As if overwhelmed by sheer terror and panic, Lifen sprang up fast and threw her slender arms around him desperately. The very instant, the very moment her eyes opened from Mo Yuan’s sleep spell, she clung to him most urgently and began to cry in soft, silent sobs.
Due to his continuous presence, he’d become her source of safety and security. Lifen deeply into his muscular chest buried herself. The wetness from her fresh, hot tears, Mo Yuan unquestionably felt them as they ran and streaked down her lovely face.
She whimpered, “Husband, I had a terrible nightmare! At first, it was a beautiful and amazing dream. You and I were both fully naked. Happily frolicking and playing in the clear, wide, blue ocean but then someone, a man who looked just like you; he was a twin, a doppelgänger of you but without your mustache and beard. He came and said you had to return to the mountain.”
Lifen breathed a sigh of relief, sniffed loudly due to her running nose, rubbed her damp cheeks dry with the backs of her small hands and said in her gentle tone, “Thank goodness it was only a dream. It felt so real that I was afraid I’d wake up and you’d be gone.”
Now softly she chuckled to herself, felt ridiculous crying over a mere dream but then noticed Mo Yuan who was fully dressed and her big, brown eyes widened most terrified. Fresh tears shone in her dark eyes as they filled, overflowed and ran down her soft, rosy cheeks like two cascading waterfalls. Lifen whimpered and frightfully trembled, shook as she sat on the bed watching him with an expression full of trepidation and dread.
Tenderly, most lovingly Mo Yuan cradled her crying face and spoke in his gentlest tone of voice to reassure her, “Lifen, please stop crying. I’m sorry but I do need to go somewhere. However, I promise that I’ll be back after two…three days at the most. Wait for me here and when I return; I assure you, we’ll continue with our project of making our baby. Alright?”
Lifen wasn’t even the slightest bit convinced by Mo Yuan’s promise. Obstinately she shook her head ‘no’ unwilling to accept his words of reassurance, continued to sob before she accused sharply and furiously.
She yelled, “I knew you had another wife! Mo Yuan Oppa! Go away and never come back!!”
Immediately and fully distraught, she rushed out of bed, lunged for her clothing when Mo Yuan caught her from behind. He hugged her tenderly.
He soothed, “Shhhh… Relax and calm down. My darling Lifen, I don’t have another wife. I promised you were my only love and I swear; I’ll be back. Trust me. When have I ever let you down?”
She wailed as she weakly plummeted to the floor. She hugged her knees tightly to her chest and wept most bitterly. Lifen hid her face in her knees, rocked herself back and forth like a child. Mo Yuan picked up her slender body, lovingly held her on his lap and kissed her forehead as he cooed gently to comfort her.
Mo Yuan held her head to his chest as she wept and spoke softly but earnestly, “Lifen, do you remember when I said I’d come back to be your Shifu and I did, right? Well, I promise you that I’ll return as your husband. Have faith in me and the days apart will fly by swiftly.”
“Why don’t you bake for me? You haven’t made my favorite treats and your specialty moon cakes in weeks. You got me addicted to those delicious delicacies but stopped making them. Therefore, I’ll be expecting a fresh batch when I return to give me strength, and energy so that I can successfully put a baby inside your tummy.” Mo Yuan teased and fondly rubbed her stomach.
Lifen stopped sobbing, now sat in his arms and often hiccuped from crying so hard. She asked in a faint whisper, “Do you want the ones with mung bean or red beans?”
“I’d like both! Now stop crying because if you send me away with a sad expression on your beautiful face, that will make me very blue. So how about you smile for me?” Mo Yuan persuaded thinking her even more adorable than ever before, and falling in love with her all over again… If that was even possible.
Pursing out her blooming tulip-like pouting lips, she sniffled and responded entirely unenthusiastic, “Alright, husband. I’ll wait here and make your moon cakes extra delicious so you’ll be more motivated to hurry back to me.”
Mo Yuan chuckled faintly, kissed her face and caressed her body as he declared, “Good. What a wonderful wife you are to me. I love you and I’ll be back before you even notice that I’ve been gone.” He murmured as he embraced her slim body tighter.
Lifen looked up at Mo Yuan with sad, puppy dog eyes but smiled crookedly in a way all her flawless, white teeth showed causing him to chuckle a bit louder at her. He affectionately kissed her full and perfect lips as long as time allowed. Reluctantly he walked to the door, spun back again to face her, smiled and waved goodbye.
He left his bride, Lifen, sitting on their bed as large tears ran down her face again, but she beamed and expressed loudly enough for him to hear from outside, “Mo Yuan Oppa, I love you so hurry back to me!”
From outside of their newlywed home, Mo Yuan heard her burst into tears again as he walked to join Ye Hua. His younger twin lingered and was waiting among the many peach trees, with an extremely meddlesome expression on his curious face.
Thoroughly inquisitive was Ye Hua’s tone which sounded jaunty, and the many questions flew out of his mouth like a rapid interrogation, “Brother, finally you’ve successfully earned her heart! Mo Yuan Oppa? Husband? When did you and she got married? Judging by what I overheard earlier by your residence – which was quite loud – and your mutual nudity on the shore; you and she have undoubtedly consummated the nuptials properly.”
“Does mortal Bai Qian know your real identity? What’s it like being sexually intimate with a mortal? Is a mortal woman softer than goddesses? More delicate I would think? Her creamy skin looked very soft and smooth when I saw her on the beach. How does it feel? Like satin? Even smoother than silk?” Eventually Ye Hua summed up and closed his fast line of questioning, and Mo Yuan inwardly wondered how he could talk so long without taking a breath in between.
Mo Yuan barely hid his nervousness and just questioned, “Ye Hua, tell me exactly what’s happening on Kunlun Mountain? Where does everyone think I’ve gone? What’s the situation?”
“Everyone believes you’re in seclusion because of what I told them. I said you were in a secretive place only known by you and I. Isn’t that clever of me? The Fox Emperor heard all about Bai Qian’s trial, stormed into Tai Chen Palace and demanded to see Si Ming.” Ye Hua’s annoyed tone reflected his exact sentiments, since he didn’t enjoy getting involved in drama or gossiping.
“Star Lord Si Ming boldly defended his actions and then all hell broke loose. Donghua Dijun had to separate them physically, and demanded they reconvene on Kunlun Mountain to settle this matter with you present.”
Ye Hua continued informing Mo Yuan of the current state of affairs, “Now Donghua Dijun, Si Ming, High God Bai Zhi and of course Zhe Yan are all together waiting for you.”
They momentarily paused when they reached the clearing of the peach farm, as Mo Yuan wistfully glanced back one last time towards Lifen’s cottage before they cloud jumped, and vanished in a haze of magical vapors returning them up to Kunlun Mountain.
The conditions were just as Ye Hua described. The situation was precarious, severe and pressing. Mo Yuan marched into the chaotic scene, and Bai Zhi was so outraged that he didn’t even bother to get up or greet Mo Yuan when he appeared.
Bai Zhi sat crossed legs with his arms folded across his chest and his sword placed beside him. Furiously, he scowled at Si Ming who sat opposite him, and his narrowed gaze bore into him like a laser beam. Neither men said a word but stared at each other with aversion.
Zhe Yan contrarily spotted Mo Yuan, he leaped up excited and rushed towards his brother as he declared loudly, “Mo Yuan, you know that I never take sides but you-will-never-believe what Si Ming wrote for Xiao Wu! This time I have to agree with Bai Zhi. The extremities and circumstances of her heavenly trial are horrific for an unwed girl!”
“Zhe Yan, calm down and stop making things worse. I need to settle matters quickly. I’m needed somewhere else.” Mo Yuan whispered under his breath causing Zhe Yan to gasp aloud and half shout.
“Mo Yuan, Xiao Wu is still a virgin and Si Ming has her in a brothel! A bordello! A dangerous place where women sell themselves most often by force! You must take all the time necessary to resolve this issue! After all, you and she are not strangers! You’ve known her since birth!” Zhe Yan frantically spoke in a rushed and hurried speed.
The Fox Emperor heard Zhe Yan’s comment about Bai Qian being in a cat house, and instantly sprang to his feet with his sword in hand as he bellowed, “I’m tired of wasting my time! I challenge Si Ming to settle matters on Mount Cangwu! This duel is long overdue! This shady and wicked bastard wants to ruin all my children!”
“Calling the writer of mortal fates, Star Lord Si Ming, a shady and wicked bastard is fully inappropriate, Bai Zhi. Everyone goes through their trial and tribulations. If heavenly trials were easy and simple, well then every immortal would be a High God or Goddess. One must earn their esteemed title if they want the accolades that come with such a noble status.” Donghua Dijun articulated without expression and in total indifference.
“Donghua, I say this as politely as I can since you and I are old friends…shut up!! You’ve never had a wife or children so your heart knows nothing! As a father when my child suffers, it hurts me one hundred folds over! The grief a parent feels watching their children endure such misery, is much more painful than if it happened to me directly!”
The Fox Emperor yelled as his face reddened even more and added, “Si Ming, I insist! No. I demand you tell me where she is so I can end her heavenly trial now!”
“Then, Bai Qian will fail her test and won’t ascend to High Goddess. If she succeeds, she will be the only High Goddess in the world. She will become ‘Gugu’ in all the eternal world. Are you sure she would want you to intervene? High God Bai Zhi, your daughter is no longer a child. She is 70,000 years old.” Si Ming announced in the most matter of factually tone of voice.
Mo Yuan deliberately moved in the middle of the two men to break the rapidly growing tension, between Bai Zhi and Si Ming. Carefully he considered what would be the best solution, and determined on telling Bai Zhi privately that he was actively watching over and protecting Bai Qian. However, he would delay until another time to announce his marriage to her.
If he could put his old friend’s mind at ease, that was the most straightforward and best resolution. But every time he tried to speak privately with Bai Zhi alone, Donghua Dijun and Zhe Yan followed along because in their minds; whatever Mo Yuan was going to say to Bai Zhi, they felt privy to the conversation as well.
There were too many cooks in the kitchen. As Mo Yuan carefully deliberated how to get Bai Zhi alone, away and separated from the others, suddenly his second son, Bai Yi appeared. He whispered something in his father’s ear; whatever he said caused Bai Zhi to spring up, and both Fox Clan member vanish without saying another word.
Only one reason Mo Yuan knew that would cause him to leave so abruptly, and that reason was if they’d found Bai Qian’s mortal identity, Lifen. Furthermore, he wasn’t sure if their discovery was a blessing or a disaster and how it would affect his relationship with her.
For Lifen, being without Mo Yuan was similar to a death sentence. She’d become so attached to him that the first miserable day, she didn’t even bother to get out of bed and ate nothing. The second terrible day was very much like the first until a random thought crossed her mind. That perhaps conceivably she was already pregnant with his child, and not eating might harm their baby.
So she eagerly, joyfully jumped out of bed, cleaned herself, weaved her long, silky hair in two neat braids, consumed a giant and massively enormous meal. Lifen smiled to herself the entire time, and assured herself it was for the baby she prayed was already growing inside her.
After eating, she happily hummed as she baked Mo Yuan’s favorite moon cakes, and wondered how he could swallow such terrible tasting pastries. She knew they were both unsightly and practically inedible, but the fact he ate them willingly made her racing heart pitter-pattered even more.
In all honesty, Lifen knew her baking was horrid but that was why she fell in love with Mo Yuan. The first time at the lake, she gave him the moon cakes because that was all she had to offer him for his kindness. When he tasted the first one, she’d fully expected him to spit it out immediately like everyone else. But when he didn’t, she was utterly stunned.
Then later, Mo Yuan gave her the tremendous honor and compliment, when he said that he wanted to consume them slowly to savor them. That’s when Lifen knew she would follow him anywhere, because he was the kind of gentleman she prayed and desired most earnestly. He was the perfect man she’d dreamt of her entire life, and she decided at that very moment she would marry him one day.
Because not only did he saved her from drowning in the lake like a knight in shining armor on a white stallion, but she recognized him from her youth or at least when she was a teenager. He’d appeared to her during her most difficult and depressing year when she wanted to run away.
Never would she admit it but the day he saved her, Lifen went out on purpose to kill herself. Fighting off her father’s sexual advances and enduring his constant beatings were unendurable, so she’d intentionally gone to the middle of the lake to commit suicide. However, Mo Yuan suddenly appeared as if he knew she was going to drown that day and saved her. He breathed life into her nearly dead body. When she awoke, she saw the most brilliant, glowing and nearly blinding aura around him like an immortal God or archangel.
Initially, she thought Mo Yuan was an angel especially when he mysteriously warned, and told her to avoid the young man in the neighboring village. The polite, most handsomest young man who’d been bringing her flowers, milk, chickens and eggs from his family’s farm. He’d been actively, aggressively courting her and even asked Lifen’s father for her hand in marriage.
The young man who died from illness later that year and his unfortunate wife, who was a childhood friend of Lifen’s was sold into a brothel. All this after her wicked in-laws kept her child conceived, when her brother-in-law assaulted her while she was in mourning. So Mo Yuan saved her from certain disaster had she married that young man as she’d initially planned.
Lifen considered herself fortunate, took her chance meeting with Mo Yuan as an auspicious sign to fight and stay hopeful. Her newfound hope then gave her strength, and courage to persevere regardless of her abusive treatment at home. Never did she expect he would return to teach her how to read, write and marry her then make her a woman. His woman.
She became Mo Yuan’s wife. He showed her the most exquisite, heavenly bodily pleasures that made her blush in crimson when she remembered, and recollected their intimacy. Suddenly longing for him more, and Lifen couldn’t wait for him to return home to resume with their baby making project. Her single regret was that her mother wasn’t still alive to meet him. If only her mother were living, she would have been so proud to show him off, and dress their first newborn baby in the unique layette her mother handmade for her. The beautiful new baby outfit that she cherished and saved for her own baby.
The one of a kind treasure still hidden in her home and she debated on going to get it. Lifen knew her father would never be home in the middle of the day, and decided to sneak in to retrieve her prized infant garment. Yes, she would reclaim the clothing made by her mother for her, and dress Mo Yuan’s first baby in the same clothing. Their first child that was possibly growing inside her.
Lifen giggled, rubbed her stomach and snuck into her father’s home. As expected he wasn’t there so she quickly went to her room and her secret hiding spot. There it was, her treasure and she snickered joyfully feeling the softness of the fluffy cotton between her fingertips.
She was still giddily smiling thinking about her and Mo Yuan’s baby, when she suddenly ran into father in the small courtyard of their home. He staggered drunk sideways, tried to focus and concentrate his glassy gaze on her.
He slurred totally intoxicated, “Wife…where have you been?! Who have you been with while I was waiting for you?!”
She stuttered nervously from fright, “Fa… Fath… Father, it’s me Lifen and I’m not my mother. Look at me! I’m Lifen!”
He was too drunk, past the point of reasoning so she ran back into her room and tried to block the door. However, he came busting through and roughly grabbed her by her braids. He pushed her up against the wall. Lifen screamed wildly when her father forcibly shoved his hands up her dress, and touched her bare legs trying to pry them apart. She kicked him as hard as she could but he pulled back, and slapped her across the face with such force that it knocked her to the floor.
“Father, please it’s me, Lifen! Please stop! Don’t touch my body! I’m not my dead mother! I’m a married woman!” She screamed as he roughly tore, ripped and yanked at her clothes. Her drunken father only saw her dead mother’s image in her face.
In pure desperation, Lifen pulled out the jeweled ornament from her hair that Mo Yuan gifted her, and held it in front of her body defensively. Her father leaped, lunged between her legs, and suddenly paused. His red, bloodshot eyes widened in absolute shock, and the sickening wet sound from deep down his throat was a watery gurgle, before blood ran from his slack mouth.
Uncontrollably Lifen shook as the new warmth spread all over her fingers leaving them sticky, and smelling metallic. She vigorously pushed her father’s limp body away and off of her to see the hairpin sticking in his heart. She’d killed him and the pointy metal stick of beautiful hair jewelry was still penetrating his chest. Over and over her screamed from shock, and fainted where she sat from panic, as her dead father’s fresh blood increasingly spread and coagulated around them.
To be continued…..