Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
The Hundred Flowers Pavilion was brightly lit, and it was covered in bright red and violet lights.
This was a man’s playground.
As one of the four pleasure locations of the capital, it was not actually not just a single building, but occupied an entire street.
Situated on the left and right of the street were the residences of the Hundred Flowers Pavilion members.
There were countless beautiful women here.
Su Wen, Zhao Rui, and the second prince walked side by side along this street.
Behind them were He Ping’an and the second prince’s guard, Qin Mu.
Zhao Rui excitedly introduced the second prince to the scene, “There are a total of a hundred buildings in the Hundred Flowers Pavilion. There’s a courtesan residing in each pavilion, and the head of the courtesans occupies the Peony Pavilion, situated at the central area of the entire Hundred Flowers Pavilion.
The current head courtesan of the Hundred Flowers Pavilion is none other than Cui Yumian. Not only is she outstandingly buxom and her beauty ethereal, she’s also extremely talented. There have been countless handsome young men in the past few years, but no one has been able to get close to her even if they wanted to. As she leaves her residence today, all the courtesans of the Hundred Flowers Pavilion have also gone to Peony Pavilion to add to her prestige.”
The second prince shook his head, “I’ve seen quite a few beauties as well. Is there any need for this?”
Su Wen smiled and said, “Of course not. Cui Yumian is beautiful and talented, but even so, there are probably people who can compare to her in the Hundred Flowers Pavilion. However, people are easily swayed. Because many say that she is the best, everyone begins to think so. In the end, it was the boss behind Hundred Flowers Pavilion who deliberately promoted her to this position.
It’s already been three years, and how many men thirst for yet can’t obtain her? After tonight, anyone who obtains this woman will have his name resound through the entire capital and become the object of envy of everyone. Just watch, tonight, the Courtesan Belle will be released and will earn enough money to make up for her three years of inactivity!”
“In the end, it’s just business.” The second prince sighed.
Su Wen rolled his eyes. “Could it be that the Boss has nothing better to do? He opened the door to welcome guests because he wanted to earn money. If he doesn’t want to earn money, why go through so much trouble? It’s better to close the door early and rest.”
Su Wen’s words and tone were a little impudent.
However, the second prince didn’t seem to mind at all, and he roared with laughter. “Brother Su’s words make sense.”
As they spoke, everyone had already arrived before the Peony Pavilion.
The first thing that greeted them was a box placed in front of Peony Pavilion as well as a pimp standing at the door.
There was a sign at the side that wrote: “Tonight, the leader of the hundred flowers, Cui Yumian, has left her chambers. The hundred flowers will serve as a complement to the event. Anyone who enters must pay 5,000 taels of silver.”
Zhao Rui couldn’t help but exclaim, “This is too expensive! Even spending the night with an ordinary courtesan doesn’t cost that much money.”
Su Wen said with a smile, “That’s why I said that one doesn’t open for business for three years but earns enough to cover three years the moment they open. With such a huge reputation, even if a hundred people were to enter, it would already be five hundred thousand taels of silver. Your father has been a prince for so many years, but I’m afraid he cannot earn as much in one night.”
Zhao Rui was unconvinced. “Could it be that your father earns more from being prime minister than others?”
Su Wen looked at him in disdain. “My father’s greed is beyond your imagination.”
Zhao Rui almost choked on his own words. He quickly turned to look at the second prince, only to discover that the second prince seemed to be completely oblivious to what was going on around him. In fact, he was even looking around excitedly.
The three of them went forward. Su Wen took out 15,000 taels of silver and handed it to the pimp. They then collected the token handed out by the pimp before entering the premises.
As for He Ping’an and Qin Mu, the two guards, they stayed outside to wait.
As soon as they entered the Peony Pavilion, the fragrance of flowers assailed their nostrils. The sound of zithers surrounded them, and everywhere was filled with the twittering of orioles and swallows.
The three of them found their seats according to the token, and a beautiful maid served them some fragrant tea and pastries.
The second prince couldn’t help but shake his head, “This maidservant can already be considered a beauty. I wonder what Cui Yumian looks like?”
Su Wen really didn’t know. He shook his head and said, “I don’t know either. I’ve never seen her before.”
Su Wen was a rather direct person, not interested in being the passive party. He wasn’t too interested in haughty women like Cui Yumian, so he hadn’t seen her before.
More and more guests began to gather in the building, and some courtesans began to offer their skills.
The zither was played, dances were performed and poetry recited, bringing up the atmosphere.
Finally, at the appointed time, a woman’s voice sounded.
“Let’s welcome the Head of the Hundred Flowers, Cui Yumian!”
A woman walked out from the back hall. When she appeared, everyone’s eyes lit up.
Even Su Wen, who was used to seeing beauties with masterful makeup in his future, couldn’t help but sigh.
This Cui Yumian was indeed peerlessly beautiful!
Her features were delicate, but there was a hint of seductiveness to them. One look at her aroused the possessive desire of a man. It was more than that. She was slender, curvy, and perfectly proportioned.
The second prince’s jaw dropped.
“Too beautiful!” he muttered. “Such a woman is actually from a brothel. What a pity, what a pity!”
Cui Yumian stood on the stage and swept her gaze across the audience below the stage. Everyone’s eyes were burning with passion, wishing they could swallow her whole.
She could not help but feel aggrieved in her heart.
This day had finally arrived.
Once she left her chambers, unless someone redeemed her, she would definitely become the plaything for all kinds of men.
After showing her face and being in the limelight, Cui Yumian was led back to her room.
There was only one woman left on stage.
She spoke in a sultry voice, “I believe all of you have already met Miss Yumian. Today is the day she leaves her chambers. I believe everyone here has thoughts about Miss Yumiian. Therefore, there must be a regulation selection. Today’s first round is called secretly sending gold. Soon, there will be someone who will come over with an envelope to all of you. You can seal your banknotes in the envelope! The 20 people with the most banknotes sealed within will enter the next round. Take note that all the silver notes sealed in the envelope are not returned. Therefore, all of you need to consider carefully how much to seal within the envelope.”
‘Good fellow, what a vicious move.’
Just as this thought surfaced in Su Wen’s mind, Zhao Rui grumbled, “This is too despicable. Even if one fails, the money won’t be returned. There are so many people here, who knows how much money the boss will get?”
That was the problem.
To put it bluntly, most of the people present had designs on Cui Yumian.
However, even though they had their own ideas, no one knew how much money the other party would send up. If it was just this round, it would be fine, but the woman had clearly said that there was still the next round to come after.
Under such circumstances, how much money was suitable for one to seal in?
The second prince and Zhao Rui politely declined the envelopes given by the maids.
Zhao Rui did not have any money, but for the second prince, he knew that it was one thing to come over and take a look. However, if he were to get involved, it would be too embarrassing.
Su Wen took the envelope and took out a stack of banknotes. He took a look before nonchalantly stuffing it in.
Soon, the envelope was put away.
Quite a number of people at the venue gave up.
This place was filled with high-ranking officials and nobles in the capital. Many of them knew each other, and some people felt that it was a hopeless situation and gave up.
Shortly after, the envelopes sent up were unsealed, and their contents checked.
“Number 17, Lu Wenyuan, 8,000 taels of silver…”
“Number 9, Li Xun, 20,000 taels of silver…”
They began announcing the names and the contents of the envelopes.
Up till now, the highest was only at 30,000 taels.
Finally, a high roller appeared. “Number 32, Xue Meng, 100,000 taels!”
When this number was announced, the entire audience was shocked!
A hundred thousand taels, what did that mean?
For an ordinary family, the amount of food and clothing they could eat and wear in a year was only worth a few taels of silver.
This Xue Meng was the eldest son of the Xue family, a wealthy family in the capital. He was the internally designated heir and his uncle was also the Minister of Revenue.
Their family did not lack money at all.