Was it a dream? Cheng Yu forcefully pinched herself and she was awake. Completely. Her unbelievable meeting with High Goddess Bai Qian of Qingqiu, left her in a full daze of stupor. That excitement of being starstruck. She tripped, tittered and stumbled as she walked away.
Cheng Yu was floating on cloud nine and barely aware of Su Jin, who was walking towards her. She accidentally bumped into her rather roughly.
“I’m sorry.” Cheng Yu began to apologize only to have Su Jin rudely cut her off.
Su Jin arrogantly hissed, “Watch where you’re going! You almost caused me to fall!”
Dramatically, Su Jin braced the wall to balance herself while her servant Xin Nu, nervously fussed over her mistress. She scowled and brushed off her traditional goddess dress, as if bumping into Cheng Yu somehow stained her Celestial clothing.
“Mèimei…Jiějiě? Impossible.” Cheng Yu softly mumbled with an expression of disbelief as if under a spell. Her eyes were cloudy and unfocused.
Su Jin sneered, “What are you talking about now? Cheng Yu, you’re always spouting nonsense! Get out of my way!”
“High Goddess Bai Qian, Queen of Qingqiu, told me I could call her Mèimei. The only High Goddess in the world wanted to be sisters with me, and called me Jiějiě (older sister).” Cheng Yu whispered dumbfounded in a state of shock.
Su Jin smirked and returned, “Bai Qian, said you…” The way she pronounced ‘you’ was entirely condescending and full of disdain. “Bai Qian said you could call her Mèimei?”
Snorting, Su Jin arrogantly sneered, “I knew it. All the talk about Bai Qian being so high and mighty was just talk. She must know how much Ye Hua adores me, because she just flew by me as if she’d seen a ghost. Obviously, she knows she can’t compete with me so she ran away.”
Su Jin held her hands together. One open palm on top of the other and an expression of vanity came to her face.
“Come Xin Nu. I don’t think we need to worry about Bai Qian. If she allowed Cheng Yu to call her Mèimei, then I’ll have her eating out of my hand. She’s as fierce as a newborn kitten!”
Su Jin smirked and spat, “One of the great beauties of the world!? I only saw her breasts and they weren’t anything extraordinary or spectacular!” She sashayed away snickering mockingly under her breath.
Just as Cheng Yu was in a haze, Bai Qian was also still reeling after her unexpected reunion, with her once mortal sister. She could scarcely believe she was living in Nine Heavens and immortal. Life was indeed enigmatic and mysterious.
Believing nothing in life was inconsequential, Bai Qian privately wondered if Cheng Yu was the reason she was to come to Nine Heavens. Could it be that Ye Hua was never the end, but merely the compass to discover Cheng Yu, again? So engrossed in her inner thoughts, she failed to notice another immortal was present and now speaking quietly with him.
Their soft voices caused her to turn in a single graceful pivot like a ballerina dancer. Bai Qian spun to see Ye Hua’s third uncle, Prince Lian Song standing next to him. The last time she saw him was during the Ghost War.
Awe transformed his face and he took in the gorgeous sight of her. Wide-eyed Prince Lian Song stepped closer to Bai Qian, and said in a tone of complete admiration, “It’s still difficult to believe you were Si Yin? How could I not recognize such beauty? High Goddess Bai Qian, you are stunning.”
His whole face lit up when Prince Lian Song chuckled, and his genuine smile made his appealing dimples even more visible. There was something so sincere about his handsome face, that Bai Qian casually held out her hand for him to kiss.
Lian Song’s eyes flew open in pure delight, and he kissed the backside of Bai Qian’s offered hand politely. He couldn’t keep his eyes off her face and suddenly Ye Hua ceased to exist.
Batting her eyelashes flirtatiously, Bai Qian purred, “Prince Lian Song, so many years have passed, and I do believe you’ve become more handsome since I saw you last. Are you still breaking hearts everywhere you go?”
Lian Song blushed as he responded and grinned even wider. He wasn’t able to hide his pleasure from Bai Qian’s sweet complimentary words. “I’m too old with young men like Ye Hua around. I’m invisible around this handsome lad. I live as a single bachelor. A quiet life.”
Bai Qian flashed her million-dollar Nine-Tailed Fox smile and sweetly replied, “Au contraire, you’re too humble. I prefer a man of experience who’s lived and understand life. It’s rather unfortunate, Heavenly Lord never considered a match for us. I always thought you were the most handsome out of all your brothers.”
Poor Ye Hua. Bai Qian continued to openly flirt with Lian Song, while he silently boiled under his calm exterior. He was so close to losing it but firmly held his tongue. She knew how jealous Ye Hua became and decided to use it against him.
She continued tormenting Ye Hua and teased, “Had Heavenly Lord sent you instead of Prince Sang Ji, who knows what we’d be doing now.”
Snickering, Bai Qian playfully tapped Lian Song’s chest with her closed fan when she finished speaking. He was speechless, disoriented and rosy-cheeked. He was utterly infatuated and unable to respond. He looked like a lovesick puppy.
“Hmm hmm…” Ye Hua lightly cleared his throat to remind everyone that he was still there, but the friendly flirtation continued to escalate with every passing second.
Bewitched, Lian Song thoroughly under Bai Qian’s spell, and blurted without any consideration of Ye Hua’s feelings, “Wine? You and I? High Goddess Bai Qian, would you like to have some wine with me?”
Ye Hua’s face went blank while he struggled to wrap his head around the situation. Had his third uncle just asked his future Princess Consort, Qian Qian, out on a date? Right in front of him? It was insanity! Her behavior was apparently to aggravate him, which was nothing new but his uncle’s response was quite surprising. One could say even alarming.
Enchantment Spell? No, Ye Hua didn’t sense any magic, so he knew Qian Qian didn’t use an enchantment spell but she didn’t have too. Uncle Lian Song was a goner and he was in deep.
In Ye Hua’s mind, this was what he pictured; Qian Qian and third uncle drinking wine by candlelight, while Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing played in the background. Silly boy.
Bai Qian’s eyes gave Lian Song a provocative once-over and answered. “Please call me Qian Qian. May I call you Lian Song? Wine? I’d love to have some wine with you. I’m staying at Donghua Dijun’s residences, Tai Chen Palace, so we can drink there.”
Lian Song started to say, “Ye Hua can join…”
However, Bai Qian swiftly cut him off and said, “Ye Hua doesn’t drink and there’s always that one guy who takes all the fun out of things. Well, he’s ‘that guy!’ Anyway, he wasn’t even born when the Ghost War happened, so you and I have much more in common since we’re closer in age.”
Turning towards Ye Hua, Bai Qian fluttered her eyelashes and pushed out her pouty lips and said, “Ye Hua understands. Don’t you, Ye Hua? He and I spent the last two weeks together, and I’m sure he needs to check in with his grandfather.”
“Do you remember when we used to have to check in with our parents? When we were his age.” Bai Qian covered her mouth and laughed mockingly and unfortunately, Lian Song also found humor in her statement and grinned with her.
She continued, “Lian Song, would you mind escorting me to Tai Chen Palace? I’m not good with directions and lose my way quickly.”
Tauntingly, Bai Qian linked arms around Lian Song, casually glanced back at Ye Hua and flashed a fake smile. She then strolled away giggling at everything Lian Song said, as if it were the funniest thing she’d ever heard. She beamed joyously.
Oh man, was he hot under the collar! Ye Hua was furious! Furious was a significant understatement. It was similar to calling the Great Wall of China a pile of bricks. He was so enraged he couldn’t even talk. Annoyed at Qian Qian’s blatant lack of respect and flirting so openly. Infuriated at his uncle who’d suggested drinking wine with her in private. Lastly, he was beside himself with rage, because she was right about him needing to check in with his grandfather, Heavenly Lord.
She was indeed the master of provocation. Qian Qian knew and pushed all the buttons, that made Ye Hua go crazy in every way possible. He was also aware she was acting out intentionally. He was smart enough to see through her pantomime. In the short time, he’d spent with her, he understood her. She was either hot or cold. Black or white. Without middle ground. She was currently in the process of pushing him away, because she was afraid of her feelings for him.
While making love in Kauai, Qian Qian didn’t need to say a word because he knew by the look in her eyes. It was just the start but in that brief moment, Ye Hua recognized her. He saw SuSu.
Heavenly Lord’s face went ashen, and the color drained from his face as Ye Hua knelt before him and told him everything. He explained his theory; Bai Qian was SuSu during her heavenly trial. After he finished speaking, Heavenly Lord stepped down from his high golden throne and sighed most profoundly.
Finally, after a long moment of deep contemplation, Heavenly Lord gravely stated, “If you’re right about Bai Qian and she was the mortal SuSu. Ye Hua, we’re doomed. You don’t know her as well as I do but if you’re correct, either she or the Fox Clan, maybe both, will settle all debts with interest.”
“What if she falls in love with me again? There are moments when I think Bai Qian remembers her time as SuSu. Isn’t there a chance she could overlook the past? If I’m able to make her happy?” Ye Hua asked hopefully.
Heavenly Lord chuckled at his grandson’s innocent naiveté and romantic idealism. His tone sounded tired and somber when he spoke, “Love won’t be enough. Even Heaven can’t save us. Because you, Su Jin and I will all be condemned. ”
Placing his hand on Ye Hua’s shoulder, Heavenly Lord continued, “Ye Hua, this is a royal command. Halt your plans and attempts to convince Bai Qian that she was SuSu, and agree to the mutual cancellation of the engagement immediately. Her leaving Celestial Heaven is the best for everyone involved.”
How could he live without her again? Ye Hua couldn’t endure the thought of it. Losing Qian Qian once was painful enough, but the prospect of having to experience it again was unbearable.
“Heavenly Grandfather, forgive your disobedient grandson but I can’t live without her again. Please let me change her mind. I’m confident that I can make her happy in the future.” He spoke in earnest and kowtowed towards Heavenly Lord.
In a tone of profound remorse and regret, Heavenly Lord replied, “If you don’t stop and Bai Qian remembers her past, your son A-Li will grow up fatherless. You won’t need to worry about your future because you won’t have one to worry about.”
Heavenly Lord knew he’d made many poor decisions in his life, but never imagined something so unbelievable could ever occur. His diabolical plot to rid Ye Hua of a nameless mortal woman would come back, and threaten everything including his very life. Framing and taking SuSu’s eyes was in Heavenly Lord’s long existence, the mother of all blunders.
It was a dream come true. Lian Song was drinking wine with the only High Goddess in the world. Alone. Just he and she. So romantic. He was so excited in nervous anticipation that he could barely sit still for the rest of the day.
He meticulously groomed himself and wore his best outfit. The attractive one that drove the women crazy but Bai Qian wasn’t just any female. She was the sexiest Nine-tailed Fox Queen. One of the most beautiful women in the world and she wanted to drink alone with him.
Lian Song checked and rechecked his reflection in the mirror. He repeated saying funny, witty things in the mirror and practiced facial expression, that he considered being most charming.
Similar to a nerdy freshman, who was going to the senior prom with the captain of the cheer-leading squad, Lian Song was stoked.
Maybe when he lost his virginity, but Lian Song couldn’t remember the last time he was so nervous for a date. Was this a date? He pondered, was Bai Qian going to seduce him? He had loyalties towards Ye Hua but Lian Song was, but a simple immortal man and her flirting was entirely out in the open.
Why didn’t he feel more guilty towards Ye Hua? Because Bai Qian was a STONE COLD FOX, and Lian Song challenged any man to turn her down if they were in his shoes. Inconceivable!
Walking to Tai Chen Palace, Lian Song stopped to take deep inhales and exhales to calm his nerves. He cupped palm and exhaled to make sure his breath was minty clean. One last time, he gently smoothed out his freshly washed and styled hair. Yup, he was perfect and feeling confident…somewhat.
At the entrance of Tai Chen Palace, Lian Song took a deep breath, put on his most handsome smile and strolled in assuredly. There she stood, like the high goddess that she was…magnificent and glowing.
Queen Bai Qian of Qingqiu, a goddess of the highest caliber. Stunning, dressed in a formfitting gown the same shade as her full painted lips. Bright pink peonies. She was breathtaking and Lian Song’s heart stopped beating.
Radiantly, she beamed. Bai Qian’s mouth curved into a beautiful smile, and Lian Song forgot his name for a moment. Oh yes, this was a romantic evening for two. Just when he was thinking ‘Oh goody! It’s on like Donkey Kong!’ She stepped forwards and unfortunately, they were not alone. Nope! Denied!
High God Zhe Yan and Cheng Yu sat behind Bai Qian with a wine table between them. All Lian Song’s dreams of sexy-time with the Fox Queen vanished instantly.
High God Zhe Yan waved at Lian Song while Cheng Yu grimaced and rolled her eyes. He couldn’t hear her voice but read her lips ‘Oh great, that ass is here too‘.
Bai Qian reached out and happily led Lian Song by the hand to the others and said, “Lian Song, I think you know everybody here.”
“Yes, I certainly do. High God Zhe Yan. Cheng Yu. I’m so delighted to see you.” Lian Song lied with a smile on his face because he was crying on the inside. His romantic date for two was instead a girls night. Bummer!
High God Zhe Yan made a flamboyant hand gesture towards himself and said, “Tonight just Zhe Yan. I only drink with friends, no, I only get drunk with friends. I drink with everyone.” He clarified.
It was obvious that the party started before Lian Song’s arrival. The group was already rosy-cheeked and giggling giddily.
“Qian Qian, you look stunning tonight!” Lian Song declared in full admiration for her beauty and casually added, “Cheng Yu, you look as you usually do. Cheng Yu, how do you know Qian Qian?”
Cheng Yu gave him a dirty look and replied, “Are you referring to my Mèimei?”
“Mèimei? Sister?” Lian Song’s disbelieving half-smile reflected his total surprise.
Zhe Yan promptly stated, “Aya! We’re all related in one way or another! Now that Lian Song is here, we’re like the girls in ‘Sex in the City’. I’m Samantha!”
“I’m Carrie! Since I have a shoe thing.” Bai Qian immediately exclaimed.
Cheng Yu played along and chimed in, “Charlotte!”
Everyone stared at Lian Song expectantly and burst out laughing, while he struggled to understand what was going on. He was clueless.
“Who’s Mr. Big?” Cheng Yu asked curiously glancing at Zhe Yan and Bai Qian.
Both Zhe Yan and Bai Qian answered at the same time “Mo Yuan” and “Shifu” in unison.
Zhe Yan and Bai Qian playfully side-eyed each other, high-five, clinked glasses in a toast and drank their wine in a single shot. It was clear, these two often drank together. They were in sync in almost every way.
As the entertaining evening progressed, many more wine bottles were opened and consumed. Zhe Yan’s peach wine was exceptional and everyone was feeling relaxed and buzzed. Cheng Yu brought her drunken fruit and everyone was enjoying themselves. It was a cozy, friendly gathering of people and the conversation moved smoothly in all directions, merrily.
They sat in a loose square formation and there was a comfortable vibe for everyone. Zhe Yan made everyone laugh to the point of hysteria with his tales, and stories about himself, Mo Yuan, Bai Zhi and the rock-like immortal Donghua Dijun.
Mostly stories about follies during their youth. Everyone’s eyes grew wide with wonder when they heard about Mo Yuan’s nickname ‘Tuzi’. It was hard to imagine High God Mo Yuan being such a randy devil.
Bai Qian didn’t like Zhe Yan talking about her Shifu, because Cheng Yu’s eyes suddenly glimmered with new interest, and Bai Qian was highly possessive and jealous. Sister or not, nobody was touching her Mister.
Zhe Yan then told the story about himself and the Fox King fighting over Bai Qian’s mother. He confessed to writing a terrible poem about her nine-tails, and how it only upset the Fox Empress instead of winning her heart.
Still angry after hundreds of thousands of years, Zhe Yan blamed Mo Yuan for being the greatest cock-blocker in the world!
Intoxicated, Zhe Yan stood and loudly recited the old love poem with full theatrics, “You, beauty, thief of my heart. Why did you steal something that was yours from the start? Are we destined to be like the moon and sun? From the moment I saw you, I knew you were for me, the one. Precious darling, my love for you is everlasting and forever long. Your nine tails are spellbinding and divine, that all I want to do is wrap them around my feathered schlong.”
“The original ending was ‘All I want to do is praise you with a song.’ But Mo Yuan found the poem and changed the ending before I gave it to her. I didn’t understand why she was so angry! He has been the bane of my love life for as long as I can remember. That rotten Tuzi! I’m going to laugh my ass off when he gets his.” Zhe Yan sighed deeply, dramatically placed his open palms on his chest, over his heart to show his devastation at the time.
Everyone fell over crying tears, and another round of hysterical laughter bellowed from Tai Chen Palace. Zhe Yan had everyone in stitches.
Zhe Yan took his seat, raised his glass to everyone, his eyebrows rose and a giant grin came to his face as he spoke, “You think that’s funny? Nothing can compare to what Xiao Wu did with Mo…”
Zhe Yan started to announce until she swiftly kicked him and instantly changed the subject. Bai Qian glared at him and gave him the ‘shut up or die!’ expression.
Bai Qian suddenly suggested, “Let’s play a drinking game!”
Instantly, Lian Song poo-pooed the idea and declared, “I’ll pass. I’ll just watch.”
“Lian Song doesn’t like to play drinking games because he loses. Every-single-time.” Cheng Yu’s tone was fully snide and rude.
Bai Qian filled his glass and sweetly coaxed, “Prince Lian Song, you must play or we’ll have an uneven number. I insist.”
“Please.” Bai Qian purred and Lian Song couldn’t refuse her. He hesitantly went along with the evening’s gayeties.
Zhe Yan excitedly exclaimed, “‘Spin the bottle’ with ‘Truth or Dare’. A combo! I’ll go first! Beauty before everything else!” He was fully aware and knew he was quite handsome.
Zhe Yan spun the wine bottle and it pointed to Lian Song. He swallowed nervously worried that Zhe Yan was going to kiss him.
His eyes narrowed as Zhe Yan inquisitively asked. “Why did you and Cheng Yu break up?”
Swiftly, Cheng Yu and Lian Song both glanced at each other with hostility, and he mumbled, “Dare.”
Zhe Yan filled everyone’s glasses and casually, oh so nonchalantly said, “Lian Song, kiss Cheng Yu.”
Zhe Yan and Bai Qian snickered and giggled, while Lian Song and Cheng Yu glared at each other. Their unfriendly gazes were like lasers. Death rays.
Lian Song exhaled sharply through his nose and moved closer to Cheng Yu. She swiftly shifted in the opposite direction. Speedily, he leaned in and pecked her cheek. She harshly wiped off her face where he kissed her in disdain.
Bai Qian grabbed the bottle and asserted, “My turn!” She spun the bottle which landed promptly on Cheng Yu.
Bai Qian slyly smiled and asked, “Jiějiě, why did you and Lian Song break up?”
Cheng Yu blatantly rolled her eyes and exhaled sharply. She spat, “Dare!”
Giggling, Bai Qian instructed, “Jiějiě, kiss Lian Song!”
Ecstatically, Zhe Yan and Bai Qian fist-bumped each other. Their eyes glued to Cheng Yu and watched intently with bated breath.
Cheng Yu’s jaw tensed and her cheeks flushed red with anger. Her lips formed into a flat line as she lightly kissed Lian Song’s cheek.
Cheng Yu dramatically drank her wine as if she were disinfecting her mouth. She grabbed the bottle, spun and it landed on Zhe Yan. She smirked and asked, “Zhe Yan, have you ever seen High God Bai Zhen naked?”
“Truth.” Zhe Yan replied. He drank his wine and promptly answered, “Of course I’ve seen him naked! I can’t even count up to how many times I’ve seen his nine tails! Who do you think used to change his diapers?” He snickered wildly.
Zhe Yan started to reach for the bottle when suddenly Lian Song interjected and objected, “I haven’t had a spin yet.”
“You get a turn when it lands on you, Lian Song.” Bai Qian hauntingly declared like she was the boss of everyone there.
Lian Song challenged, “That’s not how we play in my neighborhood.”
“That’s how I’ve always played. Also, I’m the only High Goddess in the world. My game, my rules.” Bai Qian pulled the status card.
Bai Qian spun and it landed on Lian Song. He held his breath in-wait for the one question, that seemed to have piqued everyone’s interest.
“Why did you and my sister break up?” Bai Qian’s sneaky smile was mischievous and playful.
Lian Song gulped his wine and poured himself another glass. He slammed that one too and just replied, “Truth. Cheng Yu shattered my heart and broke up with me first. I wanted to marry her but she came to me one day and said she had another lover.”
Cheng Yu laughed mockingly and rolled her eyes. She shook her head in disbelief but held her tongue.
“What? Did I say something untrue? That’s what happened!” Lian Song disputed. He had enough wine and was feeling bold.
Cheng Yu shook her head and mumbled, “Lian Song, you don’t know anything.”
Cheng Yu casually glanced up to see both Zhe Yan and Bai Qian intently, mesmerized by her and Lian Song’s conversation. They had the same inquisitive expression of curiosity.
After another glass of wine, Cheng Yu hesitantly begin to tell about her love affair with Lian Song. She acted indifferently and put up a strong front, but it was apparent she wasn’t over him yet.
“His father hated me. I tried to please Heavenly Lord, but he has a superiority complex especially against mortals. I was a mortal in a past life and he has a major hangup about that.”
Cheng Yu took another long gulp of her wine and continued, “Anyways, after months of threats, out of the blue one day, he suddenly gave me a mission and sent me into the mortal realm to find someone. I was so excited and wanted to appease him. I was trying to win Lian Song’s father over. I went below and Su Jin, that witch.” Cheng Yu paused and drank more wine.
Lian Song agreed, “Su Jin is a total wench.”
“No, Lian Song. Su Jin is indeed a wench but she’s a real witch. Somewhere in her bloodline maybe five generations back there was a powerful, dangerous witch in her family. Granted, the blood and powers weakened with every passing generation, but she can make figurines out of wood and breathe life into them. She is a witch as in black magic.” Cheng Yu stopped as if her retelling was straining and she needed a break. She grabbed a spiked alcohol plum and took a big bite.
“While I was in the mortal realm searching for someone who didn’t exist, Heavenly Lord had Su Jin make a figurine of me, and that puppet broke things off with Lian Song. He in return took another woman to bed out of anger and that was the end.” Cheng Yu avoided making eye contact with anyone and finished eating her plum.
Lian Song looked baffled and bewildered. He reached out and tenderly held Cheng Yu’s hand. His expression was one of genuine trouble.
He sadly asked, “Cheng Yu, why didn’t you tell me the truth? I would have left everything behind to be with you.”
Cheng Yu mockingly laughed and replied, “What was the point? Your father isn’t someone to take lightly, and I didn’t want to see you banished like your second brother. I did what I needed to do which was stay away from you. I did it to protect you, Lian Song. It’s all in the past now.”
“I never stopped loving you. Cheng Yu, why did you suffer alone all these years? How could I have been so blind to believe that figurine was you?” Lian Song’s eyes filled with tears as he stared so longingly at Cheng Yu.
Cheng Yu reached out and gently wiped Lian Song’s tears. A small smile came to her face, “You believed it because of how lifelike the puppets are. That’s Su Jin’s magic and your father was the one who told her to make it.”
“Black magic ordered by Heavenly Lord himself. That goes against every Celestial Law. Dangerous and foul.” Zhe Yan cringed, scarcely able to grasp the evil concept.
Bai Qian soberly stated, “The Celestials are a scary bunch. Black magic, eyes stealing and imprisoning a mortal just for her child. Damn, I’ve lost my buzz. Zhe Yan, lets take a walk and give Lian Song and Cheng Yu some private time.”
Zhe Yan and Bai Qian walked out of Tai Chen Palace leaving Lian Song and Cheng Yu alone.
To be continued…..