Inside the Fusheng base, Ye Yin examined the latest report carefully. After he pondered for a while, he thought of a plan. Finally, some progress!
“Young master, is young master Nangong really going to lend you money?”
“Yes, but touching his money is risky, and we will definitely repay it in the end.”
No kidding! Were you not planning on returning the money? How could it be that easy to take advantage of others! Qiu Xing curled her lip disdainfully at her young master’s heedless reply, then raised her head. “Young master, after talking in circles for so long with that young master Nanrong, aren’t you tired?”
“Little girl, don’t think I didn’t notice you playing tricks behind my back again!” Ye Yin glanced at Qiu Xing. Qiu Xing giggled and stuck out her tongue. Annoyed, Ye Yin said, “I really spoil you two too much, hmph! Today if it weren’t for you two, would I have had to play mind games with him? The two of you were completely stunned at first sight, how embarrassing!
Qiu Xing’s face reddened. “Young master, that young master Nangong is really too entrancing! We couldn’t help it! I thought that after seeing you for so long, I was already immune, but… Young master, that young master Nangong is even more beautiful than women!”
“Is he really that entrancing?” Ye Yin cast a sidelong glance at Qiu Xing, smiling, yet not smiling. “If he really is that entrancing, then I’ll just send you to him, perfect as a gift for him lending me money. That way, I won’t even have to repay him. But are you sure you’re going to give up on my sixth brother?”
Qiu Xing embarrassedly stamped her foot. She shot a glare at Dong Chen, who was muffling her laughter in her sleeve. “Young master, don’t… don’t send me away. Qiu Xing will not be so embarrassing in the future. Qiu Xing will only remain loyal to you, young master and never praise another man. Young master is always number one in my heart. Young master, please don’t tease Qiu Xing any more!”
“Embarrassed now? Enough, little girl, stop with your flattery. I still haven’t gotten back at you for you embarrassing me today. Do you really think I’m that easy?” Ye Yin laughingly flicked Qiu Xing’s forehead. Out of the four of them, Qiu Xing was the most willful, acting spoiled whenever she saw he was in a good mood, but there was nothing he could do about it.
Qiu Xing stuck her tongue out naughtily. Ye Yin continued, “Some day, I’ll actually sell you two!”
Dong Chen giggled. “Young master, you can’t bear it! But, young master, all the men around you are so outstanding: young master Hua, young master Du, and your husband are all dragons among men. Today’s young master Nangong is also not ma. Although he seems a little stupid, he is very good looking, almost as good as you, young master.”
“Nangong Piaoran is stupid?” Ye Yin sneered. “You two shouldn’t look down on him. He is no ordinary person. Although he was exhorted and decided to lend me, a complete stranger, money, he is very sharp. His money… is not easy to touch!”
Nangong Piaoran didn’t seem to be here for Rouge, so what was his aim? Was he really here for business?
Ye Yin frowned, but could not think of anything. He sighed, dismissing his thoughts. “Get in touch with brother Jianli. As him about his circumstances. I am going for a walk now!”
The sixth day of the sixth month was an important day.
That night, Jufeng was very chaotic.
Ye Yin sat in a private room, looking down from the upper floor. Downstairs, even before Rouge had appeared, the crowd was wild.
In reality, many of the people downstairs only wanted to have a peek at Rouge and join in on the ruckus. Afterall, very few people were rich enough to actually do anything. The true wealthy had already reserved private rooms. Only the rich who were too late to reserve rooms would be in downstairs in the lounge, but their numbers should be few.
Fiddling with the silver in his bosom, Ye Yin become a bit absentminded. Did he bring enough? It should be enough, he had brought out all the money from the Yue city Fusheng branch.
Downstairs, the clamor suddenly stopped. The abrupt silence drew Ye Yin make to his senses. He looked over alertly, his eyes glinting. So it was those two! They actually came together! Those who didn’t know anybody would have thought that they were good friends!
Seeing Qi Chengfeng and Chu Feiye make their way upstairs, Ye Yin smiled, understanding. They had already booked their private rooms too. His biggest opponents were these two!
The second floor had nine private rooms in total. Each private room was closed securely with a thin curtain before a window. Those outside could not see within, but those within could see outside. Ye Yin was in private room number six, facing the entrance. It didn’t look like anyone else was going to enter the remaining private rooms. It seems… Ye Yin glanced at the neighboring private rooms. He could not see anyone, but he knew they were there. It seems he wasn’t the earliest to arrive.
The sky gradually darkened. The summer night still carried the heat of the day. Ye Yin felt a bit stifled. When he saw the manager of Intoxicated Dream, Madam Hua Zixiang, slowly make her way up the stage, Ye Yin also got up.
“Young master, what are you doing?”
“Writing a poem to capture Rouge’s heart. Only those who can write a poem that can move Rouge are allowed to compete.”
Just as she saw Ye Yin disappear out the doorway, Dong Chen heard Madam Hua Zixiang say, “Ladies and gentlemen. You are all aware that Lady Rouge has high standards. Lady Rouge has announced that only having money is not enough. Her suitors must also be able to move her heart. Therefore, any suitor who wants Lady Rouge’s first night, please come to the back room to prepare a poem.”
Dong Chen and Qiu Xing shared a glance. “How did young master know there would be such a rule?”
“Who knows. Young master has always had foresight.” Qiu Xing curled her lip in disapproval.
Downstairs, a line formed outside the back room. Without looking away, Qiu Xing said, “Dong Chen, do you think young master’s poem this time will be a copied one?”
“Who knows. Every time young master writes poems, he says he copied it from someone else, but no one ever knows where he copied it from.”
“Do you think that young master will be exposed if he copies another poem this time?”
“How could that be? Don’t forget, even the scholar who taught young master when he was young never knew where he copied poems. Every time the scholar tested young master, young master would say he copied from someone else, but even the scholar wouldn’t be able to tell. If even that erudite scholar wasn’t able to tell young master copied, then how can these people?”
“If it weren’t for the fact that young master has never lied to us, I would really believe that young master thought of the poems himself.” Qiu Xing didn’t understand. “Now that you mention it, it’s strange. Young master reads every book he can get his hands own, interested in everything, except for writing poems. He always says those things are useless. He doesn’t even take the imperial examinations, what is he learning all that for?”
“Once you learn something too much, you lose interest, like me.”
Dong Chen and Qiu Xing turned around, surprised. Someone appeared at the doorway. “Young master, you’ve returned. How were you so quick?”
“I didn’t come up with the poem myself, merely copied something is all, so of course I would be quick!” Ye Yin sat down indifferently.
“Young master, what poem did you write? Do you think it’ll pass?”
If Su Shi’s《Harmonious Water Song》was not able to catch Rouge’s eye, then nothing in the world could move Rouge! Ye Yin took a sip of tea that one of the two girls brought over, then spoke. “Tonight, I am determined to win!”
Downstairs, the quiet dancing music downstairs finally came to a stop. Hua Zixiang walked out again. Seeing this, Dong Chen was amused. “This Hua Zixiang sure is tactless. Everyone is waiting for Rouge to appear, but instead of allowing Rouge to appear, she keeps on going on stage herself, as if she really thinks she’s really sought after*.”
*Slight Chinese pun. Hua Zixiang literally means Flower, self tasty/savory/flavorful.
Ye Yin replied heedlessly, “This method is called packaging. The best is always saved for last to be unveiled to create mystery.”
“Humph! She’s just trying to bait them!” Dong Chen pouted, her tone sour.
Ye Yin glanced at Dong Chen with amusement, thinking to himself, this girl was getting jealous over nothing. Being jealous of Rouge was unnecessary! Rouge was much more pitiful than her!
Qiu Xing, who had been listening closely to Hua Zixiang “Young master, your name was among the list of people Hua Zixiang said passed! But it seems like they were all people who came in private rooms.”
“Mm, I know. Young master Qi of room one, Lord Chu of room two, young master Yang of room five, young master Ye of room six, young master Nangong of room eight, and young master Du of room nine, a total of six people.
“Young master, you were also listening? I thought you weren’t paying attention! However, I and Dong Chen just saw many people entering the back room, how could only six people have passed?”
“Rouge naturally has her own standards. Many people came just to see the ruckus anyways. They completely lack the money to participate bidding for Rouge’s first night.”
“Young master Qi of room one and Lord Chu of room two are actually Jiangyou and Lequan’s county lords. With those two, no other prominent people of Yue city dare to vye for Rouge’s favor. They are all self righteous and won’t show their face in public. Furthermore, they will never have more capital than a county lord. All of those people you saw entering the back room are all idiots. The true shrewd ones remained in the hall.”
“Why would those people try in the first place?”
“Of course because Rouge is so popular.” Ye Yin laughed. “In reality, many remarkable people of of Yue city, Jiangyou, and Lequan have already been called out. Even if those with enough money wanted to come in the past, they don’t dare to now.”
Dong Chen was shocked. “Young master means to say those two county lords secretly…”
Ye Yin smiled, not answering. Qiu Xing hastily said, “Then young master, what if they harm you? You said that you must have Rouge today.”
“Unlikely. I have the merchant league backing me. They wouldn’t dare to directly clash with me. Also, they don’t even have me in mind. They believe that no one in Yue city dares to fight with them.”
However, as he said this, Ye Yin was pondering. According to his intel, no one in West Zhi would dare to vye for Rouge because everyone knew Qi Chengfeng and Chu Feiye were not to be trifled with. This meant that the other three were all outsiders, not even from Zhi nation. Who were they? Were they simply attracted by the famous event, or did they have other objectives? Was that young master Nangong Nangong Piaoran? Would those other three ruin his plans?
Ye Yin did not have any more time to ponder, because Rouge had appeared. The bidding for Rouge’s first night had begun!