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Chapter 16: Rising to Fame

    Chapter 16: Rising to Fame

    Translator: CKtalon  Editor: CKtalon

    Yu Bai looked at Qin Yun and said seriously, "Money alone is probably nothing to Brother Qin Yun. I only have some literary talent that is of any use! I heard that Lady Chen Shuang's relationship with Brother Qin Yun is extraordinary. I am willing to do my best to help Lady Chen Shuang."

    "Can you make her famous throughout the world?" Qin Yun poured himself a cup of wine and drank it as he casually asked.

    "That I cannot do. However, I'm confident I can make her famous throughout the Jiang Prefecture," said Yu Bai.

    "Can you make her Courtesan Belle in the upcoming Courtesan Belle selection for Grand Dominance County?" asked Qin Yun again.

    Yu Bai shook his head. "There's too little time. The selection is in a month's time! To grow in fame, it needs a period a time for it to brew... Furthermore, for the selection of Courtesan Belle, there are other processes at work behind the scenes. I can only guarantee that she will enter top ten this year, with a chance for top three. By next year, Lady Chen Shuang will be the most famous courtesan of Grand Dominance County!"

    "And I will use my literary talent and my reputation to spread her fame." Yu Bai continued, "Only then will her fame be lasting. Those that forcefully become Courtesan Belle by working the forces behind the scenes will only be resented by others."

    "How will you make Little Shuang famous throughout Jiang Prefecture? Tell me in detail," said Qin Yun.

    Yu Bai's eyes lit up. There was hope!

    "I have been to brothels half my life. I understand how such things work very well." Yu Bai began explaining his plan.

    Qin Yun's eyes gradually lit up as he listened to him.

    "It looks like you are really willing to go all out so that your youngest son can enter a cultivation sect," said Qin Yun with a laugh after hearing the entire plan.

    "When should I go all out if not now? Since I still have the strength, I should pave the way for them," said Yu Bai.

    "Alright, you help Little Shuang, and I'll help you."

    Qin Yun nodded. "Prepare some brushes and ink."

    Yu Bai was delighted when he heard that.

    Soon, Qin Yun finished writing a letter.

    "Send your youngest son to Jiang Prefecture's Southbright County's East Mountain Vista, and seek an audience with Daoist Goldshine using my letter," said Qin Yun. "Remember, bring a thousand taels of silver as a gift to honor his new master. After seeing my letter, Daoist Goldshine will understand."

    "Yes, yes. Perfect." Yu Bai was overjoyed. "How can a thousand taels of silver be enough. It has to be five thousand."

    "That is up to you," said Qin Yun.

    East Mountain Vista was situated on a tiny island in the East Sea. It was the only cultivation sect in Southbright County and was very influential there.

    In fact, one could protect their family clan by becoming a paper tiger just by gaining entry to a cultivation sect.

    "Remember what you said,' remarked Qin Yun.

    "I'll be going to Swallow Phoenix Brothel tonight," Yu Bai's spirit was soaring.

    Qin Yun nodded. He felt pity and a little guilty for Little Shuang to lead such a life. He had not appeared when she needed him the most, causing Little Shuang to end up in a brothel alone. He wanted to try his best to make up for it.

    ...

    That night, Yu Bai went to Swallow Phoenix Brothel. After watching Lady Chen Shuang's sword dance, he turned agitated. With his friends as witnesses, he wrote 'Ode to Chen Shuang' on the spot. Then, he requested to meet Lady Chen Shuang.

    The news immediately attracted the attention of many renowned courtesans from the brothels in Grand Dominance County.

    "What? Yu Bai went to meet Chen Shuang? After watching her sword dance, he wrote an 'Ode to Chen Shuang'?"

    "How is this Chen Shuang so lucky?"

    Many renowned courtesans turned envious and jealous.

    And at Dreamlike Pavilion, a brothel established by Dreamlike Pavilion Lady herself.

    "I have invited Yu Bai numerous times but he shied away from me but now, he has gone to meet that young lass?" Dreamlike Pavilion Lady was leaning on a bench. She had fair skin and all sorts of charms exuded from her eyebrows. Although she was thirty-five, she had a mature beauty thanks to the extension of her youth from Qi Refinement. People may have resented her winning of the title of Courtesan Belle two years ago but she was confident of entering the top five through her own strengths. However, Lady Scented Dress and Fairy Clear Autumn were a lot more famous than her. By defeating them, it appeared unfair.

    "Mistress, this is the 'Ode to Chen Shuang' that the great scholar, Yu Bai wrote. It was just copied and sent over." the female attendant immediately handed it over to her politely.

    Dreamlike Pavilion Lady casually took it and unfurled it.

    The text that replicated the ode was considered rather neat and trite but the ode itself made Dreamlike Pavilion Lady's expression change drastically.

    "Why isn't it writing about me? Why is it not me?" Dreamlike Pavilion Lady clenched the roll of paper till her veins protruded from her slender hands. "Why is it that lass Chen Shuang?"

    Dreamlike Pavilion Lady was also proficient in the artistry skills of zither, chess, calligraphy, and painting. Although she could not produce any good pieces, she could tell that this was absolutely one of the best works from the great scholar Yu Bai.

    "This ode is imbued with true feelings and can only be written this well by having one's heart truly touched." Dreamlike Pavilion Lady refused to believe it. "Could it be that the lass Chen Shuang has really stirred his heart?"

    ...

    News of the good ode quickly proliferated.

    Even with his status as one of the four great scholars of Jiangnan, the number of poems or pieces he had that could spread throughout the world was limited. A piece that was written naturally was rare. Forcefully writing one would typically be mediocre.

    "Second Young Master! I have been waiting outside Swallow Phoenix Brothel all this while. This is the 'Ode to Chen Shuang' that the great scholar Yu Bai wrote. Swallow Phoenix Brothel had gotten people to make copies of it. Many people were buying it. I rushed back after buying one." A servant respectfully handed the roll of paper to Qin Yun.

    Qin Yun took it over and unfurled it, allowing the warm yellow light from a lamp illuminate it.

    "A great ode and impressive literary flair."

    Qin Yun smiled.

    He could still clearly remember the plan Yu Bai had described to him. The ode... was not written recently. Instead, it was from a three-year-old memory of Yu Bai's unrequited love for a woman who eventually married someone else. Yu Bai had written the ode as he reminisced over the beauty. It was imbued with his natural emotions and truly one of the best works he had written in his life. However, after reading it thrice, he tore it apart. If news of it got out, it would not necessarily be a good thing for the woman that had married to someone else.

    For his son, Yu Bai was willing to go all out.

    He reused the ode and made some modifications, making it 'Ode to Chen Shuang'.

    And afraid that it would leak out, he did not even tell the contents of it to Qin Yun. Only when he wrote it at Swallow Phoenix Brothel did Qin Yun learn of it.

    "Not only is this a great ode, there will be three other good poems in the year ahead." Qin Yun looked forward to it. "They have all been prepared by Yu Bai."

    Not only was there going to be an ode, there was also going to be poems.

    And a 'story' of the great scholar Yu Bai acting the role of a forlorn lover suffering unrequited love as he remained infatuated to Lady Chen Shuang. Just as the saying goes, the fallen flower pines for love but the heartless brook babbles on with unrequited love. As he suffered in the misery of unrequited love, the great scholar Yu Bai would produce three poems in the coming year to flesh out his one-sided pining for her.

    "In the future, when Yu Bai is mentioned, Little Shuang will definitely be mentioned as well. An 'Ode to Chen Shuang' with three other poems would definitely become well-known throughout the Jiang Prefecture after a year." Qin Yun secretly sighed. "This great scholar is using his talented fame to imbue Little Shuang with fame."

    ...

    Day after day.

    With 'Ode to Chen Shuang' spreading, Swallow Phoenix Brothel's Lady Chen Shuang's fame naturally grew. After all, the ode's description depicted her perfectly. It spoke of her like a fairy or goddess that had descended to the mortal world. The amount needed to meet her quickly increased and in a few days, it had raised to fifty taels of silver! However, there were still many sons of the wealthy that fell over each other to win an audience with her.

    Even a young master of the county governor had sought her audience. It only served to make Lady Chen Shuang more sought after.

    "Little Shuang, what are you thinking about?" Auntie Xue said with a smile.

    Lady Chen Shuang was sitting in front of a blank canvas and writing with her mind elsewhere. She said softly, "Everything that happened in the past half month appears to be like a dream."

    "That's right, it's like a dream. First, the great scholar, Yu Bai began courting you and raised your fame using 'Ode to Chen Shuang'. Even the county governor's young master and other noblemen have sought an audience with you," commented Auntie Xue.

    "Someone is helping me," said Lady Chen Shuang.

    Auntie Xue was taken aback, "Helping you?"

    "Yes."

    Lady Chen Shuang nodded, "Mister Yu had hinted to me that he was doing it under a request by somebody."

    Auntie Xue was alarmed. "Request by somebody? Who could have that capability? Could it be Qin Yun? Or someone in power from the county governor's brethren?"

    Lady Chen Shuang did not speak further but instead continued writing.
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