"Ninth prince Zong Ching, your father did not have you to the games this year...Again." Zong Ching's servant whispered.
"I know." He answered and waved his hand to dismiss the servant.
When the door closed he dropped his mask and the anger in him could be easily recognized on his face. He balled up his fists and bit his lips.
"Aurghhh!!!!" A giant smash and a giant porcelain vase broke into pieces. A furious Zong Ching could be seen with a bloody fist but on his face, the anger in his face slowly melted away and a cunning smile replaced that anger.
He reached inside a maroon basket and took out a roll of white linen and began expertly wrapping it around his wounds.
After he finished wrapping his injured hand, he walked towards his bookshelf and lifted a peculiar green looking vase. When the vase moved away from its original spot the sounds of old wood and metal creaking could be heard and the bookshelf slid open to show a hidden passageway underneath. He walked down the stone stairs and when he disappeared underground the bookshelf slid back into its place as if nothing happened.
"Prince Zong Ching?" The servant from earlier opened the door again, the loud commotion had alarmed him so he came back to check
When he saw the smashed pieces of porcelain his face grew a bit shocked.
"Grandma Mei! Please come quick!" He shouted into the year and he ran into the room.
"Prince, where are you?" He walked into the room but he could find the prince.
Grandma Mei, she has worked for the longest in the courtyard and currently holds the highest place among the servants.
"What it is boy? What happened-oh." She walked into the room and saw the broken pieces.
She let out a sigh and slowly walked towards the door.
"Grandma Mei! Why are you not caring about this?" The young servant asked.
Grandma Mei looked at him and shrugged as if this was normal.
"It happens every now and then. Ling get the broom, the young prince broke another vase!" The old women shouted out to the yard.
"Ehh, again?" A faint distant female voice could be heard complaining.
"Now boy let's go, leave the clean up to Lin." Grandma Mei bickered for him to follow.
When they were out the room the servant asked, "Where is the prince?" Grandma Mei laughed. "Probably out for a walk, it's normal."
Grandma Mei's response puzzled the servant beside her but the other servants acted as though it was normal and continued on with their work.
"Master Wei." Zong Ching politely greeted and bowed.
"Good to see you, prince, sit, sit." Master Wei clapped his hands and an old maid brought forward a tray of tea.
Zong Ching smiled and sat down.
The two sipped their tea and continued their talk from the other day. As they talked Zong Ching spoke so calmly that you would not believe that only earlier he was cursing and furious enough to break a vase.
After a long conversation Master Wei set down his cup and sat up straight.
"Young Prince, what is it that you wanted to talk to me about?"
"Eh?" Zong Ching widened his eyes a bit but then let out a defeated sigh.
"Nothing can get past Master Wei. Yes, you are correct, something is bothering me since this morning." Zong Ching confessed.
Master Wei immediately knew what he was referring to and could guess what he was going to ask for.
"Is it about the games?"
Zong Ching was taken back but quickly recovered and merely nodded.
Master Wei smiled. Underneath all the politeness he could see this boy, no man's, ambitions but he does not know the full extent of this. He suspects that his family relations have been found out since he did not really bother to hide this but it's just not spoken of.
"I can get you a spot in the games." He stood up and patted Zong Ching's shoulder.
"Eh? But how?" Zong Ching seemed to be confused.
Master Wei chuckled and stroked his beard. "That is for me to know and you to find out, anyways with you going I'm less worried."
"Why would you be worried?" Zong Ching asked.
Master Wei let out a sigh. "My daughter is also going to be in the games this year."
"Lady Mingxia is going!" Zong Ching suddenly got a little excited but this excitement then turned to fear.
Master Wei lifted his eyebrows in surprise, upon seeing this reaction Zong CHing immediately picked his posture and coughed to get past this situation. Master Wei on the other side picked up his tea and took a sip but a smile was evident.
"Now then, Prince, let's get back to what we were talking about before. I can help you get into the games but in return I want you to make sure that she is not harmed on the way there and back."
"Why didn't you say for the entire trip? The games are the most dangerous part of this entire event." Zong Ching said.
"I do want to but...She wants to go, she has to go because you know what will happen if we disobey the Queen Dowager. She knows about the dangers of going but she still said she wants to go, who can stop her?"
Their conversation ended at this and Zong Ching left right before dinnertime. Master Wei went back to the study room and took out his brush, ink and paper and began to write a letter to his relative in India. What the two did not know was that outside of the room during their talk was Mingxia. She had heard their entire conversation and a wierd smile was on her face.
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