He knew before everyone else. A-Li knew his mother was pregnant long before the others, even her. He first became aware of his little sisters’ existences, when the babies were just a few weeks old, while his mother was still in Nine Heavens with him and his father.
It wasn’t something A-Li could describe, or at least not with his limited child’s mentality and reasoning. But he sensed their presence, their life’s essence and knew it wouldn’t be long, before his most desired dreams of having siblings would become a reality.
He could still recollect, how giddy he’d been to know such an immense secret before anyone else. Particularly his father whom at the time A-Li believed was the smartest man in the world.
To this very day, it brought tears to his eyes remembering how excited he had been to finally have a real, a proper family like his cousin, Yuan Zhen, in the North Sea. The relative whom A-Li had resented all his life.
With the new babies and his mother in his life, everything would be changing for the better– it should have, it would have been the envy of everyone in the immortal world. However, he was too young to understand when something is too perfect, too incredible, there were those wicked, selfish villains who would covet what doesn’t belong to them, steal his beautiful dreams away and that was what happened precisely.
A-Li cursed the two main offenders who were guilty of destroying his family. Both his uncle, Mo Yuan, and his cousin, Dongmei, he despised down to the pit of his soul. He hated them because he knew their evil dealing, dirty secrets and soon the whole world would know of their crimes.
He would bring them down to their knees and make them beg for his mercy. It was his birthright. A-Li wholeheartedly accepted the very reason for his existence was to bring justice to his parents, overthrow the unbeaten mighty God of War along with everyone else who got in his way, before sequentially seizing his father’s throne as Heavenly Lord.
A-Li certainly believed this was his calling because, if it wasn’t his life’s purpose to take over then why would he be the only immortal born, possessing both Dragon and Fox magic at his beckoning? Having such elite cultivation, and magic even at his young age made him more powerful than his father, Uncle Mo Yuan or his mother and he knew it.
When did her distinctive talent or magic start? It was impossible to say because it had been a part of her since infancy. Bai Qian and Ye Hua’s eldest daughter, A-Chang; her gift was the capacity to read another individual’s mind.
Through body contact with one touch, a person’s inner reflections, memories and guarded secrets were no longer confidential to the youngster. A-Chang could vividly see everything from the person’s mind, as though it were happening directly before her eyes, and it was with this talent she discovered Mo Yuan wasn’t her father.
She and her youngest twin, Ying’er, were considerably different from early on. A-Chang breastfed much longer and needed her mother to fall asleep; where her sibling weened from their mother sooner and preferred their father, Mo Yuan, at bedtime.
Hence, there were many nights their parents were forced to sleep apart, and separately because of the girls. It was on one of those separated nights, while nursing on her sleeping mother’s breasts, A-Chang saw a man who she thought was her father, Mo Yuan, without facial hair in her mother’s dreams.
It surprised her that her mother would dream of her father every night, especially considering she wasn’t particularly affectionate toward him. At the time, A-Chang was too young to understand, what she was seeing in her mother’s nighttime visions.
It was only after Zhe Yan told the girls about the birds and the bees… Sex. After learning how babies are made; A-Chang recognized her cleanly shaven father was making love to her mother in her dreams nightly, while moaning: “Qian Qian, I love you.”
The newfound knowledge merely provoked her interest further. She asked Zhe Yan when her father, Mo Yuan, grew his mustache and beard. Zhe Yan said longer than her mother had been alive. A-Chang’s next questions were: if there was ever a time her father was without his facial hair after meeting her mother, and when he stopped addressing her as Qian Qian?
Zhe Yan offhandedly replied, “Never. Xiao Wu has never seen Mo Yuan without his beard and mustache. If he shaved, people would confuse him with Ye Hua. Mo Yuan never called her Qian Qian. I think only Ye Hua used to call her that.”
Ye Hua? Ye Hua? Who was Ye Hua and why hadn’t A-Chang before heard this name? Intense curiosity caused her to ask the Kunlun disciples who he was. They all became nervous and hushed her into silence, then warned her never to utter Heavenly Lord’s name around her parents.
Heavenly Lord Ye Hua? She hadn’t a clue who this man could be and why would he be in her mother’s dreams? There was only one Heavenly Lord in the world and he was in Nine Heavens. A-Chang knew she would never see him, since her parents refused to take them to Nine Heavens for any occasions, even the Peach Festivals that everyone attended.
Due to her ability reading minds, she couldn’t stand the feeling of not knowing something significantly important, especially it’s a secret. Therefore when A-Chang was 304 years old, she took Ying’er and snuck into Nine Heavens to find this mystery man, Ye Hua, but instead discovered their brother, A-Li.
There wasn’t any conversation or preplanning between them, but somehow A-Li seemed to be expecting them and came to receive them. The children had stood all staring at each other, yet somehow intuitively recognized they were full blooded siblings, before exchanging a single spoken word.
It was their brother, A-Li, who spoke first when he stated, “La Sangre Llama– Blood Beckons… Blood calls to blood. I’ve been waiting for you. Your Dà Gēgē needs your help and I need you girls to grow up like me.”
He said this before tightly hugging the girls for the first time, and when she touched her brother, A-Chang saw through A-Li’s memories that Heavenly Lord Ye Hua was her birth father. But the element that stood out most was the way her mother gazed at her biological father.
It was then A-Chang realized her mother had been sad all her entire life, because the expression on her face was one she had never seen before. The expression on her mother’s beautiful face was one of pure joy.
Since babyhood, Ying’er spent all her summers with Zhe Yan, grew up watching him make potions, compounds and peach wine. Her countless hours assisting the God of Medicine piqued her interest in the medical field, and was the catalyst for her life’s calling.
The industrious young girl spent all her days with her nose stuck in books. She read, studied and absorbed every recorded text on herbs, minerals, spells, any substances correlated with or could be used for prescriptions.
While her older sister, A-Chang, enjoyed the usual pleasures most girls enjoy such as gossip, fashion and of course handsome young men; reclusive Ying’er preferred to spend all of her time alone in the cauldron room on Kunlun Mountain. Or scouting the mountainsides searching for injured animals to heal, and release.
Mo Yuan was the first to recognize Ying’er’s immense aptitude for medicine, and apothecary. To nurture her gift further, he established a vast separate area in the school for her workroom with every material imaginable.
There wasn’t a limit to all rare elements, and ingredients he had obtained for her since she first began experimenting. Her scholarly father was correct about her gift, as he is with everything else and it wasn’t long before she mastered pharmaceuticals.
With her knowledge, Ying’er formulated medications to use in the mortal realm. She produced medicines to aid those suffering while traveling to the farthest, and most remote communities to cure those without money.
Every week, mother and daughter went into the mortal world disguised as mortals to help those in need. The people they treated without knowing their real identity called them ‘Goddess Bai Qian‘ and the little girl ‘Saintess Changying.’
Out of all her titles, she was most pleased with this nickname because her father was her role model, Changying behaved in ways to make him proud. Perhaps, it was her hero worshiping of Mo Yuan caused her to resent that he wasn’t her biological father. She was embarrassed, and ashamed that her birth father was Heavenly Lord Ye Hua of the Celestial Clan.
In her mind and personal convictions, the disgusting 50,400 years old man with one hundred women in his harem was NOT her father… God of War, High God Mo Yuan was Ying’er father.
The other man was her beloved father’s younger twin and nothing more than a sperm donor.
The children moved with ease in the place they – themselves – had never lived but it was once their parents home. A-Li, the eldest son grabbed three glasses from the cabinets. A-Chang, their eldest daughter hummed under her breath, as she arranged the fresh peach florets in a porcelain vessel, and placed it as a centerpiece on the table. She worked busily while her younger twin, Ying’er, opened the wine bottles and filled everyone’s glasses to the top.
The children happily glanced at each other side to side with broad smiles, raised their glasses high and all said, “Happy Birthday to our mother.” Then emptied their cups in a single shot with only A-Li refilling his, while the girls refrained since they didn’t have their brother’s high alcohol tolerance.
A-Li drank his wine then gracefully crossed his hands one over the other. A gesture he had picked up from his father and asked, “How’s our mother? How is her health?”
“She’s good usually, still has her blue days. Her periods of depression matches around the time Father takes another concubine. I don’t know how Mother finds out, but she seems to or her times of sorrow are a coincidence…”
A-Chang paused, and fiddled with a stray peach petal that had fallen by her hand before continuing “I think we need to rush things along. I know we agreed to wait until we had all the evidence to prove what happened, but I think Mother and Father need to meet sooner. I heard Zhe Yan telling Uncle Mo Yuan they could start trying again for another baby in a few years, so that means her health has much improved.”
A-Li nodded that he understood and mumbled, “A baby with Uncle Mo Yuan would complicate things tremendously. If there’s a common child between them, she’ll never leave Kunlun Mountain and even if she wanted to, he would never let her take his baby.”
With his hands pressed together and his eyes raised heavenward as if in prayer, A-Li declared, “We’ve been fortunate that none of her other pregnancies went full term. That Zhe Yan instructed them to stop trying after her last miscarriage, until she had fully healed.
“I’m surprised Father hasn’t produced any other children – other than Yingpei – with his large harem.” A-Chang said while nervously nibbling on her bottom lip as her mother did.
“He has rules his women must follow. I’ve heard the servants talking about them. From what I’ve gathered, the women can’t talk, touch or kiss him and… The room must be dark and father releases his seeds on the ground.”
“EWWWWW!” Ying’er bemoaned as her entire face pinched with revulsion. “That makes me ill and makes me want to vomit in my mouth! You can say anything you want about Uncle Mo Yuan, but at least he’s never taken another woman. Unlike a certain individual we all know.”
A-Li suddenly signed and his voice softened, “Ying’er, I know sometimes it’s hard for you to understand. I’m forever appreciative toward Uncle Mo Yuan for never taking another woman, and raising you girls as his own. Nevertheless, the facts remain that he stole you girls and Mother from our father. Do you think he would have a harem if he and Mother were together?”
Ying’er sneered, “I don’t care what Heavenly Lord Ye Hua does with his offensive life, but Uncle Mo Yuan would NEVER desire another woman other than our mother. If he had, I would have slit his throat in his sleep.”
“Ying’er! Don’t speak so disrespectfully about Father when you don’t know everything! Our mother yearns for and dreams about him! Don’t you want her to be happy?” A-Chang snapped her twin into stillness but then uttered somberly, “Dà Gēgē, similar to you, I want our parents to reunite more than anything, but sometimes think too much has happened and it might be too late for them.”
A-Li poured himself another tall, stiff glass of wine and his melancholy voice trembled when he said, “You girls have never seen our parents together so you wouldn’t understand. They were different than everyone else. Most people in relationships love each other, but our parents ‘lived’ for and through each other. Meaning: they came to life when they are together, and that kind of passionate love never fades.”
“Our parent’s deep affections for each other ran so hotly that they made love in public! They were beautiful together and…” A-Li’s voice trailed off softly as a tear ran down his cheek, and he didn’t bother to wipe it away.
Watching her older brother cry spontaneously defused her anger. Ying’er tenderly placed her hand on A-Li’s, squeezed as her rigid expression relaxed and she soothed the brother she worshiped, “Okay, Dà Gēgē. Ying’er is sorry and will do her best to follow your lead.”
She breathed deeply and gathered her composure before sharing her knowledge, “I found one of the servants who testified against our father at the trial in the mortal realm. Her name is Chao Xing. She’s an orphan without family or name. However, she’s quite wealthy now living as a mortal.”
“I figured there would be money and bribes involved. Ying’er, keep an eye on her from a distance. What about the other one? What about Sujin’s uncle, the war general that testified against Father?” A-Li asked.
“He’s dead like the others. He also died of a heart attack right after his deposition but again like the other families, his house is extremely comfortable now. I asked around and they said the family came into money around the time of the trial. That means all three generals died of heart attacks after becoming affluent immediately after the trial, and nobody thought this odd?”
A-Chang interrupted her sister, Ying’er’s, recount and pulled a neatly creased section of parchment from her dress. She handled the piece of data with great care, unfolded the paper and carefully placed it on the table for her siblings to see.
A-Chang explained, “Mother has been doodling these same numbers for years, but this time I was able to save it after she threw it in the fire. Brother, do these numbers mean anything to you?”
1, 49, 99, 100, 104, 135, 143, 151, 167, 171……
A-Li examined the document that was an entire sheet of random numbers neatly written by his mother, and couldn’t recollect why it looked so familiar. However sensed within what seemed like an insignificant listing and meaningless pattern, there was a secret he had yet to discover.
1, 49, 99, 100, 104, 135, 143, 151, 167, 171……
A-Li held it above and directly up to the light, scrutinized the digits when he heard Ying’er say, “One last bit of information I need to share. Dongmei is not royalty as she claims and her family are common people without wealth, so then where did she get all that money? Her extensive dowry is a mystery.”
“If I could sneak into her quarters as a servant and touch her once, I would be able to see her secrets,” A-Chang stated.
“No, not yet. That’s too dangerous but that’s an excellent question about her immense wealth, Ying’er. Where did our humble common born cousin, Dongmei, get all that money that she’s been using to control the harem and buy support for her son, Yingpei, to become the new Crown Prince?”
A-Li mumbled under his breath, while meticulously analyzing the account of what appeared as erratic numbers in his hand, when he felt his sister tap his shoulder. A-Chang laid on the table a cloisonne container, which resembled a woman’s blush with a name written on the white tag.
“Jiaying? Who’s this?” A-Li asked while looking over the small case now in his hand.
A-Chang leaned in and coldly declared without expression resembling her father, Ye Hua, “Jiaying is in Xiwu Palace and one of Father’s servants, but she’s also one of Uncle Mo Yuan’s people.”
Names meant nothing to him nor did their faces. Ye Hua indifferently glanced at the name tag in his palm with disinterest, and tossed it on the ground as he walked into the bedchamber.
The jasmine perfumed bedroom was darkened. He heard faint, nervous breathing from the other person in the room as he swiftly removed his clothes, and crawled on the bed by his 101st concubine’s feet then stroked himself hard.
“Get on your knees, up on all fours, quickly.” He callously instructed and felt the bed move from the shift in body weight.
He spat in his hand and used his saliva to wet himself while conjuring the same old memory of another in his head as he always did. Then without laying a single hand or touching the woman’s body, Ye Hua aimed his sex in the dark and roughly penetrated the unknown virgin presenting on all fours before him.
His penetration was harsh and speedy. It didn’t take long for him to hit liquid release which Ye Hua did on the bedding as always, before quietly dressing and returning to his bed-chamber to sleep alone.
To be continued…