Zhe Yan’s Orchard~
Countless tales existed about mysterious white-haired Deity Dong Hua’s origins. Some speculated he had one day emerged from a rock. Others said the once overseer who brought order to chaos, the previous Lord of Heaven and Earth was that very rock, and there was some truth to those speculations.
The Supreme one. The creator, Heavenly Father, was an unpretentious being. He dressed in simple hemp and cotton, preferring their warming softness to more delicate silk-like materials. A simple sterling hairpin held his long silvery hair in a topknot. On that hairpin rested a pure white jade gemstone that absorbed immortal cultivation emitting directly from the mighty Heavenly Father’s mind, and much to the creator’s surprise and delight, that jade became the being known as Dong Hua.
“War is not an option.” He stated. Dong Hua’s smoothed jade-like face emotionless. His even mono-toned voice didn’t waver, sounding flat like the horizon meeting the sea as he caught the single peach blossom descending from above on his fingertip. “How long before Mo Yuan awakes?”
Days upon days straight in debate and fatigue had gotten to the usually energetic High God. Zhe Yan’s upward gaze looked dazed as it followed the rising snake-shaped path, the smoke billowing from Bai Zhi’s pipe, and replied somberly, “A week… perhaps a few days at most. It won’t be much longer. I feel his immortal energy stirring more.”
“Aya. I fear what’s to come. I, as a Celestial, agree with Lord Dong Hua. We can’t battle amongst ourselves, and we absolutely can not allow bloodshed between brothers if Ye Hua and Mo Yuan determine to duel over Bai Qian.” Grand Duke, Third Prince Lian Song sharply sucked in air between his teeth tensely and shook his head sadly. “Such a waste of this lovely surroundings. I wish we were here to drink High God Zhe Yan’s fine peach wine instead of addressing the depressing ill-fortunes of our loved ones.”
Star-Lord Si Ming added in earnest but politely, “A civil war of this magnitude where brothers fight each other and other realms and seas having to pick sides will bring on total disorder before the end for all. Immortals and humans alike will all perish. If High God Mo Yuan and SkyLord Ye Hua don’t destroy the world, I fear Crown Prince A-Li’s ticking time bomb-like temper will explode. Lord Dong Hua and I both agree, within the Crown Prince, we sense magic like no other.”
The Fox Emperor had been silent for most of the three days in Zhe Yan’s orchard while the others discussed the current situation discreetly under a privacy spell. All those present, Mo Yuan and Ye Hua were not in attendance for obvious reasons, were the peace council, all interconnected and had roles they needed to play—people they needed to protect. Yet how could they truly understand his grief since at the core of it all was his daughter?
How could anyone know how his heavy heart was overcome with such sorrow and regret because he worried and cared for everyone involved. His beloved daughter Bai Qian wasn’t innocent by any means. He was an astute clear-sighted father who didn’t make excuses for her past terrible actions.
She had been the instigator, an active participant, and in the end, the very victim to the miserable circumstances she created. She could have handled matters rightly instead of making her bed with spikes and nails. And the agony of being able to do nothing but watch his child’s karma return as she suffered in silent agony under Mo Yuan, a man Bai Zhi had trusted like family, tyrant rule over his youngest child only daughter had taken a toll on his health and mental state.
“I should have let her be to enjoy her youth and behave mischievously. Sending her off to Kunlun was a grave mistake. I know it’s all in the past and unchangeable, but it would have been better if she hadn’t met either twin.” Bai Zhi spoke soberly between puffing at his pipe and stated, “To keep peace within the realms and preserve the precious lives of many. I’ll kill my daughter personally and follow her after that.”
Gasps followed. Bai Zhi’s outrageous statement shocked everyone, even Dong Hua. His outer expression didn’t reflect his sentiment, however, his right eyebrow raised a tad to hear such a ridiculous suggestion.
“What nonsense are you spouting?!” He snapped out from his tired daze. Zhe Yan’s outrage was evident. His handsome face reddened with the sudden rush of anger as he threw his hands in the air before exploding on his old friend, “Bai Zhi, Xiao Wu isn’t a toy or plaything you’re taking away from bickering brothers. Why not suggest cutting her right down the middle in half?! What the hell is the matter with you?!”
“She is the Empress of Heaven! Your only daughter! The biological mother of all your grandchildren! That little girl Xiao Wu did some despicable acts. It’s so easy to judge her, but nobody here saw her when she returned from being SuSu. I did! She looked more dead than alive. It shattered my heart! The image of her lying right where you’re standing still haunts me! They broke her! Body and soul. Ye Hua took her eyes while she was pregnant and gave them to Su Jin, the viper who wronged her!”
Zhe Yan didn’t even take a breath and went on heatedly, “Also, let us not forget why she is still so frail! Carrying and giving birth to the twins nearly killed her. What life-force remained, she used almost all to save the last, the fraternal triplet, the son that died in her womb! She took a calculated risk and allowed Mo Yuan to seal her magic, hence sealing the fetus in her body unbeknownst to him. She hid and saved Ye Hua’s son right under Mo Yuan’s nose on Mount Kunlun inside her weakened body and continued to nourish the embryo with any cultivation she could muster!”
“Everyone spoke ill of her as if that little girl was a sullied woman or harlot. Allow me to inform everyone Xiao Wu was merely a confused, hurt young woman who needed a little time to recover from her calamity and emotional guidance. She’s displayed such compassion, and nobody recognizes those deeds. When one of Mo Yuan’s spies reported Dongmei wasn’t an attentive mother, Xiao Wu had her people attending over Yingpei to save him. Obtuse Dongmei and Ye Hua weren’t even aware their son was dying. That unappreciative witch Dongmei. Let her soul rot in hell forever!” Hatefully, he spat after uttering cursed her name.
Magically a bottle of wine appeared in his hand. Zhe Yan finished the entire jar a single hurried, needed gulp, wine spattered from his wet mouth when the Phoenix explained, “She knew that little boy was sickly. I said to do nothing since it’s their karma and not hers, but no. She refused to allow Ye Hua to hurt or suffer another loss. So what did she do? Pure insanity! Xiao Wu snuck into Nine Heavens and surrendered that… her protected fetus into dying YingPei’s body. Another son! She yielded another son and ached alone from not being able to raise him personally! All this while Casanova, Ye Hua was taking new consorts like I drink wine. NIGHTLY!”
“I warned her and advised her to wait until Mo Yuan impregnated her again. Make the switch then and keep your son, I said, but she argued that wasn’t fair to Ye Hua since he didn’t have the twins. In my mind, that little girl you so quickly want to kill, our Sky Empress Bai Qian, has paid her karmic debt with interest!” Zhe Yan ranted, infuriated until out of breath and out of steam, then finished another bottle of his most robust wine in a single swallow as quickly as he had the first. “We all know I love Mo Yuan, but enough already. He needs to knock it off, come back to his rational senses, and let her go! I, myself, don’t care for Ye Hua much, but she has made her choice, and I support her!”
Hearing of Bai Qian’s constant sacrifice was too much. Overcome by another bitter blow of anguish mingled with profound sadness, the Fox Emperor soundlessly cried into his hands. The melancholy climate turned darker, somber—such a shocking revelation. Zhe Yan had just divulged a deep secret known only by Bai Qian, her mother, and himself.
Ye Hua and Dongmei’s sickly child had died of natural causes. The Imperial Consort’s half-human body had been infected with a human sexually transmitted virus that deteriorated the young Prince and impacted his learning abilities. The former Yingpei could barely read or write. Over time the unknown disease proved to be fatal to her child, but immortality kept it from transferring to Ye Hua during their single encounter.
Ultimately Bai Qian had saved an Imperial Prince by using her precious embryo and given Ye Hua a second son. Without expecting anything in return.
“Ye Hua owes the Empress a life debt too. This intricate tale grows more complicated. I’ve heard many stories in my long life but such intrigue. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone told me the twin girls were truly black Dragons,” Lian Song spoke without much thought or rambled from being exhausted before his round eyes widened with realization. From his circled mouth, he uttered disbelievingly, “White Fox Light Magic is real?! Does pure light manipulation exist? Aya! I’d heard what I thought was wild talks from my father after he drank too much but never imagined it possible.”
The men stood in silent reflection. All in their styles taking in, absorbing the new information presented. “The Mo Yuan I know is a reasonable man.” Dong Hua broke the silence and asked, “Would Mo Yuan concede that situations have changed drastically, what has passed is gone? Would he understand and do nothing to reclaim Bai Qian and the girls after he awakes? He knows best war brings destruction and death.”
Si Ming, who stood a few paces away, answered, “My Lord, I don’t foresee how that’s possible. The last time I visited with High God Mo Yuan, I sensed a character in him I’ve never witnessed before.”
“Forgive my candor. High God Mo Yuan watched High Goddess with…” Si Ming the Star Prince, the writer of destinies, cleared his throat nervously, added with hesitancy, “Possession and…. desire.”
“This desire and man’s sense of entitlement for a woman he covets. Such concepts of human wants and emotions were foreign to me until my human trial. I wonder if it will hurt his pride more than anything else since Mo Yuan has never lost to anyone before.” Dong Hua slowly strolled around the fruit tree as tiny peach blossoms floated in the air overhead and stated most calmly, “Our overly passionate triad needs to experience the bitterness of life and take a walk in each other’s shoes. I don’t believe any love is a valid reason or justification to start a full-scale war.”
The white-haired Deity gracefully sat under the tree he had been circling, propped one knee up for his crooked elbow, and said, “I have a simple but forward suggestion because we can’t afford nor can we allow the alternative to occur.”
Mo Yuan said nothing when Zhe Yan and Dong Hua greeted him at the entrance of his seclusion cave instead of Bai Qian, the girls, or his disciples. Nor did he speak when the two men explained all the details of what had happened during his absence. The newly awoken Master of Kunlun Mountain’s stoic expressionless face gave nothing away as he wordlessly drank the water from the River of Oblivion to prepare for his mortal trial with Bai Qian and Ye Hua that would determine his destiny.
“No, father!” She wept in horror. All the glow and coloring left her rosy face leaving her ghostly, sheet white, when her father, Fox Emperor, and Prince Lian Song explained what the council elders had decided after much deliberation.
Bai Qian, Ye Hua, and Mo Yuan would take a trial and be fated to meet each other. The man she falls in love with during the test would be the one she would remain with upon their return.
She mouthed his name. Openly upset, Bai Qian jumped up, ran, rushing to curl up in Ye Hua’s lap for comfort and physical closeness. Unending tears spilled down her cheeks. Her trembling lips kept her from talking when Ye Hua lovingly held her face to his and reassured her in his gentle voice, “Qian Qian, I promise, I’ll find you in any life. If you are reborn a mushroom, I’ll be the stem you’re attached to, and if we’re born a centipede, I’ll be the leg next to you. Shhh, don’t cry and don’t be afraid. Have faith in our love. Now drink the water and kiss me. I love you.”
Coming Soon: 報復 BÀOFÙ V: ATONEMENT: TEN MILES OF PEACH BLOSSOMS FANFICTION