╔════ Author’s note ═════╗
Thank you very much for all the sugary hearts and comments.
If you’re enjoying this novel, don’t forget to give it a rating.
( ◜‿◝ )♡
4k words chapter. Enjoy and stay healthy～
After the morning exercise, Bing Shi took the girls to the training room in the basement, where a few mirrors were hanged on the walls, saying, “Take a breath and look at the mirrors.”
The cooling wind dried the salty shine upon the powdered faces of young maidens, age ranging from fourteen to seventeen; their abdomens were being pierced by an intense pain from the ‘work out’. Lifting their gaze, they shrieked in horror at the ghastly reflection in the medieval mirrors. Black ink trailed down their eyes and eyebrows, smudging the blush and white powder on their cheeks. “Nooo!” They covered their faces destroyed by makeup.
Bing Shi tilted her head at her new Harley Quinn look, “Do you like what you see?”
“Nooo!” They cried out. Is Tian Shi trying to humiliate them?!
“Because I do,” Bing Shi’s lips curled up as she rested her back against a wall, “I see beautiful women, who are fighting hard for their future.”
“…” Nodding in satisfaction, a few girls took a short glimpse at one of them, “But…he…umm…she…”
Bing Shi glanced at the ostracized person with white hair tied in a ponytail, “Women are not the only ones suffering. There’s as much pressure on men to be a certain way as there is on women. Don’t you agree, Rin?”
Watery black irises withdrew their gaze nervously, saying, “I agree… Thank you.”
“It’s too soon to be thankful,” Bing Shi scanned everyone’s expression, “First look at me, and pledge with all your heart that, wherever you may be, you shall stay loyal to me, and nobody else…”
‘Those girls are being brainwashed to become courtesans. Like hell would I allow Bing Shi to take advantage of me.’ Fei Lan looked around. She noticed how one after another, girls bowed down in respect, while Bing Shi looked at her with apparent interest, “Forgive me, I don’t plan to be a part of your organization.”
Passive yet aggressive. A girl who doesn’t succumb just to anybody.
“No problem,” Bing Shi motioned for Hasan to accompany Fu Lian out, “After all, you’re our guest. For everyone’s safety, please, restrain from leaving your room.”
A pity she is not on my side.
When Fei Lan left, Bing Shi clapped her hands in accomplishment, “I almost fell for your group bow. If it weren’t for the big NO on your faces, I would say, you agreed to the pledge. Good, don’t allow yourself to change your mind so easily. This is not an army. I don’t need little obedient sheeps.”
Bing Shi once said that she desired independent-minded people who, with a little push, could stand on their own. Those who were a bit hard to get along with, as they’re the most hungry ones. For example, Edan, Fei Lan, and…
“As long as I deem you worthy, I’ll pledge my loyalty to you,” Aine, the oldest girl, spoke out. A cunning smile on her smudged face, “But if you ever betray us, I’ll go to the deepest part of hell, and take you down with me.”
The girls looked at Aine in awe. From the begging, Aine was like a second in command. During Bing Shi’s absence, she was the one directing them. Bing Shi clearly stated that they should strive to overthrow her position as a leader. Following Aine’s lead, a quarter of the girls grouped behind her and gave Aine their support.
Bing Shi’s eyes shined in anticipation. “Let me remind you. To seize my seat, you’ll have to reach higher than hell,” she whispered, “That place…is too low for me.” Her convincing response left Aine speechless, “How about you lure me down there with your enchanting voice, hm? It will save your time and effort.”
“…” The girls inhaled a vast amount of air; they felt their blood boiling.
They failed for the second time. The first time, they were bashed for wanting to continue being Bing Shi’s slaves, even after they paid all their debts, which was increasing day by day. Just because someone saved them, it didn’t mean they had to compensate the savior with their lives. Being saved should be considered a person’s luck, a second chance in life, and the silly them would waste it by living for someone else.
Rianta, the second oldest, walked to the back of the vast room and grabbed two long, pink satin ribbons. Without any music, she used sharp, rhythmic movements to bring her ribbons to the air, creating a floating pattern around her body. With her fluid movements, she face-slapped Bing Shi’s weakness, “Too many words, and no action. The clients would get bored from your endless talking.”
The girls coughed up blood at Rianta’s statement.
Bing Shi enjoyed the picturesque sight with her arms crossed in silence.
What a way to catch everyone’s attention.
Rianta’s upper body orchestrated the movements of the ribbon; she leaped into the air and made a graceful spin in the process. She was so in her element that nobody minded her disheveled state; it was as everything was a part of her sorrowful performance. Doubting her easy win, her feet came to a stop. With a trembling voice, she looked at the group of girls like a lost puppy, “How did I do?”
The girl’s mouth twitched. Rianta’s personality made a one hundred and eighty-degree shift. They clapped their hands with fake enthusiasm, afraid of their future prospect as courtesans, thinking how Rianta was going to be the number one with her pitiful act, cheering, “Great! It was beautiful!”
Those proficient in dancing stood up and ran to Rianta, asking, “Could you show us the move you did a while ago?”
Oh? Are they using my presence against Rianta’s greed?
Rianta was reluctant to share her knowledge, ‘What makes a good leader?’ She clenched her hands, “Fine. Show me your skills first.”
Bing Shi tilted her head at the last half of the group, “Nila, how should I keep my position?”
Nila plucked a few strings on her Pipa, “Give food. Those hungry… follow you.”
Isn’t that prince Zhao Rong’s tactic? Keeping the rich full and happy?
Bing Shi smiled at her nervous playing, “As long as I have food, you’ll follow me?”
Nila nodded as a matter of fact, “Follow.”
Bing Shi raised her hand in defeat, “Today’s top spot as a courtesan goes to Nila. Aware of inequality, instead of challenging me head-on, she attempted to get on my good side first. She lowered my guard with her naivety and left me guessing. Save what Aine did for when you’re on the same standing as me. Use Rianta’s arrogance against overconfident, desirous people.”
Everyone opened her eyes wide in disbelief. Nila? That Nila?!?
As not to let the girls be afraid to think out of the box, Bing Shi didn’t say what Aine and Rianta did was wrong. Instead, she encouraged them to be more daring. She used Aine and Rianta as an example for a more adequate situation.
Aine turned towards Nila, “What if I gave you more food?”
Nila stopped plucking her Pipa and grabbed her stomach, “Too much food…fat.”
Bing Shi laughed out loud, covering her mouth with her palm, “Isn’t she cute?”
“…” When all the spotlight was on Nila, Rianta got closer to Bing Shi, asking worriedly, “Aren’t you going to learn how to dance, at least?”
“I would, but I’m too busy with other things. Thanks for your concern.” After another hour, Bing Shi showed her perfected bow, taught by the girls on her first day, “Our lesson ends here. Clean up and go to your assigned rooms. Continue practicing your skills like before, until I find you some suitable teachers.” Stretching her shoulders, she left the room, leaving the girls by themselves.
The girls pouted in unwillingness. The lesson ended too fast. Bing Shi’s interactive way of teaching gave them a kind of enjoyment, without taking any notes, they could remember everything by heart, that’s how impactful it was. Bing Shi didn’t need to induce fear for the girls to follow her. What was her identity? Did it matter? It’s the start of the new beginning. After retouching their faces, they picked up their brushes and instruments. Going to their room, their thoughts dwelled on the lesson, coming up with new ideas on how they would change the situation to their advantage.
· · ─── · ⊱❈⊰· ─── · ·
After changing her clothes, Bing Shi walked towards Aine’s room and stayed there until dawn. Stepping out with a history book in her hand, she passed by a lively guard with a scarf around his neck, underneath which was a sponge-like cushion.
Not even little Ziek would be able to knock down a man for half an hour without leaving some brain damage as a result. Ru Quan did it without any hesitation, that precision was no joke. Don’t they usually target the space below the jawbone, where you check the pulse? Ru Quan didn’t. I clearly saw him hitting the middle part of a guard’s neck. Hm… Did he strike another pressure point without my notice?
Shuffling through a few pages, Bing Shi found it odd that she could read a language that she has never learned before. At first, she thought it was thanks to Kuro, but Ziek and Ru Quan could do it too. According to Kuro, that ability came with the price of being transmigrated by the HQ.
Mostly due to the capable rulers, this world was more developed than Bing Shi’s ancient times. Throughout history, in times of hunger, the kings came out with an idea of how to preserve food. To fight against the barbarians, new weapons were invented, like gun powder and canons. They built construction similar to aqueducts and bathhouses to prevent floods and plaque.
Like this, a few days passed by until a few visitors decided to visit Hasan’s abode. Peeking through the little window on the gates, the guards rubbed their eyes if they saw right, “Isn’t miss Tian Shi supposed to be with the master in the villa, right now?”
Another yelled out at the three people outside, “Who are you?!?”
“I’m Lu Min’s twin sister, Gu Min,” an identical girl to Tian Shi called out, while pointing at a middle-aged couple next to her, “My parents have an urgent matter to tell my sister.”
“…” Tian Shi had a twin sister?!?!
*A few moments later – Hasan’s office.*
Bing Shi avoided the crying couple running towards her by hiding behind Hasan, whispering, “Steal the girl.”
Hasan quickly blocked their path, “…”
“Lu Min, our future in-laws still refused the dowry. They said it was not enough!” The duo in tattered clothes cried miserably. What did they do for such a misfortune to befall their family? Giving birth to twins and daughters at that! What could girls do besides leeching out their parents? Sons were stronger. They could bring prestige and money for the family. Daughters? Nowadays, with the excess of females, they had to pay a dowry to marry one off! As farmers, they couldn’t afford two marriages and had to sell one of their daughters, Lu Min.
Who would have thought that a few days ago, an unfamiliar group of people wanted some information regarding Lu Min? Later, they got to know that the prince took notice of her, paying thirty thousand Kangs for one night!
“The audacity to blame me for your misfortune?!” Hasan yelled out in impatience, “Guards! Throw those two saps out of my house!” He licked his lips in lust as he gazed at the second angel, “Leave the girl behind. It’s been a while since I tasted some fresh meat.”
“No!” Gu Min cried out in horror and grabbed her mother’s hand, “Mother, father, don’t leave me behind, I beg you!”
Her mother got closer to her, whispering, “When you catch his highness’s attention, don’t forget about us.” Then, she got down on all fours, her forehead touching the ground, “I beg Mr. Hasan to give our Gu Min a chance!”
Compared to Lu Min, Gu Min was the more obedient one, always catering to her parent’s wishes, she never talked back, afraid to anger them, for they’d sell her off like her twin sister.
“Scram!” roared Hasan.
When the father-mother duo was thrown out, Hasan resumed his writing while Bing Shi crouched before the sobbing girl, saying, “Heh, in the end, they got rid of you too?”
“They didn’t…” Gu Min glared back at Bing Shi, “Who are you?! Where’s Lu Min?!”
Is this the power of twins? Or is it his highness’ doing?
“We didn’t see each other for a month, and now you can’t even recognize your twin?” Bing Shi supported her chin with her palms, sighing. Why couldn’t this body be an orphan? How easier would life be? Now, the prince was suspicious of her identity. She couldn’t bribe the whole village, could she? It would complicate things more. She should as well make her ‘sister’ believe that she was Lu Min. But without any memories? How? Kuro only showed her a report about this previous host’s history. She got to know the people who had some connection with this body, basic data regarding their relationships, recent situation, and etcetera. Similar to the world story, but less detailed. There was nothing like receiving the host’s memories.
Seeing the accusing eyes, Bing Shi copied her expression, “What? Are you going to ask about our past? Unfortunately, I forgot everything the moment you abandoned me.” Standing up, she dusted out her pants and left the room. She had enough information to make her believe, but it’ll be less complicated by just admitting to be a changed person, a new Lu Min, which shall not be associated with the old one.
Gu Min peered at that lecherous man, “No…” She stretched out her hand towards Bing Shi, “Don’t leave me alone.”
“Do you know how to write?” Hasan, the man in forced celibacy, inquired. Angel would kill him if he touched a strand of her sister’s hair, “Come here. Help this old man to copy this text.”
· · ─── · ⊱❈⊰· ─── · ·
Fei Lan’s disappearance had a great impact on the Tui family. They were famous for having only son descendants, so having a girl was an incredible feast to the family. The reward for her whereabouts was tremendous. Rumors about her being kidnaped to a foreign country were not few, resulting in them investing in Zhao Rong’s army, who, by the way, went to war not long after his first meeting with Bing Shi. It’s been three months since she last saw him.
Ah, give me a break. I’m not a wonder woman who can save every damsel in distress, nor am I a charity.
Bing Shi heard a loud barking outside. Walking to her balcony, she opened her doors to have a clear view of the situation below. “What a beautiful night do we have~. You could’ve used the front gates, you know?”
But I’m one hell of a Feminazi.
(Feminazi – an extreme feminist, who sees men as her enemy. Yes, Bing Shi is making fun of herself. )
“…” The second time Ru Quan appeared in Hasan’s mansion, he was suddenly tied up. Dragged before a group of Dobermans, Bing Shi threatened him to never touch her people and dogs, or she’ll reduce Fei Lan’s food portion. After she let the dogs remember his scent, she held up his shirt as if it was a disgusting piece of rag, throwing that ‘piece of rag’ at the dogs; it was shredded to pieces in a matter of seconds. The initiative interest she had in him disappeared. She didn’t even give him time to explain himself before he was thrown over the wall like a sack of potatoes. She didn’t forget to remind him only to come back when he’s ready to pick up Fei Lan.
< So the reason she was so careful with me the first time was to check out my background? Because damn, she wasted no time on me. >
After a week, he appeared again. Speeding up, he swung at the wall and hooked his hand around the edge of the balcony. With fluidity, he pulled his body-weight up and quickly slipped through the doors. Shutting the doors before Bing Shi’s face, he locked them up, saying, “Little monster, you’re sleeping outside today.” Looking around the dimly lit room, he noticed a pole at the center, from which an arm-long snake slithered towards the balcony doors, “Kuro, no.”
Ignoring his words, the snake unlocked the doors with its mouth anyway.
Bing Shi stepped inside her room, “I don’t feel like sleeping yet.”
Ru Quan patted Kuro’s head, and pointed at the dancing pole, “Don’t tell me you’re going to use that before your clients.”
Bing Shi switched her gaze between Kuro and Ru Quan, “I don’t feel like answering.”
Ru Quan turned towards her, “What do you feel like doing then?”
“Who allowed you to touch Kuro?” Bing Shi snatched Kuro away from him and started to rub its head with her sleeve, cleaning it.
A guard rushed towards the barking dogs and noticed the light, “Miss Tian Shi, are you alright?”
Ru Quan mouthed out.
< You won’t dare.>
Bing Shi let go of Kuro, walking out, she peeked out of the balcony, “They wouldn’t bark out of nowhere, perhaps a rat slipped into my room. Come up and check it out.” Strodding inside, she continued to rub Kuro’s head, “I dare. What are you going to do now, hm?”
“…” Ru Quan stepped into the middle of the room, lifting his knee, he turned his hips ower and delivered a sharp kick towards the pole, bending the pole into a tilted U, “I’m curious how you’ll explain this to them.”
“…” Bing Shi quickly ran towards the doors to open them up, only for Ru Quan to block her path.
“Besides you, there’s another host,” he quickly muttered. Kicking off his shoes, he jumped on her bed, leisurely.
I’m so stupid. So he thought I send Kuro to monitor him? And after making sure it’s not me, he came back to make fun of me?
“…” Bing Shi opened the door slightly, “I chased the rat out of the balcony.”
Ru Quan felt his leg being dragged out the bed, “Kuro, stop it…I’ll yell.”
Bing Shi locked the door, she rolled up her sleeves and walked to her wardrobe to take out new bedsheets, “What if it was me?”
“Would you waste your time on me?” Ru Quan turned his body around, burying his head into her pillow, he closed his eyes. His heart drummed against his chest. “After what I did?” he asked, referring to the time when he said that he loved someone else.
“I wouldn’t,” Bing Shi collapsed on the sofa. Did he try to protect her? She fell for his trap completely, “Why are you calling me a monster?”
“After killing half of my harem, you ran out of the palace for another killing spree,” after the truth was revealed, Ru Quan dug out every data he could find about little monster.
“Was I one of your concubines?”
“You were my concubine’s slave. To get rid of another concubine, you went as far as making out with me before her eyes. And no, you didn’t throw up on me.” That’s why he thought that she’s little monster—connecting his timelines, it seemed like her repulsive reaction was a result of the trauma from her past life.
“How much do you remember?” Bing Shi looked at the person on the bed with a deadpan expression. Seeing him coming near her, she pointed at the door, “Fei Lan is that way.”
Sitting next to her, his lips raised into an arc, “Jelly?”
“I wish,” Bing Shi rubbed her chest, “I’ve been feeling empty lately.”
Ru Quan blinked his eyes, “Are you joking?”
“I’ve been taking painkillers. Maybe they’re killing my feelings too?” Bing Shi giggled, “They’re very addicting, I tell you…”
Ru Quan flared up, he started to shake her shoulders like a madman, “Are you crazy? Stop taking them!”
Bing Shi covered her mouth in exaggeration, “It’s coming out! It’s coming out!”
The irritated Ru Quan grabbed the bedsheet, throwing it over her head, he wrapped her into a cocoon, “Satisfied?!”
“No.” A quiet mumbling came from under the covers, “I can’t breathe. I can’t move. It’s too hot. My throat is dry. I’m going to faint…”
“You win,” Ru Quan slumped on the sofa in defeat.
“Yay~,” Bing Shi exposed her head from under the sheets, “What kind of hobby is that? Provoking others until they cough up blood?”
“What kind of hobby is that? Playing along until they cough up blood?” Ru Quan looked down at the greenhead sticking out of the white cocoon. Lifting his hand, he fixed a few strands of her soft hair.
The forgotten Fei Lan wanted to throw an atomic bomb at this crazy duo! ‘No wonder I couldn’t understand a thing. This whole time, they were fooling around!’
“Any idea who it might be?” Not avoiding his touch, Bing Shi sent Kuro to check the people in the mansion.
“It could be anyone.” After crossing out Bing Shi, there was another person on his list. He tilted down his face, blocking the light of the wall lamp from illuminating her expression, “Bing Shi?”
Don’t tell me… he wants to use me to get rid of the other host?
“Hm?” Bing Shi didn’t avoid his gaze.
“Do you want to reminiscent our past?” He covered them with the blanket and patted his laps.
“Not really,” Bing Shi put her knee in between his legs, face to face, she mouthed out, asking about his intention.
The concubine thingy?
Ru Quan laughed out in delight, “I missed you.”
Bing Shi kneed his crotch, her nose barely grazed against his, “Me or little monster?”
“Ugh, Bing Shi be gentle,” he moaned out, supporting the blanket with his arms, he sent out a flying kiss provocatively. What surprised him was the soft texture of her lips, pressing against his. The defense around him crumbled like a sandcastle, washed out by a high wave, leaving behind nothing but damp sand. Before he could recollect himself, she sank her teeth into his lips. “Argh,” he hissed in pain, “Nggh.”
“You really had to miss me,” Bing Shi wiped his lips, she nudged his hard groin with her knee as she whispered to his ears, “If women knew about your inability in bed, perhaps, they’d give up sooner. Fortunately, I don’t care about sex.”
Was she trying to chase the other host by lying about his impotence? No, she was testing his self-control. Ru Quan tilted his head, licking her ear, his tone oppressive, “You really need a rough spanking.”
“Leave it for you know who,” Bing Shi struggled out of the blanket. Didn’t Xuan Mu appear after the kiss? Why was nothing happening?
“Do you think I’ll give you over easily like that little boy?” He grabbed her bum, squeezing it hard, “It took him so many years to accept his past. See how little time it took me, compared to him.”
“Only thanks to that little boy, could you be here today. Don’t be ungrateful.” Bing Shi showed his hands away, not liking how he talked about Ziek, “Touch me any more, and I’m going to wake up the whole mansion.”
Ru Quan saw her sickly complexion, pulling his hands away, he inhaled the stuffy air mixed with their combined scents, “Need me to help you scream my name?”
Not feeling his touch, she stared at his concerned expression, caressing his swollen bottom lit with her fingertip, “I can help myself.”
“What was your mission again?” he asked, the corner of his lips stretched into a cunning smile.
Bing Shi returned his smile, “My mission is to make you fall for me.” A mission that was given by none other than Xuan Mu.
“What do I get in exchange?” he asked, expecting her answer.
“My heart,” Bing Shi patted her chest, “Deal?”
< It’s already mine.>
You are partly correct.
Her heart was not enough for him, Ru Quan knocked her forehead lightly, “Deal.”
Was it for the show? Who knew? Refusing to compromise, they constantly tested each other’s character. Both wanted to be in control, jumping from high to low with their constant fights and reconciliations, making it hard for others to keep up with their dynamics.
Uncovering their sweaty bodies, he softly kissed her lips, pulling away right after, knowing very well that she accepted it for someone else. Her loyalty was insane, just like his. They both feel like cheaters, a term they despise from deep within their souls. But they couldn’t hide the sweet spot they had for each other, resulting in their lips connecting again.
╔════ Author’s note ═════╗
Their bond is getting real~
As you could’ve noticed, I changed the cover of this novel. What do you think? Is it better than the previous one, or should I change to the previous one?
This cover makes you think about the plot of this novel.
A few examples:
• You are not a hundred percent sure about her expression. Is she crying, or is she enjoying herself? Is she sad or perhaps only tired? (ARC One)
• The violin signifies all aspects of her personality, mostly her playfulness. (Arc Two)
• The buildings atop the violin are like those broken worlds, which she is breaking and bringing to life with her arrangement. (Arc Three)
• The more you look at the cover, the more things you can connect to it. (Arc Four.)
Did you come up with a new analysis?
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.