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By weekend's end, it was I and master Li He who was arguing. I was mad at him and he doesn't understand why. I wanted to protect his relationship with his wife so I refused to let him know my reason, the more I held it from him, the more he got frustrated, ready to leave the manor by the dawn of the morning. Having to deal with two women instead of one was too much for him.

I didn't mean to cause him stress, but I was suffering and my anguish was too obvious for him not to notice.

He left by the morning, looking five years older than he is.

It was just me and mistress then and I knew this tension between us is about to explode as she cornered me in the kitchen. Her menacing presence announced itself as she loomed behind me spilling her malice.

I turned around expectant, she was surprised when I didn't flinch. She must've thought I would fear her by now, but I didn't. I was not scared of her, I may be a slave, but I wasn't raised abused by my masters.

My gaze glided into her and noticed her scrawny arms tucked behind her back while she smiled in vain. My stomach plunged, aware of what she has hidden on her back. Silence descent, there were no words exchanged between us, and for a few seconds, I waited for her to say something when she didn't...

"Do you need anything, mistress?" I asked calmly even though every muscle in my body tensed, reacting on their own - ready to defend myself.

"What exactly is your relationship with my husband?" She asked, overwhelming danger in the calmness in her voice.

My face pressed into a frown, confused to what she's asking. "We grew up together, he's like my older brother. There's nothing more to it." I reassured her, but I had a feeling she needed more reassurance than what I muttered.

"I knew that." She murmured. "You seemed a little too close to Li He and I don't like that."

I cast my eyes down, just to avoid her seething eye contact, I could see the rage building up in her. "I've been trying to avoid him."

She scoffed. "What kind of fool do you think I am?" She snarled. "What kind of master buys his slave clothes and sweets?"

I said nothing because I knew the longer this confrontation last, the worst it is for me. I could tell from where I stood, the way her shoulders tensed and her arms flexed behind her back, the shudder of her anger. Mistress Jiaying is merely waiting for an opportunity, itching to punish me, hurt me, nothing is going to make her feel better than to see me in pain and her inflicting it on me will be the most satisfying.

"Well?" She hissed.

"I didn't touch the pastry he gave me, you can have it, and the robe he got me," I told her, hoping it'll be enough to suppress her anger.

"Bring them out here!"

I moved quickly out of the kitchen and into my room, fetching the rice cake and the robe and brought them out to her. Mistress Jiaying snatched them from me, crumbling the pastry in front of me then tossed it to the thrash with great satisfaction.

I held the nature of my feelings, my resentment that perhaps, a little too strong to hide away and it was evident from how I wore my bitterness. I watched her as she moved to the kitchen drawer, searching for a knife.

She flashed me a wicked smile while she grabbed the blade, for a moment I thought she's going to threaten me with that knife, but she merely used it to shred the robe into pieces and tossed it in front of me as she walked away.

Mistress Jiaying must've expected a stream of tears running down from my eyes, and it disappointed her when I didn't satisfy her with the result she wanted. So, she took it further, she was going to get the result she wanted and that is to have me crying, cowering, pitying myself in the corner, begging her for mercy.

I bent over as to start cleaning the mess she made on the floor when I felt the sting of her whip slashed across my back once again. I winced at the unexpected pain, falling on all fours on the floor. That's when the rain of her terror came down over and over until I was writhing in discomfort on the ground unable to move, blinded with torturous pain. All I saw was the swarm of red flashes as my mind went into chaos and panic, not knowing what to do, how to defend myself.

And then, something took over and the worse happened. My mind reacted and my body followed. I was a lot stronger than she was. My bones are built and honed by years of hard work. My muscles are bigger and I took the whip from her weak grip like an adult taking something from a child.

The last thing I saw was the terror that claimed her face before my mind went blank.

I came back to my senses heaving deep breaths, towering over mistress Jiaying while she cowered in the corner, squealing whimpers like a frightened animal. I didn't know what happened, what took over me. I gripped the whip tightly inside my hand, trembling. I looked down at her, red lines ran across her face, her arms, her legs and the sight of her made me step back and drop the whip from my hand.

I wanted to tell her I'm sorry, help her up, but my jaws are locked and my lips wouldn't part. My body would not move to help her up. I was not sorry, and I was glad she got a taste of what it was like.


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