Chapter 12: Beauty is a sin

Sister Hong stood beside Bai Tiantian, just like a servant, and spoke: “This is Miss Bai, the Saintess of our Zhou village.
Today, she will give a lecture to all of you.”
Bai Tiantian glanced around the room and when her gaze fell on Bai Qingqing, her eyes flashed with excitement.
If Bai Qingqing wasn’t dead, it meant the captain was fine and had come to rescue her!
When Sister Hong noticed Bai Tiantian’s enthusiasm, she discreetly pinched her and said without a smile: “Holy Maiden, let’s begin.”
Bai Qingqing waited in boredom, looking at Bai Tiantian with some interest, curious to listen to her so-called lecture. 

Since they had entered the village, Bai Tiantian had been separated from everyone.
She had been living under surveillance every day.
It was the first time they had asked her to teach and if she failed, she would have to be locked up again.
“Hello everyone.
My name is Bai Tiantian and the lesson I am going to give today is about female virtue.”
Bai Qingqing was instantly speechless.
No wonder this morning, when she had been wearing an ordinary sports outfit, the Aunt had chewed her out.
If she had dared to respond, she would probably have been scolded even more.
So, were those Zhou village’s traditions?

Bai Tiantian was forced to preach in a loud voice: Men are the sky, women are the earth.
Women must not have the idea of surpassing men, women must not be capable, successful women have been ending tragically since ancient times.
Bai Qingqing raised her eyebrows.
She could guess that the women of this village had been entirely brainwashed, only obeying the men.
All the women in the room were fascinated by the lecture, learning and repeating seriously.
If our husband beats us, we cannot fight back.
We have to reflect on what we have done wrong.
Desiring to change husband is the biggest sin, and we will go to hell.
If we don’t learn female virtue, the elders will punish us and we will get a disease that will never be cured.
Looking pretty is a sin.
Dressing up is a sin.
Women must be modest in order to please men and no matter how our husband treats us, it is for our own good.
A woman’s worth is to get married.
If we are not married, we must not have any contact with men, or our hands and feet will rot.
When we see the elders, we have to bow our heads.
When the elders speak, we must kneel down and listen.
If we do not listen to our parents, we will get a terminal illness.

Bai Qingqing listened to the lecture in physical discomfort.
Although Bai Tiantian was just used as a tool, perhaps because of her Virgin Mary halo, all the women in the room were acting crazy, crying and yelling their faults.
They had to kneel down to admit their mistakes and were willing to give everything to their husbands.
Bai Qingqing’s eyes flickered.
She stood up abruptly, climbed on the table, and shouted: “Holy Maiden, what you said is true!”
The already emotional women in the room were startled and looked at her.
Bai Tiantian’s eyes were as surprised; she thought Bai Qingqing was also becoming confused and became anxious.
Bai Qingqing jumped off her table and ran to Bai Tiantian.
She held her hand and sincerely said: “Holy Maiden, after listening to you, everything became clear.”
Sister Hong was standing not far away and was trying to decide whether Bai Qingqing was acting or really brainwashed.
“Sister Hong.” Bai Qingqing looked at the woman and said: “I want to marry.”
Sister Hong: ??
Bai Qingqing was excited: “I want to find someone to marry, I want to work like an ox, to work like a horse1.
I want to bow to him, I want him to beat and scold me.
If he were even to kill me, it would be my blessing.”
Bai Tiantian turned pale with fright: “Qingqing…”
“None of you can stop me!” Bai Qingqing looked particularly dedicated to the female virtue lecture.
She had pain in her eyes and kept on going: “Being beautiful is a sin! I feel bad, I need to be punished.”
“???” The more the women listening, the more something sounded wrong.
Bai Qingqing grabbed Sister Hong’s hand and shook it vigorously: “Sister Hong, please find a man for me! I am going to marry soon and let him punish me!”
The women in the room were all looking at her crazy appearance, listening to her hysterical outburst, and suddenly woke up from their dazed mind and stood up.
Sister Hong was also confused and tried to stop her: “Wait…”
“I cannot wait anymore!” Bai Qingqing raised her voice in anger, “I cannot wait a minute longer!”
She looked at the frightened women and kept shouting: “Don’t you want to be killed by a man?”
The women took a few steps back in horror.
Who wanted to be killed, was she psychotic?
“Enough!” Sister Hong screamed, her eyes on Bai Qingqing: “You are deliberately making trouble!”

Tears appeared in Bai Qingqing’s eyes, looking wronged: “Sister Hong, how can you say this to me? Didn’t you say I must regard my husband as the sky and be beaten and scolded by him to achieve success? I want to find a man to beat me and scold me, am I wrong? Tell me, where am I wrong?” She looked at everyone. 
Sister Hong was at a loss for words.
The female virtue that was originally supposed to be taught today was getting muddled by this girl.
It was not supposed to sound like that.
“Come with me!” She yelled at Bai Qingqing in anger.
Bai Tiantian quickly grabbed the woman’s hand and said: “Sister Hong, please let her go.”
The woman looked at Bai Tiantian, her face dark.
“Saintess, your task has not been completed yet, why don’t you continue the lecture?”
Bai Tiantian bit her lip, let her go, and looked at Sister Hong pulling Bai Qingqing out of the room.

On the way, Bai Qingqing asked with some excitement: “Sister Hong, are you going to take me to find a husband?”
The woman was not angry anymore, only cold: “No.”
“Sister Hong, where are you taking me?” Bai Qingqing looked at her surroundings, keeping track of the way as they walked.
The woman took her to an old house and threw her violently in a dark room before saying: “You will reflect on yourself here.
I will let you out once you admit your mistakes.”
“Sister Hong!” Bai Qingqing was unwilling to be locked, “What did I say wrong? Didn’t you say I had to get married?”
“You will stay here all night and I will let you out tomorrow.” Sister Hong pushed her with brute force, her eyes glowing with evil, “If you make trouble again next time, you will see what happens!”

Bai Qingqing was locked in a dimly lit room and listened to the sounds around her.
She hugged herself and tried to think of a way to get out of here.
She had really been too impulsive, Sister Hong was a rather decisive person.
Suddenly, a voice was heard in her mind: [The mission’s target A-mei had appeared.]
Bai Qingqing’s somewhat depressed mood instantly rose up; A-mei must also be locked up here!
Realizing there were other people in the room, she relied on the faint light to look around, until she found someone squatting in a corner, looking at her with horror.

“A-mei?” she asked softly.
The girl was so dirty she couldn’t see her face and when she saw Bai Qingqing approach, she shrunk in her corner.
“Don’t be afraid.” Bai Qingqing stopped moving.
She squatted down and added: “I am here to save you.”
A-mei shook her head in disbelief.
Her voice was hoarse after a long time without using it: “Who-who are you?”
“My name is Bai Qingqing.” She softened her voice, “Do you know Awang? He asked me to save you.”
A-mei’s reaction was obvious.
Her breathing fastened and she burst into tears: “He… Is-is he okay?”
Bai Qingqing took a tissue from her space and handed it to her: “Wipe your tears first, tell me everything.”
A-mei stretched her hand carefully and took away the tissue. 
“I have been locked up here for a month.
Is it really true Awang asked you to save me?”
Bai Qingqing couldn’t bear to lie to her: “My friend.
He is a friend of Awang and he asked me to find you.”
A-mei started crying again: “I have been here all this time.
There is no way to go out.
Someone is guarding outside, we can’t escape.”
“Trust me.” Bai Qingqing blinked at her, “I will get us out.”
She took out a gun from her space and A-mei’s eyes widened.
With a trembling voice, she asked: “You have a gun?”
Bai Qingqing stood up in the faint light and stretched out her hand: “Come on, I will take you out.”
A-mei put her hand in hers, hope in her eyes.
After praying so many times to be saved, maybe someone had heard her and she was finally getting rescued.

Bai Qingqing fired at the door lock and successfully took A-mei out of the small room.
Clouds shrouded the moonlight and the road was dark.
But perhaps because of this, they met no one on the road.
Bai Qingqing led the girl through the way, carefully bypassing several houses before sneaking into the old lady’s house.

When the old lady saw both of them, she rubbed her eyes as if she couldn’t believe it.
A-mei covered her mouth.
In tears, she said in a muffled voice: “Grand… Grandma.” She knelt on the ground and hugged the old lady’s legs, “It’s me, A-mei.
I’m back.”
The old lady reached out and pushed her shoulders, crying: “A-mei.
You need to go, they will come back to get you.”
“I won’t go.”

Bai Qinqging had not expected she had saved the old lady’s granddaughter by chance.
She helped A-mei up and asked the old lady to go lay down.
A-mei talked to her grandmother and after she coaxed her into falling asleep, she came to find Bai Qingqing.
“Brother Awang must have been arrested too, just like me.”
“Do you know where?”
A-mei frowned and guessed: “Probably in the old ancestral hall, on the north mountain.”
Bai Qingqing had been wandering on the south mountain for the past two days.
Except for the room they had just broken out, there was no place to hide people.
Unfortunately, men were patrolling the south of the mountain, and the north was mostly habited by men from the village.
It was not easy to go look for someone there.
“Sister Qingqing.” A-mei said with gratitude: “Thank you for saving me.
But if you cannot guarantee your safety, you shouldn’t take risks.
I will find a way to find Brother Awang.”
“I promised my friend, I must do it.” She also had to do the task, she needed to figure a way to successfully reach and enter the former ancestral hall.
“Why did the villagers separate you two?”
A-mei lowered her head and, her voice mixed with pain, briefly told their dramatic story.
After the outbreak, the two lovers had returned to Zhou village but their families and elders had opposed their union.
A-mei had gotten high education from the city and rebelled against Zhou village’s female customs, arousing the outrage of the villagers.
With Awang, they had escaped for love but had been caught halfway; one had been locked on the north mountain, the other on the south mountain, not allowed to meet each other in this life.

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