Warnings: humor that indirectly references to disturbing subject matter, Wei bashing (but I like several of the characters that I made fun of so it's not seriously meant)
Important note: I have attempted to correct some of the formatting mistakes that cropped up when I first uploaded this, so I apologize if the formatting is still wonky. The words that are marked like this are actually intended to be read with a strikethough font but FF net doesn't do strikethrough, so we're all going to have to pretend ok?
Courtingspondence: the art of courting through letters alone
Master Zhuge Liang,
I understand that you are quite busy and I am writing this while entertaining unpleasant company so I will try to be succinct. I am something of an astrologer and quite adept at understanding mechanical designs, much to my father's dismay. In the hopes of forcing me to accept my given place in society rather than allowing me to create my own he has chosen to marry me, his only daughter, off. I find this intolerable as the men he has chosen as possible suitors are almost too stupid to breathe incapable of appreciating what I have to offer. Unfortunately because I am not at all attractive have a love of learning, my prospects for marriage with a man who is capable of appreciating what I have to offer are slim.
With this said, I have no hope to escape my fate without outside help. However having heard of your cunning I cannot resist the small hope that you might be willing to listen to my request for such help. If you can find some way to avert my father's misguided attempt to foist me off on some poor fool arrange a marriage, then I offer my skills as a scholar and as a warrior to you and your lord. Perhaps that last claim of combat ability may come as a surprise, but I assure you that I am proficient with not only a martial spear but with my cross bow as well.
He believes that… I think I feel light headed. Oh please don't let this be the one my father is planning to choose. I could handle the fact that he is old and repulsive in manner but surely it would be criminal of me to be accessory to reproduction with such a brainless man. What children would come from such an unfortunate union?
I hope you do not find me too impudent in writing to you for such an insignificant reason. Please know that my forwardness in approaching you for assistance was inspired by desperation difficult for me, but I honestly feel that I have skills that can be of assistance in your cause. If you are at all interested in learning what I am capable of, then I beg, please, please don't let me marry this man that you respond right away so that I don't have to sit through any more meetings like this may discuss arrangements for my service to you with my father.
Lady Huang Yue Ying
Dear Lady Huang Yue Ying,
I apologize for not responding sooner, however I received your letter at a time when I was being bored stiff in a conference with my lord's generals. I am honored that you believe me to have such incredible talent be capable of assisting you with your current situation, yet I am uncertain how I may be of assistance. I have no authority to intervene in a situation that is between your father and self. I am, of course, insanely curious about you wondering exactly position you would be applying for, assuming I could convince your father that there are options other than marriage available to you.
I will be occupied with cleaning up after everyone else around here planning for an upcoming campaign for the foreseeable future. We are going to be dealing with Wei and all of my effort must be placed on winning for this will be a critical turning point in my Lord's goals for the land. Wei's strategist, Sima Yi, is a whining poseur quite formidable and will require maybe a quarter of all of my attention if we are to win. It is unfortunate that I am not able to provide you my aid at this point because I found your letter terribly amusing situation to be one of interest.
However if you still need my help when I am free I would be willing to meet with you to discuss alternative positions to that of a wife to old repulsive idiots. It will require some thought on my part to come up with a position that would be acceptable for a lady who wishes to lend her support to our army, and more time to convince my Lord that such a position will significantly increase our odds of wining the war. That said I wish your continued health and good fortune in dodging regrettable matches until I can fully offer you my assistance finding your path in life.
Master Zhuge Liang,
I thank you for the time you took to respond to my plea for sanctuary previous letter. Truly it was more than I was expecting and I would be thrilled in having your assistance in fending off pitiful suitors dealing with my problem, however long it may take. I will immediately begin my own campaign to scare off potential matches to prepare for the time when you are available to help.
I do not know if you are aware of this or if it will be of any use to you but I have heard that Lord Sima Yi hates being called a cowardly cross dressing idiot is susceptible to taunts. There has also been confirmation of the fact that he carried a security blanket with him until he was twelve and he has a piece of the blanket sewn into every dress he wears to battle is predisposed to be superstitious. In case you are wondering at the source of my information please know that I have witnessed evidence first hand reason to believe that his wife keeps sleeping with assorted officers under his command feels some discontent with their marriage and with enough alcohol sympathy she is willing to speak frankly on the matter of her husband's shortcomings.
I hope the gossip that regularly gets served in my presence my meager offerings can at least give you something to laugh about be of help to you in your endeavors. Please know that I wish you would give Cao Cao's… well Wei's collective backside actually, a very hard kick for me luck in your upcoming campaign.
Huang Yue Ying
Huang Yue Ying,
Dear lady, the information that you provided was of extreme entertainment value paramount use in my plans, and proved to be quite humiliating to our enemies the key to our victory. It is my hope that I will be able to end this campaign quickly and come to speak with your father about your coming to serve in Shu. Until that time may I ask that you extend your ability to share your alcohol sympathy yet again on our behalf? Considering the aid you have already rendered I am most eager to see what else you are able to discover.
Speaking of information how is your own campaign coming along? Might I suggest sharpening your scythe employing understated intimidation techniques when a potential suitor visits? Or perhaps you could conduct arguments with your furniture and threaten to set it on fire when you feel you are at risk of losing the argument behave in a manner that will be regarded with some concern? This may require a certain degree of subtlety as you would not wish to seem as though you are intentionally behaving in such a manner as to drive them away.
On the other hand having never met your suitors I cannot determine just how extreme you would have to get before even their lack of intelligence cannot prevent them from noticing your efforts share any insights into how such subtlety may be lost on them. Perhaps in your next letter you can provide me more information on the particulars of your suitors so that I can better offer my advice?
Eagerly awaiting your response,
Dear Zhuge Liang
It is with some alarm that I write to inform you that my newest suitor had the intention of joining your army. Unfortunately for me Fortunately for you, he had an accident wherein he managed to injure himself by tripping and impaling his leg with his own hoe and will not be able to offer you his service. He was not known previously to be interested in marriage however he needs someone to do his laundry while he's recovering has contemplated the merit of having a companion since the incident. Of course with little in value to offer a woman of greater status he has decided that I must be desperate for a husband by now so I'll do what he does have to offer will be sufficient in tempting my father to agree to his suit.
As to my remaining prospects there are still two others after having used your excellent advice to drive the other three away eliminate the ones that were not serious in their pursuit. In fact I must confess that your words were so inspiring I could not help but be driven to new heights of creativity. It is with absolutely no some regret that I must report that my father was not amused by my search for flint but I was he is not the one who will be living with the man who is selected. There is a stubborn silence permeating our house since our last explosive argument over the matter, and that makes me feel somewhat relieved sad at the moment.
Of the men who for reasons beyond me continue to darken out door one is the one who is repulsive and should be strictly forbidden from ever contributing to future generations lest they become infected with his lack of intelligence gentleman that I believe has been mentioned before. The last one is a local oily swine with no sense of humor and an unfortunate habit of attempting to suck the boots of his superiors into his mouth whole official of great ambition and has inherited everything he owns to date without working one day in his life is of an acceptable social status.
I am somewhat terrified troubled at the thought that any of these men will find me suitable despite my efforts faults. The two are so stupid accepting of everything I say that I am uncertain whether or not they would even notice that I am trying to scare them off perhaps a less than ideal match for their lifestyles. However it is the last suitor that concerns me as despite his sycophantic focused personality he is not nearly as unintelligent unquestioning as the first two, and I fear that he may see through my tricks desire to be wanted for myself rather than as a housekeeping brood mare kept around for my husband's convenience socially acceptable servant companion.
In any event that is all of the news that I have in regards to my own campaign. You may consider sending scouts to the eastern plains of your next battlefield, as there may be a supply depot tucked away there some soldiers have been muttering about the rushed construction efforts under inhospitable conditions. I have no solid evidence but it is something that may be worth a look on your end. There have been no other leaks in battle plans that I am aware of.
I do have some other information about the elite of Wei, although I am uncertain that any of it may be of any use to your own efforts. It happens that the Lady Zhen Ji is as displeased with her partner as Lord Sima Yi's wife is for she has been having relations with her husband's father taken up a new hobby in the form of sewing baby clothes to ease her own dissatisfaction. Also there is the rumor that Lord Dian Wei dotes upon has great pride in the Shih Tzu who he has named Fluffy and dresses with bow style collars that was awarded to him by Lord Cao Cao after his faithful service in guarding the Lord's person for several years. This has not been verified by anyone that I know personally.
The only other story that was witnessed by a now traumatized serving girl I have heard is that Xiahou Yuan has a great physical love for his horse, one that surpasses his affection for his own man concubine. This has been defended on the grounds that he was exceedingly inebriated at the time spends more time in the field with his steed than he does in the city with his lover.
That is all that I have been able to learn. I'm afraid there has been little new information to come up since your victory at the last battle. I do hope you are doing well and will pray for your continued success.
Dutifully relaying information yours,
Fondest greetings Yue Ying,
My Lady, allow me to extend my most heartfelt thanks as the advice you issued about our next battle turned out to be perfect. Also the foray into the disturbing personal habits rumors surrounding the opposition has yet again proven wonderfully hilarious useful in my plans and a source of discontent Cao Pi was completely unaware of the source of his wife's child prior to this battle for our enemies. Lord Cao Cao defended his fathering his son's child on the grounds that Cao Pi obviously wasn't up for the job was quite nonplussed at finding several of his highest ranking generals occupied with explaining themselves to their own troops or attacking their liege lord uninterested in battle. Shu won. Need I say more on this matter?
In regards to your own problems it pains me greatly that our fortune on his own hoe you say? has been a source of distress for you. Please allow me to extend my deepest sympathies to you in not being able to be of more use. In contemplating the descriptions of your current prospective mates even my formidable mind has not been able to arrive at a suitable solution to your problem. The only other option you have in this matter is to find another suitor whose intelligence, station, and manners will hopefully surpass those of your current ones.
With that said I have chosen to respectfully offer myself to your list of suitors. I do hope you will not take your scythe to me it amiss that I have already written to your father about my interest in your abilities. I know that it was presumptuous of me to do so without consulting you first, but I wished to make my interest known before someone better than my self comes along you fell to the risk of being married to one of the unworthy gentlemen currently pursuing you. Also it will be another couple of weeks before I will be free to travel, so I did not wish to loose you my chance at your hand because of my absence.
I am nervously pacing my study awaiting your father's and hopefully your own positive reply. Even if your father is unwilling to accept should the both of you accept I will immediately make arrangements for your travel to join me so that we may be married upon your arrival.
Master Zhuge Liang,
I am writing to inform you that even if my other suitors weren't a completely miserable lot that I would have gladly accepted you above them all I have decided to accept your proposal. Although I must express my pleasure surprise over the fact that you are willing to marry me sight unseen. I have informed you that I am considered unattractive have I not? Surely the rumors of my appearance have reached even your corner of the world? Be that as it may if you are foolish enough willing to marry me with my numerous flaws then yes, a million times, yes I accept of course I would be willing to travel to your side at once.
Eager to meet you in person,
Dear Lady Huang,
I apologize for having to leave you this note instead of being at your side. I must express my complete lack of regret over the fact that we took no opportunity to speak last night. I wished to inform you that I do have some slight concerns over my decision to accept you as my wife as either your perception or your honesty possibly both are now in question. You see I had been under the misapprehension that you were unattractive. You left me completely uniformed of the fact that you have hair the color of a blazing sunset that is a rather pretty red and legs that go all the way to the heavens themselves are surprisingly long and slender. Anyone who has ever claimed your face to be unattractive deserves to be dragged in front of a crossbow unit for target practice has a complete and utter lack of anything resembling eyes in their heads.
Now that we have established that I find your body every bit as desirable as your mind, I am completely willing to skip breakfast in order to emphasize the point for this letter have breakfast waiting in the next room. Please come join me, my wife.
Your thoroughly captivated husband