SuJin’s thin lips pulled back into a distressed, tight, flat line as she trembled fearfully. The sudden loss of color from her rosy cheeks was due to all the blood swiftly draining from her face, leaving her pale, ghostly, and colorless. Bai Qian was asking if she remembered her.
It was unfathomable; she shook her head in full disbelief and denial. Gugu. High Goddess Bai Qian of Qingqiu only resembled SuSu! The mortal was dead and gone forever! SuJin was looking at a stranger that she’d never met before that moment. She told herself, that this woman wasn’t her.
The fatal jump from Zhuxian Terrace almost killed immortal Ye Hua. So the mortal…was in hell where she belonged for stealing and taking him from her. For giving birth to his son the first prince imperial great-grandson of Celestial Nine Heavens. The child SuJin should have had with him. Not SuSu. Bai Qian was mistaken when she asked if SuJin remembered her because they’d never met, and regardless of the many similarities, Bai Qian was not SuSu.
But Bai Qian stared and smiled at her knowingly. SuJin tried to clear her mind and silenced her suspicions as she promptly replied, “High Goddess Bai Qian. Gugu, I’ve yet to have the pleasure of meeting you until today.”
The reply from SuJin wasn’t what she wanted to hear. Bai Qian pursed out her full painted lips and pouted to show her displeasure and spoke solemnly, “Consort SuJin, I’m a bit disappointed that you don’t remember me. After all, what you and I endured together…was thoroughly unforgettable and unbelievable. Or at least in my mind.”
No, this woman wasn’t SuSu, she repeated to herself. Deep into her lap SuJin hid her shaking, trembling hands and glanced toward Ye Hua for direction. However, he was ultimately ignoring the entire conversation and studying one of the many tedious documents on his desk.
“Gugu, I would surely remember meeting you.” SuJin faked a weak, feeble smile and put forth all her efforts into staying calm.
The beaming, bright grin on Bai Qian’s face said something entirely different than her dull, dead, and stone-like eyes. There was something ominous, menacing, and threatening in her gaze. But her tone was honey-sweet, coaxing, and made a wave of nausea suddenly hit SuJin when she spoke.
Bai Qian said in a calm indecipherable but familiar tone, “SuJin, it’s been a long time and I bet you never thought you’d ever see me again…but if you don’t remember me, then I guess I was the only one thinking about you.”
No, she wasn’t SuSu! SuJin reassured herself but when Bai Qian paused it only added to SuJin’s anxiousness, and her heart raced painfully as Bai Qian nonchalantly blew her tea to cool the hot temperature.
She met SuJin’s confused gaze and added casually, “Our meeting was war. Was it not?”
The bewildering words she spoke sent a shiver down her spine, and SuJin started hyperventilating when Bai Qian finally announced, “I saw you last…during the Ghost War. You were just a child when I led an army for my beloved Shifu, High God Mo Yuan.”
Strangely after her statement, Ye Hua who had been silent suddenly and violently threw down the scroll he was reading and glared at Bai Qian with fury.
“Your heartbreaking bitter parting from your brave parents, who sacrificed for the Celestials. Well, I recall them well. It was a sad and touching scene that never left my mind. I always said, if we ever meet again that I’d treat you like a sister. It seems we’re fated to meet each other again, Consort Beautiful Eyes.” Bai Qian spoke as she moved her hand.
The waved hand gesture and movement were subtle, and graceful when Bai Qian called for SuJin’s dropped cup to return to the tabletop. She filled the small container with the hot, fragrant jasmine tea and she finally released the tense breath she’d been holding. Inwardly she laughed at herself for being so paranoid. Of course, she knew it; Bai Qian wasn’t SuSu. Gone was SuSu just like Bai Qian would be soon enough.
She wouldn’t be as simple to rid of SuSu but SuJin did it once and she would do it again for Ye Hua’s love. Especially now since he’d allowed her to make his tea again. He was slowly opening his heart to her. She knew him better than anyone else and felt it deep within her yearning soul. He loved her but just didn’t know it yet.
This woman was High Goddess Bai Qian. Gugu the old female triple Ye Hua’s age but her resemblance to SuSu was highly unusual. Now SuJin was aware that her rival for him was an old but highly attractive woman, who just happened to look like SuSu and the intense sex appeal she exuded was extraordinary. And SuJin noted it even as a woman so her attractiveness to men would be profound.
SuJin now understood all the rude jokes, and rumors among the gossiping servants about her bedding needing continuous, and daily sheet changing because of Ye Hua’s frequent visits. He was using Bai Qian’s body as a replacement for SuSu.
SuJin acknowledged her rival wasn’t someone to take lightly. After all, she was Gugu. The highly esteemed queen of the Fox Clan but the old maid gave her permission to call her older sister, and SuJin would use it against her.
It would take time but SuJin felt confident she could make her leave Ye Hua’s side. She would just tell her all about SuSu and how he was using her as a substitute for his dead mortal. The inflated ego of the only High Goddess in the world would never tolerate such insult, and offense to be a surrogate for a mere low-born human.
Finally, SuJin felt she could breathe freely and filled Bai Qian’s teacup with a relaxed smile on her face. Soon, this old elderly Gugu would be a distant memory just like SuSu when she was through. SuJin was contemplating her future steps when Bai Qian suddenly turned her attention to her and scolded Ye Hua.
“Ye Hua, for shame. You have two beautiful women in your room and you’re working! What a terrible host you are! I insist that you join us. I have something planned since I thought you might have skipped lunch, darling.” Bai Qian cooed and even her voice was remarkably seductive. Oddly enough it made Ye Hua the unmovable rock move.
The sound of his closed scroll tapped against the table as he joined the women, but Ye Hua sat far from SuJin and refused to look in her direction. Still, she swallowed nervously and couldn’t hide her utter excitement. Because this was the closest she’d been to him for hundreds of years and she saw something quite interesting. He and Bai Qian were supposedly ardent lovers, but there was an unusual tenseness between them as SuJin noticed it immediately.
First, it was their strange body language. Ye Hua sat firmly and turned his entire body in her direction, but Bai Qian quite contrarily leaned opposite and avoided his eye contact. However, he watched her every move and appeared as if he’d taken her to the very spot where she sat. It was an odd understandable dynamic, exchange and there was definitely something going on between them. SuJin followed their behavior with more interest.
Bai Qian sensed his gaze, suddenly stood and pushed him towards SuJin, and stated sweetly, “Ye Hua, you must sit in the middle of us so we can share you.”
Ye Hua’s severe reaction to her action was unusual also. He was openly speechless, stunned, and dumbfounded. His eyes widened, his jaw tensed and he stared at Bai Qian with hostility. Was it an outrage that SuJin saw in his fiery gaze? Yes, he looked furious all a sudden, and fire blazed in his dark eyes.
The tension between them was thick when a female servant brought in a table full of sweets, and pastries which forced Ye Hua to conceal and mask his emotions. Bai Qian seemed not to pay him any attention, and quietly requested they bring the other particular dish she’d ordered also. She reached for a honey cake when he swiftly swiped it from her hand. SuJin observed the fascinating exchanges between them, and it went something like this.
Ye Hua held it by her mouth and said tenderly, “Say ahhhh my love. Don’t make my hand feel embarrassed waiting for you to take a bite, Qian Qian.”
Bai Qian chuckled but it was tense and fake as she replied, “Don’t be silly, Ye Hua. I’m more than capable of feeding myself.”
Their fight…yes, it was a battle. SuJin could see it before her eyes. There was nothing lovable or tender about them. There was undoubtedly fire and she saw something he usually hid. Ye Hua’s volatile explosive anger or was it lust? It was lust and maybe jealousy… Hm? It was difficult to read, but Bai Qian’s demeanor was unquestionably cold to him and why would he be jealous?
SuJin’s female intuition picked up on it instantly. It was evident that Bai Qian didn’t love Ye Hua. She didn’t even like him.
“I insist you let your future husband feed you, my love. Qian Qian, it’s sweet and romantic between new lovers. Remember? We’re new lovers.” Ye Hua responded without moving his hand. He smiled, blinked a couple of times, and made a cutesy noise at her that SuJin never heard him make in his entire life, not even when he was a baby.
Playfully Bai Qian retorted but she appeared anxious and her teasing sounded more like one of annoyance, “Ye Hua, if you’re going to feed anyone here it should be your favorite Consort Beautiful Eyes first, then I’ll take a bite afterward.”
He smirked and Ye Hua didn’t even bother to look in SuJin’s way but said in his soft voice, “Do you promise, Qian Qian?”
“Of course.” She carelessly tossed out seemingly amused but it was entirely forced and artificial. Casually, she nodded her head agreeable but gasped in horror when Ye Hua haphazardly threw the pastry towards SuJin. It landed right in her lap. He never looked at her once. Not even to check where and if the sweet settled on the floor or in her direction.
Immediately, Ye Hua grabbed another piece of cake, held it before Bai Qian, and stated, “I kept my agreement so now it’s your turn, my love. Take a bite. For me since you promised.”
Bai Qian’s dark eyes narrowed and her cheeks began to flush. She tried to hide it but she puffed, laughed in disbelief, and reluctantly leaned in to take a bite. Ye Hua held it still as she moved in and suddenly dropped it before it touched her lips. Instead, he kissed her firmly right on her mouth causing her to gasp. She then planted both hands on his chest to keep him away from her. She tried to pull away when he roughly grabbed her by her waist and pulled her closer and upon his lap.
If they were indeed lovers as rumored, she shouldn’t have been so surprised, but Bai Qian’s eyes widened in pure confusion as if they’d never before kissed. And her tense hands tightly fisted upon his chest when his tongue licked her closed mouth. Ye Hua purposely pinched the side of her waist so that when she gasped he slid his tongue into her open mouth. For minutes it was an intense battle of wills as she continued to resist him but then she slowly, suddenly stopped fighting and began to kiss him back.
SuJin viewed their tongues passionately twisting, as he embraced her fast to him, moaned her name, and whispered, “Qian Qian. I love you.”
They seemed to have forgotten SuJin was still in the room until a foul fishy aroma hit her like a sharp slap across her face. There was suddenly another tray behind her, and she repeatedly gagged from the strong repulsive reeking smell. It was her unexplained sickness again.
The sound of SuJin’s dry heaving caused Bai Qian to snap out of her lustful daze. Angrily, she glared and stared at Ye Hua furiously while he now looked smug and delighted. He licked his lips as if he’d consumed something delicious while she blatantly ignored him, and then turned all her attention to SuJin. She brought and placed the giant ceramic bowl closer, and opened the lid allowing the pungent steam to rise.
The strong fish odor was incredibly potent and the whole room reeked as Bai Qian explained sweetly, “Sister, fish head and tofu soup is terrific for women and our complexions. Also, the health properties are amazing. Allow me, your older sister, to serve you.”
Bai Qian dished out two giant fish heads with tofu cubes and ginger slices in a bowl and set them in front of SuJin, who forcibly gagged and promptly vomited into her lap. She cursed the damn mysterious illness inflicting her body! Mortified was she while Bai Qian studied her with an unreadable narrowed curious gaze, but there was a tiny pleased smile on her lips.
The red flag. Her internal warning went off. SuJin didn’t know what it was but something was going on, and she felt that she was also a part of the mysterious conspiracy. And perhaps the most significant issue was she didn’t know if it was Ye Hua or Bai Qian’s secret scheme. Still, regardless her future actions would still be the same because SuJin’s only goal was his love.
At that very moment, SuJin concluded nothing mattered especially after viewing their heated kiss and hearing Ye Hua’s verbal declaration of his love for her. The best and only way to remove Bai Qian permanently from his life was death. High Goddess Bai Qian needed to follow SuSu, the mortal into hell.
To be continued…