Heavenly Lord said and did nothing, after hearing about the change in guards at Donghua Dijun’s residence. If anything, he’d intentionally and purposely avoided the palace, because he didn’t want to run into Bai Qian.
He’d lived long enough to know revenge was best served cold and calculated Bai Qian’s plans were currently on ice. Heavenly Lord’s only glimmer of hope was that she’d leave quickly after Ye Hua canceled their marriage engagement.
However, much to his profound disappointment, Ye Hua stubbornly refused to break the engagement and openly defied him. Heavenly Lord spent his long days watching the sand hourglass, in wait for the storm that was Bai Qian of Qingqiu.
Heavenly Lord didn’t have to wait very long. High Goddess Bai Qian, the tempest he’d been anticipating appeared finally.
Slowly, she strolled into the main hall with her Jade Purity Fan fully extended. Lazily fanning herself as if she was attending afternoon tea with the ladies, instead of a confrontation with her old nemesis that stole her eyes.
Bai Qian was much younger than himself, but Heavenly Lord was indeed afraid of her. Arrogantly, she looked at him, and her painted lips curled up into a somewhat frightening smile. She didn’t bother to bow or greet him correctly.
His voice slightly wavered when he spoke first, “Who are you? Are you Bai Qian, SuSu or Si Yin? How should I address you?”
She smirked and haughtily replied, “To you, I’m Karma, and that’s all you need to know.”
“I believe we have some unsettled business, you and I.” Said Bai Qian as she casually glanced towards the guards, standing outside the main hall and added, “I think it would be in your best interest if our conversation remained between just you and me.”
The situation was precarious, but he begrudgingly signaled to his guards to step away, while Bai Qian sat in Donghua Dijun’s usual seat. She continued to fan herself leisurely.
Insolently she declared, “You won’t need to sit down. I’ll keep it short. I’m telling you what you’re going to do and you’ll do as I say. The less you talk, the quicker I’ll leave so let’s keep this brief!”
Bai Qian’s voice was calm and almost sweet, but there was a subtle underlining tone of warning as she informed, “You’re going to call your witch, and she’s going to make a special figurine. Su Jin has to complete it within two days because that’s about how long Ye Hua will stay asleep. I’ve purposely drugged him.”
She continued in the same monotonous tone, “She’ll make a figurine of SuSu and breath life into it. I know all about her black magic and how you’ve used it in the past. Naughty, naughty. Then you, Heavenly Lord, will use every bit of cultivation necessary, to turn that wooden figurine into an immortal woman.”
Silently, Heavenly Lord and Bai Qian met and locked eyes. She had the face of an angelic child, but there was something quite scary in her intense gaze.
“You’ll tell Ye Hua that you turned SuSu immortal, gave her water from the River of Oblivion to forget everything, and hid her as an Earth Deity for the last 300 years. You’ll also admit to staging her death. You can lie and say you had some humanity left in you after all.”
Mockingly, she smirked and added, “It might be difficult for him to believe that an animal like you would do such a kind deed, so your actions and acting must be perfect for your sake.”
Considering the severe nature of their conversation, Bai Qian was amazingly calm, controlled and that alarmed the Heavenly Lord even more.
Bai Qian briefly paused and proceeded with her specific instructions. She didn’t bother to listen to a reply since she wasn’t there to hear anything Heavenly Lord had to say.
She confidently asserted, “I’ll make sure Ye Hua finds her, and they will live happily without you causing any trouble for them. Once they marry, you’ll treat her properly as his Princess Consort.”
The confident smirk-like grin never left her face as she resumed, “After two months, you will ask my father, the Fox King, for a marriage agreement between Princess Cheng Yu and Prince Lian Song.”
Bai Qian announced with great pleasure, “You see, the Fox Clan is adopting Cheng Yu, and she will become the Fox King’s sixth child and second daughter. She will become a Princess of Qingqiu, and gain all the privileges that come along with her new title. Money. You seem to looooove Qingqiu’s money so their marriage should make you quite happy.”
“After their grand marriage in Nine Heavens, you’ll abdicate your position to Ye Hua as Heavenly Lord, and then you’ll retire, live quietly and stay out of everyone’s business.” A snap echoed in the air when Bai Qian closed her fan sharply against her open palm and rose from her seated position.
He put up a tough front. Heavenly Lord scoffed and arrogantly replied, “Why should I do anything? What right do you have to make such outlandish requests?”
Bai Qian’s calm expression suddenly grew fierce. Her lips curled up sharply on one side, and she hissed, “Your eyes and life!”
Quickly like putting on a mask, she went back to smiling. Bai Qian’s voice softened again. The expression of serenity returned to her face.
She casually replied, “If you don’t do as I say, then you leave me no choice but to admit that I’m SuSu. Then I’ll tear out yours, Su Jin’s and Ye Hua’s eyes right out of their sockets. Once sightless, I’ll give you a choice of leaping off Zhuxian Terrace or kill you where you stand.”
The graciously polite way she smiled, spoke so softly and gently while discussing tearing out eyes, and taking lives were astonishing. Mind-boggling. Spine-chilling.
With a subtle hint of challenge, she charged, “What will it be Heavenly Lord? Using your cultivation to make matters right? Or no eyes and death?”
Bai Qian openly giggled at him and stated, “I’m giving you the opportunity to become a human being to your grandson, who refers to you as the ‘destroyer of his soul.’ Your cultivation and a little deceit in exchange for your eyes and life? I would consider it a fair trade-off. A no-brainer.”
After a deep sigh, she casually suggested, “We both know loose lips sink ships and I’ll never admit to our deal. I expect you to do the same. Su Jin, however, is your problem. If you want to keep your vessel afloat, I’d suggest getting rid of your rubbish after I retrieve what rightfully belongs to me.”
Snickering, Bai Qian declared, “Lucky for you, I’m not as vindictive as I used to be and prefer to give than take. That’s what sets us apart. That’s the difference between you and me.”
Bai Qian’s smooth voice finally switched and turned into a threatening snarl as she demanded, “Now, call your witch! Ye Hua will only stay asleep for a couple of days so she must complete her task before then, or I’ll have to find three containers for three new sets of eyes.”
Intently, Heavenly Lord studied her. Bai Qian’s pupils darkened, and fire flickered wildly. She extended her sharp fox claws and reopened the Jade Purity Fan ready to attack. She wasn’t bluffing. She’d meant everything she’d said. She was dangerous and deadly.
He didn’t have a choice. Heavenly Lord instructed to have Su Jin brought to the main hall immediately, while Bai Qian began to disrobe slowly. It was time to create SuSu.
Inside the confines of a privacy shield, Su Jin was told to make a figurine of SuSu using Bai Qian’s body as the model. She instructed Su Jin to make sure every mole on her body, and the scar on her wrist was also on the figurine. She exposed every part of her body to Su Jin because SuSu needed to be a perfect replica of herself to trick Ye Hua.
It took two days straight without a moment’s rest for Su Jin to complete her task. She looked exhausted, and her face was wet with sweat when she was through. Her hair disheveled and hands bloody from cutting herself, while carving the fine details into the wooden puppet.
Slowly, Bai Qian walked around the now living twin figurine of herself. She inspected SuSu to make sure everything was perfect. Yes, she was flawless even down to the mole behind Bai Qian’s ear.
Bai Qian then pressed her lips and blew her magical breath into SuSu’s mouth. She now exuded a similar sweet scent as Bai Qian from her body.
It was time for Heavenly Lord to use his cultivation, and magic to turn the figurine into an immortal woman, SuSu.
Then wordlessly, Bai Qian savagely ripped her eyes out of Su Jin’s head because, after her task, she no longer needed her sight. And mysteriously, she suddenly vanished right afterward without a trace.
Bai Qian’s forms of retribution were a bit different than what others might have anticipated, but she considered her debts fulfilled. It worked for her.
Ye Hua stole her eyes, an organ. She in return took his heart, another organ. He’d faithfully waited for 300 years, tried everything under the sun to make Bai Qian fall in love with him again. He’d even gone head to head against his much older blood brother, Mo Yuan. Pretty bold considering the boy was only 50,000 years old.
Ye Hua had also followed her to death and jumped willing from the punishment platform, so the debt of Zhuxian Terrace was a wash.
His other mistake was approaching SuSu with a fake identity. He met her under a misleading representation of himself, so Bai Qian’s kind of karma was, she repaid him with a false version of herself.
Through Ye Hua, she’d found Cheng Yu again, so Bai Qian decided to give him a break. Maybe it was the holiday season that made her feel more generous than usual, but in her mind, she and he were now debt-free.
Just as her past self, Bai Qian didn’t have the heart to hurt the man she’d once loved to the point of death. Only after reading the letter she’d written to herself, she understood just how much she’d loved her mortal husband, Ye Hua.
Through her own words of profound confusion and utter pain, Bai Qian discovered clarity and even though she couldn’t remember, still she knew there was a piece of Ye Hua buried somewhere in her heart.
Heavenly Lord’s crimes were too many to address one by one. Over the thousands of years as Heavenly Lord, he’d hurt many with his evil and pure negligence of authority. Bai Qian decided he would pay by losing, what he’d held most valuable in his miserable life, which was his ultimate control in Celestial Heaven. What he freely welded and exercised to hurt others, instead of being the unbiased, fair, divine Immortal God he was supposed to be, was merely taken away from him.
Bai Qian forced him to use all his elite cultivation to bring back a dead woman, whom he’d damaged most heinously. His karma for stealing her will to live was the use of his immortal energy to bring back the one he tried to kill, SuSu. He created SuSu.
Su Jin’s sentence was simple. She owed Bai Qian a pair of eyes which she took back. It wasn’t her intention to be so rough during the retrieval, but after staying up two nights straight, she was just fatigued. Oopsy!
Bai Qian knew it was her bad and even apologized to Su Jin because she was a benevolent, compassionate and magnanimous High Goddess. The ONLY High Goddess in the world, so Bai Qian knew to behave with dignity and as a role model for the younger gods. They were so unruly and lacked the discipline these days, those rotten youngsters!
Enough of her rant, let’s get back to Su Jin’s punishment.
All the while Su Jin was carving SuSu, she knew the figurine that she was creating would be going to Ye Hua. There the marionette would be loved by him in all the ways, Su Jin always desired but never received.
Ye Hua’s tender kiss, arousing touch and physical love was going to a doll created by Su Jin. What was a more profound twisted form of karma than that?
In Bai Qian’s mind, Su Jin didn’t deserve to live, but she kept it to herself. After breathing her last breath into the wooden puppet, SuSu, she was taken away by Heavenly Lord’s guards. So in a sense, Bai Qian had nothing to do with Su Jin’s demise. She’d merely made a suggestion or two.
After spending time at the Buddhist temple, Bai Qian didn’t take lives. If anything, she prayed for Su Jin and her tragically distorted way of thought and how she lived.
Finally debt-free. Once again, Lady Justice prevailed in the form of High Goddess Bai Qian of Qingqiu. Her work was complete in Nine Heavens, and it was time to go home.
Uncle Lian Song flew into Ye Hua’s chamber while he was still trying to awake. Groggy, he wasn’t aware he’d been asleep for almost three days straight. He looked dazed and confused because his last memory was drinking with Qian Qian.
Uncle Lian Song’s eyes were huge with shock and excitement as he loudly exclaimed, “Ye Hua, brace yourself, but I think I saw SuSu!”
Was he still dreaming? Ye Hua didn’t understand what was going on. He softly said, “Uncle Lian Song, Qian Qian is SuSu. What are you talking about?”
“No, Qian Qian isn’t SuSu! I think she’s still alive! I saw her or someone who looked just like her with my own eyes! Ye Hua, this is the most shocking part, but she’s immortal! An Earth Deity! I was with Cheng Yu, and there she was just as I remembered.” Uncle Lian Song’s voice was high pitched, ecstatic and bubbly with absolute joy and awe.
In a foggy daze, Ye Hua couldn’t make sense of what he’d heard. Inwardly, he wondered if his uncle was drunk?
Uncle Lian Song then forcefully yanked Ye Hua out of bed and urgently advised, “Get up and get dressed! 300 years! That’s how long you’ve been waiting for her!”
He didn’t believe his uncle but never the less, Ye Hua swiftly dressed and went to where Uncle Lian Song thought he saw SuSu. To Ye Hua’s thorough and complete shock, there she was just as he remembered, standing next to a huge oak tree. In her hands, she held what appeared to be a birdcage, and the songbird appeared wounded. Dressed in a goddess gown. It was SuSu.
Her beautiful face and gentle expression. Her movements and body language. Even the dot on her forehead. It was SuSu. Silent and blinking his eyes in disbelief, Ye Hua felt as if he were dreaming.
How was this possible? He’d thought Qian Qian was SuSu. Or could Qian Qian have been right all along about not being SuSu? Could he have been wrong about Qian Qian? What was going on and why was SuSu an immortal? The many questions were rushing through Ye Hua’s dumbfounded, confused brain.
Uncle Lian Song pressed, “Why are you waiting? Go to her!”
Ye Hua stood back terrified. As he cautiously lingered not knowing what to do, Uncle Lian Song swiftly kicked him forward quite forcefully. He went flying and landed on all fours right in front of SuSu.
He scared her. She jumped back terrified, hid behind the huge tree and nervously peaked out at Ye Hua. Suddenly, SuSu noticed his bleeding hands and knees. He’d landed on the many sharp rocks by the trunk underneath the giant oak tree.
Nervously she declared, “Oh no! You’re bleeding!”
She came out of hiding and tenderly held Ye Hua’s blood covered hands and amazingly, SuSu began to tear up. Exactly as she had when they first met on Mount Junji.
Ye Hua’s sharp eyes studied her face intently, and suddenly he embraced SuSu as tightly as he could. The goddess stiffened up from his unexpected hug, but he didn’t release her. He cried because finally, he believed he’d found the real one, his SuSu.
Qian Qian was leaving Nine Heavens when Ye Hua ran into her. He’d barely caught her on her way out.
Excitedly, Qian Qian asked with an expression of wonderment, “Ye Hua, are the rumors true? Everyone is saying that you’ve found SuSu! The real SuSu!”
Ye Hua replied somewhat hesitantly, “Yes, I think I’ve found her. You were right about not being SuSu. I’m sorry Qian Qian.”
Quite carefully, Qian Qian removed the red bracelet Ye Hua had given her in the mortal world. She used a spell to create flame in her open palm and held it to the fire. The scarlet cord instantly burned up, disappeared and the three tiny rings went rolling in three different directions. Probably never to be found again.
Her lovely mouth curved into a radiant smile as Qian Qian explained, “Ye Hua, have you heard the term 緣分Yuanfen? Many get it confused with destiny, but it actually means fate. A binding force. The proverb, “have fate without destiny,” describes couples who meet, but who don’t stay together, for whatever reason. That’s you and I. We wouldn’t have lasted. I’m happy you found the real SuSu, and I’m thrilled I wasn’t her after all.”
“You have such lovely eyes and I would have hated to rip them out of your handsome head.” Qian Qian chuckled casually while saying something quite frightful.
Ye Hua had the strangest feeling, but he couldn’t put it into words. Something felt fundamentally off, but her reactions were genuine and utterly sincere.
Entirely believable was her shocked reaction, when Ye Hua told Qian Qian about how SuSu ended up an immortal woman.
In a tone full of surprise, she was almost disbelieving jeered, “Who would have guessed your rotten miserable S.O.B of a grandfather, had some humanity left in him after all! I guess I must have lived long enough because now I’ve seen everything!”
“Ye Hua, so our engagement is canceled? Are we still friends?” She asked with a warm, gentle smile on her beautiful face.
Carefully, Ye Hua nodded ‘yes’ but felt the oddest throbbing pain in his heart. Inwardly he wondered, had he fallen in love with Qian Qian while searching for SuSu? He firmly chastised himself for being selfish and unfaithful towards her. He owed SuSu so much, and he knew it.
“Yes, of course, we’re friends, Qian Qian. I guess you’re going to my brother now?” Ye Hua’s soft voice asked somewhat regretful.
Sighing deeply, Qian Qian lightly replied, “No, Shifu is getting married in three weeks to a Celestial. Just as we weren’t destined and it must be the same for him and me as well. Fated but not destined.”
Chuckling, Qian Qian openly laughed at the irony of her situation and stated, “I gained and lost you both at the same time. I think we three are like a triangle. The same distance must remain between us to keep balance. Symmetry.”
“Maybe I’ll see you at Shifu’s wedding. I haven’t decided if I’ll be attending or not. Good luck with SuSu. Be good to her!” Qian Qian threw out nonchalantly.
Ye Hua didn’t know what came over him when he suddenly asked, “Qian Qian, would you stay and become my side consort?”
Ye Hua couldn’t believe the words came flying out of his mouth.
She raised her eyebrows, and disapprovingly side-eyed him, but replied back playfully, “GuGu has already told you that I don’t do harems, young prince!”
In her lecturing ‘I’m teaching you something, Ye Hua’ tone of voice, she warned, “Be a good boy and stay faithful to SuSu. You owe her that much. Harems are bad! Don’t make me come back and punish you. I feel a strange connection to her since we apparently look so much alike. Be good, young prince!”
With her Jade Purity Fan fully extended, Qian Qian sauntered away. Leisurely fanning herself, she glanced back at Ye Hua one last time. A subtle smile came to her full lips, and then she turned her back towards him and vanished in a white cloud vapor, out of his life.
Ye Hua wondered why his heart ached so profoundly to watch her go, and what was the unreadable look he saw in her gaze?
To be continued…..