Qin Yining’s heart pounded furiously; being hauled around like an animal was very uncomfortable and unsettling. The most important thing, however, was that though she didn’t understand Anari’s orders, circumstances made it plain that the situation was dire.
As she struggled, a chance glance at the khan’s eyes slowed her movements. Those were the eyes of looking at someone as good as dead.
I guess it’s going to be difficult for me to escape death tonight.
Anari hated her guts and Siqin’s repeated acts had successfully painted a misleading picture that Qin Yining yearned for the khan consort. Not only did Anari flounder in a vat of jealousy, but the humiliation of someone stealing her husband—she, the most powerful in the land!—slapped at her face.
Add to that the Soothsayer declaring the two women having similar destinies, and who knew what else after Qin Yining left that day—all this combined to result in current affairs.
The Soothsayer wants me to die? Why?
Isn’t she under my husband’s banner? Why isn’t she helping me and in fact hurting me instead?
She’s doing harm to me now and my husband doesn’t know her true nature. If he continues to blindly trust her, will he become her next victim?
Livid and anxious, Qin Yining’s struggles proved futile. A gag was shoved into her mouth the next time she tried calling for help. Though she wanted to leave clues for Pang Xiao, nothing was forthcoming. There was no other way out but to travel outside in the form of a human package.
With their khan in the lead, the palace guards quietly opened any door she demanded entrance to. Her retinue left the palace not long after.
Once out on the streets, it was late enough that there weren’t many citizens walking around. Thrown onto the front half of a saddle on the back of a horse, Qin Yining couldn’t struggle at all since her hands were tied behind her. It was a challenge to even keep herself on the horse. It was only when the man who’d tied her up jumped into the saddle and pressed down on her lower back that her downward slide was halted.
Anari led the group down a collection of quiet streets. Left, right, right, left. A spacious front yard soon came into view.
Qin Yining was lifted off the horse, carried into the yard, and dumped into a heap on the floor of the main house.
Anari stalked in with hands behind her back, throwing her red cape aside the moment she entered. She wore only a narrow-sleeved, sorrel satin robe beneath. The khan raised her hand and whipped Qin Yining a few times, the merciless action quickly biting through thick outer-robes to draw blood. The whip was studded.
Qin Yining quivered from pain, cold sweat pouring down her body. Alas, bound hands and feet kept her on the ground. She could only curl in on herself and bury her face in her knees.
Anari vented her fury with each whip, cursing loudly in Tatar, “Bitch! Slut! How dare you solicit my husband! I’ll kill you, I’ll kill you!”
Even if the princess consort didn’t normally understand the language, she knew full well what was going on now. It looked like her earlier guess had been right. Something had set the khan off and driven her to drag out a prisoner in the middle of the night.
The flogging didn’t stop until Qin Yining’s flesh was a bloodied mess. Throwing down the whip and bending over to catch her breath, Anari jeered in the Great Zhou tongue.
“Well? This khan is personally relaxing your muscles and stimulating your blood circulation. How does it feel?”
Qin Yining could only glare viciously at her captor.
Highly pleased with the princess consort’s condition, Anari knelt down and grabbed a handful of hair. “Know this well, you are in Tatar, my land! You may live if I allow you to live, you will die if I wish you to die. Proud of your slutty strutting in front of my consort, hmm? Want to take my throne, hmm?
“If you die here today, you die with a whimper and no one will know it! Aren’t you something and so mightily noble? Here, kowtow to me. I might allow you to live if I am satisfied. How about it, hmm?” Anari covered her mouth as peals of laughter rang out. The more gaily she roared, the more the dejection and frustration of this past period seemed to be swept clean.
Qin Yining maintained the fetal position from her earlier whipping, her eyes appearing even more bright and sharp in a face stained with her own blood and dirt. She seemed to be able to see through every heart and every thing.
She wouldn’t disgrace herself even if she were to die!
Anari insulting her was to insult her father and husband. Being alone in Tatar, anything embarrassing she did would only inspire dirty gossip of all Great Zhou women.
She was in Anari’s hands, anyhow. Ever since her capture, Qin Yining had been prepared to lose her life on this little jaunt. All she had to respond to the khan’s gloating was just a sigh. She wouldn’t satisfy the khan no matter what.
When the princess consort remained unmoved, Anari furiously yanked a handful of hair and dragged the woman up. “Do you not beg for mercy?”
Though gagged, the look in Qin Yining’s eyes spoke volumes. She wordlessly expressed her contempt of the khan, further provoking Anari.
“You’re not afraid of death? Oh, I remember. You are the daughter of Wise Pan An and the wife of the Faithful Prince of the First Rank. You think highly of yourself and nothing of death. In fact, you care least about death, so you won’t beg for mercy, won’t you!”
Qin Yining narrowed her eyes. At least you’ve got a brain about you.
Anari snorted coldly and widened her eyes with inspiration. “If you’re not afraid of death, are you afraid of becoming a plaything for others?”
Qin Yining’s pupils contracted violently.
The khan pointed to the eight strong men behind her, like a child who’d found a new toy. “We don’t have many girls with tender skin like you in Tatar. My men are all brave warriors and have never experienced someone like you before. Kowtow and I’ll spare you from them. I’ll make your end swift and painless, and keep your body whole. How about it?”
Twin flames burned in Qin Yining’s eyes, so hot they could burn Anari straight through. How could a fellow woman use such filthy tactics to humiliate her!
“Do you submit or not?!” Bizarre irritation rose at the look from the princess consort. “If you apologize to me, I will preserve your corpse! Otherwise I’ll gift you to them and let them have their way with you!”
Qin Yining sniffed derisively and closed her eyes, the dismissive attitude thoroughly enraging Anari. She threw the princess consort away and turned to her men. “She’s yours now! Play with her as you will. If she dies, that’s on her. I will not fault you.”
“Understood!” Lust had crept up to the eight long ago. A stunning beauty theirs for the taking! It didn’t even matter that they had to share with each other.
Qin Yining lay limply on the ground, watching the eight advance on her.Previous Chapter Next Chapter