Chapter 28: The Celebration Begins


 

As their gazes met, Yun Zhao found it difficult to distinguish whether he was looking into Ao Yu's pupils or the fragments of golden light on the sea at twilight.
It felt like feathers brushed against the tip of his heart, as if cleansed by light.
In that instant, an itching sensation bloomed like fireworks, casting him into a dazzling black night before swiftly plunging him into a deep pool filled with falling golden light.

 

A gentle breeze lifted their robes, and the surroundings fell into a tranquil silence.
Only the sea roses swayed in the wind, swiftly covering the mountains and fields.

 

After some time passed, Yun Zhao shifted his gaze away and turned around to quietly admire the splendid floral sea before him.

 

Ao Yu walked up beside him and caught a glimpse of Yun Zhao deeply engrossed in the view.
He asked, “Do you like it?” Although a question, his tone carried a subtle certainty.

 

Yun Zhao nodded.
“I have never seen magnolias so beautiful before.
While Mount Yuming has abundant flowers, it is mostly adorned with elegant emerald bamboos.”

 

Ao Yu fell silent and quietly accompanied him, watching for a long time until fine raindrops started to fall.
Then, he transformed into his dragon form and took Yun Zhao away from Su Yu Valley.

 

When they returned to Mount Yuming, it was already late at night.

 

After a busy day, Yun Zhao finished his personal grooming and wandered around the room where the divine beasts resided.

 

In the cub's bed, there were Luo Xue and Wu Mu curled up together, resembling the Yin and Yang Taiji symbol.
Their little bellies rose and fell with each breath, their adorable appearance particularly endearing.

 

Sun Yang's ears twitched, and when he raised his head, he saw Yun Zhao had returned.
He stood up and rubbed against Yun Zhao's leg, wagging his tail, then flopped back onto the blanket, revealing his soft belly.

 

Yun Zhao smiled knowingly, squatting down to use a comb to tidy up the cub's messy fur, inadvertently transferring a considerable amount of spiritual energy.

 

Normally, Sun Yang would diligently cultivate and only join in when they played with a ball.
But after receiving Yun Zhao's healing spiritual energy, Sun Yang seemed to have transformed.
Each strand of his fur emitted a golden luster, giving the impression of a blissful and beloved little pup.

 

Yun Zhao gently rubbed his smooth fur, lightly tapping his black nose, and whispered, “Goodnight.”

 

Sun Yang obediently nuzzled Yun Zhao's hand with his chin and settled back onto his little blanket, falling into a peaceful slumber.

 

Yun Zhao stretched lazily, seeing them back in their dreams, before gently closing the door and returning to his own room to sleep.

 

…On the second day, when Yun Zhao woke up, he immediately immersed himself in the kitchen, researching his own menu.

 

With ample time and the assistance of the system, Yun Zhao wrote down ingredients other than stuffed shrimp with lily on the final day, and had Little Black Rabbit deliver them to the Wolf Clan in advance for meal preparation.

 

When Little Black Rabbit returned, he had a mournful expression on his face and ran off to the hot springs, complaining about smelling like a wolf and not being a clean little bunny anymore.

 

Yun Zhao quickly prepared a large table of delicious food to reward them, fully showcasing his skills as Master Yun.

 

The cubs and the bunny ate to their heart's content, their bellies round and causing them to burp continuously.
Yun Zhao was left in a state of distress and had to prepare hawthorn water to aid their digestion.

 


On the morning of the celebration, Yun Zhao changed into the new clothes sent by the Fairy Xiaguang and admired himself in the mirror with a touch of vanity.

 

Ao Yu pushed open the door and saw the young man wearing a moon-white robe with cloud patterns, making him look particularly elegant.
He paused for a moment, taking a few extra glances.

 

Then he pulled something out from his pocket and handed it to Yun Zhao.
“Keep this on you at all times.”

 

Yun Zhao took a look and found a dragon-shaped jade pendant.
It felt warm and carried a familiar aura.

 

He asked, “What is this? An accessory?”

 

Ao Yu hung the jade pendant around his waist and instructed in a calm voice, “With many eyes around during the celebration, if anything unexpected happens, call my name, and I will come as soon as possible.”

 

Yun Zhao raised an eyebrow and smiled.
“It seems like you have recovered quite well recently.”

 

Upon hearing this, Ao Yu bent his fingers and lightly flicked Yun Zhao's forehead.
“Thanks to you.”

 

After speaking, he turned around and left the room.

 

Yun Zhao stood there in a daze for a moment, patting his face to snap out of it.
Somehow, recently, he couldn't help but feel that this guy was becoming more and more intriguing.

 

He took the storage bag and walked out.
The Spirit Steed was already waiting outside.
Luo Xue and the others were still asleep, and Yun Zhao estimated that by the time they woke up, he would have finished his duties.
It was the perfect opportunity to accompany them and enjoy the celebration together.

 

The sound of the Spirit Steed's (horse) footsteps echoed along the mountain path as it pulled Yun Zhao, quickly and familiarly, to the Wolf Clan's territory.

 

Indeed, the celebration was grand.

 

The cassia trees were in full bloom, casting shadows and covering most of the daylight.
The light purple petals scattered like a carpet on the ground.

 

Surrounding the area, several new shops had been set up, specifically prepared for foreign traders.
Although they were not officially open yet, people were already bustling around, busy with arrangements.

 

“Yun Zhao, over here!”

 

A shout from not far away caught Yun Zhao's attention.
He looked in the direction of the voice and saw Chang Xiao waving to him with a group of guards standing under a tree.

 

Presumably due to the celebration, Chang Xiao was dressed in a black and gold robe, and even his ponytail was tied up high with a golden crown, giving him an air of nobility and stability.

 

He smiled at Yun Zhao and approached, seemingly intending to put his arm around the young man's shoulder.
However, he noticed the dragon-shaped jade pendant hanging from Yun Zhao's waist, and his outstretched arm immediately changed direction and pulled back.

 

Yun Zhao: “?”

 

Chang Xiao forced a few laughs, took a step back, and led him towards the kitchen.

 


Servants were already waiting at the kitchen, and upon seeing Yun Zhao, they respectfully stepped aside.

 

Looking at the fully equipped kitchen and ingredients, Yun Zhao couldn't help but sigh.
There were indeed many tools for a chef to use.

 

“We've prepared everything according to the menu you sent through the rabbit.
If anything is missing, feel free to ask.” Chang Xiao crossed his arms and stood to the side, nodding towards the servants, indicating that they would take care of the menial tasks such as washing vegetables and cutting meat. 

 

Yun Zhao nodded.
The preparations made by the Wolf Clan were even more meticulous than he had imagined.

 

After giving a few more instructions, Chang Xiao turned to Yun Zhao and spoke earnestly, “Yun Zhao, we entrust the banquet of this celebration to you.”

 

“Don't worry, I'll make sure to handle it well for you!” Yun Zhao took off his outer robe, rolled up his sleeves, and raised his small face, smiling with curved brows and eyes.

 

The youth's smile was as bright as the warm sun in spring, instantly instilling confidence in everyone, and they busied themselves in high spirits.

 

The banquet would begin at noon, so Yun Zhao didn't waste any more time and instructed the servants to wash the remaining ingredients needed for the dishes. 

 

He then opened the storage bag and took out the lilies and cold pond shrimps he had found in the Suigu Valley.

 

The cold pond shrimps felt cool to the touch, and holding them for too long would make his fingers painfully cold.
Yun Zhao rubbed his hands together, picked up a shrimp, decisively twisted off its head, and then peeled off its shell and removed the digestive tract.
He handled the process with great skill.

 

In his past life, he was known for his expertise in peeling shrimps.
No matter what kind of shrimp it was, it was a piece of cake for a shrimp-eating expert like him.

 

Yun Zhao chopped all the peeled shrimp meat into a paste, sprinkled some starch, and continued to mix it.
He then added the diced bamboo shoots, carrots, and radishes that the servants had prepared and continued stirring.

 

As he felt it was almost done, he divided the mixture into small balls and placed them one by one into the celadon dishes.

 

The attendants thought he was going to steam the shrimp balls and were about to put them in the steamer, but Yun Zhao stopped them.

 

“Not ready yet,” Yun Zhao said with a faint smile.
He carefully picked off the petals of the lily, trimmed them to the appropriate size with scissors, and then inserted them delicately into the shrimp balls.

 

As he moved towards the outer layer, the petals he inserted became larger.
By the time Yun Zhao inserted the last petal, the previously plain shrimp balls suddenly transformed into blooming lotus flowers.

 

The surrounding attendants let out a small exclamation of surprise.
They picked up the celadon dishes and admired the lotus flowers from different angles, filled with joy.

 

Yun Zhao said, “Since there are many of you, why don't you all give it a try? It's not difficult, just insert the petals according to their size.”

 

“Can we try too?” The attendants couldn't believe it, but they saw Yun Zhao nod with a smile and step aside, giving them a spot.

 

So, the intrigued attendants approached and followed Yun Zhao's instructions step by step.
A new lotus flower appeared before their eyes.

 

The attendants' eyes gleamed as they looked at the lotus flowers they had made, feeling a sense of satisfaction.

 


Amused by their reaction, Yun Zhao couldn't help but ask, “How did you make shrimp before?”

 

The attendant tilted his head, pondered for a moment, and replied, “Peeling was too troublesome, so we just ate them raw.”

 

Yun Zhao: “…” Let's pretend I didn't ask.

 

 

On the other side, the streets of the ancestral land were bustling with people, all gazing towards the elevated platform adorned with jade rails.

 

That was the venue for the celestial feast of the Divine Wolf Immortal Clan.

 

At the corners of the black-gold palace, hung glass wind chimes.
Elaborate patterned carpets covered the ground, while hundreds of bright lamps were placed all around.
Behind the lamps stood white jade screens, and musicians and singers sat gracefully, filling the air with a subtle and elegant fragrance.

 

Lady Xianyue, dressed in golden and cyan attire, stood on the jade steps, silently gazing into the distance.

 

Suddenly, snow-like petals fluttered in the wind, resembling a thousand trees in bloom and rolling waves in the sea.
They intertwined and formed a silk road in the sky.

 

Amidst the crowd's exclamations, the sky shimmered, and a graceful figure appeared in the air, stepping on the petals, moving step by step toward Lady Xianyue.

 

“Last time I saw you, you were a girl who loved to compete with others,” the Flower Goddess said with a smile, her expressions adding a touch of spring to the mountain scenery.

 

Lady Xianyue pulled her to sit together and looked at the snow-white petals floating in the air.
She smiled and said, “Now I have become much more stable.”

 

The Flower Goddess chuckled and was about to say more when a cold gust of wind blew, sweeping away the floating petals and the enchanting ambiance.

 

Flower Goddess: “…” How annoying.

 

A sound of impatient beast roar echoed, and a few figures appeared on the elevated platform.

 

A large black panther sneezed at the flower petals on the ground and swayed its tail while leading two handsome divine lords behind.

 

Sì Wúchén's complexion had red marks like blood, his face remained indifferent and cold even in such a feast.
On the other hand, Baiyu felt a bit embarrassed and nodded at the Flower Goddess before catching up to give a slap to the Abyssal Dark Panther.

 

“Xuānmíng, show some manners,” Baiyu whispered.

 

The black panther grumbled back impatiently, facing Sì Wúchén's cold gaze.
It immediately lowered its head and emitted a muffled growl before settling down beside the seat.

 

Sì Wúchén and Baiyu took their seats together, appearing as relaxed as if they were in their own backyard.

 

Lady Xianyue and the Flower Goddess exchanged a smile, both accustomed to the temper of this divine lord.


 

Sì Wúchén was originally a cultivator in the mortal realm.
For tens of thousands of years, only he and his sword spirit, Baiyu, ascended to become deities.
Since their appearance, more and more young celestial beings gathered below the elevated platform, constantly looking in their direction.

 

Next, many clan leaders and young masters of the celestial clans appeared on the platform, even the wandering Kongming True Immortal hurriedly arrived, although their entrances were much more low-key.

 

Following the Spirit Wolf Clan, the young master of the Mountain Spirit Clan, Qing Jiao, arrived.

 

Dressed in a green robe with black hair, he had delicate and gentle features, always wearing a faint smile on his face, resembling the bright moon in the world.

 

Some people below commented, “Is he the one who got engaged to the young master of the Dragon Clan?”

 

“Oh no, they seem to have arranged a marriage for another clan member.”

 

“Isn't that considered breaking off the engagement?”

 

“It's not that simple.
Look at their graceful appearance, and then imagine them being paired with a powerless waste.
Wouldn't it be a waste of their beauty and talent?”

 

“Well, you have a point.”

 

Amidst the discussions, Qing Jiao simply smiled and turned his head.

 

He gracefully took his seat, discreetly adjusting his attire without leaving any traces.
He took out a handkerchief and gently wiped the clean and dust-free tabletop before greeting Lady Xianyue.

 

In a soft voice, he said, “It's my first time visiting the Wolf Clan.
The mountain road was difficult, so I arrived late.
Please don't blame me, Lady.”

 

Lady Xianyue smiled indifferently and said, “Young Master Qing Jiao, with your delicate and noble disposition, your presence alone has brought great honor to our Wolf Clan.
How could I possibly hold any grudges?”

 

Baiyu whispered in Sì Wúchén's ear, “He's quite the poser.”

 

Sì Wúchén helplessly pinched Baiyu's face and reminded him, “Sit properly and don't fidget.
Show some manners.”

 

Baiyu clicked his tongue and leaned to the other side, whispering to the black panther.

 

Qing Jiao took a sip of tea, his eyelashes slightly lowered.
Originally, this banquet was supposed to be hosted by the Mountain Spirit Clan, but the Flower Goddess changed her mind and decided to hold it at the Wolf Clan instead.

 

He looked around and found that the arrangements made by the Wolf Clan were surprisingly good.
However, he wondered how the banquet itself would turn out.
After all, the Wolf Clan was notorious for their lack of culinary skills, often leading to comical incidents.

 

With this in mind, Qing Jiao raised his head and looked at Lady Xianyue, who was sitting at the main seat with a gentle smile.
He said, “Lady Xianyue's elegant arrangements assure me that the banquet will be a delightful experience.”

 

“Naturally.” Lady Xianyue lifted the brimming wine cup, stood up, and raised her hand in a distant gesture towards Qing Jiao, then drank the wine in one gulp.

 

“Let the banquet begin.”

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