She was in a state of utter shock and confusion. It was simpler to act lifeless – Bai Qian didn’t budge – not even a muscle did she move. Instead, allowing everyone to believe she was still unconscious. She was following her fainting spell, after hearing the shocking account of Ye Hua’s trial and sentence. Now she was playing dead and her act was convincing even to Zhe Yan, but somehow Mo Yuan knew she was awake.
They were alone in her bedchamber, and Shifu’s hushed whisper of a voice divulged to her an obscure confessional of his mysterious malfeasance, “My Shì Qī, forgive me for everything I’ve done and for what I still must do. Understand that I’m only trying to protect you, and being by my side is where you belong and what’s best for you.”
Shifu’s large hand stroked her cheek tenderly, but what was it about his touch that bordered on repulsion, and made her cringe involuntarily? She didn’t want to look at him too afraid of what she would see in his gaze. Bai Qian’s tightly closed eyes began to fill with hot tears, then overflow before running down the sides of her face. She cried tears of frustration and anger. She silently sobbed tears of indignation, as thoughts of Ye Hua’s injustices flooded her mind tortuously.
Bai Qian inhaled sucking in a shuddered breath between her trembling parted lips, and when she spoke, she whimpered suddenly feeling terrified to hear Mo Yuan’s reply, “Shifu, what have you done?”
This was the first and never had she questioned or second guessed him of his actions. Mo Yuan had been her most trusted, cherished second father and teacher. Someone Bai Qian had profoundly respected, and admired enough to feed him blood from her heart for 70,000 years.
Although now, her unwavering faith in him was swiftly starting to crumble and falter. This man in her Shifu’s appearance wasn’t the man she knew or recognized. That thought confirmed itself when he exhaled nasally and spoke in a tensed, edgy tone that was foreign to her ears. The stranger in Mo Yuan’s disguise stated, “You did this to Ye Hua. Not me. I’m merely following your intentions and premeditated plans.”
“My intentions and plans?!” Bai Qian gasped in reply at his unexpected response. Her tear drenched eyelashes stuck clumping together causing her to rapidly blink, when she opened her eyes, but flinched away at the sight of Shifu’s thumb moving toward her face. Mo Yuan still touched her without hesitation either unaware, or uncaring of her adverse reaction to his handling of her.
“Shì Qī, do you recall what you told me before meeting with Ye Hua in Ten Miles? You wanted to punish Sujin and Heavenly Lord with their warranted Bàofù. Though, you were incapable of accomplishing your goal. Therefore, I made everything a reality for you just as you hoped.”
Mo Yuan paused to trace the shape of her lips with his thumb, while staring longingly at her, and his melancholy voice had the same pining pitch as his yearning gaze, “I did everything for you. Heavenly Lord is going into exile after the removal of his eyes, and Sujin will be executed by Ye Hua personally. The one she destroyed for is going to kill her. It’s precisely the kind of poetic justice you desired.”
“I’ve achieved vendetta for you and your Bàofù is finished.” He spoke in a patronizing somewhat slow fashion, as if she were a child which made her blood boil. Seething Bai Qian somewhat sneered at the man she had never even raised her voice to before, “I NEVER said anything about punishing Ye Hua!”
Mo Yuan snapped back, “It was you who wanted him to find out about our engagement through an announcement like a commoner, who had nothing to do with your life. If that isn’t punishment for his past transgressions, Shì Qī, what was it?!”
“I’ll tell you what that was! It was you being your cruel vindictive self, but I accept that side of you too, because I love you more than anyone will ever love you.” Mo Yuan declared.
Shifu’s mysterious verbiage, his hidden guarded gaze made her shiver in intimidation. His overly relaxed grin was further unsettling and made her tremble more, because the disturbing topic of what he was speaking shouldn’t have been uttered with a smile. “You gave EVERYTHING that rightfully belongs to me to Ye Hua. Did I or my feelings ever cross your mind even once? You and your commitment of love along with your body, your womb wasn’t yours to give away. They all belong to me. Tell me, who am I? I’m High God Mo Yuan, your real fiancé. The Warrior God who claimed and deflowered you was me.”
Mo Yuan’s usually rich coffee colored eyes were onyx blackened glistening aflame with wrath, “You promised never to love Ye Hua. You swore it would be only three years and everything was supposed to be an act. Did you forget that you belong to me?” Bai Qian had never seen Shifu so livid, but the volume of his soft voice didn’t increase, even though he was furiously raging.
“Did you think you could publicly humiliate me with my twin and I would do nothing?! Do you think I became the God of War by sitting idle, and letting others walk all over me?!” Mo Yuan growled before suddenly calming himself. He hesitated to regather his momentary loss of composure then the patient, calm and peaceful expression on his face was the one she knew well.
The drastic change in his demeanor was similar to night and day. Like black and white, the polar opposite. The now Dr. Henry Jekyll-like Mo Yuan shifted, and relocated to sit on the edge of her bed. Most tenderly he wiped away her streaming tears with affection, before confessing something that chilled her to the bone. Bai Qian’s apprehensively palpitating heart pained her achingly from the horrific nature of his disclosure.
He said, “I don’t want to hurt Ye Hua anymore. Don’t make me take his life with the hands that cared for him for hundreds of thousands of years…” He punctuated his avowal by raising both hands in her direct eyesight, before his mouth closed in on her face. Without warning, Mo Yuan extended his tongue hummed with satisfaction while licking her tears away.
“If you wish to save Ye Hua’s vision, position, reputation, his breath and not make poor A-Li, the child you abandoned an orphan…” Shifu’s breath bounced off her skin, when he murmured huskily in a tone thick with lustful ambition, “You will marry me and deny any feelings for Ye Hua. Tell him that you were playing with him all along, and breaking his heart was your Bàofù for him.”
“People saw me with Ye Hua. They heard us being intimate.” Bai Qian argued in hopes of bringing Mo Yuan back to his senses, but he replied unfazed, “We’ll say that it was me that made you scream like a whore. It was me who made you cry out in ecstasy when I visited you, while you were in Nine Heavens using one of Zhe Yan’s concealment spells to look like Ye Hua.”
It wasn’t cold but her body shook like a leaf blowing in the wind, when Mo Yuan most carefully lifted her into his embrace and cooed in her ear, “You and I are intensely in love unable to stay away from each other. But we didn’t want to create or arouse any attention, since you were there with Ye Hua, and even he wasn’t aware of any of our romantic lover’s trysts behind his back.”
“The babies aren’t yours. Shifu, they are your nieces or nephews!” Teary eyed Bai Qian blurted bitterly resulting in him abruptly interrupting her from saying anything else. Mo Yuan coaxed, “Precious, they will be my beloved step-children and you don’t know who fathered them.”
He thrust his index finger to her lips somewhat roughly to hush her, and spoke with unwavering assurance, “The babies could be mine or perhaps fate will be merciful, and you’ll give birth to white Dragons or Foxes. You should know by now that I will love anything that is a part of you, and will never hurt the children. You and I are going to have many babies together and the twins will be our eldest.”
Mo Yuan reminded her again what was at stake with unnerving composure, “I’m the only one who can save Ye Hua’s life and cleanse his disgraced name. Marry me. For once, do something considerate and helpful for him. As of now, he’s become a victim, a laughingstock doomed to die unjustly for being with the wrong woman.”
“Ye Hua’s death won’t be beneficial for A-Li either. Some could and may challenge his birthright, and try to dethrone him or even take his life. Poor young A-Li. He needs his father to defend and protect him from the evils that lurk in the shadows. It would be a shame if anything happened to him.” Mo Yuan had the nerve to try to kiss her lips, but Bai Qian rapidly turned her face away so his mouth landed on the corner of hers.
Breathing was a struggle. Nearly hyperventilating and panting out of breath, as her weak heart pumped at full capacity, she plead with him in earnest, “Shifu, you’re not this kind of person. You would never hurt your brother over a woman, and you know how I truly feel about you.”
Mo Yuan’s grasp tightened as he pulled her body into his, his mouth traced and caressed her ear, “You’re wrong. I AM this kind of man and you’re not just a woman.” He sighed wistfully directly against her skin, “Do you have any idea how long 70,000 years of darkness is, and how hard it was for me to come back to you?” He hugged her as if his life depended on it and hummed breathily, “The night we made love you asked me if I loved fuc…making love to you. Shì Qī, I did… I do very much. Marry me and save Ye Hua’s life and perhaps A-Li’s also.”
The recoil was uncontrolled as disgust overcame her. Bai Qian retreated from him with all her might, sharply sloped, and leaned to get away from Mo Yuan. Her slipping hand skated under her pillow, and there the sharpened razor’s edge of the Dragon Blade nicked her fingertips. The weapon from Ye Hua was secretly hidden under her cushion by her niece, Bai Fengjiu when Bai Qian passed out and before being chased away by her grandfather.
She grabbed it. What was it about feeling the sleekness of the knife in her tight hold that filled her with a sudden surge of newfound energy? A surge of strength filled and charged her weak physique until her knuckle tensed, as Bai Qian clutched the Dragon Blade by the handle. She hid it behind her back, met, caught, and held his gaze before gradually inclining toward her Shifu, Mo Yuan.
To be continued…