Chapter 29: This Little Shop Has Twelve Pots of Wine
Yet even after Lei Wujie heroically marched forth, he turned around only to find that Xiao Se was still sitting lazily on his stool. He casually raised a cup and took several sips before refilling it for a second leisurely round of drinks.
“Why aren’t you moving?” Lei Wujie asked.
Xiao Se’s raised his eyebrows, “Have you paid yet?”
All Lei Wujie could feel then was his excitement instantly wash out of his body as if someone dumped a cold bucket of water over his head. He dug out the last few pieces of silver from his clothes and walked back to place them on the table. “Waiter… bill please.”
The waiter received the silvers dutifully but as he walked away, his face was the very picture of coldness. He had initially assumed that Lei Wujie was a rich young master from his extraordinary bearing and well-groomed appearance. Yet who would’ve thought that he would be so stingy.
“Can we go now?” Lei Wujie helplessly looked at Xiao Se once again.
Xiao Se downed another cup before replying, “Not yet.”
“Now what?!” Lei Wujie fumed. However, with just a single glare from Xiao Se, the fire in him disappeared.
In an unhurried voice, Xiao Se said, “Well, we can go. But we won’t challenge the Tower of Ascension. You’re a disciple of the Lei Clan, there’s no need for you to challenge it in the first place. Just take your invitation card and swagger in.”
“I don’t have an invitation card…” Lei Wujie whispered in a soft voice.
“What?” Xiao Se was stunned.
“I don’t have an invitation card.” Lei Wujie’s voice became so soft it was like the buzz of a mosquito.
This time, Xiao Se heard every single word clearly. A threatening slowness crept into his voice as he repeated, “You don’t have an invitation card… As a disciple of the Lei Clan, you’re telling me you don’t have an invitation card?! If you don’t have an invitation, what the hell are you doing in Snow Moon City?”
Lei Wujie scratched his head before replying, “Actually, I came here of my own accord. My name wasn’t in the name list submitted to Snow Moon City by the Lei Clan. That’s because… that’s because I’m…”
“Because you’re Lei Hong’s disciple…” Xiao Se frowned slightly.
Lei Wujie nodded his head. “That’s right, I’m Lei Hong’s disciple. My teacher is an oddity in the Lei Clan. Other than me, no one speaks to him. When he gave me that bag, he only told me to look for someone in Snow Moon City. That’s why I’m here.”
The frown on Xiao Se’s face became deeper but he chose not to continue in the end.
“But you don’t have to worry. I will definitely succeed in climbing the tower” Lei Wujie had a solemn look on his face as he continued, “And I will definitely return you all the silver I owe.”
“The person you have to meet… Which floor do you have to reach in order to see him?” Xiao Se asked.
“Probably the sixteenth floor.” Lei Wujie started to laugh.
“I more or less know who you want to meet.” Xiao Se stood up and walked towards the exit. “However, with you current martial skills, you won’t be able to reach the sixteenth floor.”
Lei Wujie quickly chased after Xiao Se and patted the bundle he had been carrying around. “Actually, all these while, I had been holding back a little. Moreover, I’ve gained some new insights into my Arhat Fist after practising it for a few months.”
The two of them leisurely walked down the street in which time they coincidentally passed by a bar. Xiao Se suddenly stopped walking and took a deep sniff. “That aroma…” Raising his head, he looked at the sign on top of the bar: Eastward
“You can just wait for me here.” Lei Wujie patted Xiao Se’s shoulder before continuing, “I’ll go challenge the tower. After reaching the sixteenth level and meeting the person I want to meet, I’ll come back and look for you.”
Xiao Se looked at Lei Wujie thoughtfully.
“I’ll bring the five hundred silvers when I come back!” Lei Wujie hastily added a sentence.
Xiao Se sighed but didn’t speak. As for Lei Wujie, he had already taken several wide strides forward. Seeing that, Xiao Se couldn’t help but remember the snowy night where this youth barged into his villa in high spirits.
“How far do you think he will go?” A lazy voice suddenly spoke out. Xiao Se turned around and found that a man with a short stubble had been standing there unbeknownst to him. That man was roughly thirty years of age and wore a flowing blue robe that draped over him in an offhand manner, just like the lazy expression he wore. His long hair hung down and it brought with it a dispirited look. Yet, there was a distinguished look on his face which couldn’t be covered up. Standing beside Xiao Se in his blue robe, they almost looked like long lost brothers.
“Eleventh floor. He can probably scrape through the elder’s floor. But there is no way he’ll be able to reach the sixteenth floor.” Xiao Se turned around and said.
The stubbled man touched his beard and shook his head, “If he opens that bundle, he’ll be able to reach the twelfth floor.”
“Only one?” Xiao Se’s eyebrows jumped.
“From the tenth floor onwards, every floor is a whole different boundary.” The man laughed.
“You’re that sure?” Xiao Se asked.
“My bar has been open for more than ten years.” Answered the man with a hint of pride as he stood under the sign which read ‘Eastward’.
“My previous waiter said that he has been here for several decades as well. However, he doesn’t seem as knowledgeable as you.” Xiao Se said indifferently.
“Naturally.” The man pointed towards the interior of the building and he sniffed with all his might. “That’s because my wine is more aromatic than his.”
“What wines do you have?” Xiao Se questioned once again.
“Shaoxing Huatiao Dukang Wine, Lanling Osmanthus Fragrans Wine, Hongmao Mountain Jujube Wine, Yanggao Lamb with Acanthopanx Bark Wine, Nu’er Hong Bamboo Leaves Wine, Ling Lake Heniangong Wine, Apricot Flowers Bronze Wine… What would you like to drink?” Just listing the wine almost made the man fall over in a drunken stupor…
“Since I’m already here in Snow Moon City, I naturally want to try the Dashing Snow Moon.” Xiao Se chose none of them.
“Dashing Snow Moon?” The man laughed. With a slight wave of his hand, a Camelia which was just in the hands of a lady selling flowers on the street landed in his hand. “I’ll go make some right now.”
“Isn’t it a little late for you to start making it now?” Xiao Se seemed unfazed by the brilliant display of the man as he provided a reply.
“Not at all. There are some wines which taste better the older they are, while there are some which are best when fresh. The Dashing Snow Moon tastes the best the instant it is made. Don’t be hasty, the moon is bright tonight, it’s a good night for a drink.” The man held the flower as he walked into the bar.
After thinking about the meaning behind the man’s words for quite some time, a smile appeared on his face and he followed the man into the shop. Just before he walked into the bar, he caught sight of the girl who sold flowers. With her eyes opened wide and an aggrieved look in them, it looked like tears were about to burst out at any moment. A sigh escaped Xiao Se’s lips as he thought about how he was always walking into situations where he had to pay up using his own money. He took out a piece of silver and tossed it to the girl.
Her tears turned into laughter in an instant as she took the silver. After thanking Xiao Se, she ran away. Without giving her a reply, Xiao Se turned around and looked at the red figure in the distance who was almost at the foot of the Tower of Ascension.
Xiao Se walked into the bar but he realized that the man with the stubble was gone. It was bustling inside the bar and business was great. After finding a spot in the corner, Xiao Se sat down, at which point a waiter approached him. “What would you like?”
“I made an appointment with your boss tonight to drink a pot of Dashing Snow Moon. Right now, just give me something to pass the time.” Xiao Se lazily said.
“Sir must be joking. Every single wine in this shop is a premium product. There’s no such thing as wine to pass the time. This little one shall make the decision for you… Let’s start with some Sangluo, Xinfeng, Zhuyu, Songlao, Changan, Tusu, Yuanzheng, Guihua, Dukang, Songhua, Shengwen… A cup each.” The waiter named twelve wines in a single breath.
“And what’s so special about them?” Xiao Se slightly frowned.
“Twelve cups in total. Every time your friend ascends a level, you can drink a cup. After twelve cups are gone, your friend should be back as well. You can go ahead and drink the Dashing Snow Moon then.” A smile was plastered on the waiter’s face as per usual.
It was obvious this shop wasn’t your ordinary wine seller. However, Xiao Se’s curiosity was piqued and there wasn’t the slightest hint of fear in his eyes. He simply nodded his head and said, “Sure, I’ll have the twelve cups.”
Very quickly, the waiter brought out twelve cups of wine and he arranged them on the table in a line that somehow seemed imposing in its linearity. Everyone in the surroundings couldn’t help but turn and look at the table with the blue robed youth sitting at it. Whispers broke out in discussion but Xiao Se completely ignored them. He slowly sipped his drink but just as he finished the first cup, a red clothed Lei Wujie walked through the door. He was shocked the moment he saw the table and the procession of wine laid out on it, “You didn’t have to be that hasty, did you Xiao Se? What’s with the spread on the table?”
However, Xiao Se was even more shocked than Lei Wujie, “You were beaten at the first level?!”
Lei Wujie sighed and he sat down. Taking a cup, he finished it in one gulp and shook his head, “Like that’s possible.”
“Then why are you back?” Xiao Se was puzzled.
“Aish, the person guarding the tower said that it was already late and the tower was about to close. I can only try tomorrow!” Lei Wujie was full of regret.
Xiao Se was left speechless. The only thing he wanted now was to send all the wine back.
Yet it was at that moment that a tired horse swayed into the entrance of Snow Moon City. An attendant looking youth led the horse along with one hand while carrying a peach wood sword on his back. In front of him was a scholar carrying a chest of books, eyes the shape of a crescent moon as he happily marvelled at the bustling city scene. He mumbled, “Snow Moon City looks much more interesting than Mount Qingcheng.”
The attendant however, wore a look of disdain, “Snow Moon City is merely a mundane city. Mount Qingcheng is an immortal mountain. Junior Martial Uncle, can you be anymore of a country bumpkin.”
“So what.” The scholar laughed. “All of you are Taoist practitioners…I’m just a swordsman. It’s like I have the chance to enter your immortal mountain. Also, stop calling me junior martial uncle. Call me young master.”
“Master my a*s…” The attendant didn’t show the slightest amount of respect.
The scholar awkwardly scratched his head and scolded, “All you talk about are asses, piss and s***. Is that what you learned in Taoism?”
The attendant snorted in disdain, “A path that can be walked, isn’t the path. A name that can be spoken, isn’t the name. What does your bumpkin a*s know?”
This is a quote from the first chapter of the Dao De Jing by Lao Zi. What it means is some things can’t be expressed properly in words. Like a person’s name, it changes
“Okay, that I don’t know.” The scholar glanced at him before continuing in a dissatisfied tone, “I don’t know the Unlimited Sword Art either, you should find someone else to learn from.”
“Fine.” The attendant wasn’t intimidated at all. “I’ll go back and tell master that you visited Sno Moon City in secret!”
“If we really get to see that person, master would be too happy to think of anything else. Why would he blame me?” The scholar laughed as he stared at the Tower of Ascension in the distance.
“There is really such an immortal-like figure at the top of the Tower of Ascension? Someone that even master looks up to?” The attendant tilted his head from side to side confused.
“Of course. We’ll have to see if the person at the top of the Tower of Ascension likes our master.” The scholar laughed once again as a disgraceful sentence left his mouth.
“When are we challenging the tower?” The attendant asked.
The scholar fished out a bamboo tube from his robes, and after pretending to perform some strange rite with it, picked out a bamboo stick that flew out. Frowning for what felt like half a day, he finally said, “Tomorrow, at noon!”
The attendant became angry the instant he saw the scholar try to read the bamboo stick. With a flick of his finger, a burst of sword qi snapped the bamboo stick in two.
“Dear young master, that bamboo stick of yours, it’s upside down!”
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