Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
The seven families started feeling uneasy. Was he mad? Why hadn't he gone to any of the banquets yet?
Even better, then. Just you wait.
Time was ticking, and apprehension was evident in their gaze. Suddenly, the office door opened, and an energetic bunch of young bailiffs got on their respective horses and headed toward the city center.
Half an hour later, all seven families received an invitation to the office.
The invitation card was written in a polite tone. "I am still young and inexperienced, which makes me unfit to accept your grand invitations. As a younger person, it is my job to prepare a great feast. It will be held in the eastern Thousand Gold Building, and I respectfully invite all of you to attend."
The card also expressed her respect for Garison and her hope that the leaders would fulfill their part in paying a visit, to allow him the chance to understand the nobility of Garison.
As the bailiffs delivered and read out the letters, citizens around quickly praised their new mayor. Even the Rong people were pleased by his attitude toward their God. That way, there was nothing the seven families could do to cause trouble.
Now that the new mayor had become a host and even borrowed Garison's name to invite them, they would be in the wrong if they did not show up.
Around noon, as the county gate opened once more, a clean and well-dressed youth exited with a subtle smile on his face. His robe was white and was coupled with a purple belt that contained a light luster that matched his bright, jade-like eyes.
The man standing beside him, whose purple robe and sleeves were loose-fitting, had on a mask that concealed half of his face. However, the visible features were resplendently breathtaking.
They were Meng Fuyao and Yuan Zhaoxu.
Meng Fuyao paid no attention to the people on the street. She walked while bickering with Yuan Zhaoxu as usual. "I'm going to drink. Why are you following me? You have all the wine you want back there."
"I'm following because you're drinking," he answered leisurely.
"So concerned?" Meng Fuyao sniffed. "Don't worry, I know my limit and won't get drunk."
"I'm not afraid of you getting drunk," he corrected. "I'm afraid that you won't get drunk."
"Eh?" Meng Fuyao whipped her head around. 'Is he alright?'
Yuan Zhaoxu leaned close to her ear, and as he spoke warm puffs of air brushed against her skin, tickling her. She wanted to laugh but considering that she was on the streets she resisted it.
"... you take advantage of my body whenever you're drunk. First, you kissed me, and then you slept with me. I'd like to see what you will do next..."
"Go to hell."
An astonishingly loud growl boomed from across the streets, evoking stares from the citizens present.
Following that, the youth in white rushed forward like a gust of wind, and the man in light purple robe followed suit with a shallow smile on his face.
The citizens exchanged glances, and a look of epiphany flashed across their faces a short while later.
"Please, please, make yourselves at home." Meng Fuyao raised a toast at every table, her smile excessive and greasy. She occasionally stopped to sound off, "The ladies from the Veela Pavilion are great! Soft, flexible bodies... how can anyone not like them? You don't like them? What a pity! I had planned to buy one of them for you... sigh... oh, you like them? Why didn't you say so earlier? I had no one to gift her to and have sent her back..."
"Sir Tie Mu, what's with that scar on your face? Oh, oh, wildcat at home, huh? Yeah, exactly, Sir Ta Muer, keep too many of them, and they start getting jealous... it's rare you have 17 at home... it's not easy, not easy at all..."
"Sir Bi Li, are your parents doing well? Your father? What about your father's parents? Your grandmother? What about her gentleman number 1? And number 2? And number 3..?"
"Sir Si Lei..."
"Sir Mu Dang..."
With one round of toast, smiles and gossips flew, as the seven leaders started sweating buckets, their face green.
This fellow... how did he know so much about the most private matters they were keeping from the public?
Meng Fuyao smiled, her expression appearing rather fox-like and crafty under the candlelight.
Regarding the gossips, Meng Fuyao would have to thank Zong Yue. Mister Zong was a physician who acted unlike one. He always had people serving him and reporting news from respective nations. He hid nothing from Meng Fuyao and even shared information with her. Thus, she took the chance to have him gain inside information about the powerful figures in Yaocheng. Feeling generous, Zong Yue immediately relayed a piece of information to her, and she had Yao Xun seek out more details.
At that point, Yao Xun couldn't understand why she was interested in finding out more about a Rongsman's 17th jealous concubine or another's grandmother who enjoyed having illicit affairs. Meng Fuyao knew that to those Rongsmen, reputation was more important than life.
'Dare provoke me? I'll divulge everything about your family and you. I have even found out about the material and color of your underwear.'
Sweat pouring from their bodies, they reluctantly went along with the new mayor while scheming in their head. 'How wicked... obviously, he's seen through our plan and wants revenge. Yes, he's much younger than imagined, but how dare he draw Garison's face on the toilet bowl, and how did he know about Bi Li's family? What else is he capable of?'
All seven leaders raised their guard in preparation for Meng Fuyao's next move.
Yuan Zhaoxu was the only one enjoying his wine. A reflection of his smiling face could be seen in the wine, as he thought about how the girl had fought through the challenging experiences the world had thrown at her and wondered who was responsible for leading her astray...
After three rounds of toasting, Meng Fuyao placed her wine cup down and cleared her throat.
The audience's hearts tightened. 'It's here!' They put their cups down subconsciously and sat up straight.
"Sir Si Lei," she started seriously, a vicious and contemptuous look flashing across her brows. The excessive and greasy smile from before had disappeared completely, and all that remained was a naturally domineering and respectable air that left the leaders temporarily mute.
Meng Fuyao sat steadily on the host's seat, casting a sidelong glance at the man whose name she had called.
Sir Si Lei, whose face and chest were a reddish purple, had been quiet since the start of the feast, his eyes radiant. Having heard his own name being called, he pressed his hand on the table and looked up. "Eh?"
Meng Fuyao stared at him, a truly powerful leader who must have been the mastermind behind their devious plan.
"Have you been very busy, Sir Si Lei?" Meng Fuyao asked with a faint smile. "Slept well last night?"
The people exchanged glances, unaware of the reason Meng Fuyao started with a seemingly irrelevant topic. However, Si Lei's face changed instantly.
He answered carefully, his eyes flickering around, "Not bad."
"Hmm," Meng Fuyao nodded. "I heard from former mayor Ah Shina that Sir Si Lei suffers from insomnia. Looks like you're alright now."
Stunned for a moment, he quietly heaved a sigh of relief. "Thank you for your concern, Mayor."
"Sir Ah Shina misses you a lot," Meng Fuyao continued indifferently. "he's doing good now and will attend the celebration later. He has asked me to pass a message. Please make a trip to his residence."
Smiling, Meng Fuyao extended a hand and said, "Quick, please. I'll be waiting for you here."
Si Lei's facial expression changed while his forehead turned slightly green. After a short deliberation, he answered, "Since Sir Ah Shina will be joining later, it's better if I pay him a visit after that."
"That's not too good, is it?"
"What's not too good?" Si Lei asked haughtily, his voice full of disdain. "I'll see him later so why the need for a trip down now?"
"Works fine, too." Meng Fuyao waved dismissively, not minding that the topic ended then. Slightly intoxicated she raised another cup and swayed toward Sir Bi Li. With her cup lifted she laughed. "Come, everyone, let's toast to Garison's glory and sanctity. Drink up!"
Everyone, including Si Lei, reciprocated by raising their own glass.
Midway, Meng Fuyao jolted her wrist A buzz sounded as her wine cup transformed into a golden light that shot out.
Si Lei's cup was already touching his lips when a shadow took over his vision. The next thing he knew, a lightning-like object was zooming in quickly. He instinctively wanted to dodge, but it was too late. A clap sounded by his ear like that made from splitting a precious stone. Following which, everything before his eyes turned into a sheet of bright, blood red.
The red was magnifying along with the drilling pain within his head. He felt as though he had been struck hard, and the pain had radiated outward like stars, continuously snapping and leaving him crying out in despair.
His growl filled the quiet building, and everyone had been dumbstruck by this sudden turn of events. Only Yuan Zhaoxu continued sipping on his wine, unmoved, and only Meng Fuyao was laughing.
Amid her wide smile, she said sharply, "Sir Si Lei. It isn't insomnia that kept you from a good night's rest, is it? Or are you feeling tired from the late-night discussion that you had with the Rong army?"
The leaders' faces turned pale. Si Lei had contacted the Rong army?
Meng Fuyao let out a cold laugh as she observed their expressions. She hadn't actually discovered the secret collusion between the Rong army and any of the leaders, but she had probed a little during the toast. Amid her nonsensical talks and harmless joke about Ah Shina, the leaders were busy feeling anxious about their private matters except for Si Lei, who appeared angry.
Why was he angry? Was it simply out of respect for Ah Shina or also because he had found out about his death and was offended?
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