The immortal version of Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins! He was quite the actor, Crown Prince Ye Hua. His dark dancing eyes gleamed while brightly smiling, as if nothing happened the day before. It was impossible for him not to know she was with Mo Yuan the previous night.
Seriously, most of the floor heard her screaming, and some guests called security thinking someone was dying. However, here was Ye Hua, all smiles and bubbly with jubilation. He beamed radiance.
Eagerly, he led Bai Qian by the hand and urged her to sit on the bed. On bent knees as if he was proposing, Ye Hua produced a red square box with gold writing on the top and opened it excitedly.
The little smile on Ye Hua’s glowing face was one of pure and utter exuberance. Inside there was a red string bracelet with three small rings of different colored metals. All intertwined and wrapped around each other, and set in the center of the red threaded band.
Ye Hua put it on her petite wrist and asked, “Do you know the significance of the ‘Red Thread of Fate’?”
“It’s also called the ‘Red Thread of Marriage.’ According to myth, the gods tie an invisible red cord around the ankles of those fated to meet one another. I figure since I’m a God, it’s most fitting. The Trinity symbol represents our family: Me, you and A-Li. Do you like it?” Ye Hua asked hopefully.
The corner of her pink lip-glossed mouth quirked up when Bai Qian replied, “Young Prince, in Buddhism, the color red is a symbol of life force, compassion and rules the tongue. Wearing the red string in Buddhism is a reminder, to the wearer to show compassion to all and mind the tongue.”
“However, in this case, I think this meaning is more fitting, Ye Hua. Certain cultures believe it wards against evil and calamity…like you. It’s rather unfortunate I didn’t wear one to the Eastern Sea Banquet. Hindsight is always 20/20.” Bai Qian casually remarked with a smirk on her face and then her mouth set in a hard-line.
Nothing disconcerted him or he didn’t care. Ye Hua laughed giddily. He was actively and successfully, blocking out her negative attitude from the night before.
Before Bai Qian uttered a single word, Ye Hua excitedly opened one of the travel magazines in the hotel room. He displayed a page with beautiful lush greenery, and a stunning beach with the setting sun in the background.
Ye Hua euphorically gushed, “Since we have nothing else to do here, let’s go to this destination for a day before heading to Celestial Heaven. It’s called the Garden Isle. It’s the oldest volcanic island out of this cluster of islands.”
He pointed to the spot on the page to show Bai Qian and added, “It’s by North America in the Pacific ocean. It’s called Kauai. I read there’s a song about the island. I guess ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ once lived in a place called Hanalei, so I should like it. ‘Puff’ is unusual for a dragon’s name but it sounds interesting, no? I wonder if he and I are related? Distant cousins?”
Why was he so charming? Bai Qian tried to stifle and hold back her laughter, but Ye Hua’s youthful exuberance was infectious. He was so ecstatic and overjoyed and nothing was going to change that for him.
“Come on, Qian Qian. Just for a day and I’ll be able to watch you in a bikini frolicking in the ocean, like a water fairy.” Ye Hua sweetly coaxed while side-eyeing her suggestively.
Bai Qian bluntly responded, “Why don’t you go find yourself a pretty water fairy, and splash each other in the face all day?”
Holding her face lovingly with both hands, he didn’t try to kiss her but instead stuck out his bottom lip, and made an adorable pouting expression. Ye Hua urged, “Please?”
Privately, Bai Qian thought Ye Hua was ridiculous, out of control but he was extremely persuasive. With a single defeated laugh and a head shake of disbelief, they cloud-jumped to the Garden Isle, Kauai. The oldest of all the volcanic islands in the Hawaiian islands.
The delicious scent was the first thing she noticed and it was lovely. After spending days in a smoggy, polluted, industrial city, the change was refreshing. Tuberose, plumeria and the smell of the ocean filled the clean, fresh air. The humidity made her skin feel soft, smooth and hydrated.
They didn’t know where they were. Ye Hua held her hand as they walked down a quiet, single lane road and the weather was perfect. It was late in the day due to the time zone change, and they had yet to found a place to stay.
Suddenly, Ye Hua spotted a house that caught his eye and just stepped up to the front door. Bai Qian saw the owner open the door and they spoke quietly. She viewed an exchange of money, and swiftly the owner got into his car and drove away smiling and waving ecstatically.
Motioning with his arm for Bai Qian to follow, Ye Hua called, “Qian Qian, come. We’re staying here during our visit. I rented it for one night.”
She didn’t budge. Bai Qian kicked at the ground with her tiptoes in her white converse low-top sneakers. Lingering back and hesitant not knowing what to do. She stood by the front gate beside the narrow road. As she deliberated, it suddenly began to rain so she sighed and finally walked into the spacious, lush, grassy, front yard.
Everything was so sprouting and growing. There were flourishing mango and papaya trees everywhere. Big, ripen, colorful fruits lazily hung from their branches. Giant overgrown leaves – the size of cars – provided privacy on all sides of the house and from the main road.
Magnificent and brightly hued Birds of Paradise flowers, in full bloom, turned upwards towards the sun. Right behind stood massive grassy mountains with many little visible waterfalls. Free flowing down nature-set paths.
It was the blue, calm and tranquil sea. The first thing Bai Qian spotted after walking into the beautiful house was the vast ocean. All glass – the back design of the house – so it showcased the frontal sandy beach and shores beautifully. The view was so picturesque that it could have been an image on a postcard.
The floors and many parts of the house including the entryway, were all constructed with rich smoky-hued Koa wood. The Hawaiian lumber was everywhere and the furnishing inside was upscale, modern and incredibly clean.
Swissssh…overhead, soft swirling noises as the fans with palm leaf-shaped Koa wood blades, rotated at a slow leisurely pace.
This place was one of relaxation and peace. Ye Hua opened all sliding glass doors, and the sound of gentle waves meeting and caressing on the beach was all she heard. The subtle breeze that came through the open space was faint and soft. Her entire body felt lightly kissed by the gentle wind.
In the back of the home, an ample open space that revealed a red-clothed hammock, tied to two close-standing giant palm trees. It swayed back and forth lazily in the soothing ocean air. The backside of the property had more fruit trees and directly opened up to a private beach.
Gently, Ye Hua pulled her by the hand and placed Bai Qian in front of his body. While she stared forward at the ocean, he wrapped his arms lovingly around her waist from behind, and his lips kissed her neck most tenderly.
“This beach is better than any of the crystal palaces. I love it here. Should we buy a property and bring A-Li next time?” Ye Hua softly muttered while running his lips up and down Bai Qian’s bare skin.
“Ye Hua, are you sure a dragon lived on this island? Why are there so many chickens?” Bai Qian asked curiously.
He shrugged his shoulders and responded with a playful grin, “Maybe ‘Puff’ brought them and bred them in Hanalei?”
Casual beach attire. Ye Hua in a linen white button-down shirt. Undone were the first two buttons and the sleeves rolled up twice and untucked. Casual navy shorts. No shoes.
Bai Qian wore a fuchsia tank top without a bra and cutoff denim shorts. Barefoot of course, since she’d removed her shoes at the door. There was a sign that read, ‘Please remove your shoes. Mahalo.’
Ye Hua playfully whispered in her ear, “Let’s go skinny dipping tonight. The sun is setting.”
“Sharks come out at night, Ye Hua.” Bai Qian was trying her best to sound indifferent to break out from under his magic. His warm presence, the fine sandy beach, the island’s natural floral fragrances and soothing sounds of the peaceful sea. Bewitching? Definitely…yes, she was falling under his enchantment spell.
Most amused, Ye Hua snickered, giggled and playfully replied, “Qian Qian, we’re immortals. If anything, the sharks should be afraid of us. Hmmm, a Dragon versus a shark? Who do you think would win? But a tasty little fox like you? I dunno about that…” He was so jaunty and engaging.
Bai Qian suddenly noticed the rain shower ended, as abruptly as it began and accused suspiciously, “Did you make it rain so I’d come inside?”
“No I didn’t, but that’s a good idea. This island is green due to its frequent rain. I read it rains somewhere on this island every day. It’s lovey dovey here. Wouldn’t you agree?” The warmth from Ye Hua’s mouth when he spoke against her bare skin, made the hairs on her body stand on ends.
Ye Hua softly added, “We should have our second honeymoon here, Qian Qian.”
Joyously, Ye Hua held her by the hand and led Bai Qian to the beach. The setting sun now halfway descended into the horizon of the ocean. The sky and all its colors looked beautiful. Wordlessly and quite spontaneously, he used his magic. Arranged before them was an oversized blanket with food, wine and small votive candles around the area.
It was very remarkably romantic and Bai Qian cursed Ye Hua internally.
“I thought no magic in the mortal realm, young prince.” The corner of her mouth quirked up when Bai Qian reminded Ye Hua of his ‘no magic’ rule.
A little mischievous grin came to his full lips when Ye Hua nonchalantly replied, “Sometimes rules must be broken.”
Bai Qian nodded that she understood and mumbled under her breath, “Do as I say not as I do. Celestial, I see how you operate.”
Ye Hua sat, poured a glass of wine for Bai Qian and patted where she should sit. In silence, he intently studied her profile for the longest time as if he were trying to drink in her image.
She shoved her toes more in-depth into the cool sand and stated, “Stop staring at me.”
Handing her a piece of mango that he’d picked from one of the many trees on the property, Ye Hua’s soft voice inquired, “Are you nervous about going back to Celestial Heaven?”
She didn’t look at him. Bai Qian took the fruit while staring off watching the quickly disappearing sun, casually replied, “Why should I be nervous about going to your home? It’s only temporary. Seven days and I’ll be going home to Qingqiu.”
Ye Hua flinched ever so slightly. His distressed questioning voice came out like a puff of air. Light and breathy. “Are you seriously going to leave me again? Qian Qian, why won’t you accept the facts?”
Finally, she faced Ye Hua so he could see her expression of passive indifference. Bai Qian took a prolonged sip of her wine and paused for a few moments. Finally, she answered in a flat tone of voice, “Ye Hua, I’m not SuSu. Just because of the forged document, you seemed to be convinced of something that has yet to be proved.”
“I still lived my mortal life as Chen, who was in the temple on the 24th of June. Your wife passed away on the 29th. There is a time overlap.” Bai Qian’s conviction was firm and set. She refused to expose her resolve which was wavering rapidly.
Ye Hua appeared so sad and frustrated. So much at a loss that it was difficult to face him. He looked as if he might cry. All the happiness and cheerfulness he’d exuded during the day vanished instantly.
She focused her sights forward and refused to meet his yearning eyes. Ye Hua’s soul-piercing gaze was her Achilles tendon.
One single prolonged stare made someone, or something mysterious inside Bai Qian stir and awakened. Ye Hua’s gaze was the catalyst that would shatter her very identity, existence and challenge all the things she held to be the truth.
Suddenly, Ye Hua took her hand and carefully, intently examined her fingers.
He let out a single chuckle and confessed, “Your hands. I’d almost forgotten how little your hands are…so small.”
Ye Hua pressed his lips and kissed the tips of every finger. Tenderly as if her fingertips were precious and delicate.
Bai Qian abruptly yanked her hand away and pretended to reach for food. She absentmindedly shoved the food into her mouth, barely aware of what she was eating. She didn’t taste anything because she was silently engaged in an internal warfare. Not to surrender and weaken to Ye Hua.
It felt like intense heavy combat. A private battle of will. Bai Qian felt like two different personalities were trying to take over and dominate. Shifu brought Seventeen to the surface, and Ye Hua stirred a stranger she had yet to recognize.
Before seeing either Mo Yuan or Ye Hua, Bai Qian drilled herself with a private pep-talk of reinforcement. She told herself to refuse both sexually. She reminded herself to be strong and resist all temptation. She cursed herself for feeling any desire for both of them.
How could she go 140,000 years without a lover and then gain two at the same time? Feast or famine…and her cornucopia overfloweth.
Nevertheless there he was…Ye Hua was moving to kiss her again. Bai Qian firmly chastised herself to hold fast and oppose the temptation to kiss him back. However, it was undeniably there, that constant static electricity. The exciting, nervous sexual tension between them.
Nervously but with firm resolve, Bai Qian pushed Ye Hua away. Feeling quite proud, she was winning her private war. Her demeanor stiffened and she grew distant. She wouldn’t look at him. Just a little bit of satisfaction, she felt it when she heard him sigh, she assumed it was one of defeat but little did she know he’d changed his strategy.
Nothing, zilch, zero was going to stop him in his quest for romance. The impromptu island trip was his attempt to enchant Bai Qian. Ye Hua was in the process of courting her again. Seduction was his goal for the evening and nothing was going to get in his way.
Ye Hua clapped his hands and happily exclaimed, “Let’s go somewhere?
“Where?” Bai Qian answered disinterested. She was doing what she loved most which were doing absolutely nothing.
The corners of his mouth turned up into a mischievous grin and he replied,” Let’s go to a luau.”
Bai Qian’s tone sounded slightly irritated when she answered, “Ye Hua, I don’t want to see a whole pig cooked in the earth. I know some pig spirits and they’re highly intelligent. Naw, I’ll pass.”
Hmmmmm. It was time to bring out the big guns. Arsenal most severe and suggest something Bai Qian wouldn’t refuse. It was time to whip out his secret weapon. Booze.
“Too bad, Qian Qian. You’ll miss the opportunity to drink unlimited Mai Tais.” Ye Hua said somewhat regretfully. The magic words being ‘Unlimited Mai Tais.’
How interestingly, Ye Hua suddenly had her full attention. Bai Qian swiftly whipped her head to him with newfound piqued interest and returned, “Unlimited Mai Tais?”
He shrugged his shoulders and stuck out his bottom lip ever so slightly and made the ‘oh well, too bad you don’t want to go’ expression.
Tick, tick, tick… It was almost audible. Like a ticking sound of the second hand on a watch. Bai Qian’s brain suddenly in thinking mode, her eyebrow raised as she considered Ye Hua’s offer. He wondered how she could be so charming.
The decision determined, she popped up, brushed off the sand from her body and steadfastly declared, “Let’s go drink Mai Tais. Do I need to change my clothes?”
The man who said absolutely ‘no magic’ used a spell, and suddenly both Bai Qian and he was suddenly wearing red hibiscus print matching outfit. Ye Hua a traditional Hawaiian shirt and her in a little strapped dress. Same as the ones they sell at Hilo Hatties.
While Ye Hua softly chuckled at himself, Bai Qian burst out into hysterical laughter.
After a fit of laughter, she snorted and exclaimed, “Oh, man! It’s such a shame that I’m the only one to see this! It isn’t every day the future Heavenly Lord of Nine Heavens, wears a bright red hibiscus print Hawaiian shirt, shorts and slippers (flip-flops).”
Bai Qian exclaimed utterly delighted. “Ye Hua, it was a good idea to come here.”
In Hawaii, a blossom placed behind the right ear meant you were single, or available while putting it behind the left, signaled you were already taken. Of course, Ye Hua slipped a red hibiscus flower behind Bai Qian’s left ear.
He also indulged in private humor because in some countries like South Korea, wearing a flower in one’s hair indicated they were crazy aka insane. In his opinion, Bai Qian was a bit…off center but in a charming way.
The traditional luau was busy with many guests, wearing the same matching outfits as Bai Qian and Ye Hua so they fit in perfectly. Many thought they were newlyweds on their honeymoon.
Awww, isn’t that sweet?
As for the luau cuisine, Qian Qian loved it. She had an infinite love for all the fruits and especially sweets and desserts. Ye Hua cringed at the poke, because it brought back memories of SuSu feeding him raw meat.
Bai Qian overindulged and drank many tasty Mai Tais, because they tasted like sweet fruity pineapple juice. Little did our Fox Queen know about the creepers… The moment when you’re enjoying several fruity alcoholic beverages, and feeling quite sober than the sudden creep of total inebriation. She got wasted!
Thoroughly drunk, she giggled giddily when the fire dancers came out to perform. Her eyes were massive and bulging because most of the men were quite buff, with beautiful colored skin and not wearing many clothes. They were practically naked.
Bai Qian whistled loudly single-handed very much like construction men, hollering at a beautiful woman. The only High Goddess in the immortal world, was making catcalls to the muscular fire spinning dancers.
Ye Hua wasn’t digging it as much as she. He actually hated it.
Much to Ye Hua’s displeasure, she openly flirted with the brawny, strong, almost naked men due to her intense intoxication. He said nothing for two reasons: One, Bai Qian was having so much fun. Two, He didn’t want to argue because he wished to enjoy some sweet loving after the luau.
She gushed euphorically, “I wonder if one of them would ‘LEI’ me? HAHAHA!”
Ye Hua lacked to find any humor in her pun.
Ye Hua was so busy guarding Bai Qian, so she wouldn’t take her flirting to a higher level, that he failed to notice the beautiful Polynesian dancers who were also quite exposed.
Out of nowhere, Bai Qian suddenly, excitedly jumped up and loudly hollered, “Right here! He’ll volunteer to dance! Ye Hua would LOVE to do the Hulu!”
“He’s good with his hips! Prince Ye Hua loves to dance!” Bai Qian yelled at the top of her lungs. She then began to chant his name and waved her hands towards the other guests, to encourage them to sing along… So, everyone was chanting his name.
Ye Hua! Ye Hua! Ye Hua! Ye Hua! Ye Hua! A chorus of voices echoed loudly in the air.
Oh, Nine Heavens! The horror of it all! Terror overtook his face and he turned crimson. Ye Hua adamantly resisted. He was so close to using magic to stop time and run away, but Bai Qian used her magic to block his magic and shoved him towards the stage, forcefully. Two beautiful tan-skinned dancers forcibly dragged him to the spotlight.
‘Help me! You’re dead!’ Were the expressions on Ye Hua’s grimacing face. He whimpered and wanted to cry. Real tears. He had many merits in bravery for during combat, but this was scarier than any enemy he’d ever encountered.
He was so out of his element. Ye Hua couldn’t dance, and the other guests laughed at his feeble attempt to do the Hulu. A vein popped out on his neck due to his embarrassing situation. He was utterly humiliated. His face was redder than his shirt. While he miserably suffered, Bai Qian was in hysteria and cried from laughing too hard.
Ye Hua returned to his seat wholly red-faced, glared and gave Bai Qian a dirty look. He growled in a low voice, “You’re so dead when I get you alone! Yes-You-Are!”
In return, drunk Bai Qian stuck her tongue out at him and giggled endlessly. The worst thing Ye Hua ever endured was one of the best things she’d ever witnessed. She couldn’t stop laughing.
Ye Hua considered it a good trade-off. A little… No, a massive, enormous load of humiliation in exchange to hear Bai Qian laugh and see her so happy. She was elated and her sparkling smile made him forget the embarrassment.
They returned to the rental home, Bai Qian abruptly stripped off her flower printed dress, ran towards the sea and yelled, “Let’s go skinny dipping! I’m going to let a shark eat me!”
Ye Hua smirked because something was indeed going to eat Bai Qian but it wasn’t a shark.
Under a glowing full moon, Ye Hua and Bai Qian giggled and played in the warm Kauai waters like children. He pulled her into his embrace and kissed her, while the moonlight beamed off the surface of the night sea.
Did Ye Hua get some sweet loving? Definitely.
E hoʻomau ‘ia…..