“What's a nice place like you doing in a girl like this?”
--Wade Wilson, ‘Deadpool’
Chapter 211 - Caught up
Chu Xiong gawked at Huang Ming in disbelief.
“You talked so much about being wary of evil plots, and yet you’re ‘volunteering’ to deal with this heavenly beauty that has fallen into our laps?” he demanded with not a little dissatisfaction in his tone.
“She’s obviously here to drive a wedge between us, and we should use the opportunity to lull your brother into complacency. It is a very difficult task but I have no choice but to sacrifice myself to personally handle this grave matter,” Huang Ming said seriously.
Prince Chu Xiong rolled his eyes. “How very noble of you.”
“What man is a man who does not make the world better?” Huang Ming quoted a film from Earth.
It was a profound statement but it felt like snake oil to the prince.
“You’re making the world better alright. Better for you,” he said sarcastically.
“Besides, she’s too much of a woman for you,” Huang Ming added, causing the younger man to flush.
“I can handle her,” he said stiffly.
“Yes yes, lord ‘Deflowering Prince’ and all that,” Huang Ming replied dismissively. “But remember why you’re going to the temple.”
“Then what should we do while you’re gladly entering this trap?” the prince asked.
Huang Ming gestured at him with both palms. “Everyone saw you ordering for her to be placed under your protection. Go take a nap. I will publicly take her away to my own quarters and thereby inciting rumours of discord between us. When it is reported to you, throw a tantrum but stop short of retrieving her back. I’m sure it would not be too difficult for you to do that.”
Prince Chu Xiong snorted but did not voice his opposition.
As scripted, Huang Ming very publicly and loudly marched into the tent prepared for the woman which was very near to the prince’s own. He pulled the frail-looking woman away to his own quarters, saying that she was a security risk that needed to be interrogated by him personally.
The woman could only fearfully obey and did not resist. Those who saw the incident later reported that she was as pale as a sheet of paper as she entered Huang Ming’s tent, where she remained for the better part of an hour. One could only imagine what trials awaited her.
How would they know that once in the tent, Huang Ming and the frail-looking woman were locked in fierce ‘personal combat’. The moment they had privacy, the woman shed her weakly mien and hugged Huang Ming passionately.
“My dear lady, are you trying to ravish me?” he said with mock alarm, his arms raised in shock.
The woman went as far as raising one delicious thigh to wrap around him while seductively licking her lips.
“Don’t worry, this lord will treat you well,” she whispered hotly in his ear.
Huang Ming smiled quietly and allowed her to push him down on to the bed.
“Calm down, let’s drink some tea and have a bun,” he murmured.
“I’d rather have your bun,” the woman responded aggressively, and put words into action by grabbing one of his cheeks.
“Business before pleasure,” Huang Ming admonished gently.
“This is business,” the woman insisted. “Didn’t you bring me here to make a show, that I’m coming in between you and your prince?”
“Always glad to see someone pick things up so quickly,” Huang Ming sighed with praise.
The woman chuckled and loosened her fervent grip. She shifted slightly and now lay on him languidly, tracing lazy circles on his chest as she propped herself on one elbow.
“So you’re only attracted to my brain?” she asked with an arched brow.
“You don’t look half-bad, and you did leave a mark on me,” Huang Ming recalled, earning one of her best smiles.
By now all traces of the weepy, fragile woman who had trembled before the Chu princes mere hours ago had vanished. Instead, a brilliant and vivacious woman was in her place. The hairstyling and cosmetics were different, but to Huang Ming she was still the Qiong Ying that he knew.
“Fancy meeting you here. How are things back home?” Huang Ming asked.
“Your eldest brother and sister-in-law are driving me insane, I had to leave,” she answered.
“I thought you women like such sugary romantic moments,” Huang Ming teased.
“Not as a bystander! And they are just too much,” she shuddered. “I have some letters, including one from General Huang.”
“From my father?”
“Well, as far as I know,” Qiong Ying joked.
Huang Ming laughed. “I’ll read them later, but tell me your news.”
Qiong Ying nodded, a solemn look now on her face. She narrated how General Yin Yanzhao was now the right-hand of the King of Wu. At the general’s suggestion, the king and his daughter Princess Wu Liying were touring the country to show off his majesty and assure the populace after the previous military setbacks.
At every stop, the royal duo listened to the pleas of the common folk and gave relief to those seeking redresses; righting the wrongs and punishing the corrupt. The prestige and respected earned by the royal duo was considerable. And at their side at all times was the famous General Yin Yanzhao, pillar of the kingdom.
“For all intents and purposes, the general appears to be the greatest and most capable servant of Wu,” she finished.
Qiong Ying frowned. “Is that all you have to say?”
“For the moment.”
“You are taking this too lightly. Knowing what we know of the general, surely he has insidious objectives in mind,” she warned.
“And knowing what I know of the king, the general is being encouraged to do so,” Huang Ming said.
“The king is not completely ignorant. But he only has the one daughter, and there are precious few candidates to be his son-in-law,” Huang Ming explained.
It took Qiong Ying a few seconds to process it. “You mean… he is allowing General Yin to get closer to the princess? On purpose?”
“What would you do if you no male heirs to inherit, and the one talent propping your kingdom happens to be single?” Huang Ming asked rhetorically.
“But he is so shady,” Qiong Ying exclaimed. “He deliberately made the north weak and left it wide open for a Jin incursion.”
“Maybe the king hopes that the general would be more ‘careful’ if he actually stand to inherit it. In all honesty, the general is someone cunning and brave, worthy enough for his precious daughter.”
“Oh? What about you?” Qiong Ying asked slyly.
“I already have my hands full with you,” Huang Ming replied. And just like what Qiong Ying had said and done previously, he cupped his hands on her full and sweet buttocks.
Qiong Ying smirked. “Business before pleasure,” she threw his words back at him and pinched him.
Huang Ming sighed dramatically and allowed his hands to be peeled away.
“Any other news?”
“Liu Yuchun is working on your designs and it seems to be going well. Your father is very impressed, but your second brother is not enjoying gathering the, ah, ingredients required.”
“Hey, someone has to do the dirty job,” Huang Ming grinned.
Qiong Ying smiled mischievously. “Speaking of dirty jobs…”