Chapter 12 Wind Crane: Efforts Paying Off
“What have you two been keeping from me these couple of days?” Feng Luodi put on a stern expression, wanting to tease Jet after seeing her bewildered reaction.
Now Jet panicked. “Young miss, don’t be mad at us! We just wanted to help you find information about the 10 Guqin, seeing how you’ve stayed at home the past couple of days. We didn’t mean to keep it a secret from you!” Jet was on the verge of tears.
“Don’t worry,” Feng Luodi sighed in relief, and patted Jet’s tightly clasped hands, “Why would I be mad when you guys are trying to help?” She looked around. “So Scarlet is off this morning to ask around for the whereabouts of the 10 Guqin?”
Jet let out a huge breath, relieved that Feng Luodi waved it off so casually. Nodding eagerly, she said, “Yep! Mingxuan Zither Emporium sent word earlier that they have news on the Guqin, and Scarlet went over in the morning to…” She stopped mid sentence and cupped her mouth with her hand, when she realised she just let the cat out of the bag. She smacked herself lightly on her forehead, obviously upset with herself. “I’d promised Scarlet that I would keep it a secret, so that we can make it a surprise for you, young miss. When she finds out that I already told you about it, she’s bound to scold me!” The poor girl was beating herself up, not believing how she managed to mess up such a simple task.
“Don’t worry Jet, I’ll just pretend that I don’t know anything about it, and be surprised when Scarlet comes back!” Feng Luodi comforted the younger girl, deeply touched that they had gone to such lengths to cheer her up.
“Really? Young miss, you’ll do that for me?” Jet perked up immediately. Feng Luodi was about to reassure her when a voice came from the entrance of the room.
“No need for that, young miss.” The voice was icy cold. “Jet, you had one job.”
Both Feng Luodi and Jet turned around and saw Scarlet cross the threshold into the room, her eyes boring holes into Jet. She looked ready to tackle Jet to the floor, if not for Feng Luodi beside them.
Jet drooped her head and covered it with her hands, looking as regretful as she could. “I’m sorry, I accidentally spilled the beans again.”
“It’s okay,” Scarlet sighed. How could she stay angry when Jet already looked so upset with herself? Walking over to Feng Luodi, Scarlet curtsied. “Good morning, young lady.”
Feng Luodi smiled at her, and handed her a cup of tea. “I heard you’ve gotten information about one of the Guqin. Which of the 10 is it?”
“It’s Wind Crane. According to the shopkeeper at Mingxuan Zither Emporium, Wind Crane is in the possession of Miss Linglong* of ‘Moonglade’.” She took the cup of tea gratefully, and gulped it down.
“‘Moonglade’? I don’t think I’ve heard of it before; is that a place?”
“It’s good that you don’t know about the place, young miss.” Scarlet explained, “‘Moonglade’ is the most popular music parlour in Chang’an; all of the ladies in the parlour are exceptionally good at playing the zither. With their pretty looks and artful entertainment, they are well received by the male population of Chang’an. Their clientele is not limited to the commoners; many of the nobility are known to visit Moonglade as well. Miss Linglong is the most famous artiste of Moonglade; it’s rumoured that her beauty is bewitching: many flock to Moonglade just to see and hear her play.”
“I see,” Feng Luodi nodded, “it would have been easier if Wind Crane did not yet have an owner. Now that it belongs to Miss Linglong, it’ll be much harder for us to acquire it.”
Jet nodded along. They couldn’t simply steal it from her.
“However,” Scarlet continued, “While I was out, I heard that Miss Linglong is going to host a gathering at Moonglade this afternoon for all zither lovers to learn and interact with each other. More importantly, if anyone bested her in a performance, she would fulfill one request made by the person.”
“That’s great!” Jet was excited to hear that, “Our young miss can play the zither so well, it’ll be a walk in the park to beat Linglong – and Wind Crane will be ours!”
“There’s no way it’s that simple.” Scarlet rolled her eyes at Jet as she chided her.
Feng Luodi spoke up, “It is that simple. I’ll just have to best her in a performance.” A smile slowly crept its way onto her face. “But we’ll have to get someone before we head to Moonglade. She’ll definitely want to watch this.” With that, Feng Luodi strode out of her room.
“Wait! It’s still too early! Young miss, aren’t you going to have your breakfast?” Scarlet called after her.
“We can have something from the streets later. Come on now!”
Exchanging a look, the duo shrugged, and quickly followed after Feng Luodi.