Chapter 110 Cloud Nine: Tumultuous Times
“General, I have news.” Covert Guard Two appeared in Situ’s study. “This might help the Emperor make up his mind.”
“Oh?” Situ raised an eyebrow. “Sounds like good news.”
Two leaned in towards Situ and whispered into his ear. Situ remained emotionless as he listened intently to Two’s report.
“Seems like I’ll have to pay the Censor-in-chief a visit then.” Situ narrowed his eyes. “Get Six back here; it’s time we settle some of these matters once and for all. You can take a break after this is done; Quattor will be by my side.”
“No way, General. Quattor is a slimy fellow; I don’t feel safe with him near you.” Two joked and rolled his eyes.
“Hey! Stop bad-mouthing me!” Quattor strolled into the room, frowning at Two, who merely laughed and shook his head.
“Has the royal decree been issued?” Situ looked at Quattor.
“Why, General! I’d thought that you’d be more interested to hear about Miss Feng! I’ve just met with Duo before coming over.” Quattor laughed and winked at Situ.
“It should’ve been you in Duo’s place right now if you weren’t caught.”
All the cheekiness left Quattor as he was reminded of his failure – being exposed by a young girl who knew not a pinch of martial arts. Quickly changing his topic, he answered Situ’s first question. “The Emperor has ordered Chu Deming to be executed, ignoring the pleas of the Commandery Prince of Huaiyang. The governor of the Huaiyang Province is to resolve the conflict in the province as quickly as possible; this is to serve as a warning to the other provinces, for their Commandery Princes and their governors to work together.” Quattor paused for a moment. “As for Miss Feng, the wounds on her hands are recovering slowly, but she is still running a high fever. She is too weak to leave the Feng residence.”
“Fever? Why is her fever not going down?” Situ’s eyes darkened.
“The physician said that her emotional stress has stopped her body from recovering quickly.” Quattor kept his eyes down. “Duo could not find out the cause of her emotional stress.”
“General, you seem very worried about Miss Feng. Why don’t you pay her a visit yourself?” Two asked gingerly.
Situ rubbed his temples and shook his head. “The two of you can leave.”
“Yes, General.” The two Covert Guards left the study and exchanged a look. The General does look very troubled by his feelings.
Situ sat in the study, thoughts racing through his head. I can only imagine how angry she would be if she hears of my involvement in the rumours about her; how can I appear in front of her before she has recovered fully? That will only make her emotions fluctuate even more.
Just as Situ had predicted, Feng Luodi blew into a rage when she heard of the rumours going about Chang’an. Her initial disbelief turned to anger as she flung the teacup in her hand onto the floor. Qi Jianqiu cowered from her friend as she turned to Jiang Moyin in the corner, who was calmly sipping his tea.
“If I knew she was going to get so worked up about it, I wouldn’t have told her!”
Jiang Moyin refilled his cup calmly and brought it to his lips again. “Now that the entire city knows about it, it’ll only be a matter of time before she finds out as well. It’s better like that for her, coming from you.”
“I guess.” Qi Jianqiu nodded, glancing at Feng Luodi who was pacing about the room angrily, fury apparent in her eyes. “But why is she so angry? It was wrong of Situ to spread such news without her consent, but isn’t the feeling mutual?”
Jiang Moyin’s hand froze for a second. “Did Luodi admit to it?”
Qi Jianqiu thought about it for a moment and shook her head. “She didn’t.” She gasped. “Are you saying that I’ve misunderstood their relationship? No wonder she’s so angry!”
Jiang Moyin looked at the flustered Feng Luodi, deep in thought. Even though she did not admit to it, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t true.
Meanwhile, Feng Luodi was fuming. All feelings of guilt and selfishness for rejecting Situ’s advances were gone. Her mind has been steeled ever since that day in the Imperial Study. This is not the twenty-first century, but I cannot allow my fate to be decided so easily by others! I’ve been trying my best to live with the differences of this age, but I couldn’t hold it in anymore that day. How dare he! How dare he spread such rumours like that! I…I…There’s nothing to be done about this; all that is left for me to do is to leave this world as quickly as possible.
“Luodi?” Jiang Moyin’s voice snapped her out of her reverie. Feng Luodi looked at the broken chinaware on the floor and quickly bent to pick them up, frustrated at her own loss of composure.
She froze when her bandaged hands came into view.
“Oh my! Young miss, what’s wrong?” Scarlet was shocked by the sight before her eyes as she entered the room with a tray of snacks. She quickly hurried forward and helped Feng Luodi back into her seat. “Sit well, young miss. I’ll take care of it.”
“Thank you, Scarlet.” Feng Luodi sighed. She turned to Jiang Moyin and Qi Jianqiu. “My apologies about that; I should not have lost my composure.”
“Errrrr…” Qi Jianqiu tried to lighten the atmosphere. “I’ll go over there right now and give him a good scolding!”
Feng Luodi shook her head but did not speak. Out of ideas, Qi Jianqiu nudged Jiang Moyin under the table.
Jiang Moyin poured a cup of tea and pushed it across the table to Feng Luodi. “Don’t worry about such things, Luodi; they will dispel soon enough. It’s just a matter of time.”
Feng Luodi nodded and reached out for the teacup, her hands stopping in mid-air as she realised her disability. Seeing that, Jiang Moyin quickly reached out, wanting to bring the cup of tea to her lips as her handmaidens have done. However, another hand reached the cup before he did.
“Hey! This tea is for Luodi!” Qi Jianqiu raised the cup slowly and brought it to Feng Luodi’s lips.
Feng Luodi took a sip and pushed her hand away. She forced out a smile. “I didn’t expect to see you today without the herbal stew you’d promised.”
Qi Jianqiu’s face turned bright red with embarrassment as she stammered. “Erm…Erm…It’s best if you don’t try any of my herbal stew, Luodi. I don’t want to make you sicker than you already are.”
Qi Jianqiu launched into a tirade about her adventures in the process of making a herbal stew for Feng Luodi. In short, her stew-making abilities were nowhere near to that of her culinary expertise – her previous products had almost caused multiple deaths in her residence, from her father to the dog in the kitchen.
Feng Luodi was stunned. Wow…
Jiang Moyin smiled. “Gan Qingjia had two words to describe it.”
“Oh? What did he say?” Qi Jianqiu asked with forced nonchalance.
“Why…that little punk! He is not supposed to evaluate my stew based on its physical appearance!” Qi Jianqiu spluttered.
Feng Luodi blinked repeatedly. I feel like I’m missing something here.
“Young miss, the Guqin has been refurbished!” Jet dashed into the room, a long package wrapped in her hands. Seeing the guests in Feng Luodi’s room, she quickly bowed to them.
“My greetings, Young Miss Qi and Master Jiang.”
“Jet, is that the Guqin in your hands? Which one of them is it?” Qi Jianqiu asked with a smile on her face.
Seeing a nod from Feng Luodi, Jet placed the package to Qi Jianqiu’s open arms. “This is Cloud Nine, young miss Qi.”
Qi Jianqiu eagerly unwrapped the package and examined the Guqin closely. “It’s a job well done indeed. I wouldn’t even know that it’s refurbished if you didn’t mention it!”
“It was done by the best zither craftsmen in Chang’an.” Feng Luodi remarked lightly, her eyes bright and fixated onto Cloud Nine. Just five more and I’ll be able to return home!
“This is the Fifth Guqin you have found, right?” Jiang Moyin spoke slowly. “They must mean a lot to you, for you to be able to find five of the famous Guqin in the world in such a short time.”
Feng Luodi looked at him, surprised. She smiled. “Indeed.”