Only sometimes did she let herself go to the Met. On days when it rained, or she was caught in a black mood, or it somehow seemed that enough time had passed to check again. She would always pay the full suggested donation to enter, walk through the exhibits she did not recognize, and sit at the top of the stairwell, waiting.
This reminds me of a tale, Li Min said casually, before he could fully stand. She sat between him and the fire, casting a long shadow over him. Would you care to hear it?Not precisely, but he grunted, knowing she would tell it regardless.
It goes as follows. Many, many years ago, Emperor Yan had a daughter, Nüwa. She was as lovely and elegant as a crane, but stubborn as an ox. More than anything, she loved to swim, and often chose the East Sea for its wild beauty. I think you understand the impulse, no?He only seemed to be capable of grunting. His chest was too tight to manage actual words.But tragedy struck. One day while swimming, she drowned. Her will, however, was strong, and she would not give in, not completely. She broke the surface of the water and transformed into a Jingwei bird—have you seen one? They are quite striking. A gray beak, red claws? Well, regardless, she sought out her vengeance for drowning. Every day she flew to gather stones and sticks from the Western Mountains and dropped them into the East Sea. Her desire was to fill it, to prevent others from drowning. She never rested in her task. She continues to this day.
He turned over fully, when it was clear her story was at an end. Then it was an impossible task. What meaning am I supposed to derive from this?Li Min shrugged. You may make anything of it you wish, Carter. The purpose of that tale was to distract you long enough for dinner to be served, and that has not been an impossible task after all.
Nicholas sat up straight, outrage burning through the gray haze around his mind. I told you I would do it! What good was he if he couldn’t contribute his share of work?
This may come as a surprise to you, but I don’t actually prefer my meat shriveled and charred so far beyond recognition I mistake it for old firewood, Sophia told him, turning the skinned rabbits over on the spit.Finally, the golden child lifted his gaze, and she almost laughed at the annoyance on his face. She knew what it was like to be interrupted in the middle of a particularly good page.
It’s just the two of us in the bidding party, Julian told him, finally sliding his backpack off his shoulders with a relieved sigh.This only served to further irritate the boy, who slid from his stool and motioned to the scale. He stepped onto one side, leaving the other for them to pile their sacks on top of, and they began their prayers that they had not misjudged the weight.
How do we know you weigh a hundred pounds? Etta asked.The boy glowered back, bobbing like a ship on a wave as the scale balanced. Etta caught herself holding her breath as their side dipped lower than the boy’s, only to straighten in triumph. They’d brought more than enough.