The Once and For-All-time Master of Kunlun Mountain turned around and made a slow move toward the platform near the lotus pond. The man sleeping on the cushion was finally awake.
Ye Hua blinked a few times trying to adjust to the changes. The transition from mortal body to god essence left him disoriented for a few seconds. Someone's footstep alerted him and he immediately lifted himself up on his elbow.
"Kunlun Mountain?" he wondered as he looked around. "Why am I here?"
"Ye Hua," a voice called out to him.
"High God Mo Yuan?" he instantly recognized the man.
Mo Yuan let his eyes perused the youthful face that bared striking resemblance to his own. "Perhaps you should address me as your older brother instead."
"My older brother?" Ye Hua was confused. How could this ancient God be his brother?
"You're Heavenly Father's son and my younger twin brother."
The answer he got wasn't what he expected at all.
Mo Yuan sat down and turned to face him. He explained that their Heavenly Mother faced calamity during the time of her pregnancy. That year the Four Pillars of Heaven and Earth collapsed. She lost a lot of power in order to repair them and nearly had a miscarriage. When she went into labor, she was supposed to give birth to twin sons. But she only managed to keep one alive.
"It was because of an accident that your spirit went into deep slumber. Hence, our father had you placed into a golden lotus. Before he went into the realm of nothingness, he entrusted you to me. And I brought you here, keep you nurtured in this lotus pond to await your awakening. The day I sacrificed my soul to appease the Bell of the East Emperor. Your soul finally woke up."
Mo Yuan gave him a small smile. "Today I was actually in meditation. However, I wished to see you. After all I've waited for this day for hundred thousands of years."
Ye Hua stared at him intently, a lot of people mistook him for Mo Yuan. They all said both of them looked so much alike. He always replied it was just a coincidence, he was not related to him in any way. Now it turned out they were twin brothers after all.
The mixed feelings of gratitude and resentment was warring inside him. He was thankful the God had protected and helped him along the years. At the same time he was jealous of how Mo Yuan had captured Qian Qian's heart for so long. Although she claimed to love him now, he was still uncertain, still fearful of her feeling. What if something happened between them during the time he went to Mortal Realm?
He knew he should say something to him but can't find the words to say, so he gave him a nod. The dragging silence between them was very uncomfortable until one of Mo Yuan's disciples came looking for them. Trailing behind him was Shi Ming, the Star Lord.
"Crown Prince. High God Mo Yuan." he raised his fist and palm and bowed to them before turning to Ye Hua. "Your Highness, I had a hard time finding you. If not for Lord Dong Hua, I wouldn't know where to find you. Shouldn't you wake up in Xiwu Palace?"
"I don't know I just I woke up at Kunlun Mountain," said Ye Hua.
"It doesn't matter now. It's good enough that you've returned. Your Highness, please come with me immediately. Trouble is brewing in the Grand Hall," he said urgently. "High Goddess Bai Qian of Qing Qiu barged into Xiwu Palace and vanished after digging out your consort's eyes."
"Then Qing Qiu's little princess rushed in and had an argument with Consort Su Jin. One said that Qing Qiu bullied her. The other claimed that Consort Su Jin framed High Goddess Bai Qian. It's a mess," he quickly reported.
"Qian Qian took away Su Jin's eyes?" Ye Hua looked panicked. He started forward intent to see Qian Qian right away.
The Star Lord however moved to intercept him. "Your Highness, you can't leave. Lord Dong Hua said that only you could resolve this issue."
Ye Hua looked conflicted before giving in. "All right, I need you to bring these three people to the Grand Hall. My Uncle Sang Ji, Lian Song, and Yuan Zhen who just finished his trial in the Mortal Realm," he paused, "There's one more. It's a figurine called Su Su who served my mother in the Mortal Realm."
"Su Su?" Shi Ming perked up at the name. "I'll get it done right away."
Ye Hua who was about to follow the Star Lord stopped when Mo Yuan called out to him.
"I will accompany you." Mo Yuan stood up and joined him. "This sounds pretty serious. If it involves Bai Qian, I want to be there as well." The tone of his voice brooked no argument.
Ye Hua nodded in absentminded agreemnt, his mind was already went over to Qian Qian. If she took back Su Jin's eyes, that could meant only one thing. Her memories as Su Su had returned. This was what he feared the most. What if she hated him now? Hot tears of regret welled up in his eyes, yet there was no time to dwell on that thought. This was the perfect chance to get rid of Su Jin once and for all.
On the way to the Nine Heaven's Grand Hall, Mo Yuan tried to put pieces of what he heard together. He learned three things at once. One: Ye Hua already had a Consort who disliked his Seventeenth so great that she had her framed. Two: For Seventeenth to do what she did, she must have been wronged greatly. He knew her too well. Little Seventeenth hated bullying the most. He doubted even 70,000 years had passed, she would let herself become one. Three: His little brother knew exactly what fraud was going on in his own harem.
When Ye Hua and Mo Yuan reached the Grand Hall, everyone involved directly or indirectly in this fiasco, except Bai Qian, were already accounted for. Lord Dong Hua lifted an eyebrow when he saw Mo Yuan unexpected arrival but said nothing. The Sky Lord was also puzzled at his presence but gave him a small welcome nod.
Lord Dong Hua claimed Ye Hua would be the best person to handle this matter since it concerned his own harem. After that Ye Hua exposed Consort Su Jin misdeeds one after another. The first was the bewitched figurine sent to seduced Ye Hua in Mortal Realm, then her unfounded accusation against Yuan Zhen and her slandering against Ye Hua. All agreed she should be stripped of her status as a punishment. The Sky Lord hurriedly added since she was already guilty of so many crimes, the hearing for her accusation against Bai Qian need not continue. It was best not to offend Qing Qiu further.
Mo Yuan who watched the whole trial silently said, "I think you should continue. If we know not the whole truth, how could you justify to Qing Qiu all accusations has been sorted out and her slanted honor was fully restored."
Lord Dong Hua, who already knew Bai Qian's connection to Mo Yuan, nodded. "Well said."
The Sky Lord was hard pressed, denying both ancient Gods' decree was not just done. Should he refused, they would have suspected his own motives. Lord Dong Hua alone was frighteningly apt at figuring out the concealed plots and hidden intention. It was no wonder he had united and ruled over all realms for hundred thousands of years during the period of great turbulence.
At the wave of his hand, the trial was once again resumed.
"You said Qian Qian took your eyes, Su Jin," Ye Hua continued. "She has no quarrel with you previously, why would she do that?"
"You already knew, didn't you? You knew she is that mortal, Su Su. That's why you followed her back to Qing Qiu after you met her at the East Sea Emperor's banquet," she screamed hysterically at the Crown Prince. "It has always been her. Why, Ye Hua? Why?"
"This Su Su is the person that figurine imitated, right? How could a mortal Su Su and Bai Qian be the same person?" asked Mo Yuan. He was the only one who never met or heard of this Su Su persona.
"Six hundred years ago, Bai Qian went to re-seal Qing Cang just as you have instructed her, Mo Yuan. She succeeded although not without lost. Qing Cang retaliated by sealing her immortal essence, erased all of her memories and sent her to the Mortal Realm."
It was not Ye Hua, but Lord Dong Hua who made this revelation. With the exception for Ye Hua, Lian Song and Bai Feng Jiu who already knew of this fact, everyone else took it up in disbelief. The Sky Lord paled visibly, realized just now the transgressions against Qing Qiu he unknowingly committed.
"And how did she came to the Nine Heaven?" Mo Yuan pressed for more explanation. "Why don't you start from the beginning?"
"And your son," said Lord Dong Hua. "Why did she jump down the Zhuxian Terrace after giving birth to him," he added as an afterthought.
"Zhuxian Terrace?" Mo Yuan repeated softly, he tried to conceal the turmoil churning inside him from everyone else. What kind of madness drove his Seventeenth to do that?
Ye Hua refused to meet Mo Yuan's eyes. He began to recount the time he went to defeat the Golden Beast that brought calamity to the Mortal Realm. How he was injured and Su Su nursed him back to health, followed shortly by their marriage. Then Su Su was brought to Nine Heaven while pregnant with his child, his absence during the war with the Mermaid Clan and the day she jumped down the Zhuxian Terrace.
"High God Mo Yuan, his Consort set my Aunt up. She claimed she was falling down the Zhuxian Terrace and my Aunt was the one pushing her," Bai Feng Jiu spoke up impatiently, confident he would give her Aunt the justice she deserved. "Her eyes were dug out and given to Su Jin as a compensation. My aunt was innocent. She was abused and misjudged for the crime she didn't even committed."
"Then you …., you told her to jump down the Zhuxian Terrace after Ali was born, didn't you?" She pointed her finger at Su Jin who kept denying. "Lies, you tricked her. Were she a mere mortal, she would be dead. Are you just heartless or plain evil? She was already blind, is that not enough?"
At Lord Dong Hua's reprimanding glare, Feng Jiu wilted and took a step back.
"It was said that Bai Qian was injured after her fight with Qing Cang and slept for 300 years. Are those accounts not true?" Lord Dong Hua asked.
"Of course, it was a lie," she confirmed. "Grandfather, grandmother and uncles searched for my Aunt everywhere for 300 years but never found her. Then one day she turned up in Peachtree Woods. Zhe Yan said she was severely wounded."
"The seal must have broken by the energy within Zhuxian," Mo Yuan realized. By now he had connected all the events that led up to the present. "It was a love trial for her to become a High Goddess."
"Zhe Yan gave her the amnesia potion. That's why she didn't remember anything until now," Lord Dong Hua summarized. "And You, Ye Hua, chose to pursue her once again after the first meeting, knowing she was Su Su."
"I don't know what happened back then but yesterday my Aunt shattered the Soul Lamp by accident. I knew His Highness had once used it to recreating Su Su's soul. My aunt said she remembered that life when she was Su Su," said Bai Feng Jiu.
"It doesn't matter she forgot our love." Ye Hua said. "I'm willing to start all over again. She was - is my wife and I always love her."
"Have you ever asked yourself why she chose to drink that Amnesia Potion?" Mo Yuan asked coolly. Lord Dong Hua was not fooled, the calmness he showed usually belied his innermost struggle.
Ye Hua knew it was a rhetoric question and the God was not done with it, so he kept his silence.
"As a mortal, Su Su was weak and vulnerable against higher beings. It is not hard to understand her plight. You have abandoned her, abused her trust, naturally she chose to leave."
"Then she suffered even more injuries after she went through the Zhuxian Terrace. But that was not yet the worst. That only happened after she woke up as Bai Qian." Mo Yuan looked at his own brother, willing him to understand the depth of hurt he had done to her. His heart bleed for his youngest disciple's suffering.
"All her life, Bai Qian never bowed down to injustice wrought against her or took it at face value. Back then she would rather being subjected to torturing than gave in to Yao Guong's demand. Again when she and Ling Yu was humiliated by Qing Cang, Bai Qian offered to lead the troop to fight against him rather than cowering behind me. That's just the person she is."
Mo Yuan took in Ye Hua's expression, the hand that once rested at his side curled tightly in a fist.
"As Su Su, she might forgave you for your errors in judgment. But as Bai Qian," Mo Yuan shook his head. "You want your family and your beloved back, so you choose to pursue her again. Though I won't say I agree with you, I can understand that."
"Ye Hua, you have pushed her into the corner. Her eyes, her freedom, her choices was stripped away unwillingly. Do you have any ideas remembering how she was rendered helpless and powerless to defend her own, then betrayed by you of all person, would have done to her? Do you?"
"Now that she remembered everything once more," he continued. "In her eyes, you have taken advantage of her forgotten memories and the marriage claim between you and her. You have deceived her yet again. I'm afraid this won't bode well for you."
Mo Yuan sighed, fate had not been kind to his Seventeenth. He regretted tasking her with the Sealing of Qing Cang now more than ever. In his absence, he was not there to protect her either. Had he awaken earlier, none of these would have come to pass.
"I will see to her and explain everything. Qian Qian is not without reasons, she will at least hear me out," Ye Hua said.
"Is that what you really think?" Mo Yuan stared at him long and hard. "Or it's just a wistful talk? Begging for her forgiveness won't make her take you back, if you know her at all."
Fear and jealousy gripped Ye Hua's heart tightly. Mo Yuan was dead on about Qian Qian would never forgave him. He had witnessed she severing ties with those who betrayed her trust without a second glance, so he knew.
"By now she would have already drunk herself into a stupor, it doesn't matter what you want to do," he said knowingly, still remembered well how she suffered after Li Jing's betrayal. "And your presence will only provoke her further."
"High God Mo Yuan is right," Bai Feng Jiu spoke up. "These past few days, Aunt either sat still for hours or passed out from intoxication. The wine cellars in the Fox Den are almost emptied. Mi Gu tried to stopped her from drinking and she chased him away."
"If you want to talk, give it some time, let her calm down first," Mo Yuan said. "Perhaps you should use this time to think everything through as well."
He gave the Sky King a nod. "I'll take my leave now."
"Are you going back to Kunlun Mountain or to Qing Qiu," Ye Hua asked quietly, though he already knew the answer.
"She need to get sober." Mo Yuan left after that.
"Su Jin," the Sky King gave his final decree. "Framing and trying to get the High Goddess killed by Zhuxian Terrace is unforgivable crime. You are to be stripped from your immortal status and banished to Mortal Realm. Never return to the Nine Heaven again."
Since the truth come out if he simply sent her off to Ruoshui River to guard the Bell of Eastern Emperor as Bai Qian had instructed, tongues surely will wagged. And he doubted the Fox Emperor would sit still when he learned his youngest had suffered greatly by her hands. "Guard, take her away," he ordered.
All present in the Grand Hall looked on as Royal Guard dragged the screaming and struggling Su Jin away.
"I always know she is one scheming lady, but never thought she is this malicious," Lian Song shook his head. Scorned women were really the scariest. "No wonder you never like her, eh." He tapped his fan against Ye Hua who had yet to speak since Mo Yuan departed.
Ye Hua want to rush to Qing Qiu and explained everything to Qian Qian right now but knew what Mo Yuan said was true. He longed to tell her how much he loved her back then but had to feign indifference to conceal his affection. How he planned to make it up to her for all the wrong he had ever done.
"But what's more shocking is Si Yin is Bai Qian and Bai Qian is Su Su. This is so confusing," he continued. "Ye Hua, did you …? Eh, where did he go?" asked Lian Song.
The eldest prince and Ye Hua's father turned to address the Sky Lord, "What about the wedding, should we proceed?"
"Later," he waved him away, annoyed.
Much had been revealed today, not all was good for the future of Celestial Clan. Su Su was actually Bai Qian turned mortal was unexpected. Who would have thought the torn in his side would be the Fox Emperor's youngest daughter and Mo Yuan's favorite. From now on, he will have to tread on carefully. Both Lord Dong Hua and Mo Yuan clearly took Qing Qiu's side. The old Phoenix would too, he just knew it. How troublesome.