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Chapter 9: Meeting Again

    Chapter 9: Meeting Again

    Translator: Gravity Tales  Editor: Gravity Tales

    Outside Swallow Phoenix Brothel, guests began entering in groups.

    At the corner of the streets stood two young men. They wore simple but clean clothes.

    "Second Brother Wang, do you really wish to enter? Entering and ordering a cup of tea alone will cost one tael of silver. We only earn that much after two months of hard work!" The two young men looked at Swallow Phoenix Brothel from afar and could vaguely make out the enchanting figures within.

    "It's not like I have a family to support. The money is worth it as long as I can hear Fairy Clear Autumn's music. Are you going in or not? I'm going ahead if you aren't," urged a man with bushy eyebrows and big eyes.

    "I... I need to feed my family. No. No, I won't be going in. Yingzi would definitely scold me if she found out." A short man beside him shook his head after some hesitation.

    "That haggard woman of yours? She scolded you all last night. Moreover, you were rewarded with a tael of silver for picking up and returning the money bag to that benefactor. That's money your haggard woman doesn't know about! Let's go."

    "No, you go on ahead. It's too expensive."

    "I hope you don't regret this." The man with thick brows and big eyes strode forward and soon entered Swallow Phoenix Brothel.

    The short man watched from afar, battling with temptation. Finally, he gritted his teeth and turned around to leave. "One tael of silver can buy more meat and food. Our lives will become better as well. Yingzi will definitely be extremely happy when she sees the silver tael." The short man revealed a smile as he thought.

    As for Qin Yun and Tian Bo, they also arrived at Swallow Phoenix Brothel on horseback.

    "Young Master Tian, it has been a long time since your last visit. Please enter." An old procuress who appeared rather beautiful shouted out loudly. She must have been a beauty in her youth. There was a servant by the side who hurriedly came forward and swiftly took the horses away.

    "Let's go in." Tian Bo had dismounted his horse and led Qin Yun inside.

    "Someone, come entertain these guests." The old procuress led the way in warmly.

    A young and petite female attendant immediately came forward. "Young Master Tian, this way, please. This young master, is this his first time here at Swallow Phoenix Brothel?"

    "This is Young Master Qin. Arrange a spot closer to the front for us." Tian Bo instructed.

    "Young Master Tian, you can rest assured that we will not dare slight your instructions," said the female attendant with a smile.

    Swallow Phoenix Brothel was a combination of five buildings. The main building, east building, south building, west building and north building. The main building was usually used to welcome guests from all over the place, while the other four buildings were for more distinguished guests.

    At that moment, Qin Yun and Tian Bo entered the main building and were led to a spot close to a railing.

    The railing surrounded a stage in the middle. There were some musicians playing in the back while two dancers danced onstage.

    "Brother Yun, these are only ordinary women for now. Later on, renowned courtesans will appear. This spot is closest to the stage," said Tian Bo. The both of them sat down in front of a tea table. Tian Bo ordered routinely. "Get us some melon, fruits, and desserts. Add a pot of tea too."

    "Make haste."

    The young female attendant hurriedly prepared the tea beside them. At the same time, she instructed other female attendants to bring some melon, fruit, and desserts. Following that, she very naturally began massaging Tian Bo's shoulders. "Young Master Tian, does Young Master Qin need someone to serve him?"

    "There's no need." Qin Yun said. He had roamed the world for six years and naturally understood the rules of a brothel. In a brothel like Swallow Phoenix Brothel, the female attendants only massaged one's shoulders and legs. They did not offer sexual services.

    "Will Little Shuang be here tonight?" Qin Yun asked.

    "Sister Xie Shuang changed her name after entering the brothel," replied Tian Bo. "Currently, her stage name is 'Chen Shuang.' She entered Swallow Phoenix Brothel to pay off a debt. Naturally, the Swallow Phoenix Brothel would want her to entertain guests frequently."

    "Chen Shuang?" Qin Yun muttered softly. He felt a stabbing pain in his heart. The young girl of yesteryear had been forced to enter a brothel.

    There were certain particulars when it came to seating assignments in Swallow Phoenix Brothel.

    The wealthy and distinguished guests were either in private rooms, which gave privacy but were situated a little further from the stage, or they were seated closest to the stage. Normally, pretty female attendants would tend to these guests by massaging them or feeding them fruits. As for the seats behind them, they were much smaller in size. Typically, they would only order the most ordinary pot of tea and not have attendants at the ready. That alone would incur the lowest cost of 'one tael of silver!'

    ...

    Time flowed by.

    One performance after another went onstage.

    Swallow Phoenix Brothel's most famous 'Lady Clear Autumn' was dressed in green as she sat quietly onstage, blowing her flute. The flute's melody was deep and sweet, peaceful and mild. It sounded like a weeping lament that caused one to be lost in reverie without realizing it. All the troubles and daily worries on one's mind seemed to disappear. Even Qin Yun could not help but be attracted to the melody.

    By the time the flute's melody came to a stop, Lady Clear Autumn had already stood up. She turned and left with her flute in hand.

    "Where's Fairy Clear Autumn?"

    "It was like a dream. By the time I snapped out of it, Fairy Clear Autumn was already gone."

    The surrounding crowd was left despondent before they started murmuring. Sitting in a corner, a young man with thick eyebrows and large eyes was extremely excited. "It's simply worth it just to hear Fairy Clear Autumn's melody. It was worth it!"

    Qin Yun nodded upon hearing this as well. Her skill at playing the flute was indeed incredible.

    "Fairy Clear Autumn's flute melodies are only getting more and more extraordinary these days. The way I see it, Fairy Clear Autumn should take the spot of Courtesan Belle."

    "How can the spot of Courtesan Belle be that easily won? Ever since Fairy Clear Autumn came to Grand Dominance City, she only managed to place in the top three for the last two Courtesan Belle selections. She might not be able to clinch the position of Courtesan Belle."

    "Last year, Lady Scented Dress only barely surpassed Fairy Clear Autumn to claim the title of Courtesan Belle. The year before, Dreamlike Pavilion Lady won the title but it was really unfair."

    A flurry of discussion broke out.

    "Courtesan Belle selection?" Qin Yun was aware that Grand Dominance City was a large city consisting of hundreds of thousands of people. Choosing a Courtesan Belle was a grand event! All the renowned brothels would do their best to vie for the spot. Ignoring the outcome of becoming Courtesan Belle, the courtesans would enjoy a great increase in fame if they managed to be one of the top ten candidates among the many renowned courtesans! One's reputation was equivalent to money within a brothel!

    "Swallow Phoenix Brothel will naturally do its best to win the position of Courtesan Belle. That Lady Clear Autumn from earlier is the number one renowned courtesan in Swallow Phoenix Brothel," remarked Tian Bo. "She was originally the daughter of an official. However, her family fell into decline and she ended up becoming a courtesan. Fortunately for her, she quickly gained fame. Swallow Phoenix Brothel personally invited her to come from the Wu County. With her being such a renowned courtesan, she is still a free person even after coming to Swallow Phoenix Brothel. She can leave anytime she wishes. Even Swallow Phoenix Brothel is unable to restrain her. One must spend a hundred taels of silver just to have a chance of meeting Lady Clear Autumn privately. Even then, it will still depend on whether she wants to or not."

    "Swallow Phoenix Brothel has been doing its best to help Lady Clear Autumn clinch the spot of Courtesan Belle. Unfortunately, she failed the last two years," said Tian Bo as he shook his head.

    "What about Little Shuang? Did she participate in the Courtesan Belle selection?" asked Qin Yun.

    "In the early days when Sister Xie Shang just entered Swallow Phoenix Brothel, she was not eligible for the selection as she lacked the fame. She participated in last year's selection but failed to make it to the top ten," replied Tian Bo. "This year, it's unlikely that there's much hope for her. After all, she is only ranked fifth in Swallow Phoenix Brothel."

    Qin Yun nodded and did not speak further.

    Although there were plates of desserts and cut fruits in front of him, Qin Yun did not touch any of them. All he did was drink tea. Finally, after having two cups of tea...

    "Swoosh."

    A valiant-looking figure clothed in red flew out from behind. Her sword sliced through the air as she finally landed gently onstage.

    Swallow Phoenix Brothel's Lady Chen Shuang. Sword Dance!

    "Little Shuang." Qin Yun tightened the grip on his teacup. The young lady, only thirteen when they parted ways, was currently nineteen. She was all grown up now.

    His younger sister, Xie Shuang of yesteryear, had never experienced sadness and was extremely naive. She may have been mentally prepared for her father's death after seeing him bedridden for so long, but the blow to Xie Shuang was too much when her only relative, Xie Lei, died. Yet despite her grief, she still had to step forward and compensate the pitiful family members of the men who had perished. She eventually had to even sell herself to the brothel to pay the tab.

    "She has grown up. She's a big girl now." Qin Yun muttered softly. Xie Shuang had changed drastically.

    Her sword-like brows accentuated her heroic look. Although the brandishing of her sword gave one a sharp feeling, her disposition seemed to contain a faint sense of frailty.

    Valiance and frailty both merged into one.

    "She has transformed the sword techniques I taught her into this." Qin Yun shook his head gently. He felt mixed emotions.

    On stage, Lady Chen Shuang moved gracefully with the music. She turned around and thrust out her sword in a particular direction, when she saw a table.

    She was taken aback.

    That figure...that man sitting beside Tian Bo...

    Memories began flooding through her mind.

    "Little Shuang, this sword move should be done this way." Back then, Qin Yun, who was still thirteen years old, was teaching her.

    "Brother Yun, I got it. I got it. Let me demonstrate it again." Xie Shuang, who was eleven years old back then, was even more excited to make another attempt.

    "You must practice well. Your Brother Yun is already in the realm of being one with the sword. He's a lot stronger than me." Watching by the side, Xie Lei, who was rather well-built for his fourteen-year-old frame, said with a laugh.

    ...

    Lady Chen Shuang's eyes reddened as tears could not help but appear.

    Qin Yun was also looking at her.

    The two locked eyes as Qin Yun nodded his head gently with a faint smile.
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