Lady West-Wind was disguised, she liked disguises, although she was wondering if this one had been a poor choice. She was walking the evernight streets of the walled city in the form of a middle-aged woman. Someone people would assume had a child at home, only one, more was too expensive and besides, there was no room. Someone people would assume she had at least one aged parent at home, possibly more, making for even less room.
In all, she discovered, this was the form of a visible invisible person. She was given no greetings, no courtesy, not even insults just to prove she was seen.
Lady West-Wind was offended. These were her women, the ones who left her little gifts for no other reason than she reminded them of their beauty, now fading into strength. Did they not see that their strength was a beauty greater than the soft, rounded cheeks of youth?
She sighed, shook her head at the folly of these human creatures and continued on her way. Her destination wasn’t far or she might have been tempted to change her appearance. But it took too long and maybe this would be a valuable learning opportunity.
She snorted to herself, she was spending too much time with Red Phoenix, coming out with things like that. Well, no doubt this story would amuse them, the next time they played mahjong and Red Phoenix pretended not to cheat.
Here she was now, fetching up to the door of a dumpling shop. She would buy dumplings, but her true purpose was the sad girl behind the counter. Her mama had left a gift for Lady West-Wind, and whispered of her daughter, how she was so clever, so determined to learn. Then she whispered of her husband, who didn’t like clever women, and wanted his daughter to be stupid and only do as she was told. He wanted her to work in their family dumpling business for him, and then for her brother when Baba grew too old.
Mama whispered, guilty, that her son was a good boy (Lady West-Wind snorted again), but he wasn’t the bright light his sister was, and was too influenced by his Baba.
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