Chapter 120: Paint
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“Have you eaten?” Carla asked after nearly a minute of silence. “No, I was planning to, after I finished with it,” I said, motioning to the work in front of me.
She nodded and stayed silent. Seeing she was planning to wait, I focused on the world, and in a few minutes; I finished with it.
“Let’s go,” I said as I put the file into the drawer.
Soon, we walked out of my office, silently. Each one is busy with their own thoughts.
We stepped out of the basement and walked toward the kitchen. When we reach there, a few girls were already eating. Thankfully, one table was empty, and we sat on it.
A second after we sat, Drev appeared beside us.
“Madam Carla, Madam Margaux. What would you like to eat?” he asked, and we smiled. 
“Surprise us, Drev,” said Carla. He seemed a little surprised by that. Usually, we state what we want. 
“Good. I am planning on adding Karnam steak and Jaus rolls to the menu. You can tell me how they are,” he said and walked toward the kitchen.
Currently, the kitchen is run by the morning staff. The new hires are training. If they do well, they will be promoted to the night shift, where the real fun and the money.
There are people on the night shift here; three of them. The first one is Drev, of course, and the second is Hilda. 
A woman in her late twenties, ambitious that she only went home to sleep, before coming here. She is trying to learn from the Drev as much as she could, and she seemed to have learned a lot.
Though, if anyone had learned the most, then it would be Wanda. That woman is working hard.
Since she had chosen to work in the kitchen, she had been working constantly. Learning as much as she could. If she was not sleeping, she would be in the kitchen practicing.
Even Master Silver had praised her for her hard work.
Currently, she is only helping with odd jobs and preparations, but if she continued with such drive. 
She will be able to cook during a day shift, in a few months, and will have a chance to work the night shift, if she had reached the standard required.
Working on a night shift means she is good enough to work in most restaurants. This means she would have a respectable skill to survive in the real world.
It means the world to people like us. This lack of skill is the reason, why most women, who became free, returned to the brothel. They do not know anything than whoring.
I had experienced it myself and know badly the world the worlds treat you. A brothel may seem bad, but there are places that are worse than it.
Those few months I was free were one of the worse days of my life.
If I had been alone, I would have killed myself, like many do, but I returned, for the sake of my daughter.
I was walking through those terrible memories when Drev come back and brought the food that was smelling heavenly and looked like a work of art. 
“Ladies, this Karnam steak and Jaus roll, along with Haster salad and honey-dipped yur ball, that you like Madam Carla,” he said as placed the plates in front of us.
“You have spoiled me, Drev; I don’t know what I will do without you,” said Carla. “Then you will not have to let me go,” he said, and Carla smiled.
It smells heavenly, I wanted to eat everything at once, but I first started with a steak.
“Umm..” an unconscious sound couldn’t help but escape from my mouth before I could stop myself. It is very good; the steak had literally melted in my mouth.
“I don’t think I would be able to eat the normal food again,” I said as I finished with a bite. 
“I won’t ever,” said Carla and took the second bite.
Within a few minutes, we polished our plates clean. I felt embarrassed by it, but it was so good, I couldn’t control myself.
“How was the lunch, ladies?” asked Drev as he appeared at the table. “Delicious,” I replied. “Delicious enough to add it to the menu?” he asked, and I looked at Carla, as it come under her authority.
“Yes, you can add it to the menu,” said Carla after a moment of silence. “Thank, Madam Carla,” he thanked and went to leave.
“Drev,” Carla called out, and he stopped and turned. “Come with me to my office. I have something important to talk to you,” she said and got up, while he looked in surprised.
Carla looked at me, but I shook my head. It is her idea; she will have to do it herself. Though, if there is trouble because of this, I will be by her side.
I watched them disappear down the stairs before getting up from my chair.
I walked to the hall, where several classes were happening within the temporary partitions. 
The number of classes increased as the number of girls increased. Most of the classes could be held in the room, but some with more girls could only be held in the hall.
It is the only large place we have.
I turned toward the etiquette class, where the girls were still getting hit by an old woman even after two months. It is not surprising, since the difficulty of class had also increased with time. 
I know it better than anyone, as I have a weekly glass with an old woman.
It is a one-on-one class and I still get hit by her. That made me want to curse that old woman to death.
I may curse her, but I know how effective her class and other classes had been. In this half a year, I have been fully transformed, that sometimes even I couldn’t recognize myself when I looked in the mirror.
It is not just my looks that had changed, but also the way I walk, talk, smile, and frown. Everything had changed.
Sometimes, I wonder whether my daughter would be able to recognize me. This scares me.
I pushed those scary thoughts and looked at the inspiring scene at the bar where a young woman is practicing.
Wanda is not the only one who is giving her all. Cresa, too, is doing the same. She is practicing every hour, and, unlike Wanda, who is still a month away from working in the kitchen at night, Cresa, going to get her chance soon.
In two months, she had learned enough that Master Silver had decided to let her work on the bar.
She will be working at the start of the next month. She is excited about it and every day pushing herself harder than yesterday.
Currently, she trying to spin several bottles across her arm.
She saw me looking at her and turn me. “Madam Margaux, do you want to have a drink? I can quickly make you an arten’s river,” she asked. I wanted to decline since it was afternoon, but the name of the drink stopped me in my tracks.
“Sure,” I said and walked toward her, before sitting on the chair, while she makes my favorite drink.
“How is practice going?” I asked her. “Good. I could make almost all the drinks we serve and now practicing some show tricks.” She said and shook the mixed drink, before straining it into the glass and garnishing it with a slice of lemon.
“Here is your arten’s river,” she presented me with a light blue color drink. “Thank you, dear,” I said to the young woman and picked up the glass.
I took the sip; the first thing I felt was refreshing coolness before bitter notes came with a hint of sweetness.
“How is it?” she asked with hopeful eyes. “Amazing,” I said and took a second sip, which is better than the first before I know it. I finished the whole glass.
“Do you want second, Madam Carla?” she asked. “No dear. One is more than enough for an afternoon,” I said and got up and walked toward the door.
Soon, I was out of the building and walked toward the plot, which was not empty anymore. In nearly two months, they have made amazing progress and in a little over four months, it will be ready.
I had seen the design and the sketches, and it felt like heaven.
I am not exaggerating; it will be like heaven. Master Silver had everything; things I don’t know existed before. Just thinking about them makes me shiver excitedly. I wonder how the real thing would be.
“You are going to the site Madam Carla?” asked the familiar voice. “Yes, dear,” I said to the raven-haired woman.
“Mind if I tag along?” she asked. “Your company would be much appreciated,” I said, and the woman gracefully moved toward me at a quick speed.
She is Stena, from the Stone Mercenaries.
Soon, she appeared beside me, and we walked toward the site. “It will be quite beautiful when it is completed,” said the woman, looking at the site, which was coming closer with every step.
“More beautiful than you could imagine,” I replied. She looked at me with an arched brow, but I smiled.
Master Silver had forbidden to talk about it to anyone, and I am more than willing to follow that order.
Soon, we reached it, and I saw Caena walking out of the site. “Madam Carla, Stena,” she greeted as she reached us and walked away toward the establishment.
“Caena is fun, but she is weird as hell,” said Stena, and I smiled.
Of course, she is weird, and she is doing something suspicious. 
She is doing that since the moment she arrived at the establishment, but we could never find out what she does.
Carla wanted to ban her weird visit to the site, but Master Silver refused, saying until he finds proof, he will let her do what she wants.
Soon, they reached the site and walked around it. Though careful not to get in the way of the workers.
As I looked at it, I could connect with the blueprint and sketches I had seen. It made my heart beat faster.
They looked around the whole site before walking out of it. “Madam Margaux,” said the old familiar voice. “Chief Architect Davidson. When do you arrive?” I asked.
I did not see him earlier.
“Just now,” he replied. “The construction is moving quite fast,” I commented, and a smile appeared on his face.
“We are slightly ahead of schedule and if kept moving at this speed. We will finish it within five months.” He said with a wide smile on his face.
“Master Silver would be pleased,” I said. And stressed. With this huge construction and loans, our finances are tight. 
We will get a little breathing space next month when new girls join at the start of next month.
“I am glad,” he said. I talked to him for a few minutes before walking toward the establishment with a slightly hurried place. My class will start soon, and I don’t like to be late.
Thankfully, I have reached on time and the class went well. It was a management class, my least favorite, but most useful. The things I learned in it are helping me do my job smoothly.
I opened the door of y quarters and closed it before walking into my room. There, I removed my dress and walk back into the living room, which was covered in cloth curtains from all sides.
One could not see what was inside.
I moved a large cloth curtain and walked inside my tiny studio. I do not need the living room, so I converted it into a studio.
While there is a painting studio, I wanted something private.
I changed into work clothes and an apron and looked at the blank canvas in front of me. Thinking, whether I will throw it into the trash after painting it, like many others.
I had told my daughter that I had started painting, and that was a mistake. Since then, she had been asking for a painting insistently.
She is asking for it in every letter.
I looked blank canvas where I was trying to draw on my happiest memories. 
It is in the park, one of my favorite places, and the only place where I could afford to take my daughter.
The park has many happy memories, and I am trying to paint one, but it is harder than I released, especially when I am trying it to be perfect.
I stared at the blank canvas for a couple of minutes, thinking of the happiest memory I have in the park. It took a while to materialize it. When it did; I started to paint it.
This time, I did not think. Let the memory guide it. It feels impulsive to paint like this, but it felt right and joyful.
Like that day I had spent with my daughter.

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