Bai Qian felt Mo Yuan’s protective embrace as the wild wind blew peach blossoms around them violently. Bai Qian closed her eyes and allowed herself to feel safe for a moment in her shifu’s arms before she forced herself to pull away. Mo Yuan wouldn’t release her and held her tighter. Bai Qian wasn’t able to cast a spell with her hands pushed down beside her body, so she turned into her fox form. Bai Qian tried to scratch her way free, but Mo Yuan continued to hold her. Bai Qian felt unable to breathe as she panted and gasped for air from panic. Mo Yuan finally released her and caught her as she fell to the ground while returning to her human form. Mo Yuan’s deep eyes expressed concern as he held her tenderly and caressed her face. Bai Qian slowly caught her breath and roughly slapped Mo Yuan across the face.
Her eyes were full of anger and hatred. Bai Qian hit Mo Yuan again and brought herself swiftly to her feet. She glared at him with fury and hissed, “Don’t you ever lay your hands on me again!” Bai Qian was screaming at Mo Yuan but seeing Ye Hua’s face. Her face turned red with rage. “I loathe you, Ye Hua! If you touch me again, I swear I will kill you where you stand!” she screamed as she opened the Jade Purity Fan to attack.
Mo Yuan lifted his hand and called the fan to him. It flew out of Bai Qian’s hand and landed in his. It was then Mo Yuan saw a glimpse of his Seventeen when she looked at him. He saw her expression soften and remorse briefly flash across Seventeen’s face. Mo Yuan deliberately closed the fan slowly and threw it back, so it landed at her feet.
Mo Yuan thoughtfully stepped towards Seventeen and noticed she didn’t back away. Seventeen still had her guard down and was looking down, embarrassed by her unwarranted outburst towards Mo Yuan. She continued to allow Mo Yuan to move closer to her. Perhaps the closest since she’d recovered her sight. Mo Yuan was close enough to lift her chin to look into her eyes.
He smiled lovingly and said softly, “Seventeen, you once told me you would give me your body freely. I accept your offer.” Mo Yuan swiftly took his fragile and broken former disciple, and now his heart’s desire, into his strong arms and held her tenderly.
Seventeen didn’t pull away, but she began to shake. Mo Yuan felt her body go limp, but she shook like a wounded rabbit that was cornered by a starving fox. Seventeen was terrified of his tender embrace. Too traumatized to be touched. Mo Yuan felt wetness on his face from her tears, and she lifelessly dropped to the ground when he released her from his arms.
Seventeen pulled her legs into her chest, rocked herself back and forth while whimpering the same two sentences repeatedly, “I can’t stand to be touched. Please Shifu, don’t make me do something I can’t do.”
Mo Yuan hadn’t meant to scare Seventeen and now realized he’d made a terrible mistake. He’d moved too quickly, and she’d misunderstood his words and intentions. Mo Yuan knelt beside her, took her pinky finger and interlocked it with his.
“This was the part of your body I wanted to touch. Forgive me; I shouldn’t have held you without your permission. Seventeen, couldn’t you allow me to feel this much of you?” Mo Yuan shook her pinky and gave her a little smile when Seventeen stopped rocking back and forth long enough to look at his finger interlinked with hers.
Seventeen looked away from her finger and returned to rocking herself with an emotionless expression on her face. Mo Yuan suddenly felt an immense level of resentment towards Ye Hua and Heavenly Lord as he quietly watched his wounded little Seventeen while she continued to rock herself for hours with the look of being lost.
Two hundred and forty years later…..
What started with a pinky finger progressed at a snail’s pace until now Mo Yuan was able to patiently hold Seventeen’s hand. Mo Yuan had continued his slow courtship of Seventeen at a slow, unthreatening speed. Sometimes they sat silently in Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms and she’d allow his arm to press against hers. Seventeen still had her bad days. During these times, she would stare at Mo Yuan with her distrustful eyes and avoid any physical contact. She also had good days and would give Mo Yuan the tiniest smile when she caught him openly staring at her face in silent awe of her beauty.
Seventeen was a stunningly beautiful woman.
Seventeen was nothing like she used to be when she was a Kunlun disciple, but she wasn’t as emotionless as before either. These were subtle, minor changes but the fact she even allowed Mo Yuan anywhere near her progressed, and Mo Yuan could wait patiently for Seventeen since she’d waited 70,000 years for him.
One day Seventeen nonchalantly asked Mo Yuan in her most quiet voice, “It’s been a long time. What would you do if you were me?”
Mo Yuan thought about her question and replied softly, “I’ve never experienced anything like what you did. I can only say that I’d try to move on for my sake and nobody else’s. I’d be selfish. I would strive to live my life with all the joy that I could create, find or steal.” Mo Yuan chuckled lightly and added, “I would become a thief of happiness.”
Mo Yuan playfully bumped his arm to hers when he was done.
Bai Qian silently listened to Mo Yuan’s reply and said nothing else. She was in lost in her thoughts. Would it be possible for her to move forward? To forget the past and attempt to regain some of her lost self? Could she ever be intimate with another man and allow that man to take her? Was it within her to trust again, maybe not as before, but just enough to let someone into her damaged heart? Someone trustworthy like her shifu, Mo Yuan? Mo Yuan who had protected her for thousands of years and purposely taken lightening bolts meant for her. She glanced up, looked at Mo Yuan’s striking profile and remembered a time when she had a one-sided crush on him when she was his disciple.
Would there ever be a day when she could look at Mo Yuan and not see Ye Hua’s face?
Over the past two hundred and forty years, Bai Qian had purposely searched for differences in Mo Yuan from Ye Hua. Shifu had a tiny beauty mark under his left eye. Mo Yuan lightly wrinkled his nose unconsciously when he was at a loss of what to say. Mo Yuan rapidly blinked when he was surprised or embarrassed. His smile was entirely different from Ye Hua. Mo Yuan’s light chuckle was sincere, and he never hid anything from Bai Qian.
Since Seventeen now was different, Mo Yuan had adapted himself to accommodate her.
If anything Mo Yuan was much more revealing and completely open with her. Mo Yuan was normally a silent man. But there was a purposeful reason for his change. Ye Hua kept Seventeen uninformed about his actions, so Mo Yuan felt the need to communicate more with Seventeen. Mo Yuan made a strong effort to express himself to her freely and never made any requests for her to do the same. Mo Yuan was accepting and patient even when Bai Qian lashed out and viciously attacked him verbally, which was often in the beginning. Mo Yuan was constant and unchanging regardless of the extremities of Bai Qian’s bipolar mood swings. Mo Yuan seemed happy just to be by her side and never made any sexual advances or demands.
Mo Yuan was gentle and kind, but Ye Hua had also been gentle and kind at Mount Junji before ruthlessly taking her eyes. Bai Qian shook her head and forced herself to stop comparing Mo Yuan with Ye Hua. Regardless of their identical appearances, they were completely different….she prayed.
Bai Qian suddenly exhaled as if she’d been holding her breath for years. She began to stand but silently leaned in and gave Mo Yuan an unexpected light kiss on his cheek. Mo Yuan was stunned and speechless as she stood, turned her back and walked into the dense forest of peach trees in Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms.
Bai Qian decided she would make her first attempt to forget the past and move on to an unknown future.
After Mo Yuan left, Bai Qian found Zhe Yan’s hidden wine and drank it slowly as she looked up at the glimmering stars. Was it her or the stars, but they seem to sparkle brighter than usual. She felt the warmth from the sweet wine spread throughout her body and experienced an unusual effect from Zhe Yan’s wine. She felt strangely aroused, so she slowly touched herself while balancing gracefully on a thick branch of a large aged peach tree. Her favorite tree she’d climbed since she was a child. Bai Qian’s private place of peace and refuge.
In her drunken haze, she heard the light sound of peach blossoms crushing underneath someone’s feet. A man’s gait from the noise of the pressure of his steps. She wondered if Mo Yuan had returned and playfully called an enchantment spell in her deep euphoric intoxication. Bai Qian allowed herself to fall from the tree and felt strong arms catch her before she hit the ground.
Bai Qian threw the enchantment spell and closed her eyes as Mo Yuan began to rub his nose against hers. Bai Qian heard him call her name in surprise. It had been so many years since she’d allowed a man to touch her in this intimate manner and she as a woman had missed the sensation. Bai Qian felt his soft lips move towards hers when she suddenly recognized a scent that made her gag on the bile rising her throat. It was then she realized he’d called her by the cursed name from her mortal past.
Bai Qian opened her eyes and saw her most hated foe holding her in his arms.
Bai Qian saw the face of her once husband, the murderer of her mortal soul, Ye Hua. Ye Hua was staring at her lovingly and seeing SuSu. Bai Qian instantly cloud jumped out of his arms and vomited violently for hours when she returned to Qing Qiu. The recent remembrance of Ye Hua’s touch made her shake uncontrollably.
Bai Qian was wrong. What had she been thinking? How could she start again with Mo Yuan when the ghost of her mortal past still lived within her. SuSu was still breathing and waiting for Bai Qian to release her. SuSu would never go away unless her enemies were paid back for her suffering.
Bai Qian was alone crying like a child but suddenly stopped when she heard SuSu’s whispers in her ear. SuSu told Bai Qian that Mo Yuan was right when he told her to steal happiness. Bai Qian needed to create, find and take all of Ye Hua’s happiness. Bai Qian would be the thief that stole Ye Hua’s joy. She wouldn’t hide from Ye Hua any longer but instead hunt him down and destroy him like the beast he was. Bai Qian would use everything: her power, body, heart, and mind to demolish him as she’d planned to do from the start and only then would SuSu set her free and leave her forever in peace.
Ye Hua was dumbfounded. He’d just been holding SuSu in his arms. He recognized her face, scent, and the feel of her soft body in his arms. SuSu had been there until moments ago and vanished without a trace. Ye Hua ran around calling her name and stopped when he realized he’d walked through High God Zhe Yan’s confusion shield around Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms. Ye Hua had been there in the past and failed to notice the spell at all. He felt foolish and shook his head at his inability to recognize reality from fantasy.
After almost two hundred and forty years, the Soul Gathering Lamp had yet to bring SuSu back. Ye Hua knew she didn’t want to come back to him. SuSu wouldn’t allow him to have even a replica of her because he was unworthy. Ye Hua knew SuSu was still resentful and unable to forgive him. He sighed sadly as he slowly turned to go back to the Eastern Sea where his son A-Li was waiting for him.
The Eastern Sea
Bai Qian knew Ye Hua would be attending the Eastern Water King’s son’s first birthday. She had accepted the invitation in hopes of seeing him or him seeing her. It failed to matter who saw whom first since Bai Qian’s objective was their reintroduction to one another.
While looking for Ye Hua, Bai Qian saw a small immortal child dressed regally digging on his knees. When she approached the child, the boy told her that he was looking for the beautiful coral his father had told him about. Bai Qian looked at the child amused and gave him the Cloud Clearing Fan to assist in his mission. When the boy waved the fan, the foliage covering the bright lights of the water world glared, causing Bai Qian’s material to appear and protect her eyes.
The child looked up worried that he was in trouble but suddenly called her ‘mother’ when he saw her face. The child’s face was filled with wonder as he continued to call her his mother. Bai Qian looked at the child and was correcting him of his error when she heard Ye Hua’s soft voice call to her from behind,
to be continued…………..
Ne ad ludos incipere (Let the games begin)