Ye Rong had specially prepared a gift this time. He had also painstakingly selected his followers, Jiang Chen and Tian Shao, who would been young men who’d been more famous lately, and Lin Qianli, a genius disciple of the Southern Palace.
He’d thought that he’d be able to make quite a showing this time.
Who would’ve thought that Ye Dai would completely one up him and have three followers in the spirit realm! This would’ve been completely inconceivable in the past!
In addition, Ye Dai’s present, the Yellow Dragon Watching the Seas Painting, had basically set the tone as soon as it’d appeared. Everyone else’s gifts were a complete joke in front of the painting. They weren’t on the same level at all.
“Number four, what did you prepare this time? You should bring it out for everyone to open their worldview.” Third prince Ye Zheng said with a smile that had a few hints of provocation in it.
Ye Rong felt Dan Fei’s gaze rest on him and strove hard to calm down. He told himself that he couldn’t lose his composure and he must remain steady. He couldn’t lose his grace no matter what, he couldn’t lose his dignity in front of the honored tutor and Dan Fei.
“Sister Dan Fei, the honored tutor is an erudite sage not of this world. This younger brother was afraid that he would have no interest in common, ordinary things. Therefore, I have obtained one item that is the young cub of the Swordteeth Flying Fox. This animal has quite a spiritual nature. As big as the Skylaurel Kingdom is, I cannot think of any one other than the honored tutor to raise the spiritual nature of the fox.”
Even Ye Dai was slightly surprised when Ye Rong spoke his words. He looked meaningfully at Ye Rong, inwardly displeased.
It could be seen from this gift that Ye Rong had indeed spent quite a bit of effort on it. Although the Swordteeth Flying Fox wasn’t a rare or precious beast, if one could raise its spiritual nature, it would evolve into a spirit creature some day. This meant that one would have a spirit creature that was equivalent to a spirit realm practitioner.
The most important thing was that the cub of a Swordteeth Flying Fox had more of a spirit nature than other beasts and it was extremely quite connected to the spirit world. Its size was diminutive and its exterior appearance exceedingly cute. It gave others an exceedingly favorable first impression.
In addition, Tutor Ye didn’t have many hobbies, but raising all sorts of rare and precious beasts happened to be his greatest hobby. Although the cub that Ye Rong was gifting was no match to the value of the Yellow Dragon Watching the Seas Painting, it was another matter entirely if it was one of the honored tutor’s hobbies.
“Ye Rong, this bastard, it looks like his ambition is not yet dead. He must have brooded over this matter for a long time, naturally to curry favor with the honored tutor. He’s just a prince born of a concubine, does he dare contend with me, a prince of the proper bloodline, for the position of Crown Prince?” Ye Dai did have reason to feel put out.
Ye Rong’s recent performance made him feel very unhappy.
Dan Fei took a look at the Swordteeth Flying Fox cub that Ye Rong had offered. The little thing was rolling its eyes around as a chubby paw clutched a piece of fruit. It was chomping away happily, ignoring everyone around him and appearing incredibly adorable.
Women naturally like pets. When she saw that this little thing was so cute, Dan Fei also quite liked it and she couldn’t help but play with it a little.
“Number four, where did you find this little fellow? He’s so adorable.” Dan Fei smiled and seemed to speak a word in careless praise.
Ye Rong has gladdened, but he spoke with a humble expression. “I happened to come across it by chance.”
How did he not know that sister Dan Fei’s seemingly careless words were actually for him to express himself in front of the honored tutor?
He felt a bit of gratitude in his heart. He knew that sister Dan Fei was still quite good to him.
Although Ye Dai retained a gracious smile on his face, he felt as disgusted as if he’d eaten a fly. Sister Dan Fei was actually all smiles and sweetness to Ye Rong. This made Ye Dai feel quite out of sorts, as if Ye Rong had seized something precious to him.
At this moment, Lu Wuji spoke up from behind him, “The fourth prince’s Swordteeth Flying Fox cub is indeed a fun, interesting toy. I wonder what the three behind the fourth prince have prepared for the lordmaster? Let us all increase our worldview as well.”
Lu Wuji knew quite well how to take advantage of opportunities. When he saw Ye Dai appear calm on the surface, he knew that the first prince must be extremely put out internally at the moment.
When he saw this opportunity, he knew that it was time to take on some of his master’s burdens for him.
Since you, Ye Rong, were seeking the limelight, then we’ll start with your followers. We’ll make your followers make fools out of themselves and use that to dim your spotlight.
In Lu Wuji’s eyes, Tian Shao was a mere commander and someone who wasn’t fit for the greater stage. Even though he’d been promoted to vice general now, he was still piss poor. What good things would he have? Taking a step back, the question should be if he has even prepared a gift for the lordmaster.
As for Lin Qianli, that Southern Palace disciple had a personality like a rock in a latrine. He was stinky and hard, and he wasn’t someone who knew the ways of the world at all. How would he even prepare any presents?
As for Jiang Chen, that fellow had some good things, but it was the first time that he had participated in an occasion like this. He’d never truly seen the world. Would he prepare a rich gift? Lu Wuji didn’t believe it either.
Indeed, Ye Rong’s faintly smiling face became a bit stiff after Lu Wuji had spoken.
Adept at observing people’s expressions, Lu Wuji immediately captured this detail and guessed that Ye Rong definitely hadn’t told his followers to prepare gifts.
Particularly that Jiang Chen. He hadn’t even arrived in the capital for long, would he be willing to part with a large sum to prepare a gift? Absolutely not!
It looked like he’d gambled correctly.
Indeed, the first prince displayed a look of admiration when he flicked a look at Lu Wuji, “Number four, your flying fox is not bad and you’ve truly put some thought in it. In this way, I’m a little curious about what gifts your followers have prepared.”
Ye Dai’s eyes were sharp and ruthless. How would he not see that Ye Rong was in a predicament? This was kicking a man when he was down, and it would make Ye Rong appear in a bad light.
If Ye Rong hadn’t had his followers prepare gifts, he really would lose a great deal of face.
Ye Zheng had always had poor relations with Ye Rong and he was the first prince’s loyal confidante as well. When he saw the first prince open his mouth, Ye Zheng hastened to assent, “That’s right. Number four, you’ve expended so much thought this time, you could not have have very well let your followers come empty handed, right?”
These words were a bit barefaced. But Ye Zheng had always been crude, and so the others were used to his direct bluntness.
This had nothing to do with the other princes and so they were happy to watch the show from the sidelines.
As for the sons and disciples of the other nobles and various dukes, this was an issue between the princes. They naturally wouldn’t stand up and say anything. The most important thing was that they had no right to say anything at a scene like this.
It actually looked like all was well and that an amiable atmosphere was prevailing.
But in actuality, the light and shadows from all sorts of blades and swords were flying at Ye Rong ferociously.
Ye Rong never thought that the first prince would make moves against him so publicly. The smile on his face became a bit stiff in that moment.
Dan Fei had a clever heart and knew that Ye Dai was suppressing Ye Rong when she saw this situation.
She smiled faintly, “Alright now, the so-called offering of gifts is just to provide some entertainment. The lordmaster didn’t make the rule that people must offer gifts.”
Ye Dai smiled dashingly and said nothing.
Ye Zheng purposefully played dumb however, “Sister Dan Fei, don’t be so biased. We’ve prepared gifts for all our followers, but you’re trying to help number four save money.”
These words were half joking and half serious. They were another step forward in forcing Ye Rong down the path of no return.
Ye Rong was severely depressed now. His followers didn’t have to specially prepare gifts in previous years. The princes never confronted each other in a showdown like this, publicly making it difficult for each other to find a way out.
Ye Zheng looked like he was joking, but he actually had the most malicious of intentions.
Just as Ye Rong was at his wit’s end and he was prepared to say a few pleasantries, Jiang Chen suddenly laughed lightly behind him and said in a tone of self admonishment, “Fourth prince, my deepest apologies. It’s my first time participating in such a grand occasion and I was so nervous that I’d forgotten to take out our exquisitely prepared gift. The lordmaster is of noble character and high prestige. As the spirit king protector of the kingdom, how can us juniors not express our sentiments? May this jug of wine count as the sentiments from all three of us.”
Jiang Chen took out something from behind him after he’d finished speaking. It was a wooden wine jug. The design of this jug was ordinary and common. It looked like a jug made of green vines, and it didn’t look like anything expensive at all.
When Lu Wuji saw Jiang Chen take this wine jug out, he splurted out in laughter.
This jug was seriously too ugly, it was worse than even the ones found in marketplaces. The ones that vendors placed in their stalls would at least be wrapped up nicely to present a look of generosity.
What was this wine jug? Crude, simple, and unfit for the eyes.
It was likely that no one would even pick this thing up if it was thrown onto the streets. Jiang Chen had actually used it to fill with wine and present it as a gift to the spirit king protector Tutor Ye!
This… this was blasphemy.
When they saw Jiang Chen take the wine jug out, the expressions of the others present were also quite a work of art.
There was mockery, surprise, cold sneers, some shaking of heads, and some incredulity.
It was obvious that anyone could use even their feet to think and come to the conclusion that this wasn’t some specially prepared gift. This was something that they had hastily fished out from their bodies because they’d been driven up a wall by Ye Zheng.
Perhaps, this kid was an alcoholic? This jug was one that he carried on him at all times to drink from?
“Prince Ye Rong has lost too much face this time. That follower is being a fool in wanting to shoulder his master’s burdens. What kind of help was this? This was slapping his own master’s face!”
“Is something wrong with this person’s brain? Where did Prince Ye Rong find such an undependable follower? Ai, apart from second prince Ye Qiao, who can possibly contend with the first prince, this fourth prince Ye Rong is still quite a way off.”
“Now, not even sister Dan Fei will be able to find a way out for Ye Rong.”
Those who were present had their own thoughts, but all of them held the mindset of watching a good show, and they wanted to see how this farce would be resolved.
Ye Zheng slapped his forehead and smiled exaggeratedly, “Number four, are you sure about this? This… this is your so-called specially prepared gift?”
“Haha, specially prepared alright. This gift is truly different from the others alright. It’s a completely unique sight, hahaha!” Lu Wuji didn’t conceal his sarcastic implications at all.
“Number four, just speak candidly if you didn’t have your followers prepare gifts! Taking out something like this is an affront to the ears and eyes. This is rather bad!” Ye Zheng said.
It was Ye Dai who smiled and stepped out to say, “Alright, let’s just treat this small interlude as one to liven up the atmosphere. Sister Dan Fei, let’s take this item away first. Otherwise… number four’s face… ”
This Ye Dai was pretending to be a good person now as he spoke with the tones of a caring older brother.
Ye Rong was also slightly surprised and he flicked a glance at Jiang Chen. He saw the shadow of a smile on Jiang Chen’s face, and that he was completely unconcerned with the mockery and jeers from the outside world.
With his understanding of Jiang Chen, Ye Rong felt that Jiang Chen wouldn’t take out a broken and battered item for no reason whatsoever. He said noncommittally, “Big brother, since it’s a gift, why take it away? What can be gleaned about many things if we only look at external appearances? There’s a saying that the outside is good jade, but the inside is filled with rotten materials. A pretty exterior may not indicate a good interior. In contrast, what looks unassuming may not be something poor.”
Ye Dai was startled. He didn’t think that this number four, who usually never competed for anything, would not only not be filled with gratitude for his “help”, but would rather talk back to him!