Why couldn’t she stop crying? It was insanity but on the cold tile kitchen floor, Bai Qian sat bewildered and confused. Disorientated and unable to look up at Ye Hua’s face. Why had he tasted and felt so familiar inside her just now? But the most frightening dilemma was that for a split instant, maybe a fraction of a second, she almost uttered the words ‘I love you.’
Such outlandish words but the statement nearly rolled off her tongue. Automatically like second nature, as if Bai Qian spoke it a hundred times before, when she was climaxing with Ye Hua inside her.
Ye Hua’s arms drew her into his tender embrace, and held her tightly as if he never wanted to let go. Bai Qian abruptly pulled away and hurriedly ran towards the bedroom, but still heard him say without hesitation, “Qian Qian, remember who you are. You’re SuSu and you can take my eyes. I’ll give you everything…anything.”
Such haunting words… Why would he say something so absurdly ludicrous?
Bai Qian locked the bedroom door and took a long hot shower. Alone, she stood under the almost scalding water, to rinse off the sensuous scent of Ye Hua’s skin from hers. The mouthwatering musky smell of sex and intimacy, and sugary sweet fruit juices from her body. The water also washed away all the magic and enchantment he created. Whatever island magic formed on their Kauai escapade was gone, and it was time to go to Nine Heavens.
What was missing in Nine Heavens was somewhere to leave notes of grievances. A Celestial complaint box. After listening to Ye Hua endlessly carry on about the Hall of Beautiful Youth, Bai Qian expected something…beautiful. How silly of her to expect anything from a 50,000-year-old child.
Bai Qian determined either she and Ye Hua had seriously different opinions of beautiful, or he was wholly blind. This room was far, no, it was the complete opposite of aesthetically pleasing, and very anticlimactic.
The residence was neither a hall, beautiful or youthful. It was a single chamber and if anything, it was quite somber, under-decorated and sparsely empty. The name ‘Hall of Beautiful Youth’ was quite deceitful and misleading. ‘The Room of Dismal and Gloomy’ was a much more accurate name.
Still, there he was wearing a little smile of joyous anticipation. Ye Hua excitedly stood by and keenly watched her every movement, while Bai Qian surveyed the torture…living chamber. The reason she viewed this room with a connotation of negativity, was due to the harrowing circumstances of its previous occupant, SuSu.
This room was where Ye Hua’s mortal wife, SuSu, spent most of her lonely years in Nine Heavens. Bai Qian understood why she chose suicide. The place was utterly depressing, dreary and drab. She perceived a general sense of sorrow in the quiet space.
Shuttering, Bai Qian cringed thinking about being stuck in this one chamber for three miserable, fearful years.
Pushing down on the bed to test the firmness, Bai Qian sighed and inwardly thought about how pained SuSu must have felt. She laid in the same wretched place for days, months and years without other personal interactions. How disheartening the mortal’s life must have been?
Had it been her, Bai Qian would have jumped off Zhuxian Terrace during pregnancy. SuSu was a much more considerate woman than she. Perhaps it was her empathy for the unfortunate woman, because without cause, she suddenly felt very hostile towards Ye Hua, ever since walking into the Hall of Beautiful Youth.
Ye Hua however, couldn’t hide his delight and was ecstatic to have her in SuSu’s old residence. He tenderly kissed her face while Bai Qian barely masked her animosity. Why did she suddenly feel so thoroughly antagonistic towards him?
Was it possible to become possessed by an angry, bitter and resentful ghost of the dead? Was this room haunted? There was something so very gloomy about this place. The area that was once the location of forced, solitary confinement had an unpleasant vibe. It was there. Plain and simple. Almost tangible. Fundamentally, SuSu’s old chamber made Bai Qian feel melancholy, agitated and blue.
The sudden loud sound of a dropped tray smashing to the floor, snapped Bai Qian out from her inner reflections. A pretty-faced, petite-framed servant turned ghost-white, fell to her knees and cried blissfully at her feet.
The servant called her ‘Your Highness SuSu’ and profusely thanked her for coming back. Before Ye Hua could correct the confused maid, Bai Qian helped the hysterically weeping woman to her feet.
“I’m not SuSu. I’m High Goddess Bai Qian. You must be Nai Nai.” Her tone was unusually kind and gentle. Odd, considering she wasn’t ordinarily a warm and fuzzy kind of woman. Especially to strangers.
But it was sheer sympathy, Bai Qian felt for the troubled servant. It was obvious, she was loyally waiting for her dead mistress’s return just like Ye Hua. So many people were waiting for SuSu, and she knew she would disappoint them all after they realized she wasn’t her.
How thoroughly bewildered the servant appeared. The look of astonished hope vanished, and uncertain disbelief clouded her lovely rosy-cheeked face. Nai Nai saw Ye Hua, bowed and swiftly left to give them privacy which was the last thing Bai Qian wanted.
Once again, Bai Qian wondered why she felt so furious at him. She wasn’t SuSu so why was she acting so defensively?
Ye Hua was overcome with happiness and whispered, “Qian Qian, how did you know that was Nai Nai? I haven’t mentioned her name.”
Forcefully, he exhaled an airy breath and spoke in a voice full of wonderment, “I never thought this day would come. Qian Qian, I feel like I’m dreaming.”
If anything, Bai Qian should have felt somewhat softened towards Ye Hua. His exuberance was genuine and sincere. In his mind, he finally had the woman he loved back in his life. Returned to her rightful place and beside the man that loved and longed for her. Finally, reunited after 300 long years of heartbreaking separation but for her, she couldn’t wait to leave.
Did Bai Qian believe she was SuSu? Perhaps a little but not entirely. Granted there were some extenuating circumstances but nothing concrete. If anything, she felt pressured and afraid. Very frightened. Accepting SuSu as her identity would mean revenge, and penalty to those who’d inflicted her and she didn’t want to hurt Ye Hua.
Profoundly, she sighed and firmly asserted, “I don’t feel comfortable in this room. It doesn’t seem right for me to be here. It seems disrespectful towards your wife’s memory.”
So earnestly, Ye Hua tried his best to convince her in his soft whisper like voice, “This is your room. Qian Qian, this isn’t a stranger’s room. It’s yours.”
“I’m not staying here during my time in Celestial Heaven. Other arrangements have been made for me. I’m staying at Donghua Dijun’s residence. My father insisted and Heavenly Lord agreed.” Bai Qian stated dispassionately.
Again, all she wanted to do was get away from Ye Hua because she felt a panic-attack coming on. Pure anxiety and the claustrophobic sense of the room closing up around her. Suffocating because hurting him caused her pain.
She clarified, “Donghua Dijun and my father have been friends since youth. He’s currently on his mortal trial so his residence is empty. I’ll be more comfortable there, and it’s more proper since we’re canceling our engagement after this week.”
“My father wasn’t pleased with me leaving without prior notice, and he feels it’s somewhat inappropriate for me to use your old wife’s chambers. Especially since I resemble her so closely. My father tends to be superstitious. Everything was arranged while we were in Kauai.” Bai Qian indifferently stated displaying complete lack of interest, as to Ye Hua’s feelings on the matter.
It was painful for Bai Qian when Ye Hua held her face so tenderly. She hid her emotions as he suddenly appeared so earnest. He begged for her to accept the apparent feeling between them.
He plead, “Qian Qian, it was you who said you remembered my flavor… The taste of me. Are you going to ignore that? How can you disregard the feelings between us?”
Of course Bai Qian felt the connection but it scared the hell out of her. Privately, she wanted Ye Hua, but the situation after their morning’s intimacy only confused matters more. In life when things become too complicated, the more comfortable options are always…denial and deflection.
There was a tiny, no, a substantial part of her that was falling in love with him. Rapidly. In order not to harm him, Bai Qian needed not to be SuSu. During the next seven days, her goal was to make Ye Hua no longer love her, even if it meant he would hate her in the end. A little heartache was better than losing one’s sight, and his affections for her diminish and eventually disappear.
Also, it was selfish especially while she was intimate with Ye Hua and she knew it. It was pure foolishness for her to covet someone so unrealistic but secretly, Bai Qian wished her Shifu saw her as a woman. Being with him wasn’t complicated or messy with past debts. Theirs would be a simple relationship. Balance and equilibrium.
Her Shifu, Mo Yuan, went over 300,000 years without marriage or a woman so why would he want one now? Especially, one of his dearest and oldest friend’s daughter who was a third of his age. Nonsense. He was doing what he did best, which was take responsibility. He merely felt obligated for deflowering her, so Bai Qian reminded herself not to expect anything from him.
A wild random thought passed through her mind. Was she falling in love with Ye Hua because he was Shifu’s twin? Or was she desiring Shifu because he looked like Ye Hua? But there were differences.
Being with Ye Hua was similar to playing in great, giant waves in the ocean. The exciting, nervous anticipation of waiting to be hit, being knocked down, covered and windless. Then the refreshing feeling of jumping up and inhaling a sweet breath of air. Only to wait for the next massive rip-curl but it was possible to drown in the undertow. Easily.
Shifu was comparable to a calm, tranquil, serene, picturesque lake. Beautiful and safe. The depths were always within reaching and Bai Qian knew she’d never drowned. In his warm, gentle, caressing waters, she’d never experience any harm, but sometimes in still water one could grow bored and stagnant. Possibly.
Inwardly, Bai Qian cursed herself for waiting too long to have a romantic relationship. She also blamed her mother for never discussing such matters with her but in all fairness, she never expressed interest either. Hence, she didn’t have a clue what was going on in her brain.
Feeling cornered and emotionally exhausted, Bai Qian resorted to her well-practiced method of emotional self-defense. Her mastered form of pushing people away. She did what she does best which were strike and damage…with words.
Bai Qian’s slicing comment went for Ye Hua’s jugular when she coolly replied, “Look, you and Shifu taste alike. Almost identical…actually.”
Her next verbal arrow aimed right at his heart. “Women say all sorts of meaningless things during the heat of the moment. Young Prince, consider it another lesson learned. Next time you won’t be so easily fooled. Just like men say they love women during sex, well, women tell lies and speak falsities too.”
Bai Qian shot out her fatal venomous blow and casually added, “My Shifu might visit and spend the night with me. It’s out of respect for you why I’m not staying at Xiwu Palace. People will talk and I don’t want people speaking poorly of you. I only have your best interest in mind.”
Bullseye! She’d said the right thing, because a single mocking laugh came from Ye Hua’s turned up mouth, but he didn’t say anything else. He bit down on his bottom lip so only half of his bottom rim was visible.
How quickly, so abruptly, Ye Hua was suddenly enraged, but it laid hidden and concealed underneath his smooth-level surface. He had the same ability mastered when it came to hiding his feelings just like Shifu. His cover of immunity was up, and he was going to divert any and all of her words or actions.
Ye Hua’s glinting, threatening gaze said everything as they narrowed, and his eyes suddenly darken and turned black. His dangerous, onyx eyes matched perfectly with his hair and outfit. He was head to toe coated and shrouded in black.
It was rather impressive, Ye Hua’s ability to hold his tongue. Considering his cheeks suddenly flushed deep pink with color. So restrained even his breathing remained controlled and regular. Instead, he smiled but it was as fake as Bai Qian’s desire to stay in Nine Heavens. Almost as false as her act to distance herself from him.
Jet black, enticing, alluring and utterly bewitching… With his fiery, piercing stare, Ye Hua was doing it again. Temptation. The dancing flames in his coal-colored pupils licked the irises, and his fully dilated eyes appeared huge.
Holding out his slender hand most invitingly, he added in his silky smooth, seductive toned voice that made her body break out in goosebumps, “Let me make your homecoming more memorable. Come to me, Qian Qian.”
Haughtily but oh so alluringly, Ye Hua called, “Qian Qian, come to me. I know you want to…come.” He bit his bottom lip ever so slightly suggestively.
Ye Hua was removing her clothes with his seductive gaze, and suddenly it felt like she had a hot flash from her quickly escalating arousal. To break the speedily building sexual tension between them, Bai Qian opened her Jade Purity Fan and leisurely fanned herself, while slowly cruising around the almost empty room.
Intentionally, she remarked attempting to sound as sarcastic as possible, “So, this was SuSu’s prison, I mean residence during her stay? I see you’ve put a lot of thought into the decor. It’s very…simplistic but I guess she never noticed since she couldn’t see.”
A corner of his mouth lifted and the superior smirk on Ye Hua’s handsome face, made Bai Qian feel as if she were fighting a lost battle. Wordlessly, he moved towards her in a fluid motion, that seemed more like he was gliding up to her instead of taking steps.
Statue-like and unable to move, frozen Bai Qian felt Ye Hua’s hot lips melt her, and he kissed her possessively until she was winded. She instantly responded to his mouth, and involuntarily moaned when his skillful hands pulled her dress off her shoulders, and expose her bare breasts.
Standing in the center of SuSu’s room in the middle of the day and without a privacy shield, Ye Hua hungrily devoured and sucked her erect nipples. Ravenously and as always with the perfect amount of pressure. His mouth expertly moved from one beautiful breast to the other, groaning and softly moaned out her name ‘Qian Qian.’ His hands stroked her thighs underneath her dress.
How was Ye Hua able to excite her so quickly? Moaning, Bai Qian dropped her head back in ecstasy, only to see a young goddess openly gaping at them jaw slacked in utter shock. Swiftly, she shoved him away and covered her exposed breasts.
Mortified, a total stranger saw her in such an embarrassing compromising position, and infuriated at Ye Hua’s lack of discretion. Maddened mostly at herself for her lack of control. Wordlessly, Bai Qian swiftly opened her fan and walked towards the entrance.
“Su Jin? What the hell are you doing here?” Furiously, Ye Hua hissed so hatefully that Bai Qian couldn’t believe, his gentle voice could sound so menacing. It was shocking.
The room suddenly felt as if it were spinning and she couldn’t breathe. Something about seeing this unknown goddess’s face made her chest pound and ache.
“It’s too stuffy in here! Suffocating! I can’t breathe!” Bai Qian blurted without making any eye contact and swiftly rushed outdoor.
Clueless to where she was, Bai Qian raced without knowing where she was going, and somehow ended up by the lotus ponds. She’d unknowingly followed the same path that led to Zhuxian Terrace. The same route as she’d taken dozens of times as sightless SuSu.
Ye Hua found her immediately, apologized and tried to talk but Bai Qian refused to look at him. Once again, she was lashing out her frustration and punishing him for her lack of control. How was he so quickly able to make all her resolve and plans go amiss?
If Su Jin hadn’t walked in when she did, they might have been naked. Possibly making love on the floor in SuSu’s room. How morbid to behave with such indecency in a dead woman’s place. Not actually the best way to make a man lose interest.
Also, why did Su Jin’s face suddenly make her shake and want to vomit? She was a mousey unattractive little thing, but not so hideous to make one lose their lunch.
Chastising herself severely, Bai Qian wanted to slap herself silly for being so easily seduced. Privately, she made an oath to abstain from Ye Hua and his stealthy seductive ways. He was No Bueno!
Bai Qian was still angrily ignoring Ye Hua when A-Li called out to them. Off in the near distance, stood A-Li with a prettyfaced goddess dressed in men’s attire. The goddess had big round sparkling eyes. He saw Ye Hua and Bai Qian and gleefully ran towards them.
Suddenly, Bai Qian’s eyes filled with unshed tears and she quickly wiped her eyes, as she stared at the goddess in wonder and awe. Would the goddess recognize her?
He was breathless as A-Li excitedly explained to the goddess, “Cheng Yu! She’s here! My mother! Isn’t my mother pretty?”
Cheng Yu? She still used the same name. Bai Qian held back the profound urge to cry.
Cheng Yu openly gawked at Bai Qian, while she tried in vain not to stare back but it was difficult. Seeing Cheng Yu again was emotional and overwhelming. She said something about wanting to touch her, since she was the only High Goddess in the world. Ye Hua just flat-out said no to her request without consulting with Bai Qian.
Privately, Bai Qian wanted nothing more than to hold and kiss Cheng Yu.
Cheng Yu studied Bai Qian’s face intently and said, “You look like…”
“SuSu?” Bai Qian asked wondering if Cheng Yu recognized her after all these years and lives.
Cheng Yu gave a lopsided grin that made her big brown eyes twinkle and responded, “SuSu? No, I never saw her but you remind me of a young man I once met in my youth. Also, my mortal sister.”
“Cheng Yu, are your eyes broken? My mother isn’t a man, Cheng Yu!” A-Li’s high pitched childish voice squealed.
Bai Qian lightly stroked A-Li’s head and politely affirmed, “Child, I’m not your mother either.”
Perplexed, A-Li glanced over at his father confused and ran by Ye Hua’s side.
Cheng Yu clarified herself and told a story that Bai Qian already knew very well.
When Cheng Yu was a young mortal slave, she ran away from a cruel master and traveled far. She was without money or food and near starvation.
In route, Cheng Yu saw a wealthy looking woman dressed in all white, with a large entourage of maidens. She decided to follow the woman while gathering the courage to beg for money. She was of noble birth so it was hard for her to ask for handouts.
Cheng Yu explained further. The woman in white stepped up to one of the two fortune teller’s tables, and proceeded to have her fortune read. A sudden fight broke out so she hid under one of the tables out of fright. The woman in white abruptly left and she never had the opportunity to ask for money.
She cried bitterly but one of the fortune tellers who happen to be pretty like a girl, wordlessly gave Cheng Yu his food. She mentioned the young man resembled her younger sister, in an unexplained way with tears in her eyes.
The meal the young man gave Cheng Yu consisted of three rice balls. Starving, she immediately ate two and the young man left without saying a word. She put the last rice ball into her bag and left.
“It was so heavy, that rice ball. I wanted to gobble it up so badly but I knew I had to eat it sparingly. I didn’t know where my next meal would come from.” Cheng Yu inhaled deeply through her nose and a big smile came to her lovely face.
She concluded her story, “Finally, I couldn’t stand it and opened my bag to find not only the last rice ball, but a purse full of coins. A lot of money. Somehow, the young fortune teller slipped it into my backpack. He must have come from a large family because the bag had an embroidery (十七 Shíqī) Seventeen on it. He saved my life and I would have died without his compassion.”
Cheng Yu blushed becomingly with color and added coyly, “High Goddess, I’m not saying you look like a man. No, you’re too stunning but something about your face brought back that old memory. I wish I could find that man to repay him but he was mortal, and that was long ago.”
“So, High Goddess…” Cheng Yu started to say but Bai Qian swiftly cuts her off.
It was pure radiance. The genuine smile on Bai Qian’s face was luminous and glowed. She reached out and tenderly held Cheng Yu’s hands and said, “Mèimei, please call me (妹妹 Mèimei) younger sister. Not High Goddess Bai Qian. Cheng Yu, it appears you and I were fated to meet once more and this time as sisters…again, Jiějiě (older sister).”
Cheng Yu almost fell over. Pure shock, that was the expression on her face. Her mouth slacked and she wobbled lightheaded. The only High Goddess in the world, who was also the Queen of Qingqiu gave her permission to call her (妹妹 Mèimei), which was slightly odd since Bai Qian was much other than her. However, the only High Goddess humbled herself to her, and gave her the honorary position as the elder sister. Unfathomable.
Their meeting was testimony that fate works in mysterious ways, and those destined would somehow end up together. Unknown to Cheng Yu, their recent encounter was not their initial meeting.
Their first was when Bai Qian was the Kunlun Disciple, Si Yin. The White Goddess Yao Guang charged him with a false claim of slander, and convinced Heavenly Lord to punish him to a mortal trial. All this while Mo Yuan was in deep seclusion, and unaware of his cherished disciple’s precarious situation. The shady deed happened so covertly, even her disciple brothers were oblivious until she returned.
Yao Guang was in love with Mo Yuan, and jealous of his apparent fondness for his Seventeenth Disciple. She seduced Heavenly Lord to do her bidding. The mortal trial and calamity he devised for Si Yin were sinister.
For her punishment, Si Yin was born the youngest mortal daughter of a famous, respected General to the great Emperor. Her family became traitors when she was seventeen years old. Mortal Si Yin became a slave who was raped, impregnated, blinded and tried to commit suicide after drinking rat poison. Her mortal older sister was Cheng Yu.
Their second reunion was when Seventeen saw her mortal sister, Cheng Yu, shortly after returning from the mortal trial. She was starving and all Si Yin could do was offer her food and secretly give her money. Due to Celestial laws, it was forbidden to follow or aid human family members from mortal trials. Once the trial was over, all human ties were severed. Still, Si Yin couldn’t help himself and helped Cheng Yu but didn’t follow her as he desired.
Of course, neither remembered yet but Cheng Yu saving SuSu was their third meeting, and today was their fourth. This time, Bai Qian and her would become inseparable.
To be continued…..