Note: This is a side project. In short, it means that releases will be sporadic and I also can’t guarantee anything. You can refer to the menu on the home page for “Side Projects“. For information on the possibility of a side project being upgraded to a main project, check out the page too.
Volume 1 Chapter 1 (Part 1)
Pin Hua(Pĭn Huā) Building*.
*T/n: Usually refers to a restaurant of some kind. However, since there is a “Hua” before the building, it is likely to be a brothel of some kind.
Aunt Hua(Huā)* curled her fingers to form an orchid shape and grasped a bunch of sparkling grapes. She idly asked the five young girls in front of her, “So why do you all want to enter our Pin Hua Building?”
*T/n: daniang: A polite manner of address
A delicate and pretty young girl, “Xiang Er(Xiāng Er) kneeled on the ground with a “plop”. She lamented tearfully, “My mother was suddenly afflicted with a nasty disease and she died as it was incurable. Please pity me since my house is so impoverished that there is no money to provide her with a burial……I beg of you to accept me. I can do anything……as long as I can bury my mother, I am willing to do whatever you ask of me!”
Aunt Hua scanned across the ground, she saw three other young girls who had tears in their eyes and a wretched expression. She presumed that they only thought of selling themselves to Pin Hua Building due to their circumstances. However, there was a young lady in red amongst them who had large round eyes which distinct pupils and was looking at her while smiling winsomely. She felt that it was strange. This young girl appeared to have smooth skin and have never suffered any hardships. She was pure and innocent like a small flower beside the stream and was very different from those young ladies and maids who came in the past.
“You.” Aunt Hua’s jade-like hands pointed and picked out the young girl in red.
The young girl in red’s smiling face was like a flower. She answered cheerfully, “It’s because of admiration.”
“That’s right! Pin Hua Building is renowned as the world’s number one building. Its fame is so tremendous that none can compare. I felt that there are merits to all successful businesses, thus I went to the trouble of travelling a long distance to come here. Hope that you can accept me as a member!”
“Cough!” Aunt Hua stroked her chest and coughed as she almost choked on the grapes.
The young girl in red hurriedly walked to her back and beat her back with the appropriate amount of force. She laughed crisply, “Now that I have seen Aunt, I immediately understand why Pin Hua Building can be famous all over the world.”
Aunt Hua was startled. “Why?”
“You have an elegant temperament, beautiful but not ostentatious and dignified but not stiff. If there’s someone like you in charge of Pin Hua Building, it’s impossible to not be successful even if you don’t want it to.”
Aunt Hua couldn’t control her laughter. “I only manage the servant girls and pageboys, not the one taking charge.”
The young girl in red covered her mouth and exclaimed, “It can’t be! Even a figure like Aunt is willing to condescend to take a lower post. It is evident that Pin Hua Building indeed houses many undiscovered talents and is not mean and should not be underestimated!”
Aunt Hua waved her hand and smilingly said, “You this small girl’s mouth is really so sweet that it secrets honey. Alright alright, I’ll accept you then. ……Bi Er(Bì Er), go draw a tael of silver for her.”
The maid Bi Er responded and withdrew.
“Oh yes, your name is……”
The young girl in red had her face wreathed in smiles. “I’m Ruge(Rúgē).”
“Ruge?” Aunt Hua muttered to herself. “From today onwards, you’ll just be called Ge Er* here.”
*T/n: A term of endearment which may be affixed to the last character of the name
“Many thanks to Aunt! But……” Ruge gazed at the other four young girls and hesitated when she was about to speak.
“Aunt only wants me? The few of them also seems like they really need this work.”
Xiang Er who was kneeling on the ground had streams of tears and a really pitiful expression, causing Ruge to feel a sense of guilt.
Aunt Hua said indifferently, “Pin Hua Building is a place where guests are happy. If the girl servants were to be weeping all day long, what would that reflect.”
Ruge signalled to Xiang Er with her eyes and smilingly said, “Aunt, Elder Sister* Xiang Er is only depressed because she just lost her mother. After a few days when she has personally given her mother a burial, she will naturally recover. Moreover, since Elder Sister Xiang Er is pretty and remembers others’ favors, she will definitely become Aunt’s good helping hand. Elder Sister Xiang Er, isn’t that right?”
*T/n: Doesn’t mean that they are biological sisters. “Elder Sister(jiejie)” and “Younger Sister(meimei)” usually used to signify closeness with the female although it is not the case all the time. The most prominent example would be all those imperial harem drama ahaha
Xiang Er has already been selling her body to bury her mother quite a few days previously but did not find a buyer. Seeing that her mother’s burial couldn’t be dragged on any longer, the only way left was to enter Pin Hua Building as a maid. Why would she even consider any further? She answered repeatedly, “Yes! Yes!”
Aunt Hua raised her eyebrows and glanced obliquely at Ruge who was pleading with both her palms put together. This young girl was rather interesting!
Luoyang’s Pin Hua Building.
The number one building in the world.
Pin Hua Building’s wine was excellent. From the renowned wine enjoyed by the royalty and aristocrats to the nameless little wine in the countryside, as long as you wanted to have a taste, you are guaranteed to drink until you are intoxicated and feel light like an immortal
Pin Bua Building’s dishes were excellent. Regardless of whether it was exotic delicacies or small home-cooked dishes, they were all so delicious that it made you want to swallow your tongue.
But the most attractive point of Pin Hua Building was actually its people.
Beauties which made people overwhelmed with ecstasy due to infatuation.
There was the immensely coquettish type of beauty, the refined and noble type of beauty, the pure and bashful type of beauty, the naive and honest type of beauty as well as the uncivilized and straightforward type of beauty.
To sum it up, as long as you come to Pin Hua Building, there will definitely a style that suits you! If you’re unsatisfied, you’re allowed to return and change until you are satisfied!
Hee hee, please do not misunderstand. Pin Hua Building is not an ordinary brothel.
Let’s say it like this. It is an intermediary organization. All the young ladies who come here to open up for business are free to come and go. They can freely set their own worth, can freely select their clients, can freely select the time and can freely select the contents of their “service”. Naturally, Pin Hua Building also desires profits, thus, every young lady must pay a definite amount of rent for the occasion. (This amount of money is actually not a lot so that they can attract even more “top-quality” beauties.)
Then what does Pin Hua Building rely on to earn so much bullion and silver?
That’s right! Food and Drinks.
For all the clients that patronize this place, why would there be any who come here to sit and just watch the ladies? Who wouldn’t order a few dishes, drink a jar of wine? If they don’t appear more bounteous, how can they win the hearts of the beauty? Everyone knows that the profits from the food and drinks are the most massive.
Ruge had deep admiration for the person who came up with this method of earning money for Pin Hua Building. Unfortunately, the big boss behind the scenes of Pin Hua Building was like a mystery and she didn’t have any affinity to meet. It was really a pity, really a pity.
Ruge walked towards Feng(Fēng) Chamber while carrying Swallow Nest Soup with Rock Sugar* while shaking her head in regret.
*T/n: A picture for your reference
Suddenly, a slender and fragile figure appeared in front of her.
Ruge raised her head to take a look and was pleasantly surprised. “Elder Sister Xiang Er, so it’s you. How are you these few days?”
Xiang Er smiled at her softly. Within her smile was gratitude which words couldn’t express. “My mother has already been buried and it was held with much dignity.”
“That’s great, Elder Sister can finally rest assured!”
“Younger Sister Ge Er, thank you.” Xiang Er gazed at her, the sunlight shining at her delicate chin from an angle. “But is it really okay for you to lend me all the silvers you received from selling yourself? I……”
Ruge quickly waved her hands. “It’s okay, it’s okay, Elder Sister can feel at ease when using them all! I don’t these silvers and there’s no place to spend too! If Elder Sister feels that these silvers are insufficient, I can still get hold of some more for you……”
“No need. After completing my mother’s funeral, I also don’t have anything much that would require money.” Xiang Er spoke seriously, “Younger Sister, I will definitely return the silvers to you.”
Ruge wanted to tell her that she didn’t need to return but thinking about it a little, she knew that the Xiang Er who was soft on the exterior but firm on the inside would not accept her goodwill as of now. Hence, she only smiled and diverted the topic.
“Elder Sister Xiang Er, is it true that Aunt Hua arranged for you to serve Miss Feng Huang(Fèng Huáng)?” Ruge asked curiously. “I heard that Miss Feng Huang is very arrogant, won’t you suffer hardships.”
Xiang Er lowered her head and did not answer for a long while.
Ruge gazed at her and slowly, her eyebrows furrowed. She put down the tray in her hand, approached Xiang Er and carefully inspected her neck. She gasped a mouth of cold air and said in surprise, “Why are there wounds on your neck? It looks like someone had used their nails to dig the skin out.”
Xiang Er frantically covered up her wounds and said with a miserable expression, “No, it’s me who accidentally scratched it.”
“You’re lying okay,” Ruge pointed her small mouth upwards. “Why did you lie to me, aren’t we good sisters?”
Ruge patted her shoulder. “Remember to tell me if anything’s the matter. Although I’m only a young girl, having an additional person to come up with ideas is always a good thing.”
Xiang Er felt like shedding her tears profusely. After keeping silent for a long time, she finally nodded her head lightly.
Outside the window was a warm spring day with the green willow trees.
Within the window was a jade-like beauty dressing up while facing the mirror.
Ruge picked a simple sapphire blue hairpin from the jewellery box and pinned it at an angle in Feng Xixi’s(Fēng Xìxì) thick and beautiful hair. Accompanied by her gauze dress, she was as refined as an otherworldly immortal.
Feng Xixi looked left and right in satisfaction and was unable to conceal her happiness. “Ge Er, you really have such wonderful workmanship. You have dressed me up really prettily! The clients all recently said that it felt like I have changed into another person and become more beautiful than last time by seventy to eighty percent!”
“Miss really loves to joke,” Ruge smilingly said. “You were originally a very beautiful woman, it’s only natural that you get more and more beautiful, how is that related to me?”
“Nonsense, a young girl but with a mouth that can sweeten people to death!” Feng Xixi was unable to contain her joy and silky soft glances flew towards her.
Ruge carried the jade bowl up and said, “Miss, you should drink some Swallow Nest Soup with Rock Sugar, it can improve your appearance and maintain your youthful look.”
Feng Xixi took it over and was a bit hesitant. “But will I grow fat? All the other ladies are so slim. I seem to be a little too plump.”
Ruge widened her eyes and said in shock, “You are considered plump?” She shook her head in disagreement. “Conversely, I feel that Miss’s figure size is appropriate and even a little towards the thin side. There are indeed some ladies in the building who are very very slim, like Miss You Lan(Yōu Lán), but don’t you think because she’s too thin, therefore her facial complexion is yellow with no lustre? No matter how much more power she applies, she still won’t become radiant and doesn’t look good. If your body is healthier, your complexion will then be much better and you will also become very pretty! Moreover, only if your body is in good health can you then enjoy life!”
As Feng Xixi listened to her words, she suddenly felt a warm feeling in her chest. Her heart which has long become numb after entering the trade for a few years had become touched due to someone’s concern.
She quietly drank the Swallow Nest Soup with Rock Sugar and raised her head to smile at Ruge. “If there’s a chance I must thank Aunt Hua.”
“Thank her for assigning such an attentive girl to me.” She pulled Ruge’s hand and had a smile which resembled the apricot blossoms in the spring breeze. “I like you very much, Ge Er.”
Ruge blinked her eyes and smiled. “Miss, I also like you very much. You are very amiable with me. It’s my fortune to be able to be by your side.” At this moment, she recalled the scratch marks on Xiang Er’s neck.
The willow danced alongside the breeze.
Feng Xixi’s back leaned against the wooden window carved with decorative patterns. She grasped Ruge’s hand and did not let go for a long time.
She carefully gazed at this girl who had suddenly come to her side and seemed to be mulling over something. Finally, she spoke softly, “Ge Er, do you know? I actually don’t want to be a courtesan for my whole life.”
Feng Xixi grabbed her hand even tighter and said, “So, can you help me?”
Feng Xixi looked towards the azure sky outside the window and smiled like the pear blossoms in the spring breeze.
“Help me, to enter the top three ranks in Pin Hua Building’s charts!”