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xlwoo
September 14th, 2015, 01:44 PM
Chapter 22

The coach went to the nearest city and after one hour it rolled to a halt before the local yamen. The mayor of the city was reported about the arrival of the girl with golden hair. He did not know who this girl really was, but at least he knew that it was the girl the head eunuch wanted. And from the document the head eunuch had sent to every city and town, the mayor could read between lines that this girl must be an important person to the head eunuch, not like someone who was wanted as an offender and would be punished when returned. The city he administered was a great distance away from the capital and so he did not learn the details.
“Anyhow, I must treat her well, whoever she is.” He said to himself. He hastened out to receive her and told a maid to lead Linda to the guestroom best-ornamented. When Linda took her seat at a rosewood table carved with flower patterns all around the sides, the maid brought in a basin of hot water for her to wash her face and hands.
At dinner time, she was invited to meet the mayor and his wife for dinner. He could not meet the girl alone lest his enemies should spread the rumor that he had some unnatural relationship with the girl, which would surely bring disaster on him.
At the dinner table, the mayor mentioned that tomorrow he would send a squad of soldiers to escort her to the capital. Linda kept calm. The first stage of her plan went successfully. Now she would carry out the second stage of her plan.
“Do you know who I am?” Linda asked the mayor.
“Not really. I only know that the head eunuch’s looking for you.”
“Do you know why he’s looking for me?”
“No clue whatsoever.” He said frankly.
“Because I’m his titular wife.” Thus speaking, Linda stared at the mayor and his wife, who were both stunned and dumbfound. After a while they stirred as if awakening from a slumber.
“As now you know who I am, let’s have a deal.”
“What’s the deal about?” The mayor stammered out the question.
“Will any woman willingly marry a eunuch?” She looked from the mayor to his wife.
The mayor kept silence. His wife replied “No” in a low voice.
Then Linda told them the part of her story about how to become the wife of the eunuch. She was of course not willing to be his wife.
“Now that I’m free, I won’t go back to him. So I’ll make a deal with you.” The mayor waited for her to go on. Linda continued, “If you send me back, I will tell the head eunuch that before you send me back to him, you want to rape me as I’m so beautiful. Do you think if he will believe me?”
That was out of question. Who would not believe the complaints of the young pretty wife?
“If he believes me, then do you think how he will deal with you?”
It was beyond all doubts that he would be killed under whatever excuses and die in disgrace. But he said nothing, waiting for her to reveal the other side of the deal.
“If you let me go, of course, I can’t complain to the head eunuch about you. We’ll forget everything that happened. You are still the mayor of the city.”
“Will you please stay here for the night? I’ll consult my wife and will tell you our decision tomorrow.” He needed time to consider it. It was too important to his future, or even his life.
Linda retired to her bedroom, but she could not sleep well. She feared that if the mayor was loyal to the head eunuch, which she could not be sure, and insisted on sending her to the capital at the risk of being killed, what could she do? She would fall again into the hands of that hideous man. Even if she had that mayor killed, she could not flee from the titular husband and would live with him for the rest of her life unless she would be carried back by that mysterious force to America in the twenty-first century.
Next morning when she woke up, the maid brought her the hot water and then the breakfast. When she finished, she was asked to see the mayor and his wife. She wrapped her hair in a cloth and followed the maid to the room where the couple was waiting for her.
“Sit down please!” The wife said when she saw Linda making her appearance in the doorway.
“Thanks.” Linda took her seat at their right hand and waited for them to tell her their decision.
After a while, the wife said, “We accept the deal. You can leave now.”
Linda stood up and was about to leave when the wife jerked out the words, “Wait a minute.”
Linda’s heart gave a sudden jump. Then she saw the wife hand her some money.
“Take these. You may need it.” said the wife.
The couple had had a serious discussion last night. They were really afraid that the girl would do as she had threatened. “I think we’d better let her go.” The wife suggested.
“What if the head eunuch gets to know that we let her go?” His dread was not without reason.
“How could the head eunuch know? He’s so far away from us. Besides, the information that we let the girl go won’t reach him until after a long time. If we have to take a risk, this is a long-termed risk.” The wife reasoned with him.
The mayor nodded his understanding and consent. His wife added, “It looks the girl’s short of money. We’d better give her some. If later she is caught by someone else and sent back to her husband, she won’t say anything unfavorable to us.”
Linda patted her empty pocket. She really needed money. So she took the money and left with many thanks. The mayor and his wife were satisfied. They were safe now.