Chapter 1334: [NCheng] Releasing the net
Liubei Trade Consortium’s main headquarters was located in Pingyan City, the largest city in southern Mysterious Continent. Carefree Joy was situated in a smaller city in its northern region called Sunset City.
Carefree Joy’s reputation was far greater than the city itself, so many people who came to Sunset City were actually aiming for Carefree Joy. As time went on, Sunset City earned a nickname called the "flower city," while the men who came to visit were assumed to come picking "flowers" and tussling "grass."
All this was due to Cheng’er. A female was much more insightful when it came to choosing other females, as the saying went. Cheng’er was the testament, as Carefree Joy’s girls had all been handpicked by herself. The most successful aspect of the brothel was the establishment’s huakui, who had worn a mask since her debut and never shown her face. Still, she successfully charmed countless men to the point of madness, who would gamble thousands at a time just because of her excellent dance skills. Even a single performance was enough to win a man’s heart.
Tonight, Carefree Joy was hosting a bidding party called "Fate of a Single Glance" to auction off the features of the huakui. Whoever won would be able to see the huakui’s real face. Currently the rotunda was full of people and the seats were practically full. Even those standing in the back had to pay silver for admissions. Although the bidding had yet to begin, Cheng’er had already earned a large sum of money.
After the song and dance were done, the performers left the tall stage empty and the raucous crowd quieted down. Everyone was both nervous and excited for the huakui’s arrival. Sure enough, they saw a woman with an excellent figure slowly descend from the roof beams on a long length of silk. She wore a dress of fine gauze and had an enchanting, delicate figure. A butterfly-shaped mask adored her face, blocking her eyes and nose to only reveal a pair of cherry lips.
An elegant figure paired with that small, crimson mouth was incomparably tempting. The men present couldn’t help but want to pounce on her for a kiss. When she landed onstage, the audience broke into a commotion, whistling and even confessing their feelings out loud. Since they had come to a brothel, no men would still be hiding their identity. Almost all of them were showing their faces except for a gentleman in a corner, who glanced at the huakui and went back to drinking. He seemed to have come for the wine, not the women. Naturally, he was Ning Cheng.
The huakui didn’t speak, but lightly lifted her jade-like arm to signal the musicians to play. As the qin began, everyone fell silent and the huakui began to dance. Her flexible waist bent, her sleeves went flying, a gauze of red swayed as she was as beautiful as a rose in the wind. Everyone was entranced by the sight until only the sound of Ning Cheng drinking wine remained. He finished his cup and looked up carelessly, just in time to meet the huakui’s gaze as she turned. It was only a moment, but the girl glanced away in panic. Ning Cheng didn’t seem particularly attracted by her dancing either and quickly looked away.
After the dance, everyone was excited once more. Only Ning Cheng remained sitting quietly. He didn’t make a sound when the various sounds of bidding began either. After the auction had gone on for a while, a sturdy man sitting behind Ning Cheng shouted, "Fifty million!"
The scene fell silent. No one else raised a price.
The old proprietress of the brothel grinned and went onstage. "This gentleman bid 50 million. Is there any other guest with offers?"
Leaving aside his substantial sum, the identity of the man was enough to give potential bidders pause. In the Mysterious Continent, money wasn’t able to solve all problems. Ability was king. Many businessmen had strong martial arts backers; otherwise, even the richest man couldn’t stand firm with their business.
This sturdy man was none other than one of the three generals under Eldest Miss Han of the Wolf Sect, Batu (巴图). As soon as he stood up, the few who could afford his price shrank back. Thus, the huakui’s "Fate of a Single Glance" was won by Batu with a prodigious price of 50 million taels.
The huakui went back first, while Batu drank a few mouthfuls of wine and tidied his beard before being led upstairs by a maidservant. The rest were sorry. Some left, some stayed to find more fun. Ning Cheng went upstairs and found a room, where he called for wine but not girls.
At this time, Cheng’er was waiting in her own room. The proprietress hurried over and said, "Master, Batu’s been held back by a few girls. You have to move fast! Master Cheng went to the second floor’s second top-tier room, he’s alone."
Cheng’er was delighted. She had purposely spread news so Ning Cheng would know she was here as the huakui’s maidservant and now the man had come. She had noticed him on stage and saw he was drinking wine while studying the masked huakui.
He’d never guess that I’m the famous huakui of Carefree Joy!
When the proprietress left, Cheng’er quickly called out Yujin and said, "Success or failure depends on this move. You can’t just watch and do nothing, you have to protect me at all costs."
"If you don’t go now, Batu will come!" Yujin muttered back.
Cheng’er happily left the room. She could slowly deal with Le Zheng after killing Ning Cheng!
Ning Cheng was waiting inside. He didn’t get his wine and wanted to call for someone, but the door opened. Surprised, he saw the huakui enter instead of a servant with alcohol.
"Sir, here is the Snow Maiden Red you wanted." Beneath her mask, Cheng’er had a pretty smile. She used voice-changing techniques to make her tone soft, unlike her usually quick and eloquent speech.
Ning Cheng froze slightly.
He had long found clues of Carefree Joy from Shaqiu’s mouth. After all, many of the maidens here were slaves like Shaqiu who usually came secretly. Naturally, Ning Cheng knew that Carefree Joy’s huakui was Lele herself! Thus, when he received news that Lele was hidden as the huakui’s servant girl, he was certain that Lele had leaked the news on purpose to draw and trap him in a jar.
He hadn’t made his move before this because he was interested in Carefree Joy’s business. He was debating how to force Carefree Joy to despair before dealing with Lele herself. Unexpectedly, Lele didn’t remain hidden but sought him out herself. Of course he knew this auction was a fraud, but he never thought Batu of the Wolf Sect would show up, much less be enchanted by Lele’s "Fate of a Single Glance."
He was still pondering whether Batu was a fluke or one of Lele’s arrangements. Naturally, he wouldn’t seek out Batu himself since he was Eldest Miss Han’s subordinate. His strength was extraordinary. Although Ning Cheng himself had brought along three famous mercenaries today, they might not beat him. Moreover, if Lele offended the Wolf Sect, Liubei Trade Consortium would be in trouble too. He had already given up his plans to sit here instead and observe the situation, just to find out the real relationship between Lele and Batu. But then Lele came to seek him out. She should be serving Batu right now.
Ning Cheng seemed to understand something and burst into laughter. Cheng’er was puzzled and inexplicably uneasy. She reined herself in, however, and asked, "Sir, what are you laughing for? Does sir dislike this slave coing to deliver wine?"
She had already make arrangements. Batu should’ve reached her room and found no one by now. Then the proprietress would bring him here just as she threw herself into Ning Cheng’s arms. As soon as they embraced, Batu would misunderstand and fry Ning Cheng. She was certain Batu’s fiery temper would ensure the other man’s death.
Cheng’er walked closer and prepared to sit down when Ning Cheng simply pulled her into his arms and held fast. He said, "Miss, you’ve come to the wrong door. I can’t afford 50 million taels of silver and wasn’t the one who bid on you."
Cheng’er sensed something wrong by this point. But Ning Cheng just said, "How about this? Call over your servant girls and I’ll release you, hm?"
Cheng’er was secretly thrilled and laughed to herself. Sure enough, this big idiot came to find me.
She said, "How am I supposed to call them if sir doesn’t release me?"
Ning Cheng replied, "Since you went to the wrong room, it’s fine if you accompany me for a while."
As he spoke, he groped her thigh. Cheng’er narrowed her eyes and thought that Shaqiu was right. Although this man seemed uninterested in wolf, he was simply a lecher. She pretended to be timid and said softly, "Sir, don’t do this…don’t!"
Ning Cheng ignored her and gripped her leg, sliding down inch by inch. Cheng’er resisted while secretly delighting in her heart. It’s better if Ah-Cheng is more proactive. Batu will definitely be even angrier I predict later.
The madder Batu got, the faster Ning Cheng would die!
Unexpectedly, Ning Cheng suddenly pulled out the dagger concealed at her calf and raised it up to cut through her butterfly mask!
Only now did Cheng’er realized this man knew martial arts and was quite skilled too.
"Lele, your godfather misses you. Let’s go."
Before Cheng’er could recover, Ning Cheng had already knocked her unconscious with one strike. Hidden outside, Yujin heard the noise and charged in even though Batu had yet to arrive. But what awaited her were three mercenaries while Ah-Cheng carried the unconscious Cheng’er out through a window. Yujin saw that the three assassins were on par with her skills, so she didn’t hesitate to turn tail and flee, avoiding them to chase Ah-Cheng another way. The trio weren’t fools and pursued her immediately.
Once everyone was gone, Batu arrived only to find the room empty.
"Where is she?!" he shouted at the proprietress.
The proprietress was confused. Where’s Master Cheng? And Ah-Cheng?
Batu suddenly gripped her by the collar and hollered, "You dared to trick me! Give me the person or I’ll burn down Carefree Joy!"
The proprietress dared not speak the truth, but she couldn’t find Master Cheng anywhere. Thus, both her and Carefree Joy met a tragic end.
Yujin was entangled by the three killers and couldn’t catch up to Ah-Cheng at all. By the time Ning Cheng brought Cheng’er back to Liubei Consortium, it was already night of the following day.
Cheng’er woke up and saw Ah-Cheng by her bed. She looked at her surroundings and discovered she was in the boudoir of Liubei Trade Consortium. Although her heart was panicking, she still pulled out a smile and said cheerily, "Ah-Cheng, I thought you’d hand me over to godfather by now. What now, you can’t bear to?"
1. Reminds me of this scene from Ep.2 of Swordsman, lol.
2. I’m guessing the stage isn’t very big, so maybe something like this.