“Girls have got balls. They're just a little higher up, that's all.”
Chapter 129 – Meanwhile (2)
Qiong Ying fanned herself just a little harder when the smells of alcohol, smoke and perfumes snaked into her nose. They were familiar odours, having experienced similar things in her own Lichun Brothel.
The capital city was the centre of trade and development, and this was reflected in this particular palace of pleasure.
It was not the Lichun, but a similar marquee establishment in Gusu City, the capital of Wu.
It evoked a sense of professional rivalry when she found certain things that were superior to her own establishment. She was already making mental notes on areas to improve the Lichun in the future. Though Qiong Ying prided herself in running a clean and classy environment for her adopted ladies, she saw various elements here that made her envious: newer fashion of the finest silk, opulent furniture and carpets, precious incense and rare wines.
As to why she was here, Qiong Ying had listened to Little Yin’s suggestions. A certain lady of pleasure was reportedly flaunting her sudden wealth. Nobody knew who her new patron was, rumours were that her admirer came from Tianxin City… And so Qiong Ying began to investigate the various houses of sin to find her.
Her mood dipped when she saw the giddy faces of Tian Zhu and Zhen Tian. The former bandit and the veteran guard did not conceal their roving eyes, they turned this way and that towards the gaudily dressed courtesans who were cat-calling them. Never mind that most of the calls were directed towards Qiong Ying due to her handsome Quan Lu disguise. The two strong men were too busy cleansing their eyes by drinking in the visages of these beauties to care.
“You two, stay sharp,” ‘Quan Lu’ murmured in warning.
“Yes sir,” the two men nodded absent-mindedly, their attentions were on the bountiful chests, long legs and swaying hips around them as they walked into the bordello.
Qiong Ying could hardly fault them. The selection of ladies in this establishment was wide ranging to suit the discerning tastes of the capital. Some exude blatant sexuality with their winking eyes and inviting gestures, causing the younger Tian Zhu to gulp; while others projected a pure image with shy glances and blushing cheeks that invoked Zhen Tian’s protective instincts.
Qiong Ying was of course immune to such charms. ‘Quan Lu’ affected the image of an affluent young master with his chin tilted proudly. The foldable fan added a swagger to his confident footsteps. It dawned on her that Huang Ming did not have such a fan, she should get him one as a gift. How else was he going to sneer at people in a refined manner?
The thought of seeing Huang Ming’s pleased face brought a smile to her face. A few of the courtesans sighed when they saw it, not knowing that the princely looking ‘man’ was actually thinking of another man.
“Did the young master see someone he likes?” a sultry voice sang musically into her ear.
‘Quan Lu’ nearly snapped his fan shut in surprise. Qiong Ying was annoyed at herself at being taken off-guard, irrationally blaming Huang Ming for distracting her right after having told off her two bodyguards a few moments ago.
‘Quan Lu’ managed to keep his winning smile in place as he turned to face the speaker.
The woman was an stunner, a jade-skinned beauty with glossy hair and a thin waist. The rouge-tinted lips curved into a smile of invitation, her large eyes with their long lashes blinked charmingly. Even Qiong Ying could not help but raise an eyebrow in appreciation.
She was bewitching, an absolutely enticing, foxy woman.
It was almost like seeing herself in the mirror, except that this woman was more directly sensual.
The only flaw was that she was entirely too much clothed when compared to the other ladies in the establishment: she wore heavy, voluminous robes that hid her figure. The only skin exposed were her dainty fingers and the slight curves on her neck, an entirely too conservative image to be found in this pleasure house.
It did not matter to the likes of Tian Zhu and Zhen Tian, their eyes were glued to this fairy-like beauty that had the perfect combination of both their preferences.
Qiong Ying was not as distracted as the two men. She noted the luxurious material of the woman’s heavy clothing and the jewellery she was wearing. The saucy woman was publicizing her dominance and status with real gems and pearls. This was the woman she was looking for…
But Qiong Ying instinctively knew the other reason for the woman’s thick clothing in such a place. It was because the woman was flat and was trying to hide it using expensive clothing and jewellery. It could fool most men, but ‘Quan Lu’ was no simple-minded male.
Qiong Ying smirked, instantly feeling superior to the foxy lady who had approached her.
The woman saw the confident grin on the face of ‘Quan Lu’ and was slightly puzzled. Why did she suddenly felt that she had somehow lost…?
‘Quan Lu’ reached out and audaciously used a finger to lift the woman’s chin. Qiong Ying had done this confidently, knowing that her disguise was more than enough to take some liberties with this peerless woman.
“You’re the most pleasing thing I’ve seen all day,” ‘Quan Lu’ whispered softly, using one of the many smarmy one-liners that she had learnt from Huang Ming during their private moments.
It had the intended effect: the beauty blushed and Qiong Ying’s sense of superiority increased. It also meant her Quan Lu disguise was perfect, but more importantly Qiong Ying was pleased to have fooled the top lady of this establishment. It was also reassuring to know that she was not alone in being affected by such flattery, Qiong Ying remembered her chagrin when Huang Ming had teased her.
Still, the woman was a professional and kept on smiling seductively. She saw Quan Lu’s wealthy demeanour and refined bearing and knew that the handsome young man was a literal gold mine.
“Does the young master wish to dine first? Or…” she asked, leaving the unspoken invitation dangle alluringly.
“Let us partake on your finest foods... before we move on to other offerings,” Qiong Ying said, affecting her best impression of a leering young master. If spoken by someone with lesser features, it would sound greasy; but coming from a outstanding devilish man like ‘Quan Lu’ it sounded dreamy and mischievously charming.
The woman nodded and sashayed beguilingly as she and her fellow sisters led ‘Quan Lu’ to a private room. His bodyguards moved to follow, but Quan Lu held up a hand to stop them.
“You two need not to follow me, you will just ruin my mood,” he said brusquely.
“Sir, your safety is our number one responsibility,” Tian Zhu the former bandit said resolutely. It was an unconvincing act, because the younger man was eyeing the train of giggling ladies who were following them.
“Yes, we must do our duty,” Zhen Tian added. The veteran guard was a little more credible with his deep voice… but his eyes betrayed him by glancing repeatedly at the parade of women.
Qiong Ying wanted to roll her own eyes at their blatant fakery, but she then seized upon an evil idea.
“You are right,” Quan Lu nodded gravely. One could almost see the looks of utter dismay washing over the faces of the two bodyguards who thought their acting had worked too well.
Quan Lu’s smile broadened. “Well, one of you can stand guard outside my door. The other can have some leisure time. I’ll let you two decide who does what,” he said lightly and followed the saucy woman into the private room, not caring about the impending argument her two bodyguards would surely have…
Into the bordello,
To find what she knows.