They say she's a beauty, generous, kind and more but she lacks a voice. Betrayed by her maid, hated by her half-sister, tormented by her step-mother. Her father never once looked to her as his own since she was born from a lower status. Remaining hidden from the world she hid but soon sent away to be wedded to the biggest and wealthiest minister. Everything changed when she came across a bandit leader."Who are you?" He questioned her as she looked up to see a man with a mask and hood. His black robe worn as his men started crashing and taking all the items worth of value.
Huai Li Qi stood looking out of her room window seeing that today was her mother's death anniversary. One of her eye was hidden; it was a different color from the other. Her left eye was brown and her right was a golden-yellow. It ran in the blood on her father's side of the family. While looking at the stone tablet that had her mother's name, she paid her respects like she did on any other day. She chose not to speak, she hadn't spoken since she was six years old with the physician saying that it something related to her mental health. After all, her family didn't care if she was healthy or not.
She stayed inside all the time, and always ate alone. The only one to accompany her was her maid, but in the end, her maid betrayed her since she wanted to be married off to a rich family with a stable life for herself. After Huai Li Qi stitched her handkerchief into a lotus design, she set it down. Looking outside where the people roamed freely below her.
Some maids entered her room adorning red robes and jewelry. She looked to them with her step-mother walking into her room.
"You'll be marrying the Minister Fan Chao Xiang. He has offered a decent price for you. Unlike most others that don't even want you," her step-mother spoke. Huai Li Qi only continued to look elsewhere; she didn't care anymore.
Ever since her mother died, she has had her maid betray her, and her father who never loved her. She remained quiet and emotionless -- not expressing herself towards anyone. The maids proceeded to dress her up in common wedding clothes as well as common jewelry. Going out to the carriage, she saw her father, only to look at him emotionlessly. He portrayed the same look as her when she entered the carriage. She was then carried off to the minister's manor. She didn't even look at her maid who kept glancing back at her.
"Why must Miss remain mute when she can talk?" the maid asked, seeing that she still remained quiet.
They travelled far because the minister lived far away. He was a large fellow and an older man who could pass as her father. Despite her being a mute, he was excited for his new bride because she was a beauty. While no one had seen her face, they thought her to be ugly; that was until Minister Fan Chao Xiang offered a price without a second thought.
"Let's take a shortcut through the forest! I want to hurry up home with my new bride!" the minister yelled. His servants only bowed. Huai Li Qi despised men who only see women as items. She also wanted to make the wealthy and rich understand the hardships and pain of those with low and poor backgrounds.
The horses then started to panic, and the servants and other men tried to pull them back down. "What's wrong with the horses!?" Minister Fan Chao Xiang yelled out. At this call, the servants began to feel afraid along with the horses.
"This forest belongs to the bandits! We must run!" Servants were now yelling and panicking. Although, Minister Fan Chao Xiang didn't believe in such a thing.
"We will not go the long way!! Follow me and we will get out eventually!" He yelled. The men followed behind him, still shaking in their pants.
While everyone was still panicking, it slowly turned to night time knowing how much danger would occur to them. They then heard a loud horn echoing from across the forest. "It is the bandit's forest!!! Run! Everyone run!!!" A servant screamed out.
"Don't run!! Fight like the men you're supposed to be!!!" Minister Fan Chao Xiang hollered. He was then knocked off his horse. After falling onto his face, his men promptly helped him up. "Who hit me!?" He questioned. No one said anything, and men in suits soon started running to surround the group. As Fan Chao Xiang looked at them, he asked "who are you people!?" One specific individual walked out to him, with a mask adorning his face. His red eyes were the only thing one could see while the rest of his body was completely covered.
"We'll be taking your riches and giving it to those who truly need it. You have also done illegal trades and taken advantage of women. We cannot let these matters go." He said. Haui Li Qi removed the cloth covering her face, pushing aside the curtain to look outside.
Looking over at the leader, she saw his mask and bright red eyes. She wanted to see him up closer. The bandits then dragged her out by the arm, and over to their leader. He looked to her as if he had just laid eyes upon the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. After seeing the bandit leader's look, she turned to face the old fat man on the ground.
"Tell me. Did you wish to marry this man?" He asked willing to listen to her words if it held honesty in it. She looked up at him with all of the sadness deep within her. This made Fan Chao Xiang laugh, making her look back over to him.
"Do you really think ‘that’ mute can tell you anything? She has always been a mute, and no one wanted her anyways. But in any case, I paid a good price for her seeing as though she is a beauty behind closed doors." He said, unknowing that she was just a mute by choice; not by trauma. She wanted the Minister dead; he had been a horrible man to many before coming across her. Turning around to face the bandit leader, looking at him with a serious look.
Just when she was about to talk for the first time, in a long time, she saw one of the minister's servants holding a small dagger in his palms knowing that he would not sense it coming. Even though he was shaking, he charged at the bandit leader. She didn't want the bandit leader to die because she believed that he would one day help the poor and ruin the rich.
After pushing away the bandit leader, she felt a piercing pain on her belly. Falling back, the bandit leader caught her. Clutching her wound and breathing heavily. The bandits then all moved to catch the man. When they had him in their clutches, they killed him as a warning to the rest of the servants to obey and not resist. Haui Li Qi looked to the bandit leader and she just smiled with blood trailing down the side of her mouth. With her other hand, she reached to hold his tightly wanting him to know her side of the story.
"I became a mute because I was nothing but the lowest of the rich and wealthy. *cough* *cough* My family never loved me, my maid betrayed me, and my... mother died on my fifth birthday. *Cough* Everything I have seen and heard has been nothing but unfortunate for me. I want the rich and wealthy to know how hard it is... for the low and the poor if they were in their shoes." With tears still lingering in her eyes, everyone looked over to her with utter shock. Her vision blurred, feeling her body weakly giving away as she smiled at him. "I wish that... I could've met you sooner and... get your help." She soon lost her vision and no longer felt anything within her body.