Chapter 56 – The Second Day of the Second Lunar Month, the Dragon Raises its Head

A long time passed, but no one dared take the stage.

Finally, Su Yi waited no longer.
Hands behind his back, he walked offstage.

The crowd’s gaze followed him, their expressions stunned, bewildered, or dazed….

This was a vivid microcosm of the countless facets of human life. 

“Master Su, please take a seat!” Fu Shan took the initiative to welcome him, a respectful look on his face.

“So the empty seat beside Fu Shan was reserved for Su Yi!” One of the major powers suddenly realized what was happening.
Everything made sense now.

The others then understood too, but this only made their expressions even more complicated.

It was just an empty chair, but from it, it was clear just how highly Fu Shan valued Su Yi.

“No need.
This matter has been resolved, so I’ll be on my way.” Su Yi shook his head and refused.

He’d never liked this type of noisy, crowded atmosphere anyway.

Fu Shan dared not attempt to persuade him.
Instead, he ordered, “Attendants, escort Master Su back.”

“City Lord Fu, please, allow me.” Huang Qianjun was nearby.
He shot to his feet and immediately walked over.

Nie Teng hesitated, then did the same.

When he saw this, Nie Beihu felt deeply gratified.

His son had always been prideful, but this showed that Su Yi’s earlier display was enough to convince him.

Su Yi said no more.
He just walked directly out of the venue.

Huang Qianjun and Nie Teng followed hot on his heels.

When they saw this, waves surged through the gathered higher-ups’ hearts once more.

Huang Qianjun was the son and heir of Family Head Huang Yunchong, while Nie Teng was the son of the commander of the guards, Nie Beihu.

Yet now, both of them were acting like mere attendants, tagging after Su Yi of their own volition.
This meant something completely different!

This is bad! When he saw this, Li Tianhan suddenly recalled something.
His heart clenched, and his expression shifted.

Back at the Wen Family matriarch’s birthday banquet, Fu Shan, Nie Beihu, and Huang Yunchong had argued against dissolving Su Yi’s marriage, even though it meant opposing the Li Family.

Li Tianhan and his son had assumed this was because of Wen Lingzhao, the “Grandmaster’s disciple.” They thought that was the only possible reason such influential characters would stand with the Wen Family. 

But now it seemed that wasn’t the case at all!

“But why does Fu Shan attach such enormous importance to Su Yi?” Li Tianhan’s expression was uncertain, his heart heavy.

He was well aware that as impressive as Su Yi’s performance was, he was still just a Blood Circulation Realm youth; that level of strength was nowhere near enough to make old foxes like Fu Shan and Huang Yunchong treat him with such reverence.

This meant that Su Yi had some other secret, something he still didn’t know about!

And it was this secret, whatever it was, that explained Fu Shan’s respect for Su Yi!

Li Tianhan dared not delay any father.
He immediately whispered an order to the elderly attendant beside him. 

The elderly retainer immediately scurried off.

As he watched Su Yi fade into the distance, Zhou Huaiqiu sighed.
He hesitated, but in the end, he didn’t chase after him.

He had a certain premonition that even if he threw away all his dignity and begged Su Yi to return to the Blueriver Sword Manor, Su Yi wouldn’t agree.

Still, he couldn’t help but find it a pity, and he couldn’t help but regret. When he first fell back into the mortal dust, no one concerned themselves with his wellbeing.
Even I distanced myself from him.

Today, he’s returned to the Martial Dao, revealing even more dazzling brilliance than before.
How could he possibly return to Blueriver Sword Manor, the place that once hurt him so badly?

But enough.
There’s nothing for it. Zhou Huaiqiu took a deep breath, then suppressed the regret welling within his heart.

“Junior Apprentice Sister Nan Ying, it seems you’re awfully reluctant to see Su Yi leave,” said Ni Hao coldly.
Seeing Nan Ying’s dazed stupor, he couldn’t help but get angry.

Nan Ying jumped, and her expression shifted dramatically.
Finally, she let out a gentle sigh, sounding aggrieved. “Senior Apprentice Brother Ni, you know that Su Yi and I accompanied each other for three years.
I thought our paths would never cross again.
Who could have anticipated everything we saw tonight?”

The more she spoke, the darker Ni Hao’s expression.
Her words only fanned the flames of jealousy in his heart.

Nan Ying had obviously realized this, so she changed tacks.
“But Senior Apprentice Brother Ni, you have an eternal, irreplaceable place in my heart.
Besides, if I really still had lingering feelings for Su Yi, how could I have gone a full year without so much as asking about him?

She leaned her head against Ni Hao’s broad shoulders and whispered, “I’m actually happy to see you this angry.
It proves that you care for me.”

Ni Hao’s expression instantly softened.
He took in her delicate fragrance, and when he spoke, his tone was far gentler.
“Junior Apprentice Sister, just now, I got a bit overly excited.”

Nan Ying stretched out her jade-like hand and hooked it around Ni Hao’s arm.
She whispered honeyed words, “Senior Apprentice Brother, don’t explain.
I understand.”

But in her heart, she was wondering—

Should I go see Su Yi before we leave Guangling City?

“Cousin, that Su Yi is simply despicable! He’s been hiding his cultivation all this time! He’s been playing the entire family all year!” Wen Shaobei was righteously indignant, but he only dared whisper his complaints next to Wen Jueyuan.

“He never lied to us.
We’ve just overlooked him,” said Wen Jueyuan dejectedly.

Tonight was supposed to be his chance in the spotlight, the day he spread his reputation far and wide.

But the world was unpredictable.
Who would have guessed that he’d end up the Dragon Gate Banquet's most ridiculous loser?

He’d become a stepping stone for Su Yi!

“Cousin, don’t tell me we’re just going to let this go?” said Wen Shaobei unwillingly.

“Do you want to fight him?” Wen Jueyuan said coldly, staring at Wen Shaobei as if he were an idiot.
“You still don’t understand? Su Yi didn’t just recover his cultivation; even the city lord attaches enormous importance to him now! From this day forth, he’s no longer that pitiful worm the Wen Family can trample as it pleases!

He practically spat these words, his tone revealing his bitterness, fury, dejection, and unwillingness.

Despite having been insulted so viciously, Wen Shaobei could only lower his head.

“Li Jianyu, have you prepared the champion’s prizes?” Fu Shan beamed.

The victor was to receive a thousand taels of gold, three stalks of spiritual medicine, ten clusters of pearls, and a peak yellow-grade martial art tome!

This was a highly enticing reward.

Everyone at the banquet turned to look at Li Jianyu.

Li Jianyu froze, then snorted, “A paltry reward like that? There’s no need to remind me.
I’ll have someone deliver them tomorrow morning.”

He’d come to the banquet assuming that with Mo Tianling, they had this in the bag.
As such, he had yet to prepare the prizes.

But Su Yi’s arrival had shattered all his schemes.
He hadn’t just lost Spiritbamboo Island; now he had to start figuring out where he’d come up with all that treasure….

If he said he wasn’t furious, he’d definitely be lying.

“Don’t forget about Spiritbamboo Island.
Starting today, it’s under the jurisdiction of Guangling City and the city lord’s estate.
If I discover anyone unauthorized on or near the island, I’ll have them killed on sight!” Although Fu Shan laughed as he said this, his words were murderous.

“Hmph!” Li Jianyu couldn’t remain seated any longer.
He rose, swished his sleeves, then stormed off.

If he stayed any longer, he’d die of anger!

The Cloudfall City higher-ups rose and followed him out almost immediately after.

In stark contrast, the atmosphere on Guangling City’s side heated up.
Everyone laughed and chatted amongst themselves, drinking in celebration.

After all, Su Yi had represented Guangling City in taking the championship.
This cast the city higher-ups in a good light too.

They graciously pretended to ignore the losers as they slunk away before the festivities ended.

The night sky hung over the waters of the Great Azure.
Thousands of sails fluttered in the wind, and the countless lanterns were like dragons. 

News of Su Yi taking the number one spot in the Dragon’s Gate Banquet spread across both sides of the river at shocking speeds.
Before long, the ordinary citizens of both cities were all in the know.

Before long, the sound of uproar filled the air, echoing throughout the night sky.

 ……

 The city gates.

“You two should go back.
No need to accompany me any further,” said Su Yi, pausing to look at Huang Qianjun and Nie Teng.

Huang Qianjun nodded and smiled; he knew better than to push.

Nie Teng hesitated, then bowed to Su Yi.
“Brother Su, thank you for enlightening me! I’ll remember this kindness for the rest of my life!”

The way Su Yi used his duel with Mo Tianling to demonstrate the Sparrow-Catching Hand helped Nie Teng finally realize the true essence and charm of his own martial art.

Facing Su Yi now, he felt awed and reverential. 

“Remember what you said back then.” Su Yi nodded, then turned and walked through the gates.

“What I said back then….” Nie Teng’s heart shook.
Then, he took a deep breath.
Su Yi was already far away, but Nie Teng nevertheless faced him and clasped his fist.
“Brother Su, don’t worry.
I, Nie Teng, will never forget!”

“What are you two talking about?” Huang Qianjun couldn’t help but ask.

“None of your business.” Nie Teng turned and left.

Huang Qianjun hurried after him.
“Ol’ Brother Nie, wait for me! Come on; we’re both on Brother Su’s side, so we should get to know each other better! How about we go to one of those flower boats and have ourselves a good time? I know just the girl.
She’s famous for her wit and singing voice, and she’s a master of every type of instrument.
In Guangling City, she’s….”

The two of them gradually faded into the distance.

Meanwhile, Su Yi strolled leisurely through the city’s empty streets.

The vast majority of the city’s inhabitants had gone to watch the festivities.
The streets were normally bustling with activity, but today, they were all but abandoned.
The lights were out, and the doors were closed. 

From time to time, he saw scattered groups returning from beyond the gates, all of them animatedly discussing the Dragon’s Gate Banquet and the results of the competition.

But even as they passed Su Yi, none of them recognized the very youth who’d just easily taken home the championship.

When Su Yi reached the Apricot Clinic, he turned and looked up at the night sky.

The moon was bright, but the stars were sparse, the pale clouds soft as cotton.

Even from a distance, he could dimly discern the sound of revelry.
In the solitary darkness of the night, it sounded fleeting and ethereal. 

“When does the turmoil of human affairs end? It’s only after the bustling streets quiet down that everything seems the most authentic.” Su Yi muttered to himself, then returned to the Apricot Cottage.
His lean figure seemed solitary and detached.

This was the 399th year of the Zhou Dynasty’s history, the second day of the second month of the lunar calendar, as well as the second month of spring.

This was the day insects awoke from hibernation, a day of universal rebirth.

Were you to study the stars, you’d discover that of the twenty-eight celestial mansions, the first of the seven comprising the azure dragon revealed itself in the east, but the rest of the dragon’s “body” was still submerged in the darkness.

As such, today was known as “the day the dragon raises its head.”

On this day, one year after losing his cultivation and marrying into the Wen Family, Su Yi stepped into the Dragon’s Gate Arena, his skill shocking the entire audience.
He became the center of attention.

The people were in uproar.

But although almost no one knew it—

In this lifetime, today was Su Yi’s birthday too.

And it was on this very day that his current incarnation’s mother, Ye Yufei, fell sick and passed away.

At the time, he was only four years old, and she left him all alone.

Seth's Thoughts

This chapter heavily references the Chinese Lunar Calendar and traditional Chinese constellations.
I think Wikipedia will do a better job explaining than I will, but basically, the night sky is divided into four directions, which are each divided into seven constellations called “mansions”.
The four directions are associated with the four symbols, and the azure dragon is associated with the east.

The dragon referred to here is, therefore, not a constellation.
It’s a grouping of constellations. The “horn” is a distinct constellation. Those same stars are considered part of “virgo” in the Western tradition.

The dragon raising its head is a real traditional festival, and although this is not directly stated, it is likely the reason the two cities chose to hold the Dragon’s Gate Banquet tonight of all nights.

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