The next day, Xiao San came early in the morning to untie her. Stumbling, Wan Mei threw on her clothes that were already folded for her. Wan Mei’s anger had still not subsided and in a fit of rage, she grabbed one of the stools by her feet and threw it. But Xiao San remained where he was, he didn’t even attempt to avoid it. The stool hit the edge of his forehead, leaving a sizable hole.
Watching his blood slowly soaking his face, Wan Mei stopped. Although she was surprised, she could not help but feel a little satisfaction.
It shouldn’t only be her who should suffer, who should bleed in this world. When she started to think like that, suddenly she felt a sudden pleasure of drawing blood.
“I am not going to do it,” she panted, casting aside the stool. ” I’m going to find the chief now.”
Xiao San rushed over to grab her hand in response. “Before you find the chief, come with me somewhere first.”
Wan Mei had no choice but to follow him as he dragged her behind him. She did not know where they was heading, but the building they reached was extremely low, the doorway ridiculously narrow, only the height of half a person so they almost had to crawl through it.
But once they passed through it, she got her answer. It led to a basement, ahead was a long narrow corridor and to the left were many barred cells.
When they reached the first one, Xiao San stopped and Wan Mei saw a woman inside, her hair loose, she was standing with her body straight and was staring back at her, unblinking.
Wan Mei felt the hairs on her back rising at her stare but building up courage she said, “So what? What is there to see?”
Xiao San laughed coldly, ” Why don’t you look at her feet.”
Wan Mei immediately looked down, and clasped her mouth.
There were no feet. That woman had no feet at all! Only two bits of metal were attached onto her ankles which were then nailed to the ground.
“Do you know how she became like that?” Xiao San asked coldly. ” First heat those two metal pieces until they almost reach melting point and then push her feet into the metal. Her feet will be crushed as the metal cools and from then onwards she will remain here, standing, until she dies.”
“This woman was just like you. She refused to do it three days ago. The chief did not allow her to leave so she tried to escape but she only managed to get away for a few miles before she was captured again.” Watching Wan Mei shake in terror Xiao San added before dragging her into the next cell.
Inside someone was lying down but they did not have a single hair on their head so it was hard to tell if it was a man or a woman.
Wan Mei picked up her courage to glance inside, but as soon as she did, what courage she did have left, fled.
That person was curled up, facing outside so Wan Mei could see many little snakes were slithering in and out of her mouth and nose. What was more terrifying was that they were still alive, so their throat was making a gulp, gulp, gulp noise.
Beside her, Xiao San did not forget to explain, “This person’s crimes were a little more serious. After she became the Heavenly killer, she tried to overthrow the Chief….”
Before he could finish, Wan Mei had already thrown up on his shoes.
“Let’s go,” she instructed him weakly before hurtling back up the corridor. When she reached the door, she crashed into it, falling to the floor, unable to get up again.
Xiao San followed her and helped her up, half supporting her, half leading her out from the hole.
“Once you enter the Gate of Ghosts, there is no return.” He sighed as they left. “You must remember, unless you did not say yes to the Chief before you entered, otherwise there is no path of return.”
At that moment, Wan Mei glanced up. What seemed to be a simple elegant mansion yesterday now seemed like a ferocious beast opening it’s mouth to swallow her up.
“But I could not say no.” She suddenly remembered. “When the chief looked at me, I couldn’t even utter no!”
“Naturally.” Xiao San told her nodding. “There has never been anyone who has been able to say no when the chief has her eye on them. So what I should have said is that once you walk through these doors there is no path for return.”
By the time Wan Mei returned to her private courtyard Wan Xiang was already waiting for her by the corridor, standing there blowing her touch-me-not flowers. She was the epitome of grace.
Xiao San immediately removed himself. His movements like a ghost’s.
“Did you sleep well, little sister?” She had already put her arm around her as she spoke, giving her a friendly hug.
Wan Mei froze with embarrassment, unsure how to respond. Whereas Wan Xiang was the picture of innocence, turning her head to glance at her, “The chief instructed me to teach you. Then what shall we learn today?”
“Why don’t we learn how to perform fellatio (oral sex)!” She then clapped her hands and jumped as if she was learning how to sew with her closest friends.
Wan Mei said nothing, after all she had served as a maid for a year at the brothel so she knew exactly what that was.
That distasteful lesson finished finally at noon. Wan Mei dragged her feet back to her sleeping quarters. When she thought back at how she spend the past few hours, she felt sick so she leaned on the table and started to throw up the contents of her stomach.
It did not take long before Xiao San appeared, silently cleaning up before bringing in some mildly tasting small dishes of food.
Angrily, Wan Mei swept the food onto the floor.
Again Xiao San bent down and before long it was all cleared up. Soon, he returned this time with some congee and some traditional dishes from Huai An.
“You’d better eat this.” He warned her coldly. “Whether you eat it or not, this afternoon and tonight’s lesson will continue.”
“Is this how a shadow should be?” she asked with gritted teeth. “I saw Sister Wan Xiang’s shadow today. Don’t know how much more gentle he is compared to you. You’re bullying me because I’m new right? Are you not afraid that I will report you to get you changed for someone else?!”
“I am sorry, I was unable to pick up being gentle.” He bowed his head but his back remained straight. “And I’m even more sorry to tell you that you cannot swap me for someone else. According to the rules, unless I die, a shadow cannot be changed.”
Wan Mei sighed. She really had not eaten for very long so she started to stuff her mouth. Xiao San waited for her beside her and soon spoke again, ” And do not call Mistress Wan Xiang sister. There is no-one here who is your sister.”
Wan Mei glared at him in response and he understanding her feelings hurriedly left. Only when he reached the door did he turn to speak again. “I will be waiting for you by the music room. You should have enough time in the time it takes to drink a cup of tea right? If you do not wish to die in a months time you had better listen to me.”
After the time it takes to drink 2 cups of tea, Wan Mei arrived at the music room. Xiao San was already sitting in front of the Guqin (a stringed music instrument) his long fingers resting along the black wooden instrument and dressed in his white robe, he looked calm and elegant.
“Today we will learn《 Those in debt feel strongly 》this song is quite easy, listen carefully.” As he spoke, he lit one of the incense burners.
The incense was ambergris (an expensive scent natural substance produced by whales), it’s fragrance sweet and musky. Wan Mei sat down and crossed her legs too as she listened to Xiao San stroke the first few notes.
The beginning was quiet, it’s melody seductive. As Wan Mei listened, she started to warm up and took off her cloak.
Afterwards, the melody speeded up like a feather falling through air, landing on your forehead, stroking your cheek, and then tickling your ear. Wan Mei’s face started to go red and then the back of her neck started to itch so she loosened her collar and tied up her hair.
The fragrance in the room started to get stronger and the melody felt more and more intimate like the interactions between lovers, each word that is uttered is full of love. A smile spread across Wan Mei’s face her head rested on her head and she started to sweat.
Xiao San did not say anything, the melody that flowed from his hands felt comforting like a lover reaching his hand out to you, inviting you to share his bed.
Wan Mei started to sweat even more, soaking her body and slowly dripping down to her breasts. So she lifted her hand to wipe away the sweat, her hand following the beads of sweat down to the valley of her breasts. Unconsciously, she loosened her clothes even more, revealing a pale peak.
She breathed in, her hands covered with sweat and started to rub her breast, following the rhythm of the melody.
There was a slight pause in the melody and Wan Mei’s heart suddenly felt empty but then a high note closely followed followed by a cascade of notes the notes flowing lower and lower.
Her hand that was on her breast followed suit, passing down her waist before reaching her already soaking private area.
She did not wear anything under her skirts so her fingers easily entered her womanhood before picking up speed pushing in and out. At that moment, the melody was clearly anxious, like a hundred horses thundering closer and closer. Wan Mei started to lose control one hand was on her breast, the other by her nether lips, her fingers rubbing furiously.
In the end, her body started to shake, almost fluttering amongst the sound of music almost reaching a breaking point. The incense in the burner had almost all burned away and the melody reached it’s climax. Wan Mei also reached her’s as well, like fireworks bursting in front of her, her entire body soaked, her head by her chest and it too a lomg time before she could breathe properly again.
It was only then that Xiao San rose up from his place to open the southern facing window. After the cold in swept in, Wan Mei also woke up from her stance. She looked up and down and realized she was raped by music.
“Let’s start to learn it.” Xiao San sat back down again, crossed his legs and opened the score book. “This month you will learn three songs. This is the only one that is not refined. It must be at least 60% alike.”
Wan Mei gritted her teeth in response and shuffled closer to the instrument. But he grabbed her hand and make her pluck a note.
With the learner’s intelligence and the teacher’s skill on teaching, the afternoon flew by and by dinner, Wan Mei had already learned 30 per cent of it.
Dinner was a red date congee with many side dishes. Starving, Wan Mei finished all the food like a storm clearing everything in it’s path.
Afterwards, she could barely open her eyes, leaning against the table to sleep.
“Mistress, we have a lesson tonight,”Xiao San reminded her, with a cough, ” You must learn how to address people, look at people and walk properly.”
Wan Mei forced herself awake and stumbled after him into the practise room.
Walking required a good poise, speaking required eloquence she could understand that but she did not understand why she had to learn how to look at someone. It was as if she had spent 16 years blind, never meeting anyone.
“Allure can not be feigned. Not wrapping yourself under a man’s body. But for a man to unconsciously bring his heart and body to you, so you must remember, you must be poised, natural so that when others see you, you are candid and generous, that is what someone alluring is.”
They were one of many of the descriptions Xiao San told her that night. Only when Wan Mei had walked for ages and looked for ages in the practise room, so much so that her legs and eyes started to ache, did Xiao San finally allow her to clean up and rest.
After she finished washing up, Wan Mei felt anxious, afraid that Xiao San would repeat what he did yesterday eve.
Xiao San did not make a sound, and searched the contents of the cupboard and passed it to her.
It was a wooden pole about 2-3 fingers wide, it was smooth and on one end there was a red string attached to it.
“You may go to sleep when you insert it.” Xiao San said in a low voice. “Please turn around. I will help you insert it.”
Wan Mei started, and retreated 3 steps back.
Xiao San shook his head, she did not know how he managed it, but he inserted it into her back hole with one swift movement.
It hurt she bent down with tears streaming down her face and when she turned around, she saw the red string sticking outside so she hurriedly tried to pull it out.
Beside her, Xiao San lifted his eyes and told her to stop. “You better not pull that out, this it already the smallest one. You will get used to it soon, do not force me to tie you up like yesterday.”
Wan Mei took a deep breath in, the fullness in her backhole was painful but she did not know how else to handle it, she could only resign herself, move towards the bedside and pick up the knife there before reaching over to swipe Xiao San with it.
Looking at him, she realized that he had still not bandaged the injury on his forehead but which started to swell.
“You haven’t even washed your injury. What are you that busy, you don’t even have time to attend to your own matters, but you only have time to torture me?” she yelled, swiftly feeling an urge for revenge.
Xiao San bowed and retorted, “According to the rules, the shadow has the right to teach his mistress but his mistress has even more right to punish her shadow. Without permission from his mistress, he cannot bandage his injuries.”
Wan Mei’s eyes lit up. The immense pain behind her gave her a wicked idea.
“Bring me a pair of scissors!” she commanded, biting down on her lip.
He immediately went to fetch the scissors. It’s point clear and extremely sharp looking.
She lifted it up, and in a sweeping arc, it’s pointy end cut his right cheek and then scraped past his shoulder, drawing a red mark under his clothes.
Xiao San did not avoid it at all, as if he was used to it all long ago. The scarlet blood dripped from his cheek and soon rolled down his neck, giving him an eerie look.
“That is my punishment for you for your inattentiveness!” Wan Mei yelled, but actually she already felt a weakness in her arm. “Remember, without my permission, you are not allowed to bandage it!”
Xiao San replied yes before retreating to the door and blew out the candle.
“You should get some rest.” He said in the darkness, his voice as cold as the night. “There are many things to learn in the future. A month will go very quickly.”