Description: Tao Tsinghua's whirlwind adventures at the Podiebrad Manor have swept him off his feet. Finding favor with the Lord Podiebrad, the relationships between the Gong Estate and Podiebrad grow more intimate day by day. Lord Podiebrad soon finds himself eager to take the relationship between the two houses to the next level. Will Tao Tsinghua be able to resist the charms of the Hungarian? Or will he find himself... Drawn to Quartered? (The cover shows Tsinghua reclining upon a red velvet drawing couch at the artist studio. Next to the fair chinese man, there is a bowl of fruit sitting on a small table. Behind the couch, a black stallion stands behind him. Sketching the young man is Bela von Podiebrad, stripped to the waist and sitting, wearing only a pair of leather pants. The view shows us looking over the topless Bela's shoulder, and see him drawing Tsinghua within his sketchpad. The lower portion is unfinished.)
The rest of that day had been quiet, after that horrifying interaction with Zsa Zsa. Tsinghua slept for most of the day, only waking up late at night a few times, from some disturbing dreams. Due to how early he went to sleep, he was awake at the break of daylight; In the very early morning. Now, Tsinghua had been thoroughly disturbed by this place thus far.
But the curiosity and wonder of exploring this large house had gotten the better of him, and he decided to go out for a walk. He had switched clothing, now wearing his original, light-beige colored Hanfu, with moss-green highlights in the shape of leafs and roots. He did decide to bring his walking stick, not likely to need it- But more out of habit. As always, the golden necklace was indeed around his neck- Just as Sybil wanted it.
He would have been wandering the hallways for just over 20 minutes at this point, giving short bows to the early staff that might be making their rounds-- Looking at the various paintings of the Patriarch and doors he was too afraid to open; He did wonder if he'd get a chance to meet said patriarch.
Although, after yesterday's conversation, he's not sure he wants to.
Fortunately, the halls would end.
As the hallways lead Tsinghua along, as the eyes of the servants lock on, the portraits grow more and more frequent. Until, the halls stretch open into a great, high-ceiling chamber. Extended into a far wing of the manor, Tsinghua would find himself in a room filled with portraits. Dozens of them, not all of them being of the Patriarch, but instead of various other Podiebrads. There is even a painting of Zsa Zsa in repose, politely and barely covered in a thin silk drapery. Statuettes of soldiers, warriors, and of course the Patriarch are half-finished all over, as well as more abstract and modern works. As Tsinghua would browse further, he would see an artist at work, a long-haired man encircled by canvas and half-formed clay. His current focus is a portrait, looking at his model swiftly back and forth.
His subject was a bald man, with a dim grin on his face before the long-haired artist.
As Tsinghua enters, the bald-haired man looks up at him. "Oh!" He states. "One moment!" He says to the artist. THe artist growls, turning from the canvas into one of the other three, his focus latching on to the other as the bald man takes his break. Dropping off the stool, he approaches Tsinghua, waving at him. "Hello! Hello! Are you our guest?" He asks brightly, his blue eyes almost glowing with indigo light, a smile on his lips as he approaches.
"Are you from the Gong Estate?"
"Wow.." He mutters. This place had been weird, but it also has some fantastic sights! The gallery impresses Tsinghua, although he does turn away from the scantily-clad Zsa Zsa- The kid might have been a little traumatized by her, who knows. He would look down toward the voice when it'd ring out, the boy quickly looking as if he was caught doing something bad- Turning a little pink around the cheeks, and bowing.
"Good morning, sirs. I am terribly sorry for interrupting." He would rise soon after, meeting the bald man by looking into those odd eyes of his. The boy smiles politely, and tilts his head every so slightly. "That is quite right, sir. I am Tao Tsinghua, apperentice messenger of the Gong Estate. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.
"Hello Mr. Tsinghua!"
The man states, trying to grab his hand to shake it as the boy bows. "I am Matthias von Podiebrad! I am the head deacon of the House of Podiebrad! I am having a painting made of me, before we go to Castle Alucard!" Matthias tries to straight Tsinghua up. "Do not be so sorry! You are a good person! But you are also surrounded by darkness!" He states cheerfully, pulling him a bit to the artist at work. "Come over with me! I want to ask you how you are enjoying this place!" He is friendly.
But also -very- strong, as he pulls him.
"Ah-" He is surprised, but doesn't resist as his hand gets grabbed. "Greetings, mr. Podiebrad." He does, indeed get straightened up, though his hand is still held. "S-Surrounded by darkness?" *gulp* "Oh, uhm- Certainlyyyy--" And then, he gets pulled with, only barely keeping on his feet as the Deacon pulls him with. "Oh, uhm. This place has been great, mr. Von Podiebrand."
"I am happy you like it!"
Matthias pulls Tsinghua to the stool. "You can draw him next!" He states out loud. The artist gives a groan, hidden behind his canvas, as he flips over another page, and begins to sketch. Matthias nods. "He is a very good artist. You should have a sketch to take home!" Matthias blinks a moment, rubbing the boy's shoulder. "Your spirit and soul has been made dirty though. You should practicing your prayers, so you can clean it." He pat pats. "We are doing to do prayers before we go to Castle Alucard. I am going to get new tea and flowers there. There are beautiful flowers and tasty tea there, and we are one of the few places it can grow. Zsa Zsa said you tried the tea!" Matthia's eyes light up.
"Did you like it?"
"Eh? W-Well thank you, mr. Podiebrad, but I wouldn't want to give the artist more work." He reacts, after seeing the painter groan and growl. He however, does get pushed onto the stool. The boy winces a little as Matthias rubs his shoulders. "H-How do you mean, mr. Podiebrad? About my soul, I mean.." However, the subject shifts, and Tsinghua eagerly takes that shift. "Oh! Yes, I loved the tea, mr. Podiebrad. It was fantastic. I dabble in gardening, and brewing tea myself."
"So I am always interested in trying new types!"
Matthias's smile doesn't fade, as Tsinghua gives his feedback.
"I should show you the gardens! We are very busy preparing to go to Castle Alucard, but I know I can show you my gardens before we go. You should tend to the garden as you tend to your soul." He doesn't seem to stop smiling, though his tone becomes more serious. "I can sense a force of profound darkness trying to take hold of you. Not of your mind, but of your spirit. Forces of nature? No, I sense a profound evil. I do not sense a ghost or cursed force, but something is building within! You must search within yourself, and pray. It may be an evil or a sin that is stealing away your-"
"Oh, don't scare the poor boy, Matthias, he'll run back to the Gong Estate complaining about those Podiebrad preachers."
The artist interrupts Matthias, and the priest backs off. The man peers from behind the canvas, arching an eyebrow. He is a man with white hair, his face is cut sharp, long and stony with a distant, aloof facade. He is garbed in an artist smock, and quite a good deal of jewelry. Silver earrings, bracelets, bangles, and a ring for each finger adorn him, with not a single gemstone amongst his jewelry. His hands are exposed, and his long fingernails are painted beetle shell gold and silver, shining with every movement. His artist palette is gold, and his brush is silver, with white hair tipping it, possibly his own. And exposed so clearly from behind the canvas, his features may suddenly become very, very familiar to Tsinghua, before he ducks back behind the canvas, to continue his work.
It's the same face on all the portraits within the halls.
"I- I would love to see your gardens, mr. Podiebrad."
The boy sort of shrinks under Matthias's preachings, what is he talking about? It's scaring him a little. But when that voice rings out from behind the painting? The boy turns to face him- Before his eyes widen in surprise. He darts up from his seat, before bowing deeply- forming an almost perfect 90 degree angle with his body. Putting two and two together, he must presume that this is the Patriarch. "I- I am terribly sorry, sir Patriarch- I foolishly missed your presence; Please forgive my insolence."
Tsinghua looks very nervous, partially because of his misunderstanding, and partially due to worrying what this person is like-- After talking with Zsa Zsa the day prior. "You have humbled me with your hospitality, Patriarch of the house of Podiebrad. Are you certain that you wish to spend the time painting my image? It is far more then I deserve."
"Am I certain?"
Bela von Podiebrad responds, a hiss of contempt hanging in his throat, a flash of anger. Matthias hums softly, soothingly. "Brother, please, you know he did not mean insult." Insult? Bela begins to paint more deliberately, glancing back and forth from Tsinghua to the canvas. "It's in the layers. Simpletons paint on paper; no offense to you Matthias." Matthias laughs dimly, as Bela continues. "But artists, geniuses, work in layers. Painting and painting, sketching on sketches. The ash, the oils, the very shape of work. "Thus, the question remains."
"Should I spend time on this?"
Bela narrows his eyes at Tsinghua. Reading his features? "Is it a question of my soldiers? Whether the Acting Commander can even muster the same effort as Szabolc? Can Corporal Nadia truly succeed as a Commander? Or will her womanly limitations fail her." The sound of brushwork intensifies. "Or maybe, it's a question of my artwork. Is it grace? A humblebrag of concern, of etiquette? A trained gesture brought like a proverbial ape, ducking and bowing and making the rites and gestures befitting the term Mandarin?" THe intensity builds, though Bela's words do not rise any louder, any more vigorous.
Only the sound of the brush reflect the passion underneath.
"You are beautiful, child." He purrs. "Intensely handsome and delicate in your features. Your essence deserves nothing less to be captured on canvas, in stone and clay. I'd drive into glass if I could keep you for weeks. And I may very well, if I have my way. You are not blind to this beauty, you are not ignorant of it." He pauses a moment, catching his breath as he pulls from the canvas.
"You are free to apologize now, of course."
Tsinghua remains in that bow, sweating as the Patriarch reprimands him- That is what it feels like, at least. He listens, and listens- Shivering all the while as Bela questions Tsinghua's questions. Finding deeper meaning that Tsinghua never intended to be there, at least not consciously. He does not dare to speak in between of the Patriarch's words- No, sentences.
And there it is again, the fascination with beauty that the house of Podiebrad seems to have. Lukacs commented on it, Zsa Zsa made her implications, and now Bela's disturbingly vivid description.
The last part was especially chilling, it felt possessive, and the worst part is, is that the Patriarch could very well get his way with a simple request to the Gong Estate. His words hold far more sway then that of an apperentice messenger. Finally, and after thoroughly having confirmed that the Patriarch was indeed finished talking, Tsinghua would speak out- Going down on his knees to prostrate, even.
"I am horribly sorry for doubting your wisdom, honorable Patriarch. I have no doubt that you are a genius on the canvas, and I was a fool to ever suggest otherwise."
Bela tries not to smirk when Tsinghua out and grovels.
Matthias rubs his own head, as Tsinghua goes to his knees. Bela, for his purposes, adjusts his posture as he looks down at Tsinghua dismissively. "Yes, but what about my guardsmen. Tell me about my soldiers." He turns up his nose, looking away in disgust. "Certainly the Gong Estate could do better than them. Especially in regard to officers and commanders, is that not true?" He glimpse aside at the subservient Tsinghua, dabbing his brush into the gold pallete.
"Or is my trust in my soldier deserved?"
For Tsinghua, the question comes rather out of nowhere. What about them? Of course, the boy does answer to the best of his abilities. "The Gong estate does not have a millitary, noble Patriarch. There has been no need for it in the last century-- Even in times of war the Estate avoids getting involved. Most everyone learns to defend themselves to some degree, as Qi and martial arts is deeply engrained into our culture." Taking a quick break, he chooses his words carefully.
"However, there is a group amongst us that exclusively dedicates theirselves to said martial arts; They are considered to be our warriors, if the need to defend the home would ever arrive. They serve as elite soldiers, few in number, yet of significant strength." This is the best Tsinghua could do for a clarification, at the risk of making the Estate look weak.
"My impression of the noble house of Podiebrad's millitary is positive. Lukacs was kind to me, even though I was a stranger- And the acting commander handled the situation with grace and diligence, after everything was cleared up. She was excellent to me, noble Patriarch." Tsinghua intentionally decides not to mention his more negative impressions, they pale in comparison to what he had to endure in his conversation with Zsa Zsa, and the boy understands they were only following protocol.
The Patriarch is pleased.
As Tsinghua delicately balances between selling his Estate's services, and indulging in Bela's ego, it was like watching an acrobat on the tightrope. Matthias, for his purposes, listen with dim awareness, carefully considering as nodding. And yet, at the end, Bela gives a dismissive snort. "Not even an army. Just bodyguards and artists, mere performers. Well, I suppose I will judge their performance soon enough." He stirs his brush in the pallete. And then, almost as an afterthought, he raises his voice.
%"And what of our servents?"
He seems to be amused in his question, and Bela stirs, finally bringing the brush upon the canvas once more. "Yes, yes. You had a few moments with my dear Zsa Zsa. She is so beautiful, isn't she? So sweet, so obedient, so eager and willing." The brush is delicate now. With the careful weave and twist of the wrist, probing. "You can only imagine the passion she shared with me, when I told her of her mission. To bring you the utmost pleasures and satisfactions, when the whole of the House of Podiebrad could not." He pauses, just the tip of the brush upon the canvas, hanging there, wainting. "Tell me, did she indulge your wants and needs, moaning like the hun-"
"He had tea, Bela!"
Matthias actually comes across as accusing. "He is a good boy. Don't you treat him badly!" The Patriarch rolls his eyes at Matthias, as he resumes his painting. "Well, tell me then. How does the service of the House of Podiebrad, compare to the Gong Estate? Maids. Chefs. Masuesses..." He glances with a single eye.
"You have concubines too, don't you?"
"That is correct, noble Patriarch. Yet their skills are nontheless great." As he responds to his accustations, the matter diverts to servants, and he listens; about Zsa Zsa. His sentences build up to be more and more uncomfortable, and it shows- He winces at the last remark, that thankfully was interrupted by Matthias.
Thank the eight immortals for Matthias.
He keeps waiting until he is all done talking, and yet even though he is now sitting upright on his knees, his presence seems to shrink and shrink and with the final question, a equal measure of confusion. "I- ms. Zsa Zsa and I just had tea, cakes, and talked!" He shoots back, it seems as if he had been holding onto that remark since Bela first mentioned it. "She was excellent to me, and- respected my wishes. A-Apologies for raising my voice, noble Patriarch. I could not help myself. Please forgive."
"Our amah (maids) do their duties wonderfully, they keep the estate impeccably clean. Our chefs create the most excellent of traditional cuisine I have ever had, as well as more modern adaptations of such." He swallows again.
"I have never been indulged in the services of our masseuses and masseurs, as it is outside of my current privileges. From all i've heard, they are excellent." The boy nods, looking slightly upward toward Bela's face. "I would say with confidence that our service is more or less equal to the Podiebrad's, noble Patriarch." And finally, Tsinghua has to adress the eldritch elephant in the room; And he tilts his head.
"I am deeply sorry for my lack of understanding, but I am admittedly unfamiliar with the term 'concubine'" He looks down again, nervous as to have upset the patriarch. If the Gong Estate has such a thing, Tsinghua does not know of it.
It's a sound of dismissal, though as the Patriarch had shown so far, dismissal was often the only way to get him to make praise. "It seems your servants are only... adequate. Hardly capable of even matching Zsa Zsa. Oh, but don't feel so embarrassed." Bela coos soothingly, glancing over a moment from his canvas, before returning to it, looking down smugly. "Certainly, people are well known for enjoying Zsa Zsa's cake. Especially those Karnsteins... And you are much more quiet than most when one cannot help themselves with sweet Zsa Zsa. There is no need to apologize." Matthias purses his lips at Bela, furrowing his brow. Bela clicks his tongue, hastening with the brush. "As for what a concubine is, well."
"Don't worry, little boy, you will be familiar soon enough."
Matthias clears his throat. "But what about with artifacts!" He pipes up. "When I was talking with Bela about what the Gong Estate can do, I was very interested in how you can study, read, and understand artifacts! We have many artifacts, and very few people who can read them!" Bela seems to almost deflate, his spirit sinking. "Oh what's the point then, Matthias, if we are just going to ask him." He growls bitterly. "There has to be a theater to it, has to be passion, a romantic light. Yes, go ahead, ask him. I don't care." He smears with his thumb, the brush... suddenly disappearing, as a shining cover hangs over his thumb. Suddenly, he lashes out at Tsinghua, his tone not rising, but the force behind it surge. "Get back on the stool, and turn your head to the right."
"And don't move from there, until I am finished."
"I see, thank you for your kindness, noble Patriarch."
When Matthias chimes in, Tsinghua is relieved for the change of subject; Though Bela's reaction fuels the boy's nervousness further. "That- That is certainly something that our shamans would be able to help with, Deacon. They have quite some expertise in matters such as that." He doesn't go too in depth, considering the Patriarch's seeming disinterest in the way it came up. When the order comes, the messenger swiftly rises to his feet, to sit on the stool and turn his head to the requested position. "Understood, noble Patriarch."
Matthias sounds delighted, as he hoots and grunts excitedly.
"Then we can have their shamans come and help us! With our old artifacts being fixed by Ejnar, we can use their help with what we get from the crypts, and the Rosalia!" Bela doesn't respond. He smears the canvas, rubbing paint in the corners, touching up on it. Matthias averts his eyes a moment, looking at the necklace now. "They must be very pleased with you, Tao Tsinghua! That is why they are looking in, isn't it?" He nods at the necklace, as Bela states firmly. "Yes. Done. Now come!" He spins the easel around, revealing the canvas.
It's dramatic, to say the least.
It certainly looks like Tsinghua. It is Tsinghua. But the present of the flowers at the boundaries, the unseen heat of flames just outside the canvas, it reflects a meekness. A fear haunting his eyes. The eyes. The eyes reflected such intensity. Bela gasps, breathing heavy as he groans, rising up into a stand softly. Without the heels, he was almost the same height as Tsinghua. Bela gestures, presenting his work. "I am finished. Yes, yes, this is my token to you. It will be wrapped and sent to your masters."
"Do you like it?"
"Y-You can tell, Matthias?" Tsinghua does not comment more, it being revealed that the necklace is in actuality connected to a third party, would likely result in a bad time for the boy. His attention however, is drawn back to.. himself, or the painting of himself, at least. His eyes light up, as he looks in wonderous awe for a solid few seconds, sensing the talent and artistry that went into this piece. "Wow-- I, I do not know what to say, noble Patriarch. It is absolutely stunning, I cannot express my gratitude."
He bows again, deeply as he stands up. "Thank you very much, I am honored to have been captured by a man of your prestige and influence."
"I am sure the masters will also be delighted; They see symbolic gifts as important steps in building a fruitful relationship between houses. I only wish I had brought something in return." The boy gives a polite smile, moving his gaze from the painting to Bela.
"I hope to delight them.
Bela walks around Tsinghua, hips swaying with every step as he inspects him from the other angles, holding the gold pallet up high. Matthias nods his head, though it seems that Bela doesn't quite register what Matthias could see. A darkness, the magical auras of the necklace... what was it that Matthias was part of. Bela, having his ego satisfied once more, continues on. "Oh, I certainly hope you will express your gratitude. I won't keep you much longer. You have your..." He turns up his nose in disgust, as if the words were dog filth rolling on his tongue. "Your -Rosalia-, and we have ours. There is much to be fruitful between ourselves and the Gong Estate. You need soldiers and servants. We need shamen. A union, a marriage, must be in order. And what is a marriage with a dowry." He turns back to Tsinghua, very softly touching his fingertips to the edge of the boy's hair. "But for a gift from the Gong Estate, oh my sweet child, my paragon of innocence. The Gong Estate -has- given me a gift."
"You've brought yourself."
The Patriarch waves his hand carelessly to the Deacon. "Matthias, help him return to his room. Tao Tsinghua, as emissary to the Gong Estate, you have been sufficiently entertained. Now, it is my turn to get my entertainment from you, as the... gift from the Gong Estate. As you might as well realized, we in the House of Podiebrad have eclectic tastes. Thrills of the exotic, of passions and of blood." Matthias's eye go wide, and then, a glimpse of understanding passes over him. He nods eagerly at Tsinghua. "You've told me before about the talents of the Gong Estate, about it's servants and... other things. And I intend to explore the depths of those talents." Bela approaches Tsinghua, his eyes blazing with hunger, as he licks his painted lips delicately, the artist pallet even with his eyes.
"Do you understand what I want, Tsinghua?"
"Of course, noble Patriarch. I will do anything in my power to express my gratitude." He responds, innocently, following his protocol as Bela circles him like a shark. "I certainly believe so, there is much to gain from a union."
But then, the man gets uncomfortably close, but Tsinghua bears it. After all, keeping composure is a large part of his job, it is something that he had been thaught. "M-Myself?" He responds, genuinely confused; And although the Patriarch's explanation is vague-
Tsinghua feels his stomach drop further then it likely ever had before, as a fearful chill runs over him. "Patriarch, I am afraid I do not quite understand what you mean- Your words are flattering, but.." His sentence fizzles out, as he starts to get the barest hint of what is going on.
And that is enough for even a trained emissary to lose his composure, slowly, as panick begins sets in. The boy stands up, attempting to take a step away from the Patriarch of house Podiebrad.
Matthias's eyes dart back and forth from Tsinghua to Bela, before he acts.
Once Tsinghua begins to lose composure, Matthias grabs Tsinghua. Was it to hold him in place? To comfort and calm him down? The deacon's grip is so strong, as an indigo light builds. Bela moves smoothly, almost reptilian in his steady gait to close in. "What I mean, is that you will take yourself down to what we call... the Arena of Ravenous Delights. An old roman style coluseum, which we use for our own entertainment. Yes, yes, I expect you to offer yourself up to the House of Podiebrad..." He comes in close.
He sweeps his arm. The artist pallet is gone, as the gold reshapes into a scepter. Gripping it tightly, he pulls away from Tsinghua, walking past him to look at his portraits. "The House of Podiebrad has built its reputation on it's martial culture. You declared that in the Gong Estate, most everyone learns to defend themselves to some degree, and Qi and martial arts is deeply engrained into our culture. You must be trained in it, and thus, you're martial ability will be the final gift. You will show me your art. And like any art, you must perform it." He looks back over, pointing the golden scepter at Tsinghua, as Matthias nods eagerly. "I will provide you an opponent, and you will fight him. You will show me what your Gong Estate martial arts are, and I will judge them as I judge as I critique all works of art. Do not worry, you will not die." He states carelessly, before letting out a yawn. "Prepare yourself, Tsinghua."
"I will see you soon."
"B-Bloodsport?!" He can't help but to exclaim, somewhat surprised, before shutting his mouth as he freezes. Not again, he wanted to distance himself from combat for a time, after everything that happened in the Neo-League. Through gritted teeth, he responds. "Understood, noble Patriarch. I will peform our art for you; And I hope you will find it most.. satisfying." His voice had turned rather cold. "And I hope that I will not dissapoint- It is not quite my area of expertise, within the Gong Estate." He states, simply.
Tsinghua had entirely misread the situation, this, this is something he can do. It is something he can do, yet with reluctance.
"If that is all, I will return to my quarters. Thanks for everything, noble Patriarch." How odd, he had seemingly almost entirely calmed down, and his attitude shifted from polite kindness to polite coldness. And, if that was indeed all, the boy would walk off, likely together with Matthias, as he adjusts the walking stick around his waist.
Matthias escorts Tsinghua along, as Bela distracts himself with a portrait of himself.
As they go down the halls, the man doesn't loosen his grips. It's not a forceful grab, but a protective one. "I am sorry." Matthias states, as he works through the halls. "I am sorry he scared you. He knows he is scaring you, and it is not nice." He says with some small, hurt words. "You shouldn't be afraid though. You should stand up for yourself if you do not like something!" Matthias states matter of factly.
"But it is hard to stand up when you have so many people who expect you behave a certain way..."
Tsinghua listens, and nods. Glad that someone is sensible around here. "That is how it is, Deacon. I can not afford to go against the grain, against the Gong estate's wishes, nor do I want to. It would be most selfish to do so."
He explains, as they walk back to his cozy room. "And I have fought before. I do not like to fight, but this is for a good reason. It is essential that the Patriarch's impression of the estate remains positive." But the boy turns towards the bald man, and smiles.
"I appericiate that you look out for me, Deacon. You are a kind man; Thank you."
"I just want to do the right thing."
Matthias states modestly, as they approach the room with Tsinghua's nameplate. "I do not like fighting either. Do not think of it like fighting! Think of it as performing! Show yourself as yourself, and not as what they want you to be. You will be safe." Matthias smiles dimly. "You have done a good job of showing the Gong Estate, and I am very happy we will be working together!" He looks down the hall a bit, and there is movement, a flash of red hair suddenly slipping around a corner. He whispers to Tsinghua softly.
"Do you want Zsa Zsa to serve you more tea, or would you prefer I bring you food and tea?"
"I would not want to have you perform such tasks outside your profession; Requesting as such would be rude. I- Zsa Zsa is fine, I think." He might not be eager to see her again, but, well, she is the maid here. "You are correct, Matthias. I will do my best for this performance."
"Though I'd prefer to be performing with my instrument.. alas, it can't be helped."
Matthias pats Tsinghua on the shoulder, if a bit roughly.
"I will tell her then. She admires you. I think in a way, we all admire you." Matthias grins. "And you should keep your instrument handy, just in case! If you wish to perform, then you should perform! It will be funny, and also a good thing!" Matthias walks away to the hall, towards Zsa Zsa. Where was Zsa Zsa? She was peering around the corner, watching Tsinghua.
Polishing a side table with ever more vigor, just out of sight.
Log created on 14:03:34 05/17/2021 by Bela, and last modified on 16:09:07 05/24/2021.