It was like watching a mirrored reflection when Ye Hua and Mo Yuan both rushed each other roughly. Both twins at the very same time grabbed each other by their collars with intense gazes burning. Those who saw them shook in fear because it was a tense and scary scene to witness. The tension was so thick it was noticeable, almost visible to the eyes and in the air.
Ye Hua demanded in a frenzy like madness, “Where’s A-Li?!”
“Where is Bai Qian?! Don’t you dare hide her from me!” Mo Yuan growled back just as furiously.
Refusing to stand down to his older brother, Ye Hua returned, “Mo Yuan, don’t push me! Where is my son?! You can have her but how dare you lay a finger on my son! You’ve crossed the line! A-Li is your nephew!”
Mo Yuan tightened his firm grasp even more on Ye Hua’s already twisted collar and returned in a low, dangerous voice, “Ye Hua, how would I know where A-Li is but where is Bai Qian?! And why would I touch A-Li?!”
Brutally and vigorously Ye Hua yanked away from his brother’s powerful clutch, glared him down with fierceness as spittle sprayed when he snarled, “I know you two planned everything together and I want my son returned NOW!”
Mo Yuan replied tensely with his mighty hands tightly fisted into tight balls, “I don’t have A-Li and I don’t know what you’re implying but where is MY Shì qī, Bai Qian?!”
His cold, sharp reply cut like a weapon when Ye Hua attacked, “How would I know? My guard observed her taking A-Li from Mount Junji, and overheard her say that she was taking him to Qingqiu!”
“While she distracted me here, it’s so obvious she has an accomplice and isn’t working alone. I assume you’re her partner in crime!” Ye Hua sneered.
Everyone heard the loud audible snap when Mo Yuan slammed the scroll sharply across his palm and answered, “I don’t have your son and haven’t seen him but I had the joy of finding this when I came out of seclusion. It’s a ‘Dear John’ letter breaking our engagement without even the courtesy of speaking directly to my face. I need to see her so where is Bai Qian? In your chamber? She’s not in her room!”
“Look, Tian Shu appeared and reported A-Li’s missing. Then Qian Qian said she was going to get drunk and…” Ye Hua began to bark back but another excited, hurried voice abruptly interrupted him.
“Crown Prince! Crown Prince! Prince A-Li has returned unharmed! Safely sleeping encased in a magical protective pod and this was with him.” Jia Yun came running and presented the white-colored rare item everyone recognized immediately.
It was a single white fox tail. An individual white fox tail that unquestionably belonged to Qian Qian. Ye Hua’s anger instantly defused while his face transformed into one of fear as recognition dawned on him, and his voice softened into a nervous hushed tone.
He questioned, “Only A-Li? Not Qian Qian and A-Li?”
Ye Hua whispered in disbelief and his eyes widened more when Jia Yun’s gaze turned troubled, as he shook his head ‘no’ indicating that only A-Li was back.
It hit him like a brick wall and Ye Hua muttered nervously, “How could I have missed it? They wanted her from the start. Someone used A-Li as bait, Qian Qian knew who it was and went alone to save him! How could I be so stupid and not see that?!”
“Yes, she’s walked into a trap! It’s Xuan Nu. Did I not warn you to be watchful of her?” Mo Yuan finished his sentence which was much closer to a scolding than a statement.
Dazed Ye Hua blinked rapidly and spoke in shock, “She has to be in the Ghost Realm!”
“No. Exiled and imprisoned was Xuan Nu. They’re not there. They could be anywhere by now and she wants to bleed her to death!”
Mo Yuan’s tone was thick and saturated with anxiety as his full brows furrowed when he immediately continued and ordered, “Time is of the essence; we haven’t much so gather your men. I’ll send my Kunlun Disciples here and you can lead them in search while I meditate.”
“Mo Yuan, you’re going to meditate at times like this?!” Ye Hua questioned bewildered.
Swiftly Mo Yuan spun around to leave and said without turning back, “You have your way of finding her and I have mine.”
Before he vanished in cloud vapors and within minutes Celestial Heaven appeared more like a war zone, flooded with soldiers all dressed in white.
The rushing sound of regularly roaring waters underneath woke her from her state of unconsciousness, but she didn’t know where she was. The damp, humid room or area was black, dark, cold and blindfolded was she. Confusion overwhelmed her momentarily and Bai Qian asked herself, where was she?
Bai Qian didn’t know her location but she knew this fact; she was securely bound and chained. The unmistakable heavy, cumbersome weights of large links attached to all four of her outstretched limbs. She distinctly felt them, because she didn’t sense any warmth or heat from underneath her cold shivering and frozen body. She suspected she was most likely on a metal surface, plank or perhaps a marble-like stone table.
She was freezing and it took several long minutes of disorientation before her mind cleared. Yes, it was all coming back to her but when did it happen? Had it been hours? Days? Weeks? Bai Qian wondered, how long had she been there? No, not too long. She figured because was it not just yesterday or the day before when she and Ye Hua argued in SuJin’s room?
It happened the very same day when Bai Qian woke up suddenly jumbled, confused and found herself in a state of uncontrollable anger to discover herself in SuJin’s bed. Ye Hua was inside her while she was fast asleep on her stomach, and him on her nude backside making love to her. Whispering words of love and sweet, tender sentiments in her ear because he thought she was her. It was a disturbing moment.
The bitter irony of having him speak the words he’d once said to her but now he spoke them to SuJin, and why did it tear her heart apart into a million pieces to hear them coming from his lips? The reason was simple. It was because they weren’t intended for her and that was painful, unbearable.
She thought back to that moment, Bai Qian lashed out angrily and they exchanged ugly, heated, hurtful words. She called Ye Hua an obedient, brainless puppy. He in return termed her a crazy, old, fossil-like bitch and told her to go.
Arrogantly and full of confidence, Ye Hua declared there were much more fishes in the ocean who were much younger, and more beautiful and she readily agreed. Even now in her current alarming state, Bai Qian couldn’t help but chuckle at his choice of words that hurt her like dipped in poison arrows.
Finally, Ye Hua spoke in his inner voice. His exact thoughts, words, and defended himself. And strangely, Bai Qian was profoundly proud of him. She was. He’d grown and could take shit from others but also throw it back at them equally and more.
Ye Hua had a venomous tongue that could say hateful things when he desired and oddly that pleased her. Bai Qian told him always to be as he was at that very moment and not to hold back his feelings, as he’d done in the past.
She’d also encouraged him to stand up for himself and his desires in the future. That age, status, and titles meant nothing and to only show honorable intention, and regard his elder family members with honorifics, and filial devotion if they deserved it.
It was when Bai Qian turned to leave the chamber; that she spun back once more. One last time and saw the sad way he wistfully stared at her. Ye Hua’s regretful, sorry and devastated facial expression said everything his lips didn’t. They said that he was utterly apologetic and didn’t mean what he said, but he also knew it was too late for anything and everything between them. They’d exchanged all there was to tell one another and there was nothing left to say. Their trade of spoken words sealed their parting but then Tian Shu came running in fright.
Ye Hua and A-Li’s bodyguard, Tian Shu, asked who was with A-Li? Since Bai Qian was with Ye Hua and according to the startled guard, she came and took him to Qingqiu. However, if she was with Ye Hua then who was with A-Li? A terrifying question indeed. Who was with him?
It was then Ye Hua turned and physically assaulted her demanding the location, and exact whereabouts of HIS son, A-Li. Swiftly Ye Hua pointed and accused her of planning everything from the start. He shouted Bai Qian’s real aim, goal and purpose were stealing A-Li.
Ye Hua furiously demanded and charged she and Mo Yuan planned to take A-Li and raise him as their child. He’d roughly shook her until Bai Qian almost passed out. Ye Hua was enraged, called A-Li, HIS son, and threatened to kill both her and Mo Yuan if they didn’t return HIS son immediately.
He was frightened for A-Li’s safety but so was she. In a state of profound shock and distress, Bai Qian truthfully denied any involvement, but Ye Hua speedily disputed who else in the world would have her face? Good question and unfortunately she knew of only one who shared her face. That crazed female, Xuan Nu.
Xuan Nu was the only one in the world who could appear as her temporarily. Bai Qian needed to save A-Li so she quickly retorted with misleading words of callous indifference. To Ye Hua, she spat that she was going to drink wine and have fun locating HIS lost son.
But secretly in a panicked hurry, she rushed and vanished, fading from the very spot she stood because Bai Qian knew precisely where to go. The very last place A-Li was seen leaving with her. In the same forest as expected Xuan Nu was waiting for her. Like a snake, she slithered out from the many trees and Bai Qian freely offered herself as a trade-off for her son. She threw down her fan and protected A-Li in a magical, protective cocoon with her most potent Fox magic; one of her white foxtails, and sent him home to safety.
After A-Li was safe and out of harm’s way, she allowed Xuan Nu to seal her magic then came a sudden pain in her head and it was darkness.
But now the sounds of raging liquid below brought her into the present from the past. There were more sounds now, heavy footsteps and rough male voices. She felt fumbling, clumpy, rough hands pushing up her dress and her lower undergarment being torn off.
“Get your filthy hands off me!” Bai Qian hissed while unsuccessfully trying to twist her restrained body.
Men were laughing, speaking vulgarly then a sudden gurgle, heavy thump, and silence. Whoever was touching her was no longer there. The voice was high and she recognized it immediately because it was Xuan Nu.
Xuan Nu lectured in her superior tone of voice, “If anyone else here attempts such a vile deed, they will join the man I just slew in hell. I enjoy watching Gugu suffer and be humiliated better than anyone else, but as a fellow woman find rape disgusting! Just because men have the almighty penis, they see a helpless woman tied up and the first thing they think of is sexual assault!”
“They call females the weaker sex but you don’t see us going around raping helpless men! Now, you can beat, flog, whip, and choke Bai Qian but NO rape and NO blood loss. Her magic Fox blood is valuable, priceless, and necessary so I don’t want a single drop wasted.”
She was moving towards her because Xuan Nu’s voice came closer, more precise, “My shaman told me it’s better to drain her slowly, naturally so the blood will remain pure and clean for my baby. She must stay alive for at least five days or less just until I get every drop of blood from her heart. Also, take that blindfold off of her. What’s the point or satisfaction of torture without the anticipation?”
The sudden light flooding her sight caused Bai Qian to blink rapidly, and squint her eyes as she focused on her surroundings. Chained was she to the four corners of the stonewalled room that looked vaguely familiar. A coiled, crimson-colored stemmed vine attached to her heart, sucking, and on the other side a large ruby slowly filling with her blood, collecting.
About twelve men most likely killers for hire stood around. Some had whips, sticks, and what appeared to be branding pokers in their hands. A fire in the corner, a place where they were heating the branding sticks. All were looking towards Xuan Nu for direction.
Xuan Nu watched the slowly filling ruby with great interest. Bai Qian noticed an elderly hunched back shaman standing beside her whispering in her ear, and whatever she heard made Xuan Nu giggle most delighted.
Xuan Nu sauntered closer to Bai Qian and taunted, “Little mother, does this place look familiar? It once belonged to the first woman you did wrong by stealing her love. You took Mo Yuan from her! It’s karma. The White Goddess once called this torture chamber her home. It’s ironic that you would die here right under your Shifu’s nose at the base of Kunlun Mountain. It’s beautifully poetic justice, no?”
“Xuan Nu, when I free myself, I’m going to split you into a million pieces, and scatter you everywhere so forever will be torn your body into bits and pieces!” Bai Qian snarled back confidently.
She raised her hand as if to appear impressed. Made big eyes and hid her scarlet painted lips and purred, “That fighting spirit of yours. I’ve always respected you but, Little mother, did you know that you’re pregnant again? According to my shaman, due to how far along you are it seems that Crown Prince Ye Hua is indeed a potent young man. It’s unfortunate that Prince A-Li will never see his sibling.”
“You lie! I’m too old to conceive!” Bai Qian screamed in a rage while twisting her bound body violently.
Casually Xuan Nu sat beside Bai Qian, crossed her legs, rubbed Bai Qian’s lower abdomen, and faked sympathy, “Why would I lie? Haven’t you felt different these days? Tired, emotional, hungry, not hungry, or blue without reason? You’ve always been a bit slow, dense, and didn’t even know that you were pregnant! SuJin will owe me big for this bonus. Getting rid of another one of Ye Hua’s children.”
Xuan Nu suddenly hopped off the table with enthusiasm and said, “Start the torture and remember, NO rape, blood, or taking her life yet. Show Little mother a good time and entertain her. Help her fight boredom.”
The rushing sound of liquid from the water torment chamber filling underneath every hour roared in her ears. Bai Qian bit down on her teeth and endured the hot branding pokers, whips, and rods and never made a single sound.
Firmly refusing to give others the satisfaction of hearing her scream. Not a single peep did she make throughout her torment. They shaved her head bald on the third day and it didn’t matter. The only thing Bai Qian noticed was feeling colder. She didn’t care about not having hair. Her mental strength was stronger than her vanity and still, not a sound or tear did she shed. She faded in and out of consciousness for days, while being drained of her blood and physically tortured continuously.
But she persevered because the bodily pain meant nothing and they couldn’t break her. The only sentiment she thought about the entire time was how she did everything wrong. Bai Qian ignored love. Her true love in adulthood was Ye Hua. Her pride pushed and shoved him away.
For her Shifu, Mo Yuan felt love once in her youth. If anything, now it was more guilt for his sufferings and his determination to return to her. How could she break the heart and kill the man who she had saved for 70,000 years?
It didn’t make sense so, in the end, she couldn’t decide and gave up on love, herself, and her future. It was out of respect or at least, that’s what she told herself. Bai Qian didn’t want to take anyone down with her so she picked the lonely and solitary road. However, in retrospect the one she should have most respected was herself.
If only everything were a horrible nightmare? The puzzling paradox, dark humor, and twisted irony of everything didn’t go unrecognized by her. Bai Qian did everything wrong and if only she could go back in time, she would change everything.
Yes, change everything……she was fading into darkness when a large spray of icy cold water brought her back, and it was SuJin. Standing before her was SuJin who giggled as she stared Bai Qian in the eyes and ridiculed her.
“Sister, how terrible you look. Your poor damaged body and once luxurious hair are beyond repair. There were days when even Bai Qian looks terrible. Who knew?” SuJin smiled joyfully.
Xuan Nu stated cheerfully, “Your timing is perfect. Little mother is going to die soon. Have a seat and enjoy watching Gugu take her last breath.”
SuJin’s pitch of voice rose as she questioned, “Why are you calling her Little mother?”
“You should thank me. Your Ye Hua knocked her up again. I must say that young man is virile. I can’t believe all those years and you, SuJin, couldn’t get pregnant not even once with that young potent seed.” Xuan Nu laughed amused by SuJin’s expression of pure shock.
“Bai Qian is pregnant?! How do you know it’s Ye Hua, not Mo Yuan’s?!” SuJin demanded sharply.
Thoroughly entertained was she as Xuan Nu divulged, “My most experienced shaman did a soul searching spell and a black dragon grows inside her womb. So it’s Ye Hua’s kid…again.”
In a rush of hatred, SuJin slapped Bai Qian’s face repeatedly, angrily in a raging fury, and hissed, “You have everything I’ve ever wanted! I hate you and don’t hold it against me but I’m an all-or-nothing kind of girl. Sister, I’ve decided to retake your eyes, because it was so enjoyable the first time that I feel the need to relive the joyful moment.”
“SuJin…” Faintly Bai Qian murmured.
“What?” SuJin replied and went closer to Bai Qian’s face.
“SuJin…” Bai Qian’s labored breathing made her voice whisper softly.
SuJin moved her face mere inches from Bai Qian and sneered, “Speak louder, sister! What are you trying to say?”
Weakly Bai Qian raised her head but forcefully spat on SuJin’s face. Her saliva spray landed across SuJin’s cheek and in her mouth. She recoiled away and gasped loudly in horror while wiping the spittle off her skin as if it were flesh dissolving acid.
Bai Qian mocked in a hoarse whisper, “SuJin, I’m an all or nothing kind of woman also and I’ve RELISHED having ALL of Ye Hua’s love ALWAYS. What do think about the sweet flavor of my spit? Because that’s the closest you’ll ever come to tasting his mouth or any part of his glorious body and he is a delicious, tasty little morsel.”
“Even now, SuJin, my mouth waters just thinking about his luscious flavor! Yummm.” Bai Qian loudly smacked her lips together as if she’d just eaten an exquisite delicacy.
SuJin’s rouged lips curved like hooks, curling up her index and third fingers on both hands. While smirking proceeded to gouge out Bai Qian’s immortal eyes waiting to hear her scream out in pain, but she laughed hysterically. Like a madwoman, she roared, chuckled, giggled because she couldn’t feel anything, and the more she chortled, Sujin screamed louder in ferocity.
“SuJin, you stupid bitch! I said no blood loss! She’s bleeding out of her eye sockets!”
Xuan Nu hissed, roughly pushed SuJin aside, looked Bai Qian over keenly, and ordered excitedly, “Take all her blood now! She’s dying!”
Bai Qian faintly heard the wet squishy sound of her eyes being torn out but the pain or other sensation, she never felt it. She overheard what was probably SuJin brutally, and roughly stomping on her eyes which only made her hysterical with laughter. But the sudden forceful, suck and pull of her heart made it difficult to breathe.
She was dying and she knew it but a big banging shuffle. Loud slamming, excited voices, and screaming cleared her haze monetarily and she heard a heavenly voice of an archangel she recognized. It was Ye Hua and he was hysterical.
He was screaming in a fury, “Stop them! Grab them all! Kill anyone who tries to run but SuJin and Xuan Nu. They are mine! Be careful of Qian Qian’s blood! She needs it back!”
Another voice this time was Xuan Nu who threatened in a yell, “Crown Prince if you move any closer; opsies! I’ll drop this precious gem full of your beloved’s blood. Your Little mother and your dead black dragon offspring that was growing inside her womb. The precious drops of their blood are in this stone.”
Xuan Nu snorted and tormented in a sneer, “You didn’t know! That your beloved was pregnant again! Poor Crown Prince Ye Hua, how do I show my true and sincere condolences for your loss? Black Dragon-shaped balloons? Maybe an arrangement of white fox tail flower?”
“Give me Qian Qian’s blood and I’ll let you live.” Ye Hua growled with menace.
Xuan Nu taunted “No! If my child can’t breathe then what’s the point of living? By the way, your fiancé is dying and I would say goodbye to her.” But then suddenly screamed and snarled with savage rage.
She hissed, “That blood is mine! Give that back to me, Mo Yuan! Give me that blood!” Xuan Nu shrieked wildly.
Mo Yuan’s soft but commanding voice ordered, “Kill Xuan Nu slowly, very slowly. Tear her skin, tendons, and limbs from her body every hour but one inch at a time. One inch for every hour. I want her to feel everything. Start from her scalp and work it down.”
It was like being in a long tunnel where the voices were growing distant, fading in and out. Bai Qian felt her bound arms freed. She was in someone’s warm but shaking embrace and it was Ye Hua. She knew it was him by his scent.
In heavy sobs, Ye Hua cried, “Qian Qian, you’re so stupid but hang on for just a bit. Please for me. For all of us. Mo Yuan, me and A-Li.”
“Ye Hua… Shifu.” Bai Qian whispered before coughing up a mouth full of blood.
“Seventeen, don’t try to talk. Conserve your energy.” Mo Yuan whispered tenderly and then yelled out urgently, “Zhe Yan, work faster we’re losing her!”
“Damn it! I can’t get her blood back inside her fast enough. If I rush and put it all back she’ll go into shock and die! We’re too late! I can’t save Xiao Wu!” Zhe Yan screeched frantically.
Mo Yuan’s soft but frightened voice soothed, “Seventeen. Bai Qian… No, A-Qian. A-Qian, I know you’re a fighter. You can make it. I know you.”
She tried to smile at his reassurance but another frantic voice faded in and it was Ye Hua.
He screamed, “NO! Qian Qian, you owe me! I waited 300 years for you! Didn’t you want revenge? To those who did you most wrong? Make the ones who caused you most harm and pain, suffer like you did but more? Heavenly Lord and SuJin are still alive so live! Don’t die!” Ye Hua pleaded with her in pure despair.
“Let’s get revenge! Bàofù on those who did most harm! Mo Yuan and I will work together and won’t fight over you anymore. We’ll get along and can start the first reverse harem in the world just for you! All you have to do is live!” Ye Hua’s uncontrollable sobbing made it difficult to understand him.
She coughed up more blood but laughed feebly, “A reverse harem?”
In an almost inaudible peep, Bai Qian struggled to get her words out, “Ye Hua… Shifu… I’m sorry. Bàofù…revenge. The one…who did most…harm was me… Bàofù… I deserve it most.”
Mo Yuan spoke softly and calmly, “No, A-Qian. There are others who will get what they deserve. Listen to Ye Hua, hang on and live.”
“I’m sorry…” She whimpered and it was surprising she could speak at all, because her coloring was ghostly like the corpse she was.
The length of time between Bai Qian’s breaths was longer and longer. Her breathing became shorter and more shallow. The sound was more of a faint labored wheeze or buzz than breathing.
“Don’t you dare die on me, Qian Qian! If you die, I swear, I’ll have sex with every servant in Nine Heavens! I’ll forget you forever!” Ye Hua screamed in between wailing sobs.
Coughing up a little more blood but now she was coughing up bile from lack of blood, and Bai Qian replied with a weak smile, “Good, Ye Hua. Do that…and forget me forever…”
The glowing light she saw was blinding. Warm and welcoming. In the distance, she saw A-Li smiling, waving, and holding the small hand of his younger sister, who looked just like Ye Hua. They were standing in the lush, green grass waiting for her and weakly Bai Qian smiled as she reached out one hand into the air, and uttered faintly.
She whispered, “A-Li…” before her ice-cold hand dropped lifelessly.
High Goddess Bai Qian, Queen of Qingqiu, took her last breath and died in Ye Hua’s arms. She was already gone when he shrieked hysterically.
Ye Hua cried, “Don’t leave me! NO! NO! NO! NO! Qian Qian! NOOOOOOOO!”
The End of Bàofù: Part One.
To be continued with Part Two: Lotus: Three Lives Three Loves, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms Fanfiction…..