Chapter 15: Gentleman Gui Debuts (part 2)

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“What? You really don’t know about this? Five years ago, His Excellency, the Ice Lord went to the capital specifically to attend the previous emperor’s birthday banquet, but for some reason, he and the young general Bai suddenly attacked each other. I heard the fight lasted no less than two hours.”

“And then? And then?”

“Yeah, who finally won?”

“There’s no need to say it. Of course it was His Excellency, the Ice Lord. Isn’t that right?”

“No, there was no winner. But right there, in front of all the ministers and generals, the previous emperor set a five-year agreement for His Excellency, the Ice Lord and young general Bai. If a winner was decided before they turned twenty, then the winner could request something from the previous emperor.”

The crowd was in an uproar at the news, amazed that young general Bai was strong enough to fight to a draw with His Excellency, the Ice Lord. They were also impressed by the five-year agreement and that one of them would be given the opportunity to request something from the previous emperor.

“But the previous emperor has already passed away. His Excellency, the Ice Lord, and young general Bai are already older than twenty. That…”

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“So, as I was saying, His Excellency, the Ice Lord has come to Fo Yin Temple. It is quite likely that the agreement made that year will continue until there is a winner.”

Bai Xi could not hear what they were saying clearly, but it sounded as if her older brother and Feng Ming were the topic of interest. From what she could gather, they were discussing the competition, which had been a serious round of combat. It was hard for her to imagine that her refined and cultured older brother would fight in front of the previous emperor at his birthday banquet.

“Older brother, they…” She paused when she saw that her calm and composed older brother was frowning, his handsome face creased in consternation. It was then that she realised it didn’t matter if what those people said was true. That would not have been her older brother and Feng Ming’s first meeting. She remembered what her older brother had said a few days ago about Feng Ming, which made her curious. What kind of person was he?

When the carriage stopped again, they were outside Fo Yin Temple.

Bai Xi hopped off the carriage. She had a feeling that there were hundreds of masters hidden nearby. Were those masters the ones who guarded Fo Yin Temple? Was there a need for so many masters to guard a national temple? Was there more to this temple than what met the eye? Fo Yin Temple was situated on a vast plot of land, but the visiting restrictions meant it was peaceful, if lively, due to the many temple attendants walking around.

It was as if those at Fo Yin Temple knew that Bai Xi and Bai Yu Jie would arrive right then because two monks were waiting for them.

“Young general Bai, these two monks were waiting for young general Bai and the Bai second young miss. The abbot said that if young general Bai and Bai second young miss are tired, they can rest in a side room. However, it is recommended that the two of you go to pray to Buddha in the front courtyard.”

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“We will take a break for a first, and then go to the courtyard to pray to Buddha,” Bai Yu Jie said after he glanced over and saw that Bai Xi was showing signs of fatigue.

“Two, please!”

Not long after, Bai Xi and Bai Yu Jie were led to their rooms, one on the east side and the other on the west. Several Buddhist temples were situated between them. The layout of the buildings looked the same to Bai Xi, who reflected that if not for the Buddhist monks leading the way, it would be difficult to find her room.

Bai Xi lay on the bed and stared at the ceiling. She didn’t believe in spending four hours travelling so early in the morning just to come and pray to Buddha, so of course she was tired. The whole purpose of this trip was to figure out what was going on, but the monks were tight-lipped. Regardless of her prying, she was unable to discover anything.

There was a commotion outside the door. Bai Xi’s fatigue dissipated as she shook her head and rose from the bed. She left the room to go and see the source of the noise.

“What? He hasn’t arrived yet? Impossible! You go and ask again! Today, this third princess wants to see Prime Minister Feng at all costs!” A voice demanded.

“If Prime Minister Feng has not arrived at Fo Yin Temple, what’s to be done?” An imperial palace maid murmured, but her whisper did not go unheard.

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“It’s unlikely. Prime Minister Feng will surely come today. You quickly go and ask!”

“Yes, this servant will go immediately.”

Bai Xi overheard the exchange from some distance away and paused. She couldn’t help but sigh at the ability of this legendary Feng Ming to attract women1. It was truly amazing. Now his skill even attracted them to the temple.

Just when she turned to start wandering around, there was a pleasant voice from behind her. “Who are you?”

Bai Xi turned to look at the speaker, a little surprised. The woman was exceptionally beautiful, much like a fairy. Her intuition was that this was the woman who called herself ‘princess’, but it was difficult to reconcile the irritable voice with the image of the woman before her.

“How audacious! The third princess is speaking to you. Who are you? How can you come to Fo Yin Temple?” A palace maid questioned.

“Yeah, this servant heard that young general Bai was also coming to Fo Yin Temple. Is this the woman that young general Bai brought with him?” Another palace maid wondered.

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“Is it true that older brother Jie has come to Fo Yin Temple?” The third princess was excited. Her beautiful eyes curved like crescents when she smiled, and she glued herself to Bai Xi. In a warm voice, she asked, “Are you the woman that older brother Jie brought? Who are you to older brother Jie? Are you the woman that older brother Jie likes?”

“No.” This princess was too enthusiastic. They had only just met, and yet she was sticking to her because she thought her older brother had brought someone?

“No? What a pity. I was wondering what kind of woman older brother Jie likes. Ai, I don’t know what kind of woman older brother Jie would like…” The third princess sighed and pouted, her cheeks all puffed up and cute. “Hey? Since you came with older brother Jie, who are you?”

As Bai Xi was about to answer, the temple monk who had led her around previously approached. “Second young miss Bai, the head monk has come!”

“Ah? You are older brother Jie’s younger sister? You are the legendary stupid and ugly second young miss Bai?”

1.(招蜂引蝶) – in Chinese, this idiom is ‘attract bees and butterflies’.

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