Chapter 16 – Floating Orchid Pavilion (III)
“Good zither. That is truly a good zither,” Anya breathed out, looking at Ye Yin Zhu whose eyes had changed and filled with radiance. She absolutely hadn’t anticipated Ye Yin Zhu’s zither art to actually be excellent to such a degree. That zither song had unexpectedly made her unable to control herself, to the point where she even recalled her hometown.
Although this wasn’t the first time Sura had listened to Ye Yin Zhu play the zither, it was the most authentic performance he’d heard. Without any spiritual power-laced zither magic being used as a direct offense, Sura was able to completely immerse himself in the wonders of the zither music. The touching sounds of nature also made Sura recall many things, which made him on the verge of tears.
“A shameful performance — I didn’t have much time to practice recently at school. I’m afraid that I have gone out of practice.” Zither music could give others a sense of beauty while also giving the same to Ye Yin Zhu. After playing the song, << Autumn Goose >>, close to perfection, it gave him an unusually refreshing sensation, and his whole body was indescribably comfortable. The vital energy between his heart and lungs was unstable, which made it seem as if his whole body was about to enter a special cadence. This kind of situation was where his zither magic would involuntarily improve.
“Miss Anya, I didn’t expect you to invite such a noble musician. Not only is he so young, but it seems that if I don’t come here everyday from now on, I would really be unworthy of my own two ears! Haha haha.” An aged but vigorous voice echoed out again. This time, he was speaking to Anya.
Ye Yin Zhu turned his body around to look in the direction of that aged voice, and merely saw an old man wearing a long cyan robe walking towards them. From what the old man had cried out earlier, Ye Yin Zhu knew that this old man definitely possessed a deep comprehension of zither music. Hurriedly standing up, he respectfully greeted, “Hello, Elder.”
The old man’s stature was quite tall with a simple and sincere appearance. Although his clothes were simple, he gave people the impression of a deep green pine, standing proudly and standing out from the ordinary. In between the opening and closing of his eyes, they occasionally flashed with a radiance, holding others spellbound. Long, silvery white hair fell down to his shoulders, lending him a casual appearance.
“In the end, humanity is virtuous while music is magnificent because of zither music and the virtue of the zither. Since Younger Brother’s zither playing is this good, your temperament is discernable. Pretty good, pretty good. Such a good youngster is already quite rare.” After he finished speaking, he clapped Ye Yin Zhu’s shoulder in praise. His hand was very broad, warm, and forceful. Lightly patting it, Ye Yin Zhu felt a trace of heat travel into his body and circulate through, unexpectedly giving him a somewhat cozy feeling. Within his body, the flow of dou qi appeared to have increased slightly.
Anya observed as the old man approached closer, but she didn’t rise from her seat. Her face became shrouded in a layer of ice. She indifferently said, “Sure enough, an old horse knows the way. 1. You came here quite early. What a pity, you ruined my mood.”
The old man faked a smile. “Good, good, it’s my mistake. But Miss Anya, in the future, will I still be able to hear such touching zither music here? To have such depth and clarity in the zither, such profoundness, freshness — by far, musicians who have mastered complete realisation of the four principles really are highly scarce. 2”
As she listened to the old man praise Ye Yin Zhu, Anya revealed a trace of a smile. She turned her head towards Yin Zhu and said, “You heard him. This is a frequent visitor of my Floating Orchid Pavilion. Although his tastes in music are very tricky, he praises you highly. I want to keep you here as a musician, and it’s not because I’m playing favorites, okay? Depending on your efforts, you will be rewarded accordingly. You also cannot decline again.”
Ye Yin Zhu turned his head to look at Sura. At this time, Sura still hadn’t completely returned from his immersion in the zither song, so he wasn’t paying attention to Yin Zhu.
“Alright. If I work here, then I can frequently see Elder Sister.” Ye Yin Zhu exuded a smile without even the slightest bit of impurity. The best practice for him was to play; plus, he could still earn some money for his tuition and living expenses. Why wouldn’t he agree?
“You, what did you call her?” The old man looked at Ye Yin Zhu, dumbstruck. With lightning speed, he turned towards Anya. “He’s your younger brother?”
Anya coldly said, “My business is no concern of yours. Shooting your mouth off once again, you should really leave this place. Floating Orchid Pavilion will no longer welcome you like before.”
The old man’s face displayed a trace of pain. “Your character isn’t the slightest bit good. What are you saying? We’re old friends.” From the perspective of ages, the old man could definitely be Anya’s grandfather, but from his tone, he seemed to highly respect Anya.
Anya no longer paid him any attention and changed her focus to Ye Yin Zhu, saying, “Yin Zhu, how much do you want to get paid?”
Ye Yin Zhu scratched his head in puzzlement, revealing that sapphire ring on his left hand by chance. The old man, upon seeing the ring, stiffened, his expression becoming somewhat strange.
“Elder Sister Anya, it doesn’t matter how high the salary is. Sura is my roommate. Can he also stay here and work with me? We don’t need to be paid very much. Ten silver coins a day is enough for us to cover our expenses.”
At this moment, Sura had already come to clarity. Upon hearing Ye Yin Zhu wish for a waiter’s wage, he couldn’t help getting angry and pinching Yin Zhu. He hurriedly interrupted, “I don’t care as long as I’m not separated from Yin Zhu. Yin Zhu is a musician, however, and his wage must be a bit more. It’s not like a musician of his skill is easy to find. Yin Zhu is also a genius among the Divine Music division’s freshmen.”
Anya didn’t pay attention to Sura and only looked at Ye Yin Zhu, saying, “Silly boy. How can a musician be paid so low. At my establishment, that wage is for an ordinary waiter. Everyday, they make one gold coin total. I know you’re naturally gentle and look at money very lightly. It is not good to be like this. Your wage will be 10 gold coins everyday as well. As for this little brother Sura, I can keep him here as a waiter. One more person doesn’t matter.”
“No, no. Elder Sister Anya, this is really too much.” ‘Ten gold coins a day, that’s ten gold coins!’ One must know that an average family’s monthly expense would only be two gold coins.
Anya smiled and said, “I think you are worth it. If you don’t believe me, ask this old horse about whether your zither music is worth this price.”
Without waiting for Ye Yin Zhu to ask, the old horse sincerely nodded and said, “Worthy, absolutely valuable. I don’t think ten gold coins a day is enough. How can money be used to measure such pleasant zither music?”
Unusually, Anya didn’t debunk him. She smiled and continued, “You see, I’m still paying you cheaply, so this much is determined. Since you just came today, you should stay and familiarize yourself with the environment. In the future, from now on, come in the afternoon for work as that time is our main operating hours. You are both students, so you don’t have to come during lessons. That way, it won’t interfere with your studies.”
An absolutely generous pay. Ye Yin Zhu was silent. There was even a daily wage of one gold coin a day for Sura — other places wouldn’t believe that an ordinary waiter would earn such a high wage.
Floating Orchid Pavilion was divided into three floors. The first floor was the lounge, which had ten tea tables. The second floor was a restaurant with six private rooms. The third floor was Anya’s private residence. Even the waiters of Floating Orchid Pavilion couldn’t easily go up there. From the outside, this small, three-story building appeared quite grand, yet it only catered to 16 guests at a time.
Lunch was very sumptuous. Ye Yin Zhu and Sura followed the waiters and ate with them. Floating Orchid Pavilion’s service staff were all male and headed by the blue-clothed waiter Ye Yin Zhu and Sura saw at the very beginning.
“Big Brother Dida, since Floating Orchid Pavilion is so big, why are there so few tea tables? Can you earn money this way?” Ye Yin Zhu inquisitively asked.
- (idiom: means that an experienced worker knows what to do) ↩
- (The ‘four principles’ referenced are the Four Noble Truths in Buddhism, while complete realisation is a state of being that is achieved upon reaching Samadhi. The total immersion YZ obtained as he plays is highly praiseworthy, as shown by the analogy to the final stage of the Eight Fold-Path.) ↩