Si Yin was much smaller and frailer than Ye Hua expected. He was indeed a weak little fox. Si Yin’s petite frame and delicate features were almost feminine. Yes, this fox wasn’t handsome but he could be considered pretty if that could apply to a man. His big bright warm eyes sparkled when he spoke.
“Seventeen greets Crown Prince Lotus Ye Hua!”
Si Yin greeted Ye Hua in the most informal manner that Ye Hua had ever experienced. Ye Hua slowly looked behind him to see if Si Yin was speaking to someone else. Perhaps someone standing behind him, but Ye Hua was the only one there. Ye Hua turned back around and saw Si Yin still smiling at him, as if they’d known each other for years.
This little mannerless fox was much wilder than he imagined. Ye Hua’s internal warning system told him to be wary because it was possible that this little fox might bite.
Ye Hua looked wide eyed at Si Yin and tapped his fingers to his chest silently asking if he was the one Si Yin was speaking to.
Si Yin nodded silently while walking around Ye Hua, obviously looking him up and down in full examination.
“Are you Si Yin? The seventeenth disciple who wields the Jade Purity Fan? Ye Hua asked, unable to believe this little girlish man could hold a brush let alone a control weapon of such immense power as the Jade Purity Fan.
Si Yin nodded still smiling excitedly at Ye Hua.
“Do you know who I am?” Ye Hua asked puzzled. Never had he met anyone such as this little fox, so Ye Hua was truly intrigued.
“Yes. You are Crown Prince Ye Hua. The future Heavenly Lord. You used to live here. You used to be my golden lotus.” Si Yin pointed to the lotus pond. Si Yin was about to tell Ye Hua more about his time as a lotus when she saw her shifu walking towards them.
“Seventeen, you must address Crown Prince Ye Hua properly.” Mo Yuan gently scolded as he walked up slowly with his hands behind his back. “I was concerned that perhaps you’d get lost, but I see you found your way, Ye Hua.”
Ye Hua was too speechless and dumbfounded by his interaction with Si Yin to respond properly and thank High God Mo Yuan for his concern. Si Yin was nothing as he expected and this had caught Ye Hua completely off guard. Si Yin wasn’t a highly principled and discipled immortal like his fellow Kunlun disciple brothers. Ye Hua was at a loss as to what to say next, so he bowed his good-bye to High God Mo Yuan and looked confusedly at Si Yin one last time, with a furrow in between his eyes and returned home to Celestial Heaven.
Right after Ye Yua’s sudden and quick departure, Mo Yuan gave Si Yin a firm scolding. Her behavior with Ye Hua did not follow the ways of a proper Kunlun disciple. Shifu explained thoroughly that improper treatment towards Ye Hua was a poor reflection of his teaching as her shifu. Seventeen needed to remain respectful, greet Crown Prince Ye Hua properly, and stand on ceremony if she were to see him again. Mo Yuan sent a pouting Si Yin to her room and grounded her for the rest of the night to reflect on her behavior.
What Mo Yuan failed to mention was that the real reason behind his stern scolding was that Si Yin behaved like a woman when she was with Ye Hua. Mo Yuan watched her playfully taunting and teasing Ye Hua as only a woman would do towards a man. Ye Hua being as bright as he was, would have figured out quickly that Si Yin was a woman if she continued. This was Mo Yuan’s true reason for coming between her and Ye Hua earlier. Mo Yuan knew he couldn’t protect her forever but would do what he could as long as Seventeen was by his side.
Si Yin stalked into her room pouting. She didn’t think she deserved such a harsh scolding from Shifu. She was merely playing with the young Crown Prince. Ye Hua’s stiff and awkwardness personality made him appeal to her even more. Her feeling towards Ye Hua was as someone would feel towards their younger brother or cousin. She wanted to tease and taunt him and make him blush. However after today’s meeting, Si Yin realized Ye Hua was much more handsome than she’d previously thought. If she were several thousands of years younger, she would have found him utterly desirable. Si Yin felt ridiculous to find herself still thinking about Ye Hua, knowing she’d most likely never see him again. Si Yin cursed herself under her breath for not grabbing a bottle of the secret wine she’d hidden before coming into her room for the night.
As much as Ye Hua had piqued her interest, all Ye Hua thought about when he returned to Celestial Heaven was his short conversation with Si Yin. Ye Hua shook his head in disbelief and a little smile came to his face. Never had he met anyone like Si Yin and Ye Hua was strangely amused by the little girlish disciple. Everything about the seventeenth disciple intrigued Ye Hua. His oddness intrigued Ye Hua the most. Si Yin was definitely an enigma. A very strangely amusing but peculiar mystery that Ye Hua felt compelled to solve. Ye Hua now understood why High God Mo Yuan favored Si Yin so much. Si Yin was strange but he was also enduring and warm. Even though these were emotions foreign to Ye Hua, he could say that Si Yin exuded happiness and was a joy to be around. Ye Hua regretted not staying longer but he knew today’s sudden visit to Kunlun Mountain would be the first of many more to come.
The very next day when Ye Hua reappeared at Kunlun Mountain, nobody was more surprised than High God Mo Yuan. Ye Hua greeted Mo Yuan and stated he wanted to see more of the school since he was in a hurry the previous day. Ye Hua requested this time that a disciple guide him as High God Mo Yuan wisely suggested previously. All the disciples excitedly whispered amongst themselves as their eyes lit up in anticipation when they heard Ye Hua’s request. A rare opportunity to personally guide the Crown Prince brought a glimmer to everyones’ eyes. However, when Ye Hua requested Si Yin, all the disciples looked at Si Yin with annoyed and jealous expressions.
Si Yin looked up, surprised to hear her name called but looked more stunned when she saw Ye Hua standing there. She was daydreaming as usual, so she didn’t even know Ye Hua was back at Kunlun Mountain. She looked towards her Shifu Mo Yuan who made a subtle motion for her to come to him.
“Si Yin, you must not forget the discussion we had last night and you must remember your manners.” Mo Yuan whispered in a low but stern whisper so she could only hear.
Si Yin nodded and bowed to her Shifu before she looked at Ye Hua shyly and bowed respectfully in front of him.
“Seventeenth disciple greets Crown Prince Ye Hua and would feel honored to escort you during your time at Kunlun Mountain.”
Si Yin looked slightly towards Mo Yuan. His expression never changed but he gave her a little nod of approval. Mo Yuan looked at them as they walked away and thought silently how they suited each other quite well, but more than anything Mo Yuan hoped Si Yin would control herself better today.
While walking through the halls of Kunlun silently. Ye Hua noticed the vast difference in Si Yin’s behavior today from the day before. He was docile, obedient and reserved while looking towards the ground as they walked quietly in unison. Ye Hua suddenly stopped walking and turned towards Si Yin and asked softly,
“Were you scolded badly yesterday?”
Si Yin quickly looked up at Ye Hua and a smile came to his lips. His big dark amber eyes blinked in subtle surprise. Ye Hua didn’t realize but he was smiling back at Si Yin. Ye Hua studied Si Yin’s face intently and wondered if all male foxes were as attractive as Si Yin. Ye Hua recalled meeting High God Bai Zhen once before, who was also known for his handsome face. Some even said High God Bai Zhen was more beautiful than his younger sister Bai Qian, the mysterious future Queen of Qing Qiu, who was renown for her exquisite beauty. Ye Hua had never met Bai Qian so he couldn’t say one way or the other.
“I knew High God Mo Yuan was standing there for a while. I thought foxes had good hearing?” Ye Hua softly added.
“I’m normally the one with the sharpest ears but I was just excited to finally meet you yesterday.” Si Yin said in his perky voice from the day before.
Ye Hua’s voice never changed. His voice was soft and smooth. It made the little hairs on Si Yin’s neck stand straight up and it lightly tickled her sensitive ears. He wasn’t elaborate verbally and only said what was necessary. Nothing more and nothing less, but Ye Hua was expressive in other ways. His eyes spoke the many words that his lips failed to do.
“Excited to see me?” Ye Hua’s voice asked softly and lightly like a butterfly’s wings in flight.
Si Yin stepped up close to Ye Hua’s handsome face and looked intensely at his cut bottom lip. “What happened to your lip? Were you in combat? Was your enemy so formidable?”
Ye Hua lightly touched his lip and said. “I was bitten… by a wild animal….”
Si Yin looked at it with great interest. “It must have hurt.” His eyes round as saucers as he sympathetically made the expression one would make when in pain. They continued to walk without a planned route while Si Yin chattered happily beside him.
Ye Hua’s lack of experience made his desire difficult to express. Ye Hua never had a friend. He usually didn’t interact with others socially, but he needed to think of a feasible reason, one believable enough for him to continue coming to Kunlun Mountain. Without a valid reason, it would appear peculiar and suspicion would arise if Ye Hua came to see Si Yin as freely as he desired. Ye Hua wanted to see much more of Si Yin in the future.
It was when they approached the lotus pond that Ye Hua finally came up with a simple solution to his quandary.
Ye Hua paused for a moment before he asked,
“Since you were my protector for all those years, I feel indebted to you. What would you like from me?”
Ye Hua was slightly concerned that Si Yin would ask for a higher position or rank in his personal army or material treasures. These things Ye Hua could easily grant but it wouldn’t give him more time to be with Si Yin. Which was what Ye Hua truly wanted.
Si Yin looked at Ye Hua while his bright gleaming eyes sparkled with delight and asked.
“Anything? Anything my heart desires?”
Ye Hua nodded in agreement.
Si Yin looked at Ye Hua for a few moments before saying. “Hey Lotus Prince! Maybe you and I could be friends?”
To be continued…