Chapter 50 – I’ve Reserved this Seat for a Distinguished Guest

Tonight, Nan Ying was all dolled up, and she looked even more exquisitely beautiful than usual.

Her snowy-white skirt fluttered in the wind, outlining her curves.
She had her hair up in a bun, showing off her long, fair-skinned neck.
Her eyes were bright and clear, and her lips were pink and full.

When she stood there in all her glory, the radiant lamplight seemed dimmer by comparison.
Who knew how many gazes she drew? Some of the nearby men were visibly infatuated.

When she saw Su Yi, Nan Ying bit her lip, a hint of darkness flickering through her gaze.
“I just thought that without your cultivation, you wouldn’t be interested in a spectacle like this, but don’t overthink it.
I’m definitely not saying that to make fun of you.”

Su Yi’s expression didn’t so much as waver.
It was as if he hadn’t even heard her; he couldn’t be bothered to pay her any heed.

In his past life, he’d detested nothing more than two-faced women like her.

“Su Yi, it’s been a while.” Suddenly, there was a disturbance within the crowd, and a group of people walked toward them.
All of them were well-dressed, with the dignified bearing of one long accustomed to power.

The speaker was the elder leading the group.
His hair was graying, but he seemed hale and hearty, and when he opened his eyes, they seemed to crackle with electricity.
He was imposing as could be.

But when his gaze landed on Su Yi, his expression turned somewhat pained. 

“Uncle Master Zhou.” Su Yi clasped his fist.

This was the “Bluepeak Sword Elder” Zhou Huaiqiu, the fourth-ranked elder of Blueriver Sword Manor.

During Su Yi’s time as an outer sect disciple, Zhou Huaiqiu had admired and thought highly of him.
He’d looked out for him quite a bit.

At the same time, Su Yi noticed that Ni Hao, Family Head Li Tianhan, and various other Li Family members were here too.

Zhou Huaiqiu sighed.
“I’ve already heard a bit about your life in Guangling City.
Still, no matter what happens, you mustn’t sink into despair.
Living well comes first.”

Su Yi’s expression went a bit strange, but he nodded.

Zhou Huaiqiu hesitated, then whispered, “Su Yi, forgive me if my words are grating to the ear, but I encourage you to leave Wen Lingzhao’s side as soon as possible.
She’s already a Grandmaster’s disciple.
You ought to understand the weight of this status, and you….
Well, you two simply aren’t destined to be together.”

When he said this, he reached out to pat Su Yi on the shoulder comfortingly, as if afraid his words had hurt him. 

“Apprentice Brother Su, Uncle Master is saying this for your benefit.
Please don’t misunderstand,” said Nan Ying gently.
“It’s just, we all know that, in your current position, remaining the nominal husband of a Grandmaster’s disciple like Wen Lingzhao will only hurt you.”

Although she said this, a glint of schadenfreude flashed through her eyes.

Su Yi ignored Nan Ying completely, looking instead at Zhou Huaiqiu.
“Uncle Master Zhou, I’ve actually been planning to annul this marriage for a long time now.”

“I’m glad to hear it,” said Zhou Huaiqiu, seemingly gratified.
“Now I can relax.” 

A hint of a jeer tugged at Nan Ying’s lips. Is this still the proud outer sect Sword Chief I once knew?

It seems his year as a live-in son-in-law has worn away his pride; he’s had no choice but to lower his head in the face of cruel reality.

Ni Hao, meanwhile, just watched coldly.
He paid Su Yi no heed. 

After all, Martial artists and commoners lived in two different worlds. 

Seeing their response, Su Yi instantly realized that they’d misunderstood.

He wanted to end his marriage, but that was just because he didn't want to “wear a green hat” and not even know it! 

Why should he care about the trouble “a Grandmaster’s disciple” might bring him? 

Su Yi shook his head, but he couldn’t be bothered to explain.

Li Tianhan had been silent all this time, but he suddenly interjected, “Brother Zhou, the banquet is about to start.
How about we proceed to the venue?” 

Zhou Huaiqiu nodded, then turned to Su Yi.
“Did they stop you here because you don’t have an invitation? If so, you can just come with us.”

With that, he strode forward, and the others hurriedly followed him.

The members of the Old Guard stepped aside, not daring to stand in their way.

Hu Quan couldn’t help but whisper, “Sir, it seems they’ve misunderstood.
You do have an invitation, and a VIP invitation at that.
City Lord Fu Shan even told the guards….”

“Why concern ourselves with that?” Su Yi laughed and cut him off.
“Let’s hurry inside.”

With that, he strode across the bridge, hands behind his back.

Hu Quan hurried after him.
He was just a little steward, and he certainly had no invitation.
He had to stay close to Su Yi.

The night gradually darkened.

At the center of the Dragon’s Gate Bridge, in the platform over the waters of the Great Azure and around the hundred-meter arena, stood numerous tables and chairs.
Blazing torches illuminated the entire area.

When the competition started, this was to be the center of countless spectators’ attention!

Numerous influential figures of both Guangling and Cloudfall cities were already seated around the arena.

On Guangling City’s side, there was City Lord Fu Shan, the commander of the guards, Nie Beihu, and Family Head Huang Yunchong, among others.

The Wen Family was present too, but since Family Head Wen Changjing had left for Heaven’s Origin Academy several days ago, the main line’s second elder, Wen Changqing, was here in his stead. 

There were numerous influential figures from Cloudfall City too, including City Lord Li Jianyu, as well as Mo Haolong, the head of the Mo Family, the city’s top clan. 

When Zhou Huaiqiu’s group arrived, both cities’ higher-ups rose to their feet and greeted them with a smile.

This scene instantly stirred up a commotion within the surrounding area.

“Look over there! Hurry! That’s the ‘Bluepeak Sword Elder’ Zhou Huaiqiu! He’s a prominent figure at Blueriver Sword Manor!”

“At this year’s Dragon’s Gate Competition, whoever manages to impress him will be directly admitted to the Blueriver Sword Manor!”

“Who is that woman? She’s just so beautiful!”

“That’s a Blueriver Sword Manor inner sect disciple.
Her name is Nan Ying, and she’s like a fairy.
She’s renowned for her beauty even in Cloudriver Prefecture!”

“If, one day, I could participate in the banquet too, I’d die happy….”

….Sails dotted the surrounding parts of the river, their lights dazzling to behold.
Every last passenger watched with bated breath, their gazes full of longing. 

The banquet was an event for the influential, a place where important people gathered.

To the inhabitants of both cities, participating was an enormous honor!

Amidst the crowd’s fervent discussions, Zhou Huaiqiu, Li Tianhan, Nan Ying, Ni Hao and the others took their seats.

Suddenly, Li Tianhan seemed to notice something.
“Brother Fu, it seems almost everyone is here, but there’s still an empty seat beside you.
Might I ask who it’s for?”

When the other influential figures heard that, all of them looked over curiously.

City Lord Fu Shan was one of the Dragon’s Gate Banquet’s hosts.
He was naturally right in the center of the venue, with a front-row seat to the competition.
His view was excellent.

Yet there was indeed an empty seat beside him.

Fu Shan laughed.
“I prepared this for a distinguished guest.
As for who specifically he is, please forgive me for keeping you in suspense.”

The crowd was stunned.
Their thoughts raced as they tried to guess just who he was referring to.

A distinguished guest? Which distinguished guest?

Could it be someone even more distinguished than Zhou Huaiqiu?

Huang Yunchong and Nie Beihu glanced at each other.
They could vaguely guess who that seat was for, and the thought sent waves coursing through their hearts.

It might look like it was just the seat next to the city lord, but its significance was far greater than that! But then, if City Lord Fu didn’t want to reveal anything, they knew better than to do it for him.

At the same time, numerous people gathered near the banquet venue.

These were the youths of the cities’ various clans and factions.

They weren’t qualified to sit at the banquet, so they could only stand nearby and watch. 

“Ee? Su Yi, how did you get in here?”

When Su Yi and Hu Quan arrived, they were quickly recognized.

The speaker was none other than Wen Shaobei! He looked bewildered, as if he dared not believe that Su Yi was participating too.

The nearby Wen Family youths were stunned too.

Su Yi glanced at Wen Shaobei.
He almost couldn’t help but admire him; there was just something about him that made people want to hit him.
It was almost like an innate talent of his.

Earlier that day, Huang Qianjun had slapped him viciously, twice.
His swelling had yet to go down, but here he was, cruising for another bruising already.

“He’s Su Yi? Agh, a waste became the husband of a grandmaster’s disciple.
It’s against the natural order of things!”

Many nearby disciples of major sects and clans began gossiping about Su Yi in hushed tones, but Su Yi didn’t care.
His gaze was calm, and he was focused on enjoying the beauty of the lamplit night sky.

Lanterns shone like stars, stretching as far as the eye could see and bobbing with the current.
The light shifted with the water, the sight stunning to behold. 

When he saw that Su Yi wasn’t saying anything, Wen Shaobei snorted coldly, then looked away.

Tonight was the Dragon’s Gate Banquet.
With so many influential people present, no one would dare act up.

Boom! Boom! Boom! 

The sound of drums reverberated through the night sky, the sound powerful and deep, spreading far and wide.

The commoners clustered on both sides of the river instantly grew excited.
When the drum sounded, it meant that the competition was about to begin!

The conversation in the banquet venue stopped immediately as everyone’s eyes turned towards the Dragon’s Gate Arena.

The Guangling City Lord, Fu Shan, and the Cloudfall City Lord, Li Jianyu, had both taken the stage, becoming the center of attention.

Su Yi looked over too.

Li Jianyu wore robes embroidered with silver dragons.
He was tall, and although he was getting on in years, his presence was imposing.

As the drums slowed to a halt, Li Jianyu’s gaze swept across the surrounding area.
He said in a low voice, “Tonight’s Dragon’s Gate Competition will be different than in prior years.
City Lord Fu Shan and I have discussed it, and we’ve agreed that for the next ten years, control over Spiritbamboo Island will go to whichever city the champion of tonight’s competition hails from! 

The venue instantly burst into uproar.
The people were beside themselves with shock.

It was clear that they’d had no idea, and the news came as a big surprise.

Once the uproar finally died down, Li Jianyu smiled and said, “This year, we’re fortunate enough to have Blueriver Sword Manor elder Zhou Huaiqiu in attendance.
He can act as a witness.”

Zhou Huaiqiu rose from his seat and smiled back.
“It would be my honor.”

“Hahaha, Brother Zhou, please take a seat.” Li Jianyu let out a burst of hearty laughter, then glanced at Fu Shan.
“City Lord Fu, there’s no problem with me saying that, right?”

“No problem.” Fu Shan smiled faintly, looking calm and composed.

“Great!” Li Jianyu waved.
“In that case, there is no need to delay any longer.
Let’s begin the Dragon’s Gate Competition now!”

With that, both he and Fu Shan withdrew, clearing the stage.

Almost immediately, someone streaked over from Cloudfall City’s side of the venue.

“Who from Guangling City wishes to participate in the first match?” The speaker was a youth in silver-robes, a sheathed knife at his waist.

He was dashing, dignified, and charismatic, and his entrance immediately drew every gaze present.

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