I felt like I couldn't breathe. There was smoke everywhere outside. The loud commotion outside enchanted me and I found myself wanting to go look out of the window. I ran to the window to look out. Women, men and children huddled in large groups of the same age and genders, littering the streets. The Wei army had invaded my little town hours ago and the little amount of Wu soldiers that we had had fought valiantly, awaiting the arrival of reinforcements, but they hadn't come.
I backed away from the window, not wanting to be spotted by any of the soldiers. I turned to see my nephew, who was ignorant to the fact that our lives were at stake. He simply stayed in corner, like I had asked, admiring the wooden sword in his fat little fist. For the first time in days, I smiled.
I felt heat on my face and then suddenly, I really couldn't breathe. I closed my eyes and took a few minutes to clear my head.
I opened my eyes again. I still felt like I couldn't breathe. There was smoke everywhere. I had been aroused by the loud commotion outside minutes before and now I found my house quickly filling with thick black smoke. Terrified, I run to the door screaming for help but no one answered and the doors remained locked. I remembered that my mother and father had barricaded them.
I frantically looked around. I could barely see anything.
"Shang! Shang, where are you? Shang!" I screamed for my nephew.
I began to feel lightheaded, what I imagined being intoxicated felt like. The room heated up more and more by the minute.
I feared fire, especially after the dreams I had had with my sister Meirong burning me alive. This was like was perhaps my nightmares coming true! My skin felt hot and dry. Was it my imagination or could I hear the flames crackle outside? The air was too thick and I found myself coughing non-stop.
Still my mind wandered to Shang. Was he already dead? Had the flames reached him yet? Had he managed to escape the wit of fire?
A loud bang, the door swung open. The sound of metal armor was faint against the crackle of fire. My eyelids drooped down on my eyes. I didn't have any more fight left in me. With every ounce of strength that I could muster, I screamed before falling into a bottomless dark.
My face felt surprisingly cool and wet. The sweet scent of jasmine petals, strawberry, and white amber filled the air around me, and I instantly knew that I was not dead. I slowly opened my eyes, hesitant to find out where I was.
The hushed voices of men hissed at each other like snakes. There was one that overpowered the rest. His voice was strong and arrogant. It was as if he strived to be above everyone else in the room. I admired it.
It was just then that I realized that everyone's attention was on me. I felt heat rise in my cheeks.
"Sit up. Let us see your face." The man with strong voice ordered.
I slowly obeyed, allowing the patched up blanket to slide off of my chest, revealing my small bandaged up bosom. I looked in his eyes and immediately knew who he was: Cao Pi, the Crowned Prince of Wei. He smirked at me and took my hand to kiss it. I refused to blush. It was a romantic gesture. And from what I have heard from everyone was that he was a womanizer. I now see that that rumor is valid.
I raised my head, slightly looking down at him as he did. It was a rather out of line for me to do since I was a mere peasant but I had always been too prideful, one of the many mistakes I made.
Lord Cao Pi raised an eyebrow, his smirk diminishing. "Will you not stand and bow before me?"
I thought of my sister and how she always looked seductively at men, which made them swoon even more. She had always been the prettier one of the two of us.
"I shall not humble myself to a man, despite his position and power over me. Surely this doesn't anger you, Lord Cao Pi?"
His smirk returned. I had sparked his interest.
He waved his arm, signaling for the rest of the men to leave him. All but one man dressed in purple did. "And what might a little girl like you know about me?
I stood. "I don't have to know anything about you to know that a man of your caliber shouldn't anger easily. Or at least show that he is upset. Tales of your temper do not do you justice, my lord."
The man wearing purple stepped forward. "If I may speak, my lord?"
Cao Pi granted the snake-like man permission. He looked at me with cunning eyes. "You prove yourself to be a competent, if not foolish, young lady. What is your name?"
I looked up and down at him once. "Lin. Mei Lin."
His nose wrinkled ever so slightly at my name. It was undoubtedly a commoner's name, given to the fact that it was so communal.
Cao Pi inspected me with a critical eye, taking in my long, dark hair; my dark eyes, nearly black; my skin, white as milk, with no hint of color; my newly budded breast. He then looked at the small moles on my neck and face. His expression was unreadable.
"How old are you, Lady Mei Lin?"
I twirled a lock of hair in between my fingers, trying to look uninterested in his interest of me. "I'm fifteen."
"And who was that young child we found in that burning shack with you? Was he your son?"
I wanted to bombard him with questions about little Shang but I did not. I couldn't afford for him to think that I needed him for anything if I wanted to further my ambition. I choked out a laugh. "Son? Ha! You insult me with your shrewdness."
I started playing with my hair again. "He is my nephew. What of him?"
It was as if he saw through my strategy. He took a few steps away from me, turning back to face me eventually. "Oh. I was only going to say that the boy wasn't found in time for us to save him. Since he isn't your son, I guess that really doesn't matter to you though, does it?"
My throat tightened and felt dry. Shang couldn't have been dead. He was too young!
I still did not give in. "Oh… That is quite unfortunate." I tried to comment as casually as possible.
I could feel the purple clad strategist's eyes still on me. I tried to look even more confident.
The Crowned Prince looked at me for a moment. "How would you like to accompany me back to Xuchang, and stay there?"
I could see the lust in his eyes. It was just what I needed. Meirong had taught me the most important lesson for me to become a woman. Men can be easily driven to insanity if they are refused sex by someone.
I smirked and politely bowed. "I would be honored, Lord Cao Pi."
A/N: This is just a little something I came up with when I was trying to go to bed so I decided to try to type it. Constructive criticism is appreciated as well as all other reviews. Thanks for taking the time to read this!