EIF - Book 03 Chapter 074: Matchmaker
In a study of the imperial palace in Foundation Deity City:
Only two people were in this study: Gu Hai and Huangfu Chaoge.
“Mister Gu, I have already heard what happened in Love Flower Valley. Many thanks. All that happened because of me. Otherwise, Granny Qing Hua would not have… Hah,” Huangfu Chaoge sighed.
“Granny Qing Hua did not blame you. Why would I? Unfortunately, Divine Foundation City at the frontlines…,” Gu Hai sighed.
“Divine Foundation City? Even without that day, it would have been difficult to defend it. My men informed me that a lifespan cultivator called the Unborn Man did it, right? Lifespan cultivators have mysterious ways. It would not be difficult for them to break my Divine Foundation City,” Huangfu Chaoge said with a bitter smile.
“However, you had blessings supporting you at that time. Even if the Unborn Man broke into the city, you still could have inflicted great damage to Duke Lu Yang’s army.” Gu Hai shook his head.
“That would just result in both of us going down together. Never mind that now. Mister Gu, it’s a good thing you used that trick to send me a secret message. Otherwise, your identity would have been exposed.” Huangfu Chaoge frowned.
“Are there that many spies among your officials?” Gu Hai frowned.
“It’s fine. I also have spies in Duke Lu Yang’s official residence. Otherwise, news of Love Flower Valley would not have reached me. However, the spy that we just caught happens to be a relative. I entrusted him with great responsibility, but unexpectedly, he defected to Duke Lu Yang. Furthermore, he is extremely stubborn. No matter how I interrogate him, he refuses to speak,” Huangfu Chaoge sighed.
“Don’t worry. With Ensnaring Performance questioning him, we should get results.” Gu Hai frowned.
“Ensnaring Performance is the heaven-grade zither? Oh, that’s right. That relative of mine does not even fear death. What method is your Ensnaring Performance going to use to question my relative?” Huangfu Chaoge asked, feeling doubtful.
Just at this moment, a voice came from outside the study.
“Your Majesty, your relative has confessed. Right now, an official is taking down notes.”
“He confessed? You used so many different torture methods, yet he refused to confess. Why did he confess just shortly after Ensnaring Performance went over? How did Ensnaring Performance do it?” Huangfu Chaoge looked at the door in shock.
A man cowled in gray robes that covered even his face walked in.
“That Ensnaring Performance sent away the other interrogator and spent some time with your relative alone. Then, he sang your relative a song,” the gray-robed man explained.
“Then?” Huangfu Chaoge asked, feeling puzzled.
“There is no then. Your relative immediately confessed after that,” the gray-robed man said with a strange tone.
This stunned Huangfu Chaoge, preventing him from reacting immediately.
“He just sang a song? Hypnosis? Did Ensnaring Performance perform hypnosis?” Huangfu Chaoge asked, feeling even more puzzled.
“No. The singing was just too horrible,” that gray-robed man replied in that strange tone.
“It was too horrible? How horrible?” Huangfu Chaoge still could not make sense of this.
However, the gray-robed man started shuddering. Clearly, he had listened through the wall and heard Ensnaring Performance’s passionate singing. When he recalled the singing, he could not help feeling discomfort.
At the side, Gu Hai smiled and said, “Ensnaring Performance’s singing is indeed unique. However, it is enough that we got results. There’s no need to care about the details.”
Huangfu Chaoge looked at Gu Hai and thought that Gu Hai wanted to hide the real reason, so he nodded and did not pursue it.
“The treants’ dantian were shattered? What is the extent of the damage? I need to see first,” Huangfu Chaoge said as he looked at Gu Hai.
Gu Hai nodded and said, “That’s fine. I’ll bring them to Foundation Deity City.”
“No. I’ll go with you.” Huangfu Chaoge shook his head.
The gray-robed man immediately said anxiously, “Your Majesty, you once said that repairing the dantian is an especially strenuous task for you!”
Huangfu Chaoge shook his head and said, “Granny Qing Hua saved my life at the expense of hers. She used the destruction of the love flower treants to exchange for my survival. Now, the surviving love flower treants need my help. Can I just ignore them?”
“But—” the gray-robed man said worriedly.
“Alright, that’s enough. Foundation Rock Deity, please dig a tunnel to let me and Mister Gu out later. Don’t let anyone know about this,” Huangfu Chaoge said.
On the fourth day after Gu Hai left the valley, he returned. This time, there was another person with him: Huangfu Chaoge.
When the three returned, they stood at the entrance to the ritual array.
“This is the ritual array that can suppress dragons? It is indeed exquisite. Mister Gu, I am at war with Duke Lu Yang right now and am in need of people. Since Mister Gu already fell out with Duke Lu Yang, how about you come and help me?” Huangfu Chaoge looked at Gu Hai.
Gu Hai shook his head and said, “This situation with Duke Lu Yang is too convoluted. I do not want to get involved for now. Sorry.”
“Hahaha! It’s fine. I was the one who pushed too far.” Huangfu Chaoge shook his head while smiling.
Slowly, the three stepped into the ritual array.
As the three stepped into the ritual array, the Unborn Man coldly watched them from another ritual array in a nearby valley.
“Gu Hai has returned. Long Wanqing, I’ll give you only one day. I will make my move at this time tomorrow,” the Unborn Man said coldly.
“Master, you’ve returned!”
“Venerable Liu Nian, they have returned!”
“Division Master, they’ve returned!”
The voices of the treants and Wood Division disciples rang out in the valley.
In a large hall in the valley:
Long Wanqing sat in the hall alone, wearing red clothes. Red ribbons and banners filled the surroundings.
[TL Note: Chinese weddings are celebrated with red. The bride and groom would be dressed in red, with red decorations filling the place. This paragraph points to a wedding taking place with Long Wanqing as the bride.]
There was a makeup table at the side. Long Wanqing carefully put on makeup while looking at the mirror.
As Long Wanqing looked at herself in the mirror, her eyes turned red. She endured, not letting any tears fall out. She just quietly brushed her hair, penciled her eyebrows, and applied lipstick.
As Long Wanqing looked at her beautiful appearance in the mirror, she showed a bitter smile. After sorting out her emotions, the bitter smile slowly disappeared as she forced herself to show a faint joyful smile.
After a few attempts, she finally managed to bring out a natural-looking joyful smile.
She remained seated in the hall, not going out to receive Gu Hai.
Venerable Liu Nian and Mu Chenfeng, whose injuries had taken a turn for the better, went out to receive Gu Hai.
“Mister Huangfu, you are willing to help the treants recover their dantian?” Mu Chenfeng said with joy on his face.
“I need to take a look at their condition first,” Huangfu Chaoge said with a smile.
“Great! Great! Great!” Mu Chenfeng said happily.
“Where’s the hall master?” When Gu Hai entered the valley, he noticed that Long Wanqing did not come to receive him, causing him to feel strangely disappointed.
However, Venerable Liu Nian smiled faintly as he said, “Division Master Gu, this humble monk is going to be shameless this time. Would Division Master Gu come with me? I have something to speak to you about.”
“Huh?” The startled Gu Hai looked at Venerable Liu Nian.
Mu Chenfeng also showed a faint friendly smile.
Gu Hai could not understand what was happening, but he still followed Venerable Liu Nian into a large hall. There were curtains hung in the center of the large hall, dividing the large hall into two. Everything appeared as normal on one side. The other side was where Long Wanqing sat.
Huangfu Chaoge and Ensnaring Performance followed out of curiosity.
Mu Chenfeng also followed the group into the hall before closing the hall’s doors.
The people outside could not hear what was happening inside. However, Long Wanqing could hear everything from the other side of the curtains.
“Venerable, what’s going on? Why all this cloak and dagger?” Gu Hai asked, feeling puzzled.
“Division Master Gu, Gu Hai, I have something that I have wanted to ask for some time already. Gu Hai, what do you think of the hall master?” Venerable Liu Nian said with a smile.
At the side, Huangfu Chaoge felt slightly startled. He seemed to understand what Venerable Liu Nian was doing, so he smiled, went to the side, and sat down.
Everyone smiled at Gu Hai. However, Gu Hai frowned slightly, also appearing to understand Venerable Liu Nian’s intentions.
Gu Hai smiled bitterly and said, “Venerable, why are you asking me this now?
“Just answer, alright?” Venerable Liu Nian said seriously.
After some silence, Gu Hai nodded and said, “The hall master is kind and beautiful. She ran around for decades, trying to take revenge for her mother. She is a passionate and loyal woman.”
Venerable Liu Nian nodded and said, “That’s right. Long Wanqing is already thirty-one. She has a gentle temperament. I watched her grow up, so I am very clear on her character. When she marries, she will definitely be completely loyal to her husband. Given her character, she will not think of another man. Once she gives her heart to someone, she will be unswerving. I don’t know what you experienced with the hall master during the time in Nine-Five Island. However, both Mu Chenfeng and I can tell that the hall master has given her heart to you.”
Gu Hai remained silent.
“I can tell that you also have an interest in Long Wanqing. This humble monk will play matchmaker today and match you two. What do you think?” Venerable Liu Nian said while smiling.
[TL Note: The matchmaker is a crucial part of a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony. Even if a couple did not meet through a matchmaker, there would always be someone fulfilling that role during the ceremony. Of course, in ancient China, many people got matched with their partners through matchmakers, even arranged marriages. Proposals would also be sent via matchmakers.]
Gu Hai frowned slightly as thoughts about Long Wanqing flashed in his mind. After some silence, he revealed a bitter smile.
“What’s wrong?” Venerable Liu Nian frowned as he looked at Gu Hai.
“Venerable, don’t you know my history? I already have a wife.” Gu Hai smiled bitterly.
“I know. Chen Xianer. However, she died long ago. Even if she were still alive, I believe she would support you in this if she knew about your current situation, right?” Venerable Liu Nian said with a frown.
“As for the hall master. Hah. Venerable, I don’t want to bring her harm.” Gu Hai showed a faint bitter smile.
“What?” Venerable Liu Nian frowned as he looked at Gu Hai.
“Exactly. Gu Hai, the hall master has deep feelings for you. What do you mean by this?” Mu Chenfeng frowned.
“I wish to take revenge for Chen Xianer. I cannot share the same skies with the people who killed my wife. I could die at any moment, so I do not want the hall master to face this danger with me,” Gu Hai said while shaking his head.
“That means that you like Long Wanqing as well. However, you have great enemies and don’t want to involve her? What kind of enemy is that, that they make you so worried and lacking in confidence?” Venerable Liu Nian asked with a frown.
“That person is very, very, very strong.” Gu Hai shook his head, refusing to say anything more on the subject.
At the side, Mu Chenfeng showed an anxious expression. “Gu Hai, are you a man or not? You are the one with the enemy. Why must you make Long Wanqing suffer because of that? She also knows about this matter, but she does not care. She even asked the venerable to play matchmaker. As a woman, she has already gone this far. Do you know how hurt she would be if you keep rejecting her?”
“Oh? Long Wanqing asked the venerable to play matchmaker?” This startled Huangfu Chaoge.
“Indeed. Master, even I can tell that you like the hall master. Since you like each other, why can’t you be together? Earlier, I heard some of the Wood Division disciples discussing this in whispers. Venerable Liu Nian even prepared the wedding hall for you. The hall master should be applying her makeup right now, waiting for your response,” Ensnaring Performance said, feeling puzzled.
Gu Hai felt startled. “Wedding hall?”
Gu Hai looked at the curtain in the center of the hall.
“Gu Hai, no matter the difficulty, face it together with Long Wanqing. She does not care about the danger, so what are you worried about? Love is just a word. Speaking of it is easy, but obtaining it is difficult. I hope you will treasure it,” Huangfu Chaoge advised.
Gu Hai remained silent for a while. He showed pain on his face as he said, “Sorry. I still have to insist on my stance.”
“Your stance? Gu Hai, why are you so stubborn?” Venerable Liu Nian glared, appearing extremely angry.
Just at this moment, Long Wanqing’s somewhat tearful voice came from behind the curtains.
“Venerable, there’s no need to continue persuading him. I am the one that is not worthy of him!”
The curtains immediately fell to the ground, revealing a wedding hall behind. Long Wanqing stood in a corner in a red wedding dress, with two lines of sorrowful tears flowing down her face.
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