Opening her eyes, Sou Fei fond herself in a moving wagon. Her head felt like it was about to split apart. She tries to sit up, but her strength fails. Her mind was in a state of awareness and sleep. Voices went back and forth.
"We got a good deal on that girl."
"Ya, the kingdom will survive.." replies the second voice.
"But the girl looks sick; we can not give the Prince a sickly bride." pointed out the first man.
"We were told to gather girls from the neighboring kingdom."
"At least we get more gold from his Highness."
Sou Fei was confused about what the men were saying. Soon sleep took her. Startled by cold water poured on her face, Sou Fei sits straight up. She was not in the wagon anymore. Instead, cold hard floor touches her thinly cover butt cheeks.
She looks around the room. A figure loomed over her with a fierce glare. Her eyes could not make out the figure's appearance due to lack of light.
"Who are you?"
"Get on your feet quickly." demand an unpleasant voice.
Mei Sou Fei struggles to get up on her feet. The figure watches her fall over and over again. After several minutes later, the mysterious person pull her up by the arm.
Next, she was blindfold and pull along. Muscles in her body tense up also her heart pound hard in her chest. Sou Fei's mind ponders many things.
What is going on? Where has she been taken? What is the purpose of selling her? How can she escape her fate?
"Miss, walk faster will you." bark the voice.
Sou Fei pick up the pace, but the person's speed was a lot faster. It was hard to walk while being blind. She did not know where they were going. Her feet kept going until she trips over.
"Hey, what are you doing?" exclaimed her guide.
"So sorry I tripped."
She felt a hand on her and pulled back up. This time the person did not release her. Finally, they stop; the blindfold removed.
The place was small with bars. Rooms had women in one corner. Sou Fei stood in one of the rooms. She sees the person who brought her here. He stunted in size with scars on his face. Chills ran her back, causing her to rub arms.
Sou Fei inquires, "Who are you? Why am I here?"
"Missy, shut your trap!"
The man walks away leaving her in the barred room. A sigh escapes from her lips. Sou Fei reaches the bars and shakes it. After that, she plops herself down in one corner of the room where moonlight shines in front of a tiny window.
Mei Sou Fei took out the scroll that she was hiding in her chest. Breaking the seal, she rolls it out so the letter would be visible. The note read the following:
To my beloved Daughter Sou Fei,
By the time you read this letter, I will have died already. You may wonder why I would leave this world. My landlord probably gave you my belongings as I hope you would receive this letter and pray that everything is well. Before I brought you into the world, I lived in a different place.
I lived in the palace in Chang'an. I was a maid to the Emporer's second wife, Wu Loa. My life was neither excellent nor bad because I had a place to stay. 16 years ago, Someone framed me for a crime I did not commit. Due to this situation, I was forced to leave my home.
Without a home, I had no choice but to sell myself to make a living. I have a suspicion which might have done the deed. I am relatively confident the crime done by the Mistress, and I have no proof. Having this knowledge, I felt like I no longer want to live. My dear Sou Fei, you may think I am selfish, but I can not go on with my life. I could not handle being a prostitute. In my absence, I hope you live well. I love you.
Sou Fei ran her eyes over the letter once more. Reading this note astonished her a bit. She did not know her mother at all. Many thoughts flooded her mind. Mei Sou Fei rolls up the letter and put it away. Deep emotions came to the surface. She hugs her knees then wept.
"Hey. you there!" yells an unfamiliar voice.
Startled Sou Fei raise her head. It was a girl several feet across from her in the same type cell. She seems too young to be here. Her appearance was difficult to see.
"Who are you talking to? shouted Sou Fei.
"I am talking to you."
"Oh, hello there. What is your name?"
"My name is Lia. What brought you here?" said the girl.
"I am Mei Sou Fei. I am not sure why I am here."
Sou Fei rubs her forehead to try to relieve the pain.
"What is the matter?" asks Lia in worry tone.
She walks up to the bars then question Lia, "Oh, nothing. Do you know what is going on here?"
Lia replies, "I think we are going to sold."
"Sold! Sold to who?"
"I do not know."
The other girls shushed them. Soon men came in and unlocked the bars.
"Gather up girls."
All of the girls gather except for Sou Fei. One of the men came to get her.
He seizes her and drags her towards where the girls wad standing. Everyone went through an examination before they got into wagons.
Sou Fei got into the fifth wagon. Her body bobbed up and down due to the road not being smooth. Time seems to be in slow moving. It felt like forever since she had something to eat. Majority of the girls was quiet without making a single noise.
Stars appear from behind the clouds. She attempted to escape several times but caught again. The men tie her arms, feet, and mouth with rope. Sou Fei took in the scenery for a while. Her eyes became heavy soon sleep fell upon her.
Cold water on her face shock Sou Fei to awaken. Her mouth was still tied. She saw a different set of women surrounding her. One of them came close and untied her.
"Where am I?"
"You are in the maiden's quarter area." answer a mature looking woman.
"How did I get here? Where is this place?"
"This place is the King's palace. You are now the property of Emperor Li Yuan." replied the woman
"Which kingdom am I in right now?"
"Tang." answer another woman helping her up.
"What you people are going to do to me?"
"We will train you to be a consort." respond a different woman.
A consort? What is that? Is it a term for a slave? These thoughts cross Sou Fei 's mind. The ladies grab and led her into a sperate room. They take off her filthy clothes. She wore the same outfit for too long. Sou Fei fell backward into the water. The letter falls into the water.
"Oh, no!" exclaim Sou Fei rushing to pull it out.
"What is in the scroll?"
"It's just a letter from my mother. reply Sou Fei looking for something to dry the note.
"I can help dry it for you."
"I would appreciate it. I beg you, please don't read or tear it," states Sou Fei anxiously.
One woman took the note and left the room. Many hands began to rub some stuff on her body which causes giggles to come out. Sou Fei has a couple of ticklish spots. Minutes later, she was pulled out of the tub. Next, the women slip a dress on her.
The dress felt smooth almost like a baby's skin. On the shoulders, there was a significant dark blue flower flowing down the sleeves. Bottom part had lighter blue small flowers. Sou Fei's face was wiped then her hair put into a traditional style.
Sou Fei's face was wiped then her hair put into a traditional style
The woman led her to another chamber. In the middle of the room a small table place with a pillow next to it. On the left side of the room, there was a bed. On the walls, there were ancient writings.
"Miss, please wait here." said the woman who led her here.
"Okay, when will I be able to leave here? When can I get my letter back?"
"Do not worry, nothing bad will happen," answer she sounding annoyed.
The ladies quickly exit the room without giving Sou Fei a chance to say another word. Sou Fei whirl around smiling at her new clothes. Just looking at it almost made the painful memories disappear. Her eyes glance over the writing. None of the poems makes sense.
Kneeling down on the pillow Sou Fei lays her head on the table. Grrrr sounds breaking the silence.
"I am so hungry!"
Sou Fei closes her eyes and sighs. Tempted to leave but she did not want to know what would happen if she did. In the end, her choice was to stay.
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