The Swamp Witch~
“Hello? It’s me.” He beckoned.
She sprang up excitedly, and hurried from her cabin to meet the young man waiting outside. He appeared on the first of the month like clockwork, as he had for nearly four hundred years. And he was the only person she’d seen ever since, after being brought to this desolate prison in the swamp lands surrounded by a magical barrier.
It was a mystery how she got here and why. There was once a time she had a name, an honorary title, wore beautiful dresses but now she was nothing but a swamp witch. An old hag due to her ragged appearance and the frog eyeballs in her eye sockets. Still, these amphibian eyes were better than nothing since she didn’t have any of her own.
“Hello. It’s me.” She heard the voice and edged closer. It was the kind stranger who not only cared for her, healed her injuries, but also gave her the eyes from a giant bullfrog a hundred years ago.
It took a moment for her googly optics to focus on his handsome features, and when they did, he strangely reminded her of someone from her past.
The towering, young man with penetrating, green eyes casually tossed a large sack full of supplies in the yard and said, “Here are your groceries for this month. There’s medicine in there for your arthritis. Are you suffering from any other ailments?”
She asked the same questions every month, “Who are you?” Her hoarse voice crackled raspy, “Who are you and why do you keep helping me?”
The handsome, young man smiled charmingly. He cocked his head to one side, and his glossy hair fluidly swept over his broad shoulder, when he replied to her question for the first time, “I need you alive and healthy, because you know many of High God Mo Yuan’s secrets… Sujin.”
It was her name! He called her by her old name. Like a wild cat, she hissed at the mention of her old name. Sujin recoiled in fear before crouching low to the ground, and rocked herself while frantically murmuring under her breath but heard him say.
He said, “You don’t need to fear me but do you remember Ye Hua?”
The mention of his name cleared the madness from her mind and she whispered. “Yes, I remember. My Ye Hua…”
Whoever this young man was suddenly had her full attention. Sujin swiftly nodded in acknowledgment, as all the old memories came flooding back. But what he said next caused her to anger when he announced, “He has taken a lowly servant as his second wife, and has a harem of over one hundred concubines. All because of the trial and what happened 400 years ago.”
“A servant! A huge harem! Impossible! His Fox would never allow that! What about his Qian Qian and their black Dragon baby?” Sujin quickly asked suspiciously.
The fellow answered, “She’s married to High God Mo Yuan and she gave birth to twin white Dragons…”
Sujin hysterically giggled before he finished speaking and chimed, “High God Mo Yuan won as he declared he would! I knew he would be victorious! That kind of evil is bound to prevail. He succeeded in stealing his brother’s wife and children as he planned!”
“My poor Ye Hua must suffer knowing his brother takes the one he endlessly yearns for over, and over again… Gugu must have given birth to a dozen of Mo Yuan’s issues by now.” Sujin said giddily.
“Sujin, I can give you a better life. I’ll arrange to get a pair of real human eyes, and give you a whole new identity to start over. Tell me all of Uncle Mo Yuan’s secrets, and what he promised you for testifying against my father?” He asked.
“Uncle Mo Yuan? My father?” She croaked in astonishment. Sujin swiftly tottered over, stood inches from the figure, looked him up and down with her buggy eyes before questioning most distrusting, “Who are you? You can’t be little A-Li. That’s impossible! He’s not even 1,000 years old but you seem to look at least 40,000.”
“Listen to my voice carefully, Consort Sujin. I’ve been told I sound like my father…” He softly spoke and a cold chill ran throughout her body, because this person’s voice did sound just like Ye Hua. “Sujin, what did my uncle Mo Yuan promise you for saying what you did during the trial?”
Sujin euphorically threw her arms in the air, and snickered before responding in a singsong shrill, “High God Mo Yuan told me what to say! All of it! I only did as he instructed and he promised me. He swore to give me Ye Hua! High God Mo Yuan is sending us, Ye Hua and me away to start over!”
“Just Ye Hua and I are going into exile together far away from Qian Qian, SuSu and everyone else! Once he’s separated from the old Fox whore, and away from her evil Fox enchantment, he will form genuine affections for me this time! High God Mo Yuan promised that Ye Hua would see, and love only me if we were alone away from the others.”
“Wait a minute! Why am I wasting my time talking with you? I need to get ready. It won’t be long before Ye Hua comes to get me and take me far away. I must prepare myself! My hair! Where is my Xin Nu?! Oh, Xin Nu, come and help me get ready for my wedding to him!” She excitedly yelled while racing into her cottage.
A-Li watched the old hag that was once his father’s side consort, Sujin, as she rushed into her shack. She was mentally unbalanced and confused the majority of time. However, she was the chief witness, and perhaps the most significant person who caused the trial to end as it did.
She was A-Li’s secret witness. Nobody, not even his siblings knew of Sujin’s existence. Because it was he alone, who rescued her the day his mother made her write the confessional letter pardoning his father of all his criminal charges, before ultimately shifting all the blame on herself.
Even to this day, A-Li didn’t understand why his mother did what she did. But after Sujin finished writing her statement, his mother slashed her throat with her Fox claws and left her for dead.
But A-Li saved Sujin for one reason; he saw his uncle visiting her often, and knew she was involved with Mo Yuan’s planned trial, fake witnesses and verdict. He designed everything to serve his evil desires, and she was not only one of the last ones still alive from the trial, but she was someone who knew many of his uncle’s sinful acts.
Zhe Yan’s Peach Grove~
“Damn! Would it kill you to label something, Zhe Yan?! Not everyone in the world is a physician!” She cursed aloud in frustration.
It was time to use her great scientific ingenuity, and intelligence to decide which potions belonged to her. Bai Qian closed the white silk parasol in her hand, pointed the bamboo tip, swung it back and forth on the full distance along the row of the many different color bottles, then sang…
“Eeny, meeny, miny, moe…”
She stopped on ‘moe’ but continued, because she didn’t care for the greenish color of the vial her umbrella landed on, and chanted, “Catch a Fox by its toe.” She peeked over her umbrella and exclaimed, “Yes, that’s much better. I prefer the color blue.”
She gathered and examined the blue hued glass jar, spoke to herself and the container, “This bottle looks like it will do the job. I don’t know what it supposed to do but you look good to me.” She winked at the bottle and conversed more, “Maybe I’ll grab a few of your friends in case you’re not the right one just to be safe, and the girls won’t make fun of me for being a dizzy mother.”
Bai Qian randomly took several more what she could hold in one hand, rested her closed parasol over her bare shoulder and turned to leave, but slammed into another individual who was entering as she was exiting.
It wasn’t Zhe Yan. This man was dressed in darker colored apparel.
“Oh! Excuse me! I never expected anyone else…” Her words abruptly choked in her throat and her parasol, the vials of elixir dropped from her hands, as she stared at someone from her past stunned.
It was him. The one she despised herself for still desiring, for still loving and it was happening again. One glance, one look, that’s all it took and her heart raced achingly for him.
She wasn’t the only one shocked. Ye Hua likewise was equally stunned if not more. His surprised expression exactly mirrored her, and as he stared her without blinking, he first questioned his sanity. Next, he wondered if he were again dreaming of her as he usually did.
No, it wasn’t a hallucination. She was standing there not even an arm’s reach away. He knew she was there, because he recognized the distinct scent exuding from her body. Even surrounded by ten miles of peach trees, Ye Hua definitely detected the sweet perfume of her honeyed skin that caused his salivary glands to react, and his mouth watered involuntarily.
It was astonishing even downright infuriating. After all these years, and how much Ye Hua had changed being around her still made his head spin, his heart palpitate and his body ached for her.
Her closeness, her proximity still had the same knee weakening effect on him. In her presence, he wasn’t the Lord of anything. He was nothing but a stumbling lovesick fool who was currently speechless, fumbling for words and unable to find his missing voice.
He needed a moment, therefore, respectfully bent down to pick up the items she’d dropped. But more than anything else, Ye Hua dallied to gain required time to gather his lost composure. It was a calculated maneuver on his part, when he granted himself a momentary pause. A standstill while curved over to allow his shock to pass, and it did quicker than he’d anticipated.
However, when the shock subsided, another intense emotion spontaneously kicked in, took its place and overwhelmed him. An unexpected charge of hunger, and desire detonated like a bomb within his body bringing extreme heat to his loins. And now, Ye Hua had a secondary reason to move slowly.
Out of the blue at a most inconvenient moment, his manhood spontaneously grew, producing more even tautness in his already tense posture, as he deliberately consumed time, and ascended from his crooked positioning as gradually as possible.
Ye Hua’s lagged upward rise not only provided him with an opportunity to attempt to suppress further growth, and lengthening of his urgency. But it also gave him time to feast, to drink in the sight of her, after 400 long years of endlessly pining for her from a distance.
He even considered magically stopping time, and if he could have done so without her noticing he would have. Ye Hua desired for this invaluable moment between them to continue a fraction longer, as his craving gaze narrowed intrigued at the hem of her sheer, pale pink, polka dot covered, chiffon gown.
Most slowly, his eyes progressed from the hem noting that the sheer multiple layers tulle shirt of her dress was so thin that the outline of her shapely legs showed ever so slightly from the bright sunlight gleaming in behind her.
It created the greatest tease. The show of just a trace of her bare body underneath the many tiers of transparent material left him lightheaded, and his head reeled as his heart pounded painfully in his chest.
But he couldn’t stop staring at the trace of her knees. A peek of her slightly parted thighs, then noticing how her hips curved out more than in the past, before sharply cutting in at her narrow waist– then it was the smooth plane of her flat abdomen that seized his lustful gaze.
She was so outrageously beautiful. He needed to pull himself together and told himself to stop gawking at her. Ye Hua took a deep breath to collect himself, but couldn’t control his excessively hungry gaze from traveling to her full breasts that mercilessly tormented him from underneath a sheer, transparent ruffle on her baby pink tinted gown.
Her large, rounded breasts rose and fell with her chest due to her fast, nervous breathing. And it was this swift respiration that caused her bosoms to push up against the thin material forcibly, so the raised circular outline of her hardened nipples was noticeable. He would have stayed hunched over longer to stare at her breasts. But the impatient spasm in the front his pants forced Ye Hua to stand as erect as his stiff sex, while his eyes continued to violate her body.
How could she be so ravishing? She was a feast for his eyes and Ye Hua’s private conversation was this:
“How the hell can she become more beautiful?! How can I be so hard at a time like this? Stop it! Get a hold of yourself. Pull yourself together. She’s the wicked woman who broke your heart and married your brother.”
However, she was making it impossible to think straight wearing a sheer sleeveless gown that revealed so much skin it should have been against the law, and if that tantalizing picture wasn’t distracting enough… The Shimu of Kunlun Mountain kept nervously licking her full, pouty, cherry red painted lips giving them a wet and glossy appearance.
Damn it! She still had such power over him… Ye Hua privately marveled at her ridiculous beauty and sex appeal. However, spoke most condescendingly to her while wearing a mask of vanity.
He said, “You’ve aged. I guess even the great Shimu of Kunlun Mountain gets old.”
She said nothing in return.
How unexpected. In the past, she would have without a doubt torn Ye Hua a new one for disrespecting her. However, there wasn’t any fight in her whatsoever. Instead, she dropped her gaze to the ground defeated. Her long, black eyelashes swept up and down like a lazily flowing fan when she blinked.
It was childish on his part, but Ye Hua wasn’t done tormenting her for betraying him and breaking his heart. Not even close because he wanted her to experience hurt, and feel a fraction of his misery.
“Perhaps, I should address you as my sǎozi, my sister-in-law?” The contempt and sarcasm in his cutting tone was something he couldn’t control.
Now it wasn’t just her eyes but she turned her entire face away from him. When Ye Hua reached to grab her chin, she instantly recoiled away, stepped backward to create space between them with such intensity, more loose bits of hair from her messy topknot-like bun fell, and hung in her face but now they made eye contact.
She scrutinized him for a long while then whispered wistfully, “You’ve lost the fire in your eyes.” Ye Hua smirked and returned in a bitter, snarky tone, “That’s hilarious considering it was you who smothered it.”
She smiled but sorrowfully and suggested, “You look pale, thin and have dark circles under your eyes. Maybe you should take care of yourself more instead of overdoing it in your harem.” Ye Hua countered with a cocky demeanor, “When did you become so maternal and caring? Don’t fret your little mind about what I do in my harem?”
“You should try to be healthy and happy for A-Li’s sake. It must break his heart to see you like this.” Ye Hua rudely interrupted her and angrily snapped, “Oh, do you even remember that he’s your son, or are your twin daughters the only ones who matter?”
The look in her eyes. It was difficult to explain, but Ye Hua loathed the way she was looking at him with pity. And this anger at himself, at her, at their circumstances made him say something ugly that he didn’t even mean… Well, not completely.
Ye Hua taunted, “I should pay Mo Yuan back for enjoying you sexually behind my back for 200 years, while you and I were engaged. And have my ways with you 200 times over.”
“Would the Mistress of Kunlun Mountain like to become my 102nd concubine? You’re not a virgin and old so your ranking will be low but I still have room for you.” Ye Hua couldn’t believe, nor could he control the ugliness that was spewing from his mouth.
It was that sympathetic tone of speech in her soft voice, and her pity filled gaze made him see red when she said. “I’m sorry that you’ve become this person now but please, don’t taint every single memory I have of you. I have to go. Please take better care of yourself.”
Who was she to pity him? She was the reason he was so bitter, yet here she was sympathizing and pitying him after demolishing his heart.
It was so like her, so àpropos when she tried to escape by sidestepping around him, but Ye Hua blocked her. She speedily moved the other way; he hindered her escape again. This time she came straight on and he intentionally stepped up, until their bodies clashed in a crushing press with neither standing down to the one other.
With their bodies compressed against each other, he stared searchingly in her eyes, and she was doing the same to him when Ye Hua asked, “Do you despise me?”
Ye Hua questioned even though he was afraid of her reply.
The tenderness in her voice was something Ye Hua wasn’t familiar with, when she said with a sad smile “How could I possibly hate you? If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have my beautiful chi…”
“Mother?! Mother! We need to go home!” A high pitched, teenage voice called from outside of Zhe Yan’s hut.
There wasn’t more happening between them, except a slightly heated exchange of words but her cheeks blushed, as if they had been in the throes of passion when she heard her daughter calling.
She pushed Ye Hua aside out of her way and hastened outside with him following. He trailed her because it would be a lie if he said that he hadn’t been insanely curious, what Mo Yuan’s children looked like and as suspected she was exceedingly beautiful.
The girl was delicate like her mother. Her long, silky hair was like A-Li’s– black, glossy and slick. Her almond shaped eyes were smaller but longer, and the green coloring was as breathtaking as her half-brother’s. Her high cheekbones. Her bottom lip was much fuller than her top, and distinctly pursed out interestingly just like Ye Hua’s, or perhaps Mo Yuan’s without his mustache.
“Which one of Mo Yuan’s daughter’s are you?” Ye Hua asked.
She curtly replied, “None of your business.”
Her snarky comment made him smile and he teased, “Yes, you are most definitely Bai Qian’s daughter with that mouth. Haven’t your parents taught you how to stand on ceremony? In case you haven’t noticed, I’m your uncle, Ye Hua.”
The girl stepped in front of her mother and replied with a smirk, “Ha! My uncle? Since when?”
“Ying’er, please be polite!” Bai Qian scolded her smart mouthed daughter.
Ye Hua nodded and stated, “So, you’re Saintess Changying. Mo Yuan’s cherished second daughter. His pride and joy; the medicinal genius and healer. They say you’re the next Goddess of Medicine.”
“Everyone knows that about me.” Changying’s arrogant smirk strangely made Ye Hua grin. She especially resembled himself or since he and Mo Yuan were twins. The little girl resembled Mo Yuan tremendously.
“I know a little something about you that your parents don’t know. I overheard from a renowned Shifu that you, Changying, have recently mastered and can control the four elements. Earth, wind, fire and water answers to your magical call. That’s pretty intense cultivation and magic for such a little girl.” Ye Hua was teasing the little one but now she was angry, and when cross she looked like her mother.
Changying’s young cheeks crimsoned the deepest red, and her emerald green eyes sparkled dangerously but she spoke with calm finesse, “Please don’t act as if you know anything about me or my life. You don’t know anything but if you want to play this game, I know a couple of things about you also… May I?”
She was an unusual, moody little thing. Ye Hua nodded his approval to his niece and replied, “Saintess Changying, what could you possibly know about me?”
Changying’s contemptuous gaze never left her birth father’s superior expression, as she spoke clearly so her mother would hear every single word coming from her lips.
“Your Consort Dongmei has been drugging you with both a powerful narcotic, and an aphrodisiac for 400 years. She’s successfully turned the son of Heavenly Father into a drug addicted, sexual deviant and there isn’t any need to release your seeds on the ground, or bedding because your sperms are too stoned to impregnate anyone.”
“Furthermore, I’m curious. How would it make you feel, if someone treated your daughter as you treat your virgin concubines? No names, faces, talking, touching or kissing? Why humiliate them, ruin their lives and bodies? Be a real man and take care of yourself without harming others.”
Changying’s green eyes glistened with fire when she asked her birth father, Heavenly Lord Ye Hua, “I know much, much…much more about your life. Shall I go on or have you heard enough?”
To be continued…..