‘Insane, crazy, arrogant, rude-ass, jerk,‘ Ye Hua read it distinctly in her furious gaze. Qian Qian’s disbelieving expression said everything her lips failed to do. Staring at him with unquestionable hostility and mistrust.
Stunned by his astonishing and incredible claim that she was SuSu, Qian Qian was thoroughly speechless.
Qian Qian wasn’t aware; it took almost a year for Ye Hua to come to this point. She’d only met him minutes ago, but he had been watchful of her for quite some time.
When Ye Hua’s brother, Mo Yuan, miraculously returned from death. During their first meeting, Ye Hua earnestly asked about his seventeenth disciple, Si Yin. His hopes and motivation were purely driven by his desperate desire to bring SuSu back. Since Mo Yuan’s disciple accomplished something Ye Hua failed to do. He wanted to know how Si Yin achieved such a feat.
Strangely, Mo Yuan was over, even harshly suspicious and avoided the subject. He was extremely protective and guarded when it came to his seventeenth disciple, Si Yin. His reply was simple; he merely said Si Yin no longer existed and said nothing more.
At the time, Ye Hua wasn’t in the position to inquire further or push for a precise, detailed explanation. After all, they’d only just met, and Mo Yuan was still quite fatigued from his recent revival. He then went into seclusion shortly after their first meeting, for a long duration of time.
About a year before the Eastern Sea Banquet by mere coincidentally. Ye Hua learned from Ghost Lord Li Jing, Bai Qian of Qingqiu was admittedly Mo Yuan’s disciple, Si Yin. He gained exact confirmation of this fact from Donghua DiJun and anxiously went to meet her.
In route to Qingqiu, Ye Hua feeling wistfully nostalgic, and longing for SuSu, went to the place of happy memories. He returned to Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms for the first time, since his last visit with her.
The scent was capturing. The overwhelming floral fragrance of the peach orchard instantly brought back the sweet remembrances. It was three hundred years ago, but to Ye Hua, it still felt like yesterday. Many yesterdays perhaps, but the image of SuSu’s beautiful face, never faded from his mind. Not for a single second.
Wasn’t this place the very spot, where he’d promised to plant ten miles of the peach trees just for her?
Contrary to what others expected or wanted, Ye Hua profound longing for SuSu, didn’t dissipate or weaken. Instead, it only intensified and deepened with the passing of time. He wished and yearned for her endlessly, and that feeling never changed. Other women never came into his eyes. He just didn’t see them, and his heart was already full of her.
Ye Hua’s unspoken of darkest secret and regrets, which he hid in the lowest recess of his heart, was that he didn’t tell her the truth of his identity, and used his magic to turn SuSu immortal, before leaving for the Mermaid War. Even if it meant, his son A-Li wouldn’t have been born.
If Ye Hua had to make that choice today without a moment’s hesitation, he would have selected SuSu over his son. He knew he was selfish, immoral, even wicked, but the day she vanished he died with her.
Instead, he was condemned to live an eternity of misery without her, as karmic retribution for his crimes. Never for a second, had Ye Hua forgiven himself for his past mistakes.
Still, not in a million years, had Ye Hua ever once consider, SuSu would choose suicide over him. Only after waking up from his coma, he realized in the end, she was too broken from his inabilities and failures. She was unable to feel his love at all. Rather, she mistook his sincere affections for pity.
Sightless, she couldn’t see the love pouring out of his eyes or catch the subtleties of body language. All she could do was form a mental picture with his words and unfortunately, Ye Hua didn’t say enough.
So, coming back to Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms was quite bittersweet.
Unchanged, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms was the same and just as he remembered. The only difference was this time, sadly, Ye Hua was alone. The blush-hued, fully flowered, peach blossoms fell gently from overhead like a light summer shower.
Inhaling the heady fragrance deeply, Ye Hua abruptly remembered the delicate scent of peach efflorescence, that exuded from SuSu’s body. How could he have forgotten such a thing?
From nowhere, a song like feminine laughter fluttered like butterflies dancing in the air. Ye Hua heard her soft laughing before he saw her face. Curiously, he followed in the direction of the musical giggling, and there she stood. SuSu.
Initially, Ye Hua believed he saw a spirit, something like an illusion or hallucination. A specter from his past, created from his vivid imagery and fantasies. But when the image didn’t fade, he stood in a dazed stupor, unable to breathe or take a single step.
Hyperventilating, he was frozen, unable to make sense of what he was seeing. His sight hypnotized on the familiar female figure.
The picture was SuSu giggling joyously with a bright smile on her face. Dressed in a gorgeous, spring, yellow dress the same shade as daffodils. In her hand, Ye Hua saw the Jade Purity Fan, and his heart began to throb painfully. She playfully picked up a handful of flowers from the ground, and with her palm open blew them towards someone he couldn’t see.
“Seventeen.” A familiar voice called out softly. It was his brother, Mo Yuan with his seventeenth disciple, Bai Qian.
Like a puzzle, in an instant, everything came together. Mo Yuan’s hesitation and protective behavior towards his disciple, was because he was in love with her. It was obvious. Ye Hua could see it in Mo Yuan’s soft, gentle expression. He’d briefly come out of seclusion only to see her.
Ye Hua suspected if they weren’t already lovers, they would be soon. Mo Yuan blushed at Bai Qian’s touch, when she playfully grabbed his hand with hers. She lifted his arm up overhead and twirled under it as if she were dancing. The spark in his brother’s eyes said everything.
The flirtatious and friendly exchange of body language, gazes and their form of informal speech towards each other was remarkably intimate, adoring and tender.
Ye Hua was mistaking Bai Qian of Qingqiu, his reclusive fiancée for SuSu. The unfathomable sheer coincidence, of how much she matched SuSu was surprising. Even shocking. He observed Mo Yuan and his disciple for a while and left without exposing himself.
Out of respect, Ye Hua didn’t want to interrupt his brother and Bai Qian’s private moment. Alternatively, he chose to revisit her another day, shortly. He was slightly jealous of Mo Yuan. Not because his lover resembled SuSu but how happy he appeared with Bai Qian. Envious that Mo Yuan had someone to love.
Ye Hua even chuckled at the odd irony of being engaged to the woman his brother loved. It was clearly evident; the feeling was shared and mutual. Perhaps, that was the reason all talks about a wedding came to a sudden halt.
Nobody in any of the immortal realms would ever deny High God Mo Yuan his woman of choice. He commanded the utmost respect and influence, so in one way or another; everyone was indebted to him.
Also, Ye Hua didn’t have any desire to steal away the woman his brother loved. He wasn’t in love with Bai Qian. They had yet to meet officially. If anything, he was truly relieved, to be freed from a forced marriage. He didn’t want to marry anyone other than SuSu.
The dilemma was this, Ye Hua couldn’t stop thinking about Bai Qian. Like an unreachable itch in the middle of ones back, the image of her face prickled at him endlessly. A strange form of interest in him piqued, and he was inquisitive to see her again, but up close. He merely saw her from a distance, and he was intrigued to know if she resembled SuSu, as much as he believed.
The second time Ye Hua saw Bai Qian, it was in the marketplace in Qingqiu. This time he saw her up close, and couldn’t believe the incredible uncanny likeness of SuSu. Her face, expressions, voice, mannerisms, walk, and gestures were undeniably identical to SuSu’s.
Over the next few following months, Ye Hua gathered any and all information on Bai Qian, which he could obtain. With the scraps, bits, and parts of knowledge he’d gained, the end picture slowly came to this; she was a blind mortal during her heavenly trial around the same time SuSu lived. He also heard a rumor she couldn’t recall her entire mortal life, and memory loss was a plausible cause.
Of course, nothing was confirmed. Many said the information was parts of fabricated tales and falsehoods. Due to Bai Qian’s private, reclusive nature, there were many rumors and stories about her floating around in the eternal world.
Ye Hua lacked real, concrete, evidence, but her mortal story was enough to keep him digging for more. He began secretly following Bai Qian.
Ye Hua stalked her for months, very much like a creepy ex-lover, that one would get a restraining order against. Someone who can’t let go which was exactly what he was. The more he observed all her movements; he became convinced Bai Qian was SuSu on her heavenly trial. It was a nonsensical idea. More fantasy than reality, but how could there be a woman who twinned SuSu in appearance, movement, subtle distinctions, almost everything.
Even personality similarities. Both were kind, generous and overly compassionate. Just as SuSu brought Ye Hua home when he was a snake, Bai Qian saved a snake spirit and brought her home to Qingqiu. That snake spirit was Second Uncle Sang Ji’s wife, Shao Xin. She also gave Shao Xin a powerful and rare artifact, the Cloud Clearing Fan to defend herself against bullies.
The only differences were certain aspects of their personalities. SuSu was meek and shy. Soft-spoken, gentle, sometimes childlike, trusting and incredibly naïve. Ye Hua deduced her isolation, and solitary living conditions contributed to her humble nature.
Bai Qian was the opposite. She was sassy and bold. Highly vocal, arrogant, confident and all-powerful magically. The only High Goddess who was able to wield the mighty Jade Purity Fan. High God Mo Yuan being the only other immortal with that ability. She even successfully executed the difficult spell to seal Qing Cang, a spell that could only be performed by less than a handful of people.
Now it made complete sense to Ye Hua, why SuSu didn’t know how to cook or do basic manual and laborious tasks. It was because Bai Qian wouldn’t have done them either. If immortal Bai Qian couldn’t do specific chores, either would mortal SuSu, because they were the same person.
After months of secretly and vigilantly watching Bai Qian, Ye Hua concluded on two possible scenarios. The first hypothesis was she was SuSu on her heavenly trial. It could be assumed; she was powerful enough to withstand, and endure the damage and impact of Zhuxian Terrace. Amazingly, somehow ended up back in the mortal realm but in a different location.
Her memory loss was a result of the jump. Bai Qian returned to the human world without her memories and lived under a different name. She didn’t know she was SuSu and continued her heavenly trial under different mortal persona.
The second scenario was Bai Qian had all her memories but couldn’t forgive Ye Hua. Unable to excuse and pardon the savage brutality, and abuse she experienced while she was in Celestial Heaven. She was in love with High God Mo Yuan long before meeting him and didn’t want Mo Yuan to find out about her intimate relationship with him.
Ye Hua discovered, Bai Qian self-inflicted herself to unspeakable pain daily and fed Mo Yuan her precious heart’s blood for 70,000 years. She was willing to risk her life to retrieve fungal grass and used her élite cultivation for her Shifu. Did she consider his life to be more valuable, and meaningful than hers?
Was it possible SuSu accepted him because he looked like Mo Yuan? Perhaps her mind forgot him, but her heart subconsciously recognized him in Ye Hua’s face? Could it be plausible she never loved Ye Hua at all?
The latter assumption was utterly devastating, crushing and heartbreaking for Ye Hua.
Instead, choosing to fake memory loss, forsaking her child and remaining in hiding. The only questionable flaw in the second theory was, from what Ye Hua understood, Bai Qian was extraordinarily vindictive and revengeful. Grief-stricken, in one single stroke with her Jade Purity Fan, she almost killed over twenty warriors from the Ghost Realm after Mo Yuan’s death.
With her intolerance for injustice, she would have undoubtedly returned if nothing else, then to retrieve her eyes and punish Su Jin and possibly Ye Hua also.
Regardless, Ye Hua purposely accepted the invitation for the banquet, because he heard Bai Qian would be making a rare appearance. His opportunity to talk faced to face with her, and know with absolute certainty Mo Yuan was nowhere near.
Ye Hua was waiting for her to appear. Just as he’d done for the past year, he studied her. In the hour’s time after her arrival, he observed Bai Qian do everything precisely as SuSu did. She got lost. The indistinguishable hand motion and subconscious tapping of her fingertips. How she tapped her fan lightly against her nose. He saw the scar on her wrist from the crimson fire.
The creamy feel and scent of her skin. The size and shape of her hand and fingers. Ye Hua’s last piece of visual confirmation was the small star-shaped mark behind her right ear. Without a doubt or any question whatsoever, he knew Bai Qian was SuSu.
After 300 years of overwhelming longing, pining and desperate prayers. Guarding the Soul Gathering Lamp’s flame more protectively than he did his child, Ye Hua rediscovered the love of his life. He’d finally found her again.
Bai Qian was his wife, SuSu and the incredible beauty of the matter was, he was already engaged to marry her. Ye Hua decided he would be that one immortal, that wouldn’t submit to High God Mo Yuan. Just as he, Ye Hua was also a son of Heavenly Father. Why should he surrender anything or anyone to Mo Yuan? In Ye Hua’s mind, they were of equal standing.
Qian Qian’s angry expression remained. If anything it was progressing as she barked, “Why do I need to prove anything to you?”
She was using the tone of voice an adult uses with an unruly child. Qian Qian was talking down to him in a demeaning manner. But to Ye Hua, her voice sounded like the most beautiful song in the world.
“You want to cancel our engagement but I know, unquestionably you are or were my mortal wife, SuSu. I’m never going to concede to your request because you’re the only woman I’ve ever loved.” Ye Hua asserted, attempting to convince her as he stared intently into her eyes.
Qian Qian smirked and scoffed, “Do you take drugs? Are you high? Or as the modern mortals put it, are you chasing the red dragon? Or have you been hit in the head too many times by lightning? I know you Celestials are really into holy thunderbolts and whatnot. Or are-you-just-a mentally ill pervert?”
“Does your grandfather know how insane you are? He needs to know if he doesn’t already. It’s my understanding; you’re supposed to succeed his position as Heavenly Lord. I need to know because under your leadership, a war will occur and the world might come to an end.” Qian Qian jeered.
Ye Hua privately thought to himself, unless Qian Qian was the best actress in the world, she didn’t know who she was. The act was too real. Nobody could fake ignorance with such genuine, unwavering conviction. There wasn’t a hint of falsity in her.
Qian Qian licked her bottom lip nervously and bit down on it for a moment. Her deep rosy, pink, flushed cheeks and shiny, full, luscious, slightly parted lips reminded Ye Hua of how she looked when aroused during intimacy. He wanted to jump over the table and kiss her. It took all his control not to get up, grab and tightly embrace her. His body trembled and shook with anticipation, from his uncontrollable desire to touch her.
SuSu was close. Sitting perhaps two feet across from him, but still for Ye Hua, the short distance felt vast and massive like the open sea. His heart hammered wildly and rapidly in his chest. He struggled to hide his uneven, quickened breath and controlled his voice, so not to reveal his inner temptations.
Suddenly, Ye Hua felt possessed by an insurgent carnal demon, and no words could describe how badly he wanted her. He lightly cleared his throat which felt, as if it were tightening up from the inside.
Ye Hua spoke, “If you want to cancel our wedding Qian Qian, convince me you’re not SuSu, and I’ll agree with your request.”
“Father! A-Li found something shiny!” A-Li squealed gleefully from a close distance.
A-Li ran towards his father with a shiny object in his hand, which caught the light, and blasted a stark blinding glare into Bai Qian’s face. She jumped up from her seated position, as a thin white material suddenly appeared over her eyes and in a flash, Ye Hua was instantly up on his feet. Evidence and another piece to this puzzle.
“SuSu.” Ye Hua whispered as tears ran down his face. He stroked the sheer, thin, silky, white material ever so carefully with his fingertips. Light like a feather.
Qian Qian felt his touch and spontaneously lurched back. She glared at him with complete contempt. She sneered fiercely, “If you touch me again, Crown Prince Ye Hua will become Ye Hua the Eunuch! You won’t have to worry about having children ever again!”
Suddenly aware of a small hand pulling on her dress, Qian Qian looked down at A-Li, who was staring up at her with loving adoration. He lightly whimpered, “Mother?”
The material vanished from her face and she studied A-Li momentarily. Qian Qian squatted down to A-Li’s eye level and tenderly held his little, chubby, baby, cheeked face with both hands. She crooned sweetly, “Child, I’m not your mother. Now shoo.”
Qian Qian pushed him carefully towards Ye Hua and added in the same gentle voice, “Your father will marry and give you many mothers so don’t you worry. I foresee you having hundreds of mothers……eventually.”
“Qian Qian, I’ve changed my mind. Instead of you proving who you are, I’ll convince you of the truth. Two months. Spend two months with me.” Ye Hua appealed earnestly.
Qian Qian looked at Ye Hua with an expression of complete detached indifference.
“One month.” Ye Hua amended quickly.
Qian Qian didn’t even blink. She was entirely aloof and lackadaisical. Her expression of disinterest remained fixed, and unchanged on her face.
Ye Hua sighed and begged, “Three weeks. Just three weeks with me and I’ll let you go if you’re not convinced. Regardless of my conviction, I’ll cancel the engagement myself. Only twenty-one days. In the scheme of endless, eternal, immortal time, twenty-one days is nothing.”
Qian Qian’s expression’s solidified and set. She looked at Ye Hua apathetically. She then shook her head as if in pity at his delusional state.
Finally, Qian Qian moved her head ‘yes’ and said in the same condescending tone, “I’ll grant you three weeks. Not because I think you’re right, but I’m a benevolent and magnanimous High Goddess, who wants to cure your diseased mind. You’re too young to suffer such insanity. My generous courtesy ONLY because you’re my Shifu’s brother. When would you like to start?”
“Right now.” Ye Hua whispered, grabbed her around her waist and closed his lips firmly to hers.
To be continued…..