master of the spirit world; the four side halls were residences for four senior and well-respected elders. Right now, only the First Elder Ouyang Yong and Second Elder Shi Wangcheng were still alive. Ouyang Yong was now residing in Fuxing Hall.
The path leading to Fuxing Hall was in fact narrow steps made of unpolished stones, some higher than the others. At the end of the steps appeared a red gate which had two characters engraved on it; from left to right, they read “Fu Xing”. Ouyang Hongye knocked three times on the gate.
Soon, an unlatching sound came from inside. As the gate opened slowly, a surge of hot air shot out. Standing on the other side of the gate was a huge bird engulfed in red flames; it spread out its wings to greet them. Xia Qiu had braced herself for sights of all kinds of spirits, but she was still startled by the bird.
“This is Thorn. He served my father and now works for Grandpa Yong. His job is delivering information to different places in the human world and the spirit world. Don’t be scared by his looks; he is pure, shy, and highly efficient,” Ouyang Xiaoleng told her when he saw her alarm.
“Old bro Thorn, this is your fault. You knew a girl would come today; why didn’t you change your form before you came out?” Ouyang Hongye shook his head at Thorn.
Hearing his words, Thorn withdrew the flames and changed into a red-haired young man with rugged but youthful features. His huge body and sharp spikes on the shoulders kept people away from him.
“Come with me. Lord Yong is waiting for you!”
In contrast to his fierce image, Thorn’s voice was as clear, melodious, and magnetic as that of a nightingale, making people want to hear more. With heavy steps, he ushered Ouyang Hongye and his companions to a small lane leading to the inside of the Fuxing Hall.(read on noodletowntranslated dot com to support the actual translators)
Finally, Xia Qiu got to see the inside of a main building protected by hall walls. The walls were black but didn’t look oppressive due to the decorative look of the rows of red windows. The meticulously positioned pavilions and towers in the courtyard had the grandeur of a royal garden.
“My grandpa Li became the first Fox Spirit King when the human world was under the reign of the Song Dynasty, so the constructors Black Bee Spirits built the North Star Palace in the Song style with the Four-god Columns in the center,” seeing that Xia Qiu had become absorbed into gazing at the building, Ouyang Xiaoleng explained.
“Wow!” Xia Qiu was stunned by the great craftsmanship of the Black Bee Spirits.(read on noodletowntranslated dot com to support the actual translators)
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