50,000 years later…….
The duration of Mo Yuan’s 50,000 year-long seclusion passed by in a blink of an eye. Thousands of years passed, but Mo Yuan still grieved his little Seventeen’s death as if it were yesterday. While in seclusion, Mo Yuan slowly came to terms with his anger, rage, and bitterness during his solitary retreat. Mo Yuan came out of his seclusion cave the calm, the balanced and harmonious man he’d once been but sadder than before.
Much more depressed than before.
For the sake of the other Kunlun disciples, Mo Yuan put on a brave front and began to act like the Master of Kunlun Mountain he was. Mo Yuan, with great difficulty, forced back his consuming pain and endeavored to return to his former self, for the sake of all the realms and seas; he was sworn to protect and serve. Mo Yuan was the God Of War and son of Heavenly Father. Mo Yuan wordlessly carried the heavy, burdensome, weight of his responsibilities and expectations; that only he could and needed to fulfill.
Mo Yuan noiselessly bore the tedious burden of keeping peace in the world on his broad shoulders. A role he was born to do and his inevitable fate. Mo Yuan’s life, a lonely semi-living existence while surrounded by countless of meaningless people, because the one person he needed and wanted was gone.
His little Seventeen, who no longer breathed.
Seventeen’s old room was still the same as if waiting for her return; nothing was moved and everything still in its original place. The disciples kept her room more immaculate, and it was neater than when she was alive. Seventeen’s fellow brothers still grieved but differently than Mo Yuan. They honored her memory and kept her room clean in her stead. Nobody on Kunlun Mountain had forgotten Seventeen. She still lived on in their fondest memories.
Sometimes, Mo Yuan tried to forget she was ever his disciple but everything reminded him of her. The lotus pond still vividly held her, and Mo Yuan often saw her in his memories and viewed Seventeen standing beside it. It took months for Mo Yuan to enter the wine cellar. The wine cellar that was once the place of Seventeen’s refuge became the most painful place for Mo Yuan on Kunlun Mountain. He stood in the quiet corner and remembered the day she kissed him on her birthday. He scolded Seventeen then, but now Mo Yuan wished he would have kissed her back and continued to kiss Seventeen for hours, days, months, years and never stopped.
He lightly ran his hand and fingertips over the surface of the dusty, empty shelf. There wasn’t a single bottle of her favorite peach wine left. Mo Yuan destroyed them all 50,000 years ago, and it was time to restock the shelves, if for nothing else but, as a sweet remembrance of his little Seventeen. To refill the empty place which once held Seventeen’s favorite wine. Sweet peach wine created by Zhe Yan personally.
It was time for Mo Yuan to see his brother, Zhe Yan, in Ten Miles Of Peach Blossoms.
Ten Miles Of Peach Blossoms was unchanged. Everything was the same as if frozen in time, and eternal. A light, soft, early, autumn breeze moved the peach blossoms gently, and the noise of their subtle sway whispered in the air. The honeyed fragrance of the peach blooms suddenly reminded Mo Yuan of Seventeen. Was this the way Seventeen used to smell?
Mo Yuan couldn’t remember anymore.
Zhe Yan was in the area; Mo Yuan was positive. Mo Yuan sensed his presence and continued to look for Zhe Yan. Slowly, Mo Yuan walked towards Zhe Yan’s hut when he saw her. She sat on the top step of the entrance to Zhe Yan’s residence.
It was it his Seventeen.
Quickly, Mo Yuan closed his eyes believing he was having a hallucination. His longing for Seventeen was profound, deep, and consuming. He took a couple of slow deep inhales, and exhales, and reopened his eyes. The haunting vision still remained, and casually held a bottle of wine in small her hand.
Seventeen in her true female appearance wore a light jade green-hued flowing goddess gown. Leisurely, she drank straight from the liquor’s container and seemed as if she didn’t have a care in the world. Her small foot steadily tapped the ground with an unheard personal rhythm. Mo Yuan was losing his mind. Regardless of how many times he rubbed his eyes, Seventeen didn’t fade and remained.
Slowly, hesitantly, almost cautiously; he moved towards her. Mo Yuan stepped on a peach branch, and the crisp sound of the dry, brittle, stick of wood, snapping underneath his foot made Seventeen look up at Mo Yuan.
Seventeen silently studied Mo Yuan and slowing stood. Mo Yuan was unable to move and started to hyperventilating as Seventeen walked towards him. All Mo Yuan could do was blink rapidly, unable to utter a single word. Seventeen looked at Mo Yuan with an expression of apprehension, politely rounded her arms, bowed and said, “High Goddess, Bai Qian, Queen Of Qingqiu, greets High God, Mo Yuan, Master of Kunlun Mountain.”
She added with a tiny smile “High God, Mo Yuan, are you Ye Hua’s older brother? Ye Hua told me he had a twin older brother, but I didn’t think you two would look so much alike.”
Disbelieving, Mo Yuan’s hand reached out and tenderly caressed her radiant rosy cheek. He couldn’t understand it, but it was his Seventeen. Mo Yuan instantly recognized the familiar feel of her soft skin. Seventeen was unchanged, and she was as beautiful as ever…maybe even more so than before.
Incredulity, Mo Yuan whispered, “Seventeen?”
Seventeen looked at Mo Yuan confused; her eyes widened when she felt Mo Yuan’s unexpected touch. Quickly, Seventeen moved back out of Mo Yuan’s arm’s reach. Seventeen took another huge step away from Mo Yuan and created more distance between their bodies. She held her hands firmly behind her back. Seventeen tensely watched Mo Yuan untrusting of his intentions. Mo Yuan moved forwards, reached for Seventeen, and pulled her petite body into his embrace. His powerful arms encircled and enclosed around her tightly. Mo Yuan inhaled deeply; it was her scent.
It was his little Seventeen.
Seventeen’s body stiffened as she hurriedly pulled herself from his embrace. She took a couple of steps back away from Mo Yuan. Seventeen’s nervous gaze narrowed as she stared at Mo Yuan confused. Mo Yuan stepped forward, as she stepped back, watching Mo Yuan with both uncertainty and fear. Seventeen looked afraid as she swiftly suddenly turned her back to Mo Yuan, and started to quickly walk away. Mo Yuan immediately lunged forward, reached out and grabbed Seventeen’s petite wrist. He held her back. Abruptly, Seventeen stopped, turned and stared at Mo Yuan’s hand, which held her wrist with an expression of distress.
Someone tightly grasped Mo Yuan’s arm from behind, he turned back and saw Zhe Yan. Zhe Yan whispered, “Mo Yuan, let go of Xiao Wu’s hand.”
Zhe Yan deliberately moved between Seventeen and Mo Yuan bodies; separated Mo Yuan’s tight grasp from Seventeen’s slender wrist. He placed himself in the middle of Seventeen and Mo Yuan.
Zhe Yan spoke slowly and deliberately when he said, “Xiao Wu, this is High God, Mo Yuan. Ye Hua’s older twin brother. You don’t need to be afraid. Do you remember when I told you that Mo Yuan was your Shifu at Kunlun Mountain for 20,000 years?”
Seventeen forced a little smile but tensely hid behind Zhe Yan for protection. She said, “Yes, Zhe Yan I remember. Forgive me, High God Mo Yuan. I heard you were my Shifu, but I don’t recognize you. I don’t recollect many things about my past history before my death.”
Mo Yuan felt as if someone slapped him violently across the face. His eyes filled with unshed tears as he urged, “You don’t remember me? Seventeen, how could you have forgotten me? It’s me, your Shifu.”
Mo Yuan placed the open palm of his right hand, on his chest, above his heart and said, “Seventeen, it’s me, the man you lov..”
Zhe Yan immediately rudely cut Mo Yuan off from saying anything else. Zhe Yan casually turned to Seventeen and stated, “Xiao Wu, I need to talk to Mo Yuan. Why don’t you two catch up another time.”
Seventeen looked relieved by Zhe Yan’s words. Seventeen glanced at Mo Yuan and smiled, but her gaze was one of discomfort and uncertainty. After Seventeen’s departure, in a flash, Mo Yuan turned to Zhe Yan and demanded, “Zhe Yan, how is this even possible? Was that Seventeen? Am I losing my mind!? Was that truly my seventeenth disciple, Si Yin? Was that Bai Zhi’s daughter, Bai Qian?!”
Zhe Yan sighed deeply, summoned a bottle of wine and gulped it down hastily. He finished it and wordlessly called another. Zhe Yan opened the second bottle and drank it as briskly as he’d done with the first and replied softly, “Yes, Mo Yuan. That is Xiao Wu.”
“How? How can Seventeen be alive? I watched her die with my own eyes. How can she be here? How long has Seventeen been here? Why didn’t you say anything to me! Why doesn’t she remember me?” demanded Mo Yuan.
Zhe Yan took a deep breath and replied, “Slow down Mo Yuan. You’re asking me too many questions at the same time. Let me tell you what I know. Just give me a moment to gather my thoughts.”
Zhe Yan took a few silent minutes to organize his thoughts and began to tell Mo Yuan how Seventeen was brought back to life, and why she was in Qingqiu.
After Seventeen’s death at the Roushui Riverbank, the Fox Clan brought her body back to Qingqiu. Bai Zhi grief-stricken over the unexpected death of his daughter, Bai Qian, began to feed her blood from his heart. Then in secrecy, all of Seventeen’s family members privately took turns and also fed Seventeen blood from their heart’s. During the last 50,000 years after Seventeen’s sudden death, her parents and brothers all contributed and continuously fed her blood from their heart’s several times a day. Their actions preserved Seventeen’s lifeless body in perfect condition.
About two months prior, Zhe Yan, was called by Bai Zhi, the Fox King, and saw Seventeen’s perfectly saved body for the first time. The Fox Clan kept their movements a secret that was known only within their tight family circle. At Bai Zhi’s request, Zhe Yan performed a soul-searching spell and was surprised to feel a low level of divine energy coming from Seventeen. To Zhe Yan’s amazement, but there were parts of Seventeen’s soul slowly regathering. Her father Bai Zhi, the Fox King, almost lost his life but obtained the necessary fungal grass needed, for the transference of life force.
Together with his wife, and sons, everyone contributed half of their elite cultivation and life force to create one single powerful potent elixir for Seventeen. The mixture of all the Fox Clan member’s cultivation and life force joined to make a potion that was the strongest Zhe Yan ever witnessed in his life. Zhe Yan said it was incredible and that he wouldn’t have believed it but he saw it with his own eyes.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. The elixir was so powerful, calling it powerful is a giant oversimplification. I couldn’t hold it in my hand longer than a minute at the most. It was hot and vibrated from the powerful magic within.” Stated Zhe Yan.
Due to the mighty magic within the Fox Clan, the elixir was miraculous, rare and one of a kind. After Seventeen was fed the elixir, Ye Hua offered and brought the Soul Gathering Lamp from Celestial Heaven. Bai Zhi then used the lamp to gather the last bits of Seventeen’s fractured spirit. Three days after the Soul Searching Lamp was lit, she woke up. Seventeen had been awake for a couple of weeks. Mo Yuan couldn’t grasp what Zhe Yan was saying. Zhe Yan was talking about the impossible.
Mo Yuan demanded angrily, “Why didn’t anyone tell me? How could you have kept this to yourself, Zhe Yan? You know how I feel about her!”
“Mo Yuan, this was a private family matter within the Fox Clan. I wasn’t in the position to say anything. Bai Zhi wanted to keep this a secret inside the household circle. It wasn’t my place to talk about it with others.” Zhe Yan replied.
Mo Yuan was furious. He charged, “How did Ye Hua become involved with this? How does Ye Hua even know Seventeen? How did he know she needed the Soul Gathering Lamp? I don’t understand anything you’re saying!”
Zhe Yan sighed and responded, “Bai Zhi told me that Ye Hua came to Qingqiu a hundred years ago. Ye Hua came asking for her by name. He knew she was Si Yin and Ye Hua was aware that Bai Qian was from Qingqiu. Ye Hua said that they’d met each other for almost 50,000 ago. Ye Hua stated Xiao Wu told him her real name and identity so Ye Hua could find her again.”
Zhe Yan paused to gather his thoughts and continued with his narrative, “Bai Zhi figured since Ye Hua knew so many of Xiao Wu’s secrets, he must be a close friend of Xiao Wu’s. Ye Hua has come to Qingqiu regularly since then. I heard from Bai Zhen, Ye Hua reads to her. He sat beside Xiao Wu for hours, and did minor things like brushed her hair and washed her hands.”
Zhe Yan then asked puzzled, “Mo Yuan, you weren’t aware Ye Hua knew Xiao Wu?”
Mo Yuan’s head was spinning, and his throbbing temples felt as if they were going to explode. Everything Zhe Yan told him only confused Mo Yuan more.
Mo Yuan then asked, “Why doesn’t Seventeen remember me? Was it due to the trauma from her impact with The Bell Of The East Emperor? Was it her long sleep? What’s the cause of her amnesia?”
Zhe Yan dropped his gaze to the ground unable to met Mo Yuan’s eyes as he whispered, “Xiao Wu asked for my amnesia potion when she woke up. Well, no, her first words were all questions about you, Mo Yuan. Foolish girl! She was dead for 50,000 years, wakes up surrounded by her crying family, and the first thing she asked about was you. Xiao Wu asked if you were hurt after she’d gone into the bell. Xiao Wu worried you were dead. After she heard you were unscathed, Xiao Wu asked for the potion to forget you. Xiao Wu stated she couldn’t endure the profound pain of your refusal and rejection any longer. She didn’t want to remember you, and her love for you, Mo Yuan.”
Stunned, Mo Yuan struggled to catch his winded breath. Seventeen wanted to forget him, and her love for him. She asked for the potion to forget Mo Yuan.
Mo Yuan gasped as he staggered back a few paces. Breathless from the stabbing pain in his chest. He’d experienced a fatal blow. Mo Yuan formed a tight fist with his right hand and pounded his chest repeatedly. He hit himself firmly with full force against his throbbing, aching, racing heart. Mo Yuan’s expression looked pained as fresh hot tears ran freely down his face.
This was the first time, Zhe Yan saw Mo Yuan cry.
Zhe Yan cleared his throat as he became teary-eyed. In the hundreds of thousands of years, he’d known Mo Yuan, Zhe Yan never saw Mo Yuan cry. Watching his brother devastated by complete distressed was painful to witness
Zhe Yan put his hand on his brother’s shoulder and said, “Mo Yuan let her go. It’s time to let her be and fall in love with someone else. Let her live a normal life. Ye Hua wants to marry Xiao Wu.”
Mo Yuan was instantly furious. He was shaking his head ‘no’ at the situation, walking around in a small circle while rubbing his forehead with his left hand and his right on his waist. Mo Yuan threw his hands at Zhe Yan and shouted, “How can you out of all people say that to me!? You know how I feel about Seventeen!”
Zhe Yan’s answer came quickly and as loud as Mo Yuan’s voice, “Mo Yuan, how was I to know!? You repeatedly told me to tell Bai Zhi to find Xiao Wu, a husband. You denied having any other feelings for Xiao Wu other than fatherly love. Why do you think Bai Zhi came to you countless times asking about Xiao Wu getting married? You idiot! He was waiting for you to admit to loving his daughter! Bai Zhi wanted you to marry her! How could you, Mo Yuan, not have caught on to Bai Zhi’s intentions!? Bai Zhi is the most transparent person we know!”
Red-faced, Zhe Yan, now louder that Mo Yuan, shouted, “What did I tell you! Did I not warn you this would happen! You wouldn’t admit to your feelings! Xiao Wu wanted you to take her, but instead, you scolded, refused, and rejected her repeatedly! Mo Yuan resign to Xiao Wu’s request! She wanted to forget you, doesn’t that speak volumes!?
“Seventeen’s reasons for omitting me from her life are no longer valid! She thought I wouldn’t return her affections. Seventeen didn’t know I loved her. If you had told me, she was about to wake up, I could have been there before she took the amnesia potion.” argued Mo Yuan.
“Zhe Yan, I can’t let Seventeen go…….I can’t lose her again.” Mo Yuan’s shoulders suddenly dropped as if he’d lost all his strength. Mo Yuan added “She’s all that I’ve thought about for the last 50,000 years, no….since you first brought her to me. I love Seventeen. I love her as a woman and always have. I’ll never be able to let Seventeen go. Never again.” Mo Yuan whispered.
“Mo Yuan, you’re too late. What could you possibly do at this point? Bai Zhi was ready to agree to Ye Hua’s marriage proposal.” replied Zhe Yan.
“Does Seventeen love Ye Hua?” questioned Mo Yuan.
Zhe Yan replied, “She barely knows him. As of now, she seems open to his affections but hasn’t accepted Ye Hua’s love yet.”
Mo Yuan briefly covered his face with both palms open and said softly, “I want to start over. From the beginning. I’m going to win Seventeen’s love back. I’m going back to the beginning and show her all the things I never did before. I’ll be honest about my feelings this time. I won’t repeat my stupid mistakes from my past.”
Zhe Yan shook his head ‘no’ to discourage his brother, Mo Yuan. He urged, “Ye Hua is in love with Xiao Wu. He’s your brother. Your twin brother.”
Mo Yuan roared, “Seventeen was mine first!”
Zhe Yan countered, “No, Mo Yuan. You never claimed Xiao Wu. She begged and pleaded for your love, and you denied her. Xiao Wu belongs to herself, and it’s her choice to love whomever she chooses.”
Mo Yuan replied softly. “Zhe Yan watch me because she will love me again, I’ll put my name and titles on the line because Seventeen will be mine in the end and I will never surrender the only woman I’ve ever loved to Ye Hua or anyone else.”
Zhe Yan warned, “Tuzi, I gave you countless opportunities and chances to accept Xiao Wu. I arranged and behaved recklessly for 20,000 for your sake, Mo Yuan. I did it because I knew you loved Xiao Wu, but now I’m taking myself out of this situation. You do what you must, but I won’t choose sides this time. This time Mo Yuan, you’re on your own.”
Mo Yuan silently turned his back and slowly walked away from Zhe Yan. It was time for Mo Yuan to win Seventeen’s heart back and become the love of her life…..again.
to be continued…………..