From the beginning, due to his brother’s personal preferences in bedfellows of which he didn’t pass judgment, second born son, Die Feng, recognized his older brother, the Crown Prince, would perhaps never sire children. And the fate of his royal family’s name, possibly even his family’s legacy unavoidably fell on his shoulders.
Such oppressive, burdensome knowledge was the anchor that bound him, and had created an internal turmoil along with being a constant source of guilt he’d carried deep within him most of his adulthood. However, he broke free and at the time, it was the most selfish deed Die Feng had ever done, but he had never regretted his choice.
Regardless of guilt and responsibilities, it hadn’t stopped him from consciously walking away from his noble birth, or the many extravagances that came along with such a role to instead follow after a man he admired more than his own father, the King of West Sea.
The great man he left his life of duty, luxury and royalty for was his Shifu, Mo Yuan. He took pride in being a Kunlun Disciple, and understood how fortunate he was to be accepted. Die Feng wasn’t only accepted but also cherished. After tens of thousands of years of meticulous teaching and grooming under Mo Yuan’s most esteemed guidance, Second Prince Die Feng, now better known as Kunlun’s Senior Brother, was his Shifu’s most trusted and favored pupil.
While Shifu was in seclusion, Die Feng willingly took over his teacher’s tasks, and alone roamed the quiet halls of the great school during his final inspection after everyone else had withdrawn for the night, and before going to bed himself.
His last stop for the evening was to give his nightly greeting to his Shifu. Even though Mo Yuan wouldn’t hear him due to his heightened state of meditation, it didn’t stop him from showing his respect to his spiritual father. Eons had passed and Die Feng’s hero worshiping for High God Mo Yuan, his Shifu, never faltered even after all the things he had seen over the years by his teacher’s side.
At that rare moment, there was inner wavering and his suppressed grief was overwhelming. Because he was the sole witness to Bai Qian’s second daughter, Changying, who was bowing, and silently weeping at the entrance of her stepfather’s area of seclusion. “Fathe…”
Her quiet voice cracked from her intense emotions, when she spoke in a hushed murmur. “Fath… Uncle Mo Yuan, Chingying don’t understand. Why did you tell Zhe Yan to abort Changchang and me in secret? You told me that you loved us from the first day you found out Mother was pregnant. You said it was one of the happiest days of your life.”
Changying quietly sobbed while whispering nearly inaudibly, and it was a heartbreaking scene. Die Feng wiped the tears from his eyes on the sleeves of his white robe, and what she asked next made him weep harder. “Why did you instruct Su Jin to convince everyone that we were conceived from demons, and rape? That was not an act of love or protection but scorn. Pure hatred. If you hated Mother then why did you make her marry you, and why did you impregnate her repeatedly?”
“Why?” She whimpered. “Why?”
“I wish you would have killed us before we were born, rather than deceiving me all those years.” Hearing her faint whimpering made him tear up uncontrollably. The real sadness came from the fact, despite Changying’s outer more mature appearance, she wasn’t even 500 years old yet. She was but a child, who shouldn’t know of such terrible things in the world. Yet here she was, asking questions to matters she would never get answers to bring her peace of mind.
“Changying will try not to hate you, but I can’t stay with you anymore after what Zhe Yan told me. Thank you for raising both Changchang and me to your best abilities. But I never want to see you again because if I do. If I do, Changying might… I will kill you then myself. And maybe we can be real father and daughter in our next lives.”
He shivered with dread, because she spoke with the kind of steadfast determination that was too adult, and too scary for her age before Changying abruptly stopped crying. Her weakly slumped shoulders, and soft posture straightened most rigidly before she kowtowed hard enough that a dull but loud thud sounded, when her forehead hit the rocky surface.
The forceful slam from her bow was hard enough to draw blood. Die Feng quickly placed his palm between her forehead and the ground, to cushion the blow, as she continued as if in a daze to bow eight more times. Changying presented her uncle with nine kowtowed in total to show her utmost respect for the man who raised her.
Since childhood, unlike her older twin who was as manageable as a kitten, Changying had been more rock than a child, due to her headstrong personality but not now. She was fragile and stumbled when Die Feng helped the little one up, then half carried her into her old bedroom. He knew why she was there. In truth, he had been expecting her; Changying had returned to say goodbye to Mo Yuan.
“Ying’er,” He hugged her tighter and said, “Your father, Heavenly Lord, is an exceptional man. Not many have but I saw him when Bai Qian was SuSu, and he cherished her very much just as he loves your mother now. He’s probably been dying without her. He has been waiting hundreds of years for her. Most men are not that loyal.”
Die Feng stated and went on to talk of and share a long buried memory. “The day Shifu found your mother after Xuan Nu kidnapped her, I was there and heard everything. She told Shifu she was pregnant with then Crown Prince Ye Hua’s child. And she had purposely saved Su Jin, because the Demon Shaman could move the fetus into another womb. Your mother knew she was dying, but wanted her and Heavenly Lord’s baby to live. That was why she saved her most hated adversary.”
Many years had passed, but Die Feng never repeated what happened that day until now. He confessed, “You mother made Shifu promise to send her body to your father, so she could be with him even in death.”
He sighed profoundly feeling some of the tightness accumulated over the ages finally loosen from his chest. “Seventeen should have never been brought here to Kunlun Mountain. Do you understand why it was so wrong for Shifu to keep her here against her will? She never loved him the way he wanted her to love him. It was one sided just like when she was his disciple.”
Die Feng hadn’t seen Changying openly cry not since she was an infant, and now she buried her face into his chest. “I feel lost.” She sobbed and so did he, but understood this was the only means to correct the mistakes from the past.
To Die Feng, the girls were no different than if they were his nieces, and Bai Qian was his younger sister. He had spent the whole week diverting the other disciples’ desires to interrupt their Shifu’s seclusion with excuses, so the girls and Bai Qian would have time to join Heavenly Lord.
“Changying, your place is with your parents. Your poor father, His Grace, knew nothing about you girls. How sad is that for someone like him? For the man who worships your mother heart and soul, he was cheated out of watching you girls grow in her womb, your births and all the little things others take for granted. He would eagerly have sold his soul to see.”
Die Feng bent down, and wiped her tear stained face before sharing the most important secret he knew. In his palm lay an impossibly precious item. Changying took the fragile looking thing in her hand, then flipped it back and forth to catch the light.
“It’s a black dragon scale. Why is it so flimsy?” She asked before answering her own question and stating. “It’s flimsy because it came from an infant.”
“You are a Black Dragon just like your father and should be with him. The scale must have fallen off you right along with the appearance of that lotus shaped scar on your foot since birth. This means, you and your father are both bound to each other by the lotus.” Die Feng spoke, as Changying used her light magic to examine the black scale. And when her immortal energy flowed from her, he noticed the oddest thing.
The girls both wore identical hairpins made by Mo Yuan on their tenth birthdays. He presented them with a pair of soaring pure white dragons with large black diamonds held in their mouths. However, when her dragon magic coursed through her, the icy stone wasn’t white and it wasn’t stone but instead, a magical and transparent metal before the arctic white dragons suddenly turned solid black.
Shifu knew. Die Feng interpreted this as Shifu had always known the girls were black Dragons. And he was trying to tell Bai Qian in his quiet way that it failed to matter anymore, because the girls were his daughters. Meaning, after he became aware of the new development, Mo Yuan would move heaven and earth to get his family back.
Die Feng’s greatest fear was a war breaking out between brothers, and many would fall in such a battle. He knew if Shifu defeated his younger brother, Ye Hua, then Bai Qian would rightfully seek vengeance for her mate’s death. And possibly end up dying, then would it not be her children that would perish next?
“Ying’er, why don’t you sleep here tonight, and see the other disciples in the morning. Tell them you’re going to meet Bai Qian and Changchang, who are both in Qing Qiu visiting your maternal family for a few weeks, while Shifu is still in seclusion. Seeing you will keep everyone here calm and convinced for a few weeks. I’ll quietly seal Kunlun Mountain off to others. This will give Heavenly Lord more time to prepare before all hell breaks loose.” He said knowing perhaps he was disloyal to his Shifu, but he was true to himself and what Die Feng believed was right.
Changying wiped her tears and asked, “Why are you helping us? Why do you want Mother to be with the enemy? You’re Uncle Mo…” Suddenly her already thin voice shattered, leaving the girl speechless. He understood. After a lifetime of calling Shifu her father, Changying was at a loss and unable to finish her words.
“I love Shifu, your mother and you girls because you are my family. I hope to see everyone in their rightful places and happy. I pray for your mother, Little Seventeen, to come back to life. I sincerely hope she’s allowing herself to be loved by Heavenly Lord. It’s long overdue for them to be together.”
Die Feng stopped to take a deep inhalation, and sent a silent request to the universe before confessing, “Last and mostly, I pray with all my heart for Shifu’s lost soul that he will right his wrongs for the sake of his very soul. When he does come around because I know he will eventually, I hope he can forgive himself for all the terrible things he has done to your mother, while she was with him. Because Shifu does love her enough to return from death after 70,000 years to be with her, but that’s a long time in a state of a perpetual eclipse. Thus, we must keep that in consideration for some of his actions and mental standing.”
In his lowest voice, Die Feng divulged but Changying openly grunted at him, and replied in cheek, “Uncle Mo Yuan doesn’t know what perpetual darkness is yet, but I’ll give him a taste of it. When I get to Nine Heavens, I’m going to get revenge on Uncle Mo Yuan, my way.”
There was nothing childish, innocent or naive about her when Changying asserted without emotion, “My Bàofù is giving my birth father, Heavenly Lord Ye Hua, what Uncle Mo Yuan has desired more than anything in the world. A son. A beautiful heir. I’m going to make sure my mother gets pregnant by my birth father, before Uncle Mo Yuan comes out of seclusion.”
Xiulan never expected to join a harem let alone the Imperial Royal Celestial harem, since she wasn’t a princess or a noble lady. She was nothing but the eldest daughter to an overly ambitious man. At 34,000 years in age, she was closer to being a child than a woman since she had yet to bleed. And even though she was unable to birth any children for the Emperor, she was the last female delivered into the imperial harem under the previous Consort Dongmei’s reign.
Due to Xiulan’s low status, her place was in the very back. She knelt far behind the other women from the stable, since she had yet to receive Heavenly Lord’s grace. And even though the virgin girl feared her father’s wrath for not fulfilling her intended purpose; she was relieved never to have served the Sky Lord’s bed. Especially after hearing he was a cold and uncaring man.
The other concubines all told her of their painful defloration, and she had secretly prayed he would never call upon her. But now watching the Sky Lord pull the Empress’s body to his, while passionately kissing her as if his life depended on it, Xiulan wondered if all the stories of his distant ways had been rumors just like the rumors of the Empress being an old washed up Fox.
The stunning Empress was far from being a washed-up anything. She was divine. Xiulan had never seen such beauty as she saw, when the Fox Empress dropped her gown, and bared her body that glowed blindingly from her High Goddess aura…
The sight left Xiulan breathless. But when the Empress floated up on the front of the Heavenly Lord’s powerful body, wrapped her silky bare legs around his hips, as her sheer robe slipped off her body, the virgin girl fell in love. Her young heart fluttered wildly as never before.
It was love at first sight.
Xiulan didn’t fall in worship with the striking Emperor. Instead, she fell in love with her royal highness, High Goddess Empress Bai Qian and she wasn’t the only one…
To be continued…