Ubashi’s Concubine (postlude to The Mandate)

Ubashi’s former concubine, Meilan, stayed in the luxurious ger which she had been provided with. Ubashi himself, for all his vanity, was soon forgotten, but all attention was now secretly focussed on the Chinese beauty. The common people associated her with Ubashi’s extravagant spending and his dependence on the Chinese; they hated her and jeered at her when she went by in her sedan-chair.

But among the princes and nobles many a man who saw that exquisite face, those almond eyes, arched brows and shapely neck, half-hidden by her sedan’s curtain, felt his blood rise. Asaray soon became one of them, however hard he tried to dismiss her from his mind.

The new Khan was administering justice when a young man of noble blood was brought into court.

“What have you done, Sandukshereng?”

“I have been mad, Your Honour. Night and day I have thought of nothing else but the beautiful Chinese concubine, left all by herself in her tent, unprotected, wasted. Last night, I crawled unseen into her ger, giddy with desire and ready to hurl myself upon that lovely creature. But she awoke and her shriek warned the lone guard on duty. I confess it was very wrong what I did and I beg forgiveness, Your Honour.”

A group of spectators had gathered and, when Sandukshereng made his confession, a ripple of excitement went through the crowd.

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