Floating Immortal Order - 6
Chapter 6 – Beautiful as Jade
Girl from the Jin Clan
In the middle of the immense plaza, the seats and platters of fruit prepared for the aristocratic families had already been set out.
Suddenly, the crowd parted to make a path, and an Imperial Guard announced in a loud voice, “The Bai Clan’s Young Patriarch, Bai Fanyu, son of Bai Xiuyu, has arrived!”
The delegation from the Bai Clan was made up of 10 people, led at the front by a handsome and bright youth wearing white clothes, who was none other than Bai Fanyu.
“Brother Yu, my apologies for being unable to welcome you from afar. I was an inhospitable host.” Xu Xiao said, stepping down from the Dao platform to welcome him. He had just finished bringing the members of the main family and branch family of the Xu Clan to pay respects to their ancestor, Xu Kunyu.
Bai Fanyu replied with a smile, “No problem, Brother Xu. I know you are busy, so we will just make ourselves comfortable.”
“Thank you for your understanding, Brother Yu.” Xu Xiao took a good look at the youth that was half a step behind Bai Fanyu and said, “This must be Xiuyu, right? He looks like quite the heroic youth.”
Bai Xiuyu’s expression was haughty, but when he heard Xu Xiao praising him, he slightly restrained his proud bearing and cupped his fists in greeting.
“This dog son of mine, his manners are far too lacking. Please don’t mind it, Brother Xu,” Bai Fanyu said with a forced smile, shooting a sideways glance at Bai Xiuyu.
“No problem, no problem. Geniuses always have their own unique character.”
Bai Xiuyu was the eldest son of the first wife of Bai Fanyu, and he was 11 years old. Three years ago at the Bai Clan’s Dao Channel Measurement Ceremony, he was measured to have Grade 5 Dao Channels, momentarily shocking the entire Ruyang Region. Currently, he already had strength at the middle-rank Houtian level. His speed of cultivation of Martial Techniques rendered others speechless, and he was already stronger than those martial artists who had already been at the Houtian stage for several years.
He had already cultivated the Bai Clan’s Barbarian Ox Martial Technique to perfect completion of the 3rd Rank, which meant that he possessed the full strength of three oxen. The oxen in this analogy couldn’t be likened to mere domesticated cows, but rather rhinoceroses with incredible strength!
For a martial artist who hadn’t reached the Xiantian level, the differences between their strengths were not always apparent. They would roughly be divided into early-stage, middle-stage, and late-stage, but a Houtian martial artist’s fighting power was mainly dependent on the Martial Technique that they cultivated.
The higher the rank of the Martial Technique they cultivated, the stronger their fighting power would be; the more exquisite their Martial Technique, the easier they could take on multiple opponents alone.
The delegation from the Bai Clan was seated in turn. Xu Xiao’s younger clan brothers, Xu Yan and Xu Chen, were from the Xu Clan’s branch family. They normally helped out with managing political and economic affairs, and at this time they were helping to greet and receive the guests. The two great clans, the Guo Clan and the Jin Clan, as well as the smaller clans like the Liu Clan and the Zuo Clan all arrived in succession, taking their seats.
As such, the whole area in the plaza was distinctly divided based on standing. In the open space in the very center of the enormous plaza was the Martial Treasure for measuring Dao channels, which consisted of the Dao platform with the tall statue towering above it. Surrounding it were the three great clans of the Ruyang Region, including the Xu Clan, which, as the hosts, had the most people present.
In the main branch of the Xu Clan, there were 5 people who were of the appropriate age for measuring their Dao Channels: Xu Disheng, Xu Qian, Xu Yufeng, and Xu Ziyu. The branch families had 2 people, a boy named Xu Zhi and a small girl called Xu Qingcheng.
Jin Qingdi, the second son of the Jin Clan, was the Young Patriarch of the Jin Clan. He gave Xu Xiao a glance, then turned and gave several instructions to the servant beside him. That servant stood up and walked over to Xu Xiao, cupping his fists in salute before speaking to him in a low tone.
When Xu Xiao heard what was said, he looked in Jin Qingdi’s direction and gave him a slight nod.
Jin Qingdi turned around and gave a smile to the red-clothed little girl by his side. “Yu’er, you’re already 8 years old this year. You weren’t old enough at the Jin Clan’s last Dao Channel Measurement Ceremony, so you’ll have your Dao Channels measured alongside the Xu Clan’s younger generation this time. You can go on over first.”
Jin Yu’er was wearing a red dress that extended from her head to her toes. Her hair was tied up into two pigtails that extended cutely from both sides of her head. She was extremely attractive with her delicate eyes and brows, red lips and white teeth.
“Yes, Father,” she replied in a melodious voice when she heard what he said. She stood up gracefully and walked off towards where the Xu Clan’s youth were situated.
This kind of situation was common. In every clan, there were inevitably children who would narrowly miss the Dao Channel Measurement Ceremony because they were just below the appropriate age, and they would have no choice but to wait for the next one. The Dao Channel Measurement Platforms were all uniformly refined by the Grand Chu, and they were designed to only measure people between 5 to 10 years of age, so they could tell what the true age of the person being measured was.
For example, if someone was 4 years old at the time of this Dao Channel Measurement Ceremony, they couldn’t have their Dao Channels measured. But if they were to wait until they were 9 years old for their clan to hold the next one, it would already be a bit too late for them. Thus, the children in this situation would take advantage of other clan’s Dao Channel Measurement Ceremonies and have their Dao Channels measured alongside that clan’s youths.
The Guo Clan, who presided over the Ruyang Region, were naturally not bound by this restriction, since the Dao Channel Measurement Platforms were usually in their safekeeping. If they wanted to measure their Dao Channels, they could do so whenever they wished.
Xu Xiao’s first son, Xu Fu, already had his Dao Channels measured at the Guo Clan at an earlier date in this manner. However, normal people ordinarily couldn’t bend the rules like this.
The look in Jin Yu’er’s eyes was bright and dazzling, and she was also beautiful. As she walked towards the Xu Clan’s side where the other children were, many little boys were too shy to even look at her.
However, she was a daring person and she strode right up to Xu Yan and asked in a loud and clear voice, “Uncle, where should I wait?”
Xu Yan and Xu Chen were both clan brothers of Xu Xiao, who had conferred a prefectural seat to each of them. For today’s Dao Channel Measurement Ceremony, they had readily come back to help Xu Xiao manage various affairs.
Xu Yan patted Jin Yu’er on the head, and said with a smile, “Yu’er, just find a seat here and sit down.”
Jin Yu’er nodded and gave a cute chirp in agreement, and made her way to the seats that the Xu Clan’s children were sitting in. At this moment, the only ones seated here among Xu Xiao’s children were Xu Xuan, Xu Qian, and Xu Disheng. They were seated in a circle in the innermost part of the group made up of the other children of the Xu Clan.
Jin Yu’er walked right into the middle of the circle, looking at them with her big eyes. “Can I sit here?” she asked clearly, pointing at the spot next to Xu Qian.
Xu Qian was 7 years old, with handsome and refined features. He was the second son of Madame Zhang, and as the son belonging to a merchant family, he had a decent sense of propriety.
“You can,” he said with a smile, extending his arm out in a gesture of invitation.
Next to them, Xu Xuan, the daughter of Madame Sun, had never seen such a pretty little girl around her age. She belonged to a commoner’s family, so even though she had good looks, her beauty was only about on par with a typical maid servant in the Xu Family. Her face turned red as she looked down and muttered indistinctly, not daring to speak out.
Jin Yu’er didn’t mind this at all, and continued to talk to Xu Qian for a while before turning her beautiful gaze in Xu Disheng’s direction. The child was sitting there wrapped in a black robe, not talking to anyone else. She found him a bit strange, so she asked Xu Qian, “Who is this?”
Xu Qian took a glance at Xu Disheng before saying quietly, “His name is Xu Disheng, and he’s my 11th brother. He’s a rather strange person.”
Jin Qingzhao and Jin Yu were fairly close, but even though she and Jin Qingdi were siblings, they weren’t nearly as close because Jin Qingdi was always busy with the clan’s affairs. On top of that, there were many marital relations between the Xu Clan and the Jin Clan. There were simply too many relatives, to the point that Jin Yu’er could actually be considered as Xu Disheng’s older female cousin.
In the eyes of the other children of the Xu Clan, Xu Disheng was indeed perceived as being rather strange. Over the past five years, he rarely left the house, and he never took the initiative to speak to others. Even if he was spoken to, his words were extremely scarce, and he would never say more than was necessary. As a result, aside from the few relatives that were close to him, he had very little presence in the massive extended family that was made up of the marital network between the Xu Clan and the Jin Clan.
“But he’s so good-looking,” Jin Yu’er secretly muttered to herself. She stared at Xu Disheng for a while longer, taking note of the calm, peaceful look in his eyes as he sat there, his thoughts unreadable. This whole time, he hadn’t even bothered to spare her a glance, so she was somewhat upset by this.
She was beautiful from birth, so everywhere she went, she had always been the center of everyone’s attention. But at this moment, Xu Disheng still hadn’t looked in her direction, so she couldn’t help feeling unhappy.
Xu Yufeng and Xu Ziyu, who were both 8 years old, walked over at this time. Although Xu Ziyu could be considered pretty, she was also a daughter of the commoner Sun Family, so she lacked the graceful, dignified bearing that was characteristic of the Xu Clan. As a result, her looks were overshadowed by Jin Yu’er’s.
When Xu Yufeng spotted Jin Yu’er, he was momentarily captivated by her beauty, but since he was from an aristocratic family, he was only startled for a short instant before restoring his composure. Turning to Xu Qian, he said, “Younger Brother Qian, I just went below to look around. There are quite a few promising people getting their Dao Channels measured this time.”
It turned out that he arrived a bit later just now because he was observing the other children getting their Dao Channels measured, so he could recruit any potential talents. He also had the attendant by his side note down the names of any children who might have Grade 8 Dao Channels.
However, the one who was making the biggest moves was still Xu Fu, who was blessed with Grade 6 Dao Channels, which was already considered among the highest in the Xu Clan. He was also the eldest son of the first wife, and over the recent years he had been winning over many people from the main family and the branch families.
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