“Lord Chancellor, what song I wonder is considered worthy of Qing Lian?” Hua Zhu Yu coldly asked.
With his jade flute in hand, Ji Feng Li replied, “If you’re able to harmonize to Ruo Shui along with this Chancellor, Qing Lian shall be yours.”
With a solemn expression she thought, ‘great, truly an arrogant Ji Feng Li.’ Choosing to bet with a rare qin at stake, he must be confident she wouldn’t be able to harmonize with him. It seems this qin will definitely be her’s tonight. She had already played the qin in front of the Emperor and Huangfu Wu Shuang, her skills were no secret so she had no reason to hold back.
“Then it’s settled. Lord Chancellor, please begin,” she said as she placed her two hands over the strings of the qin.
Without another word, Ji Feng Li lifted the jade flute to his lips and began to play.
Hua Zhu Yu’s fingers glided over the qin, creating a sound like that of flowing water and the feel of flower petals swaying in the breeze. In a flash, clear melodious sounds resonated in the pavilion. Under the sunset, the sounds of the qin and flute chased after one another, swirling and harmonizing together to create a beautiful cadence that lingered in the air.
In time, the song came to an end.
Hua Zhu Yu originally thought it was going to be a simple duet, never expecting that they’d harmonize so perfectly. Although the performance slightly shook her, she didn’t let it show. With a faint smile, she said, “Lord Chancellor, if you have no objections, then I shall be taking Qing Lian.”
Standing in the corridors, Ji Feng Li was facing Hua Zhu Yu. With the sun setting behind him, a shadow was cast upon his face, bringing prominence to his phoenix eyes which were exceptionally bright and luminous.
Jumping down from the railing, Lan Bing had a shocked expression. “Don’t tell me, this is what they call a legendary duet, flawless as a heavenly robe1. This….this…this is simply a match made in heaven, strings of pearl and jade2, green plums and hobby-horses3, a natural pair….”
Startled by Lan Bing’s words, Hua Zhu Yu was just about to speak up and stop him when she heard Ji Feng Li’s cold voice, “Scram! If you don’t know the expression then don’t use it!”
Hua Zhu Yu’s lips slightly twitched. She suddenly had great admiration for Lan Bing. To be able to incite the invariably calm and refined Ji Feng Li to spit out the word ‘scram’ was truly not easy.
translations at peachblossomgrove . com
Ji Feng Li stepped into the pavilion and somehow unbeknownst to her, his whole figure was enshrouded in a cold aura. When the light evening breeze swept pass him, it seemed to have turned ice cold, making her feel as though she was hit by a gust of wintry wind.
Meeting her eyes, he slowly spoke, articulating each word, “This qin is yours!”
Decisively, he turned and left in a hurry, his white robes flickering behind him, overflowing with coldness that made even the surrounding air drop a few degrees.
Seeing him leave in a rush, Lan Bing quickly chased after, shouting, “Lord Chancellor, what’s the matter?”
Ji Feng Li suddenly came to a stop, causing Lan Bing to nearly knock right into him. Glancing at Lan Bing, he faintly said, “Lan Bing, make a trip to the brothel.”
“Ah??” Lan Bing was stumped for words and could only stare blankly with wide eyes.
“What? Lord Chancellor, why do you want me to go to a brothel? This subordinate is a good man. I have never visited a brothel, in my heart there is only…”
“Acquire a lady!” Ji Feng Li suddenly interrupted before clasping his hands behind his back and striding forward, towards the lakeside.
“Wha… what? Acquire for what?” Lan Bing asked in confusion.
Ji Feng Li halted his steps and turned around. The last traces of sunlight illuminated half of his handsome face. He narrowed his phoenix eyes and coldly pronounced, “I want to eat meat!”4
Lan Bing became completely stiff, standing there like a fool.
Still sitting in the pavilion, Hua Zhu Yu watched them as they left in a hurry. The wind had seemingly chilled and the sun had slowly sank beneath the horizon, beckoning the arrival of twilight.
She did not expect Ji Feng Li to really hand Qing Lian over to her. Though she won the bet, Qing Lian was too valuable. Would it be inappropriate of her to just take it like this?
Since it was already dark, she couldn’t just leave Qing Lian here so she decided to carry it back first. Along the way, she recalled Ji Feng Li’s frosty expression before he left and felt exceedingly satisfied.
She had never seen such an unsightly expression on Ji Feng Li’s face before. Honestly though, no one could stand to listen to the words Lan Bing had spouted. But she believed what annoyed Ji Feng Li most was the fact that he had lost to her.
On the way back, she strummed a few strings at random, thinking, since it wasn’t her qin, she would just play with it for a few days before returning it. Who really wanted his qin anyways?
- Idiom for natural and perfect
- Idiom for perfect pair
- Idiom for childhood sweethearts
- Literal translation is ‘eating meat after a period of fasting’ and It’s a figure of speech for ‘novel experience’ aka ‘snu-snu’