Zhao Jiao

 Lan Ann feels like her Miss vanished in the blink of an eye. She is stunned, the zither music has stopped and everyone in the restaurant appears in a daze. She shyly glances at Kang Longwei wondering if she should say something. But what? He is looking at the door where Wang Li Jie just rushed out with Xiaolian, he turns around then comments, “Your mistress has that power?” Lan An doesn’t know how to respond or if she should even remain sitting at the table with him, ‘What?”

     Kang Longwei can guess from her quizzical expression she has no clue. So Xiaolian can control people’s minds when she sings that is intriguing, obviously she wasn’t attempting to do that from what I witnessed. She looked like she was lost in a memory when she was singing, unaware of the crowd’s atmosphere changing as she sang. Wang Li Jie must know which is why he rushed the girl outside. Very interesting! I have only heard of one powerful Sorceress that was capable of calming minds, she died in a Demon attack with her husband. Could  Zhang Xialian be her daughter?

      Wang lngwei pours a glass of wine, “Has Zhang Xiaolian been your mistress for a long time?”

      Lan An nervously answers,“No, His Highness gave me to her recently. I should leave I think to see where they went.” 

     “Why don’t you remain here until they return, with Wang Li Jie’s personality I don’t think it would go well for you if you interrupted them.  Zhang Xiaolian allowed you to sit at the table, remain until they return.”

     Since she has not a clue where to look she agrees, “Emm..” Lan An stares at her plate of food  hen begins to play with it with her chopsticks.

     So she definitely doesn’t know anything. He is about to ask her some more questions when Zhao Jiao leaves the stage telling the crowd, “I will return to play, I am visiting a friend for a few moments.”

     Zhao Jiao’s  curiosity is peaked, that girl’s voice was mesmerizing, as she played the zither the notes flowed, the world she was creating with her music came to life. Never before has she heard such a soothing soprano, she has accompanied many talented singers but this girl…

     She approaches the table, from the stage her visibility was not very good, she wanted to meet the singer. Kang Longwei stands as she gets closer to the table. “Zhao Jiao.”

     Zhao Jiao eyes the elegant handsome man from head to toe not disguising her interest. “You are?”

     “My name is Kang Longwei.”

     “Kang Longwei, the Crown Prince ?” She is startled by the name she has heard of his legendary exploits but  he disappeared a thousand years ago.

     “Yes, do you want to join me?”

     Zhao smiles brilliantly, “ Thank you. “ She sweeps her dress to the side revealing some of her slim white leg. “Will the lady be returning soon?”

     Lan An sneaks a peak at Zhao Jiao, her beauty cannot be denied, such flawless skin. But the Miss is a greater beauty, so pure and innocent. Zhao Jiao has a sophisticated aura, her makeup is applied perfectly to enhance her features, whereas the Miss doesn’t use any makeup at all.

     “I can’t say, she left with Wang Li Jie.”

     Zhao Jiao’s face blanches, that was Wang Li Jie who flew down then swept the girl away? Who is that girl for him to show concern, she clenches her fists under the table until her knuckles turn white. How many times did I try to get that man’s attention to be thwarted. Does he care for the girl? She needs to find out more information.

     “Would you like some fresh tea?” Kang Longwei motions for the waiter to come to their table.

     “Wang Li Jie is a good friend of mine, he always enjoyed it when I played the zither for him. I haven’t seen him in quite awhile, how does he know the girl who was singing? She has an incredible voice, the people seemed entranced by her song.”

     Lan An realizes Zhao Jiao is fishing for information because she likes His Highness, she wonders how familiar Kang Longwei is with the situation between her Miss and His Highness. She hopes he doesn’t say anything that Zhao Jiao could use against her Miss. Tentatively Lan An tries to nod her head no to him.

     Out of the corner of his eye he sees the little servant girl briefly nodding no, apparently she doesn’t want him to divulge any information to Zhao Jiao. This servant girl is quite comical, every time I comes across her there is a situation which makes her flustered. Her face expresses her concern by furrowing her little brow and pursing her lips. Amusing!

     Zhao Jiao notices the little girl at the table is a servant. Although her dress is of a high quality brocade she obviously isn’t from a noble family, why is she sitting with a Crown Prince, is she his little plaything? This remote village is known for its exotic herbs and precious elixirs that stimulate a man’s desires. Could he and Wang Li Jie be here to experience the erotic nature of these elixirs? She shakes her head, no Wang Li Jie has always been a cold man who seems immune to a woman’s charms. Always concerned with his Kingdom,  I don’t believe he has even one concubine. every time I attempted to seduce him he pushed me away. I heard rumors he is a broken sleeve.

     The waiter approaches with the tea, sets the pot down and pours three cups. Lan An is very uncomfortable sitting at the table with these two but she doesn’t know if she should leave. She is thirsty after eating the noodles, they were very spicy , should I just casually drink my cup of tea.

     Kang Longwei glances over at Lan An again, what is she thinking now, she looks afraid to pick up the teacup. “Girl, what is your name, Lan An?

     “Hmm..yes”, she replies in a timid voice while keeping her head down.

     “Drink your tea, your Miss is in good hands with Wang Li Jie.” he smiles, the more he is around her and Xiaolian he remembers how he enjoys the company of women that are sweet and fresh. Zhao Jiao has a concubine’s air, a girl who strives to gain position through climbing up on a powerful man. He detests these types of scheming women.

     “Kang Longwei .”

     “Yes”

     “I was asking about the girl who was singing.” He seems awfully distracted by that servant girl.

     “I am not very familiar with her, I came to meet Wang Li Jie about some common interests. That is the first time I heard her sing, I agree her voice is quite beautiful.”

     He Peng enters the restaurant with Yang Chang, they were searching for Huang Howan but couldn’t find her whereabouts. They walk over to the table and bow. Lan An jumps up from her seat, she can see by He Peng’s dark expression he wants an explanation.

     “His Highness left with Zhang Xiaolian , she and I had been eating watching the show. I was waiting for her return.”

     “ Lan An come with us we have things to discuss. Kang Longwei, please tell His Highness we will be by the carriages when he returns. There was a problem with the distribution of food and supplies.”

     “Where are the carriages located?”

     “They are at the end of the street to the North of the Inn.”

     “I will let him know when he returns.” It seems by the dark lines on He Peng’s forehead he is quite smitten with the little servant girl.

     He Peng, Yang Chang and Lan An bow leaving only Zhao Jiao at the table with him. This might be a good time to see what her intentions are towards Wang Li Jie, I wouldn’t mind getting him out of the picture with Xiaolian.

     Zhao Jiao studies Kang Longwei, what business does a Crown Prince from Radiant Skyfall Kingdom have with Wang Li Jie? They are neutral to any of the political intrigues in the other Six Kingdoms. I wonder if it has something to do with that bastard Wang Chao Han. She hates his demon blooded brother, he forced her to spy on Wang Li Jie and also the Feng Family for him. Her zither skills were given to her by his Sorcerer, knowing a beautiful woman who was talented would be invited to various palaces throughout the Seven Kingdoms.

     She was a mere girl, not very attractive, homely was a description she heard from the time she was born, stuck in this village when Wang Chao Han found her at a pawn shop selling a jade bracelet. He quickly sensed her ambition then used it to turn her into his spy, his Sorcerer gave her beauty, the musical skills and also the ability not to age. If they removed the spell I would be a withered old woman. She shivers thinking about being a decrepit ugly woman.

      While spying on Wang Li Jie, Zhao Jiao fell in love with him subsequently then only passed along virtually useless information to Wang Chao Han’s  network head. The Feng Family though she had no use for them, they were all arrogant, seldom even praising her beauty or musical prowess. The information she had gathered on them eventually  led to the death of Feng Jia’s precious wife when Wang Chao Han sold the information to the Crown Prince of the Night Sky Kingdom. She needed to show she was working for him, he is a brutal man, if he found out she harbored feelings for Wang Li Jie…

     “What is the girl’s name, I’m curious where she learned to sing so beautifully.”

     “Zhang Xiaolian”

     Zhao Jiao stares at him with wide eyes, she can barely hold her tongue to ask more. That is the name of the girl Wang Chao Han offered a huge reward for her whereabouts! It is not a common name..but if I had seen her more clearly, those spies had a portrait... She travels frequently, by chance overheard this when she was in the Purple Dragon Kingdom meeting with some pertinent information about The Righteous Order. Apparently Wang Chao Han has just returned from another world and is frantically searching for Zhang Xialian. This information could possibly free me from the hold Wang Chao Han has on me.

     The crowd is getting restless and it is time for her to go on stage, but this information must be sent immediately to Wang Chao Han.

     “Excuse me Kang Longwei I have to freshen up and go back on stage. I hope to see you and Wang Li Jie after my performance. She gracefully gets up from the table and heads to the back of the restaurant.

    Zhao Jiao grabs the waiter by his shirt, he is her younger brother. “Gu, I need to know right now, where is Wan Cuifen?” she asks frantically.

     He rips her hand from his sleeve, “How would I know, she left us to take care of this crowd and no one has seen her since.”

     Dammit, she grew up with Wan Cuifen and if anyone knows how to send a shady message she does. Who could possibly find a crow or even better a falcon. I could send a coded message to Myriad Cloud City to my contact there. He won’t reveal it to the network if I offer him a good price, just send it directly to the Sorcerer, Wang Chao Han’s most trusted person. I must get credit for the discovery to use as leverage for my freedom.

     “Brother,who do you trust here?” It has been a long time since she returned to the village and the staff  at the Inn has changed.

     “Why?”

    “I need to send an important message as soon as possible but I don’t want anyone to know.”

    “What have you got yourself into Jiao?”

     “Never mind brat just who would you trust.”

     “I guess I would say, me for a price.” He laughs seeing his sister’s face with an annoyed expression.

         Kang Longwei can hear what they are saying with his high martial arts. This is worth investigating.

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