“This is absurd. We cannot allow it.”
It was Zhao who shouted. In his shock, he had forgotten his station and failed to address me properly
as the consort of the prince.
I forgave him. He was his most loyal lieutenant, having fought by his side half his life. And he was
shouting for my sake.
“Is there any other way?” I asked.
“We will find a way.” He replied but his eyes betrayed his shaky confidence.
“Do you think they will give us time? Now that the Prince is seen wounded by an arrow and we were
surrounded by superior forces at least three times our size. No, General Zhao, do not deceive
yourself. If we do not do it, they will overwhelm us and slaughter every one of us.”
“But…but we can breakthrough their ring. We still have five thousand warriors. We can escort you to
“I know. But what about him? Are you sure you can get him to safety too? He is wounded, badly. The
only way we can get him out alive is for someone to go out there and lead the enemy into a wild chase.
In the confusion, you can smuggle him out. This is our only chance!”
He fell silent. I knew he could offer no better plan than the one I proposed.
“I can ride out and deceive the enemy. I can put on his mask, and ….” He said and I knew he was aware
of its implication. He would not survive, not with fifteen thousand Zhou warriors screaming for your
“Zhao, I appreciate it, but it will not work. You broad shoulders will immediately betray your plot and
the enemy will know it is an imposter. Besides, can you ride his white charger? Both you and I know
there is only one person beside His Grace who can get on the saddle of that horse and control it. It
has to be I.”
“But how can I answer to the Prince if….” There were tears in his eyes now. And I have never seen him
“Just tell him I order you to let me do it. For him, for the those who had followed him all these years.
They deserve a fighting chance.”
“They are all ready to die for him.” He assured me.
“I know. But they should not. At least half of them can live. Go, Zhao, I beg you. Let the men draw by
lots. Half of them will follow me and the other half will break out once the Zhou forces take the bait. I
depend on you. Do not fail me. Do not fail him.”
Zhao looked at me for a while, nodded and went out of the tent.
I turned my attention to Lan-ning. He lay on his back, calm, undisturbed, as if he was a new born baby.
The fearful mask was off, put at the side of his bed. I picked it up and starred at the horrifying facial
features craved onto the wood What a contrast it was against his boyish face, like an angel. The mask
was created years ago, when he first went into battle and the enemy sneered and refused to fight him,
saying they would not do battle with a kid. He was humiliated by words and jeers as he rode along the
battlefront challenging anyone to come forward. It was no avail.
“Go back to your king and ask him to send some proper warrior!” Does he have none other worthy
ones to send into battle than a kid?”
The enemy roared with laughter.
He went back to battle a fortnight later. They could no longer see his face as it was hidden behind a
mask, a terrifying wooden mask that struck terror into the hearts who opposed him, as if the very sight
would send any opponent to hell. And if the mask did not, his spear did. Seven veteran generals of
the Zhou army did not return to their camp on that day, their heads displayed on poles on the low rise
in the middle of the field.
Now, instead of jeering, they were seized with panic every time they saw this fearsome devil who rode
into battle on his white charger.
“Merciful gods! It is Lan-ning!”
His very appearance spelt immediate victory. The enemies turned and fled as he led his troops into
attack. The mask, the horse and the very name of Lan-ning bore the same meaning as instant-death.
He won every single battle and with every victory, his fame grew.
The king found that even by giving him a smaller army, it would not make much difference.
And so the number of troops under his command dwindled from hundreds of thousands to thirty
thousands, then ten, then just five. Rumor began to go around the camp. Lan-ning had made the worst
enemy possible, his own king.
Still he won battles after battles.
Until this time.
No one should know the path the army was supposed to take.
The objective was to attack the Zhou camp by surprise. Instead, Lan-ning’s army was surprised.
An ambush, a well-paid champion archer whose task was to seek out the man in the devil mask and put
an arrow through his heart.
He would be dead if Zhao was not near him and shouted a warning just in time. Still, the arrow found its
mark, although a fraction of an inch from its original spot. Lan-ning fell from his horse, the first time
ever. His men, unbelieving at first, were hammered into the defensive encampment and besieged.
They beat off three attacks that day and the enemy retired a little distance. Zhao knew what the enemy
was thinking. They would wait and bring up the siege machines that would batted the walls of the small
fort and brought them down. Then, the slaughter would begin. The enemy had all the time they
needed. They knew there would be no relief force from the king.
I had followed him without letting my father know. Although he bore the title of prince and I, a princess,
he is not of royal blood as I , Guo-jing, am, the title being honorary. We were distant cousins and I had
loved him since time began. I remembered the first time I saw his face, so pure and beautiful as the
carved statue of the Buddha’s young disciple. He was only nine then and I three years his junior. He
blushed when he was first introduced to me as I glared at him, for I fear he could look into my heart and
saw the fire that had been instantly kindled.
“You are so girlish!” I tried to make fun of him and he had lowered his head.
After a while he gathered himself together and told me that I was the prettiest girl he had ever seen,
“I hate you!” I hissed, though I could not tell if he believed me, or if I believed it myself. I had to do so
for even at that age I knew that the fate of a princess was not her own. To my father the king, I was
valuable property, Something that could trade for alliances, the more so if I really grew up beautiful.
And I did. And one day I was informed by those whom I had bribed that my father intended to give my
hand away to the nomadic Xionglu, in return for their pledge support against the Zhou.
“But I love Lan-ning.” I protested.
“You are my daughter! And you will do as I tell you! He is not going to live that long anyway!” He
should not have told me. It was one of those moments that his rage had clouded his better judgment.
My face paled as I knew instantly that my father wanted Lan-ning to die. The prince had become too
popular, too powerful, too invincible, and hence too dangerous.
I slipped away from the palace. It was not so difficult a thing for me to do as I had learned to ride and
shoot like a man since I was a child. All princes and princesses of the court had to be trained in martial
skills. The country was divided into many kingdoms and ours was only one of them, albeit one of the
I joined his troops, disguised as a man. It was only months later that he found out who I was.
“Go back to your father.”
“You have to. It is not safe here!”
“No! If you force me to go, I will kill myself.”
“You will not!”
“I will.” I drew my sword and had it horizontally placed over my throat.
“Stop!” He glared at me. Even in rage, he was so loveable. I could die for him, then and there, if he let
“Alright. But look after yourself.” He backed down.
And I became his page, so that nobody would become suspicious.
Zhao knew of course. Lan-ning confided in him in all matters.
The old man sighed but he was to loyal to make report to the king.
I touched the face of my prince who had fallen into slumber. He was in fever. The arrow had been
taken out and the wound treated. But it was obvious he could not fight for a while. Or do anything not
appropriate. I felt tears running down my face. How I wish to be able to lie with him, to let him make
love to me, if only for just once, before I put on his armor, mounted his horse and rode out to die for
“Do you know how much I love you?” I whispered into his ear.
He did not stir.
I kissed him, on his eyelids, his nose, his tender lips., his bared chest, careful not to touch his wound. I
removed my leather armor of a page boy, and raised his limp hands to cup my breasts over my moon-
white taudau, the silk lingerie that clung to my bare skin. The silky thing was embroidered with the
royal insignia, the only identifiable item on me to reveal who I really am. I felt my nipples hardened at
his touch, the nipples that I had hoped that one day would be caressed and kissed, sucked by his
mouth, or the mouths of the children I bore him. But all these would not be, would never be. I guided
his hands down my torso, using his fingers to trace my mid-riff, the contours of my pelvic bones, my
thighs, my calves. I would allow him to possess me, if just with his fingers if the gods be merciful with
me. But the gods did not smile.
Zhao was calling me outside the tent.
“The troops are ready, your Grace.”
I nodded, tears running down my cheeks.
“Farewell, my prince.”
I dragged myself away from him. Still starring at the immobile figure on the bed, I put on his armor,
fastened on the sword to my belt and then put on the fearsome mask. I could hardly breathe behind
that piece of wood But it did not matter. It would not be long.
When I walked out of the tent, Zhao handed me the helmet.
“Do not return to the capital. The King will find excuse to kill him, and all of you. Go south and take
refuge with the Han people.. They can protect you.” I said.
“May the gods keep you safe, Your Grace.”
I nodded and mounted the white charger brought to me.
The beast neighed once. Is it aware that I was not him? Does it know we are both to die for the man we
I am the only one besides Lan-ning who could ride this charger. He had taught me to do it and taught
the horse to obey. He thought that one day I might need to ride it to safety. How ironic? It was because
of his concern that I am now ready to ride for him, to death.
“Long live the king!” I raised my spear and my pledge of loyalty was echoed round the camp.
Taking the lead, I rode out.
We headed east, in the direction of the kingdom.
The enemy immediately discovered us and battle horns and drums thundered along their encirclement
I ordered to charge.
The several enemy generals reined in their horses when they saw me. No, it was Lan-ning they saw, hi
his fearsome mask and on his famous horse!
“Lan-ning is unhurt! Flee!”
I did not give them time to rethink.
Spurring my mount, I caught up with one of them and drove my spear through his back. He toppled
over the saddle and was trampled to pulps by the men following me.
“Run!” The line disintegrated like sand before a tidal wave.
I could make a break-through now if I wanted to. The east was open!
But I could not do that.
To break away now would jeopardize his safety. They feared Lan-ning but they would slaughter those
left behind. They needed time!
I wheeled to the left, galloping towards the north. My men followed.
More enemies appeared. Though still intimidated by the mask and the rider, they were now bolder
because of superior number.
“For King!” I shouted and charged.
The lines clashed.
Men from both sides fell.
I thrust my weapon left and right, downing a few. But I was not Lan-ning and I knew if I fought on,
sooner or later they would find out.
I had to move on, even take flight to draw them away as far as possible.
I saw a gap to the left and spurred the horse into full flight.
“He is fleeing. Lan-ning is fleeing.”
Men began to give chase. Some held back, suspicious, as Lan-ning never fled in battle.
I had to think fast, I must make them abandon their doubt and go after me. To do that, I needed
something to tempt.
I pulled off my helmet and threw it aside!
My hair came down undone. That did not betray me as Lan-ning also kept long hair, like a maiden. The
enemy roared in cheer as they rushed into the chase. The helmet was whooped up. I began to tear of
my mail armor, piece by piece and dropped it along the path of flight
The enemy had now lost all power to reason. All they saw was their once feared enemy shredding his
armor as he tried to escape from death.
Piece by piece, the silver armor littered the hill path, until I had only my white undershirt on me. The
climb was steep now and my horse was tired. Still we struggled on. The men that had followed me
were now either killed or scattered.
They had fought well and gained time for the rest to make their escapade.
Suddenly my horse reared up and in the next moment, I felt my body being tossed off the saddle. I
landed not far away and rolled to a stop. When I looked back, I saw the white charger lying on its side,
two crossbow bolts buried into its neck.
I struggled up, drew my sword and stood guard. I wanted to gain some more time, my mask would still
protect my identity.
They dismounted and encircled me. None was brave enough to make the first move. I did not
encourage them, as the more hesitant they were, the better chance for Lan-ning to clear the gauntlet.
Finally, one of them gave a roar and charged.
I parried with my sword and deflected the spear. If I was Lan-ning, I could follow up with a kill. But I
was not Lan-ning.
I flung off the mask. Now that the identity was blown, there was only one thing that could keep them
coming and not turning back.
“Ah, a beautiful prize! She is mine!”
He attacked, thinking me as easy prey. He was mistaken. I was not as good as Lan-ning but I could be
lethal. I made a running attack and at the very last moment, danced to his left and slit his throat.
“You bitch!” His companions now closed in.
I was panting, knowing the end could not be too far away.
I could kill myself. It was easy enough. A swipe with the blade and it would b all over.
But I was determined to win time, no matter how small, not matter what price I had to pay.
The weapons clashed. I thrust and cut as if a demon possessed me. They could kill me if they had
wanted to. But a dead girl would not be good fun. Instead, they played with me and sliced off my white
undershirt into shreds. I could see the upper part of my breasts now, and the moon-white taudau that
covered the crests.
“Do it! Do it and let us get over with!” I shouted.
The one to my right jumped and I reacted. But he was just a decoy. Before I realized it, the one to the
left closed it and wrestled the sword from my hands. I was pinned down, stripped, my legs thighs
pulled wide apart. When the organ of the first man entered me, I screamed. By now they knew I was of
royal blood, the insignia on the taudau made that apparent. The thought of raping a royal princess
excited them to feverish pitch and one by one, they claimed their rewards, and my punishment for
deceiving them. I closed my eyes as alien male hands cup and fondled my tits. “It does not matter”….I
tell myself. “It is for him that I sacrifice my virginity, my first night and my life. “I am willing. I am happy.
One by one they used me.
When they had finally finished, they made me kneel in front of a huge rock and ordered me to touch
myself. I was told to put my hands on my breasts and played with them. I no longer cared and did what
they told me to do. They laughed and cursed. I saw one of them pick up Lan-ning’s huge sword. I
knew what he was going to do. I lowered my neck, let my long raven black hair tumble to my front, half-
hiding my face. I do not want them see my tear, nor the smile on my face.
I hear the sword sing….
Comment from: Hitomi
Date: May 28, 2012
PS: Two things.
The story of Lan-ning and his fearsome mask was from historical tradition. It
happened during the Period of the Invasion of the Barbarian tribes. Lan-ning
was a prince of Qi, Xianbei by ethnicity. He was reputed to be so handsome and
girlish in appearance that his enemies refused to battle him. Thereafter, he
always rode into battle wearing a fearsome mask.
Princess Gou-Jing was my creation.(Guo being the royal family-name and Jing
The concept of discarding armor was from the Chinese opera. It was a
performance technique in which the combatant discarded his(or her) armor
piece by piece, signifying defeat. I found this to be very sexy. (The combatants
are usually men and they were rarely killed after they discarded their attire
though). Here, I have adapted it to a more erotic story-line.
Comment from: Hitomi
Date: June 12, 2012
I wonder if anyone is aware that a new story is up, or that this one is so bad to
I must admit that at first, I did not realize a new story was posted until I refresh
my page. Well, perhaps the index page has become too long.
Comment from: Othello
Date: June 12, 2012
Hitomi, this is truly a fine story. Just to let you know, I took a look at the site stats
and over 200 people have visited this story page since it appeared. For whatever
reason, just readers and not commenters this time around. I haven't seen your
regular fans (Nastassja, Nighthawk, Moon Shiner) on any of the site comment
areas recently...just coincidence, I'm sure. But as always, you have crafted a
powerful tale of history and passion, with your trademark poignant courage,
richly epitomized in the bravery of Princess Gou-Jing. I am so impressed that she
is completely your creation, as she fit into the fabric of this historical tale to
perfection. I also found the concept of discarding armor to be very sexy...a vivid
way of opening oneself, which is always at the heart of any true erotica.
Comment from: Hitomi
Date: June 13, 2012
Well, readers have absolute right to comment, or not. I was just a bit worried
about their not realizing a new story has been posted, especially since there was
such a long gap between this one and the previous story.
In fact, I would love to get criticism from my readers, apart from the well-wishing
and praises too.
Should we put up the next story "First Knight" ?
Comment from: Othello
Date: June 13, 2012
The truth is, it is difficult to find anything to give even literary constructive
criticism about your work, Hitomi. You are a very gifted writer indeed, and have
worked hard to hone your craft to a high degree.
Yes, "First Knight" shall be next! I hope to have it up this weekend.