The Good Girls of the Brothel
The House of Blossoming Spring, the only brothel in Yuhang Town.
Originally, even when Yuhang Town had prostitutes, it was those shady back-alley ones. But since the opening of the House of Blossoming Spring, with its beautiful environment and first-class service, it quickly became the gathering spot of the localgentry and literati.
This was the comfort place of the men of Yuhang Town but the eyesore for the women of Yuhang Town. Every time the skies turned dark, the wives of all families would need to keep an eye for their husbands, lest someone was to find some excuse to make a round or two at the street the House of Blossoming Spring was at.
Most people had no chance to get through the door and only wandered around to see the undressedgood girls who would lean on the railings to show off their coquettishness. Sometimes they may even get a wink, which was good in their books.
Wang Longqi, the veteran gentry, had once said before, The House of Blossoming Spring was not inferior to those brothels and courtesan houses in Hangzhou County.
What he was comparing was naturally the most critical part of a brothel, the good girls there.
A large brothel must have a full range of talents, from innocent girls who first stepped into the industry to ladies who had been in the business for long. All these girls who would meet the various demands from the guests were only considered the bottommost level of the good girls. Above them, the brothel must also be able to provide courtesans.
The requirements of being a courtesan were not just mere beauty. To be famous, they must have the ability to wow. To get someone to treat them like a treasure, they must have both sexual and artisanal appeal.
And for the House of Blossoming Spring, there were several of such courtesans.
And the dead last night was one of them.
“The deceaseds name was Ruan Hongmei, her courtesan name is Meixiang, a courtesan of the House of Blossoming Spring.”
Standing outside the elegant pavilion, Li Xinyi explained the case to him.
She then specifically pouted her mouth as she reminded him, “After we go in, make sure your eyes dont wander.”
“Okay.” Li Chu nodded.
The gentry and the literati always liked to gather at night, and the House of Blossoming Spring was usually empty during the day with few passers-by and no one entering or leaving the two small open doors. It was quiet inside, as a slothful powdery scent lingered in the air.
Occasionally, one or two women in disheveled clothes would open the window, stretch out and yawn before closing it again.
But today, the closed window opened immediately.
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As the sleepy good girl rubbed her eyes and immediately turned around and screamed. “Sisters!”
Li Xinyi still messed up in the end.
When Li Chu entered the brothel, it was not a question of his eyes wandering about, but instead, ladies eyes wandering all around him.
Normally, when a local girl saw a handsome man with affection, she would at most look shyly at him.
But the ladies inside the brothel did not care about this as they flocked around Li Chu chattering about, almost touching him, and that agitated Li Xinyi.
Li Chu blinked as he lacked experience in dealing with this situation, and could only use his cold expression to signal others to stay away. Thankfully, there was a stern-looking Li Xinyi by his side that helped him pushed everyone back.
“What are you all doing Like youve never seen a guy before.” A lazy voice rang out from behind them.
All of the good girls suddenly curbed their behaviors as they backed away. It seemed like that person was quite authoritative here.
Only then did Li Xinyi breathe a sigh of relief as she looked in the direction where the crowd parted.
The person who came was Chun Sanniang, the owner of the House of Blossoming Spring.
It was said that Chun Sanniang used to be a courtesan in Shenluo City, and later on, she had managed to save enough money to pay off her bond and come over to Yuhang Town to open the House of Blossoming Spring.
Shenluo City was the second largest city of the Heluo Dynasty. Unlike Chaoge City with its imperial majesty, its entertainment industry was extremely well-developed, and it has been known as theFlower Capital and was very picturesque.
The annual Flower Capital Festival was the biggest event in Heluo.
Chun Sanniang, as expected from someone from Shenluo City, the good girls she had taught were all top-level professionals, and made The House of Blossoming Spring popular in a short period of time.
Chun Sanniang was wearing a plain house dress, a white silken shirt, a plain inner garment, and trousers. Her outfit might not be eye-catching, but her voluptuous figure could not be hidden no matter what. Her chest was like a mountain peak, and her hips were like a full moon, even her years as the boss did not see her waist fatten up. With her tall figure, she walked with a models swing and bore with her a natural allure.
In contrast, the good girls around her suddenly looked a little tacky.
She had met Li Xinyi earlier in the morning and smiled with a wry look at her. “Lady Li, didnt the magistrate office came to inspect earlier and conclude that Meixiang had committed suicide. Her body had also been taken away, so why are you here again And to bring such a handsome young Daoist Priest, is it to release Meixiangs soul from suffering”
Li Xinyi looked at her in a rather wily manner and unfriendly gaze. She said with a straight face, “We have concluded that Miss Meixiang had committed suicide, and we came again for other matters. This is the Daoist Li from Deyun Monastery to exorcise evil. So please be respectful.”
“Oh Is there something else”
“Take us to Miss Meixiangs room, and Ill tell you the details. With us surrounded like this, how...improper.”
Li Xinyi glanced around and frowned. Compared to the good girls around her, she was dressed like a showpiece today.
“Alright, come with me,” Chun Sanniang answered as she turned around and waved her hand. “Alright, back to your rooms. Look at you lot, acting like youve never seen a man since birth.”
“Ive never seen such a handsome man before though,” one of the good girls whispered.
“Ill send you to Deyun Monastery to be a monk tomorrow then!”
Chun Sanniang gave her a sideways glance. And as she scolded the girl, she slapped her on the butt, as a loud spank rang out.
As the two followed her upstairs, Li Chu said very seriously, “Our monastery is not taking people in now.”
Chun Sanniang looked at him as she squinted. “Daoist Li, you are an interesting one.”
Li Xinyi looked at her smiling face and then at her chest—as if she was facing a great foe.
The second floor was the courtesans room, and each bedroom was much larger than the one downstairs. All came equipped with a hall, and each had an elegant name.
As soon as they went upstairs, they heard a melodious sound of the Guqin. It was not loud, and was like trickling water, yet it penetrated deep into ones heart and made people feel at ease without even realizing it.
After walking through the vestibule, they saw the Guqin player in the middle of the terrace.
It was a woman dressed in a light veil, her body hidden behind an eight-fold screen, revealing a gentle shadow. Behind her was a distant cloud, and before her was a Guqin.
The scene itself was quite artistic.
Li Chu suddenly stopped and paused for a moment.
He thought this woman looked a little different, but he could not put his finger on what the difference was. Looking closely, she seemed to have an extra layer of a veil on her face, making it hard to see her face clearly.
Chun Sanniang smiled and said, “This is Miss Biluo, our newly promoted courtesan, but Miss Biluo only sells her arts and not her body. Forget selling her body, she wont even show her face.”
“Oh,” Li Chu gave a curt response and wanted to keep going.
The music from the guqin suddenly stopped as that Miss Biluo raised her delicate fingers and asked, “Does the young Daoist want to see my face”
Her voice was soft, melodious, and pleasing to the ear.
“That wont do,” Chun Sanniang shook her head immediately. “Youve said before, you must marry to whoever that sees your face.”
Miss Biluo rose as her dress fluttered along the wind blowing through as she smiled. “If the young Daoist is interested, then I have no problems showing my face to him.”
There was a playful undertone in her words.
Immediately afterwards, Li Chu said seriously, “No need for that.”
Li Xinyi smiled suddenly and pulled him away, leaving Miss Biluo alone in the wind.
The House of Blossoming Springs interior was large, and it was a long walk before they arrived at Meixiangs bed chamber.
As one of the courtesans, Meixiangs bedroom was spacious and elegant, with a hall, and exterior and interior rooms.
The maid serving Meixiang was also called over. She was only twelve or thirteen years old at most, and although she had been scared for a while now, she still cried uncontrollably when being questioned.
“I was sleeping in the exterior room last night, and Miss was sleeping in the interior room. Who knew, who knew she would just silently hang herself.”
Chun Sanniang caressed the little girls shoulder as she patted her before looking at Li Xinyi and said in an unpleasant tone, “Youve asked her this earlier today, why did you need to call for this child again”
“Because the circumstances of Meixiangs death is strange,” Li Xinyi replied flatly. “She was holding a copper coin when she hanged herself, wasnt she”
“Yes, and the copper coin was also taken by the constables back to the magistrate office,” said the maid.
Li Xinyi demurred for a moment before speaking. “We can be sure that after her death, Meixiang will turn into a Vengeful Spirit.”
Chun Sanniang was shocked. She was well-informed and knew what a Vengeful Spirit was all about.
After a moment of shock, she shook her head and said, “No, Meixiang had never been wrong before, even if she had some grievances, where would such a great resentment come from”
“Thats what I want to ask you,” Li Xinyi said. “Had Meixing had any resentment towards anyone when she was still alive Who was the person she would like to seek revenge on the most”
This was the crux of the problem. Even though Meixiang had died in the House of Blossoming Spring, but wherever her resentment had converged, it would be the place where her Vengeful Spirit would go. Therefore, to prevent her from harming anyone, they must find out where her resentment would lie at.
Li Xinyi was looking at the little maid as she spoke, and the latter was so scared that she kept on shaking her head, and could not say anything.
Chun Sanniang hugged the little maid and said, “The girls in this building comes into contact with that many people. Meixiang is proud and arrogant, and is on bad terms with several of the courtesans, but to say the hatred is enough for her to become a ghost to seek revenge, thats certain not the case.”
Li Xinyi pondered for a bit and then changed the question. “Did Meixiang ever complain to you about anything Before she committed suicide, did she curse anyone before that Youve been with her, you should have heard something.”
The little maid sobbed twice as she ran through her thoughts and said, “Miss did curse someone for being an unscrupulous cur, a heartless prick that had forgotten about old flames...”
“H-H-He is the seventh young master of the Wang family.”