Chapter 14 Wind Crane: First Sight
Linglong stood in the middle of the hall, and curtsied to all who were present. Just as she opened her mouth to speak, the crowd stirred, and a group of four men entered the hall.
The first man walked in slowly with an air of confidence surrounding him. Cranes decorated his sleeves and cuffs, while two strands of interwoven ornamental threads of purple and white draped across his chest, hanging below a collar of gleaming silver. His robe was as pure and white as moonlight, the waistcloth a light green, adorned by a roaring tiger residing amongst clouds. His hair was tied high, and bound together tightly with a braid commonly used by warriors. His face was tight, with seemingly cold and piercing eyes looking straight ahead. Coupled with his striking features, he exuded a powerful aura.
The next wore an inner shirt of ivory white, a robe of indigo blue and a golden collar covering it. The ornamental threads on his robe were black and gold, and decorative veins snaked their way across his chest. A jade pendant hung loosely from the black sash that bound his robe together. His hair was held up with a hairpin of white jade, and his features were soft and gentle, a light smile grazing the corners of his lips.
The third was dressed in a robe of scarlet red with a rising collar of gold. Black ornamental threads draped casually, and golden clouds decorated each side of his robe, his hair held up by a golden coronet studded with gems. His eyes looked flirtatiously around the room, and a playful smile danced across his lips. With his handsome features, it would not have been bizzare to use the word “pretty” to describe him.
The last was garbed in a robe of light brown, decorated by a black collar with wave-like patterns cresting along the front. Gleaming pauldrons protected his shoulders, and, contrasted against the black waistcloth and boots, made his dressing look plain but stately. His brows angled upwards sharply, looking righteous and honourable.
“Look! The Four Masters of Chang’an are here!”
“I never thought i would be able to see them in real life!”
“This trip has already proven its worth.”
All of the women in the hall were staring directly at the four men who just walked in. Everyone now stared at the four men who just walked in. All the women in the hall, even those disguised as a man looked at the Four with a barely concealed hunger in their eyes. Of course, the men looked as well, but it was difficult to tell if it was out of jealousy or admiration.
Feng Luodi was looking at them as well, but her thoughts were still on Wind Crane, still in Linglong’s embrace. Only when the Four took their places did Feng Luodi realise that they were sitting at the table to their left. On the other hand, Qi Jianqiu was more than happy to see them again, not even caring to be discreet about it. She looked over each of them eagerly and carefully, admiration apparent in her eyes. But when she looked at Gan Qingjia, her expression became one of disgust and turned away promptly.
After the Four settled in, Linglong smiled, and continued, “Now that everyone is here, let’s begin with today’s event.” She looked around the room.
“It is with great pleasure that Moonglade hosts this gathering for all zither enthusiasts today, and we express our deepest gratitude to all of you for coming. Behind me are five zither maestros, the best in Chang’an. They will be the judges for our little performance, or shall I say, competition. Does anyone object?”
The crowd nodded along. With the exception of Feng Luodi, who knew little about Chang’an, the rest could all recognise the five men in front. They were all reputable figures in the arts; some were descendants of great scholars, while others were graduates from the various scholastic schools in the Xuan Dynasty, recognised by the Emperor himself.
Suddenly, someone voiced out a question, “Wouldn’t Jiang Moyin be a better judge? He’s the Grand Tutor of the Xuan Dynasty, and specializes in music and the literary arts.” The man who spoke up did not stand out from the crowd, but seeing from the way he dressed, seemed to be the son of a government official. This caused the crowd to stir, and they immediately started to discuss among themselves. If Jiang Moyin had not appeared today, they could have assumed he was too busy to judge the competition. But now that he is sitting in the audience, one could not help but wonder if Moonglade’s invitation was turned down by him.
Linglong froze for a second, but quickly regained her composure and smiled again. “Perhaps Master Jiang intended to play a piece for us?” It was only then did the audience notice the zither held by Jiang Moyin’s servant behind him.
However, throughout the commotion, Jiang Moyin kept mum, merely sipping his own wine and talking to the other three.
PS：For those that haven’t watched a guzhuang show before (*narrows eyes) here’s an image to feed your image-ination!