Transmigration: Of Mysteries And Songs - novelonlinefree.info
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Chapter 92 Cloud Nine: Change
The return journey to Chang’an was spent in silence. Neither of them mentioned that fateful night, both too keenly aware of the rift between them. It was spring again in the capital, and things were the way they looked when Feng Luodi first arrived here a year ago. The streets were bustling and flowers dotted the roadside, a perfect picture of prosperity. The restaurants, inns, orchards, buildings, and shops – they all seemed familiar to Feng Luodi.
She felt the corners of her lips lift upwards into a smile as she alighted from the carriage. It’s been a year since I’d arrived, and I’ve already found four of the 10 Guqin. It hasn’t been that long, but I’ve already made so many memories in this land. How can I ever be indifferent to it?
Fei and Scarlet were already waiting for her in front of Situ’s residence.
“Please let the Duke know that I’ve already returned home.” Feng Luodi smiled at the head steward of the residence. Situ had gone straight into the palace to report to the Emperor, while Feng Luodi followed the convoy back to his residence.
“I will, Miss Feng. Please be careful on your way back home.”
“Thankyou.” Feng Luodi curtsied and turned around, boarding the carriage that Fei had driven from the Feng household.
“How was your trip to the North, Miss Feng? Are all the girls there as wild as they say? Do all the men feast and drink like no tomorrow?” Scarlet bombed her with questions the moment they were within the confines of the carriage.
Her infectious enthusiasm made Feng Luodi smile. “Things aren’t as extreme as the storytellers always make them out to be. After all, we are the same people. Most things are the same as you see in Chang’an, save for their food.”
“Oh…is that so?” Scarlet was a little disappointed. “I guess the storytellers are all just making it up then.”
“Stories will only be real if you see it for yourself.”
“I want to travel the lands like you did, young miss!” Scarlet pouted. “But I wouldn’t ever get the chance to do so.”
“You’re only seventeen this year, Scarlet. You have a long life ahead of you; I’m sure you’ll find a chance to travel the lands like you said.” Feng Luodi comforted her. “Let me rest for a while. Wake me up when we reach.”
“Of course. Sorry for disturbing your rest, young miss. You must be tired from your journey.” Scarlet quickly brought out a cus.h.i.+on for Feng Luodi to lean on.
The first thing Feng Luodi did was to greet her father, upon her return to the Feng household.
“Father. I’ve returned from my trip.”
“It’s good that you’re back. I hope that your journey was smooth?” The Chamberlain was going through stacks of old reports on his desk.
“What could have happened?” Feng Luodi smiled. “I’ve learned a lot on this trip, father. But the long journey was tiring and has taken a toll on me; I don’t think that I’ll go on such trips in the future.”
“It’s good that you think that way.” The Chamberlain shot her a look. “You’ll be eighteen come the end of spring. We’ve put off discussing your marriage last year, thinking that you were too young then, but we’ll have to give it some thought this year. Let your mother know if you already have your eyes on anyone; I believe you know that some are out of the question.”
“I understand, Father.” Feng Luodi curtsied. “I shall take my leave now, then. I’ve yet to visit Mother.”
“Alright.” The Chamberlain did not keep her. “Visit the Second Lady as well; spend more time with her if you can.”
Feng Luodi left the study and headed straight for the First Lady’s yard. From where she stood, she could see both the Second Lady and her mother in the courtyard. The First Lady looked better than she had when Feng Luodi left for the North, her cheeks a healthy shade of pink. Meanwhile, the Second Lady had grown even more curvaceous than she had been, a result of the mult.i.tude of herbs and nutritious foods consumed in preparation for the birth.
“Mother. Second Lady.” Feng Luodi curtsied as she entered the courtyard.
“You’re back, Luodi! Come here quickly!” Joy was apparent on her mother’s face. The Second Lady smiled at her as well. “How was it? How did you find the North? Did you enjoy yourself?” Her mother held her hand enthusiastically.
“I had a great trip, Mother.” Feng Luodi smiled lightly. “But I was feeling a little tired at the end of the trip. Perhaps I’m not suited to such long journeys.”
“Us women can’t compare to the men in such strenuous activities.” The Second Lady agreed with Feng Luodi. “I’m glad that you can stay in the Feng household in the future; we’ll have someone else to talk to then!”
Her mother looked at her tenderly. “It’s all up to you, Luodi. You can spend your days in the household; there are many interesting things about Chang’an as well. I’m sure you’ll be entertained.”
I’m really lucky, ain’t I? Compared to the girls that are neglected by their parents, or even used for their own political means, I’ve got it so much better. At least, I get to do what I want.
“I wish to stay in Chang’an as well, Mother. I doubt I’ll be leaving on long trips in the future.” Feng Luodi said what she knew her mother wished to hear.
“It’s all up to you, Luodi.” The First Lady was supportive as usual. “Cough! Cough!” A sudden cough racked her body.
“Mother! Are you not feeling well again?” Feng Luodi quickly went to her side. The Second Lady watched on with an anxious expression as handmaidens ran over to help the First Lady to her feet.
“Perhaps I’ve spent too long outside today; I’ll be fine once I get some rest in my room.” She waved her hand casually. “Please walk the Second Lady back for me, Luodi.”
“I’ll come by again later, then.” Feng Luodi watched as her mother slowly made her way back into the room, before turning to the Second Lady. “Let me walk you back, ma’ame.”
“Sorry for the trouble.” The Second Lady did not reject her offer. “I do have some things that I’d wanted to discuss with you as well. “
“Please speak your mind, ma’ame.”
It was a while before the Second Lady spoke up again. “This is regarding my unborn child, Luodi: do you wish for it to be a baby boy or a baby girl?” Her face was filled with the unbridled joy of an expecting mother, but her eyes were cautious as they searched Feng Luodi’s face for a reaction.
Feng Luodi did not break composure, her smile warm and generous. “A baby boy, of course.”
“Is that the truth, Luodi?”
“Of course it is.” Feng Luodi spoke calmly. “The Feng household needs a boy to take charge of its affairs, and Father needs a boy to pa.s.s the family to. Mother can no longer have children, and it is indeed a great blessing if you were to give birth to a baby boy, Second Lady.”
The Second Lady heaved a sigh of relief. “It’s great that you think that way, Luodi.”
As they approached the courtyard, Feng Luodi curtsied. “I shall take my leave now, Second Lady. Just focus on the preparations for your birth. Nothing bad will happen.”
The Second Lady patted her hand lightly and smiled, turning to enter her courtyard.
Sigh. What a tiring day. I guess I’ll look for Jianqiu tomorrow.
It was a restless night again.
The next morning, Feng Luodi woke early to prepare for the day. An inner-s.h.i.+rt of light purple, cloaked by an outer robe the colour of snow. Matching embroidery of light blue tattooed her collars and cuffs, a pair of thunderclouds sitting on her robe where the sleeves meet the shoulders. Her clothes were held together by a silver belt, with a pendant of white jade hanging loosely from it.
Scarlet took a look at Feng Luodi as she helped put on her earrings. “Why does young miss look a little pale, even when her clothes are in bright colours?”
“Am I?” Feng Luodi touched her face absentmindedly as she stared into the mirror. “Should we put on some makeup? I’ll look less sickly that way.”
"Are you finally willing to put on makeup now, young miss?” Jet scooted closer as she helped Feng Luodi with her makeup.
“I heard that you’ve been attending the lessons thought by the fuzi1 along with Fei?” Feng Luodi laughed lightly.
“The fuzi teaches well!” Jet giggled, seeming more feminine than she had been when Feng Luodi last saw her. Of course, her appet.i.te only increased.
Scarlet pouted. I’ll rather look through all the business records of Autumnal Ombre than sit through a lesson of that!
When she reached the residence of the Minister of the Right, she was surprised to be told by the head steward that Qi Jianqiu was grounded at home.
“Oh? What’s wrong?” Feng Luodi was confused. The Minister had always been lenient on Qi Jianqiu, save for that time when he’d forced the Chrysanthemum Appraisal Gathering to find a husband for her.
The head steward smiled. “Forgive me, Miss Feng. But I cannot disclose the reason.”
“I understand.” Feng Luodi did not force the issue. “Please let her know that I’ve returned from the North, then. Or she’ll continue to worry about me.”
“Of course, Miss Feng.” The head steward bowed.
“Thank you.” Feng Luodi curtsied and turned to leave, just in time to see Fei running towards her.
Scarlet spoke up ahead of her. “What are you doing here, Fei? Aren’t you supposed to be at Autumnal Ombre today?”
“Young miss, the Grand Tutor had sent this to the shop a while ago.” He handed a handkerchief to Feng Luodi. “The Grand Tutor invites you to join him at the Painting of Ten Miles today, young miss.”
“Oh, elder brother?’ Feng Luodi opened the handkerchief. “What a coincidence; I’d meant to pay him a visit today.”
“Would you like to head to the Painting of Ten Miles right away?” Scarlet asked.
“Let’s go.” Feng Luodi nodded and turned to Fei. “Thank you, Fei. You may return to Autumnal Ombre.”
“Yes, young miss.”
Two hours pa.s.sed before they arrived at the Painting of Ten Miles.
“Young miss, you look really tired today.” Scarlet asked hesitatingly, “You haven’t been looking good since you’d returned last night.”
“I’m just lacking sleep, I guess.” Feng Luodi replied casually as she entered the Painting of Ten Miles once again. She could see the figure dressed in white from a long way off, as charming and elegant as she remembered.
But this time, it was not the same person who’d waited for her here when she came the other time.
“Elder brother.” She curtsied as she entered the pavilion, a slight smile on her face.
“You came rather quickly, Luodi. Have a seat.” Jiang Moyin’s smile faltered the moment he saw her face. “Luodi, what’s wrong?”A term used in Ancient China to refer to a teacher. ↩