TOMAS Chapter 11

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Chapter 11 Wind Crane: Lost

When Feng Luodi finally returned to her courtyard, her zither lay waiting for her atop the stone table in the middle of the yard. Scarlet was painstakingly rubbing the resin onto the zither, precise and careful with her movements, while Jet moved about the yard, setting aside various items to sun.

This was routine for them; the duo did the same things day in day out, but still managed to be energetic and happy about their work. She, on the other hand, despite her best efforts to look otherwise, always looked troubled and sorrowful. Whenever Qi Jianqiu asked if she was upset, she did not know what to say. There was no way to explain to them how she was unsettling it was to use Luodi’s body, of how she could never fit in with the society, and nothing she did could cover it up.

“Let me take over, Scarlet. Go and rest for a bit.” Feng Luodi picked up the box of resin from the table, and waved Scarlet away.

“Yes, young miss.” Scarlet bowed a little, and scurried over to help Jet with her work.

Feng Luodi sat down before the zither, her fingers mindlessly brushing the strings. Before she knew it, her fingers had spun the random notes into a song. The song echoed with an ache, a yearning of the world she knew, and the life she left behind. The feelings of loss and nostalgia bled from her fingers, and into the notes that swirled through the air.

Rains fall upon the creepers, in my old house
They say you still sleep alone, late in the night
An old oak now grows, atop the crumbling castle gates
I hear a sigh along the cold stone slates, ‘I’m waiting’
Our Spring was full of joy, they envied us
We lost the battle against the world, too harsh on ourselves
The brightest sparks die the coldest, the warmest hearts suffer the most pain
When Spring comes again, will you still be waiting for me?*

“The young miss seems unusually sad today, has something happened?” For once, Jet caught on to Feng Luodi’s feelings quickly.

“She has been acting this way ever since the last time she fell sick,” Scarlet was more observant. “She always seemed to carry a heavy burden on her mind.”

“Could it be…that she’s still haunted from the previous time she fell sick?” Jet thought hard about it, “Maybe that is why she always seems so upset!”

“Hmmmmm,” Scarlet thought about it for a moment, “it’s possible. The First Lady instructed us to take care of the young miss well, so we have to cheer her up! She has been very interested in the zither lately, even more so than before. If I remember correctly, she has been looking for the 10 famous Guqin for a while now, why don’t we help search for information as well?” She raised a brow at Jet.

“Sounds like a plan!” Jet clasped her hands together in admiration, “Scarlet, how are you so smart? It’s no wonder the First Lady likes you the most.”

“Oh shucks, you’re just as smart too Jet! A bit too adorable at times.” Scarlet made a face, and the duo quickly finished their chores on hand, setting out to accomplish their plan as soon as they were done.

However, it was another restless night for Feng Luodi.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A few days passed, and Feng Luodi did not leave the household, sick with longing for her own family.

One morning, as the chirping birds roused Feng Luodi from her light slumber, she could hear the servants bustling about the household as the Chamberlain prepared to leave for his morning courtly duties. Tossing and snuggling into her blanket for a while more before getting up, Feng Luodi opened her eyes to see Jet coming in with a pail of hot water and a change of clothes.

Her clothes consisted of an inner shirt of sage green, and an olive robe layered on top of it. The collars and cuffs of the robes were embroidered with filigree of a darker green, and she wore a jade pendant of alabaster white. With her hair up in a simple braid and a jade hairpin to hold it in place, Feng Luodi looked radiant even without any makeup.

“Jet, why don’t I see Scarlet around today morning?” Feng Luodi asked idly as she got ready for the day.

“Oh Scarlet? Mmmmm,” Jet’s eyes darted about the room, avoiding eye contact with Feng Luodi, “I think she’s helping out in the kitchen.”

“Oh?” Feng Luodi raised an eyebrow, “Doesn’t Scarlet have asthma? Since when does she help out with the physically demanding chores in the kitchen?”

“Uhmmmmm…Uhmmmmm…” Jet stuttered nervously as she realised her mistake, unable to think of a timely response.

PS: The original song is by Jay Chou, titled 《烟花易冷》

And the zither version, by zither artist 玉面小嫣然


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