Xi Ping: History

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Midnight Song

Flower Viewing Festival

In the twenty-eighth year of Taiming, when the House of Overflowing Splendor held its Flower Viewing Festival, Xi Ping participated in the guise of a courtesan. The courtesan Jiangli, a friend of his, needed a musician to accompany her performance after her usual musician injured her hand, so Xi Ping stepped in to take her place.1

The night of the festival, Xi Ping performed dressed as a woman, his face painted with heavy white makeup and hidden with a sheer half-veil. He played the qin concealed behind a cotton screen, showing only the edge of his skirt as he left the stage, and helped Jiangli create a simple, refreshing, skillful performance that charmed the audience. The stage was showered with gold and silver trinkets as they finished, and Jiangli was crowned Queen of Flowers later that night.1

After Jiangli's coronation, rowdy audience members demanded to see her mysterious musician, and she could not convince them that this was impossible. Xi Ping chose to return to the stage area as she struggled to placate the crowd, shouldering his qin and inviting the brothel's patrons to "look if they dared." He made rounds of the audience, paying respects to guests, and smiled at everyone with teeth stained red by lip rouge.1

He tried to exit after finishing these rounds, but he happened to reach the door at the same time as the Marquis of Yongning, his father. This sent him fleeing immediately, abandoning his qin and sending his too-small women's shoes flying as he sprinted out the door and away. His father recognized him a moment later, and he sent his servents chasing after him in a fit of rage, the rest of the brothel gawking after them.1

As Xi Ping ran through the city, trying to escape his father's servants, he encountered Wang Baochang at the mouth of an alleyway just past the ferry crossing. He tried to scare Wang Baochang, his long-time enemy, out of his way by impersonating a female ghost. Wang Baochang appeared stupefied in response to this, so Xi Ping shouldered past him to access the alley and continued on his way.1

Having successfully escaped his father's servants, Xi Ping made his way to Prince Zhuang Manor, the home of his paternal cousin Zhou Ying.1


  1. Chapter 1: Midnight Song (1) translation original archive

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