Marriage? He never expected to marry and fatherhood, of course, never crossed his mind but Mo Yuan stared down at his newborn son Jīnlóng in pure reverence and wonder. He smiled thinking about how Lifen said they made a baby during their honeymoon, and he smiled because she was right. He smiled from the pure miracle of life, love and all the new raw emotions stirring inside him.
How could he feel infinite love and devotion for someone he’d just met? How could the Taoist Master finally understand contentment?
Mo Yuan was a man who was tasting the sweetness of being a new father, and the great new sensations of pride that made him swell up with joy. He was a father and his son was perfect. It wasn’t due to prejudice or bias but his son, Jīnlóng, was the most beautiful living creature he’d ever set his sights on in his entire life. And when the child stared up at him with a smile, Mo Yuan chuckled and unshed tears shone in his warm, dark gaze.
Curiously Mo Yuan slowly reached out, gave his index finger to the baby and gasped surprised at the infant’s mighty powerful hold. The proud new father’s eyes widened and he found himself smiling like a fool when the baby cooed suddenly.
“Did you hear that? He’s smiling at me because he knows I’m his father.” Mo Yuan proudly whispered and caressed the baby’s cheek.
Bai Qian immediately tried to bursts Mo Yuan’s bubble and lied, “It’s only gas and he’s smiling because he just pooped.”
She made kissing sounds as Bai Qian lovingly lifted Jīnlóng from the crib, and kissed the baby’s soft plump outstretched hand. She sucked and nibbled on his fat fingers as she affectionately clicked with her tongue, as one would do to a little bird or baby.
Jīnlóng heard his mother, chirped back faint sounds of contentment, when she passed the baby into Mo Yuan’s awkward and stiff embrace. However, to her surprise, he cradled the baby perfectly as if he’d held infants always.
Entirely immersed in his son was Mo Yuan that he barely heard Bai Zhi’s question, when he asked how he became Lifen’s husband.
The Fox Emperor explained he was already aware of some of the details of Mo Yuan’s actions, and was highly grateful for his protective deeds. But couldn’t understand how he’d gone from being her Shifu to her husband.
“She seduced me.” Mo Yuan replied without raising his gaze for his son’s face.
Bai Qian gasped aloud and choked when she heard him and argued, “Mo Yuan Oppa! How did I seduce you?!”
Mo Yuan finally lifted, met Bai Zhi’s slightly curious eyes and returned in a matter of fact tone, “She seduced me. Bai Zhi, you know me well enough to know my intentions and you should also know how I’ve lived my life.”
“Bai Qian enchanted me with a White Nine-Tailed Fox spell in Zhe Yan’s orchard at his request, in exchange for free wine. She asked me to kiss her repeatedly and listen to how she addresses me as ‘Mo Yuan Oppa’. If that’s not flirting, I don’t know what is and she rendered me weak and helpless.” Mo Yuan declared without a hint of a smile.
In an instant, Bai Qian glared right at Mo Yuan for being a tattle tale, when Bai Zhi shook his head disapprovingly at and gave her a suspicious stare. He began to pack fresh tobacco in his pipe tensely but couldn’t light it, because his wife scolded him not to smoke near the new baby.
“Qian Qian, did you enchant Mo Yuan for free wine?” He demanded with a stern tongue.
Bai Qian stammered and debated, “Yes, but, father, my spell wasn’t potent enough to do anything!”
“Qian Qian, did you ask Mo Yuan to kiss you?” The Fox Emperor demanded.
“Yes, but, father, Mo gēge is making it sound much more devious than it was and I was just teasing him…” Bai Qian haughtily retorted.
Bai Zhi sharply sucked through his teeth, hissed a warning for his daughter to remain silent and spoke with a humble tone, “Mo Yuan, what would you like to do in this situation?”
Mo Yuan tenderly kissed his infant son’s forehead, sniffed his sweet baby scent and returned, “I would like permission to marry your daughter and raise my son on Kunlun Mountain.”
The Fox Empress took the baby, playfully side eyed him as if she were angry but her expression wasn’t one of hatred and she asked, “Mo Yuan, I know you’re an honorable man but do you love our Qian Qian?”
“More than anything in the world…well, next to my son, Jīnlóng.” Mo Yuan returned without a seconds hesitation.
Mo Yuan’s sincere reply made both Bai Qian’s parents smile. They knew him well enough to know he wasn’t one to speak empty words.
“Well, I guess we’ll need to look into auspicious dates. We’ll have to wait a bit before we make any announcements. We can tell others there were affections between them before Qian Qian’s trial. As for the baby…we’ll come up with a story.”
The Fox Empress declared when Bai Qian rudely cuts her mother off and sharply asked, “Wait for a darn minute! Doesn’t anyone care about my feelings?! Everyone is making plans for my life without my consent. Jīnlóng is my son also! Don’t I have a say in who I marry?”
“Qian Qian, you don’t want to marry Mo Yuan? Why? You married him during your heavenly trial!” Bai Zhi barked at her obstinance.
Bai Qian’s eyes darted nervously from her parents to Mo Yuan and boldly declared, “I like Mo Yuan. I do. I owe him for everything he did during my test but I’ve never had a single lover or even gone on a date, and I feel somewhat cheated.”
Mo Yuan walked up to Bai Qian and met her gaze before he asked in his smooth even voice, “What would you like? What can I do so you don’t feel cheated, Qian’er?”
Bai Qian lightly cleared her throat and declared, “Lifen had to do all the work last time so this time I want you to court me. I want you to make me fall in love with you.”
“Mo Yuan Oppa, like you did at the Harvest Festival and shot all three arrows at once to win the rings. I want more of that. What I want most is romance!” Bai Qian stated with her arms crossed over her chest.
A playful smile came to his lips and Mo Yuan subtly tilted his head to one side. He found her demands and behavior endearing, so he nodded his head in agreement and amended his request, “Bai Zhi, may I court your daughter, Bai Qian?”
The next day several Kunlun Mountain disciples appeared with a special delivery. It was 932 red long stem roses to represent all the days they were separated with a handwritten letter.
“I want to be your love forever and ever,
Without break or decay.
When the hills are all flat,
The rivers are all dry.
When it thunders in winter,
When it snows in summer.
When heaven and earth mingle,
Not till then will I part from you.”
Let’s go on a date and drink wine under the moon and stars?
Mo Yuan Oppa
Delighted, she giggled under her breath and held the note up close to her heart. Bai Qian slyly snickered because she liked, no, she loved Mo Yuan immensely. So the idea of him romancing and courting her made her swoon. Her stomach felt as if full of dancing butterflies.
Bai Qian was clever to make Mo Yuan work for it, because she was aware of a secret that all women should know. Not to give herself up too easily or readily and that all men love a good chase.
The new wise High Goddess Bai Qian knew that the best husbands in the world were usually married to bitches.
To be continued…..