Chapter 16 – Floating Orchid Pavilion (II)
Not waiting for Anya to reply, Sura rushed to say, “Still, we shouldn’t bother Miss Anya. We will go find jobs for ourselves.”
Anya smiled and said, “It’s not an inconvenience. Yin Zhu, I remember that you are a Divine Music mage. Last time you told me you wanted to play for me. I have a zither here. How about you first play me a song? All the waiter positions have already been filled, but I am currently lacking a performing Divine Music mage.” She paused here, sent a fake smile towards Sura, and then continued, “Of course, I do not condone nepotism. If your zither skill cannot meet my standards, I won’t hire you.”
Ye Yin Zhu smiled and replied, “No need to hire me; I also want to play a zither song for Elder Sister. I’ve already got a zither.”
At this moment, the tea had arrived along with a delicate, violet clay pot and cup set. The server had clearly washed and heated the pot well already. Tea streamed directly from the pot and into the cups. Immediately, the sweet fragrance of plum blossoms wafted outward, penetrating deeply into the heart. Its fragrance was very comforting. The hot tea was of a light red color, which appeared quite captivating.
Anya smiled and replied, “Drink some tea first. This is Red Globe Amaranth flower tea, a unique scented tea. It’s a signature drink of the Milan court, and its production is exceedingly sparse. This tea is capable of decreasing internal heat, decreasing inflammation, expelling poison, nourishing one’s skin, and slowing down the aging process. Plus, it is quite tasty when a little crystal sugar is added.”
Ye Yin Zhu lifted the cup and drank a mouthful of tea. Immediately, the warm flow went down his throat, allowing him to feel comfortably warm as the chill in the air seemed to dissipate significantly. Then, he exhaled a faint fragrance of plum blossoms accompanied by a distinct sweetness from the bottom of his heart. All of his pores seemed to open up. Feeling indescribably comfortable, he couldn’t help but say instinctively, “Good tea.”
Sura stared at the scented tea at first, his eyes displaying a trace of disdain. But after he drank a mouthful, the disdain in his eyes was immediately replaced with surprise as he subconsciously drank the whole small cup of Red Globe Amaranth flower tea.
Anya said while smiling lightly, “At the top of the tea industry, green tea and oolong tea have always been revered. I, however, solely love scented tea. Many people disdain drinking scented tea, even saying that scented tea is the most pedestrian type of tea. Except, I don’t see it in that way.
“First of all, I serve scented tea here that isn’t made with just flowers mixed with dry tea leaves. Instead, real flowers are dried over a stove and then added to the tea. I serve this genuine scented tea as a signature item here at Floating Orchid Pavilion. I intend for this kind of scented tea to be for nobles. Different types of scented tea have distinct effects. It’s much better than green tea and oolong tea.”
Ye Yin Zhu smiled honestly and said, “I don’t know tea, but it is indeed delicious.”
Anya sighed lightly and said, “Tea is a culture which goes back to a dim and distant past, handed down from the times of the Eastern Dragon Empire. It’s a pity. To date, innumerable skills have been lost…”
“Eastern Dragon Empire?” Ye Yin Zhu looked at Anya in shock. Although this was the first time he heard of the name, he was highly familiar with the two words, ‘Eastern Dragon.’ His actual grandfather and grandfather Qin Shang had spoken about the Eight Eastern Dragon Sects many times. Although he didn’t understand the hidden meaning, it could be assumed that the Eastern Dragon Anya spoke of was connected to the Eight Eastern Dragon Sects.
Anya’s complexion changed slightly, but it quickly returned to normal. She quickly changed the subject and asked, “Yin Zhu, didn’t you want to play a song for me? How about starting right now?”
Although Ye Yin Zhu was surprised in his heart, his character was simple. Anya had changed the subject, and he didn’t have much to ask. The sapphire drop on his ring flashed with radiance as the slender Moon and Tides’ Clear Brilliance Zither appeared, floating above the table. Although the table was slightly high, Ye Yin Zhu’s stature was lanky. He was able to sit straight and use the tea table as a zither table with only a bit of difficulty.
With a chestnut shell lacquer, broken streams of grains, and a lustrous, glossy finish, the Moon and Tide’s Clear Brilliance radiated a proud and aloof aura. The zither flickered with a faint cyan light, its pearl inlay and thirteen zither emblems emitting a faint grace and grandeur.
“Good zither,” Anya exclaimed with amazement. She hadn’t expected Ye Yin Zhu to actually obtain such a good zither in such a short period of time.
With rapt attention, eyes to nose, nose to heart, heart to navel, even breathing, sitting upright before the fifth emblem of the zither, hand lightly resting and pressing the string, thus allowing his heartstrings to harmonize with the zither strings, Ye Yin Zhu at this moment already resembled a new person. The purity and clarity in his eyes had already completely changed into obsession and dedication. Even though he wore a Milan Institution for Magic and Martial Arts’ uniform, he actually radiated a grace that greatly exceeded that of even the purest of nobility.
With both hands vibrating slightly, his sleeves slipped down to his wrist, exposing his eight fingers. His left hand lightly pressed down while his right hand assumed the ‘Spring Warbler Entering the Valley gesture’ and lightly plucked the strings. A deep humming sound emerging from his movements. Keeping with the current atmosphere, << Autumn Geese >> began echoing quietly.
Heart and mind in resonance with the zither, perhaps it was because he was playing for Anya that Ye Yin Zhu, for the first time since he came to Milan Institution for Magic and Martial Arts, allowed his heart to roam free. He played with emotion instead of purpose. Deeply immersing himself in thought, he focused single-mindedly on the essence of his heart.
At this moment, his mind was already completely settled, his eyes expressing a relaxed and confident light. Perfectly composed, his essence, energy, and spirit completely harmonized as one with the zither song. The zither music seemed like the already approaching autumn, which was expressing admiration in its heart. Everything was like harmonious nature.
The zither magic didn’t release any rays of red light. Although Ye Yin Zhu’s mind and spirit was completely focused, he was still only playing. All of the present staff, including the servers on the two upper levels of the Floating Orchid Pavilion, stopped all of their movements. Everyone calmly stood where they were, listening respectfully to that lingering spiral of the sounds of nature.
Perhaps Anya and Sura didn’t completely understand that while they were mesmerized by the music, Ye Yin Zhu’s right hand already plucked strings in succession with the ‘Spring Warbler Entering the Valley’ gesture, the ‘Wind Startles the Dancing Crane’ gesture, the ‘Crane Crying from the Clouds gesture’, the ‘Precious Goose Holding Reeds in its Mouth gesture’, the ‘Lonely Duck Staring at its Flock gesture’, the ‘Encouragement of Shangyang gesture’1, the ‘Wyvern Seizing the Clouds gesture’, and the ‘Mantis Stalks the Cicada gesture’.
His left hand, as accompaniment, used the ‘Autumn Western Osprey Overlooking the Wind gesture’, the ‘Holy Bird Holding a Book in its Mouth gesture’, the ‘Fragrant Woods, Delicate Oriole gesture’, the ‘Azure Dragon Entering the Sea gesture’, the ‘Perched Phoenix Combing its Plume gesture’, the ‘Cultured Leopard Carrying Objects gesture’, the ‘Roaring Ape, Ascending Tree gesture’, and the ‘Empty Valley, Momentum Transfer gesture’.
Both hands danced like elves, fluctuating brilliantly in an incredible natural flowing motion. Contrary to expectations, it was a very natural and flowing rhythm. If this song, << Autumn Goose >>, was viewed as merely a zither musical performance, even Qin Shang would have to concede defeat if he were present. The concentration of Yin Zhu’s Pure Zither Heart was incomparable to any Divine Music mage’s concentration.
As the weather cooled, autumn awoke. It flew fast and gracefully wandered about. The joy of harvest was about to enter the winter of fear. On that day, the soothing sounds surrounded it, deeply engraving itself upon everyone’s heart. The ancient, beautiful spiral of sounds and the rising spiral of zither music shook the zither strings and heartstrings of all present, producing this touching song — << Autumn Goose >>.
Weng——. As the final vibrato faded away, Ye Yin Zhu’s hands softly rose and then slowly lowered, resting above the zither strings and making everything tranquil. His eyes radiated with a divine light and clarity. Just a moment ago, his heart and soul was immersed within the zither song, and he gained more understanding of the mystery of the zither. Ye Yin Zhu faintly felt that his zither magic seemed to have slightly a breakthrough in power.
The entire Floating Orchid Pavilion was silent. At that very moment, only the sound of wind rustling the tree leaves remained. Within this hall, everyone’s gaze rested on Ye Yin Zhu and displayed dumbfounded looks. Even though he didn’t deliberately merge his spiritual force into the zither music, this << Autumn Goose >> song’s infectiousness immersed everyone in the tune.
“Seven strings as helpful friends, two ears as intimate friends, tranquil and light sounds that aren’t heard in the present nor the past. A good zither, and a good song. I don’t know how many years it has been since I heard such an infectious song.” An aged voice emerged from the doorway, waking everyone up from the pleasant, lingering effects of the zither music.
- (Shangyang |商羊| is a rainbird in Chinese mythology, associated with the God of Rain, Yu Shi, in particular.) ↩