SuSu picked up her newborn son’s rattle and caressed the cold metal gently to her cheek. SuSu silently said good-bye to her son A-Li. SuSu was leaving, and her son would remain behind. The child SuSu had carried in her body for three years had been her constant companion for her alone time in Celestial Heaven.
SuSu remembered rejoicing his every kicks and movement before losing her sight. After the loss of her eyes, she began to wither and fade only waiting for the day SuSu would give birth so she could leave.
Since it was always SuSu’s plan to leave, she refused to touch, hold or smell her infant son. SuSu decided and knew for some time that she would be living without him, so she refused to allow herself to form any emotional bonds. SuSu couldn’t allow anything or anyone detour or sway her from her plans. SuSu would forget her child and the fact she was his mother.
SuSu would forget everything.
Susu’s plan was simple. She would jump from the Zhuxian Terrace and return to Mount Junji. Since she was now blind, the familiarity of her thatched hut would make it possible for her to live alone. Before the birth of her child, SuSu requested to be walked to Zhuxian Terrace often. She counted her steps and remembered subtle things along the way that would be helpful on her last trek. SuSu no longer believed her life would be better now that her child was born. SuSu’s purpose was gone, so she believed her life to be expendable.
When Ye Hua came to her and spoke of marriage, SuSu heard the happiness in his voice. Ye Hua said they would live the life they always wanted, SuSu replied with a false smile. Ye Hua never detected her tone and brought SuSu excellent materials to choose from for her wedding dress. She should have been overjoyed, but SuSu knew Ye Hua was marrying her out of pity, and his words never penetrated her heart. She’d become a burden to Ye Hua, and SuSu had her plans for the future.
Ever since Ye Hua had removed her eyes, SuSu avoided his touch and any contact with Ye Hua. She recoiled when she felt his skin against hers. The once warm scent of Ye Hua’s skin now made her gag from revolt. The gentle hands that once gave her immeasurable pleasure were now the wicked tools that ripped out her eyes for a crime she didn’t commit. SuSu had become permanently damaged, yet Ye Hua never noticed.
During SuSu’s three years in Celestial Heaven, she’d come to understand this heaven was her hell. SuSu’s soul had shattered, and that was more painful than the loss of her sight. SuSu repeatedly betrayed by the one man who swore to protect her, her beloved husband Ye Hua. The man who had once taught SuSu love, trust and kindness had become her worst nightmare. Ye Hua had failed her at every turn.
Ye Hua’s dishonesty to SuSu had been from the very start. He lied about having an earlier marriage arrangement. SuSu discovered he’d been engaged to marry Bai Qian when he took her as his wife at Mount Junji. Ye Hua was given Su Jin as his side Consort and SuSu began to understand she would be just one more woman in his growing harem. If Ye Hua had told SuSu the truth back at Mount Junji, she wouldn’t have married him. Ye Hua’s promises to devote himself solely to SuSu were meaningless and empty.
SuSu laughed at her foolishness. She’d once believed Ye Hua was the love of her life.
SuSu recalled the sweet memories. Ye Hua’s piercing gaze of want, his touch and their wedding night. SuSu lost deep in her memories; fell on the step, she couldn’t see. SuSu was in the past when the pain of the present cleared her mind and reminded SuSu why she was here. She was leaving and Ye Hua would become a painful memory that she would eventually forget.
SuSu continued her memorized steps and knew she had reached Zhuxian Terrace. She felt the wind blowing from the ominous center and realized she’d arrived at her destination. SuSu suddenly wanted to hear Ye Hua’s voice one last time. SuSu called to Ye Hua through her copper mirror. SuSu told Ye Hua that she was leaving and asked him to care for their son. She said to Ye Hua that Su Jin told her jumping from Zhuxian Terrace would return her to Mount Junji. SuSu took a deep breath before speaking to Ye Hua to release her, and she would let him go. SuSu’s final words were telling Ye Hua they were no longer indebted to each other.
Mo Yuan heard of SuSu’s location from Zhe Yan. Zhe Yan asked Mo Yuan if he’d ever seen Ye Hua’s mortal wife? Zhe Yan himself found the similarities between SuSu and Xiao Wu to be uncanny and asked if Mo Yuan had noticed anything. Zhe Yan then said he was only able to see half her face due to the mortal’s blindness. When Mo Yuan asked how SuSu became blind, Zhe Yan repeated what he had heard from Bai Feng Jiu. Ye Hua had taken his wife’s eyes to replace consort Su Jin’s damaged eyes from an altercation at Zhuxian Terrace. Zhe Yan then said something that made Mo Yuan seek SuSu immediately. Zhe Yan said he smelled the scent of his peaches coming from the mortal and he firmly believed there was a connection between SuSu and Xiao Wu.
When Mo Yuan arrived in Celestial Heaven, he wondered if he should first get Ye Hua’s permission before speaking to SuSu. Mo Yuan needed to use discretion when talking to Ye Hua’s wife. He was acutely aware of Heavenly Lord’s hostile feelings towards SuSu since Ye Hua had recently announced he would be taking SuSu as his side consort after receiving the royal seal. Mo Yuan decided to talk to Ye Hua might keep SuSu from speaking freely to him, so Mo Yuan went to find SuSu alone.
Mo Yuan first went to the Hall of Beautiful Youth. He told SuSu was walking to the lotus ponds. When Mo Yuan went to the lotus ponds, she wasn’t there, but he saw a small figure heading towards Zhuxian Terrace. Susu without sight could easily stumble into Zhuxian Terrace, and she would die instantly. Mo Yuan cloud jumped to the platform as SuSu said goodbye to Ye Hua. Mo Yuan watched her walk towards the center when the white material covering SuSu’s eyes blew off her face. Mo Yuan looked and briefly saw Seventeen’s features in SuSu’s face.
SuSu said everything she wanted to say to Ye Hua. She stepped forward without fear knowing this part of her journey was about to come to an end. SuSu sighed deeply and moved forward, but she suddenly felt someone hold her back. He held her tenderly and whispered, “I’ve found you Seventeen. You’re safe now; I’m here to protect you.” before she felt herself dissipate into the air and leave everything behind. SuSu felt herself being held and collapsed in the arms she sensed to be safe.
Before SuSu could take another step, Mo Yuan grabbed her and cloud jumped away from Celestial Heaven.
Mo Yuan returned to Kunlun Mountain with Ye Hua’s mortal wife in his arms. He put her into bed in Seventeen’s old room. Mo Yuan looked at SuSu and hoped this poor woman wasn’t Si Yin. Mo Yuan hoped he was wrong. If SuSu was Si Yin, the pain she’d endured over the last few years was too much for Mo Yuan to comprehend.
SuSu’s words filled Ye Hua with terror. He heard SuSu say she was leaving and asked Ye Hua to care for their child, A-Li. SuSu cleared him of all debts before her silence. Ye Hua immediately cloud jumped to Zhuxian Terrace. She wasn’t there. She couldn’t have dropped that quickly; Ye Hua would have seen her if she had. Ye Hua walked around the entire platform confused.
Where could SuSu have gone?
Ye Hua then wondered if SuSu had become confused by her surroundings. Without her sight, SuSu could have easily lost her way. Ye Hua spoke into his copper mirror and urged SuSu to respond. Ye Hua begged with SuSu to say something….anything but all he heard was silence.
Ye Hua continued his search for SuSu with his guards. He wanted to keep SuSu’s disappearance a secret from the others, but she’d vanished as if she was never there. Had Heavenly Lord put her somewhere remote and isolated? Ye Hua searched for SuSu all night, desperate to find his love. Ye Hua sought Celestial Heaven non-stop for weeks before accepting she wasn’t there. SuSu who once promised Ye Hua that she would follow him to death had left him and vanished without a trace.
The first things Mo Yuan did was seal off Kunlun Mountain. He asked Zhe Yan to find the Fox King without telling him about his suspicions. Mo Yuan quietly gathered his disciples and shared his thoughts with them. He explained the truth behind Si Yin’s identity. Mo Yuan also explained he could be wrong and that he was now in a precarious position since he’d secretly taken Ye Hua’s wife. Even though she was trying to kill herself, it would be difficult to explain or defend his actions to Heavenly Lord and Ye Hua.
The disciples looked confused, but some became tearful. They thought of the possibility of the blind mortal being their beloved Seventeen and anger from her unjust treatment filled their hearts. The disciples cared for SuSu gently and lovingly. Some recognized Seventeen instantly while others remained doubtful. If SuSu was truly Seventeen, the disciples brought up retribution for her sufferings and watched over her protectively.
SuSu woke up terrified. She felt around her surroundings and shook in fear. Mo Yuan’s voice was the first she heard. “SuSu, we won’t hurt you. You are safe.”
SuSu lacked her eyes to cry but continued to tremble as she pulled her body into her chest.
“Do you remember me? I met you at Mount Junji. My name is Mo Yuan. Do you recall?”
Mo Yuan couldn’t help but feel heartbroken for SuSu. She had just given birth yet decided to leave her newborn child and kill herself. SuSu broken and entirely shattered.
“Mo Yuan?” SuSu asked softly, “Are you the man who looks like Ye Hua?”
Mo Yuan sat on the very edge of her bed. SuSu held out her hands indicating that she wanted his hand. SuSu’s tiny hands held Mo Yuan’s and raised it to her nose and inhaled.
“Yes, you are Mo Yuan. I remember you. Am I back in Mount Junji?” SuSu asked hopefully.
“Why do you think you’re back in Mount Junji?” Mo Yuan answered carefully.
“Su Jin told me that I would return there if I jumped from Zhuxian Terrace,” SuSu replied in a whisper.
“SuSu, you would have died if you jumped from Zhuxian Terrace. Su Jin lied to you,” Mo Yuan’s voice reflected his sadness.
SuSu took a deep breath and said, “Yes, I thought that might be the case, but why did you save me?”
Mo Yuan placed his hand on hers, “Because I think you might be my Seventeenth disciple.”
SuSu was quiet and then suddenly said, “Si Yin?”
Mo Yuan suddenly tighten his grip on SuSu’s hand. “How did you know her name? Did you see her? Did she leave the fan with you?”
SuSu pulled the blankets up to her chin with both hands as Si Yin used to do, “I heard it in a dream.” She replied softly before falling asleep again.
During the first few days at Kunlun Mountain, SuSu stayed in bed and refused to move. She felt gentle hands feed her. SuSu smelled Mo Yuan when he lightly caressed her hair when he thought she was asleep. SuSu knew she was safe and often heard the light whispers outside her door as they called her Seventeen.
Even though SuSu had left her child behind, her body still demanded resolve. Her breasts filled with milk for a child that wasn’t near. SuSu suffered severe depression and stopped eating. She’d lay in bed and wished death would come for her. She was silently praying for her life’s end when she smelled Mo Yuan’s scent beside her. She heard him sigh deeply before caressing her hair.
“Are you in love with your disciple?” SuSu asked quietly.
Mo Yuan sat silently in reflection before answering her, “I thought I was only her teacher and she was just one of my students, but now I’ve come to realize that I love her. She fed me blood from her heart for 70,000 years….she is the love of my life.”
“Do you think I am her?” SuSu asked.
Mo Yuan sighed and replied, “I hope you are Si Yin and I pray that you’re not. Your grief’s too big, and it pains me to think you are she.”
SuSu pulled the blankets under her chin and just replied, “Love is a lie. Love is a pain. Nothing more, nothing less. Love doesn’t exist. Love is death…The death of your soul.”
Mo Yuan watched SuSu turn her back towards him before adding, “If you surrender yourself to love Mo Yuan, you are a fool.”
to be continued……………….