# 144. A Female Yaoguai
Xu Qi’an took a sip of wine, before putting down the cup, looking around at all the beautiful women. With a carefree and relaxed tone, he said “That day, I had accompanied Princess Huaiqing to the banquet. I had a sudden inspiration and thus composed this half a Qiyan poem.”
His tone was calm and casual, as if it were merely a trivial matter, but the orians’ hearts thumped in their chests.
*It is him…* A’ya, who had guessed the truth, had a sudden feeling of inevitability, as if any other author would’ve seemed wrong.
The Great Feng’s poetic talent was still as appalling as before, and if Huaiqing, who had never written a great work before, had suddenly composed one it would be far out of the ordinary.
Only that when they heard the news, no one could link it up to Xu Qi’an. Only when they heard his words, and thought of his status as a Nightwatcher, as well as his extraordinary poetic talent, did they make the guess. A bold guess, but it hit the mark.
Currently in the Jiaofangsi no one knew who had written this poem, and there were countless outside curious as to the answer. Just this little bit of knowledge would make for the liveliest conversation.
“My Dear…” Fuxiang stared at him, full of emotion, her gaze overflowing with charm. To a lover of poetry like Fuxiang, this was more attractive than any a sweet word.
As for other oirans, whilst they silently exclaimed at his poetic talent, another detail made their hearts beat even faster, something that was more important than the poem itself:
He could enter the Imperial palace, and even attend a banquet with the princes and princesses.
This meant that Xu Qi’an was a trusted aide of one of the princes or princesses, otherwise he would not have gone to the banquet in the first place. He was worth much more than merely some poetry now.
And his appearance was still rather handsome, and he was a Nightwatcher, with state authority in his hand… of course, the oirans had seen their fair share of important officials and renowned nobles, and so the authority of a Nightwatcher was not much in comparison. But if the Nightwatcher had talent that could look down upon a forest of scholars? If the Nightwatcher was valued by a royal prince or princess?
All these halos added together, made serving him more attractive than any old, fat, high and mighty official.
*We can’t let Fuxiang take advantage of this too, we must win him over! Fuxiang is the most prominent oiran in the Jiaofangsi, if she got another poem, then us sisters will never have an opportunity for fame again…*
As they thought this, the oirans’ smiles became ever more earnest, each of them being coy with their words, their adoring gazes surrounding Xu Qi’an.
Suddenly the aura in the room became fiery hot.
After the drinking games were finished, under the influence of alcohol, the oirans boldly started playing finger games, each with their sleeves up, showing their shining pale lower arms, their delicate hands.
Most importantly Xu Qi’an didn’t mind, which gave them the courage.
The sky slowly darkened, and more guests came to the Jiaofangsi, who quickly noticed a strange thing.
Today nearly all the oirans were closed to customers, and were not playing drinking games.
Some people in irritation went to find the brothel keeper, and the brothel keeper thought to herself *Are you trying to bloody revolt? How’re you going to earn silver if you don’t take guest?*
Then she sent someone to ask after them, and only then did she find out that the oirans had all gone to the Azure Pond Courtyard, eight in total — that is to say, that in the Azure Pond Courtyard today were nine oirans in total.
“What’s the matter with this?”
“From the sounds of it… they seem to be very happy, are they serving an important person?”
“How could they? During the official evaluation, who would dare indulge like this? Who would be dumb enough to present the dagger to their enemies?”
“Perhaps they’re just playing around together.”
“Why are you guessing, we can just go and ask.”
A guest knocked on the door to the courtyard. The gatekeeper, opening the door, was scared out of his skin by the sight beyond.
Around the door of the Azure Pond Courtyard, were stood over a dozen guests.
“What are the madams doing in there?” A young man with opulent robes tried to peek into the yard, asking sternly.
“Receiving a guest.” The gatekeeper said.
The guests outside all fell silent. After a few seconds, someone asked with a strange expression, “Which… which gentleman is inside… if it’s inconvenient to say, then forget I asked.”
The gatekeeper thought for a moment. He knew that the guest inside was a Master Xu, and not some important figure as the people outside had presumed. He felt that there was no need to hide anything, thus truthfully said,
“It’s not as the Sirs think, the guest inside is Master Xu.”
The crowd exchanged looks. Searching around in their heads for a moment, the guests failed to find any “Master Xu”.
*There’s a noble or official named Xu in this court?*
The young man who knocked on the door asked with a frown, “Which Master Xu?”
“Xu Qi’an, the Master Xu who wrote the poem for Fuxiang.” The gatekeeper said. He had been rewarded three cash of silver by Master Xu, and was in high spirits, so he was happy to praise his name.
Rays of light shone from the eyes of the few scholars that were present.
“Let’s wait here, perhaps we could get another legendary poetic work.”
As this was said, the people who were originally angry, or jealous, also calmed their emotions. Everyone present had status. Even if they were just a merchant, they also had a wishing to mingle with high culture.
“To be served by nine oirans, what bearing must he have! Not even any of the previous Zhuangyuans had such a treatment.”
“A Zhuangyuan wouldn’t dare to be so extravagantly indulgent.”
Ding! Ding! Ding!
With a clear and crisp sound, several headless arrows landed in the vase three *zhang* away with expert precision.
Xu Qi’an, blindfolded and facing the other way, took off the blindfold, and with a large laugh pulled the two oirans A’ya and Mingyan closer, crazily slobbering over their faces.
After he was done, Xu Qi’an slapped the two on the buttocks, “You lost the bet, you pay the price, drink, drink!”
The two oirans turned their waists, showing a feigned kittenish anger, at the same time dutifully drinking their wine.
“Ah let’s not play more, it’s so boring being unbeatable.” Xu Qi’an pushed aside the two oirans, “Wait here young misses, I’m gonna go out a moment, when I get back we can battle another three hundred rounds.”
He rubbed his stomach, indicating that he needed to go to the toilet.
The oirans behind him all called, “Master official, return quickly!”
Leaving the room, and closing the door, the fiercely cold winter wind came rushing in. Xu Qi’an’s pompous expression faded, as he lightly let out a long breath.
He looked around, and seeing that no one had noticed him, he lightly leapt onto the courtyard wall, tearing out a sheet of qi-watching technique, lighting it with his qi.
He raised his head to the sky, as two bursts of bright light shout from his eyes, cutting the night, before fading, the bright clear light swimming around in his pupils.
Xu Qi’an had another reason for coming to the Jiaofangsi, that was to use qi-watching at close range, and find that Yao aura.
Henghui had appeared, and committed massacre twice in the inner city. If someone were to say that there were no Yaoguai lurking in the city, he would not believe them.
*Henghui is clearly a blade for the Yao, they’re using him to achieve some sort of goal. The Yao race went to so much trouble to free that sealed item, they would never just let Henghui do as he wished… if it were me, I would always keep eyes on Henghui… last time I saw Yao qi at the Jiaofangsi, if it was just a one-off, then whatever, but if it isn’t, then the Jiaofangsi is very likely to be one of the places where they are lurking.*
The clear qi swirled around in his eyes, as he leisurely scanned over every single corner, seeing all colours of qi, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Finally, he laid his gaze on the Azure Pond Courtyard right in front of him, into the room where the oirans were.
A wisp of emerald-green Yao qi, rose in spirals like smoke.
*Fuck*… Xu Qi’an nearly couldn’t resist swearing out loud. His blood ran cold, as his back erupted in cold sweat.
*The Yao is in the room?*
*It was just drinking wine with me?*
He had a chilling feeling of being in a horror story, where the main character finds a place to stay the night deep in the wilderness, where he is given a warm welcome, only to wake up the next morning to find that he is in a graveyard.
“Which one is the Yaoguai… one of the oirans, or one of the maids? It can’t be Fuxiang right, I’ve slept with her so many times, she can’t be a Yao… plus that day when I was looking for Yao aura, I’d already looked at her.”
Xu Qi’an silently jumped down from the wall, tiptoeing towards the tea room. The door was not closed tightly, and he peeked in through the graph.
He saw the woman that was giving off the Yao qi: it was not one of the oirans, but rather one of oiran Mingyan’s maidservants.
*It’s her…* Xu Qi’an instantly began to think, why was it when last time he brought Song Tingfeng and the others on an outing together, did he not see the Yao aura?
*That night did she use some method to hide her qi… what motive does she have for hiding next to Mingyan… mn, Mingyan may not be innocent, perhaps she’s in cahoots with the Yao… thinking about this, as soon as I entered the Jiaofangsi she sent people to ask after me, might not be for any simple reasons.*
Xu Qi’an immediately made up his mind. Again he vaulted over the wall, leaving the Courtyard and making his way straight to where Song Tingfeng was.
Earlier when he was qi-watching, he mentally noted Song Tingfeng and Zhu Guangxiao’s whereabouts.
As he leapt onto the surrounding wall, he ignored the maids’ shocked questions, bursting into the room, before hearing through the bedroom door Old Song busy in exchanging essence through dual cultivation.
The sounds from the room suddenly stopped, followed by Song Tingfeng’s cautious voice, “Who is it?”
“It’s me,” Xu Qi’an banged on the door, “Come out, it’s serious.”
Song Tingfeng cursed, before he heard the rustling of clothes. A moment later, he came out scruffily clothed.
“Old Song, go immediately to the constabulary, and notify the Gold Gong on duty to come personally to the Jiaofangsi. Tell him that there is a Yaoguai in the Azure Pond Courtyard.” Xu Qi’an made a long story short,
“Remember, you must get a Gold Gong over. I don’t really understand qi-watching, and can’t tell their power. There are also nine oirans in the courtyard, they’re all like sheep and are powerless to protect themselves. Oh right, if the one on duty is surnamed Zhu, then go instead to the Sitianjian and find Song Qing.”
He didn’t say any more; he believed that as long as Song Tingfeng reported the situation as it was told, with the experience of a Gold Gong he would know what to do.
Song Tingfeng’s expression became more and more serious, the earlier feeling of annoyance completely evaporating. He returned and grabbed his sabre, his bronze gong, simultaneously tying on his gong, and rushing out of the yard.
Xu Qi’an quickly returned to the Azure Pond Courtyard, a frivolous smile forming on his face, as with an expression like he was high on life pushed open the door, lauhging,
“I’ve come back, my beauties!”
Out of the corner of his eye he glanced at the female Yao, who was head lowered, pouring her Madam more wine, before moving his gaze.
Without knowing her ability, he did not dare make a move himself. To allow her to escape would not be the end of the world, but he did not want to see innocent oirans get hurt.
Later he ate what he should eat, drank what he should drank, and touched where he should touch.
Xu Qi’an and the oirans played drinking games after drinking games, throwing dice and pitching pots, full of happiness.
Whose buttocks were the roundest, whose breasts were the softest, whose waist was the thinnest, who was made of water… he became intimately familiar.
But Xu Qi’an was not happy, rather he was somewhat anxious. Waiting and waiting, an hour had passed, and Song Tingfeng had not yet returned.
Just now, the female Yao raised her head, glancing at Xu Qi’an, saying softly, “The night is dark, Madams should probably not return too late. Will Master Xu be staying tonight with our Miss?”