Chapter 9: Ember Dragon King’s son (Part Eight)

The dancer walked up and danced to the music with light and flowy moves. Ouyang Xiaoleng had never seen such beautiful dancing moves before. She moved like a fish swimming in water or a dandelion spinning in wind, presenting to the audience the most beautiful views in the world. But no matter if she was flying or spinning, her gaze always rested on Ouyang Xiaoleng.

Ouyang Xiaoleng found this hot and enchanting gaze very familiar but couldn’t remember where he had seen it before. He looked closer and saw her exotic face features, the pale-colored hair unique to merpeople, deep blue eyes, slim waist and exquisite make-up. No one could describe her beauty with words.

Slowly, in his mind, her image overlapped with Xia Qiu’s. Was it because of the heart-stirring music or the soul-enchanting dance? As the illusion rose in his mind, the dancer moved closer to him and took his hand, leading him into the lake water outside the palace. But in his mind, it was Xia Qiu who was pulling him, so he relaxed and followed her, letting her hold him and dance in the water.

“Xia Qiu.”

He called out the name of the girl in his heart. But in the lake water, he couldn’t hear even his own voice as bubbles floated out of his mouth. The suffocating feeling woke him up and he suddenly realized that the girl before him wasn’t Xia Qiu. He pushed her away forcefully and swam back to the hall hurriedly. Drenched in water, he was pulled back to reality by people’s laughter.

Wangyue glanced at him and joked with Ouyang Hongye, “It seems mermaids favor handsome boys like Xiaoleng.”

“How come you got so disheveled while I wasn’t looking?” Ouyang Hongye had been drinking with Ember Dragon King. Hearing Wangyue’s words, he looked back and laughed when he saw a water-drenched Ouyang Xiaoleng standing there in stupefaction.

Ember Dragon King lamented, “That’s quite unusual. The girl who did the courting dance to Xiaoleng is Yuchan. She’s not only beautiful but is the best singer and dancer among the mermaids. Merpeople rarely court mates from other races; it’s even rarer to see Yuchan court a man.”

“Humph. He’s a lucky dog.” Qianqi glanced at Xiaoleng in disdain.

Then they returned to their drinking and conversation; Sanmu drank with Wangyue while Ouyang Hongye kept Ember Dragon King company.

Ouyang Xiaoleng didn’t feel lucky; he was angry and ashamed at himself for being fascinated by a lowly mermaid. He left the banquet before it was over and was ushered into a guest room for the night.

The room wasn’t luxurious but very nice. The wooden bathtub in the bathroom was full of hot water. Hurriedly he took off his wet clothes and sank in the hot water. As the water warmed up his chilly body which had been soaked in the lake water, he felt much calmer. Closing his eyes, he sank into the hot water to sooth his tense nerves.

After bath he went to bed and slept soundly without even a dream. When he woke up, it was early morning and he decided to have a stroll in the corridor to stretch his legs. The lighting in the water was different from the land. Morning light penetrated the moving water and formed countless curtain-like shadows. Walking in these shifting light beams, he felt as if time had stopped. As he walked, he gazed blankly at the underwater world which was isolated from the outside by spirit power; suddenly he bumped into someone.

“Auch.” A melodious voice exclaimed.

He turned his head and saw it was Yuchan.

As he stood there in stupefaction, Yuchan extended a closed hand to him without a word as if she wanted to give him something. Nonplussed, he extended his hand; she put a bracelet on his palm lightly. The bracelet was knitted with colorful threads together with a goose-egg-colored pearl; it looked very unique.

Xiaoleng was puzzled. “Is this…for me?”

Yuchan nodded and covered the part of her face under her eyes with her right hand. Immediately, he realized that she was the girl who had gazed at him for a long while on the street in Dongyao City.

“I can’t take it…”

Before he could finish, Yuchan turned and dived into the water; her legs turned into a beautiful tail. With a swish of her tail, she vanished.

He hesitated for a while and stuffed the bracelet into his pocket carelessly.

After taking breakfast in his room, he packed up his bag and came to the main hall to say farewell to Ember Dragon King.

Ember Dragon King had been sleepless last night worrying about Qianqi’s impending journey. The skin around his deep-set eyes looked darker. Qianqi only packed a small bag and refused to take any servants. Looking at his son, Ember Dragon King remembered he had acted like the boy when he was young, bent on expeditions and taking things as they came.

Resigned, he had a servant bring out a bag full of gold ingots. He knew First Elder Ouyang Yong and his good friend Ouyang Hongye would take good care of his son in Yongchuan, still he was worried that his son who was used to luxurious life would suffer in the outside world. Looking at his vigorous son who was dressed sharply for the travel, he suddenly realized how tall his son had grown; the boy’s shoulders were not very wide or thick yet but looked very strong. 

Ember Dragon King insisted on seeing them off at the Dongyao Dock. When they arrived at the dock, about 1,000 boats with the fully armed spirit horse cavalry regiment were waiting for them. Saying farewell to Ember Dragon King, they boarded the boat prepared for them. Ember dragon King patted his son’s shoulder and then gripped his hand for a long time; finally, he couldn’t control his emotions and took his son into his arms for a tight embrace.

“Dragon King, don’t worry. Hongye and others will take good care of Qianqi.”

If not for Sanmu’s persuasion, Ember Dragon King didn’t know when he’d release his son. He knew once he did, his son would fly to the distance like a bird out of its cage. The moment he let go of his son, his body looked even more ancient and weak; with deep concern for his son, he watched the boat carrying his son went farther and farther away from him with the other boats…(read on noodletowntranslated dot com to support the actual translators)

Standing at the stern of his boat, Qianqi waved at Ember Dragon King; he was reluctant to leave his father, but at the same time, he was excited when he thought of the beautiful unknown world laying before him.(read on noodletowntranslated dot com to support the actual translators)

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