An Understated Dominance, Dustin Rhys story. Chapters 1301 and beyond - JUNLEE (aka Jungal2000) English interpretation

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Translated by Jungal2000

This is my take on an ongoing Chinese novel by an unknown author. I've never been much of a reader when it comes to lengthy novels, but as soon as I delved into this tale, I was hooked like a fanatic. And I can't seem to stop. Unfortunately, the English version I was following only released three chapters a day, and my appetite for the story was insatiable. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands and started translating the Chinese text myself. Along the way, I've tried to inject some context into it because Google's translation tends to be too literal.

I've used different names for characters in my translations since they're a result of my own artistic interpretation. I began my translations from Chapter 967, which was posted in a different discussion thread. My aim is to tackle at least 100 chapters a week. However, as much as I love translating and reading this novel, I make sure to reserve my weekends for my family and friends – they're the ones who matter most to me.

The reason for this new thread is that during my two days off, some talented translators have continued where I left off. Their work is already shared and posted in my previous thread. This is fantastic news for readers looking for weekend reads. To avoid any confusion, I decided to create a new thread where I can upload and continue my translations. I'm doing all of this out of love for the story and the enjoyment I get from the process; it makes me feel like I'm a part of the narrative.

For those who are new to this, the best translations are provided by Muhindi Wa Kuchoma, and they are the work of the legendary translator Marina Vitori.


This is the tale of a prince, a legendary Kirin known as Logan Rhys. His life underwent a dramatic change a decade ago when his mother met a mysterious and untimely demise. Fueled by a relentless pursuit of truth, justice, and vengeance, he abandoned his royal palace and adopted the guise of a commoner, going by the name Dustin Rhys. The once-arrogant young prince transformed into a timid and soft-spoken individual, making him an easy target for bullies.

During these ten years, Logan secretly honed his skills and strength, undergoing a profound transformation. However, a recent divorce from his wife, Dahlia Nicholson, after three years of marriage, coupled with a series of life-altering events, pushed him back into action. Slowly but surely, he began to shed his timid persona, reemerging as the formidable figure he once was.

Join us as we follow the journey of Dustin, or Logan, as he strives to surpass, outmaneuver, and overpower entire armies and kingdoms, all through his own determination and bare hands.
 
Last edited:

Junlee (aka 'Jungal2000')

Immortal Great Grandmaster - Dragon
Sep 4, 2023
2,126
12,980
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Chapter 1301 A Kind-hearted and Righteous Man

"Cannot be sold?"

Upon hearing this, Carlos couldn't help but furrow his brow.

He had thought it was some kind of miraculous elixir, but he didn't expect it to have such serious side effects.

As disappointment washed over him, he couldn't help but feel skeptical.

"Mr. Rhys, you're not joking with me, are you? I just saw Lenny Mazer, and he didn't seem to have any adverse reactions," Carlos inquired cautiously.

"It's not apparent now, but in half an hour, it will become evident," Dustin replied without a change in expression.

"Mr. Rhys, is there any way to reduce the side effects? Even if the efficacy is slightly compromised, it's okay," Carlos proposed an alternative.

Using potent medicine often leads to noticeable side effects, but if milder options are considered, there should be no problem.

"Not at the moment," Dustin shook his head.

Both Lenny and Carlos were not to be trusted. Dustin had no intention of easily handing over a drug that could disrupt the market.

Of course, it mainly depended on his unfavorable impression of the two.

"It's okay if there isn't. How about you provide me with the prescription, and I'll try to improve it? If it succeeds, I'll give you a fifty percent share. What do you say?" Carlos had another idea.

As a prominent disciple of Elijah Grantwood, he had a high level of expertise in medicine. Improving the prescription should not be a problem.

"Carlos, this is a partial formula; it can't be improved. Let’s end this discussion," Dustin refused once more.

"Why not give it a try? How do you know if you don't attempt it?" Carlos retorted.

"Many have tried before, and without exception, all failed. No matter how much research they did, it was all in vain," Dustin shook his head.

"Hey! Are you seriously being so stingy? You're just being asked for a prescription, yet you're finding all sorts of excuses to refuse. It's truly despicable!"

At this point, Roselyn could no longer contain herself and angrily exclaimed, "Furthermore, just because others couldn't improve it doesn't mean my eldest senior brother can't. He's a genius in the field of medicine, much better than you. He's giving you a chance to make a fortune, don't underestimate him!"

"Roselyn! Watch your attitude!" Carlos deliberately maintained a stern expression.

"Senior brother, you're being too courteous to him. Such a person shouldn't be indulged, or he'll take advantage of it!" Roselyn placed her hands on her hips.

"Mr. Rhys is just being cautious, which is understandable, considering we've only just met," Carlos put on a compassionate appearance and changed his approach, "But, Mr. Rhys, now that you've joined Healwell Clinic, we're like brothers. With this bond, can't you trust me?"

"You're right! Our eldest senior brother is benevolent and virtuous, with an excellent character. If you give him the prescription, it will definitely be in good hands!"

"Exactly! Eldest senior brother comes from a distinguished family and is highly knowledgeable in pharmacology. He can certainly improve the prescription, and we'll all prosper together!"

"Mr. Rhys, this kind of opportunity is extremely rare. Besides, the prescription is of no use to you if you keep it. Giving it to our eldest senior brother is the most practical choice!"

At this moment, the medical apprentices of Healwell Clinic began to offer their persuasive words.

Carlos had always been generous, and if he could improve the prescription, he would undoubtedly profit handsomely, which would benefit them as well. So, they were more than willing to speak up in support.

"I made it clear before; this prescription is a family heirloom and will not be sold," Dustin stated calmly.

"Mr. Rhys, please don't misunderstand. I don't want to buy it; I just want to borrow it. A rare prescription like this should not be buried but should be promoted for the benefit of the people. It's our duty as healers!" Carlos spoke with conviction.

"Well said! Our eldest senior brother is truly compassionate!" Roselyn looked at him with admiration.

Such kind-hearted and righteous men were indeed a rarity.






Chapter 1302 A Noble Aspiration

"Benefit of the people?"

Upon hearing this, Dustin couldn't help but find it somewhat amusing.

This Carlos had a way with words, indeed. Despite his extreme greed, he managed to cloak himself in righteousness, portraying himself as a shining figure.

It was truly nauseating.

Although Lenny was greedy, he at least was willing to spend money. This guy in front of him, on the other hand, wanted everything for free, a pure freeloader.

He had absolutely no shame.

"Hey! My senior brother is talking to you, can't you hear?" Seeing Dustin's silence, Roselyn grew impatient. "Since you've joined Healwell Clinic, you should listen to us. Consider the recipe for Jade Dew Ointment as your contribution to Healwell Clinic. There will be benefits for you in the future!"

"Let me say it one last time: the recipe won't be passed on," Dustin replied coldly.

"Hey! You are like a wooden block, so unenlightened!" Roselyn exclaimed in frustration. "My eldest senior brother wants your recipe not for personal gain but to benefit the masses, to help the sick. That's a noble aspiration. Shouldn't you support it?"

"Is it appropriate for you to use my possessions to fulfill his aspiration?" Dustin countered.

"What's wrong with it? As they say, physicians should have compassionate hearts. You're just too selfish! You lack any sense of humanity!" Roselyn scoffed.

"Oh... How about you? Are you not selfish? Are you virtuous, generous, and compassionate? then why don't you donate all your wealth? Oh, by the way, there are two beggars outside on the street corner. Can you give them your house, car, clothes, bags, and all your luxury items? It's for the betterment of society!"

"Benefiting the people, right?"

Dustin began to mock back, each word cutting like a knife.

He couldn't stand people who acted like saints.

"You... You're clearly twisting the issue!" Roselyn's face turned bright red, and she was growing increasingly angry.

"What's wrong? You don’t want to do it? Weren't you just talking noble ideas? Why can't you make sacrifices for others? If you can't do it yourself, why do you have the audacity to demand it from me? You're quite hypocritical," Dustin continued to press.

Originally, he didn't want to make a big deal out of it, but this woman kept pushing it. Did she really think he was a pushover who could be taken advantage of at will?

"You... You... You're outrageous!" Roselyn's face flushed with frustration, and her emotions were in turmoil. "I'm your senior sister! How dare you show disrespect to me? It's utterly disrespectful, going against the hierarchy!"

"Senior sister? In your dreams," Dustin sneered.

"I don't care! You must hand over the recipe today, or you won't be allowed to stay in Healwell Clinic. I'll personally expel you!" Roselyn threatened loudly.

"Roselyn, you've got it all wrong. I never intended to join Healwell Clinic, so your threat means nothing to me. It's just a joke," Dustin shrugged nonchalantly, showing no concern.

"You... You..."

Roselyn was so angry that she almost stomped her feet, and her eyes welled up with tears.

She had been driven to tears.




Chapter 1303 Completely Unreasonable Behavior

"You scoundrel! You've gone too far, bullying people so mercilessly!" Roselyn was furious and frustrated, tears welling up in her eyes.

With her stunning looks and exceptional talents, she had been adored and pampered throughout her life. Wherever she went and whatever she did, others would bend over backward to accommodate her.

But this guy, Dustin, had no gentlemanly demeanor whatsoever. He not only disrespected her but also humiliated her with his words, causing her to lose face in front of everyone.

He was utterly despicable!

"That's enough, junior sister. Please calm down," sensing the tension, Carlos began to mediate. "We're all fellow disciples, and we'll be seeing each other every day. There's no need to sour our relationship."

"Pah! Who are fellow disciples with him? Healwell Clinic can exist without him, but it can't exist without me!" Roselyn declared defiantly.

"That's enough!"

Elijah finally couldn't hold back and sternly rebuked, "Roselyn, you're being too unruly. The recipe for Jade Dew Ointment belongs to Dustin. How he handles it is his business, and you have no right to interfere!"

"But Grandfather? I'm your granddaughter, why are you siding with him?" Roselyn couldn't believe it. Her grandfather had always doted on her, so why was he helping an outsider today?

"Dustin saved Healwell Clinic twice. If you don't show gratitude and keep causing trouble like this, it's completely unreasonable!" Elijah scolded her with a stern face. "If you dare to act recklessly again, don't blame me having you grounded for a month!"

"I..."

Roselyn opened her mouth but ultimately held her tongue.

She knew her grandfather's words were as good as gold. What he said, he would definitely do. Although she felt wronged, causing more trouble wouldn't lead to anything good.

In the end, all her anger and resentment were directed at Dustin through her eyes.

One day, she would make him pay for this!

"Mr. Rhys, this girl is quite out of line. Allow me to apologize on her behalf," Elijah apologized with a hint of regret.

"It's alright; it was just a joke," Dustin replied with a faint smile, not wanting to make a fuss.

Although Roselyn was willful, Elijah was still reasonable.

Considering that Lorenzo had to stay at Healwell Clinic for a while, there were certain matters he didn't want to escalate.

"Mr. Rhys, why don't we talk about the recipe now?" Carlos couldn't wait and said eagerly. "I'm sincerely looking to collaborate with you. As long as you provide the recipe, we can research it together, make money together, and benefit the people together. Why not do it? Of course, if you think my sincerity is lacking, feel free to make a request. Whatever you need, I'll try my best to fulfill."

Upon hearing this, Dustin was about to refuse but seemed to suddenly think of something. He changed his tone and said, "Since you're so sincere, let me be frank. If you can obtain three rare medicinal ingredients for me - Ice Heart Lotus, Dragon Blood Ginseng, and Golden Marrow Jade - I'll give you the recipe."

"Really?" Carlos's eyes lit up, and he immediately became excited. "Mr. Rhys, don't even talk about three, even if it's thirty or three hundred of these medicinal ingredients, I can definitely get them for you. Tell me, what do you need?"

"What I need are Ice Heart Lotus, Dragon Blood Ginseng, and Golden Marrow Jade," Dustin listed the names of the medicinal ingredients.

These were the primary ingredients for refining the Bone Cleansing Pill, and they were crucial for treating Lorenzo's condition.

If he could exchange a partial recipe for three high-quality medicinal ingredients, it would be a great deal.

"Ice Heart Lotus? Dragon Blood Ginseng? Golden Marrow Jade?" Carlos furrowed his brows upon hearing this. "If I recall correctly, these three medicinal ingredients are extremely rare and valuable. They can't be found on the market. What do you need them for, Mr. Rhys?"

"I have my reasons. It depends on whether you agree or not," Dustin replied calmly.

"These three medicinal ingredients are exceedingly rare and valuable, worth a fortune, and difficult to obtain. Give me some time, and I should be able to gather them," Carlos said thoughtfully.

"Alright, I'll wait for your good news. As soon as you collect the three medicinal ingredients, I'll give you the Jade Dew Ointment recipe," Dustin said with a slight smile.






Chapter 1304 The Lucky Dragon Restaurant

"Great! It's a deal!" Carlos was in high spirits.

The Grantwood family was a prominent family in medicine. While they might not have the same heritage and strength as the Torby family, they were still a respected presence in Willowbrook.

With a little effort, finding three top-quality medicinal ingredients should not be too difficult for them.

"It's getting late. How about we all have a meal together? It's also a chance to welcome and get to know Dustin," suddenly suggested Elijah.

"No problem! Today, I'll treat you all. Dustin, let's go to the Imperial Palace Cuisine!" Carlos declared with great enthusiasm.

"The Imperial Palace Cuisine?"

As these words were spoken, the people from Healwell Clinic couldn't help but brighten up. They became excited.

The Imperial Palace Cuisine was the most famous restaurant in Willowbrook District (southern city). Usually, it catered to high-ranking officials, and ordinary people had no qualifications to enter.

To dine there, one not only needed to have money but also status and prestige. The threshold was extremely high.

The most crucial thing was that the Imperial Palace Cuisine had a widely circulated story.

Because of this story, many high-ranking officials were eager to dine there.

Rumor had it that the person in the Forbidden City had once eaten at the Imperial Palace Cuisine. After the meal, he found it extraordinarily delicious and even composed a poem in praise.

Since then, the previously named Lucky Dragon Restaurant was renamed the Imperial Palace Cuisine.

This poem became the restaurant's signature and was passed down through word of mouth.

For ordinary people, being able to dine at the Imperial Palace Cuisine was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and they could brag about it for a whole year.

Night fell gradually.

At this moment, in front of the Imperial Palace Cuisine, several luxury cars slowly pulled up.

As the car doors opened, Carlos led a group of people, walking confidently towards the entrance.

Wherever they passed, there were greetings and bows from the bystanders.

No matter who saw them, they would address Carlos as "Young Master."

The scene looked impressive, and it further fueled the admiration of Roselyn and the other young disciples.

"I never expected the Imperial Palace Cuisine to be so luxurious!"

"I can't believe that in my lifetime, I would have the opportunity to dine at the Imperial Palace Cuisine. It's incredible!"

"We owe it all to Senior Brother's generosity. Otherwise, we wouldn't have this chance."

Inside, the disciples of Healwell Clinic were wide-eyed, chatting excitedly.

They all looked like they had just walked into a dreamland.

"It really lives up to its reputation as the Imperial Palace Cuisine," someone said with admiration.

"No wonder they say this is the best restaurant in Willowbrook," another agreed.

As they entered, Carlos's group looked around in amazement. The restaurant was elegantly decorated, and every detail exuded luxury.

They were in awe of the grandeur around them.

"Hey! Why are you smiling like that?"

Roselyn deliberately approached Dustin and put on a condescending expression. "Someone like you, from the countryside, probably hasn't seen a high-end restaurant like this before, right? Take your time, take some selfies for you social media. In the future, when you're out and about, you can brag to people. After all, you won't have a second chance like this. Cherish it, country bumpkin."

Upon hearing this, Dustin just chuckled and didn't bother to respond.

This woman was actually flaunting her superiority in front of him. He wondered where she got the courage.

"Hey! Why are you laughing?"

Roselyn was somewhat dissatisfied. "From the way you look, it's clear you're inexperienced. The Imperial Palace Cuisine is the best in Willowbrook. It's where the emperor himself has dined. Only high-ranking officials can enter. If it weren't for my Senior Brother's status, you would never have set foot through these doors in your entire life!"

"Whether the Imperial Palace Cuisine is the best in Willowbrook, I don't know," Dustin shook his head and calmly replied, "I only remember that, ten years ago, when I dined here with the emperor, this place wasn't called the Imperial Palace Cuisine; it was called Lucky Dragon Restaurant."






Chapter 1305 A Thunderous Name

"What? Dined with the Emperor?"

Roselyn was initially stunned, then burst into laughter without mercy. "I have to say, country bumpkin, do you have a problem with your brain? You? Dining with the Emperor? Are you qualified? Even my Senior Brotherdoesn't have that privilege. Who do you think you are?"

A rustic like him claiming to know the emperor was simply shameless!

"Believe it or not, it's up to you," Dustin shrugged and didn't bother to argue.

It was useless to say anything more to someone who looked down on others.

"Hmph! Earlier, I just thought you had no sense of propriety and lacked gentlemanly manners. I didn't expect you to be a braggart too. I don't know why my grandfather values you."

Roselyn crossed her arms and sneered.

As a native of Stonia, she naturally had a sense of superiority when it came to outsiders.

"We're here, this is it!"

At this moment, Carlos, who was leading the way, suddenly stopped and pointed to a large piece of announcement paper hanging in mid-air.

The announcement paper was large, framed in a golden border of glass, and hung in the most prominent position, easily visible when one looked up.

At this moment, the announcement paper displayed several lines of calligraphy.

The characters were vigorous and forceful, with powerful brushwork and a majestic posture, clearly the work of a master calligrapher.

"Senior Brother, what's written on it? Is it a poem?" Roselyn, who was curious, asked.

She might not understand calligraphy, but she could tell that these characters were beautiful, pleasing to the eye, and awe-inspiring.

"Yes, it's a poem!"

Carlos smiled and nodded, "I believe you've all heard of the rumor about the Imperial Palace Cuisine. About ten years ago, the emperor visited the Imperial Palace Cuisine. After three rounds of drinking, he became very interested and composed a poem. The poem you see before you were composed by the emperor!"

"Wow! I never thought the rumors were true? There's actually a poem composed by the emperor here. Amazing!"

"No wonder they say the Imperial Palace Cuisine lives up to its reputation!"

The disciples of Healwell Clinic stared fixedly at the announcement paper; their expressions filled with excitement.

For ordinary people like them, being able to see the emperor’s talent was a great honor.

"Strange... why does the poem have two surnames in the signature?" someone suddenly asked.

"You hit the nail on the head with that question," Carlos said, showing off his knowledge, "This poem was indeed composed by the emperor, but the person who wrote it is another prominent figure. That's why there are two surnames in the signature. Of course, it also represents how highly the emperor regards this person."

"Someone can co-sign a poem with the emperor? That's incredible!" The crowd marveled.

"No wonder the emperor values this person so much. I guess this person must be some noble," Roselyn said, her eyes filled with admiration.

"Sister, you guessed wrong," Carlos shook his head and smiled, "This person is not a noble, but his status is even higher than a noble."

"Oh? Who is this person?" Roselyn became even more curious.

"To be honest, this person is none other than the Crown Prince of the West Lucozia Palace, the Kirin who shook the world ten years ago, Logan Rhys!" Carlos announced loudly.

"What? Logan Rhys, the Kirin?!"

As soon as this statement came out, the entire place was in an uproar.

The name Logan Rhys was thunderous, and although ten years had passed, his past glory was still deeply ingrained in people's minds.

Ten years ago, it was an era where geniuses were born in abundance and monsters were rampant.

But Logan Rhys, with his own strength, suppressed all the geniuses, dominated Stonia with an unrivaled presence, and made a name for himself throughout the world!

He alone held the glory of that era!

Since then, no one else could be compared to Logan Rhys, whether they were nobles, aristocrats, or top geniuses. He left them all in the dust!




Chapter 1306 A Nearly Perfect Man

"I didn't expect that Logan Rhys was the one who wrote this, no wonder he could write a poem on behalf of the emperor."

"The emperor’s poem, Logan Rhys's calligraphy, if the Imperial Palace Cuisine wasn't famous, it would be a real shame!"

"It's no wonder they say Logan Rhys is a genius, even at the age of thirteen, his calligraphy was already on par with the masters of the art, truly worth a thousand gold coins!"

"..."

As they looked at the words in the air, everyone was filled with amazement.

At this moment, they finally understood why the Imperial Palace Cuisine had such a high threshold.

With such a treasure displayed here, a high threshold was only natural.

"I heard that the Kirin not only has extraordinary talent but is also exceptionally handsome, knowledgeable in all aspects. It would be great if we had the chance to meet him!"

Roselyn covered her face with her hands, her eyes filled with admiration.

Although Carlos was outstanding, compared to Logan Rhys, he was not worth mentioning.

Whether it was his family background, personal abilities, or looks, Logan Rhys had reached the peak in almost every aspect.

He was a nearly perfect man, the dream lover of countless girls.

Back then, she had imagined more than once what a wonderful thing it would be if she could marry Logan Rhys.

"White egrets fly before Elmshire Rise, peach blossoms flow, and the fish are fat. Green bamboo hat, green sedge raincoat, in the slanting wind and fine rain, there is no need to return."

"Good poem, it's indeed a good poem!"

"The poem is excellent, and the calligraphy is even better. Truly a peerless genius of the era!"

Stroking his beard, Elijah praised without end.

"Dr Elijah is too modest, the calligraphy on this piece of paper still appears somewhat immature."

Dustin looked up at the poem and felt like he was drifting back to ten years ago.

"Hey! What nonsense are you talking about?"

Hearing this, Roselyn instantly became displeased. "Who do you think you are? How dare you make unfounded claims about Logan Rhys's calligraphy? You have a lot of nerve!"

"Exactly! The Kirin's calligraphy is worth a thousand gold coins per character. What about you? Even wiping someone's butt is probably too uncomfortable for you!" Elmer jeered.

While the others remained silent, their eyes displayed strange expressions.

The calligraphy of the Kirin had been validated by time.

Many calligraphy masters had come to admire it, wanting to witness his brilliance.

After seeing it, they were deeply impressed.

A person's calligraphy that earned the admiration of various calligraphy masters, when spoken by Dustin, had actually become "immature"?

This guy was too arrogant, wasn't he?

"I'm just stating the facts, why are you all so worked up?" Dustin said somewhat helplessly.

Compared to now, the characters he had written ten years ago did indeed seem somewhat immature.

What was wrong with that?

"Speaking the truth? I think you're just talking nonsense!"

Roselyn was furious. "You clearly don't understand anything, yet you're spouting nonsense here, acting all high and mighty. You're really despicable!"

"Hmph! I think someone here is just jealous and envious, so they're defaming Logan Rhys's calligraphy!" Elmer sneered.

"Dustin, be careful with your words. If what you said today gets out, it might cause you a lot of trouble," Carlos warned.

Damn, is this kid crazy?

He actually dared to belittle the Kirin's calligraphy at the Imperial Palace Cuisine? Is he looking for trouble?




Chapter 1307 A Cultural Evening

"It's been a long time since I wrote, and I might be a bit rusty. I think I'll pass," Dustin shook his head.

His handwriting was easily recognizable by knowledgeable individuals. Although he wasn't afraid of exposing his identity now, letting certain people know could still bring trouble.

"Rusty? Hmph! I think you're just not capable!" Roselyn sneered. "Clearly, you have no talent, yet you insist on speaking so grandiosely. It's truly disgusting!"

"Alright, alright, let's not argue about this. There are so many people watching us. Don't let others laugh at you," Elijah began to mediate.

Although Dustin had some abilities, it was somewhat presumptuous to comment on Logan Rhys's calligraphy.

"Hmph! If someone is going to lose face, it's this guy! Daring to discredit Logan Rhys? Does he really think that us fans are just here for a free meal?" Roselyn glared.

"Enough, it's just a piece of handwriting, there's no need to make it unpleasant. I've already reserved seats upstairs, and the items on display there are all rare treasures, guaranteed to amaze you."

"Furthermore, there's a special event at the Imperial Palace Cuisine tonight. If we're lucky, we might get a surprise."

Carlos's words immediately caught everyone's attention.

"A surprise? What kind of surprise?" Roselyn asked curiously.

"As far as I know, every three months, the Imperial Palace Cuisine hosts a cultural evening where people compete in poetry, song, and other literary arts."

"If someone can outshine the others in this evening's competition, they can receive a prize carefully prepared by the Imperial Palace Cuisine."

"So, during this time, the Imperial Palace Cuisine is always packed. If it weren't for my early reservation and some connections, we might not even have seats tonight," Carlos said excitedly.

Spending a lot of money to reserve seats upstairs was for the sake of witnessing this cultural evening.

After all, those who could enter the Imperial Palace Cuisine were either rich or noble.

Now was also the best time to make connections with the powerful.

"A cultural evening? That's great!"

After hearing, Roselyn instantly became spirited. "I've been well-versed in poetry, song, and other literary arts since I was young. Now it's finally time for me to show my skills!"

She had been forced to read books by her grandfather since she was a child, so she had memorized many things.

Back when she was in school, she could recite poems and essays fluently and was known as a talented girl.

Now, she could relive her past glory.

"Senior Brother, you mentioned that the winner gets a prize. I wonder what it is?" Elmer cautiously asked.

"The Imperial Palace Cuisine's prizes are naturally extraordinary."

Carlos smiled and said, "If I'm not mistaken, you should be able to select something from the Treasure Pavilion. The so-called Treasure Pavilion is a collection of rare and exotic treasures personally collected by the Imperial Palace Cuisine's owner. Anything randomly taken from there is worth a fortune!"

"Worth a fortune?!"

Hearing this, Elmer's eyes lit up, and his breathing became rapid.

The other disciples of the Helwell Clinic were also in high spirits.

Treasures worth a fortune, if they could obtain one, wouldn't that make them rich overnight?

They never expected that simply having a meal would present them with such an opportunity.

"Roselyn, it's all up to you. If you can outshine the others and win the treasure, our Helwell Clinic will also gain fame!"

"That's right, that's right! If you win the first prize, our Helwell Clinic will be able to establish its reputation!"

Many disciples of the Helwell Clinic were looking at Roselyn with hopeful eyes.

They were all well aware that Roselyn was incredibly smart and talented, excelling in everything she did.

Especially when it came to poetry, song, and other literary arts, she had a very high level of proficiency and was not inferior to some experts.

"Don't worry, when I win the first prize and get the treasure, I'll treat you all to a meal!" Roselyn said proudly.

"Roselyn, don't be too arrogant. You should know that there are always people better than you, and there are heavens beyond heavens," Elijah reminded her in a timely manner.





Chapter 1308 Selfies for Social Media

Although their granddaughter was talented, it didn't mean she could outshine everyone else. After all, Stonia was a place with an abundance of talents and elites.

"Grandpa, I'm known as a talented girl in school, and my status is unshakable. If I can't even win this cultural evening, I might as well hang myself," Roselyn said confidently.

"You little girl, what nonsense are you talking about?" Stroking his beard, Elijah frowned slightly.

"Master, my junior sister has extraordinary talent in this area, and I believe she'll be fine," Carlos smiled.

"Do you hear that? Even our senior brother thinks so. I'm determined to win the first place today!" Roselyn said even more arrogantly.

Elijah shook his head, feeling somewhat helpless. Her overconfidence would inevitably lead to trouble sooner or later.

"It's about time; let's go upstairs first."

Carlos called out, leading the group of people upstairs.

Compared to the splendid first floor, the second floor was even more elegant and refined. Every decoration and detail had been meticulously arranged, perfect in every way, making it impossible to find any fault.

At this moment, the second floor of the Imperial Palace Cuisine had already gathered many dignitaries. Each of them had one or two cultured young talents by their side.

The Imperial Palace Cuisine's cultural evening, held every three months, always attracted a large number of repeat customers. This was also a marketing strategy in itself.

Under Carlos's guidance, the group of people reached their reserved seats.

The Imperial Palace Cuisine was quite spacious, and even though there were many guests tonight, it didn't appear crowded.

"Oh! Isn't this our talented Miss Roselyn?"

At this moment, a mocking female voice suddenly sounded from the side.

Turning their heads to look, they saw a seductive and glamorous woman walking over, swaying her waist.

Beside her was a clean-cut young man dressed in a long robe.

"Belinda? What are you doing here?" Roselyn couldn't help but furrow her brow when she saw the woman. Her smile from earlier disappeared instantly, replaced by a more reserved expression.

"My Remington family is in Willowbrook, so I can be considered quite influential. Why wouldn't I come to the Imperial Palace Cuisine for a meal? As for you, coming from a small family, how did you manage to enter the Imperial Palace Cuisine?" Belinda Remington hooked her lips and looked Roselyn up and down. Her eyes were filled with disdain. "I heard you're just filthy rich, what's so impressive about that?"

"How I got in is none of your business! You're nothing more than having a few bucks. What's so great about that?" Roselyn puffed out her chest defiantly.

The woman in front of her was not only her classmate but also her rival.

During their four years of university, Belinda had always looked down on Roselyn because she had money and power. She had even stolen Roselyn's boyfriend openly and shamelessly, not just once but several times.

Roselyn had always held a grudge against her and harbored deep resentment.

"Sorry, but having money is indeed impressive."

Belinda shrugged and said playfully, "For example, the Imperial Palace Cuisine. I can come here every day, while you? You can only bask in someone else's glory. That's the difference."

"Oh, by the way, take some selfies when you have time and post them on your social media. Cherish this rare opportunity. After all, someone like you, entering here once is like seeing a ghost."

"You—!"

Roselyn's face turned red, and she was furious. Why did this sound so familiar?





Chapter 1309 The Bet

"Belinda, you're going a bit too far," Carlos finally spoke up. "After all, Roselyn is my junior sister. Look at the bigger picture; it's not appropriate to say such things."

"Oh? So, the Grantwood’s Young Master is also here? What a surprise," Belinda feigned astonishment before smirking. "No wonder Roselyn has the qualifications to enter the Imperial Palace Cuisine. It turns out she's protected by Grantwood’s Young Master. I just find it a bit strange, though. Grantwood’s Young Master, you come from a prestigious family, yet your taste is so poor that you've set your sights on such a common girl?"

"Hey! Who are you calling a common girl?!"

Hearing this, Roselyn immediately became furious and wanted to confront Belinda, but she was held back by the people around her.

The Remington family's influence was not weaker than the Grantwood family, and it might even be stronger. If she fought with the Remington family's young lady here, even Carlos might not be able to protect her.

"Say anything you want; I don't care. Do you have a problem with that?" Belinda provocatively challenged.

"You... you've gone too far!"

Roselyn was furious and wanted to scold her, but Carlos raised his hand to stop her. "Belinda, let bygones be bygones. Today, we are here to have a meal and don't want to cause trouble. We hope you'll let it go."

"Fine, for Grantwood’s Young Master's sake, I'll let her off this time."

Belinda glanced at Roselyn and smiled faintly. "By the way, Miss Talented, it seems like the Imperial Palace Cuisine is going to host a cultural evening later. You claim to be knowledgeable and talented, so I hope you won't embarrass yourself."

"Hmph! Will I lose? That's a joke!" Roselyn replied coldly, "In the realm of poetry, calligraphy, and prose, even if you combine ten of you, you're not my match!"

"Oh? Is that so? Since you're so confident, why don't we have a competition?" Belinda smirked playfully.

"Sure, I accept the challenge. Do you think I'm afraid of you?" Roselyn didn't back down at all.

When it came to family wealth and assets, she admitted she couldn't compete. However, in terms of talent, she could easily surpass Belinda.

"Let’s make this more interesting. Do you have the guts to make a bet?" Belinda taunted.

"What do you want to bet on?" Roselyn raised her head.

"You don't have anything valuable on you. So, how about this: we bet on your family's Healwell Clinic? If you lose, you'll give Healwell Clinic to me. If I lose, I'll give you one billion. What do you think?"

"Betting Healwell Clinic?"

Hearing this, Roselyn frowned slightly. It was evident that Belinda had ulterior motives.

"Based on the estimated value of Healwell Clinic, it's worth less than one billion. But I'm a generous person and won't quibble with you. The real issue is, do you dare to bet? If you don't, you'd better avoid me when you see me in the future."

Roselyn's face turned red as she was provoked. "What do you mean, do I dare? I accept the bet!"

"Roselyn! Don't act recklessly!" Staring at Roselyn, Elijah's expression changed, and he quickly stopped her. "Healwell Clinic is of utmost importance; it's not something to be used as a bet!"

It was one thing to bet some money, but betting the entire business was undoubtedly reckless. What if they lost? Wouldn't they be in deep trouble?

"Don't worry, Grandpa. I have confidence in winning. She's practically giving us money!" Roselyn was brimming with confidence.

"Money isn't that easy to earn. Using the entire Healwell Clinic as a bet is too risky!" Elijah said in a deep voice.

"Why can't it be done? I'm clearly certain of winning, and if I dare to bet, it's practically picking up money. This is a heaven-sent opportunity, and we can't miss it!" Roselyn insisted firmly.





Chapter 1310 Dare to Bet

Healwell Clinic's income was actually quite low. They either treated poor patients for free or charged a minimal fee for medicines. While they had gained reputation, it was their own people who suffered the most.

One billion Dollars was more than Healwell Clinic could earn in a lifetime. Betting their business seemed like a risky move, but Roselyn saw it as a chance to win big.

"Nothing in this world is absolute. I will never allow you to risk Healwell Clinic!" Grandfather Elijah insisted.

"Grandpa, why won't you believe me?" Roselyn was growing increasingly anxious. "Previously, when those hoodlums were causing trouble, you bet Healwell Clinic on Dustin, so why won't you believe in me? Why?!"

The last sentence was almost shouted in frustration.

"Dear, it was different back then; we had no choice. But now, you're being impulsive. You need to understand the difference between the two situations," Elijah explained with a furrowed brow.

"I don't care, I don't care!" Roselyn wasn't listening and was getting more emotional. "Why does Dustin deserve your bet, but I don't? If you don't believe in me today, I'll sever ties with you!"

"You..."

Elijah was getting frustrated as well, feeling both angry and helpless.

This girl, why was she so stubborn?

To protect their pride, they were willing to risk everything. It was one thing to bet some money, but betting the entire business was undoubtedly reckless. What if they lose? They would be in deep trouble.

"Master, although Junior Sister might be a bit impulsive, her words do make sense," Carlos began to support her. "I'm familiar with Belinda, and she's completely devoid of talent in poetry and prose. I believe Junior Sister can win!"

"Yes, Master. Junior Sister Roselyn is known as a talented individual, and when it comes to poetry and literature, she's unparalleled. She would completely overshadow this wealthy young lady!" Elmer chimed in with agreement.

"Master, for the sake of the people we can help with the money if we win, please agree to this!" the disciples urged.

"This..."

Under the unanimous persuasion, Elijah couldn't help but waver.

Now that they were already in this situation, if he refused his granddaughter, who was acting on impulse, he didn't know what reckless actions she might take.

On the other hand, if he agreed and they won the bet, they could resolve many problems for Healwell Clinic.

For a moment, he found it difficult to make a decision.

"Master, please agree. I'm willing to vouch for Junior Sister," Carlos added, extending his help further.

"Since you all say so, then let the girl have her way this once," after much hesitation, Elijah finally nodded and added sternly, "but only this once; there will be no more!"

"Alright, thank you, Grandpa!" Roselyn beamed with joy.

"Hehe... I thought you wouldn't dare to bet, but I didn't expect you to have some backbone. It's a pity, though. You're destined to lose," Belinda sneered.

"Lose? Hmph! What a joke! I know your abilities very well. With your little talent, you're not even worthy of polishing my shoes!" Roselyn retorted with disdain.

For four years in university, she didn't dare to say that she knew Belinda inside out, but she certainly knew her well.

Not to exaggerate, but even her casual handwriting was more beautiful than Belinda's.

"Since you're so confident, we'll see how it goes. I just hope you won't regret it," Belinda smiled with hidden meaning and took her seat at a nearby elegant booth, accompanied by the young man.

After a while, the cultural evening event hosted by the Imperial Palace Cuisine began.
 

Junlee (aka 'Jungal2000')

Immortal Great Grandmaster - Dragon
Sep 4, 2023
2,126
12,980
2,100
Chapter 1311 Immortal Beauty

"Dear esteemed guests, good evening, everyone."

As the cultural evening began, a jolly, plump middle-aged man stepped onto the stage with a warm smile. He respectfully bowed to the guests in all directions.

He handled the formalities meticulously, leaving no room for any neglect.

"My name is Ryan Meyer, and I am the owner of this place. I want to express my gratitude to all of you for gracing the Imperial Palace Cuisine with your presence."

Mr Meyer continued with a smile, "Tonight, it's our monthly cultural exchange gathering, and our distinguished host has selected a remarkable treasure from the treasure chamber to kick off the evening's festivities. Our aim is to foster friendship through culture, not to compete or win, but to enjoy the arts and camaraderie."

"Mr Meyer, what exactly is the treasure your establishment has prepared? Please don't keep us in suspense!" A man suddenly exclaimed.

"Yeah! We came here just for this. Don't disappoint us!" Many others joined in with cheers.

"Please be patient, everyone. I will have the treasure brought out for your viewing pleasure."

With a slight bow, Mr Meyer signaled to two people nearby.

They quickly understood and soon brought out a rectangular wooden box.

The box was half a meter wide and one and a half meters long, crafted entirely from golden-threaded nanmu wood (a precious wood that is unique to China and South Asia, and was historically used for boat building, architectural woodworking, furniture and sculptural carving).

Just the box itself was of considerable value, not to mention what precious item lay inside.

*Click!*

Amid the anticipation of the crowd, Mr Meyer slowly opened the wooden box, revealing a framed painting inside.

The painting depicted a woman in palace attire, sitting in a pavilion, gazing at the snowy landscape outside.

The woman had a graceful figure and a unique charm, even though only half of her face was visible.

Her beauty was breathtaking and could captivate anyone who laid eyes on her, with her eyes being particularly mesmerizing and alluring, as if capable of enchanting one's soul.

Astonishingly beautiful, the woman and the snowy scene complemented each other, creating a magnificent and captivating masterpiece.

"So beautiful!"

Upon seeing the painting, the entire audience fell into a sudden hush.

Both men and women were equally stunned by the artwork.

The more they looked, the more they found themselves drawn into an inexplicable mood.

The longer they looked, the more enchanting and heartwarming it appeared.

"I never thought there could be such perfection in the world."

Carlos was left speechless, and his eyes seemed to radiate light.

Though not one to be easily swayed by appearances, he found it impossible to look away from such a stunning beauty.

That face, that aura, the enchantment radiating from her every expression and gesture—it was truly mesmerizing.

"If I could marry a woman like her, I'd gladly give up ten years of my life!" Elmer couldn't help but swallow hard.

The rest of the disciples from the Healwell Clinic were equally amazed.

None of them had expected a painting to possess such an extraordinary power.

"Humph! There can't be a woman this perfect in the world; it must be the creation of a skillful artist!" Roselyn said with a jealous expression.

Despite her own confidence in her appearance, she couldn't help but feel a sense of inferiority when compared to the woman in the painting.

So, she was convinced that the person in the painting must be a fabrication.

"Mr Meyer, what's the story behind this painting? Who is the lady in the portrait?" A man suddenly asked.

"To be honest, this painting is the work of Master Ferrucci and is titled ‘Dipinto della Bellezza’ (Painting of Beauty)" Mr Meyer explained.

"What? This is a painting by Master Alessio Ferrucci?"

"Master Ferrucci? Is that the renowned literary and artistic figure of our time?"

"That's right! Master Ferrucci is celebrated as a contemporary poet and a master of the arts. His paintings are worth their weight in gold!"





Chapter 1312 Unmatched Charm

After learning about the origins of the artwork, the entire audience erupted in excitement.

The people attending tonight's event were, to varying degrees, enthusiasts of elegance and refinement. Legendary figures like Master Ferrucci were highly esteemed in their eyes.

Poetry and painting were two entirely different realms, and mastering either was no small feat. Those who excelled in both were truly rare.

As for someone like Master Ferrucci, who had reached the pinnacle in both poetry and painting, he was a true enigma. He had a reputation for being unconventional, caring little for wealth, and rarely producing poems or artworks. Consequently, whenever his works appeared, they fetched a high price at auctions and were considered treasures. Many of the cultured elite took pride in owning an authentic piece by Master Ferrucci.

Seeing one of his works in person was naturally a source of great excitement.

"I believe you all know how rare Master Ferrucci's authentic works are. If it weren't for our esteemed host's close relationship with Master Ferrucci, we might not have been able to obtain this 'Dipinto della Bellezza' tonight," Mr Meyer said with a smile.

"It truly lives up to Master Ferrucci's reputation. This 'Dipinto della Bellezza' is so lifelike, as if a celestial being descended to Earth; it's extraordinary!"

"To witness an authentic work by Master Ferrucci is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!"

"Wait a minute... I heard that Master Ferrucci's paintings emphasize realism. Could it be that the lady in this painting is not a creation?"

As the crowd chatted, they suddenly realized the issue at hand.

"This guest has a point. The lady in the painting is not a fabrication; she is a real person," Mr Meyer paused briefly, waiting until everyone's curiosity was piqued before continuing, "I won't keep you in suspense any longer. I can reveal that the original subject of this 'Dipinto della Bellezza' is none other than the number one beauty in the Dragonmarsh, the top-ranked lady on the Beauty Index—Gabrielle Whitlock!"

"What? Gabrielle Whitlock?!"

With those words, the entire room erupted in a storm of excitement.

Each person wore a look of astonishment and fervor.

The name Gabrielle Whitlock had become widely known in recent years. Yet, this woman remained shrouded in mystery. No one knew what she looked like or her background. What was known was that a few years ago, the name Gabrielle Whitlock had appeared out of nowhere, toppling all other peerless beauties on the Beauty Index and claiming the coveted first place. From then on, she was hailed as the number one beauty in the Dragonmarsh.

However, despite her consecutive years at the top, Gabrielle Whitlock had never appeared in public. To this day, no one knew what she actually looked like.

Strangely, this only intensified people's curiosity. So, upon hearing that the lady in the painting was Gabrielle Whitlock, all the guests in attendance wore expressions of pleasant surprise.

Even though only half of her face was visible in the painting, her unmatched charm was undeniable.

As the top-ranked beauty on the Beauty Index, Gabrielle Whitlock truly lived up to her reputation!

"Master Ferrucci's artwork, coupled with Gabrielle Whitlock's extraordinary allure, makes this treasure a fitting highlight for tonight, wouldn't you agree?" Mr Meyer smiled warmly.

"Hahaha... excellent! It's indeed a precious gem! I've decided to acquire this 'Dipinto della Bellezza' tonight!"

"Nonsense! The 'Dipinto della Bellezza' is mine; no one can take it from me!"

"Humph! Words are meaningless; whether or not you can obtain the 'Dipinto della Bellezza' will depend on your skills!"

After some spirited banter, the atmosphere in the Imperial Palace Cuisine had reached its zenith. Everyone was eager to showcase their talents.

"Since you're all in high spirits, I won't keep you waiting any longer," Mr Meyer cleared his throat and continued, "Today, our establishment has prepared a traditional activity for the Lantern Festival—word puzzle challenge."





Chapter 1313 A Pastime for Common Folks

"Word puzzle challenge?"

Upon hearing this, the crowd was taken aback. They exchanged puzzled looks, unsure of what was happening.

In the past, they had always competed in poetry, music, calligraphy, and painting. Why were they suddenly asked to do Word puzzle challenge today?

To win the top spot, many of the distinguished guests had spared no expense, inviting poetry experts and literary geniuses to assist them.

Now, instead of poetry or painting, they were unexpectedly faced with word puzzle challenge. Did that mean all their previous preparations had been in vain?

"Mr Meyer, couldn't we have a contest of poetry instead? It seems like you're intentionally making things difficult for us." someone voiced their displeasure.

"Guests, please calm down. The topics for tonight's competition are randomly selected, and there's no intention to make things difficult. Please bear with us," Mr Meyer replied with a slight nod.

"Alright, alright, enough talk. Let's get on with the Word puzzle challenge. That’s too easy."

"That's right. People like us, well-versed in world literature, shouldn't be daunted by mere Word puzzle challenge."

"Now, it's time to put our literary skills to the test. Let's see who stands out among us!"

The crowd was abuzz with excitement, urging the competition to begin.

"Sister, you excel in poetry, but are you confident in word puzzle challenge?" Carlos couldn't help but ask.

"Brother, rest assured. I'm skilled in words, and even poetry, word puzzle challenge is going to be a walk in the park," Roselyn replied confidently.

To her, word puzzle challenges were a pastime for common folks. As a cultured individual, she considered them too easy and believed there was no challenge involved.

She was confident that she could easily handle it.

"That's good to hear..."

Carlos breathed a sigh of relief, then added, "If Sister can win this 'Dipinto della Bellezza,' would you consider selling it to me? I'm willing to pay a hefty sum!"

"Brother, you're too kind. If you like it, I'll gladly give it to you," Roselyn responded generously.

Her confidence made it seem as though victory was already assured.

"Thank you, Sister!"

Carlos's face lit up, and his heart raced a bit faster. The 'Dipinto della Bellezza' was truly invaluable, and if he could obtain it, it might catapult the Grantwood family to new heights.

"Now that everyone is in agreement, let's begin," the Mr Meyer announced as the surroundings grew quieter. He signaled for a sealed box to be brought over.

The box had a hole on top, just large enough for a hand to reach inside. The Mr Meyer rolled up his sleeve, extended his hand into the box, and after a brief search, he pulled out a card.

After glancing at the card, he spoke aloud, "The first puzzle challenge is: 'A shining star in the night sky, guess one letter.'"

"A shining star in the night sky?"

Upon hearing this, the crowd fell silent, contemplating the puzzle. Solving word puzzles wasn't their forte, and many were only vaguely familiar with them, often relying on luck to make a guess.

"Roselyn, how do you interpret 'A shining star in the night sky'?" asked Carlos, intrigued.

"Well..."

Roselyn paused for a moment, unsure of how to respond. He could only say, "Brolther, give me a moment to think."

"Of course, take your time. There's no rush."

Carlos refrained from pressuring her, not wanting to interrupt her thought process.

"A shining star in the night sky, guess one letter. From the literal meaning, it shouldn't be too difficult to understand that this letter is related to stars and the night sky," Roselyn muttered to herself, lightly tapping the table with her fingers.

After a while, her eyes suddenly lit up. "Brother! I know what letter it is!"




Chapter 1314: Just A Bit of Brainpower Needed

"Oh? What is it?" Carlos perked up instantly.

"It's the letter 'S'!"

Roselyn asserted confidently, "The phrase 'A shining star in the night sky' directly points to the letter 'S'! It's the only logical choice!"

"'S'? Are you sure?" Carlos asked cautiously.

"Absolutely! With such a straightforward word puzzle, how could I be mistaken? I just needed to use a bit of brainpower to easily figure it out," Roselyn replied with unwavering confidence.

"Sister Roselyn is indeed amazing! She solved the puzzle so quickly, truly a renowned talent!" Elmer praised.

"That's right! With Sister Roselyn here, we can not only win but also make a fortune!" The Healwell Clinic disciples were excited.

"Hmph... a mere word puzzle offers no challenge at all. I can't fully showcase my talents," Roselyn said, with an air of arrogance.

Hearing this, Dustin just shook his head and chuckled.

This woman was excessively confident. She hadn't even examined the question properly and hastily concluded. It was truly amusing.

"Hey, what are you laughing at? Who do you think you are to dare to laugh at me?" Roselyn glared at him, her tone full of discontent.

"Of course, I'm not."

Dustin shrugged. "Just a friendly reminder, believe whatever you like to believe; I don’t care."

In any case, he wouldn't be the one embarrassed.

"Dustin, judging by your tone, do you have an answer?" Carlos casually asked.

"If I'm not mistaken, the answer should be the letter N,'" Dustin replied.

"'N'? What's that?" Carlos rubbed his chin, about to inquire further when Roselyn beside him snorted.

"'N'? It's absurd! The word puzzle clearly refers to stars and the night sky. It can only be the letter 'N'! You're pretending to be knowledgeable!" Roselyn exclaimed.

"Whether you believe it or not is up to you," Dustin said, uninterested in arguing.

Some people just refused to admit when they were wrong.

"Brother, this person is clearly trying to seek attention. Don't pay any attention to him. You should listen to me. Submit the answer 'S,' and we'll surely secure the first question!" Roselyn was brimming with self-assurance.

"Alright! Sister Roselyn is extraordinarily talented. I believe in you!" Carlos nodded and promptly raised his hand. "Mr. Meyer, I know the answer to the puzzle!"

"Oh?"

The Mr Meyer raised an eyebrow and smiled. "May I ask, what is your answer, Mr. Grantwood?"

"It's the letter 'S'!" Carlos confidently declared. "The phrase 'A shining star in the night sky' directly points to the letter 'S'! There's no other answer!"

As soon as he spoke, many people began to whisper and discuss whether this answer was correct.

"Mr. Grantwood, are you sure it's 'S'? Maybe you should think it over again," the Mr Meyer advised.

"No need to think it over. It's definitely 'S.' Just announce the result!" Carlos urged.

"Mr. Grantwood, I'm sorry, but your answer is incorrect," the Mr Meyer shook his head.

"What? Incorrect?" Carlos was momentarily stunned, and he instinctively glanced at Roselyn.

Wasn't she supposed to secure the first question easily? Why did she get it wrong as soon as she spoke?

"How is that possible? How could my answer be wrong?" Roselyn widened her eyes, finding it hard to believe.

She was a master of literature, and how could she be wrong about a simple word puzzle?

There must be some foul play!

Someone was deliberately targeting her!



Chapter 1315 The Correct Answer


"Hey! What gives you the right to say my answer is wrong? How could I possibly get such a simple word puzzle wrong?" Roselyn couldn't help but slam the table.

She was very defiant and had her own pride as a renowned talent. A mere word puzzle couldn't possibly stump her.

"Miss, please don't get upset. The answer to the word puzzle has already been determined, and the word you provided is indeed incorrect," the Mr Meyer tried to explain.

"Fine! You say my answer is wrong, then announce the correct answer now. I want to see if there's a better answer than mine!" Roselyn demanded aggressively.

"Miss, other contestants haven't guessed yet, so announcing the answer now would be against the rules. If no one can guess the answer to this question, I will announce the results later. I hope you can be patient," the Mr Meyer calmly replied.

"Roselyn, ah, Roselyn, you're wrong, yet you can't accept defeat? You, a renowned talent, can't handle a loss, can you?" At this moment, a voice filled with sarcasm drifted over from the side.

The speaker was none other than Belinda, holding a wine glass.

"Why am I wrong? Who do you think you are to say I'm wrong? Do you think you're more capable than I am?" Roselyn retorted.

"Why? Because I already have the correct answer," Belinda replied, gracefully rising to her feet. She looked at the Mr Meyer and said with a smile, "Mr. Meyer, I provided the answer 'N.'"

"Hmph! That's completely unrelated!" Roselyn sneered. "Your 'N' has nothing to do with the word puzzle. If that's considered the correct answer, I might as well write my name backward!"

"Is that so?" Belinda said with a teasing smile. "Mr. Meyer, please announce the result. Is my 'N' the correct answer?"

"Congratulations, Belinda, your answer is correct," Mr. Meyer affirmed.

"What?!"

As soon as this was said, Roselyn was stunned, her entire body freezing in disbelief

She never expected that the character she had scoffed at would turn out to be the correct answer?

How was that even possible?!

"Roselyn, how does it feel? Surprised? Unexpected?"

Belinda teased, "Given your temperament, do you want to claim there's a conspiracy? That Imperial Palace Cuisine is intentionally favoring me?"

"You're spouting nonsense! Why is it 'N'? Why not 'S'? You must give me a reasonable explanation today!" Roselyn demanded.

Belinda snapped her fingers, signaling a young man beside her to stand up.

The young man appeared gentle and scholarly, but his words were quite resolute: "In every map, the letter 'N' signifies North, always pointing up toward the sky. Hence, the answer to this word puzzle is indeed 'N'". That's the simple explanation for the puzzle's answer."

He finished speaking and gracefully took his seat.

"Great! What an excellent explanation!"

"The gentleman's words have enlightened me. So, this is indeed the correct answer."

...

After hearing the explanation of the puzzle's solution, many people applauded and expressed their admiration. Some things may seem simple, but if you can't find the key to unlocking them, it's like being lost in a fog, never seeing the light of day.

"So it really is 'N.' Did I miss a great opportunity just now?" Roselyn lamented.



Chapter 1316 Over-interpreting

Once he snapped out of it, Carlos regretted his earlier choice and almost slapped himself.

"Damn it, if only I had listened to Dustin just now."

Now, things had taken a turn for the worse. He not only failed to make an impression but also embarrassed himself.

"Why the heck is it 'obscure'? How could it be 'obscure'?"

Muttering to herself, Roselyn found it hard to accept.

"Hey, Roselyn, what do you have to say now?" Belinda provocatively grinned.

"..." Roselyn was rendered speechless.

Although she was unwilling, the fact was right in front of her, leaving no room for her to argue.

After hearing the explanation just now, she also realized that 'obscure' was indeed closer to the correct answer than 'wood.'

"Congratulations to Miss Belinda for answering the first question correctly."

Mr Meyer bowed slightly and then said with a smile, "Of course, the rest of you don't need to lose heart. There are a few more questions ahead, and if you can answer them all correctly, you still have a great chance to win."

Upon hearing this, Roselyn, who had been somewhat disheartened, immediately perked up.

Yes, there was still a chance. She had only lost one question, and as long as she did well in the following questions, she could still win.

"Now, please listen to the second question."

Mr Meyer pulled out another card from the box and read it aloud, "Second question: 'Clouds shroud the Mid-Autumn moon, rain showers the Lantern Festival; guess an idiom.'"

"Clouds shroud the Mid-Autumn moon? Rain showers the Lantern Festival?"

Everyone looked at each other, their faces filled with confusion.

What did this mean?

How were they supposed to guess this?

"Roselyn, do you have any clues about these two lines of poetry?"

After waiting for a while, Carlos cautiously asked.

"These two lines of poetry mention the Mid-Autumn Festival and the Lantern Festival, so if the answer is an idiom, it should be related to these two festivals," Roselyn began her meticulous analysis. "The Mid-Autumn Festival symbolizes reunion and happiness, while the Lantern Festival is associated with making wishes. Normally, the idiom should be something that leans towards celebration."

"But... with 'clouds shroud' and 'rain showers' in front of them, it adds some uncertainty. So, I guess the answer should have two aspects – one of joy and one of regret. The only idiom that fits both meanings that I can think of is 'mixed feelings.'"

As she finished, her spirits were high, as if she had cleared away the clouds to see the blue sky.

"Mixed feelings?" Carlos looked puzzled.

Why did it sound more and more mysterious?

"That's right! It's 'mixed feelings'!" Roselyn said confidently. "Only this idiom aligns with the meanings of these two lines of poetry. I can guarantee that I won't be wrong this time!"

"Roselyn, are you sure?" Carlos was still skeptical.

"Elder Carlos, trust me once more. This time, I'm very confident. I won't let you down!" Roselyn spoke with determination.

"Dustin, what's your take on this?" Instead of giving a direct answer, Carlos turned to Dustin, who was sipping tea beside him.

In the first question, the other party accurately guessed the answer, which proved his literary talent.

"I have a different opinion from Roselyn."

Dustin calmly stated, "Word puzzle solving usually focuses on the literal meaning. It's not all that deep as Roselyn thinks. I believe Roselyn has overinterpreted it."




Chapter 1317 Disappearance

"Hmph! What do you know? The lantern riddles from the Imperial Palace Cuisine can't be deciphered with common sense," Roselyn said with a cold face. "Just because you managed to guess one question by luck, don't think you can meddle in my affairs. In terms of real skill, you're not qualified!"

In her view, Dustin had just been lucky, like a blind cat finding a dead mouse, which was why he had answered the first question correctly. But luck like that couldn't last forever.

"Is that so? It seems Roselyn is quite confident in her answer," Dustin replied with a half-smile.

"Of course!" Roselyn raised her head proudly. "I'm well-read, talented, and if I can't solve such a simple riddle, how can I ever face anyone again?"

Upon hearing this, Dustin couldn't help but chuckle silently.

This woman's confidence was something else.

"Dustin, why don't you share your insights? Let's discuss this together," Carlos suggested.

"Since you are willing to listen, I'll share my humble opinion."

Dustin lifted his tea cup, took a sip, and then continued, " 'Clouds shroud the Mid-Autumn moon, rain showers the Lantern Festival.' This phrase implies that if on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, the moon is covered by clouds, then in the year following the Lantern Festival, there will be continuous spring showers that drench the lanterns."

"Hmph! I know what that means. Do you really need to explain it?" Roselyn huffed.

"Dustin, what's your answer then?" Carlos asked tentatively.

"Disappearance."

"Disappearance?" Carlos was slightly puzzled. "What do you mean?"

"'Clouds shroud the Mid-Autumn moon' indirectly suggests rain, which is in harmony with the subsequent sentence," Dustin explained calmly. "So, the word 'disappearance' refers to the rain falling. After the rain has fallen, it extinguishes the Lantern Festival lanterns, making them 'disappear.' Therefore, the answer is 'disappearance.'"

"Nonsense!" As soon as the words left her mouth, Roselyn immediately retorted, "What 'disappearance'? That's utter nonsense! People like you, who provide shallow interpretations, think Imperial Palace Cuisine would be so simple?"

"I'm just interpreting the puzzle according to its clues. Believe it or not, it's up to you," Dustin shrugged.

Arguing with such a self-assured woman was pointless. Even if you spoke eloquently, she would still find various reasons to refute you.

"Elder Carlos! Don't listen to this guy's nonsense. My answer is the correct one!" Roselyn declared confidently.

"Well..." Carlos looked left and right, appearing somewhat hesitant.

Everyone seemed to have their own reasoning, and both explanations sounded plausible. As for whom to believe, he wasn't quite sure.

"Elder Carlos, do you doubt my judgment?" Roselyn frowned, her expression displeased. "You should be well aware of my literary talents. The previous question was just a mistake, but I have complete confidence in this one. I will definitely win!"

"Really?" Carlos raised an eyebrow.

"More certain than pearls!" Roselyn said seriously.

"Alright! Since Roselyn is so confident, I'll give it another try!" Carlos's spirits lifted.

Making such a statement meant he was extremely confident. This time, he wouldn't make a mistake.

"Mr Meyer, I've figured out the answer to the word puzzle," Carlos stood up again, drawing the attention of everyone present.

He had lost face earlier, and now he needed to make a comeback.

"Please tell us," Mr Meyer nodded slightly.

"'Clouds shroud the Mid-Autumn moon, rain showers the Lantern Festival' implies two different moods - the joy of reunion and the regret of parting. So, my answer is 'mixed feelings!'" Carlos declared with his head held high.

" 'Mixed feelings'?"







Chapter 1318 Trusting a Wrong Person

Upon hearing this, the crowd couldn't help but start whispering among themselves.

Some of the wealthy folks who pretended to know it all even regretfully slapped their thighs.

"Hey! I was just about to say 'mixed feelings.' I didn't expect this guy to beat me to it. What a blunder!"

"I'm in the same boat. If I hadn't hesitated for a moment, why would this kid get the spotlight?"

"'Mixed feelings'... it really is a beautiful concept and a great idiom!"

Seeing Carlos's confidence and his well-structured explanation, many people started to believe him.

"So, Mr Meyer, did I get it right?" Carlos's mouth curled up in satisfaction.

"Well... I'm sorry, but you're wrong again," Mr Meyer politely replied.

"What? Wrong again?"

Upon hearing this, Carlos's smile immediately froze on his face. "Mr Meyer, you can't be serious, can you?"

"How can I joke about something like this? Your answer is indeed not the correct one," Mr Meyer shook his head.

With these words, Carlos, along with the disciples of the Healwell Clinic, all wore strange expressions and turned their collective gaze towards Roselyn.

"How is that possible? I clearly understood the meaning of these two lines of poetry. Why did I still get it wrong?" Roselyn widened her eyes, finding it difficult to accept.

With her abundant talent, how could she make consecutive mistakes?

"It seems like you were trusting a wrong person," Belinda, not far away, once again started to taunt. "Roselyn, you're arrogant and conceited, but you don't have any real skills. You believe whatever this guy says? You might as well guess randomly."

Carlos's eye twitched, and for a moment, he was at a loss for words.

Damn it, this was so embarrassing.

Making a mistake the first time could be forgiven as a simple error, but now he had made consecutive mistakes, and each time, he was the first to answer.

It was somewhat embarrassing.

"Belinda, don't get too arrogant! Even though I answered wrong, at least I'm better than you, who can't answer at all!" Roselyn shouted.

"Who said I couldn't answer?"

Belinda smiled faintly and snapped his fingers. "Tell her what the correct answer is."

"Sure."

The young expert adviser beside him stood up and said loudly, "The answer to the riddle 'Clouds shroud the Mid-Autumn moon, rain showers the Lantern Festival' is 'disappearance.' 'Disappearance' represents the falling rain, which, after falling, wets the Lantern Festival lanterns, making them 'disappear.' So, the correct answer is 'disappearance.'"

"Nonsense!" Just as Roselyn was about to argue, Mr Meyer suddenly spoke, "Miss Belinda answered correctly, and the correct answer is indeed 'disappearance.'"

With these words, Roselyn's voice abruptly stopped, and her whole body stiffened.

She found it hard to believe.

How could she be wrong when she had such a profound understanding of the two lines of poetry?

She was exceptionally talented, so how could she make two consecutive mistakes?

"Carlos, it seems you've been misled," Belinda couldn't help but taunt. "Roselyn is arrogant and conceited, yet she doesn't have the ability to back it up. You believed her words, but you might as well have guessed randomly."

Carlos was at a loss for words, and he couldn't help but feel embarrassed.

For the first time, he could have let it slide as a mere mistake. But to make consecutive mistakes and be the first to answer each time was quite humiliating.

"I can't believe it. Dustin's answer was actually correct. What a missed opportunity!"

"It's a shame. If only the Elder Carlos had listened to Dustin's suggestion."

The disciples of the Healwell Clinic shook their heads and sighed.

Seeing Roselyn's overconfidence, they had thought she was a surefire winner. However, she had now made two mistakes in a row, which was truly disappointing.

On the other hand, Dustin, who seemed unremarkable, had given the correct answer each time.

Unfortunately, no one had believed him.

With these thoughts in mind, the crowd's perception of Dustin began to change drastically.

This... was the real hidden talent!







Chapter 1319 Promise to Trust


"Miss Belinda has already won two rounds in a row. If this continues, our Healwell Clinic is in danger!" Elijah furrowed his brows, his expression serious.

He regretted agreeing to this gamble from the start. If they lost, they would lose half a lifetime's worth of hard work.

"It's evident that Miss Belinda came prepared, and we've likely been manipulated," one of the Healwell Clinic disciples grumbled in frustration, but there was nothing they could do.

They were already committed, and the terms of the wager couldn't be changed. They had to look for an opportunity to turn the tide.

"Roselyn, you've lost again," Belinda's mocking voice floated over. "If you lose a few more rounds, Healwell Clinic will be mine."

"Humph! Don't get too excited; this is just the beginning!" Roselyn retorted with a stern voice.

She had inquired and learned that there were a total of ten word puzzles. As long as she got six of them right, she would secure victory. So, she still had a chance to turn the tables.

"You couldn't even answer these two simple questions correctly, and you expect to do better in the future? Don't be ridiculous. I advise you to admit defeat early to save face," Belinda taunted.

"The outcome is yet to be determined. Let's see how it goes!" Roselyn said, her temper flaring.

"Alright, I want to see how capable you are," Belinda smiled faintly. "Mr Meyer, please continue with the questions."

"Very well," Mr Meyer nodded and pulled out another card from the box. He read it aloud, "Please pay close attention to the third word puzzle: 'One comes from the right, one comes from the west, three rooms form a square in the southeast. Guess a character.'"

"One comes from the right, one comes from the west? Three rooms form a square in the southeast?" As soon as the riddle was presented, the crowd began to contemplate.

Typically, when guessing characters, one looked for flaws in the riddle. Once they found the key, it would be easy to decipher the answer. However, it was clear that this character was not straightforward.

"I've figured it out!" After some contemplation, Roselyn's eyes lit up, and she suddenly said, "Elder Carlos, I know the answer. It's the character "洒" (sa)!"

"'Sa'? What does that mean?" Carlos was puzzled.

"Examine the riddle carefully. The three dots on the left of the character "洒" (sa) represent three rooms, and when combined with 'west' and 'right,' it perfectly explains the riddle," Roselyn explained excitedly.

"But how do you interpret the 'one from the right' part?" Carlos was skeptical.

"That's simple. On the left side of the character "洒" (sa), you have three dots representing three rooms, and on the right, you have 'west' and 'right,' which explains the riddle perfectly," Roselyn replied confidently.

"Why do I feel like it's a bit of a stretch?" Carlos furrowed his brows slightly.

After making two consecutive mistakes, he had lost trust in Roselyn.

"Elder Carlos, please trust me one last time. I promise, this time it's definitely correct!" Roselyn declared with determination.

"..." Carlos's mouth twitched, wanting to scold her, but he ultimately held back.

For goodness' sake! She's doing this again?

Every time she sounded so confident, but the results were always disappointing. It made him look bad as well. If it weren't for them being fellow disciples, he would have lost his temper long ago.

"Dustin, do you have any insights?" Carlos didn't pay attention to Roselyn and instead turned his gaze to Dustin.

"Is it important for me to have insights? You won't believe me anyway, so there's no point in saying anything," Dustin mumbled as he continued to eat his meal.

"Cough... Dustin, it was my oversight before. I didn't realize your talent. I promise to trust you this time," Carlos promised.






Chapter 1320 The Unfamiliar Character

"What do you mean, Elder Carlos?" Upon hearing this, Roselyn immediately became displeased. "Who is he to compare with me? Are you saying you'd rather trust an outsider than believe in me?!"

"Shut up!" Carlos turned around and shouted, "I trusted you twice before, and both times you were wrong. How can I trust you again?"

"I..." Roselyn was left speechless, her face flushed.

The Elder Carlos she remembered had always been like an elder brother from the neighborhood. He had never been this harsh with her before. What had happened today?

"Roselyn, this matter is not child's play. You and Belinda have made a bet, and if you lose, you'll lose the entire Healwell Clinic!" Carlos spoke earnestly. "Furthermore, your talents lie in music, chess, calligraphy, and painting, as well as poetry and essays. You haven't delved into word puzzles before. It's important to stick to what you're good at. Let's give Dustin a chance."

"Alright, I'll give him a chance, but if he answers incorrectly, I'll take over immediately. This might still give us a chance," Roselyn conceded.

"No problem," Carlos sighed in relief and turned to Dustin. "Dustin, tell us your answer. What character do you think it is?"

"One comes from the right, one comes from the west, three rooms form a square in the southeast. If I'm not mistaken, the character should be '醢' (hǎi)," Dustin said indifferently.

"'Hai'? Which 'hai' are you talking about?" Carlos looked bewildered.

"It's this character, '醢' (hǎi)," Dustin pointed to it with his finger and then wrote it out on the table.

"'醢' (hǎi)?"

Seeing the unfamiliar character, everyone exchanged puzzled glances. They had never seen this character before; it was extremely rare.

"This character '醢' contains both 'right' and 'west,' which corresponds to the first part of the word puzzle. As for the second part, 'three rooms form a square in the southeast,' take a look at this '皿' (mǐn) character. Doesn't it resemble three separate rooms?" Dustin explained step by step.

"It looks just like it! It's really similar!" Carlos examined it closely and couldn't help but feel ecstatic. "Dustin, your choice of '醢' is simply brilliant! I've had an epiphany! The answer is indeed '醢'!"

Previously, Roselyn's choice of "洒" lacked any persuasive power, but now that he saw this "醢," he immediately realized that it was the correct answer.

"Elder Carlos, don't get too excited yet. Who knows if this is the correct answer? What if it's wrong?" Roselyn poured cold water on the situation.

"I'll take responsibility if it's wrong!" Carlos declared.

"Carlos, it's too early for you to be this excited, isn't it? You've already been wrong twice in a row. If you're wrong again on the third question, you won't be able to show your face," Belinda interjected unexpectedly.

"Some people never learn their lesson!"

"It's not enough to lack the ability; they even enjoy showing off. They're nothing more than clowns."

At this moment, many of the high-ranking officials and wealthy individuals started to mock and ridicule.

Making mistakes once or twice and learning from them should have been enough. But the person in front of them kept being the first to answer each time, and each time, they were wrong.

Wasn't this just self-inflicted humiliation?

"Carlos, this word puzzle is a bit challenging. Would you like to think it over again?" Mr Meyer kindly advised.

"No need to think it over; I'm very confident this time," Carlos declared loudly.

"Oh? I'd like to ask, Carlos, what character do you think is the answer?" Mr Meyer asked in return.

"It's the character '醢' (hǎi)!" Carlos didn't waste any time and directly wrote the character '醢' (hǎi) in large letters, then slapped it heavily in front of Mr Meyer. "Mr Meyer, please take a careful look. Is this character correct?"
 
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Chapter 1311 Immortal Beauty

"Dear esteemed guests, good evening, everyone."

As the cultural evening began, a jolly, plump middle-aged man stepped onto the stage with a warm smile. He respectfully bowed to the guests in all directions.

He handled the formalities meticulously, leaving no room for any neglect.

"My name is Ryan Meyer, and I am the owner of this place. I want to express my gratitude to all of you for gracing the Imperial Palace Cuisine with your presence."

Mr Meyer continued with a smile, "Tonight, it's our monthly cultural exchange gathering, and our distinguished host has selected a remarkable treasure from the treasure chamber to kick off the evening's festivities. Our aim is to foster friendship through culture, not to compete or win, but to enjoy the arts and camaraderie."

"Mr Meyer, what exactly is the treasure your establishment has prepared? Please don't keep us in suspense!" A man suddenly exclaimed.

"Yeah! We came here just for this. Don't disappoint us!" Many others joined in with cheers.

"Please be patient, everyone. I will have the treasure brought out for your viewing pleasure."

With a slight bow, Mr Meyer signaled to two people nearby.

They quickly understood and soon brought out a rectangular wooden box.

The box was half a meter wide and one and a half meters long, crafted entirely from golden-threaded nanmu wood (a precious wood that is unique to China and South Asia, and was historically used for boat building, architectural woodworking, furniture and sculptural carving).

Just the box itself was of considerable value, not to mention what precious item lay inside.

*Click!*

Amid the anticipation of the crowd, Mr Meyer slowly opened the wooden box, revealing a framed painting inside.

The painting depicted a woman in palace attire, sitting in a pavilion, gazing at the snowy landscape outside.

The woman had a graceful figure and a unique charm, even though only half of her face was visible.

Her beauty was breathtaking and could captivate anyone who laid eyes on her, with her eyes being particularly mesmerizing and alluring, as if capable of enchanting one's soul.

Astonishingly beautiful, the woman and the snowy scene complemented each other, creating a magnificent and captivating masterpiece.

"So beautiful!"

Upon seeing the painting, the entire audience fell into a sudden hush.

Both men and women were equally stunned by the artwork.

The more they looked, the more they found themselves drawn into an inexplicable mood.

The longer they looked, the more enchanting and heartwarming it appeared.

"I never thought there could be such perfection in the world."

Carlos was left speechless, and his eyes seemed to radiate light.

Though not one to be easily swayed by appearances, he found it impossible to look away from such a stunning beauty.

That face, that aura, the enchantment radiating from her every expression and gesture—it was truly mesmerizing.

"If I could marry a woman like her, I'd gladly give up ten years of my life!" Elmer couldn't help but swallow hard.

The rest of the disciples from the Healwell Clinic were equally amazed.

None of them had expected a painting to possess such an extraordinary power.

"Humph! There can't be a woman this perfect in the world; it must be the creation of a skillful artist!" Roselyn said with a jealous expression.

Despite her own confidence in her appearance, she couldn't help but feel a sense of inferiority when compared to the woman in the painting.

So, she was convinced that the person in the painting must be a fabrication.

"Mr Meyer, what's the story behind this painting? Who is the lady in the portrait?" A man suddenly asked.

"To be honest, this painting is the work of Master Ferrucci and is titled ‘Dipinto della Bellezza’ (Painting of Beauty)" Mr Meyer explained.

"What? This is a painting by Master Alessio Ferrucci?"

"Master Ferrucci? Is that the renowned literary and artistic figure of our time?"

"That's right! Master Ferrucci is celebrated as a contemporary poet and a master of the arts. His paintings are worth their weight in gold!"





Chapter 1312 Unmatched Charm

After learning about the origins of the artwork, the entire audience erupted in excitement.

The people attending tonight's event were, to varying degrees, enthusiasts of elegance and refinement. Legendary figures like Master Ferrucci were highly esteemed in their eyes.

Poetry and painting were two entirely different realms, and mastering either was no small feat. Those who excelled in both were truly rare.

As for someone like Master Ferrucci, who had reached the pinnacle in both poetry and painting, he was a true enigma. He had a reputation for being unconventional, caring little for wealth, and rarely producing poems or artworks. Consequently, whenever his works appeared, they fetched a high price at auctions and were considered treasures. Many of the cultured elite took pride in owning an authentic piece by Master Ferrucci.

Seeing one of his works in person was naturally a source of great excitement.

"I believe you all know how rare Master Ferrucci's authentic works are. If it weren't for our esteemed host's close relationship with Master Ferrucci, we might not have been able to obtain this 'Dipinto della Bellezza' tonight," Mr Meyer said with a smile.

"It truly lives up to Master Ferrucci's reputation. This 'Dipinto della Bellezza' is so lifelike, as if a celestial being descended to Earth; it's extraordinary!"

"To witness an authentic work by Master Ferrucci is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!"

"Wait a minute... I heard that Master Ferrucci's paintings emphasize realism. Could it be that the lady in this painting is not a creation?"

As the crowd chatted, they suddenly realized the issue at hand.

"This guest has a point. The lady in the painting is not a fabrication; she is a real person," Mr Meyer paused briefly, waiting until everyone's curiosity was piqued before continuing, "I won't keep you in suspense any longer. I can reveal that the original subject of this 'Dipinto della Bellezza' is none other than the number one beauty in the Dragonmarsh, the top-ranked lady on the Beauty Index—Gabrielle Whitlock!"

"What? Gabrielle Whitlock?!"

With those words, the entire room erupted in a storm of excitement.

Each person wore a look of astonishment and fervor.

The name Gabrielle Whitlock had become widely known in recent years. Yet, this woman remained shrouded in mystery. No one knew what she looked like or her background. What was known was that a few years ago, the name Gabrielle Whitlock had appeared out of nowhere, toppling all other peerless beauties on the Beauty Index and claiming the coveted first place. From then on, she was hailed as the number one beauty in the Dragonmarsh.

However, despite her consecutive years at the top, Gabrielle Whitlock had never appeared in public. To this day, no one knew what she actually looked like.

Strangely, this only intensified people's curiosity. So, upon hearing that the lady in the painting was Gabrielle Whitlock, all the guests in attendance wore expressions of pleasant surprise.

Even though only half of her face was visible in the painting, her unmatched charm was undeniable.

As the top-ranked beauty on the Beauty Index, Gabrielle Whitlock truly lived up to her reputation!

"Master Ferrucci's artwork, coupled with Gabrielle Whitlock's extraordinary allure, makes this treasure a fitting highlight for tonight, wouldn't you agree?" Mr Meyer smiled warmly.

"Hahaha... excellent! It's indeed a precious gem! I've decided to acquire this 'Dipinto della Bellezza' tonight!"

"Nonsense! The 'Dipinto della Bellezza' is mine; no one can take it from me!"

"Humph! Words are meaningless; whether or not you can obtain the 'Dipinto della Bellezza' will depend on your skills!"

After some spirited banter, the atmosphere in the Imperial Palace Cuisine had reached its zenith. Everyone was eager to showcase their talents.

"Since you're all in high spirits, I won't keep you waiting any longer," Mr Meyer cleared his throat and continued, "Today, our establishment has prepared a traditional activity for the Lantern Festival—word puzzle challenge."





Chapter 1313 A Pastime for Common Folks

"Word puzzle challenge?"

Upon hearing this, the crowd was taken aback. They exchanged puzzled looks, unsure of what was happening.

In the past, they had always competed in poetry, music, calligraphy, and painting. Why were they suddenly asked to do Word puzzle challenge today?

To win the top spot, many of the distinguished guests had spared no expense, inviting poetry experts and literary geniuses to assist them.

Now, instead of poetry or painting, they were unexpectedly faced with word puzzle challenge. Did that mean all their previous preparations had been in vain?

"Mr Meyer, couldn't we have a contest of poetry instead? It seems like you're intentionally making things difficult for us." someone voiced their displeasure.

"Guests, please calm down. The topics for tonight's competition are randomly selected, and there's no intention to make things difficult. Please bear with us," Mr Meyer replied with a slight nod.

"Alright, alright, enough talk. Let's get on with the Word puzzle challenge. That’s too easy."

"That's right. People like us, well-versed in world literature, shouldn't be daunted by mere Word puzzle challenge."

"Now, it's time to put our literary skills to the test. Let's see who stands out among us!"

The crowd was abuzz with excitement, urging the competition to begin.

"Sister, you excel in poetry, but are you confident in word puzzle challenge?" Carlos couldn't help but ask.

"Brother, rest assured. I'm skilled in words, and even poetry, word puzzle challenge is going to be a walk in the park," Roselyn replied confidently.

To her, word puzzle challenges were a pastime for common folks. As a cultured individual, she considered them too easy and believed there was no challenge involved.

She was confident that she could easily handle it.

"That's good to hear..."

Carlos breathed a sigh of relief, then added, "If Sister can win this 'Dipinto della Bellezza,' would you consider selling it to me? I'm willing to pay a hefty sum!"

"Brother, you're too kind. If you like it, I'll gladly give it to you," Roselyn responded generously.

Her confidence made it seem as though victory was already assured.

"Thank you, Sister!"

Carlos's face lit up, and his heart raced a bit faster. The 'Dipinto della Bellezza' was truly invaluable, and if he could obtain it, it might catapult the Grantwood family to new heights.

"Now that everyone is in agreement, let's begin," the Mr Meyer announced as the surroundings grew quieter. He signaled for a sealed box to be brought over.

The box had a hole on top, just large enough for a hand to reach inside. The Mr Meyer rolled up his sleeve, extended his hand into the box, and after a brief search, he pulled out a card.

After glancing at the card, he spoke aloud, "The first puzzle challenge is: 'A shining star in the night sky, guess one letter.'"

"A shining star in the night sky?"

Upon hearing this, the crowd fell silent, contemplating the puzzle. Solving word puzzles wasn't their forte, and many were only vaguely familiar with them, often relying on luck to make a guess.

"Roselyn, how do you interpret 'A shining star in the night sky'?" asked Carlos, intrigued.

"Well..."

Roselyn paused for a moment, unsure of how to respond. He could only say, "Brolther, give me a moment to think."

"Of course, take your time. There's no rush."

Carlos refrained from pressuring her, not wanting to interrupt her thought process.

"A shining star in the night sky, guess one letter. From the literal meaning, it shouldn't be too difficult to understand that this letter is related to stars and the night sky," Roselyn muttered to herself, lightly tapping the table with her fingers.

After a while, her eyes suddenly lit up. "Brother! I know what letter it is!"




Chapter 1314: Just A Bit of Brainpower Needed

"Oh? What is it?" Carlos perked up instantly.

"It's the letter 'S'!"

Roselyn asserted confidently, "The phrase 'A shining star in the night sky' directly points to the letter 'S'! It's the only logical choice!"

"'S'? Are you sure?" Carlos asked cautiously.

"Absolutely! With such a straightforward word puzzle, how could I be mistaken? I just needed to use a bit of brainpower to easily figure it out," Roselyn replied with unwavering confidence.

"Sister Roselyn is indeed amazing! She solved the puzzle so quickly, truly a renowned talent!" Elmer praised.

"That's right! With Sister Roselyn here, we can not only win but also make a fortune!" The Healwell Clinic disciples were excited.

"Hmph... a mere word puzzle offers no challenge at all. I can't fully showcase my talents," Roselyn said, with an air of arrogance.

Hearing this, Dustin just shook his head and chuckled.

This woman was excessively confident. She hadn't even examined the question properly and hastily concluded. It was truly amusing.

"Hey, what are you laughing at? Who do you think you are to dare to laugh at me?" Roselyn glared at him, her tone full of discontent.

"Of course, I'm not."

Dustin shrugged. "Just a friendly reminder, believe whatever you like to believe; I don’t care."

In any case, he wouldn't be the one embarrassed.

"Dustin, judging by your tone, do you have an answer?" Carlos casually asked.

"If I'm not mistaken, the answer should be the letter N,'" Dustin replied.

"'N'? What's that?" Carlos rubbed his chin, about to inquire further when Roselyn beside him snorted.

"'N'? It's absurd! The word puzzle clearly refers to stars and the night sky. It can only be the letter 'N'! You're pretending to be knowledgeable!" Roselyn exclaimed.

"Whether you believe it or not is up to you," Dustin said, uninterested in arguing.

Some people just refused to admit when they were wrong.

"Brother, this person is clearly trying to seek attention. Don't pay any attention to him. You should listen to me. Submit the answer 'S,' and we'll surely secure the first question!" Roselyn was brimming with self-assurance.

"Alright! Sister Roselyn is extraordinarily talented. I believe in you!" Carlos nodded and promptly raised his hand. "Mr. Meyer, I know the answer to the puzzle!"

"Oh?"

The Mr Meyer raised an eyebrow and smiled. "May I ask, what is your answer, Mr. Grantwood?"

"It's the letter 'S'!" Carlos confidently declared. "The phrase 'A shining star in the night sky' directly points to the letter 'S'! There's no other answer!"

As soon as he spoke, many people began to whisper and discuss whether this answer was correct.

"Mr. Grantwood, are you sure it's 'S'? Maybe you should think it over again," the Mr Meyer advised.

"No need to think it over. It's definitely 'S.' Just announce the result!" Carlos urged.

"Mr. Grantwood, I'm sorry, but your answer is incorrect," the Mr Meyer shook his head.

"What? Incorrect?" Carlos was momentarily stunned, and he instinctively glanced at Roselyn.

Wasn't she supposed to secure the first question easily? Why did she get it wrong as soon as she spoke?

"How is that possible? How could my answer be wrong?" Roselyn widened her eyes, finding it hard to believe.

She was a master of literature, and how could she be wrong about a simple word puzzle?

There must be some foul play!

Someone was deliberately targeting her!



Chapter 1315 The Correct Answer


"Hey! What gives you the right to say my answer is wrong? How could I possibly get such a simple word puzzle wrong?" Roselyn couldn't help but slam the table.

She was very defiant and had her own pride as a renowned talent. A mere word puzzle couldn't possibly stump her.

"Miss, please don't get upset. The answer to the word puzzle has already been determined, and the word you provided is indeed incorrect," the Mr Meyer tried to explain.

"Fine! You say my answer is wrong, then immediately announce the correct answer. I want to see if there's a better answer than mine!" Roselyn demanded aggressively.

"Miss, other contestants haven't guessed yet, so announcing the answer now would be against the rules. If no one can guess the answer to this question, I will announce the results later. I hope you can be patient," the Mr Meyer calmly replied.

"Roselyn, ah, Roselyn, you're wrong, yet you can't accept defeat? You, a renowned talent, can't handle a loss, can you?" At this moment, a voice filled with sarcasm drifted over from the side.

The speaker was none other than Belinda, holding a wine glass.

"Why am I wrong? Who do you think you are to say I'm wrong? Do you think you're more capable than I am?" Roselyn retorted.

"Why? Because I already have the correct answer," Belinda replied, gracefully rising to her feet. She looked at the Mr Meyer and said with a smile, "Mr. Smith, I provided the answer 'N.'"

"Hmph! That's completely unrelated!" Roselyn sneered. "Your 'N' has nothing to do with the word puzzle. If that's considered the correct answer, I might as well write my name backward!"

"Is that so?" Belinda said with a teasing smile. "Mr. Meyer, please announce the result. Is my 'N' the correct answer?"

"Congratulations, Belinda, your answer is correct," Mr. Meyer affirmed. "In every map, the letter 'N' signifies North, always pointing up toward the sky. Hence, the answer to this word puzzle is indeed 'N'."

"What?!"

As soon as this was said, Roselyn was frozen in





Chapter 1316 Over-interpreting

That's right, there's still a chance. Losing one question is nothing. As long as the subsequent questions go well, she can still win.

"Now, please listen to the second question," the host said as he pulled out another card from the box and read it aloud: "Second question: 'Clouds obscure the mid-autumn moon, rain drenches the lantern festival,' guess a common idiomatic expression."

"'Clouds obscure the mid-autumn moon, rain drenches the lantern festival'?"

The contestants looked at each other, puzzled.

What does that mean? How do we guess this?

"Hey, Roselyn, do you have any clues for these two lines of poetry to guess a common idiomatic expression?" Carlos tentatively asked after waiting for a while.

"These two lines of poetry mention the Mid-Autumn Festival and the Lantern Festival. If the answer is a common idiomatic expression, it should be related to these two festivals," Roselyn began to analyze in detail. "The Mid-Autumn Festival symbolizes reunion and happiness, while the Lantern Festival symbolizes praying and making wishes. Normally, it should be a common idiomatic expression with a joyful meaning."

"However... 'Mid-Autumn' and 'Lantern Festival' are followed by 'clouds obscure' and 'rain drenches,' which adds some uncertainty. So, I guess the answer should have two meanings. On the one hand, it should represent reunion and happiness, and on the other hand, it should have a hint of regret. The idiom that encompasses both of these meanings that I can think of is 'mixed blessings.'"

As she spoke, her spirits lifted, as if she had dispelled the fog and seen the light.

"'Mixed blessings'?"

Carlos was baffled.

Why did it sound even more mysterious the more he heard?

"That's right! It's 'mixed blessings'!" Roselyn affirmed with confidence. "Only this idiom can capture the meanings of these two lines of poetry. I guarantee you won't be disappointed this time!"

"Roselyn, are you sure?" Carlos was still somewhat skeptical.

"Roselyn, trust me once more. I'm very confident this time. I promise not to let you down!" Roselyn said firmly.

"Dustin, what do you think?" Carlos didn't directly answer but looked at Dustin, who was sipping tea nearby.

Previously, Dustin had accurately guessed the answer to the first question, proving that he had a way with words.

"I have a different opinion from Roselyn, "Dustin said calmly. "Riddles are usually guessed based on their literal meanings, not on the poetic imagery. I think Roselyn may be over-interpreting."




Chapter 1317 Rain On Your Parade

"Hmph! What do you understand? The riddles from this game show can't be deciphered with common sense," Roselyn said coldly. "Just because you got lucky and guessed the first question correctly doesn't mean you can criticize me. In terms of real ability, you're not qualified!"

In her opinion, Dustin had only guessed the first question correctly by luck, like a blind cat stumbling upon a dead mouse. Such luck wouldn't last.

"Is that so? It seems that Roselyn is very confident in her answer, "Dustin said with a half-smile.

"Of course!" Roselyn raised her head proudly. "I am well-read in literature, and my talent knows no bounds. If I can't solve such a simple riddle, how can I show my face to others?"

Upon hearing this, Dustin couldn't help but chuckle.

This woman was truly self-confident to the extreme.

"Dustin, do you mind sharing your opinion? We can discuss it together," Carlos suggested.

"Since you're willing to listen, I will share my humble opinion". Dustin said as he picked up his tea cup and took a sip. Then he continued, " 'Clouds obscure the mid-autumn moon' implies rain because the moon is covered by clouds, and it corresponds to 'rain drenches the lantern festival' where the rain drenches the lanterns. Therefore, the phrase 'rain drenches' refers to the falling rain. After the rain falls and wets the lanterns, they naturally become 'unclear.' So, the answer is 'rain on your parade.'"

"Nonsense!"

As soon as he finished speaking, Roselyn immediately retorted, "What 'rain on your parade'? That's absurd! People like you, who offer shallow analysis, have no depth of understanding. Do you think this game show would be as shallow as you?"

"I'm just interpreting the riddle according to its clues. Whether you believe it or not is up to you," Dustin shrugged.

There was no point in arguing with such a self-confident woman. Even if you spoke eloquently, she could always find reasons to refute you.

"Carlos, do you not believe in my judgment?" Roselyn frowned, her expression somewhat displeased. "You should be well aware of my literary talent. The previous question was just a mistake; I have a hundred percent certainty in this question. I'm sure I can win!"

"Really?" Carlos raised an eyebrow.

"More precious than pearls!" Roselyn said earnestly.

"Very well! Since Roselyn is so confident, I'll try one more time!" Carlos's spirits were lifted.

He dared to say such things, so he must be confident. This time, he wouldn't make a mistake again.

"Sir, I know the answer to the riddle," Carlos stood up again, attracting the attention of everyone present.

Having lost face earlier, he was determined to make a comeback.

"I would like to hear it in detail," the host said with a slight nod.

"Alright."

" 'Clouds obscure the mid-autumn moon, rain drenches the lantern festival' implies two different meanings: one of joyous reunion and the other of regretful separation. So, my answer is 'mixed blessings.'" Carlos raised his head proudly.

"'Mixed blessings'?"





Chapter 1318 The Wrong Person

Upon hearing this, the onlookers began to whisper among themselves. Some of the contestants who had pretended to understand riddles couldn't help but regret and slap their thighs.

"Hey, I was just about to say 'mixed blessings,' but this guy stole the spotlight. What a mistake!"

"Yeah, me too! If I hadn't hesitated just now, this guy wouldn't have had a chance to shine!"

"'Mixed blessings'... It really is a good concept, a great idiom!"

Seeing Carlos's confidence and well-structured explanation, many people believed it to be true.

"How about it, host? Did I get it right?" Carlos grinned proudly.

"Well... I'm sorry, but you got it wrong again," the host politely replied.

"What? Wrong again?" Carlos's smile froze on his face. "Sir, you're not joking, are you?"

"How can I joke about something like this? Your answer is indeed not the correct one," the host shook his head.

Upon hearing this, Carlos and the other contestants, including Roselyn, wore strange expressions and turned their gaze towards Dustin.

"How could this be? I clearly understood the meaning behind these two lines of poetry. Why did I still get it wrong?" Roselyn widened her eyes, finding it difficult to accept.

She was exceptionally talented; how could she make consecutive mistakes?

"Carlos! It seems that you entrusted the task to the wrong person," the nearby Belinda said, once again using a sarcastic tone. "Roselyn is arrogant and self-conceited, but she lacks real ability. Do you believe in what someone like her says?”

The disciples of Healwell Clinic shook their heads and sighed with disappointment.

Seeing Roselyn's overconfidence and thinking that victory was assured, only to make two consecutive mistakes, was truly disappointing.

On the other hand, Dustin, who appeared ordinary, had provided the correct answers every time.

Unfortunately, no one had believed him.

With these thoughts in mind, the way people looked at Dustin began to change significantly.

This... was the true depth hidden beneath the surface!





Chapter 1319 Promise to Trust

"Belinda has won two rounds in a row. If this continues, our Healwell Clinic is in danger!" Elijah's brows furrowed deeply, and his expression was grave.

If he had known it would turn out like this, he wouldn't have agreed to this gambling match. Once they lose, half a lifetime of hard work would go up in smoke.

"Belinda obviously came prepared, and we seem to have been manipulated," one of Healwell Clinic's disciples said.

"This woman is truly despicable!" Another disciple cursed under his breath, feeling resentful but helpless at the same time.

Now that they were in the midst of the competition, they couldn't change the established rules. They had to find a way to turn the tables.

"Roselyn, you've lost again," Belinda's mocking voice echoed. "If you lose a few more rounds, Healwell Clinic will be mine."

"Hmph! Don't be too happy. Everything has just begun!" Roselyn replied with a stern tone.

She had inquired beforehand and knew that there were a total of ten riddles. As long as she answered six correctly, she would secure victory. So, she still had a chance to make a comeback.

"You couldn't even solve these two word puzzle, and you still expect to win in the later rounds? Don't be ridiculous. I advise you to surrender early to avoid further embarrassment," Belinda taunted.

"Alright, let's see how capable you are," Roselyn retorted. "Sir, please continue with the next question."

"Okay."

Mr Meyer nodded and retrieved another card from the box. He then read aloud, "Please listen carefully to the third word puzzle, a Chinese riddle: 'One comes from the right, one from the west, three square houses stand in the southeast. Guess a Chinese word.'"

As soon as the riddle was presented, everyone in the Cuisine began pondering.

In these types of games, contestants needed to decipher the clues in the riddle to find the answer.

However, it was clear that this riddle was not a straightforward one.

"I've figured it out!" After some contemplation, Roselyn's eyes lit up, and she suddenly said, "Folks, I know the answer. It's the word 'sprinkle'!"

"'Sprinkle' word? What does it mean?" Carlos was puzzled.

"Take a closer look at the riddle. The three dots on the left side of the word 'sprinkle' represent the three square houses, and when combined with 'west,' it forms the word 'sprinkle' perfectly," Roselyn explained enthusiastically how the riddle is written in Chinese characters and how the it looks when you combined them together.

"What about the 'one comes from the right, one from the west' part?" Carlos was skeptical.

"That's simple. The word 'sprinkle' has 'three dots' on the left and 'west' on the right. It explains the riddle perfectly," Roselyn replied.

"Why do I feel like it's a bit far-fetched?" Carlos furrowed his brow.

After making two consecutive mistakes, he had lost trust in Roselyn.

"Carlos! Trust me one more time, I promise this time it'll be right!" Roselyn declared with determination.

"..."

Carlos's mouth twitched, and he resisted the urge to scold her. This routine again?

Every time she made such confident promises, she ended up disappointing everyone. It made him lose face too.

"Dustin, do you have any insights?" Carlos ignored Roselyn and turned to Dustin.

"Is it important whether I have insights or not? You won't believe me anyway, so I might as well not say anything," Dustin replied indifferently, his mouth full of food.

"Cough... Dustin, I am sorry, I will listen this time.



Chapter 1320 A Chinese Riddle

"What do you mean by that, Carlos?" Upon hearing this, Roselyn immediately expressed her dissatisfaction. "Are you saying you'd rather believe a stranger than me?"

"Shut up!" Carlos turned back and shouted, "I trusted you twice before, and both times you were wrong. How can I trust you again?"

"I..." Roselyn was left speechless, her pretty face turning red.

In her memory, her Senior Brother had always been like a caring older brother, and he had never scolded her like this before. What had happened today?

"Roselyn, this matter is not a trifling matter. You made a bet with Belinda, and if you lose, you will lose the entire Healwell Clinic!" Carlos advised with a solemn tone. "Furthermore, your expertise lies in music, chess, calligraphy, and painting, poetry, and literature. You have never dabbled in riddles. There's a saying that one should stick to their specialty. Why don't we let Dustin give it a try?"

"Alright, I'll give him a chance to prove himself, but if he answers incorrectly, I'll take over immediately. This way, we might still have a chance," Roselyn said reluctantly.

"Okay." Carlos breathed a sigh of relief and turned to Dustin. "Dustin, please, give us your answer."

"You won't listen anyway, so I might as well not say anything," Dustin replied indifferently, continuing to eat his food.

"Cough... Dustin, I made a mistake before. I promise to trust you this time," Carlos reassured him.

"Very well."

Dustin nodded and finally spoke up, "If I'm not mistaken, the answer should be the word 'marinate'."

"'Marinate' word? What does it mean?" Carlos was puzzled.

"Examine the Chinese riddle carefully. Inside the Chinese characters for the word 'marinate,' there is 'right' and 'west,' which correspond to the first part of the riddle. As for the second part, 'three square houses stand in the southeast,' take a look at the 'pot' shape. Doesn't it resemble three separate rooms?" Dustin explained how the drawing looks when the Chinese riddle is written.

"It does! It's really uncanny!" Carlos examined it carefully and couldn't help but feel enlightened. He realized that the word 'marinate' was indeed the correct answer.

"Senior Brother, don't celebrate too early. Who knows if this is the correct answer? What if it's wrong?" Roselyn poured cold water on the excitement.

"I will accept it even if it's wrong!" Carlos stood up resolutely and announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, I have an answer for the third question!"

"Roselyn, chill out! You've already answered two questions incorrectly. If you answer the third question wrong, you’re doomed," Belinda interjected suddenly.

"Some people never know when to stop!"

"Without any ability, they still want to show off, it's really embarrassing!"

"Hmph! Just a bunch of clowns trying to gain attention."

At this moment, many scholars (poetry experts and literary geniuses) began to mock.

Making a mistake once or twice, they had already tasted the bitterness. However, the person in front of them insisted on being the first to answer every time, and, most importantly, she answered incorrectly every time. Wasn't she just humiliating herself?

"Carlos, this riddle is a bit challenging. Why don't you reconsider?" Mr Meyer kindly suggested.

"No need to reconsider. I'm very confident this time," Carlos declared confidently.

"Oh? May I ask, Sir, what's the answer?" Mr Meyer asked.

"It's the word 'marinate'!" Carlos didn't waste any words. He wrote the Chinese word 'marinate' on a piece of paper and slapped it heavily in front of Mr Meyer. "Sir, take a close look. Is this word correct?"
Thank you ever so much, grandmaster Jungal2000 for ever tireless effort to translate!

Though admittedly succumbing to temptation to read the other thread that has gone quite far beyond where you left off, I have a strong urge to help you out translate. (Personally I love how you put more expression with the choice of words)

Though I may seem too forward in this proposition but please hear me out:

As soon as I ever find a time to read in advance, I will happily share what I have read so far and ultimately leave the quality checks to you once established. Medium of communication will be private (eg. DMs via here on this forum or somewhere). How does this sound?

While perhaps help you cover "weekend shift".

Ofcourse again I am still uncertain when I can execute this as I have yet soon to finish up the lists of job applications I have to send on a daily basis for both NZ and AU.

In exchange, if you could find me the orginal Novel for "Beasts of Sun Kingdom". ;) (But jokes aside, I kinda want to translate that and force a crossover between Understated novel hehehe)
 
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Gily

KF Founder & Dragon IGM
Jun 4, 2023
6,736
21,114
2,100
Thank you ever so much, grandmaster Jungal2000 for ever tireless effort to translate!

Though admittedly succumbing to temptation to read the other thread that has gone quite far beyond where you left off, I have a strong urge to help you out translate. (Personally I love how you put more expression with the choice of words)

Though I may seem too forward in this proposition but please hear me out:

As soon as I ever find a time to read in advance, I will happily share what I have read so far and ultimately leave the quality checks to you once established. Medium of communication will be private (eg. DMs via here on this forum or somewhere). How does this sound?

While perhaps help you cover "weekend shift".

Ofcourse again I am still uncertain when I can execute this as I have yet soon to finish up the lists of job applications I have to send on a daily basis for both NZ and AU.

In exchange, if you could find me the orginal Novel for "Beasts of Sun Kingdom". ;) (But jokes aside, I kinda want to translate that and force a crossover between Understated novel hehehe)
You translate the Beast of Sun Kingdom. It will be a nice change in here.
 

Darrel Chen

New Villager
Sep 22, 2023
26
38
400
Oh one more thing: I envision once more novels comes in to this forum, I worry Gily might need more moderators to keep up with the pace; I am certain (and evidently) many are getting inspired to translate chinese webnovels.
 

Darrel Chen

New Villager
Sep 22, 2023
26
38
400
You translate the Beast of Sun Kingdom. It will be a nice change in here.
I have been thinking about it since ch 900+ ish of Understated...unfortunately my search for its orginal source is rather futile.

I wish Okoth-Kuzan is still active? He is the orginal translator for it. (Notice me senpai, notice mehh!!! >>>_<<<)
 

Gily

KF Founder & Dragon IGM
Jun 4, 2023
6,736
21,114
2,100
Oh one more thing: I envision once more novels comes in to this forum, I worry Gily might need more moderators to keep up with the pace; I am certain (and evidently) many are getting inspired to translate chinese webnovels.
Haha we had two baned moderators already. This site is new and moderator aren't paid up. Its just a title of power.
 

Darrel Chen

New Villager
Sep 22, 2023
26
38
400
Haha we had two baned moderators already. This site is new and moderator aren't paid up. Its just a title of power.
New or not, I believe moderation can be run unpaid; its a matter of shared interest/passion. Though can't expect much, unfortunately..

I had my fair share of moderating forums way back in the late 2000's for some old school mmorpg game. Feels bad to ban mods especially..people come and go due to conflict of interests ultimately.
 

Gily

KF Founder & Dragon IGM
Jun 4, 2023
6,736
21,114
2,100
New or not, I believe moderation can be run unpaid; its a matter of shared interest/passion. Though can't expect much, unfortunately..

I had my fair share of moderating forums way back in the late 2000's for some old school mmorpg game. Feels bad to ban mods especially..people come and go due to conflict of interests ultimately.
What conflict of interest? A forum had rules and guidelines. You must follow those. A moderator is not God. Just because you have a fall with someone doesn't right to bull people with a different opinion. .

Some people are wackos
 

Darrel Chen

New Villager
Sep 22, 2023
26
38
400
I've decided to cap my daily translations at 20 chapters. We're getting closer to the original Chinese version, and once we catch up, we might only get 1 to 3 chapters a day, which can feel pretty slow. So, I think it's better not to rush and reach that point too quickly.
I see..while the intent there is sensible however just incase you haven't...(Hate to say this but translation is rather bland in this one i found as screenshot):
 

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Darrel Chen

New Villager
Sep 22, 2023
26
38
400
What conflict of interest? A forum had rules and guidelines. You must follow those. A moderator is not God. Just because you have a fall with someone doesn't right to bull people with a different opinion. .

Some people are wackos
Indeed what you have said is undoubtly true however if I may clarify despite the rules, even mods like any other human beings tend to differ later on. Sadly a 'god' status must be put in place unfortunately having to resort to machiavellistic approach for the sake of the community to thrive.

And yes, some people are just obnoxious; leading a group/community can be a heartbreaking endeavour in the process 😅 I truly hope you wont get get tired Gily !❤️

PS.
I believe I am going against forums rules right now : going off-topic 😅 (my apologies 🙏) thoughr of sharing coz' I see potential in kajijiforums ;)
 
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REGAN RHYS

New Villager
Sep 18, 2023
2
1
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Chapter 1311 Immortal Beauty

"Dear esteemed guests, good evening, everyone."

As the cultural evening began, a jolly, plump middle-aged man stepped onto the stage with a warm smile. He respectfully bowed to the guests in all directions.

He handled the formalities meticulously, leaving no room for any neglect.

"My name is Ryan Meyer, and I am the owner of this place. I want to express my gratitude to all of you for gracing the Imperial Palace Cuisine with your presence."

Mr Meyer continued with a smile, "Tonight, it's our monthly cultural exchange gathering, and our distinguished host has selected a remarkable treasure from the treasure chamber to kick off the evening's festivities. Our aim is to foster friendship through culture, not to compete or win, but to enjoy the arts and camaraderie."

"Mr Meyer, what exactly is the treasure your establishment has prepared? Please don't keep us in suspense!" A man suddenly exclaimed.

"Yeah! We came here just for this. Don't disappoint us!" Many others joined in with cheers.

"Please be patient, everyone. I will have the treasure brought out for your viewing pleasure."

With a slight bow, Mr Meyer signaled to two people nearby.

They quickly understood and soon brought out a rectangular wooden box.

The box was half a meter wide and one and a half meters long, crafted entirely from golden-threaded nanmu wood (a precious wood that is unique to China and South Asia, and was historically used for boat building, architectural woodworking, furniture and sculptural carving).

Just the box itself was of considerable value, not to mention what precious item lay inside.

*Click!*

Amid the anticipation of the crowd, Mr Meyer slowly opened the wooden box, revealing a framed painting inside.

The painting depicted a woman in palace attire, sitting in a pavilion, gazing at the snowy landscape outside.

The woman had a graceful figure and a unique charm, even though only half of her face was visible.

Her beauty was breathtaking and could captivate anyone who laid eyes on her, with her eyes being particularly mesmerizing and alluring, as if capable of enchanting one's soul.

Astonishingly beautiful, the woman and the snowy scene complemented each other, creating a magnificent and captivating masterpiece.

"So beautiful!"

Upon seeing the painting, the entire audience fell into a sudden hush.

Both men and women were equally stunned by the artwork.

The more they looked, the more they found themselves drawn into an inexplicable mood.

The longer they looked, the more enchanting and heartwarming it appeared.

"I never thought there could be such perfection in the world."

Carlos was left speechless, and his eyes seemed to radiate light.

Though not one to be easily swayed by appearances, he found it impossible to look away from such a stunning beauty.

That face, that aura, the enchantment radiating from her every expression and gesture—it was truly mesmerizing.

"If I could marry a woman like her, I'd gladly give up ten years of my life!" Elmer couldn't help but swallow hard.

The rest of the disciples from the Healwell Clinic were equally amazed.

None of them had expected a painting to possess such an extraordinary power.

"Humph! There can't be a woman this perfect in the world; it must be the creation of a skillful artist!" Roselyn said with a jealous expression.

Despite her own confidence in her appearance, she couldn't help but feel a sense of inferiority when compared to the woman in the painting.

So, she was convinced that the person in the painting must be a fabrication.

"Mr Meyer, what's the story behind this painting? Who is the lady in the portrait?" A man suddenly asked.

"To be honest, this painting is the work of Master Ferrucci and is titled ‘Dipinto della Bellezza’ (Painting of Beauty)" Mr Meyer explained.

"What? This is a painting by Master Alessio Ferrucci?"

"Master Ferrucci? Is that the renowned literary and artistic figure of our time?"

"That's right! Master Ferrucci is celebrated as a contemporary poet and a master of the arts. His paintings are worth their weight in gold!"





Chapter 1312 Unmatched Charm

After learning about the origins of the artwork, the entire audience erupted in excitement.

The people attending tonight's event were, to varying degrees, enthusiasts of elegance and refinement. Legendary figures like Master Ferrucci were highly esteemed in their eyes.

Poetry and painting were two entirely different realms, and mastering either was no small feat. Those who excelled in both were truly rare.

As for someone like Master Ferrucci, who had reached the pinnacle in both poetry and painting, he was a true enigma. He had a reputation for being unconventional, caring little for wealth, and rarely producing poems or artworks. Consequently, whenever his works appeared, they fetched a high price at auctions and were considered treasures. Many of the cultured elite took pride in owning an authentic piece by Master Ferrucci.

Seeing one of his works in person was naturally a source of great excitement.

"I believe you all know how rare Master Ferrucci's authentic works are. If it weren't for our esteemed host's close relationship with Master Ferrucci, we might not have been able to obtain this 'Dipinto della Bellezza' tonight," Mr Meyer said with a smile.

"It truly lives up to Master Ferrucci's reputation. This 'Dipinto della Bellezza' is so lifelike, as if a celestial being descended to Earth; it's extraordinary!"

"To witness an authentic work by Master Ferrucci is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!"

"Wait a minute... I heard that Master Ferrucci's paintings emphasize realism. Could it be that the lady in this painting is not a creation?"

As the crowd chatted, they suddenly realized the issue at hand.

"This guest has a point. The lady in the painting is not a fabrication; she is a real person," Mr Meyer paused briefly, waiting until everyone's curiosity was piqued before continuing, "I won't keep you in suspense any longer. I can reveal that the original subject of this 'Dipinto della Bellezza' is none other than the number one beauty in the Dragonmarsh, the top-ranked lady on the Beauty Index—Gabrielle Whitlock!"

"What? Gabrielle Whitlock?!"

With those words, the entire room erupted in a storm of excitement.

Each person wore a look of astonishment and fervor.

The name Gabrielle Whitlock had become widely known in recent years. Yet, this woman remained shrouded in mystery. No one knew what she looked like or her background. What was known was that a few years ago, the name Gabrielle Whitlock had appeared out of nowhere, toppling all other peerless beauties on the Beauty Index and claiming the coveted first place. From then on, she was hailed as the number one beauty in the Dragonmarsh.

However, despite her consecutive years at the top, Gabrielle Whitlock had never appeared in public. To this day, no one knew what she actually looked like.

Strangely, this only intensified people's curiosity. So, upon hearing that the lady in the painting was Gabrielle Whitlock, all the guests in attendance wore expressions of pleasant surprise.

Even though only half of her face was visible in the painting, her unmatched charm was undeniable.

As the top-ranked beauty on the Beauty Index, Gabrielle Whitlock truly lived up to her reputation!

"Master Ferrucci's artwork, coupled with Gabrielle Whitlock's extraordinary allure, makes this treasure a fitting highlight for tonight, wouldn't you agree?" Mr Meyer smiled warmly.

"Hahaha... excellent! It's indeed a precious gem! I've decided to acquire this 'Dipinto della Bellezza' tonight!"

"Nonsense! The 'Dipinto della Bellezza' is mine; no one can take it from me!"

"Humph! Words are meaningless; whether or not you can obtain the 'Dipinto della Bellezza' will depend on your skills!"

After some spirited banter, the atmosphere in the Imperial Palace Cuisine had reached its zenith. Everyone was eager to showcase their talents.

"Since you're all in high spirits, I won't keep you waiting any longer," Mr Meyer cleared his throat and continued, "Today, our establishment has prepared a traditional activity for the Lantern Festival—word puzzle challenge."





Chapter 1313 A Pastime for Common Folks

"Word puzzle challenge?"

Upon hearing this, the crowd was taken aback. They exchanged puzzled looks, unsure of what was happening.

In the past, they had always competed in poetry, music, calligraphy, and painting. Why were they suddenly asked to do Word puzzle challenge today?

To win the top spot, many of the distinguished guests had spared no expense, inviting poetry experts and literary geniuses to assist them.

Now, instead of poetry or painting, they were unexpectedly faced with word puzzle challenge. Did that mean all their previous preparations had been in vain?

"Mr Meyer, couldn't we have a contest of poetry instead? It seems like you're intentionally making things difficult for us." someone voiced their displeasure.

"Guests, please calm down. The topics for tonight's competition are randomly selected, and there's no intention to make things difficult. Please bear with us," Mr Meyer replied with a slight nod.

"Alright, alright, enough talk. Let's get on with the Word puzzle challenge. That’s too easy."

"That's right. People like us, well-versed in world literature, shouldn't be daunted by mere Word puzzle challenge."

"Now, it's time to put our literary skills to the test. Let's see who stands out among us!"

The crowd was abuzz with excitement, urging the competition to begin.

"Sister, you excel in poetry, but are you confident in word puzzle challenge?" Carlos couldn't help but ask.

"Brother, rest assured. I'm skilled in words, and even poetry, word puzzle challenge is going to be a walk in the park," Roselyn replied confidently.

To her, word puzzle challenges were a pastime for common folks. As a cultured individual, she considered them too easy and believed there was no challenge involved.

She was confident that she could easily handle it.

"That's good to hear..."

Carlos breathed a sigh of relief, then added, "If Sister can win this 'Dipinto della Bellezza,' would you consider selling it to me? I'm willing to pay a hefty sum!"

"Brother, you're too kind. If you like it, I'll gladly give it to you," Roselyn responded generously.

Her confidence made it seem as though victory was already assured.

"Thank you, Sister!"

Carlos's face lit up, and his heart raced a bit faster. The 'Dipinto della Bellezza' was truly invaluable, and if he could obtain it, it might catapult the Grantwood family to new heights.

"Now that everyone is in agreement, let's begin," the Mr Meyer announced as the surroundings grew quieter. He signaled for a sealed box to be brought over.

The box had a hole on top, just large enough for a hand to reach inside. The Mr Meyer rolled up his sleeve, extended his hand into the box, and after a brief search, he pulled out a card.

After glancing at the card, he spoke aloud, "The first puzzle challenge is: 'A shining star in the night sky, guess one letter.'"

"A shining star in the night sky?"

Upon hearing this, the crowd fell silent, contemplating the puzzle. Solving word puzzles wasn't their forte, and many were only vaguely familiar with them, often relying on luck to make a guess.

"Roselyn, how do you interpret 'A shining star in the night sky'?" asked Carlos, intrigued.

"Well..."

Roselyn paused for a moment, unsure of how to respond. He could only say, "Brolther, give me a moment to think."

"Of course, take your time. There's no rush."

Carlos refrained from pressuring her, not wanting to interrupt her thought process.

"A shining star in the night sky, guess one letter. From the literal meaning, it shouldn't be too difficult to understand that this letter is related to stars and the night sky," Roselyn muttered to herself, lightly tapping the table with her fingers.

After a while, her eyes suddenly lit up. "Brother! I know what letter it is!"




Chapter 1314: Just A Bit of Brainpower Needed

"Oh? What is it?" Carlos perked up instantly.

"It's the letter 'S'!"

Roselyn asserted confidently, "The phrase 'A shining star in the night sky' directly points to the letter 'S'! It's the only logical choice!"

"'S'? Are you sure?" Carlos asked cautiously.

"Absolutely! With such a straightforward word puzzle, how could I be mistaken? I just needed to use a bit of brainpower to easily figure it out," Roselyn replied with unwavering confidence.

"Sister Roselyn is indeed amazing! She solved the puzzle so quickly, truly a renowned talent!" Elmer praised.

"That's right! With Sister Roselyn here, we can not only win but also make a fortune!" The Healwell Clinic disciples were excited.

"Hmph... a mere word puzzle offers no challenge at all. I can't fully showcase my talents," Roselyn said, with an air of arrogance.

Hearing this, Dustin just shook his head and chuckled.

This woman was excessively confident. She hadn't even examined the question properly and hastily concluded. It was truly amusing.

"Hey, what are you laughing at? Who do you think you are to dare to laugh at me?" Roselyn glared at him, her tone full of discontent.

"Of course, I'm not."

Dustin shrugged. "Just a friendly reminder, believe whatever you like to believe; I don’t care."

In any case, he wouldn't be the one embarrassed.

"Dustin, judging by your tone, do you have an answer?" Carlos casually asked.

"If I'm not mistaken, the answer should be the letter N,'" Dustin replied.

"'N'? What's that?" Carlos rubbed his chin, about to inquire further when Roselyn beside him snorted.

"'N'? It's absurd! The word puzzle clearly refers to stars and the night sky. It can only be the letter 'N'! You're pretending to be knowledgeable!" Roselyn exclaimed.

"Whether you believe it or not is up to you," Dustin said, uninterested in arguing.

Some people just refused to admit when they were wrong.

"Brother, this person is clearly trying to seek attention. Don't pay any attention to him. You should listen to me. Submit the answer 'S,' and we'll surely secure the first question!" Roselyn was brimming with self-assurance.

"Alright! Sister Roselyn is extraordinarily talented. I believe in you!" Carlos nodded and promptly raised his hand. "Mr. Meyer, I know the answer to the puzzle!"

"Oh?"

The Mr Meyer raised an eyebrow and smiled. "May I ask, what is your answer, Mr. Grantwood?"

"It's the letter 'S'!" Carlos confidently declared. "The phrase 'A shining star in the night sky' directly points to the letter 'S'! There's no other answer!"

As soon as he spoke, many people began to whisper and discuss whether this answer was correct.

"Mr. Grantwood, are you sure it's 'S'? Maybe you should think it over again," the Mr Meyer advised.

"No need to think it over. It's definitely 'S.' Just announce the result!" Carlos urged.

"Mr. Grantwood, I'm sorry, but your answer is incorrect," the Mr Meyer shook his head.

"What? Incorrect?" Carlos was momentarily stunned, and he instinctively glanced at Roselyn.

Wasn't she supposed to secure the first question easily? Why did she get it wrong as soon as she spoke?

"How is that possible? How could my answer be wrong?" Roselyn widened her eyes, finding it hard to believe.

She was a master of literature, and how could she be wrong about a simple word puzzle?

There must be some foul play!

Someone was deliberately targeting her!



Chapter 1315 The Correct Answer


"Hey! What gives you the right to say my answer is wrong? How could I possibly get such a simple word puzzle wrong?" Roselyn couldn't help but slam the table.

She was very defiant and had her own pride as a renowned talent. A mere word puzzle couldn't possibly stump her.

"Miss, please don't get upset. The answer to the word puzzle has already been determined, and the word you provided is indeed incorrect," the Mr Meyer tried to explain.

"Fine! You say my answer is wrong, then immediately announce the correct answer. I want to see if there's a better answer than mine!" Roselyn demanded aggressively.

"Miss, other contestants haven't guessed yet, so announcing the answer now would be against the rules. If no one can guess the answer to this question, I will announce the results later. I hope you can be patient," the Mr Meyer calmly replied.

"Roselyn, ah, Roselyn, you're wrong, yet you can't accept defeat? You, a renowned talent, can't handle a loss, can you?" At this moment, a voice filled with sarcasm drifted over from the side.

The speaker was none other than Belinda, holding a wine glass.

"Why am I wrong? Who do you think you are to say I'm wrong? Do you think you're more capable than I am?" Roselyn retorted.

"Why? Because I already have the correct answer," Belinda replied, gracefully rising to her feet. She looked at the Mr Meyer and said with a smile, "Mr. Smith, I provided the answer 'N.'"

"Hmph! That's completely unrelated!" Roselyn sneered. "Your 'N' has nothing to do with the word puzzle. If that's considered the correct answer, I might as well write my name backward!"

"Is that so?" Belinda said with a teasing smile. "Mr. Meyer, please announce the result. Is my 'N' the correct answer?"

"Congratulations, Belinda, your answer is correct," Mr. Meyer affirmed. "In every map, the letter 'N' signifies North, always pointing up toward the sky. Hence, the answer to this word puzzle is indeed 'N'."

"What?!"

As soon as this was said, Roselyn was frozen in





Chapter 1316 Over-interpreting

That's right, there's still a chance. Losing one question is nothing. As long as the subsequent questions go well, she can still win.

"Now, please listen to the second question," the host said as he pulled out another card from the box and read it aloud: "Second question: 'Clouds obscure the mid-autumn moon, rain drenches the lantern festival,' guess a common idiomatic expression."

"'Clouds obscure the mid-autumn moon, rain drenches the lantern festival'?"

The contestants looked at each other, puzzled.

What does that mean? How do we guess this?

"Hey, Roselyn, do you have any clues for these two lines of poetry to guess a common idiomatic expression?" Carlos tentatively asked after waiting for a while.

"These two lines of poetry mention the Mid-Autumn Festival and the Lantern Festival. If the answer is a common idiomatic expression, it should be related to these two festivals," Roselyn began to analyze in detail. "The Mid-Autumn Festival symbolizes reunion and happiness, while the Lantern Festival symbolizes praying and making wishes. Normally, it should be a common idiomatic expression with a joyful meaning."

"However... 'Mid-Autumn' and 'Lantern Festival' are followed by 'clouds obscure' and 'rain drenches,' which adds some uncertainty. So, I guess the answer should have two meanings. On the one hand, it should represent reunion and happiness, and on the other hand, it should have a hint of regret. The idiom that encompasses both of these meanings that I can think of is 'mixed blessings.'"

As she spoke, her spirits lifted, as if she had dispelled the fog and seen the light.

"'Mixed blessings'?"

Carlos was baffled.

Why did it sound even more mysterious the more he heard?

"That's right! It's 'mixed blessings'!" Roselyn affirmed with confidence. "Only this idiom can capture the meanings of these two lines of poetry. I guarantee you won't be disappointed this time!"

"Roselyn, are you sure?" Carlos was still somewhat skeptical.

"Roselyn, trust me once more. I'm very confident this time. I promise not to let you down!" Roselyn said firmly.

"Dustin, what do you think?" Carlos didn't directly answer but looked at Dustin, who was sipping tea nearby.

Previously, Dustin had accurately guessed the answer to the first question, proving that he had a way with words.

"I have a different opinion from Roselyn, "Dustin said calmly. "Riddles are usually guessed based on their literal meanings, not on the poetic imagery. I think Roselyn may be over-interpreting."




Chapter 1317 Rain On Your Parade

"Hmph! What do you understand? The riddles from this game show can't be deciphered with common sense," Roselyn said coldly. "Just because you got lucky and guessed the first question correctly doesn't mean you can criticize me. In terms of real ability, you're not qualified!"

In her opinion, Dustin had only guessed the first question correctly by luck, like a blind cat stumbling upon a dead mouse. Such luck wouldn't last.

"Is that so? It seems that Roselyn is very confident in her answer, "Dustin said with a half-smile.

"Of course!" Roselyn raised her head proudly. "I am well-read in literature, and my talent knows no bounds. If I can't solve such a simple riddle, how can I show my face to others?"

Upon hearing this, Dustin couldn't help but chuckle.

This woman was truly self-confident to the extreme.

"Dustin, do you mind sharing your opinion? We can discuss it together," Carlos suggested.

"Since you're willing to listen, I will share my humble opinion". Dustin said as he picked up his tea cup and took a sip. Then he continued, " 'Clouds obscure the mid-autumn moon' implies rain because the moon is covered by clouds, and it corresponds to 'rain drenches the lantern festival' where the rain drenches the lanterns. Therefore, the phrase 'rain drenches' refers to the falling rain. After the rain falls and wets the lanterns, they naturally become 'unclear.' So, the answer is 'rain on your parade.'"

"Nonsense!"

As soon as he finished speaking, Roselyn immediately retorted, "What 'rain on your parade'? That's absurd! People like you, who offer shallow analysis, have no depth of understanding. Do you think this game show would be as shallow as you?"

"I'm just interpreting the riddle according to its clues. Whether you believe it or not is up to you," Dustin shrugged.

There was no point in arguing with such a self-confident woman. Even if you spoke eloquently, she could always find reasons to refute you.

"Carlos, do you not believe in my judgment?" Roselyn frowned, her expression somewhat displeased. "You should be well aware of my literary talent. The previous question was just a mistake; I have a hundred percent certainty in this question. I'm sure I can win!"

"Really?" Carlos raised an eyebrow.

"More precious than pearls!" Roselyn said earnestly.

"Very well! Since Roselyn is so confident, I'll try one more time!" Carlos's spirits were lifted.

He dared to say such things, so he must be confident. This time, he wouldn't make a mistake again.

"Sir, I know the answer to the riddle," Carlos stood up again, attracting the attention of everyone present.

Having lost face earlier, he was determined to make a comeback.

"I would like to hear it in detail," the host said with a slight nod.

"Alright."

" 'Clouds obscure the mid-autumn moon, rain drenches the lantern festival' implies two different meanings: one of joyous reunion and the other of regretful separation. So, my answer is 'mixed blessings.'" Carlos raised his head proudly.

"'Mixed blessings'?"





Chapter 1318 The Wrong Person

Upon hearing this, the onlookers began to whisper among themselves. Some of the contestants who had pretended to understand riddles couldn't help but regret and slap their thighs.

"Hey, I was just about to say 'mixed blessings,' but this guy stole the spotlight. What a mistake!"

"Yeah, me too! If I hadn't hesitated just now, this guy wouldn't have had a chance to shine!"

"'Mixed blessings'... It really is a good concept, a great idiom!"

Seeing Carlos's confidence and well-structured explanation, many people believed it to be true.

"How about it, host? Did I get it right?" Carlos grinned proudly.

"Well... I'm sorry, but you got it wrong again," the host politely replied.

"What? Wrong again?" Carlos's smile froze on his face. "Sir, you're not joking, are you?"

"How can I joke about something like this? Your answer is indeed not the correct one," the host shook his head.

Upon hearing this, Carlos and the other contestants, including Roselyn, wore strange expressions and turned their gaze towards Dustin.

"How could this be? I clearly understood the meaning behind these two lines of poetry. Why did I still get it wrong?" Roselyn widened her eyes, finding it difficult to accept.

She was exceptionally talented; how could she make consecutive mistakes?

"Carlos! It seems that you entrusted the task to the wrong person," the nearby Belinda said, once again using a sarcastic tone. "Roselyn is arrogant and self-conceited, but she lacks real ability. Do you believe in what someone like her says?”

The disciples of Healwell Clinic shook their heads and sighed with disappointment.

Seeing Roselyn's overconfidence and thinking that victory was assured, only to make two consecutive mistakes, was truly disappointing.

On the other hand, Dustin, who appeared ordinary, had provided the correct answers every time.

Unfortunately, no one had believed him.

With these thoughts in mind, the way people looked at Dustin began to change significantly.

This... was the true depth hidden beneath the surface!





Chapter 1319 Promise to Trust

"Belinda has won two rounds in a row. If this continues, our Healwell Clinic is in danger!" Elijah's brows furrowed deeply, and his expression was grave.

If he had known it would turn out like this, he wouldn't have agreed to this gambling match. Once they lose, half a lifetime of hard work would go up in smoke.

"Belinda obviously came prepared, and we seem to have been manipulated," one of Healwell Clinic's disciples said.

"This woman is truly despicable!" Another disciple cursed under his breath, feeling resentful but helpless at the same time.

Now that they were in the midst of the competition, they couldn't change the established rules. They had to find a way to turn the tables.

"Roselyn, you've lost again," Belinda's mocking voice echoed. "If you lose a few more rounds, Healwell Clinic will be mine."

"Hmph! Don't be too happy. Everything has just begun!" Roselyn replied with a stern tone.

She had inquired beforehand and knew that there were a total of ten riddles. As long as she answered six correctly, she would secure victory. So, she still had a chance to make a comeback.

"You couldn't even solve these two word puzzle, and you still expect to win in the later rounds? Don't be ridiculous. I advise you to surrender early to avoid further embarrassment," Belinda taunted.

"Alright, let's see how capable you are," Roselyn retorted. "Sir, please continue with the next question."

"Okay."

Mr Meyer nodded and retrieved another card from the box. He then read aloud, "Please listen carefully to the third word puzzle, a Chinese riddle: 'One comes from the right, one from the west, three square houses stand in the southeast. Guess a Chinese word.'"

As soon as the riddle was presented, everyone in the Cuisine began pondering.

In these types of games, contestants needed to decipher the clues in the riddle to find the answer.

However, it was clear that this riddle was not a straightforward one.

"I've figured it out!" After some contemplation, Roselyn's eyes lit up, and she suddenly said, "Folks, I know the answer. It's the word 'sprinkle'!"

"'Sprinkle' word? What does it mean?" Carlos was puzzled.

"Take a closer look at the riddle. The three dots on the left side of the word 'sprinkle' represent the three square houses, and when combined with 'west,' it forms the word 'sprinkle' perfectly," Roselyn explained enthusiastically how the riddle is written in Chinese characters and how the it looks when you combined them together.

"What about the 'one comes from the right, one from the west' part?" Carlos was skeptical.

"That's simple. The word 'sprinkle' has 'three dots' on the left and 'west' on the right. It explains the riddle perfectly," Roselyn replied.

"Why do I feel like it's a bit far-fetched?" Carlos furrowed his brow.

After making two consecutive mistakes, he had lost trust in Roselyn.

"Carlos! Trust me one more time, I promise this time it'll be right!" Roselyn declared with determination.

"..."

Carlos's mouth twitched, and he resisted the urge to scold her. This routine again?

Every time she made such confident promises, she ended up disappointing everyone. It made him lose face too.

"Dustin, do you have any insights?" Carlos ignored Roselyn and turned to Dustin.

"Is it important whether I have insights or not? You won't believe me anyway, so I might as well not say anything," Dustin replied indifferently, his mouth full of food.

"Cough... Dustin, I am sorry, I will listen this time.



Chapter 1320 A Chinese Riddle

"What do you mean by that, Carlos?" Upon hearing this, Roselyn immediately expressed her dissatisfaction. "Are you saying you'd rather believe a stranger than me?"

"Shut up!" Carlos turned back and shouted, "I trusted you twice before, and both times you were wrong. How can I trust you again?"

"I..." Roselyn was left speechless, her pretty face turning red.

In her memory, her Senior Brother had always been like a caring older brother, and he had never scolded her like this before. What had happened today?

"Roselyn, this matter is not a trifling matter. You made a bet with Belinda, and if you lose, you will lose the entire Healwell Clinic!" Carlos advised with a solemn tone. "Furthermore, your expertise lies in music, chess, calligraphy, and painting, poetry, and literature. You have never dabbled in riddles. There's a saying that one should stick to their specialty. Why don't we let Dustin give it a try?"

"Alright, I'll give him a chance to prove himself, but if he answers incorrectly, I'll take over immediately. This way, we might still have a chance," Roselyn said reluctantly.

"Okay." Carlos breathed a sigh of relief and turned to Dustin. "Dustin, please, give us your answer."

"You won't listen anyway, so I might as well not say anything," Dustin replied indifferently, continuing to eat his food.

"Cough... Dustin, I made a mistake before. I promise to trust you this time," Carlos reassured him.

"Very well."

Dustin nodded and finally spoke up, "If I'm not mistaken, the answer should be the word 'marinate'."

"'Marinate' word? What does it mean?" Carlos was puzzled.

"Examine the Chinese riddle carefully. Inside the Chinese characters for the word 'marinate,' there is 'right' and 'west,' which correspond to the first part of the riddle. As for the second part, 'three square houses stand in the southeast,' take a look at the 'pot' shape. Doesn't it resemble three separate rooms?" Dustin explained how the drawing looks when the Chinese riddle is written.

"It does! It's really uncanny!" Carlos examined it carefully and couldn't help but feel enlightened. He realized that the word 'marinate' was indeed the correct answer.

"Senior Brother, don't celebrate too early. Who knows if this is the correct answer? What if it's wrong?" Roselyn poured cold water on the excitement.

"I will accept it even if it's wrong!" Carlos stood up resolutely and announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, I have an answer for the third question!"

"Roselyn, chill out! You've already answered two questions incorrectly. If you answer the third question wrong, you’re doomed," Belinda interjected suddenly.

"Some people never know when to stop!"

"Without any ability, they still want to show off, it's really embarrassing!"

"Hmph! Just a bunch of clowns trying to gain attention."

At this moment, many scholars (poetry experts and literary geniuses) began to mock.

Making a mistake once or twice, they had already tasted the bitterness. However, the person in front of them insisted on being the first to answer every time, and, most importantly, she answered incorrectly every time. Wasn't she just humiliating herself?

"Carlos, this riddle is a bit challenging. Why don't you reconsider?" Mr Meyer kindly suggested.

"No need to reconsider. I'm very confident this time," Carlos declared confidently.

"Oh? May I ask, Sir, what's the answer?" Mr Meyer asked.

"It's the word 'marinate'!" Carlos didn't waste any words. He wrote the Chinese word 'marinate' on a piece of paper and slapped it heavily in front of Mr Meyer. "Sir, take a close look. Is this word correct?"
Salamat kuya Jungal2000, GOD BLESS YOU ALWAYS PO.
 

Gily

KF Founder & Dragon IGM
Jun 4, 2023
6,736
21,114
2,100
Indeed what you have said is undoubtly true however if I may clarify despite the rules, even mods like any other human beings tend to differ later on. Sadly a 'god' status must be put in place unfortunately having to resort to machiavellistic approach for the sake of the community to thrive.

And yes, some people are just obnoxious; leading a group/community can be a heartbreaking endeavour in the process 😅 I truly hope you wont get get tired Gily !❤️

PS.
I believe I am going against forums rules right now : going off-topic 😅 (my apologies 🙏) thoughr of sharing coz' I see potential in kajijiforums ;)
The mods crossed the line. I might make you a mod someday.
I offered the position to Jungal2000 but he humbly declined. So I decided to give him platinum membership which means he is immune to bans. Even though he is immune to bans I hope he remains calm and reserved as Master Robinson. I hope he doesn't become greed like Sir Reeds🤣

I will consider you if the position of mod in the future. I will have to get to know you better in the mean time. I don't wanna go back to the same problems like before.
 

Junlee (aka 'Jungal2000')

Immortal Great Grandmaster - Dragon
Sep 4, 2023
2,126
12,980
2,100
Chapter 1321 It's Nothing Special

"Thud!"

Seeing the paper that Carlos had slapped down, Mr Meyer was momentarily stunned, a hint of surprise flashing in his eyes. He hadn't expected that Carlos could actually answer correctly.

The third riddle was much more difficult than the previous two.

The Chinese word '醢' (hǎi)!" itself was quite rare, and few people recognized it, let alone write it. Combining the riddle's clues to guess this obscure word made it even more challenging.

When he had drawn this question, he thought no one would be able to answer it, and he was already considering it a dud. Unexpectedly, Carlos, who was lacking in knowledge, answered it first and correctly, which was truly surprising.

"Why are you just standing there, Sir? Give me a straightforward answer. Is this word correct or not?" Carlos urged.

Although he had been full of confidence earlier, upon seeing Mr Meyer's strange expression, he suddenly felt nervous again.

"Carlos, I advise you not to listen to him. Just by looking at Mr. Meyer’s expression, it's clear that you're wrong again this time," Belinda taunted.

"If you don't have the ability, just step aside. Don't embarrass yourself here!"

A group of experts and scholars in the audience began to ridicule.

"Could it be wrong again?"

Carlos frowned slightly, unable to hide his anxiety.

"Hmph! You talk big, but in the end, you're still wrong. I knew I shouldn't have trusted you!" Roselyn glared at Dustin.

How could someone like him, who was inferior to her in every way, possibly answer such a difficult riddle?

"Please calm down, Don't misinterpret my reaction.." Realizing the situation, Mr Meyer quickly said, "Carlos did not answer incorrectly. On the contrary, he answered correctly. The answer to the third question is indeed the word '醢' (hǎi)"

"What? He got it right?"

With this statement, the smile on Belinda's face froze.

The critics who had just been mocking were now looking at each other in confusion.

As for Roselyn, the words that were about to come out of her mouth were swallowed back down.

"Sir, are you sure you didn't make a mistake? These people with little brains actually answered correctly?" Belinda couldn't believe it.

Even the group of experts she had hired couldn't answer this difficult riddle, let alone Roselyn and Carlos?

"I checked it carefully, and there should be no mistake. Carlos indeed answered correctly," Mr Meyer nodded.

"Then, tell us, what word did he answer with?" Belinda questioned.

"It's the word '醢' (hǎi)'," Mr Meyer revealed the word that Carlos had written clearly for everyone to see.

After looking at it, many people nodded in realization and expressed their agreement.

"Is it really this word?"

Belinda glanced at the expert adviser she hired and asked.

"The chinese riddle mentions 'one comes from the right, one from the west' and 'three square houses stand in the southeast.' The word '醢' (hǎi)' in Chinese character contains 'right' and 'west' and is related to the 'pot' shape, which resembles three separate rooms. This '醢' (hǎi) word is the correct answer. Even I didn't expect it," the adviser explained.

"This shouldn't be..."

Belinda furrowed her brows. "That woman, Roselyn, is arrogant and untalented. How could she possibly solve such a difficult riddle? Could there be some expert helping her?"

As she spoke, her gaze swept over everyone and finally settled on Dustin. "This guy?"

Compared to the surprise and astonishment of the people around her, Dustin appeared calm, as if he had expected this outcome.

"Haha... I got it right, I got it right! I finally got it right!" Carlos was ecstatic.

Making mistakes in the first two questions had caused him to lose face and become the subject of ridicule. With the third question, he finally regained a bit of his dignity.

"Dustin, I didn't expect you to be good at solving riddles too. Impressive!" Stroking his chin, Elmer gave a thumbs-up.

This young man was truly talented in both arts and medical skills, a jack of all trades.

"I've read a lot of books, so I know a bit about everything. It's nothing special," Dustin replied with a faint smile.

"Dustin, don't be so modest. Thanks to you, we didn't lose this time. If you hadn't answered correctly, we would have lost again," Carlos said with a smile.


"Hmph! What's so great about it? It's just luck!" Roselyn pouted, still feeling dissatisfied.





Chapter 1322 More Word Puzzles

In her view, Dustin had stumbled upon the answer by pure chance, or perhaps he had seen similar riddles before and could answer quickly.

"Dustin, the next riddle is all up to you. Once this is done, I'll make sure to repay you generously!" Carlos clasped his fist toward Dustin.

"Out of respect for you, Carlos, I'll do my best," Dustin said with a yawn.

If it weren't for the sake of saving the Healwell Clinic, he wouldn't bother with any of this.

"Roselyn, it seems there's a genius one among you." Belinda's voice floated over again. "But don't celebrate too soon. We're still in the lead, and the next seven riddles are the real deciders."

"Hmph! Bring it on!" Roselyn held his head high, showing no fear.

"Mr Meyer, please present the next word puzzle!" Belinda urged.

Mr Meyer nodded, then pulled out the fourth card from the box and said, "Listen to the fourth word puzzle: 'Two weeks' guess one word.'"

Before anyone could ponder the riddle, Dustin casually uttered a word, "Fortnight."

"Congratulations to this guest for the correct answer," Mr Meyer announced.

"Huh?"

Everyone was stunned. The word puzzle had just been presented, and someone had already given the answer? What kind of joke was this? Could it really be this fast?

"Mr. Meyer, continue with the word puzzle!" Belinda challenged.

"Listen to the fifth word puzzle: 'Two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, guess a saying.'"

"Counting chickens before they hatch." Dustin blurted out.

"Congratulations to this guest for the correct answer," Mr Meyer nodded.

"..."

People were left speechless. It was too fast. They couldn't keep up.

"Listen to the sixth word puzzle: 'A bamboo forest on the ground, an inch of gold beneath the soil, guess one word.'"

"'Patience,'" Dustin replied.

"Listen to the seventh word puzzle: 'A blind man feeling an elephant, preserved bitter melon, what do they refer to?'"

"A blind man feeling an elephant represents not seeing the bigger picture, and preserved bitter melon symbolizes sharing both joys and sorrows."

"Listen to the eighth word puzzle: 'Rat and Ox.' Guess a common four-word phrase."

"'Rat and Ox,' the first two animals in the Chinese zodiac, so it should be 'Belongs to One and Two.'"

"Listen to the ninth word puzzle: 'The sound of the phoenix flute, the radiance of a jade pot, a night of fish and dragon dance!'"

"'Dollars and Cents Carnival.'"

Everyone in the audience was now utterly amazed at Dustin's uncanny ability to decode these word puzzles. He was on fire, effortlessly providing the correct answers to even the most challenging questions.

Belinda, who had once doubted him, was now at a loss for words. She couldn't believe how someone with seemingly no expertise in these matters could solve them so quickly and accurately.

The game show had taken an unexpected turn, with Dustin stealing the spotlight and leaving everyone in awe of his intellect.

The two of them continued to answer, their speed increasing with each riddle. No matter what Mr Meyer asked, Dustin responded instantly, and every answer was correct.

The other customers had no chance to speak. Even the talented expert advisers and scholars from Stonia, whom Belinda had paid with a high price to bring here, was dumbfounded and utterly amazed.

Was this even word puzzle anymore?

Were they just reading off answers?

This was absolutely mind-boggling!







Chapter 1323 The Dark Horse

At this moment, everyone was utterly amazed by Dustin's lightning-fast responses. It was so fast that people couldn't even process it.

Their brains went into overload, and they lost all thoughts of competing. What was supposed to be a lively contest among the participants had turned into Dustin's one-man show.

Even Mr Meyer who had been presenting the riddles was sweating profusely by the end. These riddles were randomly selected and covered a wide range of topics. It was impossible for anyone to answer them so quickly and accurately. If it weren't for the strict confidentiality of the Imperial Palace Cuisine, he would have suspected that Dustin had seen the correct answers and memorized them all.

"Th-the last question," Mr Meyer stammered, then read from the card, "Red, yellow, blue, and white can change shape, like a phoenix or a dragon in transformation, traveling a thousand miles without stopping, a light breeze clears it..."

"Cloud," Dustin once again blurted out.

"All answers... are correct!" Mr Meyer struggled to speak.

He was genuinely impressed, never having seen anyone this extraordinary.

"Wow! All correct? Is this guy cheating or something?"

"Why is he so accurate? It makes me feel dumb!"

"Damn it! I have a reason to suspect this kid is a plant brought in by the Imperial Palace Cuisine!"

...

After a brief silence, the entire scene exploded with commotion.

Although it was just a word puzzle challange, Dustin's performance was too outstanding. He completely overshadowed everyone else, turning those who had come prepared into a laughingstock.

They say the important thing is to participate, but the problem was, they didn't even get a chance to participate.

"Oh my God! He answered all seven questions in a row. Dustin is insanely good!"

"No! You're wrong; he got all ten!"

The disciples of Healwell Clinic couldn't help but look at Dustin with eyes that treated him like a monster.

"How... How is this possible? How could he possibly answer all of them correctly?!" Roselyn's eyes widened in disbelief.

If Dustin had answered two or three questions correctly, she could have chalked it up to luck. But now, even if she refused to admit it, she had to concede that he was far superior to her.

"Well... well done!" Carlos couldn't help but burst into laughter.

Previously uncertain about Dustin's abilities, he was now pleasantly surprised by his performance.

"This kid is indeed a genius."

Elijah stroked his beard and smiled, his eyes shining with enthusiasm. Young talents with such extraordinary gifts were exceptionally rare.

Not only did he consider passing on his legacy to Dustin, but he even entertained the thought of marrying his granddaughter to him.

"I never expected such a dark horse to appear out of nowhere. It's a miscalculation!" Belinda stared at Dustin intensely, as if trying to see something.

Dressed plainly but carrying an extraordinary aura. His expression remained calm, his sharpness concealed within. Even after a resounding victory, there was no emotional manifestations.

Clearly, this was a man with deep and full of wisdom.

A hidden expert.

"Mr Meyer, are there any more riddles?" Dustin asked casually.

"None left..." Mr Meyer forced a smile. "Sir, you are truly knowledgeable. I admire you. May I ask for your name?"






Chapter 1324 The Perfect Plan

"Dustin Rhys."

"Mr Rhys, congratulations on hitting the jackpot."

A chubby man with a white complexion held a box containing a priceless Dipinto della Bellezza in his hands. He respectfully approached Dustin and said, "This invaluable Dipinto della Bellezza, on behalf of the Imperial Palace Cuisine, is a gift for you."

"Let me check it first."

Carlos took the box first, opened it, and his eyes sparkled as he saw its contents. "Indeed, it's a precious treasure!"

Upon verifying its authenticity, Carlos found himself in a moment of uncertainty. The treasure had been rightfully won by Dustin, yet Carlos yearned for it earnestly. He contemplated the idea of gracefully offering it to Dustin with a few courteous words, hoping that Dustin might reciprocate the gesture by declining and returning it to him, thus repaying a good courtesy.

He thought the best course of action was to let Dustin offer it willingly, so he could gracefully accept it, gaining both the treasure and a good reputation.

Perfect plan!

"Dustin, my friend, although I have long admired this Dipinto della Bellezza, I can't take something you won through your own skill," Carlos said, wearing a pained expression as he handed the box over. He extended it halfway, then suddenly stopped. "Of course, if you don't really like it, I can keep it for you, and..."

"Oh, thanks."

Before Carlos could finish, Dustin calmly accepted the box and said nothing more.

"Wtf??"Carlos was stunned. This wasn't following the usual script! Shouldn't there be some polite back-and-forth, at least? Why did he just accept it directly?

Did I not make my intentions clear enough?

"Hey! Mr Rhys! What do you mean? Are you planning to keep this Dipinto della Bellezza all to yourself?" Seeing this, Roselyn immediately became displeased.

"Keep it all to myself?" Dustin raised an eyebrow, turning to ask, "Mr Meyer, in today's activity, wasn't it whoever answered the most questions correctly that would win this Dipinto della Bellezza?"

"That's correct," Mr Meyer nodded.

"Since I answered the most questions, shouldn't the Dipinto della Bellezza rightfully belong to me?" Dustin asked again.

"Exactly," Mr Meyer nodded once more.

"In that case, it's strange. It's already something that 'belongs to me', so how can it be considered 'keeping it all to myself'?"

As he finished speaking, Dustin's gaze shifted to Roselyn, carrying a hint of inquiry.

While he wasn't particularly interested in the Dipinto della Bellezza, it didn't mean he wanted to give it away for free, especially when someone seemed to be wanting it badly.

"Even though you won the Dipinto della Bellezza, doesn't that mean we had no part in it?" Roselyn argued, "Leaving all that aside, if it weren't for Senior Brother guiding you into the Imperial Palace Cuisine, would you have had a chance to obtain this treasure? Shouldn't you show some appreciation?"

"You're absolutely right! In life, one should repay kindness. Without Senior Brother, you wouldn't even have had the opportunity to answer questions. Therefore, this Dipinto della Bellezza should rightfully be given to Senior Brother!" Elmer chimed in.

"Are you suggesting that once I entered the Imperial Palace Cuisine, I should owe my life to you, Senior Brother?" Dustin's lips curled into a mocking smile. "Roselyn, let’s get something straight. If it weren't for me stepping in, you wouldn't win the Dipinto della Bellezza either, and in fact, you might have lost the entire Healwell Clinic due to your overconfidence."

"Nonsense!" Roselyn retorted defiantly. "Even without you, we could have won! I was just warming up earlier. Even if you hadn't spoken, I could still have secured victory!"

"You answered three consecutive questions wrong, and you still think you are going to win? Geez..." Dustin chuckled.

"I... I just made some mistakes earlier," Roselyn stammered, her voice unintentionally quivering.

"Roselyn, you're really shameless," at that moment, Belinda, swaying her slender waist, walked over gracefully and said sarcastically, "This handsome gentleman just helped you, allowing Healwell Clinic to escape a crisis. If you can't be grateful, that's one thing, but to consider taking the Dipinto della Bellezza? Where's your sense of shame? Did the zombie eat your brain?"

With those words, Roselyn's face turned red, furious.




Chapter 1325 Poop for Brains

"You, you, you... What nonsense are you spouting?!"

Roselyn was infuriated, her temper flaring like an angry cat whose tail had been stepped on.

"Did I say something wrong? If it weren't for this handsome guy coming to the rescue, you would have lost everything. Yet, you're here arguing without any gratitude."

Belinda crossed her arms, rolled her eyes, and even flashed a seductive look at Dustin afterward. "Handsome, oh!"

She elongated the 'oh' with a hint of flirtation.

"Oh, you two are in cahoots!" Roselyn looked left (Dustin) and right (Belinda), suddenly realizing, "No wonder you two have been exchanging glances all this time, scheming and working together!"

"Idiot!" Belinda rolled her eyes, utterly speechless.

Did this woman have poop for brains?

She spoke without engaging her brain at all; it was truly exasperating.

"Let it go, junior sister. Since the Dipinto della Bellezza was won by Mr. Rhys, we can't interfere with how he handles it. It's his own business. We have no say in it." Carlos patted Roselyn on the shoulder.

He remained composed on the surface, but his eyes turned cold.

This guy had no sense of obligation at all.

If he had graciously given away the Dipinto della Bellezza, he might owe him a favor. But now, if he wanted to keep it for himself, he shouldn't be surprised if Carlos used some means.

"Humph! Remember this, today's matter is far from over!"

Roselyn glared at them with hostility before storming off in a huff.

"Dustin, that girl is too willful. Don't take it to heart; we can talk about it tomorrow if there's anything."

Elijah waved in farewell and followed his granddaughter, afraid she might do something foolish.

"Mr. Rhys, take your time eating. I have something to attend to, so I'll take my leave."

Carlos smiled insincerely, clasped his hands, and turned to leave.

Seeing this, the other disciples of the Healwell Clinic also stood up and dispersed.

To all of this, Dustin simply smiled and said nothing.

Whether it was Roselyn or Carlos, they weren't exactly good people.

The former was impulsive and stubborn, while the latter harbored ulterior motives.

The Dipinto della Bellezza was worth a fortune, and trying to swindle it from him wouldn't be so easy.

"Hey, handsome, wait up."

Just as Dustin was about to leave, Belinda suddenly called out.

"Do you need something?" Dustin turned around.

"Handsome, did you come here alone?" Belinda sized him up.

"That's right, what's it to you?" Dustin replied.

"No big deal, I just wanted to remind you that Stonia is a den of thieves. Carrying such a valuable treasure, if you don't have the protection of a major power, you might get robbed as soon as you step out of Imperial Palace Cuisine." Belinda warned.

"Is the security really that bad in the capital?" Dustin raised an eyebrow.

"Although it's the emperor's capital, when it comes to money, people will stop at nothing. This Dipinto della Bellezza is enough to attract the attention of many forces." Belinda smiled cryptically.

"Thanks for the warning, but I don't think it'll be that easy for anyone to rob me." Dustin remained unfazed.

"Handsome, Stonia's waters run deep, deeper than you can imagine. Besides, four hands are better than two fists. Alone, you're at a disadvantage. How can you contend with those jackals and tigers?" Belinda grinned.

"And, what do you suggest?" Dustin asked.

"It's simple. Just find the protection of a major power, and you'll be safe. For example, my Remington family."







Chapter 1326 The Tried-and-true Seduction Techniques

Belinda finally got to the point, "Mr. handsome. I see you're quite the talent. How about becoming a guest of my Remington family? With our protection, you'd be safe in the entire Willowbrook. Except for the two major factions of Stratford and Torby families, no other force would dare touch you."

"Belinda, are you trying to recruit me because of the Dipinto della Bellezza?" Dustin probed.

"The Dipinto della Bellezza?"

Belinda smiled faintly, "Although it's a treasure, the last thing I lack is money. For me, it holds little value."

"Oh? Then why are you helping me?" Dustin was curious.

"While I don't need money, I do need people."

Belinda extended a delicate finger and lightly touched Dustin's chest, her eyes sparkling with enthusiasm, "You appear lean, but I didn't expect you to be so strong. It seems I didn't make a mistake. Would you be interested in becoming my 108th boyfriend?"

"Huh?"

Dustin frowned and instinctively took a step back.

He had thought she was interested in the Dipinto della Bellezza, but it turned out she was eyeing his body.

She was quite the audacious lady!

The 108th boyfriend? Was she trying to collect a whole set of the 'Magic: The Gathering'?

"Handsome, am I scaring you?" Belinda raised an eyebrow, her tone slightly resentful. "Don't worry, I was just joking. I don't really have 108 boyfriends, and even if I did, you'd be my newest favorite. I promise I won't treat you unfairly."

She attempted to touch him again, but Dustin caught her hand with one hand. "Belinda, please behave."

"Handsome, what's with that reaction?" Belinda arched her brows, looking somewhat coquettish. "We're both adults; there's no need to be so restrained. Life is short, and it's better to enjoy it."

"Belinda, you seem to be quite drunk. It's time for you to rest." Dustin's tone was icy.

"Handsome, what's wrong with you?"

Belinda raised an eyebrow, and there was a hint of bitterness in her voice. "Am I not pretty enough? Is my figure not good enough? Don't you have any desires at all?"

"You're very beautiful, and you have a great figure, but I'm not interested in you," Dustin replied bluntly.

"Not interested?"

Upon hearing this, Belinda was first stunned, then burst into hearty laughter, shaking like a flower in the wind. Tears even welled up in her eyes. "Hahaha... interesting... truly interesting. Handsome, you're the first person to reject me like this. I'm finding myself more interested in you."

She believed that she was top-notch in both looks and figure. When she batted her eyelashes, most men couldn't resist her charm. Even those who initially acted aloof would quickly succumb when they learned of her identity and were willing to spend money. No man could withstand her allure.

But, to her surprise, Dustin was an exception, a man like no other she had ever met. She had charmed countless men and was experienced in reading people. She could tell if someone was lying or not, and Dustin's actions, expressions, and words all proved that he was not lying. His clear and calm gaze didn't deceive.

In other words, her tried-and-true seduction techniques had failed on Dustin.

This unexpected setback only made her more excited. She decided that no matter the cost, she would make this man hers.

"Belinda, there's nothing else for me here. I'll take my leave."

Seeing this strange behavior from the woman, Dustin didn't linger any longer and left decisively.

"Follow him and observe discreetly. When the time comes, play the hero and rescue the damsel in distress." Watching Dustin's departing figure, Belinda snapped her fingers as if she came up with a brilliant idea, her eyes glittering.

It was as if a hunter had spotted a rare and intriguing prey.








Chapter 1327 Some Kind of Magic

As Dustin walked out of the Imperial Palace Cuisine, he quickly sensed some unfriendly gazes locked onto him.

Glancing around, he noticed that at least two factions had their eyes set on him.

It seemed that what Belinda had said was true. While the Dipinto della Bellezza was indeed a treasure, it also attracted a lot of trouble.

Innocent until proven guilty, but suspicion clung like a shadow.

Ordinary people couldn't hope to hold onto such a treasure even if they got their hands on it.

Fortunately, Dustin was anything but ordinary.

"If you dare to make a move, it's going to be your problem, not mine."

Dustin huffed with annoyance, then calmly and deliberately walked towards a secluded area.

Two factions discreetly followed him, one on each side.

After walking for about ten minutes, Dustin turned into a narrow, deserted alley, still holding the Dipinto della Bellezza.

"Perfect opportunity! Let's catch up!"

A dozen men in black, brandishing knives, chased after Dustin into the old alley.

But when they entered, they were stunned.

Because they found themselves in a dead-end alley.

And Dustin, who had just entered, had mysteriously disappeared!

"What's going on? Where did that kid go?"

"This is strange. I clearly saw him come in. Why did he vanish suddenly?"

"Could it be some kind of magic?"

The group of men in black exchanged puzzled glances.

How could a person just disappear out of thin air?

"Are you looking for me?"

A cold voice suddenly sounded from behind them.

Startled, they quickly turned around, only to find that, somehow, Dustin had reappeared at the mouth of the alley.

"Weren't you in front of us? How did you end up behind us?" one of the men in black exclaimed in amazement.

By now, it was getting late, and the moonlight shone like liquid silver.

Dustin kept his head slightly lowered, with half of his face concealed in the shadows, exuding an icy aura from head to toe.

This made the already eerie atmosphere even more sinister.

"You've been following me for quite a while. What's your game?" Dustin asked coldly.

"So, you've already noticed. You're quite something," the leader of the men in black took a step forward and said, "Kid, stop with the chit-chat. Hand over what you're holding, and you might live to see another day."

"What I have is right here. Just step up and snatch it from your boy" Dustin said, gently placing the box containing the Dipinto della Bellezza on the ground and beckoning with his hand.

"Hmph! Put your money where your mouth is. Let's get him!"

The leader of the black-clad men shouted, and they all rushed at Dustin.

Dustin gave a cold smile and, with a sudden step, turned into a black streak, crashing directly into the group.

There was a series of miserable cries as all the men in black were sent flying into the air and then crashed back to the ground.

People sprawled on the ground, groaning in pain.

"Tell me, who sent you?" Dustin grabbed the leader by the throat and lifted him up.

"I... I don't know... We were just doing a job for money," the leader stammered, his face filled with fear.

They had thought it was just a simple job, but they hadn't expected their target to be so formidable.

In the blink of an eye, they had all been defeated.

"You don't know? Or you won't say?" Dustin's fingers slowly tightened.

The leader felt his breath stop, his face turned red, and his neck veins bulged as he desperately struggled.

"I really... don't know... There are rules in our line of work... We don't ask about the origin of the employer," the leader managed to gasp out.

"Useless!"

Dustin lost interest, and with a flick of his hand, he slammed the leader against the wall, knocking him unconscious.

These people only knew how to throw a few punches and kicks, far from being martial artists.

It was terrifying how easily he had dealt with them.




Chapter 1328 A Fake Fur Coat

It was clear that the puppet master behind the scenes didn't hold Dustin in high regard.

Or, perhaps, they didn't have much power themselves.

Dustin dusted off his clothes, put away the box, and was about to leave when several black business cars suddenly stopped at the entrance of the alley.

As the car doors swung open, a group of burly men, dressed in tough attire, descended with an imposing presence. They completely surrounded Dustin, leaving no room for escape.

"Make way!"

At that moment, a man with bulging muscles, a scarred face, and a menacing demeanor, holding a cigar, strolled over.

"Is that you?"

Dustin squinted slightly and quickly recognized the scar-faced man as Lenny, the troublemaker from the Healwell Clinic earlier that day.

"Kid, we meet again!" Lenny puffed on his cigar, stood with his hands on his hips, and had a fur coat draped over his shoulders, giving off an air of arrogance.

"What did you just call me?" Dustin raised an eyebrow.

"What? Are you deaf? I called you a kid!" Lenny replied harshly.

Three minutes later...

"Big... Senior Brother, let's talk, please stop hitting me in the face," Lenny pleaded, his face battered and bruised. He had abandoned his previous arrogance and appeared cowed and frightened, like a startled quail.

Around him, his companions lay in disarray on the ground.

To be cautious this time, he had brought two or three dozen men with him, but within three minutes, all of his henchmen had been knocked down.

He hadn't even been able to see Dustin's movements.

Clearly, he had bitten off more than he could chew.

"Lenny, you are not this nice earlier, i want you to give me that arrogant attitude again," Dustin said as he pulled Lenny to his feet.

"Big... Senior Brother, don't joke around," Lenny replied with a pitiful expression. "I was disrespectful earlier, and I apologize. Please spare my life, and I promise I'll never be your enemy again!"

"Just with these few words, you think you can walk away?" Dustin said coolly.

"Senior Brother, what do you want to know? I'll tell you everything, I promise," Lenny quickly realized the situation.

"Smart," Dustin smiled slightly. "Let me ask you, did Sebastian Stratford send you?"

"Yes, that's right. It was Steward Sebastian who wanted your Jade Dew Ointment formula and sent us to snatch it," Lenny nodded repeatedly.

"Besides sending you, did Sebastian have any other plans?" Dustin asked.

"No, no, Sebastian... doesn't seem to take you seriously," Lenny replied, nodding.

"Very well."

Dustin released his grip and said, "Go back and tell Sebastian to set up a meeting tomorrow. We can have a good talk."

"What?" Lenny was momentarily stunned, not quite grasping the situation.

Negotiate with Sebastian? Wouldn't that be walking into the lion's den?

What exactly was this guy up to?

"What's the matter? Any problems?" Dustin maintained his smile.

"No, no problem at all. I promise to deliver the message," Lenny forced a smile.

"Alright, you can go now," Dustin waved his hand.

"Thank you, Senior Brother! Thank you, Senior Brother!" Lenny expressed his gratitude and hobbled back to his car.

"Wait..."

Dustin's voice rang out again, causing Lenny to freeze, his ears turning bright red.

"Big... Senior Brother, you're not having second thoughts, are you?"

"In the future, when you're trying to show off, don't wear a fake fur coat. It's embarrassing."

With that, Dustin walked away, leaving Lenny standing there dumbfounded.





Chapter 1329 Some Information

Imperial Palace Cuisine, a cozy table by the window on the second floor.

Belinda swirled her glass of red wine, gazing at the liquid-like night sky outside. The moon and stars reflected in her captivating eyes, exuding a peculiar charm.

"Belinda..."

At that moment, a well-dressed bodyguard approached and whispered, "There's been a bit of a mishap. The target we were keeping an eye on has disappeared."

"Disappeared?" Belinda raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"

"The target is quite formidable. He just took down dozens of people barehanded and then mysteriously vanished," the bodyguard explained, keeping his voice low.

"Oh? So, he's quite skilled?" Belinda smiled, her eyes shining even more with interest. "I thought he was just good-looking. Find out more about him and see if he has any significant background. If he does, try to bring him on our side."

"Understood!" The bodyguard nodded and quickly left.

"Fascinating, truly fascinating. It's been a while since I've met someone this intriguing," Belinda mused, taking a sip of her wine. She had a feeling she had stumbled upon something valuable.

...

The next morning, at dawn.

Dustin stepped out of the hotel and headed straight for the Healwell Clinic.

After shaking off the people who had been tailing him last night, he found a hotel near Healwell Clinic to stay in.

His primary mission in coming to Stonia was to treat Lorenzo and investigate the events of the past. With his current strength and the assistance of the Sky Spirit Orb, he was qualified to seek the truth.

Five minutes later, Dustin entered Healwell Clinic.

The place was as bustling as ever. The people coming here for medical consultations were mostly elderly folks.

It was noisy, like a vegetable market, with constant chatter.

Dustin had already informed Elijah in advance, so he headed straight to the second floor.

The door on the second floor was already open, and Elijah had been waiting in the living room for a while.

"Mr Rhys, you're here? Have a seat," Elijah gestured with one hand, poured a cup of tea, and apologized, "I'm really sorry about last night. Although Roselyn can be willful, she doesn't have any ill intentions. I hope you won't judge her too harshly."

"It's alright, what's done is done. I just hope she can temper her temper in the future," Dustin said with a faint smile.

Roselyn was capricious and unreasonable, and if not for Elijah's sake, he wouldn't have been so courteous.

Of course, as long as she didn't cross the line, there were some things he could overlook.

"From now on, I'll make sure to discipline her better. Otherwise, she'll get into big trouble sooner or later," Elijah said somewhat ruefully.

"By the way, Dr. Elijah, how is Uncle Lorenzo doing?" Dustin changed the subject.

"I just examined him. Lorenzo's condition is temporarily stable, but it can only be maintained for ten days to half a month. We must quickly refine the Bone Cleansing Pill," Elijah said with a solemn expression.

"Have you received any information about the main ingredients of the Bone Cleansing Pill?" Dustin inquired.

"I've already inquired about it. We don't know the whereabouts of the Ice Heart Lotus and the Golden Marrow Jade yet, but I do know where the Dragon Blood Ginseng is, though it's not going to be easy," Elijah sighed.

"Oh? Where is it?" Dustin's interest was piqued.

"As far as I know, the Dragon Blood Ginseng is stored as a treasure by the Torby family and is never shown to outsiders," Elijah explained.

"The Torby family, one of the eight prestigious families?" Dustin raised an eyebrow.

"That's right," Elijah nodded. "I've tried to get some information, but Torby patriarch has been in poor health for a long time. The Dragon Blood Ginseng is kept as a life-saving treasure for him. Acquiring it from the Torby family would be as difficult as ascending to the heavens."

"It's indeed troublesome, but we have to give it a try," Dustin said thoughtfully. "I'll take care of this matter. In the meantime, please continue to focus on finding information about the other two medicinal ingredients."

"No problem, I've already mobilized friends in the medical community. It shouldn't take long to find out their whereabouts," Elijah replied, looking serious.





Chapter 1330 A Pseudo-gentleman?

"Master, Dustin, so both of you are here."

At this moment, Carlos and Roselyn suddenly entered the room.

"Humph! Here to freeload again!"

Roselyn pursed her lips, her expression filled with disdain.

She had been holding a grudge, especially after last night's scene where Dustin and Belinda had conspired together. It had left her resentful.

"Dustin, I heard you were robbed last night. How are you? Are you okay?" Carlos showed a concerned expression.

"Thanks for your concern, Young Master. They were just a bunch of small-time thieves; I didn't take them seriously," Dustin said.

Dustin then changed the subject, asking, "By the way, Young Master, how did you know I was robbed?"

"Oh?" Carlos's face stiffened for a moment, but he quickly regained his composure. "Well, I have excellent sources. In this area of Willowbrook, nothing can escape my notice, no matter what happens."

"I see." Dustin smiled with a hint of meaning.

He had been wondering who had come up with the idea to rob the Dipinto della Bellezza last night. It seemed highly likely that it was Carlos.

However, he didn't feel like exposing him. Such a pseudo-gentleman could still be useful.

"Dustin, it's not the man who is guilty, but the one who holds the precious item. The Dipinto della Bellezza is indeed a treasure, but it's a hot potato. Given your status, you can't handle it," Carlos advised earnestly.

"Oh? What do you suggest I do, Carlos?" Dustin asked in return.

"It's simple, act quickly, get rid of it sooner, and you'll avoid major trouble," Carlos said, his tone serious. "If you trust me, you can give the Dipinto della Bellezza to me. I'll find someone to auction it for you, and I guarantee we'll get a good price."

As long as the Dipinto della Bellezza was in his possession, he could decide the selling price.

Dustin was just a country bumpkin, after all. What did he know about the world?

"Auction, huh? I'll think about it," Dustin pretended to hesitate.

"Don't think too long. Every minute you wait, the danger increases. I'm only looking out for your best interests!" Carlos urged impatiently.

"Ring, ring, ring..."

Just as Dustin was about to respond, his phone suddenly rang. Upon answering, Lenny's voice quickly came through. "Kid! You're supposed to meet with Steward Sebastian, right? I've already set up the appointment for you. If you've got the guts, come over!"

"What did you just call me?" Dustin's voice turned cold.

"Kid..." Lenny seemed to realize something, and his voice hesitated as he stammered, "Br, bro, you know, you're supposed to negotiate, right? Steward Sebastian has invited you to the Dragon and Phoenix Tea House. Hurry over!"

"Dragon and Phoenix Tea House, huh? Alright, I'll be there in an hour," Dustin hung up the phone and turned to Elijah. "Dr., I have something to attend to. I'll let you know if I receive any updates."

"Sure," Elijah nodded.

"Dustin, I overheard you're going to the Dragon and Phoenix Tea House?" Carlos suddenly asked.

"That's correct. Is there something you'd like to add?" Dustin raised an eyebrow.

"Do you know that the Dragon and Phoenix Tea House is owned by the Stratford family?" Carlos inquired again.

"I'm well aware. I'm going to negotiate with Sebastian. It's best to resolve some matters early to avoid trouble," Dustin replied calmly.

"Dustin! Are you out of your mind?" Carlos slapped his thigh and hurriedly advised, "The Stratford family has always been ambitious and has coveted your Jade Dew Ointment formula for a long time. If you go alone to negotiate with them, aren't you throwing yourself into the lion's den?"

"Who's the lion, and who's the lamb? That remains to be seen," Dustin said with a calm expression.

"Dustin, if you insist on going, I won't stop you. But for the sake of caution, I suggest you write down the Jade Dew Ointment formula and entrust it to us for safekeeping. The Stratford family won't harm you if they don't get the formula," Carlos suggested.

"Where there's smoke, there's fire. We're all friends here, helping each other is only natural. Wait a moment; I'll go find some paper and a pen. You can write down the formula, and I'll keep it safe for you," Carlos said enthusiastically.

With that, Carlos happily rushed downstairs.

Two minutes later, when Carlos returned upstairs with paper and a pen in hand, he found that Dustin had already vanished without a trace.
 
Last edited:

Junlee (aka 'Jungal2000')

Immortal Great Grandmaster - Dragon
Sep 4, 2023
2,126
12,980
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Chapter 1331 Deal or No Deal?

An hour later, at the Dragon and Phoenix Teahouse.

Sebastian sat on the second floor near the window, sipping tea while watching the bustling crowd on the street below.

The teahouse had several tables occupied, but unlike its usual lively atmosphere, today it felt rather somber.

All the patrons were focused on their tea, with no exchange of words.

"Steward, the kid is here," said Lenny, who stood behind.

Sebastian glanced down, and he saw Dustin making his way through the crowd, strolling casually as if he had no worries in the world.

"Hmph! He dares to come alone? Truly fearless like a newborn calf," Lenny smirked.

He lifted his teacup and finished it in one gulp.

"Thud, thud, thud..."

Soon, heavy footsteps echoed through the teahouse.

Dustin climbed the stairs without any hindrance and, after scanning the room, went straight to the table where Sebastian and the others were seated, taking a seat across from them.

" Sebastian, we meet again," Dustin said with a smile, pouring himself a cup of tea.

"Dustin, I heard from Lenny that you want to discuss business with me. What exactly do you want to discuss?" Sebastian maintained a polite tone.

Being the steward of the Stratford family, he wasn't a fool. If there were matters that could be resolved with money, it was better than resorting to conflict.

"Of course, it's about the recipe for Jade Dew Ointment," Dustin got straight to the point.

"Oh?" Sebastian raised an eyebrow slightly and said, "It seems Mr Rhys has had a change of heart. Go ahead, what's your price? As long as it's reasonable, I'll do my best to meet it."

"I don't want money. I just want you to follow this prescription and obtain some herbs for me," Dustin said, placing a prescription on the table and pushing it over.

The prescription listed various precious herbs, totaling over twenty different types, including Ice Heart Lotus, Dragon Blood Ginseng, and Golden Marrow Jade.

The reason for listing so many was to divert attention.

The Stratford family had a century-long tradition in medicine, and their influence and connections spanned the entire country. There was no one in Willowbrook who could gather the three main ingredients for the Bone Cleansing Pill as quickly as the Stratford family.

This was Dustin's primary reason for coming to negotiate.

"Let me see which herbs are on this list," Sebastian picked up the prescription and examined it closely. His smile froze, and he quickly furrowed his brow. "Mr Rhys, most of these herbs are top-grade spiritual herbs, and some are even supreme-grade. Each one is worth a fortune. Asking me to gather all of them is quite an unreasonable request."

"Sebastian, your Stratford family is a prominent name in the world of medicine, and your resources should make it feasible. It shouldn't be an issue for you," Dustin sipped his tea, enjoying its pleasant aroma.

"Is it not an issue?" Sebastian's eye twitched as he struggled to control his frustration. "Mr Rhys, your appetite is truly enormous. The value of these herbs far exceeds that of the Jade Dew Ointment recipe. I cannot meet your demands."

This guy! To gather all these herbs would likely deplete half of the Stratford family's wealth.

He's really pushing his luck.

"Sebastian, the Jade Dew Ointment recipe is our family's greatest treasure. Swapping it for a few herbs is a fair trade in my opinion," Dustin insisted.

"How can you call these 'a few herbs'? These are clearly twenty to thirty spiritual herbs!" Lenny's tone involuntarily rose.

It would be one thing if they were common herbs, but these were spiritual herbs, and many of them were top-grade or even supreme-grade. Any one of them would be enough to secure a person's wealth and fortune for a lifetime.






Chapter 1332 We Meet Again

"Sebastian, it seems you're genuinely interested. How about this, I'll take a little loss and round it up for you. I'll just need the first twenty spiritual herbs, deal?" Dustin made a face as if it pained him.

"Twenty herbs won't do!" Sebastian said sternly.

"Well then, what's the most you can offer?" Dustin tried to compromise.

"One herb," Sebastian raised a single finger. "I can only give you one!"

"One herb?" Dustin furrowed his brow. "Sebastian, are you joking with me? Is this how you negotiate? Bargaining shouldn't be this one-sided, right?"

"Your Jade Dew Ointment recipe is worth no more than one top-grade spiritual herb, and that's my bottom line," Sebastian was starting to lose his patience.

If Dustin had asked for some money, Sebastian could have made a decision. But now, he was making unreasonable demands, treating him like a fool.

"Well, if you aren't interested, I believe someone else will be," Dustin said, putting away the prescription and preparing to leave.

"Hold on!"

Sebastian slammed his hand on the table and shouted, "Kid! Did I say you could leave?"

"What? Does the steward want to keep me here for tea?" Dustin asked as he turned around.

"To hell with your tea!"

Sebastian was furious, picked up his teacup, and with a loud crash, he smashed it onto the floor.

In the next second, the entire building was in motion.

The people who had pretended to be drinking tea earlier all retrieved weapons from under their tables and rushed over in a frenzy.

In a matter of seconds, Dustin found himself surrounded.

About fifty or sixty people blocked the hallway.

"Kid! You think you can just come and go as you please?!" Sebastian stood up abruptly, finally dropping his pretense and said fiercely, "You have two choices now: either hand over the Jade Dew Ointment recipe, or I'll beat you half to death and force you to give it up!"

"Sebastian, if a deal can't be reached, let's part ways in good faith. Turning to violence, doesn't that make you no different from a gang of bandits?" Dustin looked around calmly.

"Stop wasting your breath! If you don't hand over the recipe, you won't leave this Dragon and Phoenix Teahouse!" Sebastian shouted.

"Oh, really? Well, then I'll give it a try. How much does the Stratford family weigh?" Dustin sneered.

"Sebastian, this kid can fight, be careful," Lenny timely reminded.

"So what if he can fight? I have fifty to sixty experts here. Each of them could drown him in their urine!" Sebastian glared, eyes fierce. "What are you waiting for? Attack!"

"Stop!"

Just as the Stratford family's enforcers were about to rush forward, a shrill shout suddenly echoed in the hallway.

Following that, a beautiful and tall girl, accompanied by two burly bodyguards, stormed into the crowd aggressively.

Anyone in her way was kicked aside by the girl.

"Who dares..."

Sebastian was about to scold her but then saw the girl's appearance. He immediately panicked and put on a smiling face, rushing forward, "Isn't this Miss Isabela Torby? What brings you here?"

"Smack!"

Without a word, the girl slapped Lenny in the face, scolding him, "Hey! You dog lackey! You dare to touch my friend? Are you tired of living?"

"What?"

Sebastian was bewildered, clutching his burning face and looking confused. "F-friend?"

"Little Physician, we meet again," the girl turned to Dustin, smiling sweetly with a touch of playfulness.

"It’s you."

Dustin quickly recognized her.

The girl was none other than Isabela, the wealthy heiress he had saved yesterday – Isabela Torby.





Chapter 1333 The Lifesaver

"Little Physician, how do you feel? Surprised?" Isabela smiled and said, "I saw you on the street just now and felt a sense of familiarity. I didn't expect it to be you. We didn't have a chance to properly thank you last time. So, this time, I insist on treating you to a meal."

"Miss Torby, there's no need to be so polite; it's just a small favor," Dustin nodded politely.

"Miss Torby, do you... know this kid?" Sebastian asked tentatively.

"Smack!"

Isabela Torby raised her hand and slapped Sebastian again, scolding, "Nonsense! This Little Physician here is my lifesaver. How dare you lay a hand on him? Are you tired of living?"

"Lifesaver?"

Hearing this, Sebastian shivered and his legs went weak. He had thought Dustin was just an unknown figure, at best proficient in medicine and some martial arts. He hadn't expected that there was a wealthy heiress like Isabela Torby supporting him. He had made a big mistake.

"What are you still standing there for? Quickly apologize to the Little Physician, or I'll make you regret it!" Isabela glared.

"Yes, yes, I'll apologize right away," Sebastian nodded and bowed profusely, then hastily retreated.

"Stop!"

As he reached the hallway, he was halted by Isabela Torby's commanding shout, "After you return, tell the Stratford ‘young master’ that sooner or later, I'll make him regret this!"

Lenny agreed, still smiling nervously, and then made a hasty exit with his group.

Even among elite families, the power of the Torby family overshadowed that of the Stratford family. Even the young master of their own house showed great respect when encountering this willful young lady. As an external affairs steward, Lenny was even less significant.

"Little Physician, how are you feeling? Did you get hurt?" Isabela Torby turned back, her smile back in full bloom.

"I'm fine, thanks to your timely arrival," Dustin smiled.

"Since we have some fate, how about this? Let me treat you to a meal!" Isabela suggested as she started to lead Dustin downstairs.

"Miss Torby, I appreciate the offer, but I actually have a favor to ask of you," Dustin suddenly said.

"Oh? What is it?" Isabela Torby asked curiously.

"I heard that the Torby family has a Dragon Blood Ginseng. I'm wondering if it's real or not," Dustin inquired.

"That seems to be the case," Isabela Torby nodded thoughtfully.

"To be honest, I urgently need that Dragon Blood Ginseng for a life-saving purpose. If possible, I would like to purchase it at a high price," Dustin went straight to the point.

He had been thinking about how to obtain the Dragon Blood Ginseng from the Torby family through various means, but now, an opportunity had presented itself.

"Hey! It's just an herb, no need to pay for it. I'll give it to you directly!" Isabela Torby was generous.

"Miss Torby, the Dragon Blood Ginseng is very valuable. I can't accept it for free. Buying it with money would be more appropriate," Dustin insisted.

"Don't be so formal. Since you saved my life, I'm returning the favor. Let's go, come with me. I'll give it to you right away!" Isabela said, taking Dustin's hand and leading him to her car.

Seeing her enthusiasm, Dustin didn't want to refuse. About half an hour later, the car stopped in front of the Torby family's mansion.

They got out of the car, and Dustin followed Isabela into the Torby family's estate.

The Torby family was grand and luxurious, resembling a palace in the prime location of Stonia Willowbrook. It was easy for newcomers to get lost in this vast mansion.

Dustin and Isabela entered the garden, where a somewhat portly middle-aged man was instructing a group of servants in meticulous gardening.

"Randolf, come over here for a moment," Isabela waved to the middle-aged man.





Chapter 1334 Bring the Ginseng Over

"Miss, what are your orders?" The head butler Randolf approached with a beaming smile.

"I'm asking if we have a Dragon Blood Ginseng in our family," Isabela said.

"We do indeed. It's currently stored in the treasury," the head butler replied honestly.

"That's good. Fetch it for me immediately," Isabela instructed.

"Why do you need it, Miss?" The head butler inquired cautiously.

"Why do you care? I have my reasons!" Isabela replied impatiently.

"Miss, to be honest, this item is in Master's collection. It shouldn't be used without his permission," the head butler lowered his head.

"Just get it for me, and I'll talk to Grandfather about it later," Isabela insisted.

"This... it seems a bit irregular," the head butler hesitated.

"Hey! You dare to defy me?" Isabela glared and kicked the head butler's buttocks.

"Please wait a moment, Miss," the head butler sighed in resignation and left in haste.

"Dustin, please have a seat and enjoy some tea while we wait for it," Isabela said with a smile, leading Dustin to a nearby pavilion.

About ten minutes later, the head butler returned, but this time, he was accompanied by a woman in her thirties.

The woman was dressed in a red cheongsam, with delicate features, a voluptuous figure, and long black hair coiled elegantly behind her head, exuding an air of grace and nobility.

As she walked gracefully, her two long and shapely legs were faintly visible through the slit in the silk dress, displaying a lingering charm that defied her age.

"Isabela."

A clear and cold voice emanated from the lips of the beautiful woman.

Isabela trembled all over and turned stiffly, her face revealing a hint of guilt. "Mom... why are you here?"

"If I hadn't come, wouldn't you have caused a commotion at home?" Sophia Torby spoke calmly.

"How could that be? I'm always well-behaved," Isabela forced a smile.

She was fearless in front of anyone except her own mother. Although her mother had never scolded or hit her, she would inexplicably feel nervous every time she saw her.

"Just now, I heard from Randolf that you wanted Dragon Blood Ginseng. What are you planning to do?" Sophia asked.

"It's nothing, Mom," Isabela replied, her eyes shifting to give the head butler a stern look. She then smiled awkwardly and said, "My friend urgently needs Dragon Blood Ginseng to save a life, so I wanted to help him."

With a wave of her hand, she introduced Dustin, "This is my friend, the Little Physician. He saved my life when I almost drowned last time and pulled me back from the brink of death."

"Is that so?" Sophia's gaze turned to Dustin. Although she appeared calm, there was a hint of scrutiny in her eyes, the gaze of an upper-class person assessing someone beneath them.

"I am Dustin, a junior. I greet Auntie," Dustin stood up and greeted politely, his demeanor neither servile nor overbearing.

"So, you're the one who needs Dragon Blood Ginseng?" Sophia asked in a calm tone.

"Yes, it's me," Dustin nodded.

"You saved my daughter's life, and I'm very grateful," Sophia said, glancing at the head butler before saying, "Randolf, bring it over."

"Yes," the head butler replied and left again.

"Thank you, Mom!"

Isabela's face brightened, thinking that everything was settled.

However, when the head butler returned with the item, Isabela's smile froze, and Dustin couldn't help but furrow his brow.




Chapter 1335 Making a Trade

The item brought by the head butler was a box of gold bars. In the sunlight, they shone brilliantly, radiating a dazzling golden glow, more visually striking than mere money.

"Dustin, this is a token of appreciation from our Torby family and also a reward for your treatment of Isabela," Sophia said calmly as she glanced at the gold bars.

"Mom, what do you mean by this?" Isabela asked with a hint of dissatisfaction.

"Our Torby family never owes anyone any favors. Dustin saved you, so I'm repaying him generously with money. It's only natural," Sophia said indifferently.

"Mom, you... you're being too heartless," Isabela said angrily.

She couldn't believe her mother was treating her life like a business transaction.

"If he saved your life, I would naturally value your life. However, the value of his contribution is far from enough to exchange for Dragon Blood Ginseng," Sophia replied calmly. "He saved you as a doctor, and I'm paying him a fee for his services. That's it. We shouldn't mix business with emotions. Do you understand?"

"Mom! You... You're really heartless," Isabela exclaimed in anger.

She hadn't expected her mother to treat her life as a mere business transaction.

"Auntie's reasoning makes sense," Dustin suddenly spoke up. "However, I am in urgent need of Dragon Blood Ginseng. I hope Auntie can help me, but of course, I won't take it for free. I can pay with money or exchange it for something. I hope Auntie can consider this."

"You're a clever one," Sophia nodded, her tone still calm. "You can have the Dragon Blood Ginseng, but you must provide something of equivalent value."

"What does Auntie need?" Dustin inquired.

"I heard that you can make a medicine called Jade Dew Ointment, which has miraculous effects in rapidly healing wounds. Is that true?" Sophia asked.

Since her daughter's incident, she had been investigating various aspects, including Dustin, who had come to her attention unexpectedly due to the Jade Dew Ointment.

"I didn't expect Auntie to be so well-informed," Dustin raised an eyebrow in surprise but quickly nodded. "Yes, I can indeed make Jade Dew Ointment. However, the side effects are significant, and it cannot be produced normally."

"Since you are a doctor and knowledgeable in pharmacology, it shouldn't be too difficult for you to improve it, reducing the side effects," Sophia said, her gaze slightly meaningful.

"If the side effects are reduced, the effectiveness of the medicine will be greatly compromised," Dustin replied without concealing the truth.

Facing someone as shrewd as Sophia, it wasn't easy to deceive her.

Moreover, he had his own requests and couldn't afford to be dishonest.

"If you need to reduce the side effects, how much of the effectiveness would remain?" Sophia inquired.

"Approximately thirty percent," Dustin replied honestly.

"Thirty percent? That should be sufficient," Sophia nodded. "I am quite interested in your Jade Dew Ointment. If you provide me with the improved formula, I will give you the Dragon Blood Ginseng in return. How about that?"

"Auntie, this formula is a family heirloom and cannot be sold," Dustin shook his head.

"Everything has its corresponding value. Besides, you're not selling it; you're making a trade. Dragon Blood Ginseng is a treasure used to save lives, and I believe your ancestors wouldn't blame you for this," Sophia said calmly.

"This..." Dustin pretended to hesitate for a moment before making a decision. "Auntie, I can provide you with the formula for Jade Dew Ointment, but one Dragon Blood Ginseng is far from enough. I would need two more spiritual herbs in addition."

"Oh? What else do you need?" Sophia narrowed her eyes slightly.








Chapter 1336 An Outright Extortion

"Ice Heart Lotus and Golden Marrow Jade," Dustin named the medicinal herbs.

The Torby family's influence was slightly superior to the Stratford family's, so as long as they were willing to make an effort, they should be able to find these two rare herbs.

"Young man, you have quite the appetite. Both of these herbs are invaluable treasures. You're asking for three precious herbs in exchange for your formula. Isn't that a bit greedy?" Sophia frowned slightly, showing some displeasure.

"Aunt, I dare not say much about other things, but my Jade Dew Ointment formula is definitely worth it. The profit it will bring to the Torby family will far exceed the value of three herbs," Dustin assured her.

"Is that so?" Sophia fixed her gaze on Dustin, trying to glean something from his expression.

There was no evasion or guilt in his demeanor, just calmness.

At least it proved that he was not lying.

"Alright, I'll trust you this time," after a few seconds of contemplation, Sophia finally nodded. "Leave the Jade Dew Ointment formula, take the Dragon Blood Ginseng with you, and give me some time to obtain the other two precious herbs. Once we have them, I'll have someone deliver them to you. How does that sound?"

"Agreed!" Dustin readily accepted.

"Randolf, bring the Dragon Blood Ginseng, and also, get some paper and a pen," Sophia instructed.

"Yes," the steward nodded and quickly left.

Before long, he returned, carrying a jade box carefully and placing it on the table in the pavilion. He also prepared paper and a pen.

Dustin approached, opened the jade box, and saw a Dragon Blood Ginseng inside.

The ginseng was about the size of a palm, with a dense and round body, tightly packed skin with fine wrinkles, and densely packed roots that spread out like hair.

With just a slight whiff, a unique fragrance could be detected.

"It truly is a treasure!" Dustin's eyes lit up.

With his perception, he could clearly sense the rich spiritual energy stored within this Dragon Blood Ginseng.

"The Dragon Blood Ginseng is here; now, write down the formula," Sophia reminded.

Dustin nodded and didn't waste any time. He immediately wrote down the modified Jade Dew Ointment formula, word by word.

Although the efficacy was greatly reduced after the modification, it still had miraculous effects in treating external injuries, far surpassing Healwell Clinic's Golden Wound Medicine.

Once it was introduced to the market, it would undoubtedly bring substantial profits to the Torby family.

"Aunt, here's the formula; please take a look," Dustin handed over the written prescription.

"Hmm... it's good," Sophia examined it carefully and nodded in satisfaction.

With her keen eyes, she couldn't detect any issues for now.

Of course, she was confident that Dustin wouldn't dare to deceive the Torby family.

"Aunt, I urgently need two more herbs to save a life. I hope you can help with that," Dustin clasped his hands.

"No problem. As soon as there's news, I'll notify you immediately," Sophia said calmly.

"Thank you, Aunt," Dustin sighed with relief.

With the support of the Torby family, he believed that it wouldn't take long to locate the whereabouts of the Ice Heart Lotus and Golden Marrow Jade.

"Alright, the deal is done, everyone's happy. Little divine doctor, let's go!" Isabela didn't want to linger any longer. She bid her farewells and pulled Dustin away.

She still had some resentment towards her mother's behavior.

"Madam, Ice Heart Lotus and Golden Marrow Jade are not ordinary items. Should I contact the Stratford family to use their connections?" the steward cautiously suggested.

"No need for that trouble. I wasn't planning to give them away anyway," Sophia replied nonchalantly.

"Huh?" The steward was momentarily stunned, not fully comprehending.

Was she going back on her word?

"For an unknown junior to demand such a high price in front of me, isn't that a bit too greedy?" Sophia's gaze turned cold, her tone still calm. "Randolf, find a few fighting experts outside and have them take back the Dragon Blood Ginseng from Dustin. This treasure can't be given away to outsiders at such a low price."

"I understand," the steward's face froze.

This wasn't just going back on her word; it was outright extortion.

Indeed, trying to take advantage of the Torby family often led to unfavorable outcomes.






Chapter 1337 Arranged a Marriage

"Little divine doctor, I'm sorry,"

At the entrance of the Torby family's mansion, Isabela wore a remorseful expression. "Originally, I should have given you this Dragon Blood Ginseng. I didn't expect my mother to intervene and ruin my good intentions."

"Miss Isabela, you don't need to blame yourself. If it weren't for your help, I wouldn't have obtained the Dragon Blood Ginseng, and I wouldn't have been able to strike a deal with your mother. The outcome is already the best for me," Dustin smiled.

To exchange a torn formula for three precious herbs was definitely a favorable deal.

"Do you really think so?" Isabela's spirits lifted.

"Of course," Dustin nodded with a smile.

"Hehe, little divine doctor, you really suit my taste. You're a friend I'm keeping!" Isabela laughed, revealing her two small tiger teeth. "You haven't had lunch yet, right? I know a restaurant with excellent food. Let's go together and have a taste!"

With that, she pulled Dustin into her car.

"Madam, there's a call..."

At this moment, a cell phone rang suddenly.

Isabela answered and a deep voice quickly came through.

"Miss, we've got the results of the investigation you requested. Young master from the Stratford family did indeed go to a hotel with a female celebrity a few days ago. Based on the surveillance footage, their behavior was very intimate. It seems to be that kind of relationship."

"Beast!"

After hearing this, Isabela was furious, almost smashing her phone. Her pretty face was filled with resentment. "This scumbag, he kept saying he wanted to change his ways, but it turns out he's still entangled with that vixen. Does he really think I don't exist? I'm going to castrate him for sure!"

She suddenly pulled out a short knife from somewhere, unsheathing it to reveal a sharp blade.

"I'm asking you, where is that Dominic right now?" Isabela shouted into the phone.

At this moment, she had transformed from her previous sweet image into a fierce tigress.

"Miss, Dominic Stratford is currently at the Imperial City Club, having a gathering with friends," the voice on the phone replied.

"Driver! Go to the Imperial City Club immediately!" Isabela hung up the phone and shouted.

The driver didn't dare to say more, stepping on the gas pedal and heading straight to their destination.

Isabela gripped the short knife tightly, trembling with anger.

Gradually, her anger was replaced by sorrow.

Her beautiful eyes turned red, tears welling up.

"Miss Torby, what's going on?" Dustin asked cautiously.

Isabela turned away, wiped away her tears, and her voice quivered as she said, "Two years ago, my parents arranged a marriage for me with Dominic from the Stratford family. At first, I didn't agree, but later, Dominic pursued me aggressively, using sweet words, surprises, and gifts. Gradually, we became a couple.

However, not long ago, I discovered that Dominic was a scoundrel. He frequently fooled around with other women, so I broke up with him in anger. I originally thought that as long as he admitted his mistakes and sincerely repented, I would give him a chance. But this guy is two-faced, saying one thing to my face and then going to a hotel with that vixen. I don't understand why he's treating me like this. What did I do wrong?"

As she spoke, Isabela choked up.

She had treated him with sincerity, but in return, she received a wolf's heart and a dog's lungs.

"Miss Isabela, it's not your fault. It's Dominic who can't appreciate your worth. A man like him is not worth your time, and letting go of such a person is the wisest choice," Dustin comforted.

Dustin is willing to help you, do you want him to stay and protect you or something else?





Chapter 1338 The New Boyfriend

Dominic, the playboy extraordinaire, was the kind of guy who couldn't change his ways.

Luckily, Isabela caught on early. They haven't tied the knot yet, or it would have been a major regret.

"I know I should let go, but I can't bear to!" Isabela, with her two adorable front teeth, exclaimed indignantly. "He dared to treat me like this, and I won't let him off easily. I want to make him regret it, I want him to understand that losing me is the biggest loss of his life!"

"What do you plan to do?" asked Dustin.

"He wants to find a woman, right? Well, I'll find a man. I want to drive him crazy, make him green with envy!" Isabela sniffled a bit and suddenly fixed her gaze on Dustin. "Hey, Little Miracle Doctor, from now on, you're my boyfriend, and I'm going to assert my dominance right in front of him!"

"What?" Dustin's face froze. "Miss Isabela, you're not joking, are you? We've only just met."

"What's wrong with just meeting? Do you think I'm not good enough for you?" Isabela pouted.

"Miss Isabela, I already have a fiancée," Dustin said with a wry smile.

He knew full well that this girl was only saying these defiant words to get back at Dominic.

"So what if you have a fiancée? You're not married yet, right?" Isabela grabbed Dustin's hand and said somewhat stubbornly, "I don't care. You must agree! At least, today, you have to play along with me and make Dominic jealous!"

"Okay, I can help you, but let me be clear in advance, it's just acting, please don't take it seriously," Dustin said, feeling a bit troubled.

"No problem!" Isabela immediately brightened up.

She couldn't wait to see Dominic's frustrated face.

...

At this moment, in the VIP room of the Imperial Club.

A group of young men and women were gathered together, enjoying drinks and chatting.

Among them, the leader of the group was none other than the young master of the Stratford family, Dominic.

Dominic was tall and handsome, meticulously dressed, and his hair was impeccably styled.

From the outside, he truly fit the description of a dashing and charming young man.

Sitting beside him was a stunning woman, with a hot figure and exceptional beauty.

She wore a tight red dress, her long legs crossed, exuding a graceful and seductive charm that was extremely enticing.

"Dominic, you're already engaged, aren't you? And here you are openly bringing another woman. Aren't you afraid your future wife will get angry?" teased a chubby man.

The man's name was Darian Mystborne, the eldest son of the Mystborne family in Willowbrook. In this circle, he was second only to Dominic in status.

"Hah! That hag, I lost interest in her a long time ago. She's completely devoid of any feminine charm. If it weren't for the family's arranged marriage, I wouldn't even bother with her," Dominic said with a look of disdain.

"Dominic, Isabela is a famous beauty in Willowbrook. Many men have been admiring her for a long time. You're really not appreciating your good fortune!" Darian chuckled.

"You like her? Then she's yours! I'm done playing with her anyway," Dominic said, raising his chin.

"Dominic, you're truly magnanimous. If I have the chance, I'd really like to see what it's like to be with the Torby family's heiress," Darian said with a lecherous grin.

Just as they were chatting, there was a loud "bang," and the door to the VIP room was kicked open.






Chapter 1339 Male BestFriend?

As soon as the door swung open, everyone in the room paused and instinctively turned their gaze toward the entrance.

There, in stylish attire and a sweet demeanor, walked in Isabela, wearing an expression of indifference. Following closely behind her was the casually strolling Dustin.

"Isabela?"

"Miss Isabela?"

Upon seeing the newcomers, the whole room's atmosphere shifted. Especially Dominic, who immediately withdrew his hand from the waist of the woman in the red dress, as if he had been shocked.

He then stood up and forced a smile. "Isabela, what brings you here?"

"Why, can you come, but I can't?" Isabela first glanced at the woman in the red dress and then fixed her gaze on Dominic. Despite preparing herself mentally before coming, seeing the intimate appearance of this couple made it difficult for her to suppress her anger.

"Of course, you can come, but you could have let me know before you did. That way, I could have made some arrangements for you," Dominic said with a smile.

"No need for the trouble; I'm just here to take a look," Isabela replied casually. She then cast a glance at the visibly nervous woman in the red dress on the sofa and said, "Who is this person beside you? I can't help but feel like I've seen her somewhere."

"Oh? You mean her?" Dominic replied while giving a signal to Darian, who was sitting nearby.

Darian, after a moment of confusion, quickly understood and came to the rescue, saying with a smile, "That's right, that's right, sister-in-law, let me introduce you. This is my girlfriend, Charlotte Beaumont, she's from the entertainment industry."

"Hello, sister-in-law," Charlotte quickly stood up, forcing a smile.

She had heard about the fiery temper of Isabela, the young miss of the Torby family. It was well-known that provoking someone of her stature would lead to trouble.

"Darian's girlfriend, why is she sitting next to you?" Isabela questioned.

"Oh! I just happen to be a fan of Charlotte, so I was asking her about some things related to movies. We were just having a chat, and then you walked in," Dominic explained with a smile.

After a few words of explanation, Dominic turned serious and said, "Isabela, you don't suspect me, do you? I swear by heaven and earth, I've changed my ways, and I would never do anything to hurt you."

"What you do is none of my concern; I came here just to join the fun," Isabela replied, her face cold. She took a seat on the empty sofa nearby.

The people around them instinctively moved a bit farther away. Even a fool could tell that Miss Isabela was in a bad mood.

"Isabela..."

Dominic approached, thick-skinned, and sat down next to Isabela. "What's wrong with you today? If you're not feeling good, shall I accompany you for a walk?"

"Stay away from me!" Isabela glared, making Dominic retreat a bit.

"Hmph! I want to go shopping, and there are plenty of people who would love to accompany me. I wouldn't dare to bother you." Isabela said, her face still cold. She then turned to Dustin, smiled sweetly, and patted the seat next to her. "Mr. Rhys, come, sit here."

Dustin, feeling helpless, had no choice but to sit down as she had instructed.

On the left was Dominic, on the right was Isabela, and the three of them now resembled a sandwich cookie.

"Isabela, who is this person?" Dominic asked with an unfriendly expression as he examined Dustin from head to toe.

Initially, he thought Dustin was Isabela's bodyguard, so he didn't pay much attention to him.

But now, it seemed that their relationship wasn't so simple.

"Oh, this is Dustin, my male best friend," Isabela introduced with a smile.

"Male best friend?"

As soon as he heard this, Dominic's expression immediately darkened.

What kind of nonsense was "male best friend"? Wasn't that just a euphemism for friends with benefits?

These days, it was impossible for men and women to have a purely platonic friendship.






Chapter 1340 A Magic Show

What infuriated him the most was that this despicable person had the audacity to bring his fling right in front of him, blatantly provoking him!

"Isabela, I've never seen this male best friend of yours before," Dominic took a deep breath and managed to hold back his anger.

"I don't need your permission to make friends, do I?" Isabela replied nonchalantly. "Besides, haven't I not met some of your female friends?"

"Well..."

With just one sentence, Dominic was rendered speechless. He had figured out that this woman was deliberately trying to provoke him.

"Sister-in-law, it's rare for everyone to get together like this. Come on, let me raise a toast to you," Darian quickly tried to defuse the situation with a smile.

"I don't drink," Isabela replied coldly.

"No problem, no problem, you can have juice instead. As long as sister-in-law is happy," Darian said with an awkward smile, immediately summoning a waiter to bring a variety of fruit juices.

"Mr. Rhys, come on, have some juice," Isabela picked up a cup of red fruit juice and handed it to Dustin, personally feeding it to him, appearing very considerate.

The sight of their intimacy made Dominic grit his teeth.

While he could flirt around outside, it didn't mean he could tolerate being cuckolded. Regardless of the circumstances, Isabela was still his fiancée, and flaunting affection with another man in his presence was a blatant insult to him.

"Damn it! Touching my woman? You've got some nerve!"

Dominic stared fiercely at Dustin, his eyes seeming like they could devour him.

But out of consideration for Isabela, he couldn't lose his temper and had to endure it.

"Just drinking seems a bit boring," Dominic suddenly thought of something and spoke up. "Darian, didn't you learn some mystic arts? I heard they're quite amazing. Why don't you use this opportunity to perform for everyone? Spice things up a bit?"

In the past, Darian had spent a significant amount of money to learn peculiar skills from a mystic arts master for the sake of pursuing women. He had learned techniques such as hypnosis, controlling people's actions, and even using love potions.

For instance, he once met a chaste woman in a bar who refused to yield, but after Darian worked his magic, she transformed into a passionate lover.

Now, he planned to use Darian's abilities to make Dustin embarrass himself.

"Dominic, my skills are rather trivial and not suitable for public display," Darian modestly replied.

"It doesn't matter; just consider it a magic show. It'll be fun for everyone," Dominic gestured with his eyes.

"All right, since you're all interested, I'll show you," Darian quickly regained his composure and smiled. "But my performance requires someone to cooperate a bit. Anyone willing to volunteer?"

"As for me, I'm willing to cooperate," Isabela volunteered confidently.

"Sister-in-law, the mystic arts I've learned can't be used on women," Darian shook his head.

"Mr. Rhys, are you up for it?" Dominic glanced at Dustin with malicious intent. "As a newcomer, how about giving everyone a chance to get to know you?"

"Are you saying it requires cooperation?" Dustin asked.

"Yes, Mr. Rhys, rest assured, there's no danger," Darian smiled insidiously.

"Yes, we're all excited to see it. Let's have some fun together. You wouldn't deny us that, would you?" Several young men and women chimed in.

Their eyes carried a playful tone.

They naturally understood that Dominic and Darian were up to something.

"Very well, since you're all so interested, I'll play along," Dustin said with a faint smile. He then quickly finished the cup of juice.

Ten years had passed, and it seemed that these rich kids of Stonia had forgotten the shadow of being manipulated by Logan.
 
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Zaid R

New Villager
Sep 22, 2023
16
35
400
Chapter 1331 Deal of No Deal?

An hour later, at the Dragon and Phoenix Teahouse.

Sebastian sat on the second floor near the window, sipping tea while watching the bustling crowd on the street below.

The teahouse had several tables occupied, but unlike its usual lively atmosphere, today it felt rather somber.

All the patrons were focused on their tea, with no exchange of words.

"Steward, the kid is here," said Lenny, who stood behind.

Sebastian glanced down, and he saw Dustin making his way through the crowd, strolling casually as if he had no worries in the world.

"Hmph! He dares to come alone? Truly fearless like a newborn calf," Lenny smirked.

He lifted his teacup and finished it in one gulp.

"Thud, thud, thud..."

Soon, heavy footsteps echoed through the teahouse.

Dustin climbed the stairs without any hindrance and, after scanning the room, went straight to the table where Sebastian and the others were seated, taking a seat across from them.

" Sebastian, we meet again," Dustin said with a smile, pouring himself a cup of tea.

"Dustin, I heard from Lenny that you want to discuss business with me. What exactly do you want to discuss?" Sebastian maintained a polite tone.

Being the steward of the Stratford family, he wasn't a fool. If there were matters that could be resolved with money, it was better than resorting to conflict.

"Of course, it's about the recipe for Jade Dew Ointment," Dustin got straight to the point.

"Oh?" Sebastian raised an eyebrow slightly and said, "It seems Mr Rhys has had a change of heart. Go ahead, what's your price? As long as it's reasonable, I'll do my best to meet it."

"I don't want money. I just want you to follow this prescription and obtain some herbs for me," Dustin said, placing a prescription on the table and pushing it over.

The prescription listed various precious herbs, totaling over twenty different types, including Ice Heart Lotus, Dragon Blood Ginseng, and Golden Marrow Jade.

The reason for listing so many was to divert attention.

The Stratford family had a century-long tradition in medicine, and their influence and connections spanned the entire country. There was no one in Willowbrook who could gather the three main ingredients for the Bone Cleansing Pill as quickly as the Stratford family.

This was Dustin's primary reason for coming to negotiate.

"Let me see which herbs are on this list," Sebastian picked up the prescription and examined it closely. His smile froze, and he quickly furrowed his brow. "Mr Rhys, most of these herbs are top-grade spiritual herbs, and some are even supreme-grade. Each one is worth a fortune. Asking me to gather all of them is quite an unreasonable request."

"Sebastian, your Stratford family is a prominent name in the world of medicine, and your resources should make it feasible. It shouldn't be an issue for you," Dustin sipped his tea, enjoying its pleasant aroma.

"Is it not an issue?" Sebastian's eye twitched as he struggled to control his frustration. "Mr Rhys, your appetite is truly enormous. The value of these herbs far exceeds that of the Jade Dew Ointment recipe. I cannot meet your demands."

This guy! To gather all these herbs would likely deplete half of the Stratford family's wealth.

He's really pushing his luck.

"Sebastian, the Jade Dew Ointment recipe is our family's greatest treasure. Swapping it for a few herbs is a fair trade in my opinion," Dustin insisted.

"How can you call these 'a few herbs'? These are clearly twenty to thirty spiritual herbs!" Lenny's tone involuntarily rose.

It would be one thing if they were common herbs, but these were spiritual herbs, and many of them were top-grade or even supreme-grade. Any one of them would be enough to secure a person's wealth and fortune for a lifetime.






Chapter 1332 We Meet Again

"Sebastian, it seems you're genuinely interested. How about this, I'll take a little loss and round it up for you. I'll just need the first twenty spiritual herbs, deal?" Dustin made a face as if it pained him.

"Twenty herbs won't do!" Sebastian said sternly.

"Well then, what's the most you can offer?" Dustin tried to compromise.

"One herb," Sebastian raised a single finger. "I can only give you one!"

"One herb?" Dustin furrowed his brow. "Sebastian, are you joking with me? Is this how you negotiate? Bargaining shouldn't be this one-sided, right?"

"Your Jade Dew Ointment recipe is worth no more than one top-grade spiritual herb, and that's my bottom line," Sebastian was starting to lose his patience.

If Dustin had asked for some money, Sebastian could have made a decision. But now, he was making unreasonable demands, treating him like a fool.

"Well, if you aren't interested, I believe someone else will be," Dustin said, putting away the prescription and preparing to leave.

"Hold on!"

Sebastian slammed his hand on the table and shouted, "Kid! Did I say you could leave?"

"What? Does the steward want to keep me here for tea?" Dustin asked as he turned around.

"To hell with your tea!"

Sebastian was furious, picked up his teacup, and with a loud crash, he smashed it onto the floor.

In the next second, the entire building was in motion.

The people who had pretended to be drinking tea earlier all retrieved weapons from under their tables and rushed over in a frenzy.

In a matter of seconds, Dustin found himself surrounded.

About fifty or sixty people blocked the hallway.

"Kid! You think you can just come and go as you please?!" Sebastian stood up abruptly, finally dropping his pretense and said fiercely, "You have two choices now: either hand over the Jade Dew Ointment recipe, or I'll beat you half to death and force you to give it up!"

"Sebastian, if a deal can't be reached, let's part ways in good faith. Turning to violence, doesn't that make you no different from a gang of bandits?" Dustin looked around calmly.

"Stop wasting your breath! If you don't hand over the recipe, you won't leave this Dragon and Phoenix Teahouse!" Sebastian shouted.

"Oh, really? Well, then I'll give it a try. How much does the Stratford family weigh?" Dustin sneered.

"Sebastian, this kid can fight, be careful," Lenny timely reminded.

"So what if he can fight? I have fifty to sixty experts here. Each of them could drown him in their urine!" Sebastian glared, eyes fierce. "What are you waiting for? Attack!"

"Stop!"

Just as the Stratford family's enforcers were about to rush forward, a shrill shout suddenly echoed in the hallway.

Following that, a beautiful and tall girl, accompanied by two burly bodyguards, stormed into the crowd aggressively.

Anyone in her way was kicked aside by the girl.

"Who dares..."

Sebastian was about to scold her but then saw the girl's appearance. He immediately panicked and put on a smiling face, rushing forward, "Isn't this Miss Isabela Torby? What brings you here?"

"Smack!"

Without a word, the girl slapped Lenny in the face, scolding him, "Hey! You dog lackey! You dare to touch my friend? Are you tired of living?"

"What?"

Sebastian was bewildered, clutching his burning face and looking confused. "F-friend?"

"Little Physician, we meet again," the girl turned to Dustin, smiling sweetly with a touch of playfulness.

"It’s you."

Dustin quickly recognized her.

The girl was none other than Isabela, the wealthy heiress he had saved yesterday – Isabela Torby.





Chapter 1333 The Lifesaver

"Little Physician, how do you feel? Surprised?" Isabela smiled and said, "I saw you on the street just now and felt a sense of familiarity. I didn't expect it to be you. We didn't have a chance to properly thank you last time. So, this time, I insist on treating you to a meal."

"Miss Torby, there's no need to be so polite; it's just a small favor," Dustin nodded politely.

"Miss Torby, do you... know this kid?" Sebastian asked tentatively.

"Smack!"

Isabela Torby raised her hand and slapped Sebastian again, scolding, "Nonsense! This Little Physician here is my lifesaver. How dare you lay a hand on him? Are you tired of living?"

"Lifesaver?"

Hearing this, Sebastian shivered and his legs went weak. He had thought Dustin was just an unknown figure, at best proficient in medicine and some martial arts. He hadn't expected that there was a wealthy heiress like Isabela Torby supporting him. He had made a big mistake.

"What are you still standing there for? Quickly apologize to the Little Physician, or I'll make you regret it!" Isabela glared.

"Yes, yes, I'll apologize right away," Sebastian nodded and bowed profusely, then hastily retreated.

"Stop!"

As he reached the hallway, he was halted by Isabela Torby's commanding shout, "After you return, tell the Stratford ‘young master’ that sooner or later, I'll make him regret this!"

Lenny agreed, still smiling nervously, and then made a hasty exit with his group.

Even among elite families, the power of the Torby family overshadowed that of the Stratford family. Even the young master of their own house showed great respect when encountering this willful young lady. As an external affairs steward, Lenny was even less significant.

"Little Physician, how are you feeling? Did you get hurt?" Isabela Torby turned back, her smile back in full bloom.

"I'm fine, thanks to your timely arrival," Dustin smiled.

"Since we have some fate, how about this? Let me treat you to a meal!" Isabela suggested as she started to lead Dustin downstairs.

"Miss Torby, I appreciate the offer, but I actually have a favor to ask of you," Dustin suddenly said.

"Oh? What is it?" Isabela Torby asked curiously.

"I heard that the Torby family has a Dragon Blood Ginseng. I'm wondering if it's real or not," Dustin inquired.

"That seems to be the case," Isabela Torby nodded thoughtfully.

"To be honest, I urgently need that Dragon Blood Ginseng for a life-saving purpose. If possible, I would like to purchase it at a high price," Dustin went straight to the point.

He had been thinking about how to obtain the Dragon Blood Ginseng from the Torby family through various means, but now, an opportunity had presented itself.

"Hey! It's just an herb, no need to pay for it. I'll give it to you directly!" Isabela Torby was generous.

"Miss Torby, the Dragon Blood Ginseng is very valuable. I can't accept it for free. Buying it with money would be more appropriate," Dustin insisted.

"Don't be so formal. Since you saved my life, I'm returning the favor. Let's go, come with me. I'll give it to you right away!" Isabela said, taking Dustin's hand and leading him to her car.

Seeing her enthusiasm, Dustin didn't want to refuse. About half an hour later, the car stopped in front of the Torby family's mansion.

They got out of the car, and Dustin followed Isabela into the Torby family's estate.

The Torby family was grand and luxurious, resembling a palace in the prime location of Stonia Willowbrook. It was easy for newcomers to get lost in this vast mansion.

Dustin and Isabela entered the garden, where a somewhat portly middle-aged man was instructing a group of servants in meticulous gardening.

"Randolf, come over here for a moment," Isabela waved to the middle-aged man.





Chapter 1334 Bring the Ginseng Over

"Miss, what are your orders?" The head butler Randolf approached with a beaming smile.

"I'm asking if we have a Dragon Blood Ginseng in our family," Isabela said.

"We do indeed. It's currently stored in the treasury," the head butler replied honestly.

"That's good. Fetch it for me immediately," Isabela instructed.

"Why do you need it, Miss?" The head butler inquired cautiously.

"Why do you care? I have my reasons!" Isabela replied impatiently.

"Miss, to be honest, this item is in Master's collection. It shouldn't be used without his permission," the head butler lowered his head.

"Just get it for me, and I'll talk to Grandfather about it later," Isabela insisted.

"This... it seems a bit irregular," the head butler hesitated.

"Hey! You dare to defy me?" Isabela glared and kicked the head butler's buttocks.

"Please wait a moment, Miss," the head butler sighed in resignation and left in haste.

"Dustin, please have a seat and enjoy some tea while we wait for it," Isabela said with a smile, leading Dustin to a nearby pavilion.

About ten minutes later, the head butler returned, but this time, he was accompanied by a woman in her thirties.

The woman was dressed in a red cheongsam, with delicate features, a voluptuous figure, and long black hair coiled elegantly behind her head, exuding an air of grace and nobility.

As she walked gracefully, her two long and shapely legs were faintly visible through the slit in the silk dress, displaying a lingering charm that defied her age.

"Isabela."

A clear and cold voice emanated from the lips of the beautiful woman.

Isabela trembled all over and turned stiffly, her face revealing a hint of guilt. "Mom... why are you here?"

"If I hadn't come, wouldn't you have caused a commotion at home?" Sophia Torby spoke calmly.

"How could that be? I'm always well-behaved," Isabela forced a smile.

She was fearless in front of anyone except her own mother. Although her mother had never scolded or hit her, she would inexplicably feel nervous every time she saw her.

"Just now, I heard from Randolf that you wanted Dragon Blood Ginseng. What are you planning to do?" Sophia asked.

"It's nothing, Mom," Isabela replied, her eyes shifting to give the head butler a stern look. She then smiled awkwardly and said, "My friend urgently needs Dragon Blood Ginseng to save a life, so I wanted to help him."

With a wave of her hand, she introduced Dustin, "This is my friend, the Little Physician. He saved my life when I almost drowned last time and pulled me back from the brink of death."

"Is that so?" Sophia's gaze turned to Dustin. Although she appeared calm, there was a hint of scrutiny in her eyes, the gaze of an upper-class person assessing someone beneath them.

"I am Dustin, a junior. I greet Auntie," Dustin stood up and greeted politely, his demeanor neither servile nor overbearing.

"So, you're the one who needs Dragon Blood Ginseng?" Sophia asked in a calm tone.

"Yes, it's me," Dustin nodded.

"You saved my daughter's life, and I'm very grateful," Sophia said, glancing at the head butler before saying, "Randolf, bring it over."

"Yes," the head butler replied and left again.

"Thank you, Mom!"

Isabela's face brightened, thinking that everything was settled.

However, when the head butler returned with the item, Isabela's smile froze, and Dustin couldn't help but furrow his brow.




Chapter 1335 Making a Trade

The item brought by the head butler was a box of gold bars. In the sunlight, they shone brilliantly, radiating a dazzling golden glow, more visually striking than mere money.

"Dustin, this is a token of appreciation from our Torby family and also a reward for your treatment of Isabela," Sophia said calmly as she glanced at the gold bars.

"Mom, what do you mean by this?" Isabela asked with a hint of dissatisfaction.

"Our Torby family never owes anyone any favors. Dustin saved you, so I'm repaying him generously with money. It's only natural," Sophia said indifferently.

"Mom, you... you're being too heartless," Isabela said angrily.

She couldn't believe her mother was treating her life like a business transaction.

"If he saved your life, I would naturally value your life. However, the value of his contribution is far from enough to exchange for Dragon Blood Ginseng," Sophia replied calmly. "He saved you as a doctor, and I'm paying him a fee for his services. That's it. We shouldn't mix business with emotions. Do you understand?"

"Mom! You... You're really heartless," Isabela exclaimed in anger.

She hadn't expected her mother to treat her life as a mere business transaction.

"Auntie's reasoning makes sense," Dustin suddenly spoke up. "However, I am in urgent need of Dragon Blood Ginseng. I hope Auntie can help me, but of course, I won't take it for free. I can pay with money or exchange it for something. I hope Auntie can consider this."

"You're a clever one," Sophia nodded, her tone still calm. "You can have the Dragon Blood Ginseng, but you must provide something of equivalent value."

"What does Auntie need?" Dustin inquired.

"I heard that you can make a medicine called Jade Dew Ointment, which has miraculous effects in rapidly healing wounds. Is that true?" Sophia asked.

Since her daughter's incident, she had been investigating various aspects, including Dustin, who had come to her attention unexpectedly due to the Jade Dew Ointment.

"I didn't expect Auntie to be so well-informed," Dustin raised an eyebrow in surprise but quickly nodded. "Yes, I can indeed make Jade Dew Ointment. However, the side effects are significant, and it cannot be produced normally."

"Since you are a doctor and knowledgeable in pharmacology, it shouldn't be too difficult for you to improve it, reducing the side effects," Sophia said, her gaze slightly meaningful.

"If the side effects are reduced, the effectiveness of the medicine will be greatly compromised," Dustin replied without concealing the truth.

Facing someone as shrewd as Sophia, it wasn't easy to deceive her.

Moreover, he had his own requests and couldn't afford to be dishonest.

"If you need to reduce the side effects, how much of the effectiveness would remain?" Sophia inquired.

"Approximately thirty percent," Dustin replied honestly.

"Thirty percent? That should be sufficient," Sophia nodded. "I am quite interested in your Jade Dew Ointment. If you provide me with the improved formula, I will give you the Dragon Blood Ginseng in return. How about that?"

"Auntie, this formula is a family heirloom and cannot be sold," Dustin shook his head.

"Everything has its corresponding value. Besides, you're not selling it; you're making a trade. Dragon Blood Ginseng is a treasure used to save lives, and I believe your ancestors wouldn't blame you for this," Sophia said calmly.

"This..." Dustin pretended to hesitate for a moment before making a decision. "Auntie, I can provide you with the formula for Jade Dew Ointment, but one Dragon Blood Ginseng is far from enough. I would need two more spiritual herbs in addition."

"Oh? What else do you need?" Sophia narrowed her eyes slightly.








Chapter 1336 An Outright Extortion

"Ice Heart Lotus and Golden Marrow Jade," Dustin named the medicinal herbs.

The Torby family's influence was slightly superior to the Stratford family's, so as long as they were willing to make an effort, they should be able to find these two rare herbs.

"Young man, you have quite the appetite. Both of these herbs are invaluable treasures. You're asking for three precious herbs in exchange for your formula. Isn't that a bit greedy?" Sophia frowned slightly, showing some displeasure.

"Aunt, I dare not say much about other things, but my Jade Dew Ointment formula is definitely worth it. The profit it will bring to the Torby family will far exceed the value of three herbs," Dustin assured her.

"Is that so?" Sophia fixed her gaze on Dustin, trying to glean something from his expression.

There was no evasion or guilt in his demeanor, just calmness.

At least it proved that he was not lying.

"Alright, I'll trust you this time," after a few seconds of contemplation, Sophia finally nodded. "Leave the Jade Dew Ointment formula, take the Dragon Blood Ginseng with you, and give me some time to obtain the other two precious herbs. Once we have them, I'll have someone deliver them to you. How does that sound?"

"Agreed!" Dustin readily accepted.

"Randolf, bring the Dragon Blood Ginseng, and also, get some paper and a pen," Sophia instructed.

"Yes," the steward nodded and quickly left.

Before long, he returned, carrying a jade box carefully and placing it on the table in the pavilion. He also prepared paper and a pen.

Dustin approached, opened the jade box, and saw a Dragon Blood Ginseng inside.

The ginseng was about the size of a palm, with a dense and round body, tightly packed skin with fine wrinkles, and densely packed roots that spread out like hair.

With just a slight whiff, a unique fragrance could be detected.

"It truly is a treasure!" Dustin's eyes lit up.

With his perception, he could clearly sense the rich spiritual energy stored within this Dragon Blood Ginseng.

"The Dragon Blood Ginseng is here; now, write down the formula," Sophia reminded.

Dustin nodded and didn't waste any time. He immediately wrote down the modified Jade Dew Ointment formula, word by word.

Although the efficacy was greatly reduced after the modification, it still had miraculous effects in treating external injuries, far surpassing Healwell Clinic's Golden Wound Medicine.

Once it was introduced to the market, it would undoubtedly bring substantial profits to the Torby family.

"Aunt, here's the formula; please take a look," Dustin handed over the written prescription.

"Hmm... it's good," Sophia examined it carefully and nodded in satisfaction.

With her keen eyes, she couldn't detect any issues for now.

Of course, she was confident that Dustin wouldn't dare to deceive the Torby family.

"Aunt, I urgently need two more herbs to save a life. I hope you can help with that," Dustin clasped his hands.

"No problem. As soon as there's news, I'll notify you immediately," Sophia said calmly.

"Thank you, Aunt," Dustin sighed with relief.

With the support of the Torby family, he believed that it wouldn't take long to locate the whereabouts of the Ice Heart Lotus and Golden Marrow Jade.

"Alright, the deal is done, everyone's happy. Little divine doctor, let's go!" Isabela didn't want to linger any longer. She bid her farewells and pulled Dustin away.

She still had some resentment towards her mother's behavior.

"Madam, Ice Heart Lotus and Golden Marrow Jade are not ordinary items. Should I contact the Stratford family to use their connections?" the steward cautiously suggested.

"No need for that trouble. I wasn't planning to give them away anyway," Sophia replied nonchalantly.

"Huh?" The steward was momentarily stunned, not fully comprehending.

Was she going back on her word?

"For an unknown junior to demand such a high price in front of me, isn't that a bit too greedy?" Sophia's gaze turned cold, her tone still calm. "Randolf, find a few fighting experts outside and have them take back the Dragon Blood Ginseng from Dustin. This treasure can't be given away to outsiders at such a low price."

"I understand," the steward's face froze.

This wasn't just going back on her word; it was outright extortion.

Indeed, trying to take advantage of the Torby family often led to unfavorable outcomes.






Chapter 1337 Arranged a Marriage

"Little divine doctor, I'm sorry,"

At the entrance of the Torby family's mansion, Isabela wore a remorseful expression. "Originally, I should have given you this Dragon Blood Ginseng. I didn't expect my mother to intervene and ruin my good intentions."

"Miss Isabela, you don't need to blame yourself. If it weren't for your help, I wouldn't have obtained the Dragon Blood Ginseng, and I wouldn't have been able to strike a deal with your mother. The outcome is already the best for me," Dustin smiled.

To exchange a torn formula for three precious herbs was definitely a favorable deal.

"Do you really think so?" Isabela's spirits lifted.

"Of course," Dustin nodded with a smile.

"Hehe, little divine doctor, you really suit my taste. You're a friend I'm keeping!" Isabela laughed, revealing her two small tiger teeth. "You haven't had lunch yet, right? I know a restaurant with excellent food. Let's go together and have a taste!"

With that, she pulled Dustin into her car.

"Madam, there's a call..."

At this moment, a cell phone rang suddenly.

Isabela answered and a deep voice quickly came through.

"Miss, we've got the results of the investigation you requested. Young master from the Stratford family did indeed go to a hotel with a female celebrity a few days ago. Based on the surveillance footage, their behavior was very intimate. It seems to be that kind of relationship."

"Beast!"

After hearing this, Isabela was furious, almost smashing her phone. Her pretty face was filled with resentment. "This scumbag, he kept saying he wanted to change his ways, but it turns out he's still entangled with that vixen. Does he really think I don't exist? I'm going to castrate him for sure!"

She suddenly pulled out a short knife from somewhere, unsheathing it to reveal a sharp blade.

"I'm asking you, where is that Dominic right now?" Isabela shouted into the phone.

At this moment, she had transformed from her previous sweet image into a fierce tigress.

"Miss, Dominic Stratford is currently at the Imperial City Club, having a gathering with friends," the voice on the phone replied.

"Driver! Go to the Imperial City Club immediately!" Isabela hung up the phone and shouted.

The driver didn't dare to say more, stepping on the gas pedal and heading straight to their destination.

Isabela gripped the short knife tightly, trembling with anger.

Gradually, her anger was replaced by sorrow.

Her beautiful eyes turned red, tears welling up.

"Miss Torby, what's going on?" Dustin asked cautiously.

Isabela turned away, wiped away her tears, and her voice quivered as she said, "Two years ago, my parents arranged a marriage for me with Dominic from the Stratford family. At first, I didn't agree, but later, Dominic pursued me aggressively, using sweet words, surprises, and gifts. Gradually, we became a couple.

However, not long ago, I discovered that Dominic was a scoundrel. He frequently fooled around with other women, so I broke up with him in anger. I originally thought that as long as he admitted his mistakes and sincerely repented, I would give him a chance. But this guy is two-faced, saying one thing to my face and then going to a hotel with that vixen. I don't understand why he's treating me like this. What did I do wrong?"

As she spoke, Isabela choked up.

She had treated him with sincerity, but in return, she received a wolf's heart and a dog's lungs.

"Miss Isabela, it's not your fault. It's Dominic who can't appreciate your worth. A man like him is not worth your time, and letting go of such a person is the wisest choice," Dustin comforted.

Dustin is willing to help you, do you want him to stay and protect you or something else?





Chapter 1338 The New Boyfriend

Dominic, the playboy extraordinaire, was the kind of guy who couldn't change his ways.

Luckily, Isabela caught on early. They haven't tied the knot yet, or it would have been a major regret.

"I know I should let go, but I can't bear to!" Isabela, with her two adorable front teeth, exclaimed indignantly. "He dared to treat me like this, and I won't let him off easily. I want to make him regret it, I want him to understand that losing me is the biggest loss of his life!"

"What do you plan to do?" asked Dustin.

"He wants to find a woman, right? Well, I'll find a man. I want to drive him crazy, make him green with envy!" Isabela sniffled a bit and suddenly fixed her gaze on Dustin. "Hey, Little Miracle Doctor, from now on, you're my boyfriend, and I'm going to assert my dominance right in front of him!"

"What?" Dustin's face froze. "Miss Isabela, you're not joking, are you? We've only just met."

"What's wrong with just meeting? Do you think I'm not good enough for you?" Isabela pouted.

"Miss Isabela, I already have a fiancée," Dustin said with a wry smile.

He knew full well that this girl was only saying these defiant words to get back at Dominic.

"So what if you have a fiancée? You're not married yet, right?" Isabela grabbed Dustin's hand and said somewhat stubbornly, "I don't care. You must agree! At least, today, you have to play along with me and make Dominic jealous!"

"Okay, I can help you, but let me be clear in advance, it's just acting, please don't take it seriously," Dustin said, feeling a bit troubled.

"No problem!" Isabela immediately brightened up.

She couldn't wait to see Dominic's frustrated face.

...

At this moment, in the VIP room of the Imperial Club.

A group of young men and women were gathered together, enjoying drinks and chatting.

Among them, the leader of the group was none other than the young master of the Stratford family, Dominic.

Dominic was tall and handsome, meticulously dressed, and his hair was impeccably styled.

From the outside, he truly fit the description of a dashing and charming young man.

Sitting beside him was a stunning woman, with a hot figure and exceptional beauty.

She wore a tight red dress, her long legs crossed, exuding a graceful and seductive charm that was extremely enticing.

"Dominic, you're already engaged, aren't you? And here you are openly bringing another woman. Aren't you afraid your future wife will get angry?" teased a chubby man.

The man's name was Darian Mystborne, the eldest son of the Mystborne family in Willowbrook. In this circle, he was second only to Dominic in status.

"Hah! That hag, I lost interest in her a long time ago. She's completely devoid of any feminine charm. If it weren't for the family's arranged marriage, I wouldn't even bother with her," Dominic said with a look of disdain.

"Dominic, Isabela is a famous beauty in Willowbrook. Many men have been admiring her for a long time. You're really not appreciating your good fortune!" Darian chuckled.

"You like her? Then she's yours! I'm done playing with her anyway," Dominic said, raising his chin.

"Dominic, you're truly magnanimous. If I have the chance, I'd really like to see what it's like to be with the Torby family's heiress," Darian said with a lecherous grin.

Just as they were chatting, there was a loud "bang," and the door to the VIP room was kicked open.






Chapter 1339 Male BestFriend?

As soon as the door swung open, everyone in the room paused and instinctively turned their gaze toward the entrance.

There, in stylish attire and a sweet demeanor, walked in Isabela, wearing an expression of indifference. Following closely behind her was the casually strolling Dustin.

"Isabela?"

"Miss Isabela?"

Upon seeing the newcomers, the whole room's atmosphere shifted. Especially Dominic, who immediately withdrew his hand from the waist of the woman in the red dress, as if he had been shocked.

He then stood up and forced a smile. "Isabela, what brings you here?"

"Why, can you come, but I can't?" Isabela first glanced at the woman in the red dress and then fixed her gaze on Dominic. Despite preparing herself mentally before coming, seeing the intimate appearance of this couple made it difficult for her to suppress her anger.

"Of course, you can come, but you could have let me know before you did. That way, I could have made some arrangements for you," Dominic said with a smile.

"No need for the trouble; I'm just here to take a look," Isabela replied casually. She then cast a glance at the visibly nervous woman in the red dress on the sofa and said, "Who is this person beside you? I can't help but feel like I've seen her somewhere."

"Oh? You mean her?" Dominic replied while giving a signal to Darian, who was sitting nearby.

Darian, after a moment of confusion, quickly understood and came to the rescue, saying with a smile, "That's right, that's right, sister-in-law, let me introduce you. This is my girlfriend, Charlotte Beaumont, she's from the entertainment industry."

"Hello, sister-in-law," Charlotte quickly stood up, forcing a smile.

She had heard about the fiery temper of Isabela, the young miss of the Torby family. It was well-known that provoking someone of her stature would lead to trouble.

"Darian's girlfriend, why is she sitting next to you?" Isabela questioned.

"Oh! I just happen to be a fan of Charlotte, so I was asking her about some things related to movies. We were just having a chat, and then you walked in," Dominic explained with a smile.

After a few words of explanation, Dominic turned serious and said, "Isabela, you don't suspect me, do you? I swear by heaven and earth, I've changed my ways, and I would never do anything to hurt you."

"What you do is none of my concern; I came here just to join the fun," Isabela replied, her face cold. She took a seat on the empty sofa nearby.

The people around them instinctively moved a bit farther away. Even a fool could tell that Miss Isabela was in a bad mood.

"Isabela..."

Dominic approached, thick-skinned, and sat down next to Isabela. "What's wrong with you today? If you're not feeling good, shall I accompany you for a walk?"

"Stay away from me!" Isabela glared, making Dominic retreat a bit.

"Hmph! I want to go shopping, and there are plenty of people who would love to accompany me. I wouldn't dare to bother you." Isabela said, her face still cold. She then turned to Dustin, smiled sweetly, and patted the seat next to her. "Mr. Rhys, come, sit here."

Dustin, feeling helpless, had no choice but to sit down as she had instructed.

On the left was Dominic, on the right was Isabela, and the three of them now resembled a sandwich cookie.

"Isabela, who is this person?" Dominic asked with an unfriendly expression as he examined Dustin from head to toe.

Initially, he thought Dustin was Isabela's bodyguard, so he didn't pay much attention to him.

But now, it seemed that their relationship wasn't so simple.

"Oh, this is Dustin, my male best friend," Isabela introduced with a smile.

"Male best friend?"

As soon as he heard this, Dominic's expression immediately darkened.

What kind of nonsense was "male best friend"? Wasn't that just a euphemism for friends with benefits?

These days, it was impossible for men and women to have a purely platonic friendship.






Chapter 1340 A Magic Show

What infuriated him the most was that this despicable person had the audacity to bring his fling right in front of him, blatantly provoking him!

"Isabela, I've never seen this male best friend of yours before," Dominic took a deep breath and managed to hold back his anger.

"I don't need your permission to make friends, do I?" Isabela replied nonchalantly. "Besides, haven't I not met some of your female friends?"

"Well..."

With just one sentence, Dominic was rendered speechless. He had figured out that this woman was deliberately trying to provoke him.

"Sister-in-law, it's rare for everyone to get together like this. Come on, let me raise a toast to you," Darian quickly tried to defuse the situation with a smile.

"I don't drink," Isabela replied coldly.

"No problem, no problem, you can have juice instead. As long as sister-in-law is happy," Darian said with an awkward smile, immediately summoning a waiter to bring a variety of fruit juices.

"Mr. Rhys, come on, have some juice," Isabela picked up a cup of red fruit juice and handed it to Dustin, personally feeding it to him, appearing very considerate.

The sight of their intimacy made Dominic grit his teeth.

While he could flirt around outside, it didn't mean he could tolerate being cuckolded. Regardless of the circumstances, Isabela was still his fiancée, and flaunting affection with another man in his presence was a blatant insult to him.

"Damn it! Touching my woman? You've got some nerve!"

Dominic stared fiercely at Dustin, his eyes seeming like they could devour him.

But out of consideration for Isabela, he couldn't lose his temper and had to endure it.

"Just drinking seems a bit boring," Dominic suddenly thought of something and spoke up. "Darian, didn't you learn some mystic arts? I heard they're quite amazing. Why don't you use this opportunity to perform for everyone? Spice things up a bit?"

In the past, Darian had spent a significant amount of money to learn peculiar skills from a mystic arts master for the sake of pursuing women. He had learned techniques such as hypnosis, controlling people's actions, and even using love potions.

For instance, he once met a chaste woman in a bar who refused to yield, but after Darian worked his magic, she transformed into a passionate lover.

Now, he planned to use Darian's abilities to make Dustin embarrass himself.

"Dominic, my skills are rather trivial and not suitable for public display," Darian modestly replied.

"It doesn't matter; just consider it a magic show. It'll be fun for everyone," Dominic gestured with his eyes.

"All right, since you're all interested, I'll show you," Darian quickly regained his composure and smiled. "But my performance requires someone to cooperate a bit. Anyone willing to volunteer?"

"As for me, I'm willing to cooperate," Isabela volunteered confidently.

"Sister-in-law, the mystic arts I've learned can't be used on women," Darian shook his head.

"Mr. Rhys, are you up for it?" Dominic glanced at Dustin with malicious intent. "As a newcomer, how about giving everyone a chance to get to know you?"

"Are you saying it requires cooperation?" Dustin asked.

"Yes, Mr. Rhys, rest assured, there's no danger," Darian smiled insidiously.

"Yes, we're all excited to see it. Let's have some fun together. You wouldn't deny us that, would you?" Several young men and women chimed in.

Their eyes carried a playful tone.

They naturally understood that Dominic and Darian were up to something.

"Very well, since you're all so interested, I'll play along," Dustin said with a faint smile. He then quickly finished the cup of juice.

Ten years had passed, and it seemed that these rich kids of Stonia had forgotten the shadow of being manipulated by Logan.
Thanks man. Just now came to check if there's an update :LOL::)
 

Junlee (aka 'Jungal2000')

Immortal Great Grandmaster - Dragon
Sep 4, 2023
2,126
12,980
2,100
We are already at chapter 1400. I was expecting you to pick up from there. ❤️🔥
I prefer to go at my own pace. Rushing doesn't really make sense to me, especially considering that we'll soon catch up to the Chinese version. Plus, things tend to slow down a lot there, so I'm not particularly excited about getting there quickly.
 

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