Warning! This chapter is rather dark. Non-consensual sexual acts to which I would give an M rating. There is also coarse language. You know how it goes, if you don't want to read the dark bits all you have to do is SKIP. I apologise to those who might be offended by these sorts of scenes, but one of my goals with this story (as well as one of the goals of the original author) was to make it as realistic as possible, and you all have to admit that when you are a prisoner at an enemy camp, especially if you are a woman, disagreeable things are bound to happen.
Disclaimer: All characters in this story are the rightful property of Disney, except for Luo Jin, Captain Hsiao Tso-liang and Captain Ma Yuan, who belong to icedragon6171 and Captain Wo Chen, Huo Feng, Hsien Loong and Tsai Lin who belong to me!:)
Towards the Setting Sun
"Why?" Mulan asked, her voice full of hatred and revulsion. "Why did you do it? Why did you betray us like this?
At her words Luo Jin laughed. It wasn't a sound Mulan wanted to hear ever again.
"Why? You ask me why? You threw me out like I was rubbish! You left me to die! What else could I have done? Go back home as a deserter? A pariah without honour? And that's what would have happened had I managed to cross the desert! Wounded and without supplies. I did what I had to do to survive. The Chinese Army had turned their backs on me. So I did the same. The Turks were very kind to me when I offered information in exchange of healing and a place to stay."
"Don't expect me to feel sorry for you, Luo Jin. You got what you deserved. You knew the consequences of your actions, and yet you tried to rape me anyways! We were friends! I trusted you! Even despite your betrayal I begged Shang to forgive you, to spare your life, because I believed that perhaps there was still a residue of our friendship there, and that your actions were a result of the alcohol you had drunk! I shouldn't have bothered to make up excuses for you!"
"Indeed you should have not." The corners of Luo Jin's lips rose slightly as he approached Mulan, who was sitting on her cot looking defiantly at him. "I'm now perfectly sober and I still want to fuck you. Hard. This time I wouldn't even bother to make it enjoyable for you. It would be for my pleasure only."
At his words Mulan hugged herself both for protection and to hide her body from Luo Jin's feral stare. Suddenly her clothes didn't seem like enough.
"You wouldn't dare." Mulan tried to sound confident. She failed.
"Wouldn't I?" Quick as lightning Jin was on top of her, holding both of her hands in a tight grip above her head with one of his, while with the other he grabbed a fistful of her hair to tilt her head to one side and gain access to her neck. Mulan cried both in fear and pain. "Scream all you like, dear. No one will hear you. It's just you and me. No Generals will come to your rescue this time." He whispered in her ear while biting on her earlobe. Mulan wiggled trying to escape his tight grip, but he didn't relent. He sucked her neck, ignoring her protests and cries, while he let the hand that had been holding her hair wander to her breast.
He reached the sash that held her tunic together and untied it, pushing it aside. Luckily, all the skin from her breasts to her navel was covered in the bandages that had been used to heal her back, somewhat protecting her body from Luo Jin's inquisitive hand. The bandages however did not deter him from palming her breast anew, while he lowered his head to the exposed area of her chest. He roughly licked and bit every inch of it before making his way back to her neck.
Mulan, filled with fear and disgust, wiggled even more, ignoring the pain on her back as her wounds reopened. She managed to free one of her hands, and at the same time he raised his face from her neck to look at her. Before he could do anything to stop it, Mulan punched him on the face. The sound of bones breaking reverberated against the walls of her cell, as did Luo Jin's cries of pain as he released her arms and brought his hands to his broken and bleeding nose.
"As you can see, I don't need any Generals to save me. I manage rather well on my own, don't I?"
"Get off your high horse, Mulan. If I truly had intended to rape you, I would have, make no mistake. I want to rape you. So very badly. Especially since the confirmation of your virginity reached my ears. It seems you and Shang were really just friends... And here I was thinking you were spreading your legs for him in exchange of a place and position in the Army as well as protection. After all, even a man as honourable as him wouldn't be able to refuse a prize as delectable as you, would he?" The calm demeanour with which he said all that, just after what she knew had been a painful punch, unsettled and scared Mulan much more than any screaming would have.
"Shang would never do that! He is twice the man you'll ever be!" Mulan screamed at him. Jin simply smiled at her. He made a grotesque sight with his face covered in blood.
"You are even more delicious when you are angry. Look at the effect you have on me." He forcefully grabbed one of her hands and brought it to the bulge in his trousers. Mulan tried to take her hand back, but he kept it firmly in place, rubbing it along his length. "I cannot have you, because your virginity has been reserved for the Ashina Helu, the General of the Western Turks' Army and leader of their ruling clan. However, perhaps he'll let me have a go once he's through... In the meantime, rest assured there are many things we can do without my cock being in your cunt, and they'll be just as pleasurable. Well, at least for me."
Tears were falling from Mulan's eyes, and she turned her head to hide them from Luo Jin. She was only half listening to what he was saying, however the meaning of his words was very clear.
This was war. She had known something along the lines of this could happen to her, and yet she had accepted the Emperor's mission. Now she had to remain strong.
"Oh, don't fret, Mulan. You could have it so much worse. Your fame has granted you a life in the service of a king. True, you'll be one of his many whores, and you'll never get to see those you love ever again, except for me, of course, I'll make sure to visit you very often." He gave her another of his creepy smiles upon saying that. "But look on the bright side. If you were just anyone, you would have already been raped by the whole camp and left to die somewhere, unable to return home and scorned by all those who know you because you threw you honour and virginity away. However, that is not the case, and as soon as we win the war, you'll go to your new home. Why did you think your face has not yet been hurt? I'm told it's because your beauty should be preserved for the Ashina, thus not damaged..."
"Wait, what did you say?" Mulan interrupted, rising her voice in anger. Luo Jin gave her an irritated look. "You said 'we'? 'When we win the war'? Are you really so foolish as to think you are one of them? They only want you for what you can give them! They would have killed you without a second thought just a few months ago!"
Luo Jin stared at her for a few seconds before suddenly bursting into hysterical laughter.
"Oh, Mulan! How ironic to hear such words coming from your mouth! I could ask you exactly the same thing! Do you really think the Chinese Army and your dear oh-so-honourable General Li think of you as one of them!? Don't be foolish! As you just pointed out, they would have killed you without a second thought all those months ago if you hadn't blown up that Hun in the Imperial City, so please, spare me your holier-than-thou attitude."
"Don't you dare compare our situations! I joined the army of my country to protect my father and preserve the family honour! You, on the other hand, betrayed your people when you first laid hands on me that night. You shouldn't have been doing any of the things you did that night!Then when you were banished from the army, instead of somehow trying to redeem yourself, you betrayed us anew and joined the enemy! All of this you did for your own selfish reasons. I really don't think our situations can be compared."
Jin frowned at her but said nothing, so Mulan pressed on.
"Our choices define who we are, Jin, and I don't think I like the man you've become. I don't think you like him much either." Mulan stood up slowly, using the wall beside her as leverage.
This time he looked down and turned his head to the side, as if ashamed. Perhaps she was getting to him.
"Help me, Jin. Help me leave this place. Come with me and I'll ensure everything goes back to the way it was before."
Suddenly she realised she had done something wrong. His eyes filled with feral anger, the kind that had been there on that fateful night when his life, and in a way her own, had changed forever. He lunged at her, both his hands settled around her neck, choking her, and he looked her straight in the eye. The metallic smell of drying blood that still covered his face stung her nostrils.
"NO! I'll never go back to them! Do not delude yourself into thinking any of them would forgive me! And even if by some miracle they did, my family never would! So don't ever mention it again, because if you do, no matter what plans the Turks have for you, I'll kill you with my bare hands!"
She believed him. Mulan only had to look into his eyes to know he spoke the truth.
It had been a few days since Mulan's first encounter with Luo Jin. She had seen him everyday since, but he hadn't touched her. He only came in and talked to her. She wasn't even tortured anymore. It almost seemed everything between her and her former friend was back to normal, except for the fact that it was still very obvious she was a prisoner and he was not, a fact he subtly flaunted whenever he could, as well as the dangerous dark glow that permanently shone in his eyes.
At first she had been suspicious of the man's behaviour, thinking the threats and harassment would come soon, so she refused to talk to him, remaining completely silent when he came to see her. Surely this could not be the man that had been so callous with her upon their first encounter among the Turks, right? However, she decided to start playing his games. Perhaps it would end up working to her advantage.
Mulan had learned to avoid certain topics of conversation to prevent his anger. She simply let him talk and observed. It was clear he wouldn't help her, as he had so clearly stated upon their first encounter, so she was alone.
She was rapidly healing and regaining her strength, so her mind was at its sharpest. Mulan didn't know when she'd pay another visit to the whipping room, so she tried to cram as much information as she could.
Everyday was the same: Jin came into her cell around noon (or so she thought, after subtly asking. It was always the same time, just after Jin finished his training and planning with the Turks). He came with her food. She didn't see the scrawny Turk in charge of her meals anymore, so she now knew she was fed once a day. While she ate, he talked, and Mulan observed. He usually wore soft leather boots that stopped below the knee, dark coloured trousers, which had seen better days, and a dirty shirt that was slightly big for him. Around his hips there was a worn leather belt, where he kept a small hunting knife.
Mulan didn't know much about the Western Turks. Just what little she had read about them, what Shang had told her, and what she had seen of them in battle. What she did know was that they were an empire, which often came into close contact with the Chinese. Although they normally maintained good relations, the self-proclaimed ruler Ashina Helu, had broken off relations with the Chinese emperor in favour of pursuing power for himself. The Western Turkish Khaganate lacked the wealth and power of the Chinese, but was worthy of respect nevertheless. It was evident that Jin wasn't as much a part of this army as he would have liked. His dirty and dishevelled appearance told her that he wasn't as important to the commanding officers as he had wanted her to believe. However, she had to know for sure, and no matter what he discovered, try to use it to her advantage.
When he left, Jin exchanged some words with the guard that now stood at her door. Mulan didn't know if he had always been there, or if he had always been the same. What she did know is that he was there now, and most importantly he had the keys to her cell.
When Jin was not with her, she mostly slept and explored her little cell. There wasn't much to see: four windowless stone walls, one wooden door, a dirty floor and a thin cot that served as a bed. There was also a metallic bucket in the far corner of the room that she used to relieve herself. She used the edge of the bucket to scratch at the dried mud that held the stones together. This started as something to pass the time when she was bored, but then became a sort of mission when she discovered there was a loose stone at the base of her wall, close to the cot. She finally separated the stone from the wall, but kept it in place. Perhaps it could become handy as a weapon sometime...
"Jin." Mulan said one day after she had finished her lunch. "How long did it take you to learn Turkish?"
"Why the sudden interest?" He asked with suspicion.
"Just curious." She shrugged.
"Just curious? I'm afraid that's not a very convincing answer. If you really want to know you'll have to tell me the truth behind your 'curiosity'. In the meantime, I have other things to do."
He left after saying that.
Was she really that obvious? Could he really see through her? She has been able to obtain tidbits of information, but whenever she gathered the courage to ask (with subtlety, of course) something important, he closed off and left. Was it because he suspected her? Or because the questions reminded him of all he had betrayed and left behind due to his own mistakes? Either way she didn't care. She needed to know. She would know.
The next day Luo Jin came to see her was two days after the latest incident. That meant she had spent a whole day without food or drink, which resulted in her wolfing down everything he brought for her. For some reason that amused him, and the glint in his eyes made her shudder.
"Always the lady, right Mulan?" He teased with malice.
She ignored his comment and instead said:
"The other day you asked me to tell you the truth behind my interest of your knowledge of the Turkish language." At her words he became serious. "Well, the truth is that I've resigned myself to my fate." She sighed as she said this.
"You mean to say you give up." He taunted.
She didn't answer. She just lowered her head and let her dirty hair fall around her face to hide the tears that had begun to fall. He spoke the truth. In a way she had given up.
"It's just..." Mulan swallowed the lump in her throat. "You know that no one is coming for me. It's been too long. If they had had any intention of doing so, we would have seen it already, alas they have not. I understand. After all, I was only one member of something much greater than myself. Our mission was the war. Many died or disappeared before I did, and yet we continued with the mission: the war. Why would I be any different? However I cannot help but be disappointed." Her tears were now falling freely, and she couldn't hide the trembling of her voice anymore.
She looked up and met his piercing stare.
"I'm listening." He said.
"Well, then, as I said, I have resigned myself to my fate, however don't be foolish to think I wouldn't want to make the best of it too. If I'm to be sent off to some unknown place to be some man's plaything, I want to be prepared, or as prepared as one can be. I have to learn how to survive best. I figure the first step would be to learn their language." She paused before adding, "I asked you that question the other day because you seemed rather proficient." People in general liked to be flattered. Men like Jin even more so; Mulan knew that.
Luo Jin smiled. In Mulan's opinion it was more of a sick grimace.
"What would I gain in return?" He said. Mulan stayed silent. "I could indeed teach you their language and customs. I could even introduce you to the other women in the camp." At Mulan's look of surprise he added, "Yes, there are other women here. Some of the most senior commanding officers bring their whores with them to keep them entertained. They sometimes let us have a go." He smirked as Mulan shuddered. "Perhaps I could arrange for you to meet even some of the men, so that you learn how to interact with them."
Mulan gave a small nod.
"But we are back where we were: what do I get in exchange of my help?"
"What do you want?" Mulan asked cautiously. The moment she finished the question she knew she should have never tried to strike a deal with this man, and that she would regret ever having done so. She spotted the desire as well as the satisfaction lurking in his eyes, and upon seeing it, she couldn't do anything to avoid the terror that filled hers.
"We are friends, aren't we, Mulan?" He stood from his usual position on the floor in front of her, and walked over to her cot where she was sitting. He knelt before and raised his hand to caress her cheek. "What would you say to becoming friends with benefits?"
Shang was a soldier, and this was war. He couldn't let his personal feelings get in the way of what he had to do.
That is what he told himself everyday since Mulan's death. It still pained him, but it was getting better, or at least he was getting better at hiding his pain from the other men, even his fellow General. But he still felt it.
The men were more at ease in his presence, and General Su had stopped throwing those disappointed frowns his way. They even sometimes spoke her name in his presence without fearing his reaction.
Because he had stopped reacting.
He now had one primary objective.
He would ensure his troops won this war. The sooner the better. But now it wasn't only because the Emperor had ordered it, or because it was his duty, or because he had to honour his family.
No. He was doing it for her. Because he knew she would have wanted him to accomplish what they had come here to do.
So he threw himself to planning and training the troops.
Next battle would be very soon. And if the gods wished it so, it would be the last one.
Ashina Helu was a real person. He is also known as Ishbara Qaghan, although Ashina Helu was his real name. He was a khan of the Western Turkic Khaganate. Before being a khagan, he was nicknamed Hallıg ("elevated"). He had served the interests of China's Tang Dynasty as a general prior to 651, but broke away from Tang in 651 and declared himself khan. Helu's rise to power unified the divided Turkic tribes under a single leader. After he established himself as qaghan, Ashina Helu led repeated raids on Tang settlements to the east. He also attacked the Tarim Basin, bringing the territory under Turkic rule for the next six years. Emperor Gaozong, the successor of Taizong, responded by sending Tang forces consisting of a main division led by Su Dingfang, and another led by Ashina Mishe and Ashina Buzhen, Western Turk rivals of Ashina Helu.
For the purposes of this story, the emperor will not be Gaozong, but his father Taizong, since as I mentioned in a previous note, Gaozong was generally believed to be weak and rather unfit for his role as emperor. Nothing like the man we see in the Disney movie, who looks more like Taizong, who is thought to have been one of the greatest emperors of China.