Since Xiang Shaoyun had a different face when he had met Li Yaxuan previously, she did not recognize him. But she did know about Xiang Shaoyun's accomplishments, and she was here precisely because of him. As a vice house leader of the Red House, one could say that she was one of its most prestigious members.
"Senior Sister Li, he is the Xiang Shaoyun we were talking about earlier." Gong Qinyin did not expose Xiang Shaoyun's identity and introduced him to Li Yaxuan as if he was a complete stranger.
Li Yaxuan stood up and smiled gracefully. "You are indeed a young hero. No wonder Junior Sister Gong favors you. I am Li Yaxuan, pleasure to meet you."
As she spoke, she did not forget to toss Xiang Shaoyun a seductive gaze. Any other man would lose their mind at this point. But Xiang Shaoyun had seen too many beautiful women. Thus, he had much more resistance to seduction.
With an unchanging face, he replied, "I am Xiang Shaoyun. Pleased to meet you, Senior Sister Li."
Xiang Shaoyun conducted himself in a refined manner, naturally emanating a grace only the nobility would have. Both Li Yaxuan and Gong Qinyin were women with extremely high standards, but even their hearts thumped when they witnessed Xiang Shaoyun’s demeanour.
"Come on, sit down and talk over tea," invited Gong Qinyin, as she was the host.
The three sat down while Gong Qinyin started preparing tea with the tea set she had on the stone table.
The art of tea preparation and zither playing were both closely related to a person's state of mine. Great emphasis was placed on staying tranquil and even-tempered. When combined with graceful smooth movements that resemble nature itself, it would produce great tea and tune. Because of that, the art of tea was one of the things Gong Qinyin was learning.
Soon, an aromatic tea fragrance filled the air.
Li Yaxuan couldn't help but praise, "Great skills, Junior Sister Gong."
"You are too kind, Senior Sister Li. Please, have a drink," said Gong Qinyin with a smile as she poured Li Yaxuan and Xiang Shaoyun a cup of tea each.
Li Yaxuan directly downed the cup of tea, while Xiang Shaoyun took the time to gently sniff the tea's fragrance and to slowly sway the teacup before sipping on it.
When Gong Qinyin noticed what he was doing, she couldn't resist asking, "Shaoyun, you know the art of tea as well?"
Only those who knew tea would know the correct way of tea tasting. Xiang Shaoyun's action made it clear what he knew.
Xiang Shaoyun placed the cup down and smiled. "I know a bit."
He wasn't trying to be humble at all when he admitted it. In fact, he felt somewhat proud.
His answer made Gong Qinyin curious as she said, "Would you mind giving me a pointer or two?"
Li Yaxuan looked at Xiang Shaoyun with a toying gaze, seemingly waiting to hear his wisdom.
After taking another sip of the tea, Xiang Shaoyun said, "The water and tea leaves used, one's grasp over the tea set, the temperature of the water, how long to boil the water, and the amount of tea leaves used…these are all the basics in the art of tea, and you already have a good mastery over them all. Unfortunately, you placed too much emphasis on the form of the tea, losing a tiny bit of soul that could have been in it."
"What do you mean by having a form without a soul?" Gong Qinyin asked in astonishment.
"It has the similar concept as playing the zither. The thickness of the tea originates from one's heart. There is no need to do everything in a textbook-correct manner. Follow your heart, pour your heart into it, and both your tea and zither tune will be able to leave a rich aftertaste in all who have tasted them," explained Xiang Shaoyun solemnly.
Those words completely stunned Gong Qinyin. Li Yaxuan had no idea what they were talking about, so she decided to not interrupt. But now, her gaze when looking at Xiang Shaoyun had turned into one of curiosity.
After a while, Gong Qinyin recovered from her reverie. She was filled with excitement as she said, "Shaoyun, what you said is almost identical to what my master said! I did not expect that you actually know so much! You must be great in the art of tea and zither as well, then?"
"Haha, I am only a critic and can't do any of that," said Xiang Shaoyun, finally acting humble for once.
In the past when he had too much free time on his hands, he did learn a bit of the two. But he was still a kid back then, and with the short attention span of a kid, he moved on after mastering a bit of the essence of the two arts.
After all, for him, they were only entertainments and would never be things he specialized in. But Gong Qinyin did not buy any of his words. She pressed on, "I don't believe that. Why don't you make us a pot of tea as well? Or maybe play us a tune with the zither."
She wished more and more that Xiang Shaoyun would have similar interests. That way, they would simply be a match made in heaven.
What is wrong with me? Have I really fallen for him? Gong Qinyin couldn't help but ask herself.
In truth, she had been having those thoughts for a while now. She had merely been suppressing them. But now, it seemed she wouldn't be able to keep suppressing her feelings any longer.
Xiang Shaoyun wanted to refuse, but Li Yaxuan interjected and egged him on, "Yes, that's a great idea. I am curious as to what this junior brother is capable of. Come, expand your senior sister's horizons."
Looking at the two great beauties before him, Xiang Shaoyun had the urge to show off.
"Fine, today, you shall witness this young master's grace!" said Xiang Shaoyun in a narcissistic manner.
He then exchanged seats with Gong Qinyin. Using the clean water stored beside the seat, he washed his hands thoroughly. An approving look covered Gong Qinyin's eyes when she saw what he did.
Cleaning one's hands was the basic requirement for those dabbling in the art of tea. One must ensure one's hands were clean, as it was a sign of respect toward the tea and the drinker.
A calm smile hovered on Xiang Shaoyun's face as his mood seemed to have instantly turned cheerful. Recalling his free and leisurely life of the past filled him with melancholy. Thinking of it, he started moving. The long-gone feelings returned to him as his stiff motion slowly turned smooth, giving off a feeling of absolute harmony to those looking at him.
Gong Qinyin was completely infatuated with what she was looking at. Inwardly, she cried out, Sooo handsome!
As for Li Yaxuan, although she did not know tea well, her attention was drawn in by Xiang Shaoyun's harmonious actions and the smile hanging on his face. She had never thought that just someone making tea would be such a pleasurable sight to behold. It was most likely completely due to the person who was making the tea.
Why is he giving me such a familiar feeling? I feel like I have seen him somewhere before! Li Yaxuan started asking herself. After a while, Xiang Shaoyun finished making the tea. At that instant, the courtyard was filled with its fragrance, giving one an extremely refreshing feeling.
Xiang Shaoyun served them a cup of tea each and said in a gentlemanly manner, "Both of you, please have a drink."
Gong Qinyin raised the cup impatiently and started tasting the tea.
Even Li Yaxuan drank slowly this time.
The moment they tasted the tea, they felt an indescribable flavor fill every fiber of their beings. They felt completely relaxed, as if all their worries were instantly flushed from their minds. Completely immersed in the comfortable sensation, they felt as free as unfettered clouds.Previous Chapter Next Chapter