Book 4 Chapter 26 The Guard Tie Ta
Gu Shiyou and the young lady dressed in purple sat at the same table as Teng Qingshan.
“Commander Teng, this is my Martial Sister, Wen Xiao,” Gu Shiyou said. The brows of the young lady in purple were slightly thick, which established an air of valiance. The young lady in purple took a good look at Teng Qingshan as she smiled and said, “Wen Xiao greets Commander Teng. It’s too bad that I did not go to the Blazing Mountain with Martial Brother. If I had, I would have been able to see the prowess of Commander Teng’s ‘Blazing Spear.’”
Teng Qingshan was stunned.
“Blazing Spear?” Teng Qingshan smiled and said, “Lady Wen, what’s this about the ‘Blazing Spear?’”
Wen Xiao was surprised. “Is Commander Teng not aware? In the latest version of the Earthly Ranking, it was said that Commander Teng’s spear art was frantic as a blazing fire, ferocious and strong. Furthermore, Commander Teng gained his reputation on Blazing Mountain. Therefore, across the lands of the Nine Prefectures, quite a number of people refer to you as the ‘Blazing Spear.’ It was also written as such in the Earthly Ranking.”
Teng Qingshan did not know whether to laugh or cry.
‘Blazing Spear’ Teng Qingshan?
All of the powerful experts across the world had a nickname, such as the ‘Blood Moon Saber’ Meng Tian, the ‘Thunder God Blade’ Wu Yue, the ‘Blade of Life and Death’ Du Jiu and many others. Most of these nicknames would reveal some information of these people. The name ‘Blazing Spear’ stated that Teng Qingshan wielded a spear and that his spear art was ferocious and frantic.
“Why, Commander Teng, you didn’t know?” Gu Shiyou asked in astonishment.
“I have been out for a while and have yet to return to Gui Yuan Sect, so I am truly unaware,” Teng Qingshan said.
“Oh, that’s why.” Gu Shiyou nodded.
At that moment, a plump, silver-haired old man smiled with squinted eyes and jogged over from a distance away. When he arrived, he bowed slightly and said smiling, “Young Master, you should have told me that you were coming so that I could make the preparations in advance…What does Young Master wish to eat, please feel free to let me know.”
Gu Shiyou threw a glance at this silvered haired old man. “Oh, Boss Yu Wen. Right, how many of these ten beauties on the boat belong to Boss Yu Wen?”
The silver-haired old man smiled and said, “There are seven! The one that has just come out goes by the name of ‘Meng Dujuan,’ and is the best lady I have under me. Her skill with the zither is one of the best across the whole Wu An County. Furthermore, she is still a virgin. If the Young Master is interested…”
“You step down first.” Gu Shiyou’s face turned sullen.
The silver-haired old man glanced at the young lady in purple and immediately took his leave.
“Martial Brother, that Lady Meng Dujuan is really a beauty,” The young lady in purple said.
“Martial Sister, stop joking with your Martial Brother.” Gu Shiyou smiled.
The over one thousand people suddenly broke into an overwhelming cheer, each of their gazes were fixed on a frail young girl in white who had appeared on the deck. This young lady was carrying a plantain-leaf styled seven-stringed ancient zither. After taking a slight bow, she sat down and placed the seven-stringed zither on the table in front of her.
Thereafter, she sliced a piece of incense and lighted the incense burner.
The young lady in white closed her eyes to gather her concentration for a moment before she started to strum the zither.
“Dang!” A crisp sound resounded, reaching to one’s soul. At that moment, the surroundings turned quiet.
“Hmm?” Teng Qingshan turned his head to look in astonishment.
When the music sounded, Teng Qingshan’s heart trembled and his scalp felt numb. He put down his wine cup and focused on appreciating the music from the zither. The music had a cheerful rhythm to it, as if there were a hundred spiritual birds chirping, reaching deep into one’s heart, and changing one’s mood for the better.
After an unknown period of time.
Following the echo of the music from the zither in the air above the lake, the piece of music came to an end.
“What excellent skills with the zither.” Teng Qingshan looked at that frail young lady in white. He could not imagine that a master who could play such soul cleansing and cheerful music, which could even affect his state of mind, was actually a prostitute.
“Everyone has seen Lady Meng Dujuan’s skills with the zither for yourselves. Now, everyone can buy flowers and gift them to Lady Meng Dujuan. A stalk of white flower costs two hundred taels of silver, a stalk of yellow flower costs a thousand taels of silver, and a stalk of red flowers costs ten thousand taels of silver!” A charming middle-aged lady in red smiled and said, “The one who receives flowers with the highest total value out of the ten beauties here will be crowned as the top courtesan! Moreover, the person who gifted her with the flowers of the highest value would have the opportunity to spend a wonderful night with the top courtesan. Even those who are ranked 2nd and 3rd amongst those who gifted flowers to the top courtesan will be able to have a chance to have a solo meeting with her.”
As she said this, two little girls holding onto flower baskets headed up the bank.
“Master Li, eight hundred taels of silver!”
“Master Wang, a thousand taels of silver!”
“Lord Lan, a thousand and five hundred taels of silver!”
The rich men all threw in a large amount of money for the lady of their fancy.
“Top courtesan?” ‘Wen Xiao’, the young lady in purple exclaimed. “So the top courtesan would be the one who gets the most silver. Sigh…this lady’s mastery of the zither is the highest one I’ve come across since I was young. It’s too bad that she would still have to accompany stinky men to bed.”
At that moment —
“My master would to redeem Lady Meng Dujuan’s freedom!” A deep voice sounded.
At that moment, the over one thousand people present turned silent, staring at the person who had spoken. It was a tall and sturdy man with tanned skin. Standing there, he seemed very much like a statue.
“Redeem? Is your master able to afford redeeming her freedom?” Someone smirked and said.
“Lady Meng Dujuan is likely to be the top courtesan this time around. It would be a sky-high price.” All the commoners and other rich men were waiting to watch a good show.
Without a few thousand taels of silver, it would be nothing but a dream to be able to wish to spend a night with such a top quality woman who was known to be a ‘top courtesan.’ Such women would be the money tree for the brothel they worked in! They would also act as the pillar, raising the status of the brothels even higher with their presence.
“Let your boss state a price.” The tanned man hollered.
The silver-haired old man walked to the deck of the boat and said in a clear voice, “It is not impossible to redeem her! But it is hard to find someone of Lady Meng Dujuan’s quality even from ten thousand people. We had paid a big price to nurture her as well. If your master would really like to redeem her freedom, we’ll set a fixed price of ten thousand taels of gold!”
“Ten thousand taels of gold?”
All the thousand odd people present were all shocked.
Ten thousand taels of gold was the equivalent of a million taels of silver! This was a monstrous amount. Usually, those who had a hundred thousand taels of silver were considered to be rich; to be able to have a million taels, they would be considered to be big merchants. To think that the top courtesan from a brothel would reach a price that would cost a big merchant all of his possessions!
Although such top courtesans would cost a few thousand taels of silver a night, they do not accept customers frequently. They must remain mysterious. Moreover, a top courtesan would only be able to bring in money easily when they were young. When they get older, they would not be able to do the same. A top courtesan would only be able to earn ten thousand taels of silver in her whole life, and that was only if they had strong support.
“Ten thousand taels of gold,” The lady in purple exclaimed in shock, “That would be a thousand jin of gold, an amount which would totally be sufficient to cast a pure gold human statue.”
A sky-high price!
The tanned man turned around and had a short discussion in a soft voice before he stood up and said in a loud voice, “Ten thousand taels of gold! My master will pay it!”
The thousand-odd men around were all astonished. Those who were squeezing into the outer area and had no rights to take a seat, would not be able to accumulate so much money even if they all pooled in together. There were not many present who were able to afford the price.
“Ahh.” When the silver-haired old man heard this, he was stunned for a moment before he got himself together and said, “This…this Master, Meng Dujuan’s contract is not here. Therefore, please wait here for awhile while I immediately head back to bring it.” He had not thought that someone would be redeeming when they were contesting for the top courtesan.
“You can just tear up the contract when you go back.” A gentle voice spoke out. “Tie Ta, hand them the gold notes and bring Lady Meng Dujuan here.”
“Yes, master.” With a leap, the man called Tie Ta crossed a few Zhangs distance and landed directly on the boat.
“Lady Du Mengjuan, this way please.” Tie Ta concurrently passed the gold notes to the silver haired old man.
The silver haired old man glanced at the stack of gold notes. There were ten of them in total, each with a value of a thousand taels of god. That scorching amount made his head feel heated up.
“Tear the contract up when I go back?” The silver haired old man was in disbelief. If he did not tear up the contract, he could retrieve Meng Dujuan through the officials.
“No one would dare to hanker after my master’s gold notes.” Tie Ta threw another glance at the silver haired old man. The silver-haired old man trembled. To be able to pay ten thousand taels of gold to purchase a woman, he would probably not dare to offend such a character.
Meng Dujuan held onto her plantain-leaf styled ancient zither and followed the tanned man down the boat.
“Master.” Meng Dujuan walked over, bowed and said.
That master finally stood up. It was a slightly plumped fair-skinned man, dressed in a long purple gown. From his looks, one could tell that he should have been very good-looking when he was young. The slightly plump man nodded and said, “From today onwards, you’ll follow me!”
“Yes, master.” No matter how calm Meng Dujuan was, a strand of joy flashed passed her eyes.
After all, even a top courtesan would need to ride under thousands of people. How could she not be happy to be bought at that moment?
“Why is it that I do not recognise this person?” Gu Shiyou glanced at that middle-aged man in purple in astonishment. “To be able to be so generous, he must definitely be a big merchant. I recognise almost all of the big merchants in Yangzhou. Commander Teng, do you recognise this rich and overbearing big merchant?”
“I don’t.” Teng Qingshan said.
At that moment, the middle-aged man in purple turned to look at the table where Teng Qingshan and company were at. “Today I, Pei San, am quite lucky. To be able to meet the first on the «Hidden Dragon Ranking»Teng Qingshan, as well as the second on the «Hidden Dragon Ranking» Gu Shiyou.”
“First on the «Hidden Dragon Ranking»?” Teng Qingshan immediately reacted.
To be able to rank number forty-six on the «Earthly Ranking», he would, of course, be listed on the «Hidden Dragon Ranking». However, he did not expect to be ranked above Gu Shiyou, to be first.
Gu Shiyou’s face sunk.
“Pei San, I don’t seem to have heard of you in Yangzhou.” Gu Shiyou squinted his eyes and said.
The middle-aged man in purple smiled and said, “You’re just too ill-informed.”
Gu Shiyou started to feel fury.
In Yangzhou, who would dare to show disrespect to him, the Young Sovereign of Qing Hu Island?
The man in purple looked at Teng Qingshan. “Seventeen years old, number one on the «Hidden Dragon Ranking», and number forty-six on the «Earthly Ranking»! Not bad, not bad! The younger generation of Gui Yuan Sect is definitely stronger than Qing Hu Island’s.” With these words, Gu Shiyou was even more infuriated. Thereafter, the man in purple instructed, “Tie Ta!”
The tanned man was very clear what his master wanted him to do.
He immediately took a step forward and said in a clear voice, “Teng Qingshan, I have heard that you have an excellent spear art. I wish to seek your guidance!”