Read An Evening Out Pt 3 here. ‘Are you all right?’ Lily asked. ‘Fine,’ Madam Wong said. She still appeared a little unsteady, even though she was sitting down. ‘I’ll tell ya what, though.’ ‘What?’ Daisy said. ‘I couldn’t have fallen any further, could I?’ She let rip with a loud cackle, slapping the table with her palms, and the girls joined in her laughter. Now they were all completely plastered, the night could truly begin. The Peony Pavilion was packed. Everywhere they looked, the girls saw huddles of people out celebrating New Year. All were drinking heavily. There were one or two minor scuffles, but most were just having a good time and saying hello to their ancestors. Looking around, Madam Wong thought she could see several who had passed on already; she spied at least two ladies Read More
Read An Evening Out Pt 2 here. The glasses on the table were now mostly half full. This was their first night out for some considerable time, and the girls were making the most of it, getting looser and less inhibited the more they drank. As more songs by the legendary Wong Fei were played on the overhead speakers, Madam Wong was in full flow. ‘I’m tellin’ ya,’ she was saying, ‘that Wong Fei, she had ’em by the goolies, she did. Everyone loved Auntie Fei. She did what she wanted and let no one dictate. S’why she was so successful.’ ‘So that’s why the Lotus Blossom Palace runs so efficiently!’ said Daisy. ‘Talent runs in families.’ ‘What?’ Lily glanced up. She’d been eyeing the drinks menu again. ‘Bollocks,’ she said. ‘It was hundreds o’ years ago. How can Read More
Read An Evening Out Part 1 here. She took them to the Peony Pavilion, widely regarded as the finest bar on the First Cropship of the White Crane – and one of the best in the Empire. Known for its colourful drinks and famous flaming cocktails, it was the obvious choice. Though the glow of youth left the girls with little need for Madam Wong’s special cosmetics, they had made a great effort on their hair, pinning it up with ornate clasps of gold and silver decorated with butterflies and birds, or perhaps a dragon’s head. Daisy, opting for simplicity, had decorated her hair with a single elegant feather fashioned from bronze. Sitting together in qipao of various colours, they quickly drew attention from the men in the room – but this was not an evening for talking to Read More
The girls of the Lotus Blossom Palace were getting dressed up in their finest clothes. Madam Wong had decided that they deserved, and indeed needed, an evening off. This was a rare occurrence for the lotus girls; they were in high demand on the First Cropship of the White Crane, and free time was a precious luxury that most of them could ill afford.
Many things had changed over the centuries since the Long Yu fleet set off from old Earth, but New Year remained the most important date in the calendar. It was the ideal time for the girls to take a break and Madam Wong was so determined to take them somewhere nice that she was even willing to leave the mochibots in charge of the Palace while they all went out. Read More
Mr Ong awoke as the cropship entered its daytime phase and the lighting systems powered up. In the back of his rickshaw, he sat up and drew the blanket around him. He had always been an early riser; he enjoyed that sense of being the only one present, the sole witness to events. He enjoyed the silence. But once the light grew brighter and the air began to warm, the silence faded as the first traders arrived and began to set up. Soon the docks would come alive; it was time for Mr Ong to go to work.
He’d taken a bit of a chance yesterday, but the girl’s offer had been too good to refuse. Forty kuai, she’d paid him! Forty kuai for a few dried noodles and a bit of protein concentrate! Plus a couple of mouldy cabbages, he remembered. And an onion.