7 Chapter 6
Mei Sou Fei found herself standing in a field of white flowers just three miles from her home. Squatting Sou Fei examines the white flowers around her feet. She plucks several of them.
Straightening herself up Sou Fri ran to her mother. Her eyes focus on the deep blue sky. Long black slapping her natural pale face. Earthly color garments cover her thin body.
"Mother, are not these flowers pretty?" said Sou Fei putting the flowers in her palms.
"Yes dear, these flowers are lovely."
Corner of Sou Fei's mouth turns downwards disappointedly. There was no gleam in her mother's eyes. Joy at the moment was sucked out of Sou Fei. She went back to stare at the flowers once more.
Minutes later, she eyed up at the sky. Grey dark clouds roll in to cover the light of the sun. Rambunctious sound echo across the sky.
"Mother, I think we should go home before the storm hits" Sou Fei suggested.
Pulling her long dress up Sou Fei begin to head towards the direction of her house. Now halfway on the road, she glands back and saw that her mother had not moved at all.
She darted back to her mother and yelled, "Mother, hurry! Let get moving."
Her mother's face was turned the other way. Sou Fei finds it odd that her mother is standing underneath a tree. Strange I do not recall a tree being here before. I must not have noticed it. This place feels peculiar indeed.
Sou Fei rushes up next to her. Reaching out she pulled on her mother's dress.
"Mother, why are you not coming?" ask Sou Fei a bit concern.
Like a stone statue, her mother did not move a single muscle. Silence only greeted her. Sou Fei decides to go around and face her mother.
"Ah!" scream Sou Fei.
Vermillion fluid flow from her mouth down the front dress and onto the grass. Shock at what she saw the muscles in her body stiffen up. Like a rotten zombie corpse, her mother came right at her. Decaying hands reach out to grasp around Sou Fei's neck. Those hands began to tighten.
Sou Fei gasp for air, but the grip was holding hard. Taking her hand, Sou Fei tries to loosen the hold. Unfortunately, nothing work to break free.
Mei Sou Fei awakens abruptly. Sweat rolls down her face. Sitting up in bed she put her hand on her chest. Breathing rapidly into the sheet Sou Fei try to calm herself down.
That dream felt so real. Still, the memory of that incident haunts in my dream. Sunlight shining through a small window. Wiping the sweat away with the back of the hand Sou Fei stay there for several minutes.
Yesterday sure was strange. I felt uneasy be having eyes staring at me. To be honest, I wanted to look back and see the person. These thoughts roll around in Sou Fei's head.
A knock sounded at her door. Quickly Mei Sou Fei got to her feet and opened the door.
A young girl stood there and asked, "You are the new girl right?
"I am. Do you need something from me?"
"I came to get you. It looks like you are still in your nightgown." observe the girl.
"Yes, I just got up a few minutes ago."
"Please hurry up and get dressed." response the young lady frowning.
Sou Fei could tell that she already mess up on the second day in the palace. Closing the door, she went to take off the nightgown. Speedy she put on yesterday clothes.
Opening the door once more Sou Fei step out again.
"Finally, you took too much time."
"Oh, my apologies for keeping you waiting," reply Sou Fei.
The girl walked down the hallway. Sou Fei follow the girl to their destination. Both of them stop in front of the wooden door after turning a couple of corners.
"Now, you must know your place in front of the Empress Dowager." remind the girl as she taps on the door.
Mei Sou Fei gulp down the saliva in her mouth. Two of them went into the room and found the Empress sitting in a throne-like chair.
"Your Highness, I brought the new girl."
"Great now strip down the young girl." Empress Dowager ordered.
A couple of ladies came to Sou Fei and started to pull the clothes off of her. Raising her eyebrows Sou Fei glare at the girls with a confused expression.
"Your Highness, may I ask why I have to be naked?" Sou Fei inquires softly.
Mei Sou Fei wraps her arms around herself. Feeling mortified at the situation she wanted to curl up in a ball.
"Stand straight up and put your arms down!" demand Empress.
Sou Fei drops her arms to her side. Getting on her feet, the Empress Dowager came closer to Mei Sou Fei. With sharp eyes, she scrutinizes the young girl's body.
"What is your name again?:" ask Empress fanning herself.
"I am Sou Fei, your Highness."
"I see, have you ever known a man before?" Empress Dowager question.
"Your Highness, what do you mean by that statement?"
"Know your place!" exclaimed one servant woman.
"Please pardon me Highness. I meant no disrespect. I was asking for some clarity on what you said."
"I am merely asking if you ever lay with a man before?" respond Empress.
Sou Fei looks away from the Empress. How am I suppose to answer that question? I am afraid to reply. These thoughts cross her mind.
"I know men but not in the way in which you are implying." Sou Fei finally answer.
"I hope you are not lying to me."
"What if a servant lays with a man then what would happen to her?" Sou Fei questioned.
"If I find out a servant lied about sleeping with a man. I will personally cut their body into tiny pieces!"
After hearing those words, Sou Fei shivers at the appalling image that crosses her mind. She now knows not to anger the Empress Dowager.
"Your Highness, may I put my clothes back on?" Sou Fei request
"Did you not wear these clothes from yesterday?"
"I did your Highness, but I only have dirty clothes to wear. I did not want to disgrace you with my filthy presence," reply Sou Fei.
"I see since you are going to be my servant. I expect you to dress appropriately."
Sou Fei hung her head then ask, "What if I do not have the clothes you want me to wear?"
"I will give you some of my old clothes. Have you clean yourself today?"
"No, I have not because I do not know where I can take a bath," answer Sou Fei as she put her clothes back on.
"Very well, one of my servants will show you where the bath is located When you are finished I want you to come back here."
Correct to her words Empress orders a servant to show the way. Both ladies went on their way.
"Madam, please pardon my insolence may I ask you something." request the head maid.
"What is it you wish to know?"
"Why are you helping that girl?" inquire the maid feeling afraid for what the answer might be.
"She reminds me of another servant who use to serve me."
Minutes later, Sou Fei came back in the room freshly dressed in pink with white flowers.
"You look wonderful in that outfit." Empress complimented her.
"Your Grace, thank you for your kind words." Sou Fei respond as she bowed down.
"Now you will serve me as my personal attendant." Empress Dowager said.
"As you wish."
"An Jun will teach you what you need to learn," says Empress Loa waving at her maid to forward.
Sou Fei saw a young lady who looks a few years older yet have a youthful aura coming out of her.
"An Jun I expect you to teach her well."
"Your Grace I will do my best to guide her," she replied, "Please come with me so I can show you the way of doing things."
Sou Fei follows An Jun out of the room. When the two stood in the hallway, An Jun faced her and said, "Come, let's go for a walk while we talk."
Sou Fei quietly obeys without a fuse. For several minutes, the two walks in silence then An Jun spoke, "There are many rules that attendance must follow."
"Yes, I understand. Please tell me what the rules are."
"I want you to remember these main rules. First, you must swear your loyalty to this kingdom. Secondly, you must obey all orders given by the royal family and me. You must never speak about anything that happens in this place. you must know your place and keep quiet...."
Lifting up her hand Sou Fei cover her mouth concealing a yawn. How much longer do I have to listen to this tedious lecture? I hope I stay invisible from now on.
"Ah! Ah! Ahhh!"