The long opening speech finally ended and Immortal Glass Melody Li Shishi returned to her seat. As she sat down, the dinner banquet officially began. Several doors along the walls swung open and large white beasts flew out, each carrying a plate of freshly made food. They were a type of butterfly. Each flap of their large wings left behind a trail of sparkling snowflakes.
These beasts were snow butterflies. The silk they produced was pure white, durable, and beautiful. They were used to craft the uniforms of the order. Glacier Palace had once spent a great deal of money to acquire a few snow butterfly eggs. They tried to raise them but that was ended up being a total failure.
Long Yifei watched in fascination as a small swarm of butterflies landed at her table. Each dish they deposited was fragrant and delicate beyond description. Vegetables, mushrooms, tofu, fish, meat; there were all kinds of combinations. She was glad that it wasn’t limited to a vegetarian menu. That was one of many aspects of Glacier Palace she never wanted to experience again.
The butterflies flew away and everyone began eating. She picked out her first target, a beautifully garnished plate of steamed fish. With chopsticks in hand, she delivered the first morsel into her mouth.
"Oh!" She covered her mouth to hide a blush.
The flavor was deep, savory with a bit of sweet and sour undertones. The fish flesh was flaky, soft, and refreshing. She wasn’t a foodie but she couldn’t help but marvel at both the quality of the ingredient as well as the skill required to cook it perfectly.
Noises of utensils clacking against plates were soon joined by enthusiastic conversations. Each table seated ten Sacred Daughters and for the newcomers, it was customary for them to get to know each other.
"Fellow sisters, how are you all enjoying the food?" A bright-eyed girl spoke up first at Long Yifei’s table.
Although she wore the same plain white dress like all the others, her hairstyle was quite distinct. In addition to several pairs of earrings and three necklaces, she wore an elaborate headdress made of silver and diamonds. Her hair also had four loops held together by jade clasps. At a glance, she exuded wealth and a haughty demeanor.
After a few murmurs of praise for the dishes, the girl continued, "My name is Wei Shuangshuang, age twenty-six. I am a legacy student of the Virtuous Order. My father’s side, the Wei Clan, has been a long-time supporter of the order. On my mother’s side, there is an unbroken lineage of Sacred Daughters going back at least ten generations. My acolyte is Immortal Unwavering Flame Chuan Botong, the young master of the School of All Truths! I am familiar with many aspects of the order and if you all have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!"
Wei Shuangshuang was indeed impressive, being only twenty-six and already at the 10th Level of the Spirit Initiate Realm. For the Eastern Sanmu Subcontinent, if they were in the low thirties, it was already considered a special talent. Everyone at the table was the same cultivation but Wei Shuangshuang was the youngest.
"Sister Wei, would we get to eat such amazing food every meal?" One person asked.
Wei Shuangshuang held a palm to her mouth and giggled lightly, "No, that would be too much even for the order. Our bodies also wouldn’t be able to handle these nourishing dishes every day. Alright, since you asked, it is your turn to introduce yourself."
"Hello, sisters. My name is Ye Landou! I am thirty-one years old." That person squealed in a small voice, obviously nervous.
She had a diminutive stature. Her face was heart-shaped, her neck was slender, and her features were youthful and exquisite. She wore barely any jewelry and her black hair was pinned into a simple bun.
"I am from the Northern Qihe Subcontinent. I am a first-generation student and hopefully a member of the order in the future. I am here on a special scholarship so I have yet to have an acolyte yet. I hope fellow sisters can take care of me and give me guidance!"
Following Ye Landou, a few more at the table introduced themselves. Their backgrounds varied. Around two-thirds came from the Martial Brilliance Continent while the rest came from the surrounding subcontinents. Around the same ratio of them didn’t have acolytes. They were picked for their talent and their tuitions would be fully paid for by the school.
Soon, all eyes turned to Long Yifei and it was her turn. She had worn her hair down for today, letting her long glossy black hair flow down her back to her waist. Her piercing blue eyes contrasted sharply with her smooth, flawless white skin. She wore nothing except a pair of earrings made of frost diamonds, a gift from Chen Wentian. The earrings, named Flawless Snowfrost, radiated mystery and power as only a Spirit Lord Realm item could. They cast an ethereal aura upon her features that were so perfect, nobody dared to utter a breath as they waited for her to speak.
She was the most beautiful woman at this table by far, even adding in the surrounding tables too. This much was indisputable and even their neighbors perked their ears up to listen in.
"My name is Long Yifei, thirty-three. I am a first-generation student of the order. I come from the Eastern Sanmu Subcontinent and my acolyte is my master, Immortal Blue Dragon Chen Wentian." She said simply.
She didn’t boast and she didn’t give out too much detail. She, of course, didn’t reveal her talent as a divine daughter. None of the Sacred Daughters didn’t mention true talent either. Revealing such things right at the beginning of the school year would harm harmony and sisterhood. This was the intention of the school, to allow everyone a chance to grow and flourish.
"Well met, Sister Long!" Wei Shuangshuang replied first, "I hope we can be friends. We’ve only known each other for a short while but I can already tell that you are going to achieve great things at this school!"
"Sister Wei praises me too much. I still know too little about the world and would have to seek Sister Wei’s wealth of knowledge."
"Hehe, of course, of course. Sister Long is beautiful and talented, how can I say no? Her master acolyte also must be a man amongst men. Immortal Blue Dragon, to name oneself after a divine beast, his cultivation must be able to match such boundless pride and heavenly might?"
Long Yifei inwardly frowned. Although Wei Shuangshuang’s words were courteous and seemed to praise Chen Wentian, they were actually filled with thin-veiled barbs of ridicule. It seemed that women all over the world were the same. It didn’t matter if it was a subcontinent or a main continent, peerless beauty attracted jealousy from near and far. She would have to treat this Wei Shuangshuang carefully.
"You praise my master far too much. He is only at the Spirit Lord Realm. His immortal title, I have no idea why that came to be. And as a disciple, I have not dared to ask." Long Yifei said.
An expression of ridicule flashed across Wei Shuangshuang’s face before it disappeared. It was as if she couldn’t believe Long Yifei’s master was such a trashy immortal.
Long Yifei remained impassive but she sighed inwardly. She was a veteran of these kinds of verbal battles between women. The years spent rising up the ranks at Glacier Palace had trained her well.
She had forgotten what it was like after she joined Ten Thousand Flower Valley. Chen Wentian’s other disciples were each so different and they did not view her as a threat like other women. This also had to do with how he treated her. She was simply one of his disciples, no better but no worse. She was not the center of his world.
She didn’t know how to feel about it then but she worried about it now. This was no longer Ten Thousand Flower Valley; this was the Virtuous Order of Chunzhen. It wasn’t that she wanted him to treat her like the most important woman in his life. It was the order that demanded it. The order demanded this out of all their acolytes.
She wondered what Chen Wentian would do. Would he back down or would he stand up to the challenge?
Thank you to all my patrons!
Support me and read ahead by 30 or even 60 chapters!
Join my discord for updates, delays, and my ramblings :)