Praise and Pleasure…
The quiet stillness within the bath chamber made the approaching footsteps seem louder than they were, and she curiously spun in the direction of the sound. From her movements, the rose petals inside the bathwater swirled, and rippled around her naked body, when Bai Qian swiftly turned toward the pattering noises of hurried footfalls coming her way.
“Little Prince, the Empress is bathing! You can’t go in there! Little Prince!” Bai Qian’s Fox’s hearing piqued, due to the faint whimpers she recognized as Yingpei’s along with his broken, uneven and ragged respiration because it sounded as if he was crying.
“Little Prince, the Empress is bathing! Little Prince!” The attendant chasing after Yingpei called out to him, as Little Fourth came rushing toward her with tears pouring down his reddened cheeks. Bai Qian stated loud enough for everyone to hear her. “Let him through. Yingpei may enter as he pleases. Come to me, Little Fourth.”
He was only a few years younger than the twins, but both emotionally and mentally, Yingpei was much younger like a baby crying out “Mama!” He whimpered with his arms stretching to her from the edge of the tub, as she moved towards him. Bai Qian reached for him, and the little one frantically jumped into the water fully clothed for the solace of his mother’s arms.
“Why is my Little Fourth so upset?” She asked while embracing him, and smelling the sweet scent of his hair. Instead of replying, Yingpei hiccuped from the severity of his sobbing.
At times she forgot the little one was born from another womb since to her, he was as precious as her other children, and he curiously resembled his sisters exceedingly, considering they all took after their father. Besides, Bai Qian had loved the babe from first glance, and there wasn’t any pretending, or faking behind her sincere affections for him.
She cherished her fourth child as she did all her children.
With light patting taps on his back, she calmed him while her motherly gaze instantly honed in on the red, inflamed patches on his baby face. “Why is Yingpei’s face so red? What are these marks on his cheeks?!” Concernedly she demanded from Yingpei’s nanny.
The shaking nursemaid, who had been lingering tensely by the hallway unable to enter the private bath chamber as freely as the little boy had, suddenly dropped to her knees. “Forgive me, Empress.” She cried. “I left the Little Prince for only a moment to bring fresh tea for Consort Chun, and Lady Hui.”
He clung onto her more. “Consort Chun pinched my face hard, and said you were going to leave Yingpei behind, because I’m a motherless bastard!” He stopped to catch his gasping breaths, and a shiny trail of mucus ran from his little button nose as he lamented, “Noble Lady Hui told me that I had traitorous Fox blood flowing through my veins…and that once Consort Chun was the Empress, they were going to lock Yingpei into the Evil Sealing Pagoda forever! Mama, are you going somewhere without me?”
Her soundless wrath she hid behind her well-practiced response, as a soft and gentle smile came to her lips when Bai Qian said, “Little Fourth, they were teasing you. Where would I go without you?”
Bai Qian softened her warm gaze further, carefully wiped his snotty nose then nuzzled into Yingpei’s face, and coaxed in her most persuasive voice, “Son, your sister, A-Chang, has your favorite sweet in her chamber. She has honey cakes and has been waiting to eat them with you. She wants to tell you all about your other sister, Ying’er, who is coming tomorrow. Do you know why? Because Ying’er wants to be with you too. Everyone wants to be with our Little Fourth.”
She watched, as his teary gaze cheered at the prospect of eating dessert with his sister. He had been curious about Ying’er and gradually stopped crying. And only now was Yingpei willing to be handed off to another. After one last kiss on his cheek, Bai Qian delivered her youngest child to his nanny and said, “Get the Little Prince out of his wet clothes, and take him to Princess A-Chang for the night.”
She blew him a kiss as his nursemaid carried him away, and beamed when he blew one back. However, the mask of a smile she had been wearing for Yingpei vanished, as soon as he was out of sight. Hardness clouded her face. Bai Qian’s expression spontaneously darkened as she commanded, “Summon the entire harem to my courtyard, now. I’m aware that it’s late in the night, but will not accept any excuses other than lack of breath. Anyone who is not in attendance within the next ten minutes, lock them in the cold palace indefinitely.”
She sighed at the daunting task ahead. She stepped out from the tub refusing the towels held out to receive her, and allowed the fresh air to cool her anger triggered inflamed skin. Then without bothering to dry off, Bai Qian dressed most casually in just her sheer, white bathrobe.
Water trickled everywhere from her. Her long, drenched, waterlogged hair stuck to her backside and her breasts, as she moved forward somewhat reluctantly. As she trudged ahead – much like the wet footprints Bai Qian left behind along with her passive, and submissive attitude – proceeding toward the courtyard to receive the collection of Heavenly Lord’s harem. But most importantly, accepting her destined role as Empress.
It had been with full determination when she avoided taking control. From the start, she had never felt it was her place to enforce any ordinances on Heavenly Lord’s harem. And it wasn’t her intention to accept the position as the Empress, since Bai Qian never planned on staying in Nine Heavens, after providing safety for the girls.
She was prepared to go away, far away from everyone and any governing position, so she never allowed herself to become involved. Moreover, this deliberate sense of detachment hadn’t faltered or wavered, even after she’d heard all the rumors and talking behind her back.
They called her a beaten and broken woman. They said she was nothing but a helpless Fox without her claws. Such chatter of her shortcomings and flaws; how other’s perceived her and her actions meant nothing to Bai Qian.
However, hers and the Skylord’s precious children, their innocent children were another matter. And nobody touched or threatened her children.
For hundreds of years, she had kept her claws well hidden. The ripples of anger, endless resentments and her true feelings, she had kept concealed under a cloak fooling everyone – but mostly herself – into thinking she was nothing other than a docile and powerless deity.
However, the day had finally come for her to free the carefully concealed High Goddess. Perhaps, she had remained long enough in hiding, and it was time for Bai Qian to release her claws.
She was under dressed, way too under dressed. Perhaps that shouldn’t have been his first point of concern, considering Qian Qian had called an urgent meeting of his harem in the middle of the night. However, Ye Hua couldn’t ignore the fact that she was wearing only her robe with nothing underneath, while the excess moisture from her wet hair, and body caused the white material to become translucent.
Suspiciously Ye Hua glanced around to make sure all the male guards were respectfully looking down, so as none were sneaking peeks at his Qian Qian’s beautiful breasts and nipples, that were visible through the sheer white silk.
“Ladies, I’m sorry to have disturbed your beauty sleep.” Politely Qian Qian said and Ye Hua nearly stepped out of the shadow, when he heard someone heckle her with a snide comment.
A female voice replied, “Aya! I thought the Empress summoned us, but I don’t see an Empress anywhere. I only see Mo Yuan’s mistress.”
Qian Qian casually strolled toward the voice, and asked with a lovely smile on her face, “Beautiful and brave one, what’s your name?”
“I’m Heavenly Lord’s third wife. Imperial Consort Chu. My father is the Minister of Rites.” Qian Qian smiled brighter at the audacious woman and replied, while reprimanding Consort Chu with a playful shaking of her finger, “Yes, you’re the one who bruised my son’s face. Tell me, Consort, where did you learn such a terrible habit?”
Consort Chu brazenly thrust the thumb and index fingers on her right hand directly in Qian Qian’s face, and made the pitching motion. Her voice was pure disdaining when she said, “I grew up with sisters and we used to pinch each other. That is how we show love. These two little fingers are the ones I used to give Yingpei some love, Bai Qian. Would you like me to give you some love as well?”
The serene expression on her face never changed when Qian Qian replied, “Those two naughty fingers are the guilty culprits I see. As your Empress, I’m going to cure you of that terrible habit, Consort Chu, beloved daughter to the Minister of Rites.” No sooner had the sweet sounding words left Qian Qian’s lips, when with lightning speed she moved in, and bit off the consort’s two fingers with her Fox’s teeth, then promptly spat them back in the shrieking woman’s face.
There was a new sense of fear within the gathering, and suddenly many of the ones who had been disdainful descended to their knees. Some cried, screamed while others were outraged. It was both chilling and oddly sexy, when Qian Qian ordered in the scariest, and calmest voice with blood running down her chin, “Escort Consort Chu to the Evil Sealing Pagoda, and place her severed fingers in a jar. As of today, I’m starting a collection for anyone else who has a terrible habit. Now, where is Lady Hui, and that nasty tongue of hers that made Prince Yingpei cry?”
“The families will abandon Heavenly Lord because of you! You’re nothing but a disgrace! You’re an old witch who lost her powers. You’re not even a High Goddess anymore!” Another more angry voice from the crowd screamed out, but Qian Qian’s was more commanding when she spoke.
Like an Empress as she is, Qian Qian articulated with exalted decorum, “The families who abandon Heavenly Lord will become traitors, and servants to those who remain loyal. Your family’s wealth, assets and armies will be confiscated by the Celestial Clan, and they will belong to His Grace regardless. Therefore, I don’t need your support or approval. I don’t need you.”
Qian Qian deliberately matched up and down, before the now kneeling women then warned, “Those of you – who foolishly believe your families name, and wealth will somehow prevail after turning your back on His Grace – must know, much of your resources is contingent on your families relationship with Qing Qiu. Your relationship with Qing Qiu is conditional depending on me.”
What she did next made him choke. Ye Hua wasn’t the only one who gasped aloud. The sight of her was blindingly dazzling, when Qian Qian suddenly peeled her robe off her body. Almost everyone gasped in reverence of her and her aura. At the same time, her white Fox tails fanned out and waved behind her magnificent nudity. “And you’re wrong about me not being a High Goddess. My elevated status was supposedly stripped away because of my crimes, but I never committed those crimes. Therefore, I never lost my status.”
There weren’t many standing but the ones that remained upright – one by one – began to bend at Qian Qian’s feet as she said. “I don’t expect you to stand on ceremony for me. Moreover, I don’t care if none of you follow my rule, but don’t you ever dare threaten His Grace, or any of the Imperial children!”
“It’s also come to my attention there has been too much rambling, and idle talking within the harem, but let me clarify as to what your mouths should be used for… Your mouths are for two things alone: praise and pleasure. Meaning, when His Grace allows, you use that mouth of yours to praise and pleasure him. Nothing more and nothing less.” Qian Qian said before her gaze drifted up in his direction, when Ye Hua began to applaud the return of his Empress.
Slow, steady and gradual clapping from a distance caught her attention. She knew it was him even before the surrounding guards began to bow. “The Empress makes an excellent point that everyone should ingrain into their hearts.” Ye Hua uttered as he picked up her robe and covered her bare body. “Praise and pleasure. I like that. Empress, since it’s your role to set an example for the harem. Please show everyone… Praise me then please me.”
The eager look in Ye Hua’s hungry gaze, she knew well. Bai Qian smiled at him despite the tense awkwardness, because he had seen and heard everything. He’d witnessed her bite off his third wife’s fingers and not a mention of that. But here he was asking her to praise and please him.
She knew it was a big mistake to get entangled in his trap. But Bai Qian couldn’t stop herself, when she wordlessly wrapped her arms behind his neck, her body leaning into him as she pulled Ye Hua into a deep kiss.
A-Li and siblings~
“Oh, sweet heavens! Finally!” A-Li exclaimed aloud. The children ducked and hid at a great distance, but could see their amorous parents locked in a passionate kiss. Changchang jumped up and down. Only Yingpei, who was perched on A-Li’s broad shoulders looked confused and asked, “What are they doing?”
To be continued…