Euphoric with unbridled exuberance, that’s how A-Li came running and threw himself into his mother’s waiting embrace. For the very first time, Ye Hua realized that A-Li was still a baby when he saw him curled into his mother’s body. His sweet baby face firmly pressed up against her bosom whilst she covered his small head with tender, adoring kisses. Bai Qian was fighting the urge and trying to hold back her tears that threatened to spill over, and her dark eyes swam in unshed tears.
Their bittersweet reunion was incredibly touching, remarkably moving, too stirring and Ye Hua found himself crying. Tears of joy, delight, guilt, shame, and sorrow slid down his face endlessly. Witnessing the bittersweet delayed mother and son encounter was visible proof of his past sins. Yes, he still felt responsible while silently carrying all the cumbersome weight of the errors and crimes from their tragic past. He was fully and painfully aware that he was in the wrong. Always on the verge. Forever mere seconds from dropping on bent knees, begging in earnest for Bai Qian’s forgiveness and her love.
It was pure insanity and shameful, but Ye Hua was jealous of his son A-Li who was now pressed up against Bai Qian’s soft bosoms. Particularly after seeing the way she fondly stared at him with a warm, tender gaze of clear indisputable love in her eyes. Unquestionable true love. At that moment, Ye Hua recognized with absolute conviction the way she looked at him wasn’t love. She was right when she said she no longer loved him. Not even the slightest. The gaze she used with him was one of courtesy and politeness. The kind one would use with guests and strangers. Heartbreaking she was his home but he was a guest in her home.
The announcement of Bai Qian’s arrival caused his mother, Consort Le Xu to knowingly smirk since she expected Bai Qian to come to her residence. After all, she was the Crown Prince’s mother and her future mother-in-law, so she didn’t bother to rise and greet the High Goddess correctly. Instead, she informally waved her hand for her to sit comfortably.
The extraordinary vision of Bai Qian took her breath away because even to a woman’s gaze, the Queen of Qingqiu was stunning. Dressed in a gorgeous pale pink goddess gown, she was a sight of pure beauty. Her voice was as lovely as her face and when she spoke it sounded like a song.
Softly, demurely she spoke, “High Goddess Bai Qian, Queen of Qingqiu greets Consort Le Xu, first wife of Prince Yang Cuo and mother to the Crown Prince Ye Hua of the Celestial Clan.”
Consort Le Xu laughed to herself inwardly. Bai Qian was a better partner for Ye Hua than the mortal SuSu, and the High Goddess’s proper greeting pleased her immensely. It was best for Bai Qian to know from the start, who possessed the real power in their relationship.
It was entirely disrespectful and improper but Le Xu stayed in her high seat, and Bai Qian humbly sat beneath her. Lower than her. A definite sign of submission from the high and mighty Gugu. Barely holding back the urge to snicker aloud, Le Xu sipped at her tea and visually judged her future daughter-in-law. Yes, consider raised was Bai Qian in the wilderness of Qingqiu, she had a refined sense about her which was beneficial. Le Xu wouldn’t have to train her as much as she anticipated.
“Bai Qian, since you’re marrying my son. I won’t bow to you as protocol requires.” Consort Le Xu called her by name and casually spoke as she motioned for her servant to serve tea to Bai Qian.
The High Goddess demurely lowered her shy gaze and spoke in the same sweet, humble voice, “Consort Le Xu, if I may be so bold to request your guidance during my time in Nine Heavens. I’m particular. Perhaps too much so. Almost to a fault when it comes to following proper customs and for some reason, I believe your infinite wisdom would be best.”
How humorous. Queen Bai Qian was more like a tame kitten than an omnipotent High Goddess. Le Xu replied arrogantly, proudly with a tone of slight superiority. “Bai Qian, I hope you won’t be too upset if I correct you, and I’m so pleased to hear that you plan to adhere to the correct rules. I’m one that prefers to keep personal and public behavior completely separate, so until you and Ye Hua marry, I’ll continue to treat you as I am now.”
In a flash, it happened. The metamorphosis or the revealing of the real Bai Qian. It was like watching a total solar eclipse when the moon entirely covers the sun, and brings dark to the day but at a flash-like accelerated speed. She was the moon that caused darkness to appear even in a place that was always light. The unexpected transformation in her demeanor caused Le Xu to shutter, and hold her breath in total shock.
How unnerving it was to see such a complete flip like night and day. Le Xu abruptly feared this woman. Bai Qian’s eyes were cold, black, lifeless like two hard dull stones. The fixed expression on her youthful-looking face was a mask, a disguise for someone, something much more frightening. She didn’t smile but how strangely she appeared to be smirking internally.
Within the outer shell of a beautiful woman lurked something mysterious, dark, and dangerous. A dominant element of an inexplicable being that was very dangerous and highly unpredictable. At that very moment, Le Xu understood true trepidation, because of the dreadful feeling in the pit of her stomach. Suddenly Bai Qian was the indisputable predator and Le Xu was undoubtedly the prey.
Slowly nodding her head affirmatively, Bai Qian promptly stood and glared down over her nose at Consort Le Xu. Gone was the coy, shy, submissive woman and in her place instead stood a High Goddess in full regalia. It was her superior presence, her dominating stance that suddenly commanded, and ruled the area around her. She was the esteemed High Goddess Gugu.
Bai Qian asked all the servants to come into the chamber, because she stated it was tiresome to repeat her demand, and waited to speak until all the servants were in Le Xu’s chamber. Her humiliation and schooling by Bai Qian would be witnessed by many, and everyone in Nine Heavens would hear of this embarrassment.
A smile curled up the corners of her lips, Bai Qian chuckled amused and indifferently declared, “Consort Le Xu, I’m so pleased to hear your wise words since I’m not married to Ye Hua yet, protocol calls for you to stand on ceremony when I enter the room. You may call me High Goddess Bai Qian if Gugu feels uncomfortable due to our age difference.”
In the same impassive tone, the High Goddess continued, “The proper rules of the immortal world command you bow to me three times, and kowtow nine times in my presence. I understand that might be a bit extreme every time we meet so I’ll accept your proper greeting now. In the future, a lengthy salute will suffice. Thank you for following correct etiquette, Consort Le Xu of the Celestial Clan. I grant you permission to greet me respectively and bow to me as protocol requires.”
To be continued…