Moments before the Empress enters the room.
Sou Fei waited in the room for some time. A thin veil covers the half of her face, and it went back and forth due to the motion of breathing. Moments later, a woman came to her.
"Miss, Please come with me."
"Where are we going?" ask Sou Fei raising her head.
"You will know if you follow me."
Sou Fei pushes on the table to get on her feet. At first, walking seems reasonable, but then her legs collapsed.
"Please assist me. My legs have become numb from sitting too long." request Sou Fei.
The woman rolls her eyes in annoyance. Grabbing Sou Fei by the arm, she pulls her up. Next, the woman wraps her right arm around Sou Fei's waist. Slowly the two made their way out into the hallway.
Both of them kept going on their merry way. About halfway through their destination, the woman asked, "Can you walk on your own?"
"I think I can now."
Sou Fei was release from the woman's hold. The two starts going again. As the ladies walk silence greeted them. Sou Fei glance around taking everything in her mind.
Young men and women pass them. Some carry trays of food. Others went to the area that the two came from before.
"Hurry up Miss!"
"Right, may I know your name?" respond Sou Fei.
She did not bother to answer just move on forward. Sou Fei pick up her skirt then follow the woman. They head down the stairs toward the outside courtyard. The view in front of her was beautiful. Trees with flowers surround the place. Some flowers were white, red, pink and more.
In the middle of the courtyard is a pound which assumes by Sou Fei that it was man-made. A bridge built on top of the pond. The two walk over the bridge. On the other side, Sou Fei can clearly see a young, handsome man standing still looking up at the blue sky.
As the two continue kept going. The distance between the young man and girls gets shorter. Sou Fei lower her head not wanting to meet the man's eyes.
What am I anxious about? I do not know anyone here. Where is this lady leafing me? How far does she have to go?
Minutes later the ladies arrive at the place. The woman pulls the big door open. Sou Fei saw girls kneeling with heads to the floor.
"Kneel and bow like the other ladies."
"Why should I kneel down? What is going on?" Sou Fei asks giving her a confused look.
"Do you wish to lose your life?"
She shakes her head in responding to the threat. Her eyes look for a space to kneel. Sou Fei turns back toward the woman who leads her here.
"There is hardly any room to-."
A sound made by the door cause Sou Fei to stop talking. Soon two figures appear. She immediately drops to her knees and put her skull to the ground.
Thump, Thump Thump
Sou Fei's heartbeat almost seems like it was echoing in her ears. After who knows how long she raises her head a bit. A pair of silk shoes came into view. For several seconds Sou Fei held her breath.
She put back down her face fearing that the people would notice slight movement. Not so soon afterward a high pitch voice order, "Maidens on your feet."
Sou Fei along with others stand up. Several heads block her view since she stood in the back row on the left side of the room. In order, o take a look at the person sitting down Sou Fei lean slightly to the right.
The person's appearance could halt any man in their tracks. Skin so white like smooth cream of milk. Her cat-like eyes had gold color paint on it and rose paint cover her lips, Garments on that person made it look as if fire god from heaven had his arms around her.
Sou Fei tun out the speech because it bore her. How can that person promise them a better life? After all, they will be slaves to her in the end.
Sou Fei felt a hand on her shoulder. Rotating her neck a little to see who dare to touch.
"I suggest that you pay attention to our Empress." whisper the same woman who got her in.
Sou Fei shrugs her shoulder to get the hand off of her. Empress finally finished going over the plan for the ladies in the room. There were three different stage to the trails.
"In the first trial, I am looking at the performance so do your best everyone. Who wants to go first?" asks the Empress with her head in her right hand.
Everyone stand in place without uttering a single word. Then a lady in the front spoke, "Empress, what kind of performance do you wish to see?"
"Do you people have no brain in your heads or is it that everyone here lack talent?"
Still, no one responds from the group. At last one lady goes to the middle of the space.
"Highness, I will entertain you with a song."
"Go on let me hear it then." replied the Empress.
The young woman began singing. Just one sentence out of her mouth when the Empress put up her left palm."Stop! I have heard enough."
The woman closes her mouth. Everybody look around unsure what to do. Her highness's expression went from happy to boredom."Since none of you don't seem too interested in my offer, then leave here. Go back home and live out your miserable lives."
Hearing this every single one of them except for Sou Fei went away. Her Highness cast her gaze on the only person left.
"Young woman come close since you have not left. I have some questions I wish to ask you."
"As you wish your highness," replied Sou Fei walking up toward the Empress.
"Why did you not leave like the others?"
"Highness, I am your humble servant. Even if I left with the group where would I go?" I have no home to return to nor do I have a family to care for me." answer Sou Fei.
"Hmmm... I see..... I presume you want to take the trail to enter the palace?"
"If you permit me to do so," said Sou Fei bowing down.
"I permit you to take the test. May I inquire about what kind of performance are you going to show me?"
"Empress, In my honest opinion, it is best if I just let you view the performance yourself," says Sou Fei.
"Well go on."
Sou Fei straightened up and began her dance. Her movement slow yet elegant like flower petals flow with the wind.
Sway from side to side also front and back. At a specific part, Sou Fei would bend her spine backward with one arm high in the air. Twirling was another part of the dance.
The door abruptly open and a voice spoke: "My sincere apologies mother I came late."
"My son glad to have you come."
"Mother, why have you summoned me?" asks a husky voice.
Sou Fei continues doing her dance through the commotion. It irritated her that the two would interrupt the performance. Then again she could not speak to them because of the fear of execution.
At the end of the show, Sou Fei sat on the ground with one hand on a cheek. Perspirations form on her face. She tried to slow down heavy breathing.
"Your performance is fairly well done."
"I, thank you for your gracious compliment, Your Grace," respond Sou Fei feel relieved.
Sou Fei quickly got on her feet. She turns towards the door. A dashing young man strode towards them. His look certainly can make a woman want with lust.
"What is happening here?" inquired the same young man again.
"Chun Chun, you miss an entertaining show."
"Mother, is that the reason you call for me?"
Sou Fei wonder who the youthful man was and secretly drool inside. Her attention was too focused on the dark-haired man that she did not notice the other male in the corner of the room. Although she had no idea the three of them would be tied together by fate.
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