Chapter 112 Cascades: Worried
This was the first time in a few months that Feng Luodi played the zither. Her hands had not healed completely, and she could not exert too much strength on her fingers. Despite the pain, Feng Luodi continued to play faster and faster, the tune becoming messier as she played. Her mind was a confused whirl of emotions and thoughts.
“Cough, cough.” A mouthful of blood spurted from her mouth and stained Cloud Nine as Feng Luodi fainted. Duo, who was hiding in the shadows, had no choice but to dart off to find Situ. The General would definitely be in a bad mood now, but I can’t care too much about it anymore!
At the antechamber, attendants led by the head steward attended to their assigned jobs busily as the Chamberlain carried Feng Fuyou with a fatherly smile on his face. However, Feng Luodi’s courtyard was deserted, only Fei and Scarlet taking care of Feng Luodi with the physician. After checking her pulse, Physician Zhou sent Scarlet to buy the prescribed medicine before coming out of the room.
In the courtyard, the man whom even the Emperor had to compromise to was frowning at the blood on Cloud Nine, his heart filled with worry.
“Your Highness.” Physician Zhou called out softly.
Situ turned to him, gathering his emotions. “Why did this happen?”
Physician Zhou explained. “The situation is just like what I’ve said earlier. Miss Feng’s injury has not healed completely and forcefully playing the zither has hurt her hand. Also, the many worries on her mind harms her mentally and physically. If she continues like this, it will be detrimental to her health. Do spend some time to comfort Miss Feng, your Highness.”
Situ nodded his head, “Thank you for your effort, Physician Zhou. I’ll have to trouble you again to exit from the side door; the antechamber is full of guests.”
“I understand.” Physician Zhou nodded and left, accompanied to the side gate by Duo.
Situ stared silently at the closed door. She fainted immediately after I left her angrily; does this mean that she actually likes me? Just as Situ was intending to go into the room, Two appeared. “General, Lady Feng is making her way here, should you…?”
Situ stopped in his tracks. He glanced at Fei, who just stepped out of the room, glancing at him. Without another word, Situ turned and walked out of the courtyard. Just as he left, through the branches, he saw a beautiful but sickly lady entering the courtyard, supported by a handmaiden.
Duo returned to Situ, his expression hesitant. “General, Miss Feng might have discovered my presence.”
Situ abruptly turned, glaring. Two asked on behalf of Situ. “How can it be? Your hiding skills are on par with Quattor and Miss Feng doesn’t practice any martial arts.” Duo scratched his head embarrassingly. “That day, Miss Feng left a note on the stone table in the courtyard and I went to take a look. She wrote to ask me to return to you and that you don’t have to leave anyone to watch her. And…” Duo trailed off, afraid to continue.
“And?” Situ asked.
Duo swallowed audibly. “And she mentioned that she would not have noticed my presence, if it was not for your expression.”
“So the problem wasn’t with me?” Quattor immediately appeared after hearing Duo.
“Shush!” Two glared at him, signalling for him to be aware of the General’s expression. They turned towards Situ, only to realize he was laughing. Then, he left for the antechamber.
“What is the meaning of this?” Duo was confused.
“I don’t know!” Two and Quattor shook their head. Love makes a man unreasonable. Even the almighty General Situ was no exception.
“So should I continue staying here?” Duo was troubled.
“I don’t know!” Two and Quattor shook their head, glanced at each other and disappeared.
“Argh, you two!” Duo couldn’t stop them in time and watched helplessly as his disloyal friends ran away. He turned and continued to look helplessly at Feng Luodi’s room.
Worry was contagious. The lively Full-Month Celebration had ended, but everyone had their own worries. Chamberlain Feng and Second worried about Feng Fuyou’s studies and interests, even dragging the head steward to discuss with them, while the First Lady worried about Feng Luodi’s health. I became sickly after giving birth, but Luodi is still young. Why is she lying sick in bed all the time like I do?
Fei, Scarlet and Jet were also worried about Feng Luodi. Autumnal Ombre’s business was getting onto the right track, and they could spare the time to take care of Feng Luodi. Due to Feng Luodi’s illness and the fact that Feng Fuyou was still very young, the Feng household stopped entertaining any visitors.Because of this, Qi Jianqiu could not play with her best friend. She could only go around Chang’an with her new friend, the Fourth Gentleman of Chang’an: the honest, Situ-admiring and patriot – Xue Yiqi.
And that was why Gan Qingjia felt depressed, drowning his sorrows in zither parlours, angering the Minister of the Left who’d wanted to recommend him to the Emperor for a position in court.
“Sir, how was that song by Linglong? It’s a new piece composed by Crystal.” Linglong gently held her palm to the zither strings.
Gan Qingjia gulped down another glass of wine and realized that the music had stopped. He lifted his head in confusion. “Why have you stopped playing?”
Linglong got up and walked towards Gan Qingjia. She knelt down beside him, hugged him gently and laid her head his arm. Her voice was gentle. “Nowadays, you seem to be distracted every time you visit me. Are you tired of Linglong?”
“How can that be?” Gan Qingjia brushed away a strand of hair covering Linglong’s ear and stroked her face. “You are so beautiful and your music is enchanting. How will I ever tire of you?”
“Then why does Sir only come to drink, without any mood to enjoy my music?” Linglong took the wine flask and poured a glass of wine for Gan Qingjia.
“You know how my father has great expectations of me. He has been constantly nagging at me these few days; I’m just irritated by his nagging.” Gan Qingjia stared at Linglong, his gaze intense yet gentle. Although Linglong is experienced with men, she succumbed to his gaze and blushed.
“Please don’t stare at me like that, Sir. I will be embarrassed.”
“Don’t be embarrassed. You are attracting me with your beauty.” Gan Qingjia smiled gently and caressed her face before letting her go, reaching for the goblet of wine. As he looked away from Linglong, his eyes turned clear.
“As a father, the Minister will definitely wish for you to be successful. If it is not in your heart to be in court, you can tell the Minister about it. The Minister might not try to force you anymore if he knows of your ” Linglong got up, carried the zither over to Gan Qingjia’s side and played it softly, her actions intimate.
Gan Qingjia shook his head, “As the son of a Minister, I wouldn’t be let off so easily.”
“My apologies, Sir, Linglong is too dull to understand.” Linglong dropped the subject.
Gan Qingjia held her chin in his fingers, enjoying the feel of her skin. “You are actually really smart.”
Linglong blushed and steered away from his hand, returning her attention to the zither as Gan Qingjia continued to drink. It was a while before she spoke again, her tone casual. “Master Jiang hasn’t been coming with you in a long while. Is he busy with work?”
“Why did you ask? Am I not enough for you? Would you like Moyin to be here too?” Gan Qingjia replied without a hint of displeasure.
“Please don’t misunderstand,” Linglong hurriedly explained herself. “It’s just that the Four Masters of Chang’an used to spend much of their time together recently, I only see you alone. Linglong is just worried.”
“They have their positions in Court so they are not as idle as me.” Gan Qingjia downed another goblet of wine. He started to yearn for the wine of Autumnal Ombre and the person who cooked the amazing dishes.
“Linglong did not mean that, Sir.” Linglong suddenly put down her zither and bowed to Gan Qingjia.
“Don’t be scared. I did not take any offense.” Gan Qingjia had a resigned smile on his face. He helped her up and looked at her, a woman beautiful yet delicate. He smiled. “I have known you for so long, how can I not know your feelings? You like Moyin, but his heart is only on the Heir Apparent.”
“Please don’t say that, Sir.” Linglong blushed again, her eyes diffident. “Linglong’s heart is only on you, Sir.”
Gan Qingjia filled his goblet and handed it to Linglong, “This is for your company.”
Linglong held the goblet and finished it with a smile. “Please let Linglong play another piece for you.”
At the same time, Qi Jianqiu and Xue Yiqi just came back from Flowers of Fog and were preparing to have a meal at a restaurant nearby.
“You looked like such a simple guy, and I definitely didn’t expect you to know about music too.” Qi Jianqiu was once again dressed in boyish clothes, patting Xue Yiqi’s shoulder. How she wished she had met him earlier.
Xue Yiqi immediately froze and stammered, “Second Brother and Third Brother both knew music. I learned much from them.”
“Your family only has two sons right? I remembered that the rest of your siblings are all females.” Qi Qianqiu was baffled. Where did the 2 brothers come from?
“They are my sworn brothers. You know the two of them.” Xue Yiqi realised the ambiguity in his sentence.
“So it’s Jiang Moyin and the other person.” Qi Jianqiu understood his words and pouted. “Jiang Moyin is the Grand Tutor of the Heir Apparent. He will be a joke if he doesn’t know of such things. As for the other flirtatious person, what does he know about music?”
Xue Yiqi scratched his head. “You don’t have a good relationship with my Third Brother, but the two of you share a lot of similarities.”
Qi Jianqiu got upset hearing that. “Why would I be similar to that flirtatious person?”
Xue Yiqi helplessly replied, “Are you still mad at him because of his proposal? You can just talk it out with him.”
Qi Jianqiu got impatient, “Let’s not talk about him. Don’t you want to eat? If you aren’t, I will go alone.”
“Of course I do!” Xue Yiqi followed her. He was not going to let go of this opportunity. “I have never come to this restaurant before. I wonder how good their cook is?”
“I have inquired about this place already. This restaurant makes the best quail in the whole of Chang’an.” Qi Jianqiu already had her target on the menu. “I am going to try it today and see if it is as good as what they say.”
“Then we should really have a taste.” Xue Yiqi smiled and followed her.
“If it is really that good, I can steal some skills from the chef.” She went up the stairs, chose a seat by the window and ordered a whole array of dishes.
Xue Yiqi sat down opposite her, his hands full of sweat. They have been going out together for the past few days and yet, he has not gotten used to it.
“Yiqi, shall we find a time to go there?” Qi Jianqiu gave a mysterious smile and pointed to a building out of the window. Xue Yiqi followed her finger and saw the sign on the building QI Jianqiu was pointing at: House of a Hundred Flowers.
“Isn’t that a brothel? You’d better not go there, Jianqiu.” Xue Yiqi immediately stopped Qi Jianqiu.
However, Qi Jianqiu’s fingers had already started to rub on her chin in glee as she stared excitingly at the House of a Hundred Flowers.