In full silent retreat and seclusion, Qian Qian abruptly closed up in the Hall of Beautiful Youth for almost an entire month. She reopened its doors, as suddenly as she’d closed them but she never appeared before Ye Hua. When he went to her, always absent was she, and never did she come to him. He didn’t see her for another three weeks and it was in A-Li’s residence he finally ran into her.
Qian Qian’s skin glowed but her coloring was pale and she’d lost weight. Her full cheeks were more defined and angular. She had dark circles under her eyes but her hair was sleek, smooth, shiny, and more luxurious than ever. Ye Hua saw the visible symptoms, signs of fatigue, and exhaustion from her entire presence. Even her voice was weak when she spoke.
“Ye Hua, I’d like to have a conversation with you.” Qian Qian’s soft voice came out.
Ye Hua disguised his profound concern and replied coldly, “Have you been ill?”
She smiled most humble and answered, “No, not sick…simply old.”
He ignored her and went on selfishly, “You appear infected and you should see the Medicine King so you don’t give it to A-Li or me. I despise being sick and it’s rude of you to be wandering around if you’re contagious.”
She chuckled lightly and faintly responded, “I’m not sick. I merely needed to rest and rethink some things.”
“Stop thinking, Qian Qian. You’ll hurt yourself, and you should have told me before you locked yourself up in your room for a full month. It’s been an extreme inconvenience for me and my needs.” Ye Hua stated without a hint of expression of compassion.
The broken laugh was thin and feeble when she asked, “For sex? Why? You have all those young beautiful servants you carry on about and compare me to, so I doubt you even noticed I was gone.”
“I did enjoy the servants but it’s not the same. I have you broken in perfectly. I can’t treat those sweet, young innocent girls as I handle you. No, but we already have an established system, you and I. So make sure and keep your room accessible to me tonight.” Ye Hua commanded with fake bravado while inwardly growing more concerned with every passing second.
“Hmmm? You have me broken in perfectly?” She snorted audibly and continued, “That’s funny but you best train someone else. I’ve changed my mind and needed to discuss some matters with you. You and I are long overdue for a serious talk.”
Ye Hua’s blood went cold. How could Uncle Lian Song have been so accurate? Qian Qian wanted a ‘serious talk’. Meaning she’d changed her mind and was leaving him.
His reply was drafty when Ye Hua answered, “Fine, but I’m busy now and don’t have time for you. I have many pressing tasks at hand. I’ll get to you when I’m through.”
“When will you have time? It’s significant for you and me.” Qian Qian uttered while looking searchingly into Ye Hua’s cold gaze.
She moved closer to him but Ye Hua stepped back and stated impassively, “Just because it’s significant to you doesn’t make it necessarily relevant to me. I’m too busy for you, Qian Qian. I have official matters waiting for me.”
Her slightly imploring tone of voice lacked her usual arrogance which concerned him even more. Qian Qian sounded destroyed, frail, and broken when she asked, “When will you complete your work?”
“I’ll send word when I’m finished and you’ll have to wait until then.” Ye Hua declared arrogantly.
Deeply, she inhaled through her nose in a way that made her entire chest heave and fall, as she revealed in her faltering, weary voice, “I guess I’ll see SuJin first, and perhaps afterward you’ll be free.”
“Why? Are you going to torment her? Are you bored, Qian Qian?” Ye Hua asked.
Qian Qian returned most unexpectedly, “No, I’m going to make peace. Maybe even apologize to her.”
“Apologize to SuJin?!” You!? Are you kidding me?!” Ye Hua half-shouted as if dumbfounded.
But terrified was he by the lack of her usual fighting spirit. Ye Hua had never beheld this side of Qian Qian. The arrogant High Goddess Queen was gone and in her place stood a vulnerable, exhausted, and docile woman.
The defeated look on her face spoke volumes. Qian Qian was tying up all her loose ends and making amends so she could leave. She was going to Mo Yuan and Ye Hua felt it.
The dread in the pit of his stomach painfully gnawed at him, and he instantly recognized he had to take desperate measures because his time with her was limited, fleeting. At a loss, Ye Hua went to his uncle, Lian Song, and told him every detail. Everything.
Thoroughly dazed and astounded by Ye Hua’s revealing narrative, that’s how Lian Song appeared as he opened his fan, and briskly fanned himself before he spoke.
He said, “What kind of mess have you gotten yourself into, Ye Hua? She’s not insane but this situation is enough to make anyone lose their mind. So let me see if I heard you correctly.”
“One: She came to you, revealed herself after 300 hundred years of silence, suggested a plan for revenge, and told you her feelings for you were gone. She also told you to bed SuJin?”
“Two: She’s been secretly engaged to Mo Yuan for two hundred years during your separation, and has been intimate with him the entire time. But also spent three days with you in bed.”
“Three: You guess that she’s in love with both of you but can’t make up her mind.”
“Four: She comes here under the pretense of revenge but is acting foul, ugly so you’ll both hate her and become the best of brothers? She’s more simpleminded than I thought!”
“Five: Mo Yuan tells you to take care of his fiancé? Verbally makes his claim! He always had balls of steel!
“Six: You took great care of his future wife and treated her as a floozy for a month, which I’m quite proud of by the way. I wasn’t sure if you had it within you, Ye Hua, but I’m impressed.”
“Seven: After a month of allowing you to molest her sexually, she suddenly locks you out for another month. She cries and goes into depression during this time? Something is happening! Something she didn’t anticipate.”
Lian Song paused to take a couple of deep breaths and continued, “Ye Hua, am I following you? Because your story is so absurd that one can’t even make stuff like this up.”
“Eight: After a month of seclusion she comes out like a disciplined puppy with her tails between her legs, and wants to have a ‘serious talk’ with you. Intends on atoning to the woman who still uses her eyes? Ye Hua, she’s leaving you! She’s selected, Mo Yuan!” Lian Song half-shouted.
Ye Hua sighed and asked in disbelief, “What about her eyes?”
“Zhe Yan healed her eyes! But, Ye Hua, focus your attention because it’s time for desperate measures. It’s time to make Bai Qian snap like a dry twig. Let her walk in on you and SuJin having sex and she’ll lose it!”
Lian Song’s usually calm voice was loud due to his excitement as he added, “However, don’t act sorry or apologize but self-important, superior when it happens! Act boldly, annoyed as if she’d interrupted you!” He advised, called a bottle of wine, and drank directly from the bottle swiftly, before excitedly wiping his wet mouth with the backside of his hand.
Ye Hua shook his head in disapproval and said matter of factually, “I’m not touching SuJin. I’d instead become a monk or a eunuch.”
Lian Song snapped his fingers and stated, “I got it! Get Bai Qian to SuJin’s room.”
“That’s already happening because she’s going to make peace with SuJin.” Ye Hua didn’t understand Lian Song’s logic.
Lian Song’s eyes were bright and shiny as he smiled and suggested enthusiastically, “Drug her so Bai Qian will fall asleep in SuJin’s bed. Then be your usual self. Make tender and sweet love to her. Make sure to tell her how much you love her! When she wakes up, ‘BOOM’, acts shocked and dumbfounded it’s Bai Qian and not SuJin!
“That will mess her mind up big time especially since you’ve been mistreating her! To see how tender you are with SuJin but not her. She’ll flip out but act arrogant, proud, and not the slightest bit sorry. Instead, remind her she’s been treating you and Mo Yuan much worse!”
“If she has any sense, she’ll have a revelation and say ‘aha!’ She’ll finally understand your pain and beg for your forgiveness.” Lian Song was more worked up than Ye Hua. His eyes were huge and he nervously licked his lips.
The rational voice inside Ye Hua’s head was shouting ‘don’t do it but if she was leaving what did it matter? It was a crapshoot. He had to take risky chances to win. Still, why was everything so damn complicated? And just when he thought his head was going to explode another opinion spoke. Cheng Yu stood behind them and overheard everything.
She laughed then smirked at both Lian Song and Ye Hua, side-eyed them mockingly, and openly shook her head at their utter ignorance before declaring.
“Nope! You’re both wrong! I overheard everything and Bai Qian might have another motive. Everything is messy. Too disordered! She’s creating other chaos, and confusion purposefully to mislead you, and she maybe even more sinister than you imagined.”
Cheng Yu shifted closer and added with a soft expression to show her empathy, “But sinister isn’t the right description since she’s trying to take what rightfully belongs to her. Bai Qian is here to take A-Li! Hell hath no fear as a woman scorned but a woman whose child was taken has nothing else to lose!”
Lian Song elbowed Ye Hua and rolled his eyes before stating, “Don’t ever take love advice from a goddess who looks better than you in menswear! Cheng Yu is the epitome of insanity! Bai Qian barely, hardly sees A-Li and if she wanted him, she would have returned much sooner than 300 years.”
“Trust me, Ye Hua, you haven’t much time! Bai Qian is leaving Nine Heavens and marrying your brother, Mo Yuan. Get her to SuJin’s bed immediately!” Lian Song advised with insistence.
Ye Hua considered could Qian Qian perhaps want to take A-Li…no. Impossible. She never showed any nurturing or motherly inclination towards him. If any, she was cautious as if afraid to be with her son. More, as if she were afraid to love him. Lian Song was right. She was leaving him and A-Li for good. She had selected Mo Yuan.
To be continued…