After training for two weeks, I finally seem to begin to master the Phoenix Moonlit Dance. I trained really hard. Even training when I was alone in my room. I was looking forward to showing Yun Wen what I’ve gotten. I didn’t see him in a week. I couldn’t sneak out every day. When I saw him I was excited like a little child. I ran to him smiling but he poured cold water on me by saying:
“So, you’re finally here. We’re going to The Blossoming Flowers today.”
“Why do you need to go with me? You can go alone.”
I didn’t realize I was pouting and I did feel disappointed. I looked so much forward to this day to show him that I really trained hard. I was looking for a praise from him and he only want to satisfy his manly needs.
“Are you jealous?”
“No, why would I be?”
“Then let’s go.”
The moment he set foot there, the girls come to him like bees coming to a flower. I was pushed aside. Finally he remembered me and pulled me to a chair.
“I need you all to turn her into the most amazing courtesan. Money isn’t the problem.”
“Young Master, if you need a concubine just picks one of us. Why go all these length to keep a woman. Beside she is just average looking. Aren’t I more beautiful?”
“Of course, you’re more beautiful. She doesn’t have your pretty face nor does she have your pretty figure. How can she compare to you? That’s why you need to help me change her. To tell you the truth, she was kicked out by her husband. I need to help her get her husband back. Look at her, what man would want her when we have you? I know that it’ll be difficult but can you help me?”
He looked at her with his puppy eyes. They keep talking about my shortcomings. Do they realize that I’m still here? Hearing them talk like that about me makes me irritated. I know I’m not beautiful like my mom, but I did inherit some of her features. That bastard, when is he going to stop looking down and badmouthing me? Every time I see him I get mad. After a while, the courtesan leaves and he turned back to me.
“You’re going to learn from them from now on.”
“Do you think that you’ll always have the emperor’s love? Why do you think that all the previous emperors have so many wives? Is it really only for political benefit? He may love you now but what about the future. Women of the emperor are no different than prostitutes. It’s just that they serve one man. To keep the emperor interested in you, you’ll learn what it takes to be a real woman.”
“Are you the same? Do you love one woman after another?”
“Sweetheart, don’t try to figure me out.”
“Where are you going?”
“Of course, I’m going to have some fun while you are training.”
I was taken to a room by an older elegant woman. She seems to be the boss of this house. She looked at me from head to toe.
“Have we met before? You look familiar.”
“No, it’s my first time here.”
“You got the face of a seductress but your body is only so so. We need to useyour strong point and make them stronger.”
“How do I do that?”
She led me to a place where I can see the girls working. I was on the second floor and they were on the first floor. I saw some dancing, some pouring wine, some being touched and some smiling at the men. I feel disgusted. I didn’t realize that she was looking at me instead of looking with me. She shook her head.
“Do you feel dirty being here?”
I looked to the ground.
“This is your first lesson. You’re letting everything show on your face. Do you think that every girl like to be here? Some are forced and some do it willingly. But all are smiling. Poker face is the core of this business. Even if you have a bad day, you need to smile at your customer. You felt disgusted watching them being touched by many men. I knew because you show it. Learn to keep a smiling face even if you want to kick his ass.”
“Isn’t living like that difficult?”
She smiled a sad smile.
“You must be from a rich family, where you can do what you want. But when life is not in your hands, to survive you’ll do anything. Even if it’s difficult.”
She pointed to some girls and asks what I see.
“Aren’t they doing the same thing? Serving men.”
“The ones doing the hard work get paid less. See that girl who just finish dancing? She gets paid more than those who get touched. And that girl who just sits there is the face of this house. She sits there and gets paid more than anyone.”
“I don’t understand.”
“All men are wolves. There something about her that attracts them. Maybe it’s because she looks so innocent and have a sad face that will make men want to protect her. She’s using that to her advantage. Your second lesson is finding something in you that attract men and use that against them. You don’t need to be pretty to seduce men, just use what you have to the best and be confident about it.”
When I was back at the temple, I was still digesting all the information and things I’ve seen. Yun Wen brought me back today because Lian Er stayed at the temple today in case something goes wrong she can cover it for me. We didn’t talk the whole way to the temple. When I was about to say goodbye, he flicked my forehead.
“Don’t think too much.”
When I was in my room, I can’t think about something in me that will attract men. All my life I knew I would be the emperor’s wife, so I didn’t really pay that much attention to my appearance and to men in general, until I met Xuan Chen. What about me attracted him? What about him attracted me? Is it his protectiveness or is it because he was the first man aside from my family with who I had interaction? Would I’ve fallen in love with any other man if I met them instead of Xuan Chen? Do I really love Xuan Chen?
The more time passes, the more I don’t know anymore. I was so sure that I love him but now do I really love him? Have I ever loved him? Was it love or just an infatuation?
What is love?