Chapter 21

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Written by MiniOrchid, chimera and kakashi
edited by JoAnne

Nine hundred ninety-nine dishes and 99 types of wine were served at the final banquet on the last day of the White Rock Sea Festival. The official festivities started at noon and ended at sunset to symbolize the peaceful conclusion of a tiring but advantageous journey, though for most of the guests the party did not end there - there was plenty of wine and food to be had afterwards, too, and most of the immortals mingled long into the night with old and new friends, in large and in small groups.

Si Ming was giddy from excitement and he still couldn't believe his luck to be present at such an extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime event. For eight days straight, he had recorded everything he deemed important and more, from sunrise to sundown and well into the night. Speeches, encounters, diplomatic meetings, and so much gossip ... he could not keep up with everything, no matter how much he cut down on sleep. By day three he had even run out of scrolls and had to ask the king of the West Sea for more. So many immortals who were present here and so many who were not present were going to demand the full account of this historic moment - he would not fail them. Official records, off-the-record records, and the top secret very-much-off-the-record records - they were all to be had for the right price.

They had almost reached the end of the festival and he knew from experience that it was the last day, (and more so the last night) that brought the most excitement. He had to push his exhaustion aside even if it meant he'd collapse later.

Heading to the palace, Si Ming saw Third Prince approaching. Exactly the man he needed.

"Third Prince! Third Prince! I need to hear what you saw when the God of War and his intended bride ran into each other the other day. Did you witness it?" Si Ming had his scroll and brush ready. He still did not have enough juicy details about that meeting because he had only heard very dull people speak about it. And of course, he didn't dare to ask the God of War for his impressions. He was a bit intimidated by High God Mo Yuan ... he thought it possible that Mo Yuan would confiscate all his scrolls and turn them to dust in front of his eyes, not condoning this type of activity.

Third Prince sighed and shook his head. "Star Lord, I did not. It so happened that Bai Gun Gun dragged me away to see the corals at that moment."

"What about Cheng Yu?"

"What about me?" Cheng Yu appeared behind them. Si Ming was impressed. Cheng Yu had the most impeccable timing; he wondered how she did it and whether she could teach him that skill.

Third Prince instantly perked up, putting on his best flirtatious smile. "Cheng Yu! You look lovely in purple."

Si Ming held his tongue. From his experience, their banter would take a few minutes at least. Best not to interrupt the routine.

Cheng Yu rolled her eyes at the Third Prince. "And you look smarmy as usual."

Undeterred, Third Prince took a few steps towards her, "I want my payment, my dear."

"For what?" She scowled at him, "and who's your dear?"

"For getting your name on the guest list," he smirked, "It wasn't easy."

Cheng Yu narrowed her eyes. "In that case I want my payment, too," she countered.

"For what?"

Flashing her mischievous smile, she said: "For telling you and the Star Lord about the God of War and his bride-to-be."

"Fine." Third Prince edged closer, still smiling. "How should I pay you?"

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