By the third day of Seventeen’s vanishing, Mo Yuan looked exhausted and drained. He hadn’t slept, eaten, and stop moving since she went missing. The more days that passed, Mo Yuan became stronger convinced Seventeen might be dead. The mass and weight on his chest were suffocating, smothering and choking. Mo Yuan was terrified.
Every time Mo Yuan closed his eyes, the horrifying vision of Seventeen’s dead, lifeless body floating back from the Bell of the East Emperor, flashed in his mind. A constant looping tragic, heartbreaking image flew before his eyes. Mo Yuan determined and resolved, if Seventeen were dead, he would follow her this time. The concept of living without her again wasn’t even an option.
It would be too excruciating, impossible and undo-able.
The great search for Seventeen continued. All fifteen Kunlun Mountain disciples relentlessly and tirelessly sought out their fellow disciple sister, Seventeen, nonstop. The elevated level of desperation and fear were evident and shared by everyone. The strain and tension on Kunlun Mountain were so dense and thick that breathing became difficult. Even with the vast and open sky right above.
Mo Yuan’s despair and anxiety were written all over his weary face.
Mo Yuan was unable to mask or conceal his troubled emotions, which were too raw and exceedingly fresh. Self-blame and guilt, tortuously ravaged him every day, hour, minute, second, and down to the millisecond. Similar to a sharpened dagger, the pointed tip of the minute hand on the clock of time, stabbed into Mo Yuan’s throbbing heart repeatedly, with its continuous steady ticking movement. It was soon approaching noon on the third day when Zhe Yan came running in breathlessly and raced.
Zhe Yan yelled in-between winded breath, “Mo Yuan, I’ve found her! I’ve found Xiao Wu!” Red-faced Zhe Yan bent down and planted his palms flat on his thighs to settle his uneven, shortened, gasping pants
Mo Yuan’s legs weakened, and their strength disappeared causing him to almost drop to the ground. His full lips trembled, and his mouth went dry when he asked frightfully, “Is Seventeen alive? Just tell me she’s alive.”
Frantically, Zhe Yan shouted, “Yes, Xiao Wu is alive! I’m positive!”
Relieved, Mo Yuan closed his eyes and released his tightened breath until his lung’s air emptied and expelled entirely. Unshed tears filled his eyes and blurred his vision. He asked in a louder tone than usual, “Where is she? How did you find Seventeen? Is she injured? If Seventeen is hurt, what is the extent of her injury? Zhe Yan, where is she and why didn’t you bring her with you?”
“She’s somewhere in the mortal realm! I’m sure Xiao Wu is there, and she’s alive!” Replied Zhe Yan.
Mo Yuan held Zhe Yan’s robe and demanded, “Where? Where in the mortal realm? How did she get there? Why didn’t Seventeen return to Kunlun Mountain? Why would she stay away from me?”
Zhe Yan nodded his head that he didn’t know, “I don’t know exactly where she is, but I’m sure without a doubt, that’s the place I sensed the life-force from, the mortal realm!”
Mo Yuan demanded half shouting, “What life-force? Zhe Yan, say something that makes sense! You should have been able to see Seventeen’s aura!”
“Your life-force Mo Yuan. Not Xiao Wu’s. She must be pregnant. Xiao Wu is carrying your child! But strangely, I didn’t sense any of her immortal energy.” Said Zhe Yan.
Mo Yuan was in a state of bewilderment and looked as if someone slapped his face. He blinked rapidly with an expression of pure shock. Mo Yuan whispered, “Seventeen is pregnant? How far along is she? How can I find her? Where do I begin looking for a pregnant woman in the mortal realm? What should I do first?”
A soft voice came from behind. “I know of a pregnant woman that resembles Qian Qian in the mortal realm. The woman I’m referring to is exuding High God Mo Yuan’s life-force from her womb. She’s carrying High God Mo Yuan’s child, but she’s not Qian Qian. This individual is a mortal woman.”
Swiftly, Mo Yuan and Zhe Yan turned to see Ye Hua standing behind them.
Stunned, Mo Yuan asked, “A mortal? A mortal woman is carrying my child? Are you sure Ye Hua? How do you know I’m the father?”
Ye Hua answered, “I used a searching spell. It’s almost twin to mine, but it’s your life-force High God Mo Yuan. Qian Qian is going to kill you when she finds out you’ve impregnated a mortal behind her back. Why did you leave the frail woman in such an isolated and uninhabited place? SuSu was almost starving with very little food and suffering from severe morning sickness when I found her. The mother of your baby wouldn’t have survived if I didn’t discover her when I did. Qian Qian is going to leave you when she finds out about this, and I will marry her, as I promised I would if you ever took another woman.”
“Ye Hua, who is this SuSu? Explain what you’re talking about carefully in full detail. I didn’t cheat on Seventeen with another woman. I don’t understand what you’re saying!” Said Mo Yuan.
Ye Hua told Mo Yuan and Zhe Yan about his battle with the Golden Scarlet Lion Beast, which led to him seeking refuge in a nearby cave. How SuSu took Ye Hua into her small thatched cottage home so he could heal. SuSu, a mortal woman, didn’t know she’d taken a dragon home and believed Ye Hua to be a wounded snake.
Ye Hua explained about SuSu’s misconception and how she thought she was sick and dying. He said she was a mortal woman without memories and couldn’t even recall her name. It was Ye Hua, who named her SuSu. He estimated by her appearance and the time frame in which his interactions with her occurred, the mortal was most likely in her second year of pregnancy. Give or take a few months. Ye Hua explained he’d last seen SuSu in the morning about four hours prior, which meant another four months had passed in the mortal realm. Progressing her pregnancy even that much further.
Again, Ye Hua questioned Mo Yuan’s intentions and unacceptable behavior leaving the mortal behind after impregnating her.
Ye Hua secretly worried Mo Yuan had returned to his past habit of seducing many women. Privately, Ye Hua also questioned if Mo Yuan was playing ignorance, to avoid getting caught for his infidelity by Qian Qian. Because Ye Hua knew, without a shadow of a doubt, she would never accept or forgive cheating from Mo Yuan. Qian Qian wouldn’t hesitate to leave Mo Yuan and never return to him, ever. Ye Hua understood this as sure as he comprehended the sun would rise from the east and set in the west.
Mo Yuan’s inevitable loss would be Ye Hua’s fortuitous gain.
Mo Yuan in returned, told Ye Hua about Seventeen’s sudden disappearance, after performing the sealing spell on the Bell of the East Emperor. She vanished without a trace almost three days ago. Ye Hua was in the mortal realm and unaware, but a large search party was seeking for Seventeen.
Ye Hua also heard from Zhe Yan, Seventeen’s pregnancy was unknown by anyone before her disappearance. Zhe Yan believed the strong probability even she wasn’t aware of her pregnancy. There were a high chance and feasibility that Seventeen could be the mortal SuSu, Ye Hua met especially after sealing Qing Cang.
Seventeen had yet to recover her cultivation after returning from death. She could have undoubtedly turned into a mortal, due to a backlash from Qing Cang, who’d abruptly become more powerful after the deaths of his sons. The sudden instability with Qing Cang’s magic was the reason, why the Bell needed to be sealed 20,000 years earlier than expected.
Mo Yuan couldn’t wait a moment longer. He needed to get Seventeen back in safety with him. Mo Yuan requested Ye Hua take him to SuSu’s location immediately in the mortal realm.
As usual, SuSu was peacefully sitting in her favored spot in the sun. On the top step of the stairs leading into her little hut. Her protruding stomach had gotten bigger, since Ye Hua saw her in the morning, only a few hours ago. SuSu saw him, looked surprised and delighted. She waved and smiled excitedly.
SuSu was breathless when she said, “Ye Hua, you’re back so much sooner than last time. I didn’t expect to see you for months. What a wonderful surprise.”
Ye Hua smiled nervously while Mo Yuan tensely remained a few feet behind Ye Hua. Mo Yuan’s presence hidden behind Ye Hua. Ye Hua asked, “SuSu, do you remember when I told you about Qian Qian?”
SuSu pushed her weighted body off the step with her right palm, while her left hand held the side support beam. She raised herself and casually waddled duck walked to Ye Hua, with one hand supporting her lower back. Her other hand placed on top of her giant belly.
SuSu hugged Ye Hua lightly, touched his cheek and replied, “Yes, the stupid dimwitted woman who married your brother instead of you.”
Ye Hua chuckled softly, nervously and asked in his gentle tone, “Do you recall me mentioning my twin brother, Mo Yuan? My older brother, Mo Yuan?”
“Ahhhh…Ye Hua, I’m pregnant, not senile. Yes, of course, I remember. Mo Yuan, he’s your older boring brother that stole your first love and married her.” SuSu replied.
Ye Hua asked, “SuSu, you trust me right? You know I wouldn’t ever lie or deceive you, correct?”
SuSu tenderly held Ye Hua’s face with both hands and looked into his eyes concerned. She replied, “Ye Hua, of course, I trust you. What’s the matter? Why do you look so nervous?”
Ye Hua took a big step, moved to the side so that SuSu could see Mo Yuan. She saw Mo Yuan and glanced back and front between Ye Hua and Mo Yuan. SuSu said nothing as she stared at them for a lasting lengthy time.
SuSu finally said, “Oops. That’s awkward. I see your boring brother is with you. Why is he here, Ye Hua?”
Ye Hua held both SuSu’s hands and explained carefully, deliberately, “SuSu, Mo Yuan is the father of your child. He’s your husband.”
“What? How can he be the jerk who impregnated me and left me here to die?” SuSu argued.
SuSu slowly walked to Mo Yuan, stood closely in front of him and carefully studied him up and down. He was also staring at her and her big stomach intently.
Unbelievingly, Mo Yuan slowly reached out, and touched SuSu’s face and whispered, “Seventeen?”
SuSu’s eyes grew huge as she repeated after Mo Yuan. “Seventeen?”
Suddenly, wordlessly, SuSu slapped Mo Yuan across his face. Hard! Both Ye Hua and Mo Yuan had the same stunned expression. Their eyes were huge, unblinking, in a state of shock. They were both frozen in place.
SuSu put one hand on her hip and the other on her stomach and barked, “Oh, now I finally see how things are! The picture has become crystal clear. I’m your seventeenth concubine! My ranking may be low but how could you leave me here to rot! Regardless of if I’m your first wife or your fortieth, a real man of honor and good reputation would never leave his pregnant woman in the deserted forest, to fend for herself. When I think about all the nights I went to bed hungry! It makes me want to slap you repeatedly!”
SuSu’s face was flushed and scarlet from anger.
She glared at Mo Yuan with more intense hostility and yelled, “Mo Yuan or whatever your name is, you have some nerve coming back now after your twin saved my life! Where were you two years ago? Because of your negligence, it’s taking longer for this baby to come out. All that stress must have slowed her growth! My poor, weak, underdeveloped child.”
SuSu supported her lower back with both hands, walked and circled around Mo Yuan once before shouting, “What do you want? You’ve already impregnated me! Shoo! Scurry back into the hole you crawled out from! Taoist Master my ass! I’ll teach you the meaning of harmony and ‘The One’ when my foot becomes one with your backside! If I could raise my leg that high I would have kicked you by now! That would bring me great peace and harmony! Whatever payment my parents gave you when I became your concubine, you should refund them, immediately! You scoundrel!”
SuSu turned to Ye Hua and hollered, “Ye Hua, bring me the salt! I need to throw some on that simpleton and purify my yard! All sorts of riff raft in this world and my poor innocent baby’s father is the biggest rat bastard in the universe! I was hoping my child’s father would be a nut, candy vendor or something useful like that. I’d at least benefit with free nuts and sweet snacks!”
Ye Hua snapped out of shock first and attempted to explain in a slow, deliberate manner. “SuSu, you’re not Mo Yuan’s seventeenth concubine. You are his first and only wife. You’ve only married recently. I know you don’t remember, but you are Bai Qian, Queen of Qingqiu, my Qian Qian, and Mo Yuan’s disciple Seventeen. He is the Master of Kunlun Mountain and here in the mortal realm, one year is equal to a day in our world. The place for immortals. You disappeared almost three days ago from Kunlun Mountain. That’s close to three years here in the mortal realm. Do you understand?”
SuSu nodded she did and asked with a smirk on her face, “Ye Hua, are you drunk? It’s too early to be this intoxicated. It’s indecent. Or did you hurt your head? Did that rotten brother of yours force you to say these ridiculous things to me?”
Mo Yuan came closer and said softly, “Seventeen, we’ve been searching for you everywhere. We, as in you and I, didn’t know you were pregnant. You vanished after sealing Qing Cang in the Bell of the East Emperor. I’ve been worried sick. I was terrified, and scared you were hurt or dead.”
SuSu glared at both Ye Hua and Mo Yuan and smirked. She snorted and said, “Ye Hua, If I’m a Queen, then who are you? The Crown Prince of Nine Heavens? Who’s your brother, the ‘God of War’? I’ve never heard such insanity and nonsense in my whole life!”
“Well, I am the Crown Prince of Nine Heavens, and Mo Yuan is the God of War.” Ye Hua whispered.
SuSu heard Ye Hua and suddenly held her stomach with both hands as if in pain and grimaced. Both Mo Yuan and Ye Hua asked at the same time in unison, in the same soft tone voice, “What’s wrong? Are you in pain?”
SuSu continued to glare at Mo Yuan hatefully, suspiciously and said, “The baby hasn’t stopped kicking since you got here. She wants you to leave too. She’s kicking you out also.” SuSu panted and took a couple of deep breaths and added, “Oh, my head is spinning. I’m dizzy from all this crazy talk. I need to sit down, but first I need to use the bathroom again. I drank too much ginger tea this morning for my nausea.”
After SuSu went into the restroom, Mo Yuan burst into tears and hugged Ye Hua. He thanked Ye Hua repeatedly for saving Seventeen, again.
It took Ye Hua four hours to convince SuSu that Mo Yuan was her husband. Both Mo Yuan and Ye Hua were unable to persuade her that she was immortal and a Queen. Ye Hua failed to talk SuSu into going with Mo Yuan. She looked at Ye Hua with terrified big doe eyes and glared at Mo Yuan with a narrowed untrusting gaze.
After two solid days of solid pleading, explaining and talking. Ye Hua eventually convinced SuSu to go with Mo Yuan. She didn’t look pleased, in fact, SuSu appeared afraid and unsure. But Ye Hua promised, he would come to Kunlun Mountain daily to check on her.
Finally, SuSu the mortal, agreed to go with her husband, Mo Yuan into the so-called immortal world on Kunlun Mountain.
Back at Kunlun Mountain, the shock was widespread. Just as confused and dumbfounded, SuSu was with her new situation. The disciples were stunned Seventeen was a mortal and so very pregnant. In everyone’ eyes, she became giant and pregnant overnight. Two nights to be precise.
SuSu, the mortal was friendly, cordial and polite to everyone except Mo Yuan. She continued to watch him with skeptical, narrowed eyes. SuSu’s untrusting gaze followed his every movement like a paranoid nut vendor surrounded by a rabid horde of hungry squirrels storing nuts for winter time. If Mo Yuan came anywhere near SuSu, her breathing became heavier and changed. She guarded her round stomach with both hands protectively.
Zhe Yan examined SuSu and determined, she’s close to six months shy of giving birth. When he explained, immortal pregnancies lasted for three years, she burst into uncontrollable tears. SuSu cried she was tired of being pregnant. She wept about being fat, and her lower region would never be as before, so there was a bit of Seventeen still within her.
As much as SuSu watched Mo Yuan, he safeguarded her. He followed every movement she made like a starving hawk stalking his next meal. Just as his nickname, Tuzi the Hare, Mo Yuan jumped like a rabbit, every time SuSu breathed differently or grasped her huge stomach. Overly protective and terrified, Mo Yuan couldn’t stand to have SuSu out of his sight. The only time he could freely get close enough to touch her cheek was when she slept.
In silence, Mo Yuan watched SuSu sleep every night.
SuSu looked like Seventeen, but they weren’t identical. But in Mo Yuan’s eyes, SuSu was Seventeen. He sometimes teared up when he watched her sleep. Her big round stomach that continued to grow daily, her glowing, radiant skin due to pregnancy was a wonder. Mo Yuan drank in with his eyes. His gaze feasted on the beautiful sight of his pregnant wife.
She was breathtakingly stunning.
SuSu spent her days either napping or reading stories about Immortal Gods and Goddesses. She loved reading about powerful Gods, who changed their appearances to seduce beautiful and fair maidens. SuSu personally wondered if Mo Yuan had turned into a beautiful creature and lured her. Perhaps as a beautiful colorful Phoenix or Golden Dragon. SuSu also became friendly with the disciples and often welcomed their conversation and company.
As promised, Ye Hua came to Kunlun Mountain every day and checked on SuSu. In his eyes, he also thought she was gorgeous, and secretly he had fallen in love with her back on Mount Junji. Ye Hua had fallen in love with SuSu, who was Qian Qian again, still. Privately, he regretted learning she was carrying Mo Yuan’s child. Ye Hua desired to marry SuSu and adopt thus becoming the father of her baby. His heart hurt when he saw the sparkle in her eyes when she saw him. Ye Hua knew or suspected SuSu had perhaps fallen in love with him as well.
Another two months passed in this way.
Mo Yuan watched SuSu sleep and gently stroked her cheek when she suddenly grabbed his hand by the wrist. He was afraid of her. SuSu asked with her eyes still closed, “Would you like to feel the baby kicking? She’s a night owl and kicks me all night long.”
SuSu opened her eyes to see Mo Yuan’s warm, tender, loving gaze looking back at her. She moved the blankets and raised her nightgown to expose her bare full round stomach. She placed Mo Yuan’s hand on the place she’d felt the baby kick last. The baby as if sensing its father’s presence, kicked harder and repeatedly. Mo Yuan fell to his knees and began to weep. He’d never experienced such joy as he felt the moment he encountered the experience of his unborn child moving inside his wife.
SuSu asked, “Mo Yuan?” She called her husband, Shifu, by his name, ‘Mo Yuan.’
“Mo Yuan, did we share this room before my disappearance?” Asked SuSu.
Mo Yuan replied softly, “Yes.”
SuSu asked, “Mo Yuan, did we sleep in the same bed even when we didn’t share intimacy?”
“Always,” replied Mo Yuan.
SuSu said, “Then come to bed Mo Yuan and keep me warm. It’s late, and you teach lessons early in the morning.”
That was the night Mo Yuan and SuSu began to share the same bed. It was also the night when she started to sleep in his arms. Perhaps not as closely as before due to her huge stomach that came between their bodies, but intimately and nearly enough.
To be continued…..