“No need for thanks,” said Aya, waving his hands. Then bashfully, he went around Chu Ye and disappeared into the crowd in a flash.
He didn’t realize that Chu Ye’s so-called deep gratitude was to repay them with a precious treasure that they would normally never obtain in their lifetimes. He had thought that Chu Ye’s thanks was specifically directed toward him.
However, Awu had seen countless types of people and understood Chu Ye’s intention at once. His expression cooled as he stared at Chu Ye. “Miss, we didn’t offer our help to Young Master expecting something in return. I hope you don’t speak such words again.”
Chu Ye’s eyes widened in shock before she burst into laughter. She patted Awu’s broad shoulder and said with complete seriousness, “I can see that you approached me and Chenzhu with a clear heart. I don’t mean to look down on your intentions. After all, you even risked your son’s future to help us. But how could we just let you suffer losses from this? It’s your choice whether you want to help, but it’s our choice whether we want to repay you.”
Hearing this, Awu couldn’t help but feel touched.
Right, he was risking his son’s future by helping Chenzhu.
Regardless of whether Chenzhu won or lost, his son’s life in the Boling clan would no longer be peaceful. But if he were to join this battle, he could gain Chu Ye’s favor, who was Caroline’s disciple. It was still a good deal for him.
“Thank you. Miss, Young Master, please take care of Aya in the future. This kid is too shy and simple, which has always worried me.” Awu truly trusted them.
“Don’t worry. People always need time to mature,” said Chenzhu. He then released a sigh, filled with a complex mix of emotions.
He himself was a living example of that.
Back then, he had been as simple as a blank sheet of paper. Hadn’t he been similar to the current Aya?
A few minutes later, when the next round was on the verge of starting, Aya finally returned. To his left was a girl dressed in green.
They were rushing toward them, sweat dripping down their foreheads.
After wiping his sweat, Aya shyly gestured to the girl. “This is Lulu. She’s a year older than me. We grew up together.”
The girl possessed a fresh and beautiful countenance. Standing next to the fair and pretty Aya, they looked like a lovely young couple, perfectly compatible with each other.
She flashed a faint smile. “Ok, let’s save the chatting for later. For now, let’s enter the field!” Following that, she took the lead in heading toward the competition field.
“Uh, Chu Ye, we can’t!” exclaimed Chenzhu. “We’re still a person short.”
The rules stated that there must be four people in a team.
He, Aya, and Lulu only added up to three people.
Chu Ye turned around and glared at him in displeasure. “Am I not a person?”
“But according to the rules of the competition, only descendants of the Boling clan are allowed to participate.” Awu couldn’t help but worry. This was a critical moment, and yet this miss was still in the mood to joke.
The corners of Chu Ye’s lips raised in a smile. “How do you know I’m not from the Boling clan?”
“Huh?” It wasn’t only Awu. Even Chenzhu’s jaw dropped in surprise.
“Chu Ye, you…” Chenzhu hadn’t known that Chu Ye was actually a part of the Boling clan. Chu Ye had never told him.
“Let’s go. Otherwise, it might be too late to enter.” Chu Ye currently didn’t want to elaborate any further. She grabbed Chenzhu’s arm and dragged him to the entrance of the competition field.
Though Aya and Lulu were unclear as to what was happening, they still followed them.
Naturally, Awu also followed. Although he wasn’t qualified to enter the competition, he could stand as close as he could to the field and cheer for them.
Boling Canglan, who sat on main row, had been paying attention to Chenzhu’s movements. When he noticed that Chenzhu had found two helpers, he was outraged.
Whose children were those two? They dared disobey him? How short-sighted of them.
But the thought that they were one person short and thus still unqualified to participate in the next round soothed his heart. Afterward, he continued observing Chenzhu with an amused gaze, as though he were watching some measly tricks.
He didn’t see the smirk sliding across Caroline’s lips.
A good show was about to start. Only, it seemed that some people were still foolishly ignorant of it!
Meanwhile, Chenzhu’s party had already arrived at the entrance to the competition field.
The guard responsible for verifying the competitors’ identities had already secretly received instructions from Boling Canglan’s personal bodyguard. He was to be extremely stringent when verifying Chenzhu’s teammates.
The guard raised his head and stared at Aya and Lulu, who were behind Chenzhu. “Name?”
Since they had the guts to join the competition, they shouldn’t act cowardly.
The guard examined the genealogy excruciatingly slowly. After confirming they were indeed descendants of the Boling clan, he turned to Chenzhu and said, “It is expressly stipulated that a team must have four people. Your team only has three members, so you are not yet eligible for entry.”
Chu Ye stepped toward the guard with a smile. “Who said we only have three? Including me, don’t we have four?”
The guard’s breath hitched. He was stunned by the close view of Chu Ye’s beauty. He swallowed his saliva and forced himself to act calm as he said, “You’re Caroline’s disciple. You’re not a descendant of the Boling clan. According to the rules, you can’t join the competition.”
“Everyone only knows me by the name Chu Ye, but you don’t know that I have another name.” Chu Ye’s gaze playfully swept over the guard’s tense face.
“Another name?” Subconsciously, the guard followed along with Chu Ye’s words. “What name?”
“Boling Yili!” declared Chu Ye in a loud voice, emphasizing each syllable.
Unfortunately, the guard was an idiot. He scratched his head and asked, “Who’s Boling Yili?” He had never heard of her.
Chu Ye’s mouth gaped. Then all of a sudden, she burst into sweat.
Apparently, no one in the Boling clan remembered Boling Yili anymore!
Neither in life nor death did anyone remember her. Chu Ye couldn’t help but feel aggrieved on Boling Yili’s behalf.
“If you check the genealogy, won’t you find out who I am?” said Chu Ye with gritted teeth.
“Right!” The guard lowered his head to check the genealogy in his hand, flipping through the pages one by one. Eventually, he had already flipped to the last page and still hadn’t found Boling Yili’s name.
Chu Ye was already at the end of her patience. “Look at the first page!”
This guard was really a blockhead. As the clan head Boling Canglan’s biological daughter, Boling Yili’s information would naturally be on the first page, together with Boling Canglan’s. Even though she had been sent to the countryside due to her low talent, as long as her name wasn’t revoked from the clan registry, no one could change the fact that she was from the main line.
“Oh ok.” He had gone through all the pages except the first one.
This was because the first page contained the records of the clan’s direct descendants. He had already recognized all of them, so he hadn’t bothered looking through it.
He buried his head into the paper as he scanned the first page for the name “Boling Yili.” However, he couldn’t seem to find it.
At the beginning, he had still acted hostile towards Chenzhu’s group. However, he unwittingly began listening to Chu Ye’s words. He practically did everything Chu Ye had told him to do.
One had to say, Chu Ye’s charisma wasn’t something ordinary people could resist.
“Ah, found it,” he exclaimed with joy. “Boling Yili, the Boling clan head’s… seventh… daughter…” The further he read, the more frightened he got. He nearly even threw the genealogy to the ground. He stared up at Chu Ye in disbelief. “Heavens, you’re the seventh miss…”
Although he hadn’t seen the seventh miss in person, he had heard a lot about her.
“Replacement guaranteed if not authentic!” Chu Ye slightly raised her chin, her gaze burning like a torch.
After that, she stepped into the competition field, head held high and chest out.
Meanwhile, the other three were just as dumbstruck at this revelation. They were frozen in place as they stared at Chu Ye’s natural and unrestrained figure from behind, gazes blank.
“Still not entering?”
They didn’t speak a word in response.
However, the three’s spirits returned to their bodies. Though they were still unable to cope with the emotional shock, they promptly followed Chu Ye.
Seeing Chenzhu’s group of four enter the field without a hitch, Boling Canglan abruptly stood up. He turned to Caroline. “What is this? Why is your disciple taking part in my Boling clan’s internal competition?”
“You ask me, but who should I ask?” Caroline fixed her gaze onto him. “It’s your Boling clan’s people who let them in.”
Meaning, if you want to ask, go ask your own people.
All of a sudden, Boling Canglan felt like he was being choked to death. Caroline’s words weren’t unreasonable. Her disciple didn’t make a scene nor forced herself through the entrance. It was his people who had allowed her entry.
But why did this happen?
Boling Canglan couldn’t understand.
At this time, the competition bell was struck multiple times.
The 30-minute preparation time had already passed.
Boling Canglan went into a daze, after which chaos began brewing within his eyes. He focused his energy into his lower abdomen, then yelled, “The competition has been suspended!”
The entire area had grown completely silent!
Because of Boling Canglan’s sudden roar, everyone shut up and turned toward Boling Canglan, their gazes boring into him.
In wait for his reason in suspending the competition.
One should know that this was disrespectful to both the competitors and the spectators.
Boling Canglan raised a hand, grabbing the attention of one of the personal bodyguards behind him. He then whispered into the bodyguard’s ear.
Immediately after, that bodyguard announced to the entire area in a booming voice, “This is an internal competition of the Boling clan. Outsiders are not allowed to participate. We request for anyone who lied about their identity to withdraw at once. Since this is your first offense, Clan Head Boling will not investigate this matter out of magnanimity. If you insist on staying, be prepared for the consequences.”
Then almost simultaneously, the entire audience’s gazes fell on Chu Ye, who stood at the center of the competition field.
Because they were also wondering why Caroline’s disciple could participate in the Boling clan’s internal competition.
It turned out that the Boling clan hadn’t approved of it.
Unfortunately, a certain person was completely unaware, as though those words weren’t directed at her. She stood at the center of the field, proud and unperturbed, her silver hair and clothes fluttering in the wind.
Truly breathtaking. In terms of beauty, everything seemed to pale in comparison.
For a while, quite a lot of people were so enamored that they’d forgotten themselves.
The atmosphere grew rigid.
The words Boling Canglan had his guard say were treated like air. No one paid attention.
Boling Canglan burst into a rage. He cast Chu Ye a fierce glare, then told the bodyguard, “Mention her by name.”
Since she was this shameless, he wouldn’t be polite.
The bodyguard obeyed and yelled, “Chu Ye, you are not a part of our clan’s younger generation. Please leave the field at once. Otherwise, we will make you do it ourselves, and it won’t be pretty.”
This bodyguard had stayed by Boling Canglan’s side for such a long time that he could already emulate Boling Canglan’s demeanor when speaking. His words not only protected the Boling clan’s dignity but also didn’t damage Caroline’s reputation. After all, Chu Ye was Caroline’s disciple.
This finally garnered a reaction from Chu Ye.
A soft sound of surprise escaped Chu Ye’s mouth as she gazed in Boling Canglan’s direction. “So the mister over there was talking to me. Only now did I understand what you said. I’m sorry for not paying attention earlier.”
Her voice wasn’t that loud, but everyone present heard her words unusually loud and clear.
In an instant, the entire area fell into silence.
What the hell? Out of everyone inside the competition field, you were the only one who wasn’t a part of the Boling clan. If the guard wasn’t talking to you, then who?
To realize only after mentioning you by name, was your brain that slow?
Boling Canglan pursed his lips. He had seen his fair share of fake acting but not one this shameless. He didn’t bother calling his bodyguard to convey another message and sternly faced Chu Ye himself. “If you know your wrongdoing, then it’s still not too late. Think about your master’s reputation. I won’t look into this matter any further if you withdraw.” His deep voice carried power, enough to reach every corner of the area. Thus, everyone could hear him.
Here, Chu Ye shed her casual demeanor, her expression sharpening and growing cold. It was like an extremely sharp blade had been unsheathed. “Withdraw? Why should I? Did I do something wrong?”
Even if Boling Canglan had better patience, he would still grow infuriated over Chu Ye’s offensive acts. He flung his sleeve and shot to his feet, shooting Chu Ye another glare from afar. “You’re not from my Boling clan, yet you want to obtain a share of the action in my clan’s internal competition,” he said, tone icy. “You really do consider everyone to be beneath you, don’t you? Men, throw her out.”
“Hold on!” Chu Ye’s aura wasn’t inferior to Boling Canglan, not even by a bit. Unyielding, she said loudly, “Who said I’m not from the Boling clan? Boling Canglan, look closely, what is this?”
She extended her right hand in front of the spectators, presenting a clear and pure jade the shape of a crescent.
Everyone craned their necks, trying to focus their vision onto the jade in Chu Ye’s hand. But apart from its excellent craftsmanship, they couldn’t find anything special about it.
It was the same for Boling Canglan.
Thus, he sneered. “Just a piece of jade. What’s there to see?”
Chu Ye shook her hand, breathing out a deep sigh. A bit of bitterness in her voice, she said, “Just a piece of jade, you say? Have you forgotten that you had personally put this jade on me when I was a child?”
As soon as this was said, the entire audience dissolved in uproar.
Each and every one made their own speculations about Chu Ye and Boling Canglan’s relationship. Of course, the one they considered most probable was that Chu Ye was Boling Canglan’s illegitimate child, born from one of his romantic ventures outside. And now, she had come to recognize her ancestors.
However, Boling Canglan’s pupils dilated because Chu Ye’s words finally jogged up his memory. This jade… was one half of the mandarin duck jade pendant he had given his seventh daughter Boling Yili 15 years ago, the representation of an arranged marriage between her and one of the Lanxi clan.
“You’re… No, this can’t be possible…” Boling Canglan was in a state of complete disbelief. Chu Ye, a girl known in Bian City for her abnormal talents, was actually that waste seventh daughter he had abandoned?
“You can’t be blamed for not recognizing me after six years. There’s someone else you’ve forgotten too. But you should be able to recognize her once you see her again,” said Chu Ye with scorn, mirroring Boling Canglan’s sneer. She then turned toward Lu Shi, who was seated behind Caroline. “Mother, please take off your veil. Let’s see if this man recognizes you!”
This caused everyone’s gazes to shift to Lu Shi.
They all wished to see the woman who had once had an “outside romantic affair” with Boling Canglan. Was she a staggering beauty like Chu Ye?
Upon hearing Chu Ye’s request, Lu Shi stiffened, her back turning ramrod straight. Within her sleeves, she wrung her fingers out of nervousness as her heart violently pounded, seeming ready to jump out of her throat any second.
But after this short moment of hesitation, Lu Shi slowly rose from her seat.
This moment had finally arrived.
At a slow pace, she raised her hand and removed the veil from her face, revealing her features, 40-50% similar to Chu Ye. However, compared to Chu Ye, Lu Shi appeared more gentle and sweet-tempered. She stood amidst the crowd in her white dress and with a lowered gaze, akin to peacefully blooming white lotus.
This was a beauty reminiscent of still waters.
Lu Shi slightly raised her head, gazing at Boling Canglan with similarly beautiful eyes. In a clear voice, she said, “Clan Head, do you still recognize me?”
A jolt ran through Boling Canglan’s body. He had wracked his brain trying to guess who that beautiful woman was but never thought it would be Lu Shi. Why had he never noticed her beauty back when they were still together?
Was this not an example of losing interest after obtaining something? Or in this case, someone?
During their six years of separation, he suddenly found himself missing this gentle and beautiful woman.
However, since she had now returned of her own volition, this was no longer applicable.
Lu Shi’s mild tone annoyed Boling Canglan.
Having not seen each other for many years, shouldn’t she hold secret grudges against him? Shouldn’t she implore him to allow her to return to the clan residence and restore her honor as soon as she saw him?
Why did she and their daughter not identify themselves to him earlier? Even though they had already arrived at the city long ago and even visited his Boling clan’s residence.
He didn’t know that he had severely misinterpreted the situation.
In what way did this current situation ever indicate a desire on Lu Shi and Chu Ye’s part to return to the Boling clan residence?
They were clearly here to collect debts.
“…Shi, there’s no way I don’t recognize you. It seems you’ve been living well these past six years. Our daughter has become capable too,” said Boling Canglan in an amiable manner.
Women couldn’t be spoiled to the heavens all of a sudden. The so-called “loosening the reins only to better grasp them” wasn’t a trick exclusive to only women. Boling Canglan was also an expert at this.
(T/N: in order to fully capture someone/something, one must temporarily let them loose)
He didn’t realize that his act was just a joke in Lu Shi’s eyes.
He had long become nothing to her!
“My surname is Lu, and my given name is Shi,” explained Lu Shi, seemingly for no reason.
The others were baffled by her words, but Boling Canglan turned a bright red.
Because his seemingly intimate address, “Shi,” from earlier was just a front. He had completely forgotten what her surname was.
Outside of Boling Canglan’s expectations, the weak woman from six years ago, who had previously considered him her entire world, had become more clever and sharp-witted.
Beside him, Murong Wan fixed his attention onto Lu Shi. “Clan Head Boling, this woman looks familiar.” Then, he slapped his thigh and exclaimed, “Ah! Isn’t she previously your seventh concubine? Back then, she gave birth to your Boling clan’s seventh miss. Later on, you drove her back to her parents’ home. What a surprise to see her look the same as before even after so many years. Actually, she even appeared to have grown more beautiful!”
These words finally allowed everyone in the audience to understand the gist of the situation.
Oh, so this wasn’t an outside romantic affair but an internal dispute.
Within a few moments, everyone had tidied the clues that had been revealed about this complex relationship and deduced a shocking bit of information. “Wait, wait, what did Clan Head Murong say just now? Seventh miss? So Caroline’s disciple Chu Ye is actually the waste seventh miss previously abandoned by the Boling clan?”
Boling Yili, Boling Canglan’s seventh daughter, was publicly recognized to be a talent-less waste of person by the clan. Thus, she had been mercilessly banished to the countryside six years ago. This incident had been the talk of the town at that time. She had also become a laughing stock among the citizens of Bian City. Everyone knew that the entire city was aware of this incident.
“Heavens, is this real?”
“Once a waste, now a talent…”
“Boling Yili is Chu Ye… Chu Ye is Boling Yili…”
“Clan Head Boling sure is capable. He actually drove such a talented clan member out of his clan’s residence…”
“He has eyes but can’t distinguish a pearl…”
“An inefficient utilization of resources…”
Everyone present had witnessed a joke today, originally consisting of a group of four. However, the true joke in this situation was actually Boling Canglan. The buzzes of discussion only grew louder and more excited.
This was definitely going to be the most sensational news in the imperial capital for the entire year.
Surrounded by the sounds of feverish discussion, Boling Canglan had to forcefully push his fury back into the depths of his heart, a shadow forming over his face.
He finally realized that this mother-daughter pair had come to collect debts.
Now that things had reached this point, he could neither strike nor retreat. He had no choice but to assume the aura of a husband; he shot Lu Shi a cold glare and said, “You should have come to me as soon as you arrived in the city. Why must you take this approach? Now this is going to spread all over the city. Even if you don’t feel ashamed about it, I do.”
“Ok!” Lu Shi raised an eyebrow. “We will never do it again.”
There wouldn’t be a next time.
Because this matter would already reach its conclusion after this.
Her daughter had already informed her of her plans, which were extremely against current conventions, even to the point of being somewhat immoral. However, she considered Boling Canglan’s lack of repentance and seemingly clear conscience, just like that time six years ago, as well as his pushing all the blame to her and Lili. For this type of person, Lili’s plans were already extreme benevolence on their part.
She wouldn’t hesitate anymore.
He didn’t deserve it.
Didn’t deserve to receive even an ounce of her affection.
But Lu Shi’s serenely spoken “will never do it again”, showing that nothing was more wretched than apathy, was misinterpreted by Boling Canglan. When this entered his ears, it became an admission of her wrongdoing and an expressed willingness to obey.
Nodding in satisfaction, Boling Canglan softly said, “Good, good. From now on, you and our daughter will move back to the clan residence. I won’t look into today’s matter any further, and I will provide proper compensation for you two at a later time.”