Chapter 44: Turmoil at the Banquet (Part 3)


 

“Master, isn't this too risky?” The official in purple whispered anxiously in Qing Jiao's ear.

 

Few people knew that the herbs of the Mountain Spirit Clan and the wine infused with purple vine flower essence were potent aphrodisiacs.

 

Qing Jiao looked up, his grandfather still calmly sipping tea as if nothing was amiss.
He couldn't help but smirk coldly and say, “Grandfather, whether it succeeds or not, it has nothing to do with us.
Why bother letting others inquire further?”

 

The official in purple felt a pang of anxiety and quickly bowed his head, stepping back.

 

The leader of the Mountain Spirit Clan set down his teacup and replied in a low voice, “If we're going to do this, we must leave no traces behind.”

 

“The wine is a gift from Kongming, and the maid is from the Wolf Clan.
The embarrassed main characters are him and Chang Xiao, not us,” Qing Jiao lightly chuckled, meeting his grandfather's gaze.
“From beginning to end, we have nothing to do with it.”

 

“Very well then.”

 

Qing Jiao stopped laughing and looked up.
He saw Chang Xiao not far away, unsuspectingly downing the wine brought by Mingyuan.
His long, delicate eyelashes drooped slightly, concealing the excitement in his eyes.

 

Both of them had consumed the wine infused with purple vine flower essence, and now it was only a matter of the supporting cast stumbling upon their illicit affair.

 

Laughter and revelry erupted from the group of scattered immortals nearby.
Qing Jiao chuckled softly as he sipped his tea.
The setup for this farce was even easier than he had imagined.

 

His slender fingers couldn't help but tap lightly on the table.
Qing Jiao's gaze fell upon the Dragon Lord in the black and gold robe, and a hidden laughter stirred in his heart.

 

How could a prideful member of the Dragon Clan show any mercy to a fallen companion?

 

 

“Lord Yun Zhao, Xiao Diao (little white ferret) went to play near the Wind Pavilion and got her clothes wet…” Mingyuan hurriedly ran over, whispering to Yun Zhao.

 

Yun Zhao turned his head and indeed saw a few youngsters surrounding Xiao Diao in the distance.
Xiao Diao was wearing a small vest with water stains, whimpering softly but refraining from crying.

 

Considering that the maidservants were busy at the banquet, he kindly suggested, “I'll go to the annex of the East Warm Pavilion and fetch new clothes.
You go and comfort Xiao Diao, don't let them quarrel.”

 

After patiently giving instructions, Yun Zhao turned and headed towards the annex.

 

Mingyuan slightly bowed in the direction the youth had left, then turned her head and met Qing Jiao's gaze.
Her eyes were hollow as she nodded in agreement.

 

Chang Xiao had indulged in many pastries at the banquet, and his stomach felt uncomfortably full.
However, Yun Zhao's culinary skills were exceptional, and he couldn't resist the temptation of trying the last few pieces.

 

Deciding to alleviate his discomfort, Chang Xiao discreetly left the table and went to a secluded corner of the pavilion to massage his stomach, planning to return for a second round of indulgence.

 

“Chang Xiao…”

 

“Chang Xiao…”


 

“Hmm?” Ash-gray wolf ears emerged from his dark hair, and his triangular ears twitched.
Suddenly, it felt as if a thin mist veiled his senses, and he heard a soft voice speaking near his ear.

 

“Go to the annex of the East Warm Pavilion, you know…
Just bypass the Wind Pavilion…
Yun Zhao is waiting for you there…” The ethereal voice resounded in his ears, causing a drunken haze to cloud his mind.

 

Chang Xiao's ears drooped instantly, and in a dazed state, he repeated, “Yun Zhao…
is waiting for me…”

 

“Don't you remember? Yun Zhao…
you like him the most…
East Warm Pavilion…
hurry, go…”

 

“I…
like…
Yun Zhao…” Chang Xiao's gaze gradually lost focus.
He stood there in a daze for two seconds before turning and walking out of the pavilion.

 

Ah yan stuffed a piece of cake into his mouth and looked up, only to see his older brother suddenly leaving.
He lifted his dress, intending to follow, but was stopped by Elder Kongming.

 

Clearly intoxicated, Elder Kongming's face flushed red as he shouted, “Hey, little wolf, where are you trying to run off to? Come and have a drink with this old man!”

 

“Alright…
alright.” Ah yan dumbly took the wine cup and was pulled away by a group of scattered immortals to drink.

 

Qing Jiao watched as the young wolf's figure disappeared, his face revealing a satisfied smile.

 

Meanwhile, in the unnoticed Wind Pavilion, the black kitten was pushed down by the little ferret.

 

The black kitten became infuriated, its fur standing on end as it angrily meowed, “Why are you so petty! I didn't mean to splash water on you on purpose!”

 

The ferret stomped its feet, its snow-white paws pointing at the water stains on the little vest, frustrated and shouting, “Jiji jiji jiji! (It's your fault!)”

 

It turned out that the group of youngsters had the idea of catching fish by the water.
When Wu Mu used its paw to flick the water, hoping to catch a fish, it accidentally splashed water onto Xiao Diao, dirtying its new vest.

 

“If you had come to catch fish with us, nothing would have happened, right? It's just a piece of clothing…
Stop showing off!”

 

“Jiji jiji jiji! (You don't have clothes! Naked, shameless cat!)”

 

Wu Mu's fur stood on end.
“I have fur!”

 

Luo Xue jumped between the two youngsters and whispered, “Don't argue…
don't argue…”

 

“I can't be bothered to argue with this guy!”

 

Wu Mu raised his tail high and strutted on the railing of the pavilion, looking down at them as he licked his paw.
“Hmph, didn't the maid say she would bring you clean clothes? Why are you still making a fuss?”

 

With a flick of his tongue and a swipe of his paw against his lower eyelid, Wu Mu made a silly face.
“Lue lue lue, you stingy little thing!”

 

“Ji!”

 

Xiao Diao spun around in frustration.
Seeing the flowing water behind the black cat, it crouched down, aimed at Wu Mu's position, and pounced with determination.

 


“Xiao Diao, no!” Luo Xue watched as the snow ferret leaped high into the air, immediately crying out in alarm.

 

“Hah, you actually tried to ambush me? No way!” Wu Mu paid no attention and simply turned his head, leaping off in an instant—

 

At that moment, Chang Xiao, with vacant eyes, stepped onto the long bridge beside the pavilion.
Suddenly, he felt a shadow overhead and heard a cry from above.

 

“Eh—Chang Xiao, what are you doing here? Move aside quickly!”

 

“Uh!” Chang Xiao looked up blankly, only to have a paw pad come crashing down on his face!

 

“Plop—”

 

The sudden impact threw both the cat and the person off balance, and they toppled straight into the water from the small bridge, creating a huge splash.

 

“Hoo…
cough, cough…” Chang Xiao choked on a mouthful of water.
The coldness of the flowing water sent shivers through his body.

 

In a fluster, he grabbed onto the struggling creature in his arms and emerged from the water, feeling a bit more clear-headed in his chaotic mind.

 

“Don't you have eyes when you walk! I told you to move!”Wu Mu was blocked by the sudden appearance of Chang Xiao and couldn't stop himself, resulting in becoming a drenched cat.

 

The wet black cat climbed onto Chang Xiao's head, but before it could catch its breath, it heard Luo Xue's loud shout from the pavilion—

 

“You guys—”

 

“Quick—”

 

“Dodge!”

 

“Huh?” Both Wu Mu and Chang Xiao looked up in confusion, only to see the snow ferret plummeting from mid-air like a cannonball.

 

“Ji ji ji ji! (Stupid black cat, I'll smash you!)” 

 

“Meow!”

 

“Damn, that hurts! What are you guys doing?!”

 

“Gulu gulu gulu…”

 

Luo Xue sighed and leaned against the railing, watching the water splash once again.
He couldn't help but think they should have moved aside…

 

 

On the other side, the scene in the seating area had changed at some point.

 

The tipsy immortals rolled up their sleeves and started playing pitch-pot.
The fairy maidens from the rainbow clouds still had a flush on their faces as they happily took out their storage bags and chased after little rabbits.


 

Xiaguang even daringly hugged the sleek black leopard and gave it a peck on the head, infuriating Xuanming, who pressed his paw pad firmly against her mouth and roared for Bai Yu, who was spectating, to come help.

 

Qing Jiao noticed Ao Yu sitting alone on the jade railing of the water pavilion.
With a thought in his mind, he picked up a wine cup and walked over leisurely.

 

The water blue brocade robe accentuated Qing Jiao's already jade-like complexion.
He tilted his head slightly to look at Ao Yu, revealing a fair neck that resembled an elegant swan in the moonlight.

 

Qing Jiao skillfully positioned himself at his most attractive angle and smiled gently.
“Lord Ao Yu, what are you looking at?”

 

Ao Yu withdrew his gaze from the ripples on the distant water's surface, as if his enjoyment of the scenery had been disturbed.
Annoyed, he made a light tutting sound and walked away without giving the person a single glance.

 

The smile on Qing Jiao's face froze instantly, and he angrily crushed the wine cup in his hand.

 

Ao Yu observed the chaotic banquet scene and deftly maneuvered through it, pushing Baize forward to block the drinks.
He himself leaped onto the roof of the water pavilion.

 

The noble Dragon Lord sat on the glazed tiles of the roof, finally feeling a sense of relief.

 

The laughter and noise below continued incessantly, completely shattering the usual tranquility of Yuming Mountain.
However, he didn't mind it at all.

 

The winding water corridor swayed with flickering shadows, and a subtle fragrance filled the air.
Ao Yu silently gazed at the various scenes in the mountains, lost in his own thoughts.

 

His gaze landed on the rooftop of the East Warm Pavilion not far away, and he suddenly remembered that the box containing the small clothes was still inside.

 

With everyone currently engrossed in the festivities, it was the perfect opportunity to retrieve the box.

 

With this in mind, Ao Yu stood up and lightly leaped from tile to tile on the roof, then hopped onto the surrounding tree trunks.
After a few leaps through the forest, he quickly arrived at the side hall of the East Warm Pavilion.

 

Ao Yu descended from the tree and brushed off the leaves that clung to him before strolling toward the entrance.

 

The mahogany door was slightly ajar, and Ao Yu furrowed his brow as he pushed it open and walked inside.

 

“Why wasn't the door properly closed…” Ao Yu muttered, reaching back to close the door.
As he was about to head towards the storage closet, he suddenly heard a familiar voice coming from the inner room.

 

“Yun Zhao?” Ao Yu frowned, reaching out to push aside the hanging gauze curtains, revealing a young man lying on the carved small bed as if in a drunken stupor.

 

The youth's cheeks displayed a faint blush as he lay askew on the bed, crumpling the several layers of blankets behind him.

 

His ink-black hair cascaded around, partially concealing his delicate and fair neck.
His lips shimmered with a light sheen of moisture, slightly parted to reveal a dark red tongue within.

 

Ao Yu squatted down, gazing at the young man's drowsy appearance, a faint smile curling at the corner of his lips.
Unable to resist, he extended a finger and poked the soft flesh of the youth.

 

“How did you manage to get yourself drunk and hide here to avoid the drinks?” Ao Yu tilted his head and looked at him with a mischievous glint in his golden eyes.

 

On his way to the side hall, Yun Zhao had already felt a dizzy haze clouding his mind.
As soon as he entered, he couldn't control himself and collapsed onto the small bed.


 

Feeling puzzled, he thought his alcohol tolerance wasn't that bad.
But gradually, his limbs grew limp, making him unbearably hot.

 

Suddenly, he heard a deep chuckle from a little dragon.
Yun Zhao struggled to open his eyes and met Ao Yu's gaze, which seemed to hold a smile that couldn't be concealed.

 

He murmured softly, “Why are you here too?”

 

…A sudden retort caught Ao Yu off guard.
He was just about to come up with a suitable excuse when he saw Yun Zhao prop himself up and say, “I knew it all along!”

 

Ao Yu's back stiffened for a moment.
Did Yun Zhao know what was inside the box?

 

To his surprise, Yun Zhao placed his hand on Ao Yu's shoulder and said with absolute certainty, “You must have social anxiety.
You can't stay at the banquet without me!”

 

Ao Yu: “…”

 

Meanwhile, inside the waterside pavilion, Qing Jiao's peripheral vision fell on the group of drunken immortals, tapping his fingers rhythmically.

 

The hypnotized maidservant stood silently in the corner, awaiting her master's instructions.

 

Ah yan, on the verge of vomiting, blocked the wine jar and searched the surroundings for his elder brother's figure.

 

However, a long-planned conspiracy had actually been disrupted by the daily bickering of the divine beasts…

 

Author's Note:

 

During the banquet, the various expressions of the immortals:

 

Kongming: *hiccup* (Drunkard buff)

 

Xiaguang Fairy: Hehehe, little bunny, where are you running off to?

 

Si Wuchen, Bai yu: The old married couple on vacation

 

Bai ze: A tool to block drinks

 

Ao Yu: A proud and socially anxious person using a drink-blocking tool

 

Wu Mu and other divine beasts: Kindergarten-style quarrelsome bunch

 

Sun Yang: Who still remembers that this is my birthday banquet?

 

Yun Zhao: The bewildered victim of a scheme

 

Chang Xiao: The innocent scapegoat

 

Qing Jiao: Am I the only villain causing trouble?

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