As Mo Yuan expected, Si Yin was crying in the wine cellar. Her favorite and usual place of security, privacy and refuge. Si Yin was hugging her knees tightly into her chest, while crying into her sleeves. Si Yin’s crying turned into a steady sob.
Mo Yuan wordlessly sat beside Si Yin’s curled up petite body and patted her lightly on the back. He gave her time to cry before she finally raised her head and faced him.
“If it wasn’t already humiliating that Prince Sang Ji fell in love with Shao Xin instead of me…now I’m being sold off to a child.”
She wiped her eyes on the back of her sleeve. “Everyone will laugh and call me Ye Hua’s grandmother behind my back.” Another cascade of pitiful sobs followed and replaced the previous ones.
Mo Yuan could barely hide his smile when he heard what she said. He understood her heartbreak but why did she have to be so enduring and bring laughter to his heart at a time like this?
“Nobody would dare say that about you. Look how youthful you are. You are child.” Mo Yuan said trying his best to reassure her.
Si Yin looked up at Mo Yuan terrified. “If I’m a child then what is Ye Hua? An embryo…or even younger… a cluster of cells?!”
A slight chuckle escaped Mo Yuan’s lips.
Si Yin turned her big sad eyes to Mo Yuan. “Shifu, do you think this is funny? How can this amuse you? How would you feel if a child said they were going to marry you?”
Mo Yuan looked at her squarely. “Now, do you understand how foolish you sound when you say you want to marry me?”
“But I’m a woman! It’s normal for the man to be older than the woman but not the other way around.” Si Yin challenged.
Mo Yuan stood up, firmly clasped his hands behind his back and replied. “Where is it written in stone that a woman can’t be older than her husband?”
Si Yin jumped up and pointed at Mo Yuan. “Where is it written in stone that Shifu can’t get married and must stay celibate for eternity?
Mo Yuan took a step back slightly when he saw her anger flare.
“You saw me nude Shifu! You should be noble and take responsibility and marry me!” Si Yin shouted while running out the wine cellar.
Mo Yuan was dumbfounded and speechless. Mo Yuan realized this was beyond his level of expertise or knowledge so he turned to the person he thought could help and that person was his brother, Zhe Yan.
Zhe Yan was doing what he did best, which was drinking wine and arguing with Bai Zhen. When Zhe Yan saw Mo Yuan, he smiled and waved him over happily.
“What did I do right to be graced with you visiting me here at Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms?” Zhe Yan opened his arms towards his peach trees as a welcome.
Mo Yuan sat beside Zhe Yan and tilted his head slightly as a greeting towards Bai Zhen before clearing his throat.
“In regards to Seventeen and Ye Hua’s engagement..”
Zhe Yan’s eyes opened widely with excitement. “Oh? Mo Yuan are you disappointed with the arrangement?”
Mo Yuan could see the spark in Zhe Yan’s eyes as his curiosity rose right before Mo Yuan’s eyes. He glanced over at Bai Zhen and noticed he was also listening to the conversation with more interest.
“I don’t have any opinions personally but.” Mo Yuan paused. “Seventeen is quite upset you didn’t consult her regarding their age difference.”
Zhe Yan’s expression deflated. “So you don’t have anything to say about this agreement, Mo Yuan?”
Mo Yuan could clearly see the net Zhe Yan had cast out and carefully avoided getting caught.
“Si Yin is my seventeenth disciple and she is quite upset. This is my only concern.” Mo Yuan stated in his usual even tone.
Zhe Yan sat down disappointed and straightened the front of his light pink robe. “Well, we couldn’t let that brat Sang Ji get away after creating this situation. The Fox King and I thought this was a good arrangement. Xiao Wu has always had you in her heart, so why not give her a younger version of you.”
Mo Yuan almost spit out his wine and looked at Zhe Yan with slightly surprised expression. “A younger version of me?”
“Yes, your younger twin Ye Hua.” replied Zhe Yan.
Zhe Yan nodded to himself and went back to drinking his wine. “Anyways if Xiao Wu is that upset then we can cancel the engagement after a proper period of time. This way everyone will save face.”
Zhe Yan took another sip of his wine and clicked his fingers together as if he’d thought of something clever. “Zhen Zhen is best when it comes to calming Xiao Wu down. Why not take a quick trip to Kunlun with Mo Yuan and we could appease Xiao Wu while we are there?” Zhe Yan finished up his cup and signaled for everyone to get up and head back to Kunlun Mountain.
It took several hours for Bai Zhen to stop Xiao Wu’s tears and bring her into Mo Yuan’s room. Si Yin sat in Mo Yuan’s room without looking at Zhe Yan. Her fourth brother Bai Zhen had calmed her down enough to talk, but she wasn’t ready to forgive that foolish old Phoenix, Zhe Yan. She glanced at Zhe Yan, then made a face before sticking out her bottom lip and facing in the opposite direction of him.
The awkward silence in the room continued until Mo Yuan spoke first.
“Seventeen have you considered this might be a good thing? You could get to know Ye Hua better and perhaps your friendship could bloom into something more?”
Si Yin looked up at her shifu Mo Yuan cautiously.
“If you get to know Ye Hua and find that you are truly not compatible, then you have a justifiable reason for not marrying him.” Mo Yuan noticed Si Yin’s attention focus on him so he continued.
“Qing Qiu would have a rightful reason for canceling the engagement. Then Qing Qiu wouldn’t be looked upon poorly and Ye Hua’s actions to save the snake and his uncle wouldn’t have been in vain. What harm would it do, if you just spent a couple weeks with Ye Hua and gave him a chance?”
Zhe Yan was about to add something to what Mo Yuan said until Si Yin turned and glared at him with death eyes.
“How many women are lucky enough to get to know their future husbands so freely? Xiao Wu this is a rare and lucky opportunity. How lucky you are.” Bai Zhen reassured.
Si Yin looked around at everyone to see if she was being deceived.
“Ye Hua is a nice young man.” Zhe Yan added politely and was surprised to see Xiao Wu run out of the room in tears again.
Mo Yuan and Bai Zhen quickly looked over at Zhe Yan, who was wondering what he said wrong.
They both asked in unison. “Why did you have to bring up his age again?”
After Si Yin ran into her room, she thought about her Shifu’s advice and considered her options. She could pretend to get to know Ye Hua and then tell her family of their poor personality match. It wasn’t much considering what Ye Hua had done for her. He did save Shao Xin at her request. Did he not go out of his way to do as she asked?
It wasn’t truly Ye Hua’s fault that they were engaged. Their engagement was due to Prince Sang Ji being a scoundrel. Si Yin thought of Sang Ji and got up to throw her pillow at the wall. She should have known from Prince Sang Ji’s lack of combat skills during the Ghost Wars, that he was not a honorable man. Si Yin formed her childish conclusion while grasping straws for reasons to dislike Prince Sang Ji. Secretly, Si Yin felt a sense of relieved, to know Shao Xin would be well loved and protected with Prince Sang Ji by her side.
Yes, she would be polite to Ye Hua for a few weeks as a repayment for saving Shao Xin’s life. She did feel indebted to him. After a proper period of time she would tell Ye Hua, that she was Bai Qian of Qing Qiu, cancel the wedding and remain good friends with him. Si Yin did enjoy Ye Hua’s company and wanted to explore their friendship deeper. She felt he would be a good person to know in her future and it would only benefit her to remain on good terms with her Shifu’s younger brother. That way when she married Mo Yuan, the transition would be easier for Ye Hua to see her as family.
To be continued…