“Don’t leave me! NO! NO! NO! NO! Qian Qian! NOOOOOOOO!”
Abruptly Bai Qian bolted up from her sleep in a cold sweat cover fright. It was that dream again. The very same one she could never recollect. Not even a single mental picture in her head but always that sobbing voice. That distinct sound of someone, grievously screaming out her name.
She’d dreamt it ever since her ascension to High Goddess, and Zhe Yan said it was merely a fox dream and meaningless. Bai Qian was still the sole High Goddess in the world but then she was 180,000 years old. So it wasn’t necessarily brag worthy or a tremendous accomplishment.
Gugu, High Goddess Queen of Qingqui was the only one in her family who never married. A virginal old maid goddess who was 180,000 years old that never even experienced a single kiss, or lover during her entire life.
It was somewhat pathetic at her advanced age, but her father never forced her to marry or bothered to arrange a wedding agreement for her. So her carefree life was one of real independence, pure leisure and genuine freedom!
Life of liberty meant Bai Qian could sleep, eat, drink and freely wander around when she desired. Without a nagging husband telling her what she could and couldn’t do. Such heavenly bliss! She was a bachelorette for life by choice and nobody in her family told her to do otherwise.
Her Fox Clan was highly progressive in the eternal world and even had same sex marriage. After tens of thousands of years of flirting, hinting and pussyfooting around. Zhe Yan and Bai Zhen finally took the plunge and married. She wasn’t sure who was the husband, but their wedding was the most extravagant celebration ever witnessed in the immortal realm.
Because it wasn’t everyday when one saw one of the oldest Gods like Zhe Yan, the Medicine God, marry his friend’s youngest son. A handsome boy toy a third his age but they were content together so what did age matter? It was pure pleasure to see her older brother, Bai Zhen, seem so happy and fulfilled with his partner.
Migu’s screaming broke through her random morning thoughts, and he came flying in with a bouquet of colorful, fragrant, fresh wildflowers all smiles and happiness.
He yelled, “Gugu! Happy Birthday!”
Bai Qian rolled her eyes and stated with fake annoyance, “Migu, we decided no more birthday for me after my last one, ten thousand years ago but you insist on reminding me every year! Why?”
Migu gingerly sat beside her and pouted, “Gugu, I picked all those one by one. Just for you. It’s not my fault that you never remember your birthday, and it’s not my fault that you decided to forget your birthday! I can’t keep track and you’re the one with memory loss!”
It was accurate. Bai Qian’s life was like a sea sponge or Swiss cheese with holes everywhere. She returned from her heavenly trial with the memory of a goldfish. Meaning, she didn’t remember anything from her life from age 50,000 to 140,000 years old. It was a clean blank slate. Something occurred during her trial that caused 90,000 years of memories to vanished most mysteriously.
Zhe Yan said it was clearly brain damage from drinking too much wine. That severe alcoholism causes frequent blackouts and time loss. That’s what he told her. What did it matter? Apparently, nothing significant, eventful or essential happened during her lost years, so it wasn’t as if she’d lost anything she couldn’t live without.
That sharp tongued old Phoenix! Zhe Yan was her brother-in-law and her nemesis-like friend who was always giving her nagging grieve. But there was one fabulous thing about her birthday and him. It was the particular wine he created just for her every year.
Excitedly Bai Qian leaped up causing all the flowers to fly everywhere and Migu whined but it was that time! The perfectly excellent and extraordinary moment she loved best! Time to get rip roaring drunk, blasted, wasted and hammered in Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms from Zhe Yan’s birthday wine!
The day was one of recognition, but the mood was always somber when they gathered privately for Bai Qian’s birthday. For 40,000 years after that terrible time. Post that most tragic day they came together yearly, once. In Zhe Yan’s orchard and quietly shared a bottle of her favorite peach wine in honor, and celebration of her birthday. Neither Mo Yuan nor Ye Hua had seen her in person during the past long 40,000 years.
Sometimes there was only silence while Zhe Yan told both Mo Yuan and Ye Hua about her current state. He shared the tales of her silly and absurd antics. Other times they cried, reminisced about that terrible day and grieved together. Bai Qian’s near death did bring the twins together in the end, because it was something nobody there could ever unsee.
“Ye Hua was a pure genius to stop time when he did. It gained us precious moment to save her.” Solemnly Zhe Yan muttered as he slammed his wine in a single shot and poured another for himself.
Ye Hua swallowed his wine nervously and spoke softly, “If Mo Yuan hadn’t grabbed her blood my stopping time wouldn’t have mattered.”
“It was a group effort that saved her, but it’s unfortunate that the mental trauma was too much for her afterward. In retrospect, we shouldn’t have waited so long to give her the amnesia potion.” Mo Yuan’s faint tone reflected his sadness and regret.
“Well, after almost half a dozen failed suicide attempts erasing her memory was the best for her. Thank goodness she’s always been a bit slow, because I’m astounded Xiao Wu hasn’t asked more about her lost time.” Zhe Yan chucked but the grief was evident on his sad face.
Mo Yuan inquired, “Ye Hua, how are things going with SuJin?”
“I must be a sadist. Everyday I tear her skin from her body while I spew hateful, foul words and I mean every word I say. I tell SuJin that I despise and hate her and go to hell. Sometimes I mention descriptive details of how I used to make love to Qian Qian, sorry, Mo Yuan, but you know what I mean.”
Ye Hua paused to drink his wine and continued in the same drone voice, “Right before SuJin dies, I stop time, heal her and repeat the process the following day. You would think I would grow tired or bored after 40,000 years, but strangely I enjoy and relish it immensely.”
“She deserves that and more.” Mo Yuan said as he tenderly patted Ye Hua’s knee to show his support.
“Let’s have one more for Ye Hua’s poor lost child and part ways. Xiao Wu will be here anytime soon and we can’t have her running into either of you.” Zhe Yan’s melancholy voice warned as he swiftly filled everyone’s glasses.
They all raised their drinks and only Ye Hua’s right eye teared up. On Mo Yuan only his left because both gave one eye to restore her lost vision, and they wished they could have given her much more. The light sound of the crystal clinking carried in the air but that wasn’t the only sound they heard. It was a soft feminine voice behind them. It was her voice, Bai Qian.
Tensely everyone froze, stared at each other in panic and she asked curiously, “Zhe Yan, did you forget it’s my birthday?”
After 40,000 years of carefully planned avoidance and precautions, Bai Qian would see Mo Yuan and Ye Hua for the first time. They knew her but she didn’t recollect them. When all three men gradually, hesitantly turned to face her she gracefully rounded her slender arms, bowed courteously and spoke with a bright smile. That made both Ye Hua and Mo Yuan’s heart race painfully.
“It’s an honor to meet you both. High God Mo Yuan and High God Ye Hua. I’m High Goddess Queen Bai Qian of Qingqiu. It’s a privilege and honor to greet both sons of Heavenly Father.” She stated and beamed most radiantly while gleefully gazing at everyone.
To be continued…