It took her moments to catch her breath. On bent knees, she clenched both her hands into tight fists before she slowly raised her reluctant gaze. Bai Qian studied the male boots, and instinctively knew deep in the pit of her quivering stomach; it was ‘him’.
The man standing before her was Ye Hua’s twin brother, High God Mo Yuan. The mysterious man who was once her Shifu, but he also had once been her lover. And his soft voice sounded almost identical to Ye Hua’s was slightly melodic when he asked, “My Shíqī. Why are you sitting outside on the dirty ground?”
“My Shíqī.” He called her Seventeen and Bai Qian silently considered his words internally, as she gathered her composure and brought herself to her feet. She now stood and met his gaze fully with the dignity of a High Goddess and Queen.
Gracefully, she rounded her arms and politely addressed the man who’d appeared without invitation, but he wasn’t one anyone would dare to offend or refuse. Ever.
And the friendly smile on her face was well practiced but forced, as she spoke cordially, “Greeting to High God Mo Yuan. I’m sorry to say neither my father nor Zhe Yan is present at this moment. I’d be happy to tell them you came by.”
Mo Yuan’s reply came swiftly when he said without hesitation, “I’m here to see you.”
His response… She barely controlled her desire to cringe. The confrontation was finally happening. “Yes, I suppose a talk between us is overdue.” Bai Qian responded dryly without emotion, even though the false smile never left her face. “Please come inside for tea.” She added as she graciously extended her hand towards the Fox Den.
He studied her and smiled somewhat tenderly at her invitation, but there was something she couldn’t explain or understand. A foreboding? What was it? It was the indecipherable look in his eyes. His piercing gaze lacked the discreet expression of an elder highly cultivated god, but she told herself to stop over thinking as she served High God Mo Yuan tea. But it was unnerving, because he never took his eyes off her for even a moment throughout the long awkward silence between them.
Finally, he spoke first with a hint of nostalgia in his tone. “It’s unfortunate you don’t remember your time on Kunlun Mountain. Much happened during that time.”
The mention of Kunlun Mountain made her involuntarily flinch. Bai Qian gazed down at her teacup and ran her fingertip around the top while he spoke, because his intense stare made her nervous. Yet she found her voice and replied automatically, “Yes, tutelage under such an esteemed God such as yourself is one of the highest honors. I too regret that I don’t recall anything.”
She politely refilled his cup when he said nonchalantly, “You experienced many firsts as my disciple. Love, betrayal and heartbreak…” His voice suddenly trailed off as his dark eyes looked far into the distance, but once again there was something wrong, and Bai Qian’s private alarm told her so.
Abruptly, his tone changed, “You were a greedy one, Bai Qian. You had everything…everyone’s love. You had to have everything always… Li Jing.” Mo Yuan’s sentimental voice quivered at the same time Bai Qian violently coughed up blood, and the severe pain was enough to make her collapse to the ground.
This person before her was not High God Mo Yuan. He laughed bitterly as Bai Qian coughed up more blood. The immortal gradually waved their hand, and revealed their true appearance without the camouflage spell.
“Xuan Nu… Why?” Bai Qian whispered in between gasping breaths, before coughing up more blood.
“Yes, it’s me and I’ve been waiting a very long time to see you again, my old friend, for our reunion. Imagine the humor and irony of me walking right into your home…no being invited and poisoning you with the tea you so politely served.” Xuan Nu grinned as she sauntered around Bai Qian’s crumpled body in a slow, triumphant circle then taunted.
She jeered, “You don’t remember why? So it’s true…you have lost all your memories, Bai Qian. After so many years, I was going to let bygones be bygones, until I heard you had Ye Hua and your son again. You never learn do you…you selfish whore! If I can’t have it nor can you!”
Stumbling Bai Qian weakly attempted to stand, as she fell back to the ground when Xuan Nu explained, “Don’t bother to waste your energy, Gugu. The deadly crimson blood jade poisons your body from the demon realm. Soon all your internal organs will become pulp, and then I’ll follow you to death since I’ve accomplished my goal…but not until I destroy the crimson lotus first…”
Bai Qian’s eyes widened with terror, as she coughed up more blood at the mention of the crimson lotus. Her crimson lotus.
Xuan Nu then sneered with pure hatred, as her painted lips curled and her face twisted with rage, “You sneaky bitch. You managed to save your dead child after all, while mine died without ever taking a single breath.”
Kneeling beside Bai Qian, Xuan Nu caressed her pale cheek smeared with blood and whispered, “Don’t fret Bai Qian. As much as I desire to… I can’t kill A-Li so your legacy will go on but the helpless flower fetus outside… I’m going to tear apart and swallow before I die. Then you and I will finally be even.”
To be continued…..