Chapter 6: Plum Blade (Part Two)

Thorn led them into the main room of Fuxing Hall. The spacious rectangle room was supported by six columns as tall as six meters. On both sides were neatly placed shelves displaying weapons of different lengths and shapes on one side and all kinds of neatly stored books Ouyang Yong had collected on the other side. The books included history documents about the human world and the spirit world, manual books on weapons and secret scrolls on martial arts, and even ancient music sheets, calligraphy scrolls, and paintings. These were the things that Ouyang Yong was most interested in.

At the end of the big hall was a set of rosewood desks and chairs, behind which stood a huge agarwood screen. The four folds of the screen had pictures of a peacock, wild ducks, an eagle, and a white crane respectively; they were painted so vividly that even the fine feathers looked real. Walking round the screen, they stepped into the corridor leading to Ouyang Yong’s private quarters. The red plum flowers in the garden filled the corridor with an intoxicating fragrance. It was evening, but the bright-colored orange-bellied leafbirds and sunbirds were chirping tirelessly in the trees.

Ouyang Yong’s room was at the end of the corridor. Before they stepped inside, a fresh fragrance of wood furniture welcomed them. Facing the door was a set of deep brown sandalwood desks and chairs and a huge screen painted full of plum flowers. If not for the stamps and inscriptions on one corner, it looked like a big mirror with the reflection of plum flowers in the garden. From behind the screen came faint voices and the laughter of an old man and a girl.

Before Thorn went in to announce the guests, Ouyang Xiaoleng walked around the screen and his voice and expression were not as bland as before when he called out, “Grandpa Yong!”

“Xiaoleng is here!”

“Brother Xiaoleng!”

Xia Qiu and Ouyang Hongye walked in after Thorn. On the arhat bed behind the screen sat a benign old man looking to be in his seventies. With his white hair pulled up in a bun on the top of his head secured by an eye-catching hairpin in the shape of plum flower, his eyes were sharp despite his old age and his grey beard gave him a sage-like look. He wore a deep blue silk robe with gold-thread embroidery and a brown belt.

The girl whose voice they had heard before walking into the room jumped up, ran to the side of Ouyang Xiaoleng and held his arm, looking very pretty with her petite figure dressed in a pink gown and her smooth and tender white skin. Her skin was so white that her features were a bit undistinguishable, setting off her beautiful deep red pupils which resembled Wangyue’s. The girl was looking at Ouyang Xiaoleng with a pretty smile; obviously, they were quite close.

“Lord Yong, here they are.” Thorn gave a small bow to Ouyang Yong and stood behind him.

“Lord Yong!” Ouyang Hongye bowed slightly, too.

“Hongye, sit down please.” Ouyang Yong gestured for him to sit on a chair beside the arhat bed and then nodded at an uneasy Xia Qiu with a smile and said, “Girl, come and sit with me.”

“Thank you!” Xia Qiu sat next to Lord Yong and tried her best not to look at the girl who was leaning against Ouyang Xiaoleng.

“Why do you look so solemn? You guys bowed so formally and startled the girl.” As no one answered, Lord Yong smiled apologetically, looking like her own grandpa in Xia Qiu’s eyes. “Thorn, where’s Wangyue? I hope he’s not drinking my wine without my permission again. Tell him Hongye and the others have arrived.”

“Yes, my lord!” Thorn took the order and backed out of the room.

Ouyang Yong’s wine cellar was filled with wine fragrance. Wangyue had tasted three kinds of wine today and was still not satisfied. The stock in the cellar was different from the wine sold in the market in the spirit world since they were wines collected from the human world; many of them more than 100 years old and Ouyang Yong cherished them so much that he didn’t bear to drink them. Upon returning to the capital city, Wangyue had insisted on staying in Ouyang Yong’s place; Ouyang Yong had been puzzled until he found his stock of wine had gone down gradually.

When Thorn told him that Ouyang Hongye and the others had arrived, Wangyue tried to sober up. He had no interest in politics and had let his elder brother Tingyue handle everything when he was young. After Tingyue married Miaoxue the Snow Lady, Wangyue started travelling around the world. With his great spirit power and good luck, he encountered few dangers, which made him less inclined to plan and think things through carefully; he just followed his heart and dealt with things as they came. When he returned to the capital city, his elder brother Tingyue had died; he chose to follow Ouyang Hongye’s arrangements. For him, Ouyang Hongye was like his older brother but wiser and more subtle than his older brother.(read on noodletowntranslated dot com to support the actual translators)

Wangyue walked into Ouyang Yong’s room on slightly unsteady legs and plunked down on the chair next to Hongye. Since he had met Xia Qiu and was tipsy, he wasn’t as shy as the last time when he saw her. At this moment, Ouyang Yong was asking her what she thought of the spirit world.

“I don’t know how to describe the beauty I see in here; it’s more beautiful than a dream. The purple sky, endless ocean of Manzhu Shahua, grand North Star Palace, the feeling of flying and the many white lotuses I saw from the top of the mountain… How to put it? It’s very beautiful but a bit lonesome.” Xia Qiu said the words without thinking since this was her first impression of the world; then she wanted to take them back, thinking she should have been more subtle.(read on noodletowntranslated dot com to support the actual translators)

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