In a refined room in the third floor of the Vast Crane Pavilion, a group of young gentlemen who were dressed extravagantly, seemingly originating from wealthy families, were gathered together. All of them proposed a toast to the luxuriously dressed, dignified young man who sat in the main seat.
“Yao gongzi, cheers!”
“Yao gongzi, allow me to propose a toast!”
The young gentlemen chattered among themselves and their words were filled with pleasantries. They all seemed to have treated the latter as their de facto leader and acted subserviently around him. Young Master Yao’s words were refined and he was a rising figure in the capital. Furthermore, he had a powerful background which was exceptional even among the entire group.
“Please do not stand on ceremony. Allow me to play host today, you all should enjoy yourselves!”
The luxuriously dressed young man’s movements were elegant as he returned the toast to the group. His expression was calm and magnanimity exuded from his gestures. He stood out even among the group of refined gentlemen.
The Yao Residence had an imposing reputation in the capital, especially given their blood ties with King Qi. Young Master Yao was the eldest son of the Yao Residence and in the future, he would inherit the standing and influence of the Yao Clan. He was a figure that was destined for greatness.
Thus, even though this was the first time Young Master Yao Feng had invited them over, they delightfully accepted and attended this gathering.
After exchanging a few toasts, the atmosphere became vibrant.
Seated in the main seat of the room, Yao Feng inconspicuously glanced at his surroundings and delight surged through his heart. He nodded his head in approval.
Today was his ‘joyous’ occasion. Using his father’s reputation and the name of the Yao Family, Yao Feng had invited all respectable and influential young masters in the capital over to the Vast Crane Pavilion.
This was the first time everyone was gathering together and to Yao Feng, this was an opportunity to win their hearts over and establish his prestige. As long as he was able to buy these young masters over to his side, he would be able to become one of the leaders of the youths in the capital.
Furthermore, his father had already promised him that if he were able to win the hearts these respectable gentlemen over to build his own following, he would gradually grant him authority and slowly pass the family business over to him.
Without doubt, such a promise was equivalent to granting him the position of the successor.
As such, this gathering was of absolute importance to Yao Feng!
The mood at the gathering was pleasant and joyful. Yao Feng could tell that everyone was intentionally fawning over him, that people were still in awe of the Yao Residence. However, that wasn’t enough. Thus, with the intention to win their hearts:
“Everyone, those who are seated here are my brothers. No matter what you all need in the future, feel free to bring it up…”
“Young master, young master… Ma Zhou had brought two people here!”
The wooden doors to the room opened and the manager of the Vast Crane Pavilion rushed in, interrupting Yao Feng’s words halfway through.
“What’s wrong, for you to be panicking like this?”
Yao Feng frowned. He was displeased with the manager’s actions, but he didn’t express it blatantly.
“Didn’t I say to allow no one to interrupt me now? ——Tell Ma Zhou to come later.”
Yao Feng said.
“I have already said it…”
The manager’s voice trailed off. After hesitating for a moment, he decided to say it, “But… he has already barged in!”
The moment those words were spoken, silence fell over the room.
Initially, Yao Feng was just slightly displeased but after hearing those words, he couldn’t help but be infuriated. Ma Zhou was just an insignificant pawn to him. If he were to wreck such an important meeting, Yao Feng would not let him off easily.
“Young Master, why don’t we…”
A young man dressed in silk tried asking.
“There’s no need!”
Before the other party could finish his words, Yao Feng interrupted him.
“Everyone, a small matter had propped up. I apologize for my impertinence. ——Manager Zhang, please hand this over to him. Tell him that I’ll meet him personally at the end of the gathering.”
With a jerk of his hand, Yao Feng threw the golden token on his waist over.
Yao Feng rarely used his token, unless something major had occurred. If Ma Zhou was wise, he should be able to understand his intentions after looking at this token.
If he still chose to barge in even after that to ruin his opportunity, then he couldn’t blame him for being merciless!
“Young Master Yao, why go through so much trouble? It’ll be more convenient if we just enter straight!”
A cold sneer could be heard from beyond the doors. The door was kicked open and Wang Chong walked in.
Upon recognizing the person walking in, Yao Feng’s entire body trembled. He couldn’t believe in his eyes. He never would have thought that this person would barge in on him.
“Why? Young Master Yao, do you not welcome me?”
Wang Chong smiled. He was extremely satisfied with Yao Feng’s shocked expression. Before Yao Feng could even say anything, he had already pulled out a chair next to Yao Feng and sat down on it.
Seeing Wang Chong’s actions, Yao Feng’s eyelids twitched. He suppressed the anger in his heart and smiled in response:
“How could that be? All that comes are my guests, and I won’t treat any of my guests rudely.”
No matter what, he was still the son of a distinguished family. Every action of his exuded grace and magnanimity. On this aspect, few families were able to match up to him. At this moment, Wang Chong was rather impressed by him.
It wasn’t without a cause that Yao Feng was able to become one of the leaders of the younger generation in the capital. At the very least, his attitude and disposition were something unmatched by others.
However, it was a pity that Wang Chong’s purpose here was to cause trouble. Also, Yao Feng had yet to possess that distinguished position he had in his previous life.
“Heh, little sister, hurry here! There is someone who wants to treat us and there is a lot of good food here! See, your brother never lies to you!”
Without turning back, he beckoned the person behind him.
It was an immature and crisp voice. Everyone else stared in shock as a round face emerged from the wooden door behind Wang Chong. Her large eyes glimmered in curiosity as she looked around the room. Soon, her gaze fell upon the delicacies spread out over the table.
“Waaa, you aren’t lying!”
The young girl was awed. She stepped into the room, walked over and sat beside Wang Chong. Grabbing a fragrant chicken leg over, she started to dig in.
She completely ignored the presence of the other guests in the room. Her young mind wasn’t able to process that much. Since her brother said that it was alright to dig in, she dug in.
She couldn’t be bothered to think about anything else.
“Un, delicious! This is really delicious!…”
The Wang Family’s little sister was a person with voracious appetite. She might be of small stature, but the same could not be said about her stomach. With two or three chomps, she finished a giant piece of chicken legs. While eating, she complimented the food and the bones that emerged from her mouth were completely clean. In fact, teeth marks could be seen on it.
The dishes of the Vast Crane Pavilion had the fragrance, outer appearance and taste befitting of a renowned restaurant in the capital. Their dishes, regardless of whether they were steamed, fried, broiled or barbecued, they were done to the point of perfection.
Even though the food she ate at home were remarkable delicacies as well, how could they compare up to the Vast Crane Pavilion, given the amount of effort the cooks here put into the food? The little sister of the Wang Family was delighted and at this moment, the only thought that was in her mind was that her brother was a wonderful person. She unleashed her appetite and tackled the food frenziedly, filling her hands and mouth with oil
In the short amount of time since entering the room, she had already cleared two plates. Her eating mannerism and her appetite caused Yao Feng’s eyelids to jump.
He wasn’t bothered by the speed at which the dishes on the table was being cleared. The Vast Crane Pavilion belonged to his family and food wasn’t a problem. However, these two siblings were obviously here to cause trouble.
If this Wang Family’s little sister were to be allowed to continue eating like that, who would be willing to dig in? At this rate, this gathering would be ruined. In fact, Yao Feng could already feel the atmosphere cooling down.
Normally, he would just allow such a matter to slip. However, this was the first time he was approaching the various gentlemen of the capital to win their hearts, so the matter was of utmost importance to him. How could he allow these two insignificant figures ruin such a vital affair?
“Your younger sister sure is cute! Young Master Wang, all that comes are my guests. How about this, I will play host and prepare a feast at another room for Wang gongzi, and all food and drinks are on me! How do you think of it?”
Not a hint of displeasure could be seen on Yao Feng’s face and his actions were still calm and elegant. He tried to persuade the two of them calmly, as though oblivious to the fact that the siblings were here to wreck havoc.
The other gentlemen seated in the room were impressed by Yao Feng’s magnanimity. Through his actions itself, much could be said about the Yao Family and their culture. It was truly a prominent family which few could match up to.
Wang Chong had been taking in Yao Feng’s expressions and the slight twitch at the corner of the latter’s eyes couldn’t hide from his gaze. He knew that his strategy was working.
“It is more enjoyable for us to have fun together! How can eating and drinking by oneself compare to the commotion here? I have heard that Yao gongzi is known for his magnanimity, so surely you wouldn’t mind our addition into the room?”
How could Wang Chong be driven away that easily? It was difficult for him to enter this Vast Crane Pavilion and if he were to be easily sent away by Yao Feng’s words, wouldn’t his efforts go to vain?
“I would like to see how much longer can you endure!”
Wang Chong sneered coldly within. He was here to infuriate Yao Feng. Regardless of how deeply hidden the intentions of this Yao gongzi were and how tolerant he was, Wang Chong was determined to have him erupt into anger.
Upon hearing Wang Chong words, Yao Feng’s expression finally changed. He didn’t expect Wang Chong to ignore his kind persuasion. It was clear that he was reluctant to leave.
“Wang gongzi, if I’m not wrong, I don’t think that I have invited you here? It’s not that I am a stingy person, but I’m afraid that I would have to invite you to leave.”
Anger had appeared in Yao Feng’s eyes.
“Heh, I know that you didn’t invite me, but I can’t simply skip out of this gathering! Otherwise, it would be disrespectful to Yao gongzi!”
Wang Chong sneered coldly. He grabbed a bottle of alcohol before another guest, uncapped it and tried it. He complimented:
Even though Yao Feng was well-cultured, his eyelids twitched furiously in response to Wang Chong’s provocation.
What do you mean by I didn’t invite you, but you couldn’t skip this meeting?
Do I, Yao Feng, need your respect?
If not in consideration of the scions of authoritative officials in the room, Yao Feng wouldn’t have been bothered to talk to a child like him and directly chased him out.
“Ma Zhou, you bastard! To think that you brought him to me! I will skin you alive!”
Yao Feng was filled with fury.
He knew clearly that the youngest son of the Wang Family had never met him before, and that it was impossible for him to know what he had done. For Wang Chong and his younger sister to come knocking, that bastard Ma Zhou must have exposed him!
However, it wasn’t the time to be pursuing this matter!
“Wang Chong, I will ask you one last time. Do you really want to go against me?”
Yao Feng said sharply.
It was clear that he wouldn’t leave no matter what he said, so it was no use acting politely to him. Everyone could tell that Wang Chong was here to mess up the situation.
“Hmph, Yao Feng, this is called an eye for an eye!”
Wang Chong smashed the wine cup on the floor. Pah! It shattered into innumerable fragments.
When pleasantries fail to work, one’s true intentions are be revealed!
Immediately, the atmosphere grew tense. Even the most foolish of people could tell that the siblings’ purpose here was Yao Feng. They were intentionally trying to wreck havoc here.
Just that, there was one thing that everyone didn’t understand. Who were these siblings, to actually dare to stand against Yao Feng? One must know that the Yao Residence possessed exceptional standing in the capital.
“Wang Chong? You’re from the Wang Clan?”
A sudden exclaim. A scion in the gathering had recognized Wang Chong.
Wang Chong replied frankly.
Upon hearing this answer, the expressions of everyone here changed. It was no wonder that the siblings dared to stand against Yao Feng, not even buying the Yao Family’s tab. They were from the Wang Clan!
If it was just Wang Yan, there were also many other generals in the militaristic Great Tang Empire who had positions equal to him. But in this capital, everyone knew that there was another powerful figure in the Wang Clan.
That person was the one who was truly fearsome!
“So it’s the descendant of Duke Jiu! Please pardon my insolence.”
“Is your grandfather still doing well?”
“I am from the Wei Family in the capital. Your grandfather had once helped my father, Wei Li, and he had been thinking about the matter. Young Master Wang, if possible, please help me convey the message to your grandfather that the Wei Li hopes to pay respects to him when he’s free!”
At this moment, their attitudes toward the Wang siblings changed and they became incomparably respectful toward them. The words ‘Duke Jiu’ held distinct standing in the capital, changing the standing of the Wang siblings in an instant.
They thought that this was only a farce, but if Duke Jiu, who was in seclusion now, wanted to deal with the Yao Family, then everything would be different.
This wasn’t something any ordinary families could get involved in!
Throughout the entire passage, the young masters/scions/gentlemen were termed as 公子.
The reason why I used gongzi in speech instead of Young Master was because there’s a slight difference between the two.
I might be wrong, but for young master, there was a slight sense of deference for the latter whereas, for gongzi (gentleman), they were more of equal standing, that they were peers. Previously, Ma Zhou had used Young Master Wang to address Wang Chong, but it was more for jokes in my perspective.
Also, most of those in the gathering had respectable backgrounds, but it was possible that some of them might not be scions.
Meaning, they could be scholars of the imperial examination or such, young talents to be exact.
Thus, it’s not suitable to term them as ‘young masters’ and ‘scions’. Thus, I chose to use a vague word like ‘gentlemen’.
It might sound weird, but that was the closest word I could get.