The Eighth Prince’s birthday banquet officially began in the evening.
Everyone was invited to the backyard where many round tables were set up in the open space next to the pond. The tables were filled with rich food and the guests took their seats in turn. The prince was sitting in the main spot with his three wives.
It was rumoured that the prince loved beauty and each of the three ladies had their own characteristics. Madam Yun was dignified, Madam Qing was bright and charming while Madam Han was delicate and gentle. The prince was surrounded by these beautiful women and looked very happy.
The style of Daqi’s people was open so there was no rule that women shouldn’t be allowed to show their faces. Yet all four daughters couldn’t be seen. Perhaps they were preparing a congratulatory gift for the prince?
Shao Qingge and the distinguished guests of the Lin family sat at the same table.
The Lin family’s eldest son Lin Shaobo sat next to him. Today, this Lin Shaobo didn’t drink alcohol. Compared with the drunk noble he saw the day before yesterday in the Fragrant Sky House, the serious Lin Shaobo was a talent. He was engaged to marry the prince’s eldest daughter and they would be married next month. As the future son-in-law of the prince, he would certainly attend his father-in-law’s birthday banquet. The congratulatory gift sent by the representative of the Lin family was also quite impressive and consisted of several boxes.
Lin Shaobo glanced at Shao Qingge before calmly bowing his head, pretending not to know the other person. Shao Qingge also gave him face and didn’t mention the matter of the Fragrant Sky House.
There was a big drinking party and tonight’s mansion was really lively.
After three rounds of wine, the performance started. The girls of the Fragrant Sky House were invited up and after a soft dance, the boss smiled. “The next show is a brand new sword dance that our Fragrant Sky House specifically trained in to wish the prince a long life!”
Shao Qingge’s sharp eyes discovered that Ye Qi had also appeared.
Tonight’s Miss Ye had changed her clothes. She was wearing a red dress with gold wire embroidery and there were also many beads in her hair that burned brightly by candlelight.
The moment the famous first performer of the Fragrant Sky House came out, Shao Qingge almost spat out his rice. It was right to dress festively for a birthday party but there was no need to celebrate like this, right? Ye Qi just needed to wear a veil on his head and he could get married directly.
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang were also forced to laugh. Poor Ye Qi, this black history of dressing up as a woman was likely to be remembered by everyone.
This was the first time Qu Wanyue had seen Ye Qi dressed like this and she was almost caught. She hurriedly covered her face with her sleeves and pretended to drink tea calmly. However, the Ninth Princess next to her spoke with interest, “This girl is very beautiful. What is the Fragrant Sky House?”
Qu Wanyue forced herself to stay calm as she explained in a low voice. “It is the largest song and dance hall in Jiangzhou. All the women sell art and not their bodies. They rely on talent to eat.”
The Ninth Princess was thoughtful. “Are they going to perform a sword dance? I know that you can do it but I don’t know if these people can do a sword dance. How can anyone dance as well as you?”
Qu Wanyue smiled. “Princess, you are flattering me. I only know a bit.”
The two of them were talking while Ye Qi’s side had already started playing music.
He was in charge of accompaniment with the pipa today and were two beautiful women next to him to create the harmony. The three of them were sitting in the gazebo. As the melodious music played, five women in red dressed held long swords and danced in the open space.
Seeing them pull out their swords at the same time, the guards of the palace immediately protected the prince.
The Eighth Prince smiled and waved his head. “Everyone, get back. It is just a sword dance.”
The guards stepped back and nervously stared at the sword dancing women out of fear that the sword tip would accidentally stab in this direction.
All five women wore red veils and their posture was neat and clean. Every time the sword swung out, it was retracted like a snake going back into its hole. Moreover, they moved to the rhythm of the music in a neat manner. It was obvious they had trained for a long time.
The rhythm that Ye Qi played was melodious and gentle before gradually becoming rapid and exciting, as if a thousand waves were stirred. The dance of the five women was getting better and their movements became faster and faster. The five swords danced into a beautiful sword flower, dazzling the guests.
The Eighth Prince took the lead in clapping and the guests followed suit.
During the warm applause, the formation instantly spread out. Four women suddenly flew up and gathered from the east, south, west and north directions back to the centre of the venue, their four sword tips accurately meeting in one place.
The remaining woman leaped, her toes like a dragonfly as she stepped on the intersection of the four swords. Her body was suspended and she stood on one foot, posing in an elegant ‘white crane spreading its wings’ action.
“Great!” The applause grew louder and more enthusiastic. The sword dance of the five people really opened the eyes of the guests.
However, Xiao Lou nervously clenched his fists as a hint of uneasiness appeared in his heart. The five swords reminded him of the assassins in the early hours of yesterday. It was also this type of long sword with no obvious characteristics. The tip of the sword was highly poisonous and cut through Yu Hanjiang’s back. Xiao Lou thought of the wound and had a lingering fear.
It was normal to perform dances at a birthday banquet but a sword dance… Xiao Lou always felt it was unlucky.
Suddenly, he met a pair of eyes. The eyes of the woman making the crane movement suddenly became extremely cold. She stepped on it hard and used the elasticity of the four swords to throw her body forward like a sharp arrow, flying toward the prince!
The tip of the sharp sword stabbed directly at the prince’s chest!
Madam Yun was shocked. “There are assassins. Come protect the prince!”
She shouted so much and hid better than anyone as she immediately ducked behind a guard. The other two ladies were also frightened.
The prince looked calm. Just as the woman’s sharp sword almost pierced his chest, he suddenly slammed his wine glass onto the table, grabbed a silver bowl to block the sharp sword and swung his right hand—
The strength of his arm caused the woman’s long sword to fly out!
There were bursts of exclamations among the guests.
The woman let go of her weapon and immediately pulled the sharp stick from the bun on her head, stabbing it at the prince’s throat. The two people were fighting in one place. The woman was fierce but the prince dealt with it in an easy manner. The prince was also so strong in martial arts.
Several guards hurried over to surround the woman. The woman saw that the assassination was a failure and made a cold look before leaping forward like a flying goose onto the roof, disappearing into the night.
The prince ordered coldly, “Chase!”
Several guards immediately flew up to the eaves to pursue the assassin. The banquet had become chaotic and Ye Qi playing the pipa was flustered. He never thought that the Fragrant Sky House actually had an assassin and that she would dare an assassination attempt on the prince in public!
The prince’s face was very ugly and he immediately had the boss of the Fragrant Sky House come out to speak.
Aunt Qing’s legs were soft from fear and she knelt in front of the prince. “Please spare my life! I don’t know about that woman’s matter. The woman just now, I really don’ t know her. Really… the girls in the Fragrant Sky House don’t know martial arts!”
The other four women performing the sword dance also dropped their swords and knelt side by side, trembling. Ye Qi and the two people playing in the distance also had to kneel in the gazebo.
Ye Qi was about to die. Who could have worse luck than him? In this world, he was inexplicably thrown into the Fragrant Sky House. As a result, there was an assassin in the team and they were collectively involved. In ancient times, the crime of assassinating the prince resulted in beheading!
An assassin was mixed in with the singing and dancing team of the Fragrant Sky House and there was an indistinct relationship with the Fragrant Sky House. If an unreasonable prince was encountered and he killed all of them, wouldn’t Ye Qi be very wronged?
Otherwise, did he want to see if there was an opportunity and then flee directly with the teleportation card? Ye Qi was feeling complicated when the next moment, he heard the prince calmly say, “Somebody in Jiangzhou actually dared to assassinate the prince in public. Yu daren, you have to find this person and give me an account.”
This case was actually handed over to Yu Hanjiang? Ye Qi was surprised and then happy. It was good to hand it over to Yu daren. At least Ye Qi wouldn’t have to suffer from the pain of being beheaded.
Yu Hanjiang immediately stepped forward. “Yes, I will do my best!” His eyes swept over the scene in a cold manner, “Come, imprison all the girls of the Fragrant Sky House for interrogation!”
A group of guards came up and took away the people of the Fragrant Sky House.
Xiao Lou hadn’t expected that things would develop like this.
He always thought the internal relations of the prince’s mansion were so complicated that the wife or daughters would have an accident. He didn’t expect the prince’s birthday banquet to be a public assassination and for the prince to transfer the responsibility to the prefectural magistrate. Was this the 8 of Hearts case? Tracking the assassins?
Xiao Lou’s intuition told him that it wasn’t so simple. He carefully recalled what he knew about the assassin but he only remembered that it was a female wearing red clothes. She was around 1.7 metres and her eyes were cold. Her facial features were difficult to distinguish due to the veil. How to find her in the vast sea of people?
He was just thinking this when there was a scream in the distance. “Ah— not good!”
It was a maid’s cry.
Yu Hanjiang immediately looked over there while the prince also frowned and quietly asked, “What’s going on?”
A maid ran over in a panic. She kept stumbling and was apparently frightened as her voice shook. “Prince… t-the eldest young lady…”
Madam Yun’s expression changed when she heard it involved her daughter. “What happened to the eldest young lady?”
The maid knelt down and cried. “The eldest young lady is in the tree in the backyard…she hung herself!”
Xiao Lou, “……”
The eldest daughter? The girl he saw in the afternoon knocking a wooden fish in the Buddhist temple and reading scriptures? Xiao Lou hadn’t expected her to die!
A woman had tried to assassinate the prince just now and everyone’s attention was on the prince. The banquet was chaotic and in the end, it wasn’t the prince who was injured but the eldest young lady.
Hanging? How could she hang herself in the prince’s mansion?
Xiao Lou’s eyes swept over the entire area. Master Lin, who had a marriage contract with her, wasn’t at the scene as well as the second, third and fourth young ladies.
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang glanced at each other and spoke with their eyes. “It is murder.”