The Continuation of Lifen’s Story…..
In the middle of the wide open courtyard by the coy fish pond at the Forever Blooming Hibiscus Brothel, underneath the cool shade of the enormous persimmon tree, parked in wait and stood the most luxurious sedan Lifen had ever seen.
The boxed compartment was spacious for a sedan, and there were small 6×6 sized windows on all four sides of the vehicle. Near along the center of the brightly colored boxed chamber, dangled a straight neatly lined row of fluffy gold tassels. It was apparent by the brilliant way in which the string reflected the sunlight they were indeed, made of gold.
The giant silk lined carriage was beyond grand. It was majestic, elegant and spectacular enough to make all the courtesans green, crazy with envy, admiration and created quite a commotion. It was difficult to catch all the voices because everyone was chattering all at once excitedly.
“It must belong to a King! Who else could afford such an item?!” A high pitched female voice yelled out.
Another spoke curiously, “I wonder who it’s for… I mean which one of us girl have been resold?!”
“I hope it’s me!” Another answered eagerly.
“What if the master is older than Heavenly Father with a face like a troll?!” Someone asked in jest.
Collectively many feminine voices giggled when someone shouted, “Who cares if they’re that rich! One can always close their eyes tightly and pretend they look like Wei!”
The brothel’s Madam’s young, handsome grandson, Wei, heard the comment. His stern expression hardened before he turned his head to covertly blush, which only caused the girls to point, giggle and laugh more in his direction. But their attention and conversation swiftly moved back to the mystery at hand.
The status as to the owner of the beautiful carriage had to be a King. It was reasonable for them to believe it had to belong to a member of royalty, or an Emperor due to its sheer brilliant grandeur. The massive gathering of excited courtesans held their breaths in sweet anticipation, and promptly all wondered who amongst them would be leaving in such style.
While waiting for the news, they discovered great amusement, game, pleasure taking turns teasing, tickling and poking at the handsome, muscular footmen who stood still in wait like perfect wooden soldiers. The eight well trained manly servants all dressed in a clean and crisp matching uniform, although their attire didn’t have any markings or crests to show to which house they belonged. Nor did they speak or utter a single word when asked questions by the curious women.
Everything about the vehicle, servants and wealthy master was a complete secret. The extreme level of anonymity only caused more excitement, and their interest merely grew when they discovered it was Lifen who was leaving. She’d become particularly friendly with the old house Madam, and nobody believed Li Qiao Hui would ever resell her.
There were even rumors that the old woman planned to leave the brothel to Lifen after she died, that she intended to marry and join her favorite grandson, Wei, to her. So there was much commotion when the news came out finally.
There were talks everywhere and they said the new owner had paid for Lifen in pure gold. The ridiculous gossip was that the new customer sent an attorney with a giant chest of gold bullion blocks, and precious rare stones such as uncut diamonds.
Everyone speculated it was mere gossip but after seeing the sedan, they wondered if the talks were the truth. Did someone appear and pay pure gold for the skinny, petite woman with braids? Lifen realized she would be serving a new master, just one hour before her departure from her home for the previous six months.
It would be natural for anyone else in her place, in her shoes to have felt something but Lifen didn’t care. She was indifferent, impassive and didn’t bother to despair because she’d lost her hope when Mo Yuan didn’t come for her.
After her most earnest hope that Mo Yuan would find her, vanished. She no longer cared where she went. During her time in the brothel, she became aware she was no longer a person but more of a profitable object like property, livestock or nonliving item.
She believed and thought Mo Yuan had turned her away. She foolishly began to undervalue herself and her self-worth. Unfortunately in her mind, Lifen deemed no longer worthy to be the proper wife of a renown Shifu, but she was now a known murderer who’d lived in a bordello. Deserted by him that’s how she felt. No, abandoned. It was because she deserved whatever happened. She couldn’t blame or resent him at all and she never did.
If anything, Lifen was grateful for his private schooling. Had she remained illiterate and uneducated, she would have surely had to sell her body so for that blessing she was tremendously thankful. She offered and submitted daily prayers for Mo Yuan’s health and happiness. She also prayed that he would find a better, more fitting wife than herself.
Just as she’d done previously at the peach farm, she was leaving and her time at the Forever Blooming Hibiscus was brief, short and fleeting. But Lifen never endured the kind of hardship and suffering she could have at another brothel. She considered herself fortunate. She never went hungry, had clean water to drink and a dry roof over her head. There were many in the world without such luxuries, so for what she had she always felt gratitude and never took that fact for granted.
As she departed, Lifen humbly thanked everyone for their blessings, kindnesses and kinship during her short stay. She even respectfully kowtowed three times to the old brothel Madam, Li Qiao Hui.
Lifen bowed to the woman, spoke with sincerity, “Madam, thank you for everything but mostly for sending my letters to my hus… I mean my Shifu. Due to all your efforts and care, I was hopeful during most of my time here.”
The senior courtesan’s sour expression never changed nor did she say a kind word, but silently removed the beautiful golden phoenix hairpin from her twisted gray bun hair.
Gingerly she inserted the exquisite golden hair ornament into Lifen’s braided hair, and tenderly patted the girl’s shoulder once, deeply sighed as if fatigued, turned her back and walked into the brothel.
The mortal Bai Qian. Lifen’s short adventure. Her life’s chapter at the Forever Blooming Hibiscus brothel came to a sudden end, and she started her journey to her new home. Nobody said where she was going nor did she ask.
In the carriage, she sat in quietness. She wasn’t the slightest bit sleepy, tired but suddenly fell asleep as if magically in route. Surprisingly awoke alone in a grand canopy bed.
Placed was the bed in the center of a vast room with large windows, draped in soft fleshly peach hued silk curtains. The silk was fine and thin so there were many layers one on top of the others. All over the entire suite, there were many freshly cut peach blossoms and floral arrangements in beautifully hand blown colorful, glass vases.
Set was a massive fireplace in the front of the lavish room with a pale golden colored lounge chaise, arranged comfortably nearby and more flowers everywhere.
The daytime air from the open window was fresh, clean, floral and refreshing. Lifen stretched out her arms, yawned and jumped out of bed nervously.
The spotless, clean, marble flooring was cold on Lifen’s bare feet. There was a beautiful pair of pretty light rose colored silk slippers placed neatly by the bed. The bedding was made up of vibrant shades of damask rose hued fabric. The exquisite quality of linen was the finest she had ever seen. She didn’t dare even sit on the gorgeous bed because she wasn’t sure it was her bed.
She stood then walked around the room and noted how quiet was everything. The only sounds were of birds singing outside the wide open windows. Lifen investigated and examined the chamber most cautiously. Placed on the south wall behind the head of the bed was a massive wardrobe closet, and when she opened the doors, it was full of beautiful women’s clothing.
The massive walnut cabinet doors she closed them and drifted towards the open window. Outside there were two male servants busily working in the garden, but paused monetarily to greet and bowed at Lifen when she peeked out at them.
Unsure she hid behind the curtains, and jumped back startled when two women servants suddenly appeared into the bedroom. Her soft rosy cheeks blushed more and Lifen began to apologize nervously.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know where or why I’m here. I must be the new servant.” Lifen spoke softly but there wasn’t any reply from either maids and it was as if she were talking to herself.
She stood baffled, perplexed as one of the gentle looking servants wordlessly arranged, and set up a magnificent spread of culinary delicacies by the open window. Involuntary her mouth watered from the delicious aroma and smells wafting in the air.
Repetitively the woman made the silent gesture for Lifen to sit in the open seat with her hands. The other politely delivered a sealed letter with a tight, waxed marking that resembled a crest of some kind but she didn’t know what it meant. The unopened message was addressed to her by name.
You were not brought to be a servant nor are you here to serve a master. You are the mistress of this mansion. Everything you need will be provided and accessible to you always. There will be a small notepad placed on the fireplace mantle. So anything you ever require, desire, want or need merely write down regardless of price or rarity.
You have four servants and a cook but won’t see or meet anyone else during your stay in this temporary home. For needed and necessary reasons, all the servants are deaf, mute and illiterate.
Though inconvenient at first, you will need to draw pictures to express and communicate your demands until you pick up their sign language.
You are also currently six months pregnant, and purposely brought to this hidden spot for your protection during the entire duration of your pregnancy. You will give birth to your child here and try not to fear because nobody will ever hurt you.
Total anonymity is for your protection. The less contact with our world the better to hide you. One day very soon you’ll understand everything.
There wasn’t a name or signature but Lifen dropped the letter as if it were in flames. How could she stay in a stranger’s home and how could she give birth, by herself?
Birth, the letter said she was pregnant. She rubbed her almost flat stomach and noticed there was a tiny bump she never saw before. Giddy she laughed and hugged herself with her arms. It was a wonder. A bittersweet miracle but a marvel nevertheless and Lifen wouldn’t have to give birth in a brothel, where they sold the newborns to families without children. At that very instant she firmly understood there was a God. A higher power or an archangel watching over her.
There was something mysterious and magical about the manor. It had many more bedrooms but every room was decorated and set up identically. That wasn’t the only odd thing about this puzzling place. Time moved differently and outside the weather was always the same with pinkish clear skies, and Lifen never saw night. It was the same every single day so it became difficult to tell if hours, days or months had passed.
Lifen slept most of her day or was it days? Or months? It felt much longer but it was impossible to tell time. She kept track of time by her growing stomach. If she was already six months pregnant at her arrival, then her time there must have been mere days even though it felt more like months.
The time, weather, temperature, even the cheery songbirds singing, chirping were identical and endless. It was similar to one single long never ending day. She longed to see the bright stars at night but soon became accustomed to the perpetual daylight.
She should have been nervous, scared by the odd situation, but Lifen was contented and overwhelmingly satisfied with her life due to her ever still growing stomach. It was similar to having a close friend or constant companion.
Proudly she described, talked to the baby and told all about his or her father. The first time she felt the baby moving it felt similar to light butterflies kisses, but then those tiny flutters became big firm kicks over time. The baby’s severe movements broke two of her ribs but she didn’t care. Towards the end, her vast, round stomach was more significant than her entire body.
She wasn’t aware of the fact it had been months and years that had passed, not days. But she couldn’t tell because that was the plan all along. To make her lose track of time, otherwise she would become suspicious and perhaps even frightened by the extended length of her pregnancy.
The morning she finally went into labor, Lifen found another letter among a beautiful knife with a finely sharpened blade.
Lifen ~ Qian Qian
Your mortal life is but a temporary shell. The massive child inside your body cannot be delivered naturally due to your fragile mortal frame.
Do not fear.
Child, know through death; there IS life and there is only one mean of returning to your real identity. You know there has always been a strong, powerful voice within you. Trust, listen to your heart and if this child is desired and meaningful to you, then you know what to do.
At first, she didn’t understand the vague message. What did they mean when they asked if she desired the baby? Why would she not desire a child conceived in love? And who was Qian Qian? She put the mystifying letter aside and timed her contractions. They were coming closer and the baby’s head wasn’t even crowned.
Lifen tried in vain to give birth alone with the two servants and as the letter stated due to her thin, petite frame, she couldn’t force or get the baby out. The baby’s head alone was wider and broader than her narrow hips. After several unsuccessful hours of labor, pushing and bleeding, she understood the note precisely. She had to give up her life for her child’s. She had to die so her baby could live.
She accepted what she had to do. Cut. She needed to be opened so that her baby could come out and breathe. With silent hand signals, she showed the terrified servants but nobody would even touch the knife.
Two things she did in this sequence. She wrote something out on a blank piece of paper then bravely grabbed the blade, cut herself open without a trace of fear or hesitation.
Euphorically Lifen, the mortal, died laughing, smiling after carefully examining her newborn son and understood why she couldn’t push him out. He was a big baby. Still clenched in her dying hand was the sheet of paper where she’d scrawled out two names. 金龍 Jīnlóng and his father’s name, 墨深 Mo Yuan, she wrote out before her death.
Lifen, the mortal, died and Bai Qian, the High Goddess, returned ascended with a newborn son. She was the proud mother of the firstborn son of Heavenly Father’s eldest son, High God of War, Mo Yuan.
Radiantly beaming with her brand new, fresh, luminous aura, Bai Qian of Qingqiu, the only High Goddess in the world finished telling the rest of Lifen’s story to High God and new father, Mo Yuan.
Mo Yuan was ghostly white, blanched, paled without color and utterly speechless. It was fortunate for him that he was already sitting down, because he would have inevitably collapsed to the ground. He was bewildered out of his mind and could do nothing but blink rapidly.
It took him a long moment to find his lost voice before he stated with absolute resolve, “Marriage! We need to get married immediately. I can’t believe this! You’re not kidding me, right? No, this is too extreme to be a joke.”
Her eyelashes fluttered as Bai Qian’s eyes widened in surprise, awe and she stared at him bewildered before asking, “Mo Yuan, my friend. Why do we need to get married?!”
“What? Jīnlóng! We have a baby! Of course, we need to get married! I can’t believe you’re asking me why?” Mo Yuan replied instantly.
Bai Qian crossed her arms over her chest, leaned into her right foot and stood at an angle before giving him attitude. She honestly challenged haughtily, “Mo Yuan, my friend, help me understand this. Because I’m not getting it but what does the baby have to do with marriage?! My word, it’s not the stone age anymore and people don’t marry just because they have a baby! Plus we’re not in love!”
Beyond flustered and flabbergasted was Mo Yuan as he stammered. He couldn’t grasp or comprehend how she could be asking such a ridiculous question.
“I love you and you said you loved me too! And stop calling me your friend Mo Yuan! I’m your husband Mo Yuan Oppa in case you’ve forgotten!” He exclaimed in a tone of voice much louder than his usual.
She openly rolled her eyes disbelieving and demanded “Since when?! Since when have you been in love with me?! Look, Lifen loved you and you loved her but I barely know you! I mean, I had a crush on you and am incredibly grateful for everything you did for me during my heavenly trial, but I’m not Lifen!”
Mo Yuan threw his arms up in the air and declared in absolute frustration, “I CAN NOT BELIEVE we are having this conversation! I know you’re not Lifen!”
He marched in a small circle as if to gather his wits, pointed his index finger accusingly and demanded, “Qian’er, you enchanted me first! So take responsibility for your actions! Not only did you urinated in my shoe and marked me as yours, but you also hit me with a massive enchantment spell!”
“Plus, to clarify, I purposely did everything during your trial because I’m in love with you! I searched for you after you vanished but you wouldn’t have known that.” Mo Yuan reached out and tenderly touched her cheek.
Bai Qian began to reply but another male voice spoke from the stairs. The Fox Emperor glared at them both and said, “Shut up both of you and come inside like civilized people! You two are so damn loud! That jackass Si Ming will overhear everything and Qian Qian’s ascension will come under question!”
“Mo Yuan, come in and take a look at your kid! He’s adorable but he’s huge! I didn’t know dragon babies were so damn big! Plus my friend, Mo Yuan… You and I also are in need and overdue for a SERIOUS TALK! Marrying my only daughter and impregnating her without my permission??” Bai Zhi shook his head disapprovingly and walked back into the Fox Den.
Mischievous Bai Qian stuck out her tongue and taunted Mo Yuan, “You are in trouble, Mo Yuan Oppa! Hehehe… You’re going to get it from my daddy!”
Nervously Mo Yuan gulped but returned in his authoritative voice, “Lif…”
“Were you going to call me Lifen?!” Bai Qian accused and gave Mo Yuan side eyes.
“I was saying Liefie…that’s Dutch for love! You started it first with your spell. If anything, I’m the victim and I deserve consideration.” Mo Yuan expressed articulately like the Shifu he was.
“You didn’t seem to mind being naked and I gave you so much more than consideration, Mo gēge!” Sharply she retorted and skipped into the Fox Den.
Mo Yuan was excited to see his new son, Jīnlóng, but cleared his dry, tightening throat repeatedly and slowly followed Bai Qian inside because he was a bit…a lot afraid of Bai Zhi.
To be continued…..