The next day, she woke up before dawn to practice dancing with Xiao Qing, then continued with the tasks that had quickly become routine. She spent the afternoon choreographing with Xiao Qing as well, then went to sleep exhausted.
And the day after that, it was finally time for her first performance at the Zhang family. The troupe arrived by the back door of the Zhang manor in the morning. Regardless of which continent they were on, courtesans were considered lowly in status, and didn’t have the right to enter through the front door.
As the women entered through the back, they hurriedly began to put on makeup, dress in their costumes, and finish their preparations for the upcoming show. Yun Ruoyan emulated Xiao Qing, who seemed like an island of calm amidst the fuss.
“Is my lipstick applied well?” Xiao Qing asked.
There weren’t enough mirrors for all the women, so Yun Ruoyan served as Xiao Qing’s mirror instead.
“Little rabbit, aren’t you afraid or anxious?” Xiao Qing asked.
“What’s there to be afraid of?”
“You’re not scared of going on stage?” Xiao Qing was astonished by Yun Ruoyan’s seeming indifference. “It’s your first show! You’re not scared at all? You’re not nervous?”
Yun Ruoyan didn’t know what to say. After all, compared to fighting with her life on the line, dancing in front of a crowd really wasn’t anything much. Xiao Qing was only in her twenties, and her mental age was younger than Yun Ruoyan’s. However, because she had treated Yun Ruoyan like her sister these few days, Yun Ruoyan was still very touched by her concern.
“Xiao Qing,” Yun Ruoyan suddenly said.
“Hm? What’s the matter, little rabbit?”
“My name is Yun Ruoyan.”
“Yun Ruoyan,” Xiao Qing murmured, then smiled. “What a good name. Alright, little rabbit, it’s time for us to head on stage.”
The next performers would be Yun Ruoyan and Xiao Qing. As they stepped on stage, Yun Ruoyan noticed a familiar face in the crowd: the housekeeper of the Pi family, who was currently seated with the head of the Zhang family. He was having an animated conversation and wasn’t looking at the stage, but Yun Ruoyan made sure to avoid looking directly at the crowd.
Xiao Qing thought that this was Yun Ruoyan’s stage fright finally coming into effect.She is still small, after all…
After the dance, which seemed to take an eternity, Yun Ruoyan left the stage, successfully having evaded the housekeeper’s attention.
“You said you weren’t scared, but look at how smudged your makeup is from sweat!” Xiao Qing laughed, wiping at her face.
Only then did Yun Ruoyan remember that she had a thick layer of makeup on, so the housekeeper probably wouldn’t have been able to recognize her even if he saw her face.
“Ah, Sister Qing, m
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