Yi Chuan called someone to fill Li Qiye’s cup. Li Qiye drank it down in one gulp and sighed with emotion: “This is the taste. Great wine with great waterside sceneries, this is definitely different from other places. I always want to drink whenever I come by here.”
Yi Chuan smiled and asked: “So little friend must not be from Southern Tang?”
“The four oceans are my home.” Li Qiye leisurely answered: “However, Southern Tang is indeed a place worth remembering. It gives a very relaxed feeling and soothes the soul.”
Yi Chuan continued: “You haven’t had thoughts about staying here? To find a sect and embark on the path all the way to the door of the grand dao?”
“Are you saying you want to take me in as a disciple?” Li Qiye set his cup down and smiled while staring at Yi Chuan.
“Hmph, don’t act so impudently in front of His Majesty!” A’Bao couldn’t help but scowl after seeing Li Qiye acting so condescendingly.
Yi Chuan gently waved his hand to stop A’Bao. He smiled and said: “To tell the truth, I do have such a notion. If little friend is willing to join my sect… I won’t dare to say that I can help you reach the top of this world, but I can definitely give you a stage to display your abilities.” 1
Yi Chuan did like Li Qiye, so he wanted to take him in as a disciple. He thought that it was actually easier to find a talented disciple than one with great determination and perseverance.
“I appreciate your goodwill.” Li Qiye smiled and shook his head: “But I like traveling. The entire world is my home, so settling down with new responsibilities would make me feel uncomfortable.”
Li Qiye’s answer was only half of the truth. The first half was made up while the latter was his real thoughts on the matter.
“Little friend thinks my sect is too small?” Yi Chuan smiled in response: “If that’s the case, I don’t really mind.”
Yi Chuan was not a big shot at the Barren Earth, but he was still a relatively influential character. Despite not having supreme talents, he was a broad-minded person who was easy to get along with.
“Hmm! Our Suhang is a big country even in the Southern Border! His Majesty is a Heavenly King; it is your honor that he wants you to be his disciple!” A’Bao expressed his dissatisfaction after hearing Li Qiye’s refusal.
In fact, the juniors behind Yi Chuan were unhappy as well; some were even glaring at Li Qiye. In their eyes, it was a great honor for a mortal like him to become His Majesty’s disciple. So now, they were aggrieved by this refusal.
“Don’t make such comments.” Yi Chuan gently shook his head and told the group of A’Bao: “People have different aspirations. This is nothing strange.”
He was a royal lord, but he didn’t have the arrogance that the role would normally be accompanied with.
Li Qiye drank another cup and leisurely smiled: “You really are a good person. Today I drank your wine so I owe you one. In the future, you can come find me, Li Qiye, if you are ever in need of assistance.”
When Yi Chuan heard the name “Li Qiye”, he felt that it was a bit familiar, as if he had heard it before. However, he couldn’t put his finger on it, causing him to think about it some more.
A’Li playfully blinked and asked: “We can come to you about anything?”
Li Qiye looked at the little lady and nodded his head: “Yes, anything. However, you may only come to find me once.”
“Really?” A’Li chuckled and said: “This sounds a bit boastful. You are only a mortal, when would our master ask you for help?”
Li Qiye looked at her and blinked back. He smiled and said: “Well, you will find out later. Remember this, my favor is worth a lot of money.”
The group, especially the male disciples, were very discontent. In their minds, Li Qiye was just teasing their junior sister!
“Hmph, such blustering. Our Majesty will never need the help of a mortal.” A’Bao snorted.
Li Qiye only smiled, ignoring A’Bao while taking another sip of the wine. This infuriated A’Bao even more, but he couldn’t do anything about it.
Li Qiye looked at the contemplating Yi Chuan and said: “You couldn’t have been waiting here for me. If I recall correctly, Suhang is very far from here.”
Yi Chuan returned from his thoughts and smiled: “It is a type of fate to meet little friend once more. We came to the Void Trap Desert so that they could train and were on our way back. However, it turns out that Her Majesty is on a patrol around here, so we came in order for the juniors to be graced by her presence.”
“Her Majesty?” Li Qiye was a bit surprised to hear this. Yi Chuan was already the royal lord of Suhang, so not many people would be called Her Majesty by him.
Yi Chuan quickly replied: “Her Majesty Chuyun, the great lord of Southern Tang. Everyone refers to her by her imperial title. She is also our pride.”
Li Qiye finally remembered someone and asked for confirmation: “Ye Chuyun, right? The inheritor of the Pure Lotus School.” 2
“The great lord has taken over the Pure Lotus School and presided over Southern Tang for many years right after becoming a Virtuous Paragon.” Yi Chuan elaborated.
Li Qiye finally remembered the person — Ye Chuyun! Back at the Heavenly Dao Academy, she was still just a little girl. She came with Bing Yuxia, and he even brought her to the World Tree!
Many years passed with the blink of an eye. She was already the lord of the Pure Lotus School, the royal lord of Southern Tang! Under her control was her sect as well as the entire land.
The Pure Lotus School could be considered an imperial lineage. Their progenitor had a deep relationship with Immortal Emperor Yan Wu. Moreover, their school had received part of the emperor’s legacy.
It even built Southern Tang and governed the vast Southern Border. The school itself was affected by Immortal Emperor Yan Wu, so they didn’t want to interfere with worldly affairs. This was the reason why Southern Tang was formed, to take their place in governing the world. 3
The disciples behind Yi Chuan were full of admiration when it came to Ye Chuyun. In their opinion, it was a great honor to be able to meet the lord of their region.
Li Qiye casually asked: “Miss Chuyun is coming here?” If Ye Chuyun was here, he must go see her as he had something that required her assistance.
Yi Chuan smilingly replied: “Her Majesty is on the southern patrol path. After she gained control of Southern Tang, she would go on these inspection tours every few years to alleviate the disputes between the countries here. She just so happened to be passing by this time. Many sect masters and royal lords of this region are organizing a banquet for her tonight, so I’ll be bringing the juniors to see her.”
Li Qiye came up with an idea, so he asked: “Where can I meet her?”
“Hmph.” The unhappy A’Bao immediately said: “The great lord is our ruler. She is supreme and noble and not someone you can meet as you please!”
“A’Bao, do not be rude.” Yi Chuan stopped him: “The leaders are holding the banquet at the Waterside Garden. From what I’ve heard, Her Majesty should be coming today. Does little friend want to see Her Majesty too?”
Li Qiye only smiled and didn’t reply.
Meanwhile, A’Li chuckled and added: “It is understandable that you want to see Her Majesty. At our Southern Tang, everyone says that her beauty is peerless. Her Majesty is not only a Virtuous Paragon, she is also incredibly pretty. Who knows how many young geniuses lost their minds because of her? If you go see her, maybe you will be awestruck by her beauty as well.”
Li Qiye couldn’t help but smile at the innocent A’Li. He gently shook his head in response: “Little miss, you are mistaken this time. I’m afraid there are not many women who can charm me.”
“Please!” The few male disciples looked at Li Qiye with one eye, especially A’Bao. He spoke with disdain: “No woman can charm you? That is because you haven’t seen any beautiful ones! Just wait till you see Her Majesty, your soul will leave your body.”
“A’Bao, stop your nonsense.” Yi Chuan couldn’t help but wryly smile at this conversation between the youths. He gently shook his head and told A’Bao to stop.
This ridicule was met with silence from Li Qiye who continued to drink.
“Oh? Isn’t this Royal Lord Yi? What is it this time? Your Suhang Country has no inheritor, so you have to stoop to recruiting a beggar?” At this time, a group came down from the upper floors. The leader was a young man wearing an imperial robe decorated with a four-clawed dragon. He had an imposing appearance and a threatening aura. 4
His entire entourage consisted of powerful experts. It was easy to tell that their background was extraordinary.
“Minor-Form Crown Prince.” Yi Chuan wasn’t angered by this provocation. He only dismissively said: “A hero is a hero regardless of his background, material possessions, and sect.”
This young man was the crown prince of the Minor-Form Country, one of the ten nations under Southern Tang’s jurisdiction. Minor-Form and Suhang were next to each other. Both sides had been at odds even till now. Although there had never been a bloody conflict, these provocations upon them meeting were too common.
“Is that so? Then feel free to continue recruiting these beggars. I hope that you can find a descendant from the bunch of them.” The Minor-Form Crown Prince looked down at Li Qiye and laughed: “Hopefully, it will be someone excellent. Otherwise, your mediocre disciples over there shouldn’t even dream about competing with me. Royal Lord Yi, before you grow old, you better find someone before it’s too late.”
Such words made A’Bao’s group glare at him, but the prince didn’t mind at all. He let out an arrogant laugh before leaving with his entourage.
The juniors behind Yi Chuan were incensed as they watched the prince leave. He purposely humiliated them!
1. Very polite and humble pronoun usage here from Yi Chuan when referring to himself. “Old man” instead of the “I” for kings or for nobility/important people. 2. World Tree Arc. 3. This is a bit interesting. Yan is an interesting word because it has conflicting meanings by adding some strokes. It can mean satisfied/pleased, hate/tired from having too much, or just hate. You can see how problematic translating this name can be without context. But now, context was given. His title must mean “Tired/Hatred of All Things”. 4. The Hongwu Emperor of the Ming Dynasty emulated the Yuan Dynasty rules on the use of the dragon motif and decreed that the dragon — with five claws — would be his emblem. The four-clawed dragon would typically be for nobility and certain high-ranking officials. The three-clawed dragon was used by lower ranks and the general public (widely seen on various Chinese goods in the Ming Dynasty). The dragon, however, was only for select royalty that was closely associated with the imperial family, usually in various symbolic colors. It was a capital offense for anyone — other than the emperor himself — to ever use the completely gold-colored five-clawed dragon motif. Improper usage of dragons and colors was considered treason and punishable by the execution of the offender’s entire clan.