LADY WEI LI LIAN
Mistress Kei once described the palace to the princess considering that she had served as a court lady before but her words did not do the place any justice. The palace was beyond majestic, a different world on its own. There were huge double gates with gold dragon statues standing in front.
The Lady Queens were all thoroughly searched before they were given access to the palace. Green pastures of well looked after lawns crept on the ground decorated with colorful sprouting flowers. They then walked on snaking paths that had beautiful creamy pebbles which were evenly laid down, granite concrete at the edge to define the path. Towering on the sides were tremendous buildings which were pieces of art with roofs that had mosaic patterns.
Silence pierced the atmosphere like no one lived there, although it was a place which accommodated about ten thousand people and more. As they were lead to the Hall of Festivals by a court lady in charge of hospitality activities, they came across different entourages of palace maids following around a royal member, in which the Lady Queens would stop and silently bow down as they passed. And in all this, silence still dominated the atmosphere.
Silks, satin and colorful robes with priceless jewelry is what was exhibited by royalty; there was no room left with no good impression.
Everything breathed and spoke wealth. Whether it was the small courtyards that had big flowering trees or the palace maids that were neatly garbed in uniform, nothing was left unelevated.
"Arriving to perform Dancing Lotus Flower is the Lady Queens with their leading lady, the Lady of Wei!" the announcer who stood by the entrance made their presence known.
The Hall of Festivals was massive, as huge poles shot to the sky to support the roof, while the floor was luxuriously carpeted with a large red scarlet mat. Decorating the place were different ornaments of silver and gold alongside captivating paintings. On the showy tables was enticing food for everyone to feast on.
A beautifully dressed palace courtesan led them inside. The Lady Queens were practically the center of curious glares as each side, whether left or right, had floor couches that important officials and scholars sat on, courtesans pouring wine and purring at them with nonsense. Ahead of them was the royal family. Their seats were individually aggrandized above the other to present a hierarchy in which the most elevated seat was meant for the highest ranking.
The princess could hear distracting whispers, mumbles, giggles and scoffs from the audience but silence fell as they approached the royal family.
"Greetings and blessings to the Grand Dowager Empress and the royal family!" They bowed then dispersed into their dancing positions. The consort and the concubines were not among the royal family which made Le-anne relax a little bit for getting people's blessings would be easier. However, a part of her wished Mistress Han was allowed to attend and watch her for she would be proud of how she was about to perform.
Besides the Grand Dowager Empress was a notable prince who had soft delicate features. By just one look, the princess knew it was Princess Yang Liu, the princess man Mistress Kei had once mentioned. It surprised her that there was still a facade about her real identity.
Mistress Kei had helped the birthing process of the Dowager Empress when Yang Liu was born and the recuperation of knowing such sensitive information was Mistress Kei's exile to the Borderlands. Princess Le-anne was surprised to see General Feng sitting beside the princess man as he was supposed to be on the floor couches with the other officials but understanding dawned on her when she saw the way Yang Liu looked at him. Whether it was pure infatuation or just admiration, she could not point it out.
One of the Lady Queens pulled off the princess' cloak that covered her outfit and at the sight of it everyone gasped in amazement. If it was not a rule for the women of art from outside manors to mask their faces and only leave their eyes out when performing during the day, she would have thought it was because of her looks.
Looking at the magnificence of her dress, she knew that this was the culprit that had stolen people's hearts. She had not expected that reaction but nevertheless, she had spent several nights stitching it with the girls and it had been troublesome and mind boggling. The dress was outrageously large and yellow in color, puffed up from her torso going below. Le-anne sat down and her body disappeared in it, looking like a bud ready to spring to life.
The girls adjoined around her and when the music started playing, they started to twirl slowly. Their hands beautifully swayed in the air while their legs bared aloft their skirts in circular motions. Different royal instrumentalist skillfully played soft alluring music that soothed people's senses and wavered an atmosphere of pure elation and delight.
In the air, the Lady Queens flapped soft sheer white cloths that fluttered around like birds dancing around a lotus flower on a pulchritudinous spring day. There was mesmerizing sophistication in each girl's movement, intention to please and cease the heart of anyone who would spare a glance. They flexibly bent their legs and tilted their bodies forward, feet sweeping the floor and the ground lightly stepped on. It was sterling adroitness.
About midway of their dancing procession the princess threw her hands into the air with vigor and sent the rose petals that filled her palms, flying into the air. She twisted her arms, swung her hands and gesticulated her body with as much grace as she could. She was not thinking about anything but a blooming lotus flower and how she would move if she were it.
She twisted. She turned. Le-anne jumped into the air and danced as hard as she could.
By the time they finished with their bodies merged together showcasing themselves as petals, she was breathless, her heart beating fast. She had never danced so hard before.
Then there was silence.
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