Chapter 16 – Floating Orchid Pavilion (IV)
Dida was the sole waiter wearing blue clothes. He appeared to be 27-28 years old with a common appearance. If he was in a group of people, it wouldn’t be easy to find him. He didn’t know that the relationship between Ye Yin Zhu and Anya was special. Nevertheless, he was as shocked as everyone else when Yin Zhu played the song.
As a waiter, he was very courteous and answered, “To provide guests with the best treatment, only a few tables are set up. Ordinarily, guests visit the first floor lounge; the six private rooms on the second floor must be reserved in advance. After the noonday meal, people gradually arrive in the afternoon. Like that old horse, he’s a frequent visitor of the six private rooms on the second floor. As the Mistress made clear just now, the central room on the second floor will be prepared as a specialized performance room for you. Do you have any special requests?”
Ye Yin Zhu shook his head, smiled, and said, “No, I have already troubled Elder Sister Anya enough. As long as my playing area is slightly quiet, it’s fine. I like a good environment, and this place is excellent. That central ancient tree in the middle of Floating Orchid Pavilion is the biggest I’ve seen on this continent. This atmosphere makes me very fond of the environment.”
Dida nodded and said, “It’s good that you like it.”
Once they finished eating lunch, Sura was somewhat reluctant as he was assigned to work on the first floor. Ye Yin Zhu and Dida left for the second floor together. Anya hadn’t reappeared.
The first and second floor of Floating Orchid Pavilion were identical. They both encircled that humongous, ancient tree. At this moment, the staircase spiraling around the ancient tree branched off to several circular platforms, each with a wooden table on it. The surrounding frames were actually vines that hung down from the ancient tree and surrounded the platforms. They appeared very sturdy.
Dida pointed at a circular platform and said while smiling, “This is your work area from now on. Once it gets colder, I’ll think of a way to remedy the temperature issue. The platform is equidistant with all of the other private rooms. This way, you have a relatively peaceful environment to perform in.”
“This is truly fantastic.” Ye Yin Zhu looked at layer of tiny, blue blossoms atop that humongous tree. He felt that the tree was surging with life along with a gentle atmosphere. He was excited, to say the least. When playing in this kind of area, his practice performances would certainly be given excellent assistance. If not because of his embarrassing lack of money, he would pay to come here and practice in such a good environment!
When it was time for Ye Yin Zhu to sit on the platform, Dida already set up the proper curtains. This made the people outside unable to see Ye Yin Zhu.
After cultivating his Pure Zither Heart for 16 years, the zither had already become a part of Ye Yin Zhu’s life. Since coming to Milan, this was the first time he practiced in a place similar to the Desolate Jade Sea. For the whole afternoon, he was unaware of everything outside, having completely immersed himself in the zither music. With the Moon and Tide’s Clear Brilliance zither, he wholeheartedly played the long and wonderful zither song that seemingly and gradually became refined.
Throughout the afternoon, for four whole hours, Ye Yin Zhu hadn’t stopped playing at all. He wasn’t even aware that Sura delivered tea to him. Four hours later, not one of the zither tunes had been repeated. Within the entire Floating Orchid Pavilion, the rising spirals of zither music fluttered in the wind from beginning to end.
The Zither Sect’s zither music had eight major consummate skills: teaching on the lookout, capturing the heart and soul, distinguishing between happiness and anger, reflecting on affection and emotion, pondering calmness of the soul, strengthening courage, eliminating impurity, and hindering magical beasts. Ye Yin Zhu had little success with these eight different types of mentalities for zither magic. He suddenly discovered, however, that even though he wasn’t blending magic into the zither song he released, it seemed that his comprehension of these eight major consummate skills had deepened even more during the course of his playing.
The zither music quietly faded away. In his heart, Ye Yin Zhu thought to himself, ‘Could it be that this is what Grandfather Qin was actually saying? I can only make a breakthrough if I venture into society, thus advancing to an even higher realm of zither magic?’
While he was pondering in his heart, applause simultaneously echoed from all three floors of the Floating Orchid Pavilion. Anya didn’t know when she had reached the staircase on the third floor, but she lowered her head to look down the curtain at Ye Yin Zhu. She was the only one able to see Ye Yin Zhu’s concentrated expression towards the zither. A faint smile appeared on her graceful face.
Anya’s flat voice echoed, “That is all for today. Everyone, please return home.” After all, this Floating Orchid Pavilion only operated business in the afternoon.
No one spoke, only footsteps of varying weights sounded. A moment later, Floating Orchid Pavilion had again become peaceful.
“Elder Sister Anya.” Ye Yin Zhu stepped out from the curtains.
“Yin Zhu, your zither playing is really good. You must be tired since you haven’t moved from this area since noon. Go rest at once; I’ll get someone to prepare you dinner.” Anya gazed at Ye Yin Zhu with deep concern, yet on Ye Yin Zhu’s face, she didn’t see even a hint of fatigue. His two glittering eyes instead became even clearer.
“There’s no need, Elder Sister Anya. I need to return to the college. I still have things to do. Tomorrow I will come again. I can come around for the next seven days. After that is the start of the term, however, so I might not be able to in the future. Even though I have morning classes, I don’t know if there will still be time to come.” Anya gave him a very amiable feeling, causing his heart to feel very warm.
“That’s okay. Be careful on your journey home.” Anya didn’t stay for much longer, merely sending Ye Yin Zhu off with a slight smile and having Dida lead him down the storied building.
“Yin Zhu, are you not tired?” Sura had changed out of the black waiter clothes and into his Milan Institution for Magic and Martial Arts school uniform already.
Ye Yin Zhu shook his head, smiled, and said, “Every day, I would play for just as long as I did today. How can I be tired? Instead, this gave me a really good feeling. The breath of nature is rich, allowing my heart to easily be tranquil, so I can completely immerse myself in the zither music.”
The two of them left Floating Orchid Pavilion, walking the same path they took this morning to return to Milan Institution for Magic and Martial Arts.
“Yin Zhu, do you know who that Miss Anya is?” Sura asked suddenly.
Ye Yin Zhu blankly replied, “Isn’t Elder Sister Anya the boss of Floating Orchid Pavilion? What else?”
Sura shook his head and said, “No, it’s not that simple. Exactly as you began to play, all 16 tables of Floating Orchid Pavilion’s first and second floor were packed full with clientele, yet it was odd how no one made a racket. Everyone was even speaking softly. These people were also all attired in cyan or blue clothing, somewhat similar to the ones us waiters wore. From what I saw, however, all the guests that visit the Floating Orchid Pavilion are not ordinary people. They only spoke quietly there, drank there, or chatted to each other softly. It seemed like they all frequently visited the place.”
Ye Yin Zhu said, “That doesn’t matter! There wasn’t a lot of noise which just means that the guests are of good character.”
Sura argued, “But do you know how much the scented tea of Floating Orchid Pavilion sells for?”
Ye Yin Zhu blankly shook his head.
Sura sneered and said, “Floating Orchid Pavilion’s scented tea — one cup is worth one ruby coin. This is just the norm. For a guest inside a private room on the second floor, a cup of tea is worth three ruby coins. Each additional drink is another ruby coin. Do you see how expensive the tea is? No wonder that Miss Anya is so magnanimous to give you ten gold coins a day as pay. Compared to the revenue of Floating Orchid Pavilion, our pay is essentially one hair from nine oxen.”
“Eh? So expensive. So theoretically, that Red Globe Amaranth red tea we drank at noon, how much did it…”
Sura answered, “You also feel something is wrong, right?. I feel that this Floating Orchid Pavilion seems to have a very mysterious appearance. We had better not return.”
Ye Yin Zhu shook his head and said, “How can I do that when I promised Elder Sister Anya that I would come and play. Furthermore, Floating Orchid Pavilion suits me very well. I can earn money for tuition and practice my zither art. It isn’t definite that I could find a second place that has such a good environment. Elder Sister Anya is also very good to me. She is a good person. Trust me, Sura. She really is a good person. I can sense that she has a pure aura. Only pure-hearted people give me this kind of feeling. I can’t be mistaken.”
Sura helplessly acquiesced, “Since you have argued so much, I have nothing to say. I only urge you to be a bit more careful, that’s all. Today, however, you played your zither music too well. All of those guests listening to you were intoxicated. Many people discussed your origins in a low voice. It’s just that no one suspected that you’re merely a student of the Milan Institution for Magic and Martial Arts. Finally, from what I saw, if Miss Anya hadn’t ordered them to leave, they wouldn’t have willingly left and would’ve still wanted to find out who exactly you are.”