Chapter 2: Skillful blind woman flaunts her ability
But, this time, Ju Mu Er is shaking her head, she said: “Er Ye has not yet formally agreed to my terms and conditions, if I divulge my plan, would I not find myself in a disadvantage?”
Who cares for your method?!
Long Er raised his eyebrow, was somewhat uneasy to hear her words, he couldn’t really imagine at this minute what she can do, but, his curiosity has been stirred up high enough. So, he replied: “Well, you should, if you can do what you’ve just said, that there is a proper, decent reason for me to leave here, I will put up the awnings in the East Avenue.”
Ju Mu Er satisfied, nodded, once again confirmed: “Long Er Ye, you give your word?”
With Long Er’s reassurance, Ju Mu Er sighed and smiled. She asked: “Can the honored guest see movement on our side?”
“Can you guess it?” Long Er wants to tease?
“I venture to guess, Er Ye had just turned to look at her.”
Long Er’s smile turned a little stiff, is this person really blind or not?
Ju Mu Er reached out and touched the side of the teapot on the table, while saying: “Er Ye when he turned around I was able to discern by listening to the sound.” She held the teapot, it seems she wants to pour herself a cup of tea. “Er Ye concurs, and that the honored guest could see us.”
Long Er tightly pursed his lips, looked into her eyes, well, he confirmed that she’s really blind.
He waited patiently, waiting for her to say something on how he could be dismissed here, he did not believe she could think of any coup he himself cannot think of, perhaps she is deceiving him, he waited to pick on her mistakes.
Ju Mu Er picked up the teapot, felt with her hand the temperature, pondered on its weight. Long Er stared at her actions, he wondered how blind people drink their tea, and he even had this mischievous thought that if this time he secretly took away her cup, she would pour the tea directly on the table?
Long Er’s train of thoughts was still busy running, he was caught surprised when Ju Mu Er twisted her wrist, accidentally turning over the lid, and the entire pot of water poured over his body.
“Puff” and look, a pot of tea sprinkled all over Long Er Ye!
Long Er unexpectedly, completely unguarded, was splashed from behind. Warm tea quickly soaked his clothes, dripping down along his chest.
Ju Mu Er gently and softly said: “Er Ye, go home to change clothes, and do not catch a cold.”
Long Er was startled and angry, Ding Yan Shan has already rushed over, since it’s too late to scold Ju Mu Er just quickly took her handkerchief to wipe the tea stains on Long Er’s body, while in the side the tea servant was also hurriedly wiping dry with a towel.
Then Ju Mu Er stood up and said: “I’m blind and my hand shook, I wet your clothes Er Ye, I’m really sorry for this.”
Long Er was fuming mad that he cannot breathe, but unfortunately he cannot berate her, he secretly gritted his teeth, and said: “no harm is done.”
Mu Er nodded: “Then, I’ll leave first,” she said, took her bamboo staff, walked down the steps, without bothering anyone went ahead and walked towards the front door.
Long Er signaled, Li Ke understood its meaning, silently followed behind Ju Mu Er as she went out.
Ding Yan Shan did not pay attention to this, she was vexed and angry: “You just let her go? She clearly did it intentionally, if what she asked of you, you did not comply? Cannot just let her go, someone must give her a lesson.”
“She’s blind, how are you going to teach her? Talk to her nicely?” Long Er’s words shut up Ding Yan Shan. Heaven knows he’s really itching to give that blind young lady a good lesson ah!
Ding Yan Shan gritted her teeth, took a look at Long Er’s wet clothes, said: “This incident really has left you cold, your body got wet, quickly go back home to change clothes. If you catch a cold and get sick, that certainly is not good.”
Long Er nodded, cupped his fist in the other hand to express his apologies , ordered the shopkeeper to provide some good tea for Ding Yan Shan to bring back home, requested courteously the esteemed senior Minister to sample the goods, said a few more words of courtesy and then went out to get inside a sedan chair, and returned home.
The palanquin bearers walked him home hurriedly, Long Er had been nonstop thinking, and the more he thought the more he felt being royally duped by the young lady, now he has to abide by his word, to spend a lot of money.
Ah, what a loss, what a really big loss!
That blind one, actually so cunning! Too cunning!
Long Er touched his wet clothes, just now his brain had run in endless circles, but has not actually thought of this very simple idea. It really was a legitimate reason, not perfunctory, especially caused by a woman like her it was entirely convincing. That Ding Yan Shan also indeed as the blind miss said, hastily let him go back home. Everything happened as she said, if then he does not build the awnings, is it not akin to slapping one’s own face?
Long Er is not happy, not at all very happy. He thought and thought, suddenly a smile dawned on his face, Ju Mu Er calculated with him only, but she did not count that in the light of what happened, she has just irked the Minister’s daughter. Ding Yan Shan is an unpleasant and bad-tempered woman, not exactly a person to trifle with.
Long Er smiled, ah, anyone who makes him spend money will have to pay a price.
While Long Er was back in his residence this time, Li Ke was tracking behind Ju Mu Er.
Ju Mu Er was walking home very slowly, slowly and deliberately, she tapped her bamboo staff twice in front of her and then she would take a step forward. Normally she cannot see the road with her own eyes she should be walking anxiously and distressed. But, surprisingly Ju Mu Er was walking peacefully, leisurely and in a very relaxed manner.
Li Ke followed her somewhat with much effort. He can pursue, running as fast as flying, someone who is an expert in dodging, he can trace the whereabouts of a hiding sneaky thief, but tailing a blind woman walking very slowly, it is indeed a first time in his entire life.
Owing to Ju Mu Er’s walking pace, it was impossible for Li Ke to be always following her behind. So, he occasionally walked ahead of her, strolled along the roadside shops and watched the street scenery, he waited until Mu Er caught up, and then he would continue to walk ahead. He followed her this way all the way to the south.
Ju Mu Er went out of the south gate, in a good while she embarked on a bamboo forest trail; along this narrow path there was a bamboo pavilion, she went straight to it, and sat down.
Li Ke was looking from afar, in his heart he could not help but be amazed of this blind woman’s skill to recognize the road, during the entire journey she hasn’t unexpectedly turned off on side roads, but also on the precision of locating unmistakably the pavilion where she sat down. While he was looking at her, he heard Ju Mu Er spoke: “Brave man, would you like to come and chat with me?”
Li Ke was startled, he glanced around, here with Ju Mu Er there was no one else apart from him, could it be that this young lady has an appointment to meet another man here? Afterwards Li Ke hid himself, waited for a while for someone to come round, but he did not see anyone.
At this time Ju Mu Er spoke again: “Brave man, all the way here following me, why not come over for a chat?”
Li Ke thought this Ju Mu Er calling out for “brave man”, she’s actually referring to himself. He looked carefully, Ju Mu Er was looking towards the front, and seemed not to know his location. Li Ke did not know what to say, what exactly is going on here, so he remained still.
Ju Mu Er waited for a while, but nobody came, sighed, and said: “I only want to request brave man, don’t let my father and younger sister next door know the matter of today, I was somewhat impulsive, but still I hoped that Long Er Ye is broad-minded.”
Li Ke, finally unable to bear it anymore, quickly jumped inside the pavilion, asked right away: “Miss, how did you know I was nearby?”
Li Ke’s abrupt appearance scared Ju Mu Er to speak, she sucked in her breath, Li Ke cupped his fist in his other hand to apologize, and then after he finished the Bao Quan ceremony remembered that the girl cannot see.
He then asked again. Ju Mu Er relaxed, took her time to slowly reply: “I suppose Long Er Ye is someone who’s uneasy if he doesn’t know the ins and outs of a matter, and a while ago I had been a little bit disrespectful towards him. He would of course dispatch someone to make discreet inquiries on me. I went out of the shop, I realized just now that I forgot to request Er Ye of this matter because I had to pay attention all the way. My eyes cannot see things around, brave man, therefore felt at ease, boldly followed after me, without bothering to silence his footsteps, so I knew then.”
Li Ke inwardly felt apprehensive, quickly said: “Thank you Miss, don’t wonder, I’m Li Ke, Er Ye’s bodyguard. Er Ye worried about the difficulty of Miss in moving about, so in order to ensure her safety all the way, ordered me to see Miss off.”
Ju Mu Er smiled, did not expose Li Ke’s white lie, then, merely said: “Then in that case, please go back at once Brother Li and thank Long Er Ye on my behalf.”
When Li Ke agreed, Ju Mu Er also said: “My name’s Ju Mu Er, my family lives five miles south of the city, we run the Wu Li (5 miles) family house wine shop; my father, Ju Sheng, brews wines, our house wine is slightly famous in the capital city, quite in demand actually. I am twenty this year, never been married; two years ago, I suffered an eye illness, since then I cannot see things. I used to be a musician, but nowadays play seldom. I teach children to play stringed musical instruments. Because of this qin music school, and also tuning musical instruments, I earn some money enough for me to get by. “
Li Ke listened to these words, kept silent, controlled himself from being shocked that Ju Mu Er knew and was aware of what he had to do.
And then Ju Mu Er said: “If the information on my person is not good enough, I beg you to convey Brother Li, tell Er Ye to feel rest assured that I did not mean to threaten. Merely that my father and next-door neighbor younger sister are extremely anxious towards me, but please be considerate Brother Li, they must not be bothered.”
For Ju Mu Er to talk in this manner embarrassed Li Ke, made him felt that shadowing her all the way home seemed to be like bullying a feeble, blind woman, he busily nodded his head, agreed repeatedly.
Ju Mu Er thanked Li Ke earnestly, she used her bamboo staff to stand up, then said goodbye. Li Ke took her back to the bamboo forest trail, but Ju Mu Er was still walking slowly, she was gentle, delicate and charming; at this time the sun was in the west, warm sunlight and shadow seeped through the bamboo grove to sprinkle on her body, tranquil in the midst revealing her more lovely and fragile.
She suddenly asked Li Ke: “Brother Li, today I interfered with Er Ye’s tea reception, who was the honored guest and do you know also what kind of person she is?”
“She’s the second daughter of the Minister of the Ministry of Justice.”
Ju Mu Er listened intently, as if listening to the sound of flowing water, her brow creased a bit. Li Ke suddenly realized he may have revealed much, he hastily said goodbye, but still followed Ju Mu Er quietly from afar until she reached home.
He tailed her to the end to find out that it is as Ju Mu Er has claimed; her family home is indeed in the wine shop. Li Ke quietly circled the area, explored around its vicinity to get a clear picture of the surrounding; then proceeded into the city, entered into several music shops purportedly to buy an instrument, but in fact just to chat idly, in the side made discreet inquiries; finally went to the marketplace to inquire about a bureau specializing in intelligence gathering, and there asked for a capable individual to go to the Long’s Residence and report to Long Er.
Unexpectedly Ju Mu Er enjoys a good reputation in the marketplace, from when she was small she’s said to be an intelligent person, has completely read poetry books, her qin playing skill is extraordinary, a daughter of a family so naturally gaining some legend. Ju Mu Er’s mother due to an illness passed away when she was ten years old, Ju Sheng had only his daughter, and therefore he really doted on her, letting her do whatever she loves doing without any interference from him.
Ju Mu Er does have a next-door neighbor younger sister, whose residence is not far away, the young girl is called Su Qing, her mother is also seriously ill. Su Qing sells flowers for a living, and occasionally earns some money from selling herbal medicine. That is, she hawks her goods on weekdays on the East Avenue. She got indeed seriously ill due to rain, was almost into the jaws of death.
“So you’re saying, every word Ju Mu Er uttered is true?”
Li Ke replied: “Yes.”
“Then, how did she become blind?” Long Er asked.
Li Ke hurriedly replied: “Two years ago, there was this scary major incident. The venerable qin master, Ba Yin, stole an exquisite qin musical score. Consequently, Minister Shi Ze Chun of the Ministry of Appointments liquidated the whole family. After the qin master Ba Yin was sentenced to be beheaded, because of his huge reputation and the emperor’s sympathy for him, the emperor allowed him to play one tune before his execution …”
Long Er nodded: “This is something I knew about, master Ba Yin requested that a bosom friend be present for his execution, only was he willing to play the qin, so the emperor graciously granted that all the kingdom’s famous musicians may come to listen to the qin and witness his execution.”
Indeed, the emperor also sent an invitation to let Long Er join in the fun, although nowadays in the whole Xiao kingdom qin is widely played, the entire country highly revere the art of qin and se, nevertheless Long Er is an out-and-out qin ignoramus, so he had no interest in the noise and excitement, and didn’t have to be in the capital.
He didn’t go, did Ju Mu Er go?
Li Ke nodded: “Miss Ju went to the qin master execution, came back and became obsessively fascinated with the skill of qin, it was said that she studied day and night, did research and study on the qin playing techniques, meticulously delving into qin musical scores, she simply ruined her eyes in the process. This she spoke to me of her blindness and the reason for it, it was really also not bad.”
“She took the initiative to tell you of the reason of her blindness?”
“Indeed. It happened that way.” Li Ke tailed Ju Mu Er, but after she discovered this, the two of them talked about the matter and afterwards about many other things.
Long Er carefully listening, coldly smiled: “This blind miss is really cunning ah.”
Li Ke was puzzled, Long Er said: “She is physically frail due to a qi deficiency, her feet fell heavily, evidently she doesn’t have martial arts skills, so how can she hear the sound of your footsteps? She was just probing to mislead you, you know, as soon as you admitted she determined that I had sent you to her.”
Li Ke thought about it carefully, could it be that he was really deceived?
Long Er continued: “She told you some insignificant information, causing you to drop your guard, as soon as you did it, she asked casually who was the honored guest who I was chatting with, and you told her.”
This, Li Ke knew he did, so he hastily lowered his head to beg forgiveness: “Your servant was incompetent, please punish me Er Ye.”
“No punishment.” Long Er leaned back on the large round-backed wooden armchair, his thin lips curved: “You must handle it well, right away you have to let her know she offended a woman, someone she cannot afford to provoke, she’ll be distressed and flustered, this will be the case, oh that’s right!”
Humph, this woman spilt tea on his body, also caused him trouble, without good cause now he must expend money to construct those awnings, how can she be left to live in peace!