The incessant rainfall above Kunlun Mountain was so thick, and viscous that it was dense like a wall of water instead of rain droplets. It was difficult to see anything through the flowing liquid obstruction, and similar to trying to look through a rushing cascade such as a waterfall.
Changying’s eyes narrowed as she scanned the vast and blackened skies overhead. The gloomy, turbulent night air around her precisely mirrored her morose, and somber sentiments. She breathed in deep, heavy sighs with a confused heart, before calling her most powerful water commanding spell. Then cast it far and wide into the angry, stormy evening atmosphere.
It paused briefly. Any natural precipitation would have stopped immediately from her magic, and this tempest also responded to her spell suspending, but only for a moment before resuming, unfortunately. It wasn’t that her magic was ineffective; instead, the rain was intentionally created by another with more potent cultivation, and magic than herself.
The storm was her father, Mo Yuan’s, spell.
In her family, she very well knew she stood alone in this opinion, and was perhaps the only one who felt this way about him. Out of everyone in the world, Changying loved and admired her magnanimous father, Mo Yuan, above all others due to his principled convictions, ethical practices and virtues.
He was her hero and role model.
Still, there were times. Not often, however, there were moments when she was ashamed of him. The only time her father, Mo Yuan’s, astute brilliant mind became clouded, and his behaviors grew questionable were when it came to her mother, such as now he was blatantly using her phobias to gain whatever he was after.
Changying pulled her knobby knees into her recently budding chest, and hugged herself as she sat at the spot most favored by her mother. She remained by the bay window while staring off into the dark, murky atmosphere and frowned knowing her mother must be feeling frightened.
The storm was worsening by the minute and thunderbolts seemed to be moving closer. She lacked her mother’s fears, but she even flinched at the massive downpour rain on the ancient school that struck the rooftops with such immense force, it sounded as if the ceiling would cave in at any given moment.
“Don’t you think it’s strange for it to rain somewhere above all the clouds?” Changchang asked from her bed, but it wasn’t a question since both girls knew the reason behind the unusual monsoon.
“He does it on purpose, you know? He’s messing with her anxieties and playing mind games with Mother. Uncle Mo Yuan is fully aware of how traumatized our mother is from her week at the White Goddess’ old abandoned home, and he knows how much she hates the sound of rushing water.” Changchang spoke and she sounded as infuriated as Changying felt.
It was true. The entire family had been on the lower level of Kunlun Mountain for a picnic, when the girls hid behind one of the many waterfalls. They all witnessed first hand how her mother turned ghost white at the sound of the rapidly running water, and desperately clung to Mo Yuan like a scared child while having a full panic attack. Ever since that day, whenever he was displeased with her, rain always poured down over the academy.
Changchang’s ordinarily sweet voice now had a distinct edge of animosity, and resentment. “He’s intentionally using the rain to frighten her into submission. I wish our real father, Ye Hua, would one day come and kill Uncle Mo Yuan.”
Her twin wasn’t alone in her outrage towards Mo Yuan, and Changying shared the same emotions within. Nevertheless, she felt the need to defend the only man she had ever considered to be her father.
“It’s Mother’s failings. Why can’t she love him or give what he wants from her, then he wouldn’t feel the need to frighten her into anything.” She said this even though she didn’t mean it.
“Yingying, I’m worry. One day you will learn all of Uncle Mo Yuan’s sins, violations and offenses. When you discover he is the villain, I fear that it might crush you and you’ll never get over it.” This wasn’t the first time she had said this to Changying.
Changchang then asked in a tone as bitter as Changying felt. “Do you think it’s love if he uses intimidation and threats to keep her near? Are you aware of why Mother HAD to return to him the times she got fed up, and did leave him? Uncle Mo Yuan might have once been the most heroic of immortal Gods. But when it comes to Mother, he turns into a scoundrel or even worse– he becomes a Demon.”
Changying didn’t reply because she knew. She couldn’t even bring herself to speak of it, and wished more than anything that she didn’t understand because it was revolting. It was a shameful, hideous deed her father forced upon her mother, and there was truth behind her twin’s concern.
Changying too was afraid to know all the ugly details and worried, when everything came to light how would she be able to choose between her parents, between two fathers? Especially since she was very much like her mother – an extremist – when it came to equity and justice.
“Close the window and sleep with me tonight in my bed since I can’t sleep with Mother,” Changchang mumbled sleepily in her girlish voice that sounded even younger, babyish due to her drowsiness.
Changying closed the windows, and stepped across the enormous bedchamber she shared with Changchang soundlessly. She pushed the pale, pink silk drapes that hung over the canopy aside and climbed into bed with her twin. Changchang was the older one but she still wanted their mother’s closeness, and she was aware there were many times when her older sibling still clung to their mother’s breasts.
“Yingying, you shouldn’t have used lightning magic against our father today. You could have sincerely injured him.” Changchang reprimanded, but there wasn’t any real malice behind her so-called scolding.
It seemed ludicrous to her that he couldn’t defend himself from a child. Changying glowered in the dark while complaining, “He’s the distinguished and mighty Heavenly Lord of the Celestial Clan. He should have easily avoided my thunderbolt but he didn’t so how was that my fault?”
Her sister took hold of Changying’s hand, inter-weaved her small fingers into hers and went on to chatter sleepily. “You caught him off guard and he’s too gentle to hurt a little girl.”
Changchang snuggled closer into Changying for warmth and murmured, “You know, I had a general idea of what our father looked like from mother’s memories, still, seeing him up close and personally was…”
She reflected and exhaled fully, even in the dark, Changying knew her double was smiling when she conversed with the kind of ease only shared between siblings, “It was quite different and wasn’t he beyond handsome? Yingying, I wish you could have seen our father, Ye Hua’s, beautiful hands and I loved his faint voice. I hugged him for a long time and was astonishingly warm, being in his arms. I think we resemble him more than Dà Gēgē does.”
She involuntarily tensed because it felt as if she was betraying their father, Mo Yuan, by thinking and talking about Heavenly Lord. Changying’s grumpy tone was full of sarcasm when she replied, “I can’t believe you hugged him. How can you be such a traitor and hypocrite toward the man who raised us? You’re wrong. Our father, Mo Yuan, is much better looking than Heavenly Lord on every level.”
“What? Don’t even try to lie to me, Yingying. I may not be able to read your mind but I know you as well as I know myself. You were intrigued by him and now you’re curious about him.” Changchang stated.
It was true that Changying was the only person her psychic twin could not read, and it was accurate that she was a trifle curious about her birth father after seeing him.
Abruptly Changchang’s soft and sleepy voice turned playful, as she gossiped about something she saw in Heavenly Lord’s thoughts, “If you had been even a minute later, our father was about to tear off Mother’s dress and give us a new baby sibling. Hehe! How would Uncle Mo Yuan feel about that?”
“He’s loathsome.” She countered hoping to burst Changchang’s fantasy land bubble. “I heard him insult Mother and ask if she wanted to be one of his concubines. He said she would have a low ranking in his harem due to her age, and since she wasn’t a virgin. He’s nothing but a depraved pervert.” Changying punctuated her statement by pushing her sister’s leg off from across her body.
How quick was her reply when Changchang swiftly defended the man she barely knew, “No, our father was trying to hurt her because he’s not over her and still heartbroken.” She suddenly whispered in a hushed, secretive voice, “I heard the disciples say that Uncle Mo Yuan was going into seclusion tomorrow for months… Therefore maybe you should play cupid, and sneak Mother away to visit him when you check on our father, Ye Hua, tomorrow?”
“Why me?” She mumbled grumpily. Changying couldn’t control herself from rolling her eyes as she protested, “I don’t ever want to see his face again. Furthermore, I’m not taking our mother to him so he can offend her further.”
It was just like her sister to disregard, and pretend as if she didn’t hear what Changying said. Now, Changchang used her older sister’s style of speech when she preached, “You must treat him, Yingying. Have you ever wondered why you’re such a gifted healer? Fate and destiny. You’re destined to cure him, and you’re the only one who can make his treatment more endurable.”
Changchang’s attention shifted to the weather outside, and suddenly lamented with worry at the thunderbolt that seemed to crack right outside their window, then whispered, “Mother must be having a hard time tonight. You know lightning makes her very nervous. She’s terrified of us ascending, because she honestly believes we’ll have to leave her when it happens.”
“I’m never going to leave Kunlun Mountain, her or Father.” Changying returned but her twin said sadly, “We might not have a choice or be welcome here anymore. Uncle Mo Yuan might want us dead when he sees our actual appearance, after Mother hid it from him all this time.”
Changchang embraced Changying closer then explained, “This reason is why you must help our ‘real’ father get better, so he can regain his command over his realm. He might be the only one who can protect, and keep us alive when our Dragon scales revert to black.”
Did Ye Hua know that his consort had been drugging him for 400 years? Was he aware he had been consuming both a narcotic, and aphrodisiac nightly before visiting his harem? There were times when intelligence was a hindrance like a curse, because his answer was yes.
Ye Hua knew from the first bowl he drank. It was a conscious decision when he consumed it nightly, because he clandestinely enjoyed the high.
The timing was impeccable, since he needed the arousing influences to achieve an erection to perform sexually, and something to bring desire back to his anesthetized body. His loss – and it was a devastating loss for him – that numbed nearly everything head to toe but strangely not his heart. His heart ached and the pain was relentless. But the potion along with its aphrodisiac results also produced a drug inducing numb emotionally at the time he needed to deaden the excruciating pain in his heart.
He indulged knowing he was maltreating himself. However, it was only for a while until the pain went away, Ye Hua told himself. He would stop when her face didn’t haunt all his dreams. His drug usage would end the moment the imprint she made on his body marking him belonging to her faded. But for him, that day never came and he never stopped.
In truth, he was in denial and didn’t recognize that he was addicted to the tonic, until the unimaginable withdrawals.
The first two weeks were a nightmarish ordeal. Ye Hua faded in and out of sleep for days which was a blessing. When he wasn’t asleep, he couldn’t sit still and when he was insomnious, he paced nervously in a cold sweat while his heart raced painfully in his chest.
The withdrawal symptoms ranged from the surface of his skin, which felt as if there were a frenzy of insects was crawling underneath the epidermis. He vomited everything that passed his lips and couldn’t keep anything down. His entire body ached. All the muscles in his anxiously restless body convulsed and twitched uncontrollably.
While suffering from these symptoms, Ye Hua’s detoxifying body shivered violently from hypothermia along with severe chills that made his teeth chatter. After hours of trembling, next, his body burned feverishly with cold sweats that soaked his bedding, and the high temperature fevers caused him to hallucinate. He saw things that weren’t there but beside him, it was always the same illusion of an individual who still owned his body, heart and soul.
“Qian Qian? Qian Qian…” Heavenly Lord called out to her in a whispered soft voice, as his shut eyes opened somewhat.
“No. I’m not my mother.” She replied and he closed his eyes.
The fever was burning him up making him hallucinate. Changying carefully pressed her index, and third fingertips to his wrist to measure his pulse and heart rate. The vibrations were tacky and irregular but luckily, he had the advantage of youth.
After jotting down a few notes about his condition in her journal, Changying cradled, held his sweat drenched head so he could drink the potion she had created for him. She dampened the cold towel and delicately placed it over his forehead, before inserting the acupuncture needles into the points to best relieve his discomfort.
She was oddly hesitant to touch his face. Still, she pressed her ice cold palms against his flushed cheeks, which were incredibly smooth for a man. Heavenly Lord’s closed eyes fluttered as he gasped with relief from the heat, then lightly placed his hands on top of hers and whispered, “Thank you, Changying.”
How strange that this one simple act, and the fact he remembered her name even in a feverish state that was eating him up made her eyes water uncontrollably. Her eyes teared because their hands other than the size looked identical to one another.
Could it be that A-Li had been correct all along? La Sangre Llama– Blood Beckons…
Her father’s blood did call to hers and denied as she may, she couldn’t dismiss it any longer that she was Heavenly Lord Ye Hua’s daughter. There was something about being alone with him intimately tugged at her heartstrings. While gazing down at her sleeping father’s face, which was incredibly and annoyingly handsome, Changying made a silent oath that she would deal Dongmei her own set of Bàofù by ruining her with her own tonic.
To be continued…..