The little hut was quite sparse in decor. It had everything one would need to survive but it was modest and simple. Inquisitively Bai Qian wandered around without prior approval or invitation. She quickly noticed the eye catching crimson wedding quilt on the little bamboo framed bed, and wondered where the young man’s wife might be. It made sense because he was too handsome to be single.
While she slowly and curiously surveyed the interior, the young man quietly set the small dining table in the tiny kitchen.
He didn’t call her and just sat down and began to eat alone. Bai Qian lightly cleared her throat and tensely sat across from him. They ate in awkward silence and inwardly she acknowledged that he was quite the talented cook. Everything was seasoned to perfection and the dishes were surprisingly and utterly delicious.
“Where’s your wife?” Bai Qian casually asked trying to sound as non-intrusive as possible, but she was considerably curious.
He didn’t even meet her gaze and just replied, “What wife?”
Bai Qian motioned with her hand towards the wedding quilt and said, “The bedding is a wedding blanket.”
Smiling ever so slightly, he answered, “So…everyone who has a red blanket has to be married? Is it against the law for someone without a wife to use one?”
“No, I just assumed that a young man like you would have a wife. You can’t live here by yourself, could you?” Bai Qian asked absentmindedly shoving the savory food into her mouth.
He glanced up at her appearing somewhat bothered and said, “I do live here alone and isn’t it rude to ask so many questions, considering we haven’t even exchanged names?”
“Do you want to know my name?” Bai Qian smiled triumphantly.
She’d caught on to his game. It was apparent that he was trying to find out more about her. Finally, he was acting as most men did towards her. He was just pretending to be indifferent and perhaps, playing hard to get.
Dumbfounded she almost fell off her chair when he replied, “No, princess. I don’t want to know your name. I’ll probably never see you after today so what’s the point?”
He finished eating, put his plate in the sink and washed it then declared, “I’m going to take a nap so you can see yourself out.”
He proceeded to leave Bai Qian alone and laid down on his bed. It was unbelievable but this man honestly didn’t have the slightest bit of interest in her. Unsure what to do, she quietly cleared the table, washed her plate and left. Leaving the young man who was still nameless as he continued to snooze.
In Qingqiu, Bai Qian was still in deep contemplation thinking about the mysterious mortal who was strange and enigmatic. Never had she met a man like him before and couldn’t stop thinking about him.
It was her father’s angry, blooming voice that broke her concentration. The Fox King who’d just returned from Nine Heavens was outraged. He’d discovered young Crown Prince Ye Hua refused to accept the marriage agreement, due to Bai Qian’s advanced age.
The Crown Prince’s defiant opposition was a direct insult to Qingqiu considering the Fox King’s realm’s wealth, power and the unparalleled beauty of his only daughter. Heavenly Lord was unable to tame his grandson’s will and sent Ye Hua on a mortal trial to make him yield. The Lord of Celestial Heaven purposely had Star Lord Si Ming write a lonely, wealth-less life without material resources to make his grandson suffer.
Ye Hua’s mortal life was one where he’d become orphaned in youth, lived penniless and without monetary possessions. He would live in a solitary hut on a remote, desolate mountainside until his natural human death. There he would never experience love, companionship or the simple joys as other mortals. His existence would be one of isolation and poverty.
Heavenly Lord’s lesson of tough love was to break his disobedient young grandson’s spirit. In hopes, Ye Hua would return matured and wise enough to accept such a prosperous marriage arrangement. All immortal realms desired a union or connection to Qingqiu, and he didn’t understand what was at stake.
Young Prince Ye Hua foolishly told Heavenly Lord that he wanted to marry someone he loved like a soulmate. Instead of an old High Goddess Queen, who was 90,000 years older than himself. Ye Hua announced she was too aged, and he wouldn’t be able to perform his physical duties with someone his mother’s age. So he was punished and sent on a mortal trial to teach him a needed dose of the bitterness in life.
Ye Hua was currently 20 years old in the mortal realm. Living in solitude, penniless and alone as Heavenly Lord prearranged. At the base by Mount Junji was the location of his little thatched hut. Little did he and Bai Qian know, that they’d unknowingly met their intended partners for their prearranged marriage.
Just as Ye Hua was unhappy with the nuptial arrangements, Bai Qian was as displeased with the ill suited match. She’d yet to meet the young Crown Prince but after hearing how he didn’t want her due to their age difference, she’d also refused to accept him utterly outraged by his offensive reaction.
“So… Ye Hua chose to go on a mortal trial of life’s bitterness than marry me?” Bai Qian’s sharp tone was one of complete aversion.
The Fox King forcefully tapped his pipe with tobacco and spat, “That brat needs to suffer! Refusing an offer of such generosity makes me wonder, if Ye Hua was mentally damaged due to his delayed birth.”
“It’s unfortunate Mo Yuan won’t take a wife because he’d be perfect for you. They’re twins so at least you’d get one with some brains!” The Fox King sighed and shook his head in profound disappointment.
The Fox King tilted his head and curiously inquired, “Have you ever seen either of them? Mo Yuan or Ye Hua?”
“No. Are they hideous or have four heads? Being sons of Heavenly Father are they too divine for me to look at directly?” Bai Qian sarcastically asked with a smirk on her lips.
Teasingly her father snorted and sadly replied, “Yes, they’re freakishly ugly! My poor unfortunate daughter might have to close your eyes tightly if you marry Ye Hua. How else will you ever conceive my grandchild?”
“Father, life is fair. If they’re handsome, powerful, loyal, brave and wealthy, then they lack somewhere else. One can’t have everything. An excellent use of wine is to aid in such situations.” Bai Qian shared her worldly wisdom and wordlessly returned to the mortal realm.
Never would she admit it but she was going back to visit her newest interest. The handsome, nameless, unmarried, mortal man who was living in a little thatched hut on the base of Mount Junji.
To be continued…..