Lusty kissing fire-breathing dragons can be pesky creatures. Questers thought to rid the world of them long ago, but have they really done them in? I think not.
The COUNTERFEIT PAIR
--I am so glad you liked the last story enough to stay and listen to yet another. This one is about a young girl, Shu Sheng (meaning victorious), who thought it only fair to take advantage of her many suitors. She let it be known that she was always quite interested in collecting rare coins of the realm. As part of her dinner and theater engagements, she would look favorably upon her escort presenting her with a little gift and it should be a gold or silver coin to add to her collection.
--Once while being escorted on a shopping trip by her father and his brother, she was seen by a youth, Te De, (meaning crafty like a dragon) who immediately fell in love with her and had to have the pleasure of her company. He was so enamored of the girl he could only sigh and pound his forehead until arrangements were made for their meeting. That was when he learned of what it would take to suitably impress her, so she may look favorably upon his attentions.
--A feisty grandmother of the young man had a rare coin dating back to the Shan Dynasty that was priceless. This was mentioned to the young girl sometime before her introduction to the lad, and she could not keep her eagerness to meet him a secret. In her heart she knew she must have that rare Shan coin and put together a well laid plan to get it.
--The young man knew that in the end he must have this beautiful Chinese beauty. He would do anything to get her. Evil or good, it would not matter. Whatever the cost, he must have this rare treasure. If it would take a rare treasure to get the love of this young maiden, he was willing to do whatever it took. His passion knew no bounds and his eagerness to get things under way was pulling him in several directions. How could this be? Only a few days ago his mind was clear and his future was assured. He had passed his exams and would be accepted into the advanced training for his doctorate. Now this! What was he to do? Whatever it took must be done.
--His friends noticed the difference in the young man's behavior and grew concerned. Finally, Lin Ken, his best, friend could not ignore such moodiness on the young man's part and straight out asked what the problem was. When he learned there was a young Chinese girl involved, he assured his friend that between the two of them they could work out a plan that would bring them together.
--"What it will take is a grandiose gift and I do not have the means to provide such a thing," stated the university student quite simply.
--"But didn't you say your grandmother had an old family heirloom of exactly what the young girl collects?" noted the young man's friend.
--"How would that benefit me?"
--"Think, Te De, think!"
--"No, grandmother would never part with her prize possession. Besides, I could never accept such a thing from my grandmother while she still lives. Perhaps she will leave it to me in her will, since I am the oldest son in the family."
--"See, it is practically yours already, Te De. Couldn't you just borrow it and return it after you have made progress with the young Shu Sheng. She would be most impressed to be able to inspect it, maybe fondle it and marvel some over it's shape and size. What could be the harm in that?"
--"You have given me an idea, Lin Ken. The father of Chen Li in our class is a foundry worker who knows the secrets of working metal. Perhaps there is a backdoor I can take into Shu Sheng's garden of delights."
--And so a plan was born and launched by Te De to borrow his grandmother's rare coin and make a copy. Would such an enterprise work with the clever young maiden?
--The first step in Te De's final plan was to visit grandmother, inspect the cabinet containing her precious possessions and actually palm the coin when the unsuspecting elder wasn't looking and make off with it for a few hours so they could cast a wax image of the original. Then it was simply a matter of returning to the grandmother's quarters and dropping the original back into it's place within the cabinet. The plan's first stage was carried through without any trouble.
--Within a short time, Chen Li gave Te De a message that his father had used centrifugal-force to pour molten bronze into the spinning mold and when the wax was burned away by the liquid bronze, a duplicate coin had been struck. Using a gilding method of gold plating painted over the bronze, the duplicate coin was now ready to buy the heart of Shu Sheng. Would she see through Te De and Lin Ken's ploy?
--When Te De asked for an appointment to meet with Shu Sheng, he received back a personally signed note. It was carried to him by her maid and said he would be most welcome at 4 PM for an afternoon tea in the family garden. Te De's mind raced as he prepared himself for what he would say and do in this their first occasion for getting together. The maid blushed when she took back Te De's words of acceptance to her mistress, Shu Sheng.
--"Was he.... did he seem eager to come?" Shu Sheng could not help asking. "Did he say anything about bringing me something to please me? I'm sure he knows what is expected," the young Chinese beauty smiled in her pleasure at receiving her maid-servant's reply.
--"I'm sure he knows what is your pleasure," the maid answered.
--The afternoon tea went very well for both. Their words held hidden messages that young people can translate so well. Her words indicated that her bedroom opened into that very garden which overlooked the courtyard beyond which were her parent's quarters. He would bring his present that very evening after the household closed down for the night. The lad would get the reward due for such a fine present when the gift was actually given.
--"Tonight when the lights go out...." Shu Sheng whispered as they finished their tea and Te De took his leave. "We must be careful about not being seen. My room must remain dark. You understand, yes?" were her parting words.
--"We shall see about that later," she said, waving him good-bye and smiling behind her fan as she thought of what a silly young fool this young student was turning out to be.
--That night everything went according to both young people's plans. After dark when the family had retired, Te De found it a simple matter to gain entry to the interior courtyard and locate Shu Sheng's sleeping quarters. The door had been left ajar and the boy's heart sang as he entered the bedroom. It smelled of perfume and powder and was so dark he could barely see enough not to trip over a chair and the outline of a table. He felt hands take his small gift-box that held his present wrapped in velvet. A hushed whisper told him to disrobe and open the mesquito-netting that surrounded the bed and climb under the covers. That was when bare arms encircled him and his mind and body carried him to another reality.
--The next morning Te De could not believe what had happened to him the night before. Never had he experienced such raw passion and total release. The young Shu Sheng must have exceptional abilities in the love-making department. He felt delightfully drained and could only stare at the ceiling and dream of what must come next. They would have such a great marriage. Had he not just lived through a small sample of what was to come? Oh, how could he be so fortunate? What good joss had come his way. Even though such a thing as the two of them had done was not approved of in their society, it could be winked at and some would even think him quite the rake or rue' and actually look up to him for being so "modern" in his thinking. Of course he was safe, for who would learn of their courtship adventures? No one. She wouldn't talk about it and neither would he. That made it safe and he could actually savor what they had done in the dark of the night.
--"Well, what about it? What happened?" asked the more than interested Lin Ken.
--"Would rather not talk about it," chuckled the happy student.
--"You are not going to sit there, smile, puff your chest out, and then say 'I would rather not talk about it.' Not to me you're not!" answered the friend. "So, now tell me everything."
--"I will say this only, even to my best friend. I asked Shu Sheng to marry me and got the idea she would approach her father on the matter and speak in my favor. She seemed rather overwhelming about my gifts of coin and self last night," Te De explained.
--"What?" exclaimed the open-mouthed Lin Ken. "You can't be serious. That is one spoiled, self-centered, opportunistic female. You can't be serious. Every male that has tried to court her has been taken for whatever she can get and then dumped. You think you will be different? I don't think so."
--"But I love her and must have her," came back Te De.
--"Good luck, friend. You will need it," laughed Lin Ken.
--It appeared Te De's friend was right. That very afternoon when Te De went to the front gate of the Chu residence, he was met by young Shu Sheng herself. "I am afraid I have no time for you now," she said, rather sarcastically.
--"What do you mean?" asked the now frightened lad as his heart sank and his hopes went into a free fall.
--"Unless you have more of what you brought in your little gift box, I think our relationship has come to a conclusion. Students are a poor lot, usually and thus are rather boring for me. I trust we will not bring up last night again. I will only deny anything you might have to say."
--Te De's breath was taken away by her coldness and her choice of words. For a moment his mind went blank and he could only look at his one true love in abject panic, surprise, and disappointment. How could this be? She seemed so loving and tender just hours ago.
--"Now if you don't mind, I must go. Before I close this door and say please don't bother coming here again, I want you to know one thing. Last night I didn't sleep in my bed. I changed bedrooms with my maid. What went on in there is of no interest to me. I did slip in for but a moment to retrive your little boxed coin from the table. You were so busy at the time, you never noticed, I'm sure. What you got wasn't really me, so the joke is on you. What a silly boy you are to think you could have me when all you got was a counterfeit lover," Shu Sheng chortled and couldn't resist slapping her thigh and burst out in rather unlady-like raucous laughter.
--That was when the humor of the situation struck home for Te De. Shu Sheng's laughter came to an abrupt halt when Te De's began. He could not help making one last remark before turning on his heel and leaving. "Speaking of counterfeit..." and he couldn't finish he was laughing so hard. They had really made a rather good pair. He could barely wait until the first time she actually rubbed that coin and the gold-leaf smeared and stained her fingers. Yes, he not only had the last laugh, but could have many more laughs in the future as he thought about what they had done to each other in the name of love and lust.
*****© 1997 Beimers
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