The White-Haired Imperial Concubine - Chapter 17 - As Warm and Gentle As Jade[Updated at: 2021-01-11 22:05:25]
Chapter 17 As Warm and Gentle As Jade
When Man Yao woke up, it was already the next evening. She was in an unfamiliar place. Although the room was decorated simply, the furniture was finely crafted. Even the plain porcelain vase sitting on the corner of the table was priceless.
Her surroundings were quiet. Through her hazy memories, she remembered that there was someone who fed her medicine, and then she slept until now. Raising her hand to touch her forehead, her temperature had already decreased by a lot and her body was no long as uncomfortable. It looks like it was the result of that bowl of medicine. The man from the carriage must have asked for a doctor for her! But, how come her inner force has yet to recover?
Getting off the bed, she slowly walked out of the room. The courtyard was quite big, but there wasn’t anyone there. She was feeling suspicious when suddenly the sound of a zither drifted over, light and sweet, and she followed the sound to its source.
At the end of the pebblestone road was a clear green bamboo forest. In the center of the forest was an open space, with three stone steps leading to a clean platform made of smooth jade. On it, a man had his legs casually crossed, his back towards her as his fingers plucked the strings. The afterglow of the sunset spilled into the forest, the warm orange rays along with the faint smell of bamboo brought by the gentle wind, along with the zither’s ever changing sounds caused one to fall into a drunken state as they became absentminded.
“You’re awake!” The man stopped playing, placing both his hands on the strings as he looked back at her. His gaze was warm and gentle, as if he was greeting a familiar face, friendly and casual.
Sharp eyebrows, starry eyes, and thin lips, each of his facial features were clearly defined. He was uniquely handsome, making one unable to forget about him even after just a single glance. Although he looked to be quite cold, when he smiled, he gave off a feeling of warmth and gentleness. Man Yao was momentarily dazed. This was the gongzi that saved her last night? “Yesterday, was it gongzi who fed me the medicine?”
The man gave a faint smile and nodded. Man Yao sincerely thanked him, “Thank you!” As far back as she could remember, her father had always demanded her to be independent. Whenever she fell sick, it was always the chauffeur who drove her to the hospital. She had to deal with the rest of it. There had never been anyone…who would hand her a cup of water when she had to take medicine, never! After arriving in this world three years ago, other than the small headaches she had due to falling down when she was little, this was the first time she got sick.
Watching the handsome man’s face, she suddenly felt that he looked a little familiar, but she couldn’t pinpoint where she saw him before.
The man laughed, “It’s not a big deal. Is guniang‘s body feeling better?”
Man Yao walked to the front of the man, sitting down in the same posture as he before giving a light laugh, “I am alright now. Thank you gongzi for your efforts. Please forgive me for disturbing you!”
The man gave a gentle smile, “I saw that guniang had fainted so I took the initiative to bring guniang here. It’s more than enough for guniang to not blame me for doing things on my own.”
Man Yao lightly laughed and shook her head, “What is gongzi saying, you had such good intentions, how could I not know that!”
Looking at the girl who was disguised as a male, her beautifully clear eyes that were hiding specks of light, and her elegant refined temperament, he felt that she gave off an unexplainable feeling that caused one’s heart to be moved. She was extraordinarily beautiful. His gaze was clear and bright as he spoke slowly, “Since that’s the case, then we don’t need to be so modest with each other, it’ll make us seem like strangers and vulgar.” Man Yao laughed as she nodded before she spoke again, “May I ask what guniang‘s name is?”
Man Yao paused. Although her name was not uncommon, it would not be appropriate to speak it. Seeing her hesitation, he gave a pointless smile, “If it’s not convenient for you, then I will not force you. Does guniang know how to play?”
This person was very observant of their surrounds and was considerate of others. She only slightly hesitated before he changed the topic, easily dissolving the awkward atmosphere. With a smile, Man Yao replied, “I know a little bit. I would not dare to show off in front of gongzi‘s expert skills.”
Because the previous owner of this body was skilled at the arts, she secretly practiced as well so that her cover wouldn’t be blown. Who knew that playing the zither would be akin to driving a car for her, as if she always knew how to play. The reason why she went through so much effort to invite Chen Yu play the zither at the tea garden was to borrow her name. Furthermore, she was also not willing to play the zither for the amusement of others. Recalling the music that was played just now, she pondered for a bit before replying, “However, I think that the melody gongzi played just now looked to be quite long-standing and light, but in reality…it’s only light on the surface while its vicissitudes dives straight into one’s bones!”
The man was stunned. His starry eyes shined brilliantly as he focused on her, his gaze carrying admiration, “To be able to hear the stormy feeling through the sweet and lingering music, it seems that guniang‘s skills are quite high. This melody’s name is ‘Recall’, it’s one of my creations from seven years ago.”
He looked to be around twenty or so. Seven years ago, he should have only been around thirteen or fourteen years-old. To be able to create such a beautiful and deep song at that age, he was a genius. Man Yao couldn’t help but sigh, “Gongzi‘s skill with the zither causes one to be in deep admiration! It’s just…according to gongzi‘s age seven years ago, how did you have such a deep feeling of turmoil?”
The warm smile on the man’s face stiffened. Realized that she was being rude, Man Yao immediately smiled, “I’m just casually asking, gongzi does not have to answer.” She raised her head to look at the darkened skies before standing up and putting her hands together in greeting, “I am grateful for gongzi‘s help this time! If we have the fate to meet again, I will definitely repay you. It’s starting to get dark outside, so I will be taking my leave now.”
The man also stood up, his face as gentle as always, “Ever since guniang fainted, you had not eaten anything all day. I have already ordered people to prepare some food for guniang. Why don’t you leave after eating?”
Man Yao politely rejected him, “I am thankful for gongzi‘s generosity, but I still have matters to attend to, so I will be leaving first. May we meet again!”
The man lightly laughed and shook his head, “In that case, then I will not force you to stay. This is the inn in the eastern suburbs. There is still a ways to go before you will reach the city. I will get someone to prepare a horse carriage for you.”
She originally thought that this was his home, but it turned out to be an inn! It didn’t seem to be an ordinary inn, otherwise how could there be such a spacious and refined garden as well as that finely crafted room? Man Yao gave a faint smile and bid farewell, not asking for the man’s name. She believed that if it was convenient for him, he would have definitely taken the initiative to tell her. As the man watched the carriage disappear into the distance, he lightly laughed, “Indeed, she’s such a transparent woman. We’ll…be seeing each other again very soon!”
When Man Yao reached the suburbs in the eastern city, she got off the carriage, thinking that it would still be better if she took a trip to the tea garden. After staying out for a whole night, Leng’er and Xiao Sha must be worried about her after seeing the corpses in the tea garden, and frantically trying to find her. She changed into a more ordinary carriage, arriving at the Moonlight Tea Garden. Just as she got off, the originally calm shores of the Heavenly Lake was disturbed by the appearance of ten or so imperial bodyguards surrounding her. The head of the bodyguards took a few steps forward as he measured her with his stunned eyes, eventually nodding, “Such beautiful looks, Moonlight Tea Garden’s boss, Li Yue gongzi must be this person! Capture him!”
Although Man Yao was stunned, she maintained a calm disposition, “This daren, did I commit a crime?”
The head of the guards had a cold expression on, “Yesterday Prince Li encountered assassins at Moonlight Tea Garden, causing the Emperor to become extremely angry. He has ordered the Ministry of Justice to investigate this matter. Anyone who is connected with this case must be caught and brought back for interrogation. Take him!”