# 143. Jiuyin Zhenjing[^1] "Is this Young Master Xu?" Xu Qi'an heard someone calling his name behind him. *Holy crap, did I just get recognized by an acquaintance while visiting the brothel?* While cursing, he turned to the other side, before sighing in relief. Behind him was a handsome young man, wearing azure clothes, quite similar to that of the youth guarding the door of Reflecting Plum Pavilion. "Young Master Xu, our Miss Mingyan[^2] wishes to invite you to drink tea." The handsome young man said while presenting a flattering smile. *Mingyan...* Xu Qi'an tried to remember the name for some time when he knew who this Miss Mingyan was. She was also a Famous Oiran, famed for her dancing skills. She was on the same level as Fuxiang previously was in. Of course, the currently hyped Fuxiang wasn't at the level she was at before. Of course, Fuxiang now was the most hyped Oiran, far beyond what she was before, riding atop all the other oirans at the Jiaofangsi. *Skilled in Dancing huh... as everyone knows, the effects of dance and yoga are the same!* Xu Qi'an eyes sparkled, and he said while smiling, "Lead the way." The handsome youth also smiled, and he led the way, bowing, "Please come with me, Master Xu. This way, this way please..." If Xu Qi'an were invited over, Miss Mingyan would be overjoyed, and not be stingy at all in rewarding him. But, If he returned empty-handed, he could not have avoided a scolding. At the entrance of the Reflecting Plum Pavilion, the gatekeeper that was just about to receive Xu Qi'an came out. Seeing the scene, his face changed colour. As he opened his mouth, intending to save Master Xu and scold the colleague who wanted to poach his game. After thinking about it though, he had an idea: *My status isn't enough to intervene. Even if I do, I may earn Master Xu's ire.* After gritting his teeth, he closed the door and hurried to get inside the courtyard. "Something’s happened, Elder Sisters!" He entered the wine room and shouted at the maid who was wiping the tables and taking cold dishes to the kitchen. The beautiful maid frowned and looked over, "You look panicked. What happened?" The little guard was very anxious, and poured over his concerns, "Young Master Xu was snatched away. Even more, he was snatched right outside the courtyard gate. He was invited over to Miss Mingyan's courtyard." "What?" "That bitch! She dares to snatch our miss's man?" The maids were all startled. The tall maid shook off the wet cloth in her hand, picked up the hem of her skirt, and rushed to the master bedroom as if she was about to report sensitive military information. ... Over in the master bedroom, Fuxiang was lazily lying on her bed, wearing a plum blossom dress, as she held a book in her hand. She was simultaneously enjoying some jewel-red grapes, as well as reading a famous tale about gifted scholars and beautiful women. The fruit platter in front of her was filled with seasonal fruits, like grapes, sugarcane, bananas, and winter dates. Her maidservant was squatting by her bed, holding her delicate and fragrant feet as she massaged the acupoints in her soles. "Miss, You have been in a trance lately, as if you aren't very happy. Are you thinking of Master Xu?" "What thoughts would I put into that rascal?" Fuxiang shook her head. "Why else would you have me go outside to ask if Young Master Xu was there every night we sample tea." Fuxiang frowned, and pointed to her fruit platter, "All the men in the world are of the same sort. They are like that sugarcane!" "Sugarcane?" "Sweet in the beginning. Sweet enough that it melts your heart and soul. As you eat it, You finally discover its true taste, as all that’s left in your mouth is sawdust." Fuxiang curled her lips. Her dignified and gentle aura fell off, causing her face to appear more lively. The smilingly thought, *Even if it is sawdust, it was really sweet when it was sweet." Fuxiang, silent at the beginning, became chatty after the maidservant prodded along. Pursing her lips, she asked, "What do you think of my Darling Xu?" The maidservant laughed cheekily and said, "He's very powerful. Every night he works you until you’re tired all over, so much so that you struggle to walk straight." Fuxiang blushed and lightly kicked the maidservant. She stared off with a flirtatious gaze, and said, "Don't you think that he's different from other men?" Jogging her memory, the maidservant agreed, "He is much gentler than other men, and he doesn't arrogantly look down on us. But, when he stares at Miss's chest, you find that he isn't that pure compared to the men outside." "All men are lustful." Fuxiang didn't care about it and pinched a grape, which she stuffed into her mouth. She continued, "Recently, half a Qiyan poem, one rivalling that of *Delicate, tilting branches reflected on clear and shallow water; its subtle fragrance drifts with the rising moon at dusk*, has been circulating in the Jiaofangsi. It is said to have originated from the palace." The maidservant nodded, "According to the guests in our tea parties, It was made by a prince or princess during a drinking game. But, I haven't heard of a prince having this level of poetic talent." At the time, a tall maid arrived in the room. She was slightly panting, and her eyes were anxious. She said, "Miss, Master Xu had just arrived at the Jiaofangsi..." After she said that, she paused for a moment to catch her breath. Humming, Fuxiang calmly said, "Let him wait outside with food and drinks." *This man... Hmmph. I haven't seen you for ten days. You came over and called me honey when interested, and leave me in the cold when not interested!* *He's just a man. I don't have to worry about him.* The maid shook her head, as she spoke out, "Young Master Xu was snatched away by Miss Mingyan, and he has already arrived at her courtyard." "What?" In a whoosh Fuxiang hurriedly stood up, causing layers of waves to flow on her chest. Squeezing her willow-like eyebrows, She gritted her teeth and said, "Dress up. We are going to the Azure Pond Courtyard." ... In the elegantly furnished brocade hall, Xu Qi'an was admiring the figure of the dancing Oiran with a smile adorned his face. She was wearing a light yellow veil dress. Her dress was neither conservative nor gaudy. She had clear eyes and a pointed chin. Alongside that, A vigor unmatched by any other woman in the Jiaofangsi was contained in her body, probably a result of practicing dance all year round. Furthermore, though her figure wasn't spicy hot, it was excellently proportioned. "I have been paying attention to Master Xu for a long time. It's a pity that Master Xu has always graced the Reflecting Plum Pavilion whenever he visited the Jiaofangsi." Mingyan's voice was soft, making her resentful words sound joking, even more so due to the smile in her mouth. "Today, I was finally able to seize this opportunity." Smiling, Xu Qi'an said, "I'm afraid of a beauty being abrupt.", However, his mind was fully focused on calculations. *This oiran is on the same level as Fuxiang. Fuxiang's rate is about thirty taels a night. She should have similar rates, and I haven't yet calculated the cost of drinks.* *I haven't brought much silver today. But, I do have a lot of gold. However, gold can't be used as currency.* The two chatted for a while when a maid hurried in, lowering her head, "Miss, Fuxiang is on the way, and I, we can't stop her." Mingyan raised her eyebrows, and said with a smile, "It seems that Fuxiang has great affection for Young Master, and she regards him as her exclusively." Xu Qi'an raised his brows. This sentence looked like a compliment, but it was Mingyan's method of sowing discord. Being regarded as exclusive by a prostitute wasn't a glorious matter for the men of this era. Heh, Bitches do have Bitch Qi... Xu Qi'an took a sip, he wasn't troubled at this. If anything, is it not a normal sight for a place like the Jiaofangsi to be overflowing with Bitch Qi? How could someone without some skills survive in that sort of place? If we were to discuss the place with the highest concentration of Bitch Qi, the emperor's harem was the well-deserved industry leader. Just as he was thinking, Fuxiang arrived, accompanied by her maidservant. The famous oiran was sullen. Her beautiful eyes flashed with fierceness. Yet, her brows and eyes instantaneously turned gentle the moment she entered the room, and she said, her tone as pitiful as it could be: "I had heard that my darling had come to Jiaofangsi. So, I wanted to join in on the fun and serve you alongside Miss Mingyan." Her speaking skills were assuredly amazing. It sounded as if she hadn't come to Azure Pond Pavilion to inquire about a crime, but to serve together. Not only had she declared her sovereignty, but She had also defeated Oiran Mingyan and also pleased Xu Qi'an. Who wouldn't want to be confessed by two famous oirans at the same time? Mingyan wore a warm smile, "How could I allow sister the bother of running over? I was just whispering some secrets to Master Xu… I'm too embarrassed to say it now that sister is here." Pretending not to hear anything, Fuxiang lifted her skirt and sat elegantly beside Xu Qi'an. She carefully poured wine for him, picked up vegetables for him, and also tidied up his messy hair. "Is Darling busy with official duties lately?" "Yeah." Seeing the famous oiran lean over, Xu Qi'an hugged her slender willow waist. "Then you come to the Reflecting Plum Pavilion later. I'll rub your shoulders and massage your acupoints." Fuxiang softly said. Mingyan gritted her teeth. How much she wished that she could drive that bitch out using a broom. *She’s already gotten her chance, and became very famous, she should have been content with that.* *It doesn't make any sense to tie a man to your side and not allow the other sisters in Jiaofangsi to not get a share of the pie.* The sound of hurried footsteps appeared again. It was still the maid who had come previously. Gazing at Xu Qi'an while holding a strange expression, she said in a low voice, "Miss, All the famous oirans are here..." "What?" Both Mingyan and Fuxiang exclaimed in surprise. Xu Qi'an's ears twitched, and he heard laughter, like the singing of orioles and swallows. After a while, a group of beautifully dressed, high-quality beauties entered the room one by one. Some of them appeared charming and ardent, Some were flirtatious and enthusiastic, Some were reserved like ladies, and some had a sickly complexion similar to sister Daiyu.[^3] All these styles, all gathered in these Seven famous oirans. In terms of figure or appearance, all of them could be considered top-notch beauties. "Hello, Master Xu!" Standing in a row, the famous oirans bowed their bodies and said in their melodious voice. Only five words could reflect Xu Qi'an's imagination at the moment, *The Young Models Association*. Fuxiang and Mingyan were very furious about having to entertain the other famous oirans warmly with hypocrisy. The brocade hall didn't have room for this many people, So Famous Oiran Mingyan invited everyone to the External Hall and arranged for her maids to serve delicious food and wine. The nine oirans chatted and laughed amongst themselves at ease, as if they were actual sisters. But, they would look at Xu Qi'an from time to time, revealing that all this was simply a secret competition among them. They were all greedy humans, and they were very greedy for Xu Qi'an's body. But, None of that greed appeared in their actions as they maintained the style and demeanor expected from a famous oiran. However, Xu Qi'an could smell the traces of gunpowder, especially from Fuxiang. He could see her acting impatiently whenever he looked around. *What's the matter? Do you all want to compete for the Jiuyin Zhenjing?[^4]... Unfortunately, I don't have a phone, or I could have shown this off in my WeChat Moments.* Xu Qi'an flirted while lampooning. A famous oiran proposed that they play a Drinking Game. Even after drinking for three rounds, Xu Qi'an's performance was still mediocre, and no popular poems came out, disappointing the famous oirans who had come because of him. The Famous Oiran who had proposed to play the Drinking Game smiled and said, "Have you heard the half Qiyan poem, *Drunk, he knows not if the sky floats in the water; His dream laden boat sailing atop the Milky way.*" The oirans became active all of a sudden. The beauties began to speak, "What a beautiful verse, isn't it?" Fuxiang smiled and said, "It is said to have spread from the palace." The talented Oiran nodded, "Do you know who wrote it?" The oiran's eyes lit up, and they all looked at her, "And you know it, A'ya?" Xu Qi'an lowered his head as he continued to drink. The talented Famous Oiran shook her head, "I don't know. But, I do know something else, which isn't known to the Jiaofangsi…" She paused deliberately and began drinking slowly. "Speak quickly." The other famous oirans urged her. Fuxiang's attention was also attracted. Her eyes also sparkled, as the corners of her mouth unconsciously gathered to form a smile. Xu Qi'an had seen this kind of expression before. In his previous life, he had seen that sort of expression when his girlfriend and her friends discussed luxury bags. They had the same sort of attitude back then. A'ya was very satisfied with the other's attitude and said while smiling, "This poem was made during a Drinking Game. The interesting thing is, the participants of the Drinking Game were all Princesses." "Was it the Eldest Princess?" The famous Oirans guessed. If anyone among the Imperial Children wrote the Qiyan poem, the talented Eldest Princess Huaiqing must have been the one to do so. "I don't know about that." A'ya shook her head, and glanced at Xu Qi'an, expression laden with Bitch Qi, laughing: "Although only half the poem was written, The level is comparable to Master Xu's Plum Praising Verse. But I feel that Master Xu's poems are unique. That half poem seems to be from a flash of inspiration, and the creator shouldn't be as talented as Master Xu." "Yes, Has Master Xu written a new work lately? I have admired your talent for a long time." The flirtatious and affectionate famous oiran winked. Xu Qi'an lightly laughed while sipping his wine, "I've run out of ideas recently, and haven't created any new works. After all, I can't write a new poem in a mere 3-4 days." The girls were disappointed hearing what he said. But, They just realized that there was a mistake in his words. *In 3-4 days? Wasn't Young Master Xu's latest work "Plum Song" presented to Fuxiang, and the one before "Who in the world doesn't know of you?" presented to Ziyang Jushi?* They obviously hadn't heard of the encouraging learning poem. *The two poems had been around for quite some time and had been widely sung, but their popularity had dropped. Why would he say something about a lapse of 3-4 days... That means... He wrote a new work three or four days ago.* A'ya remembered the time the half Qiyan had come out from the palace. That was the day before yesterday. Some time should have passed before the poem got to the Jiaofangsi. After the calculation, The times matched. Her beautiful eyes became wide open, and she tightened an embroidered handkerchief with her slender fingers. Similarly, Her delicate body trembled slightly with excitement, and she stared straight at Xu Qi'an, as her voice trembled, "Young Master Xu... Your newest work wouldn't be..." Fuxiang was the one to react the quickest. She suddenly turned her head so her watery eyes could reflect Xu Qi'an's appearance. She felt a kind of excitement and tension, one that had yet to erupt. The feeling was similar to the joy and anticipation of suddenly discovering something you like being by your side. The chatter and laughter abruptly stopped, and the hall fell silent. The famous oirans, still bright, realized something and turned their heads one after another, casting complicated gazes toward Xu Qi'an. Their gazes were a mixture of anticipation, surprise, and shock. --- Translator’s Note: So we’ve used “Bitch Qi” here quite a bit as a stand-in for the Chinese term 婊里婊气, which means something like “to act sweet and dumb in front of members of the opposite sex but to act all high and mighty in front of those of the same sex, in order to seek attention.” Even if there’s a “more existing” English slang that would fit I’m keeping this if just for the quote “Bitches do have bitch qi”. — Yan. [^1]: 九阴真经 The Nine Yin Manual, a coveted martial arts manual in Jin Yong’s *Legend of the condor heroes* series. [^2]: 明砚 [^3]: Sister Daiyu: Referring to Lin Daiyu 林黛玉, a character from Cai Xueqin's classic *"Dream of the Red Chamber"* [^4]: The five most skilled martial art masters compete for the Nine Yin Manual atop Mt Hua. As the book was fought bitterly over by the “Central Divine” Wang Chongyang, the “Eastern Heretic” Huang Yaoshi, the “Western Venom” Ouyang Feng, the “Northern Beggar” Hong Qigong, and the “Southern Emperor” Duan Zhixing. — since Condor Heroes is one of *the* legendary wuxias its extremely known about, probably worth a look.