Upon Nature’s eternal ebb and flow the circling of the seasons gave way, and once more winter’s quiet mantle was shed for a vibrant veil of spring.
The warm current of air that blew in from the Peach Grove through Qing Qiu was a wind of change, a wind of renewal, a wind of bustling energy; as a fastidious Phoenix God busily tended to his blossoming orchards in gleeful anticipation of summer peaches to come… and their subsequent bounty of wine.
Bai Qian walked through Qing Qiu’s forest that morning with not only spring in her heart but in her step, the sun-softened ground finally allowing a goddess to roam comfortably barefoot again.
Her arms raised slightly before her, she was enjoying the lacework texture of dappled sun rays filtering through new leaves overhead. The warm sprinkles of light dancing upon the back of her hands were like kisses from the sun…
… or kisses from a dragon.
Giggling softly, Bai Qian spun on her toes, her tails twirling about her as she lifted her face to the sky and breathed deeply of the air. The earthy bouquet of verdant smells teemed with the scents of new life. The living world was abloom; fertile, fecund, and flourishing. It was a tonic both invigorating and renewing.
But it was the sounds, oh, the sounds of spring, that delighted Bai Qian most.
It started pre-dawn with the full chorus of wild birds, the cheeping of baby chicks in their nests joining their parents’ song. Then came the swishing rustle of new shoots, leaves, and petals that greeted the sun along with the insects that buzzed, clicked, and chirred; particularly the hum of the Beekeeper’s bees as they pranced from flower to flower.
The pattering remnants of the night’s rainfall still dripped from leaf to leaf. The waters of the newly free-flowing stream bubbled nearby. The cattle lowed further away as the farmers tilled their fields for the new crops to plant.
On and on the symphony played. The music of life had returned!
Bai Qian had chosen a dress of pastel green, which resembled jade, to wear for this special morning. One trimmed with accents of gold —which will forever now resemble a dragon.
She was on her way to the Mushroom Market, carrying her favourite grilling stone and wood paddle in two of her tails.
To celebrate the completion of the Market’s restoration, Bai Qian and Fenfang had planned a special breakfast feast as a way for the people of Qing Qiu to personally thank Kunlun’s disciples and their Grandmaster for all their help. Of course, Bai Qian’s jianbing had been adamantly requested by all of Mo Yuan’s men… Zi Lan especially… with Chang Shan asking if he may assist her in making them so that he could learn her technique. That was why she was bringing her favourite cooking implements to prepare them fresh there.
It had taken Bai Qian a few weeks to familiarize herself with the new layout of the Market. Lending a tail or two to Fenfang so the Mushroom Fairy could implement her ideas for new stalls and expanding the back storage alley had greatly helped Bai Qian in that respect. It had been like revisiting her childhood, exploring her way through the lanes again with her tails and her hands. Only she wasn’t as small as she was back then and could no longer slip under tables, tuck into corners or climb up racks in her human form. For that she’d had to shift into her fox. But the vendors and stall keepers always made sure to keep everything in the same place for their Gu Gu, just as they’d always done in the past.
Bai Qian had divided her time between Qing Qiu and Kunlun during the winter months: In Qing Qiu, overseeing and helping with the rebuilding efforts while also visiting all the families and friends who’d lost loved ones in the demon attack, ensuring they were cared for.
On Kunlun, Bai Qian had continued to explore and memorize the layout of the temple and familiarize herself with the mountain and its paths. She’d become better acquainted with the students and had come to know Mo Yuan’s disciples well as each one had taken turns escorting her during those times their Shifu was otherwise occupied with Realm matters.
Mo Yuan in turn had spent equal time with Bai Qian when he could and when she was free in Qing Qiu… but only during the day. The nights they would share together were only ever on Kunlun, without exception.
Bai Qian had quickly come to learn that the God of War was a most insistent and stubborn man when it came to maintaining the proper appearance of a traditional courtship of the Fox King’s daughter.
Mo Yuan would hold her hand when they could not be seen but would not touch her otherwise while with her in Qing Qiu.
Not even a kiss.
But he held no such qualms when they were alone together on Kunlun.
She’d tried to explain that the noisy, boisterous, unpretentious, practical, down-to-earth woodland spirits of Qing Qiu possessed the most relaxed and liberal attitude of any people in the realm. Woodland spirits were by nature easygoing and carefree. It was no big deal –considered perfectly natural in fact– for a man and a woman to be intimate with each other even if they were not wed. And if children were born from such unions they were as loved and as cherished as any and all children were.
But Mo Yuan would not budge on this. And Bai Qian knew very well it was because of her father.
Goodness, did the Fox King really come across as that formidable a figure?
Zhe Yan had pfft’d with a “You’re kidding, right? You can be so adorably clueless sometimes, Qian Qian,” when she’d asked him about that.
The cawing of the Crow spirit passing overhead made Bai Qian pause. Another sure sign of spring in Qing Qiu! The Crow preferred to winter in warmer climes and would only take occasion to carry news and announcements of other lands to Qing Qiu when the snows were good and gone.
A smile played on Bai Qian’s lips. Today’s feast at the Mushroom Market would be providing the Crow with news it could carry on to all the forest lands as it would be the first time a certain official announcement could be made.
For Qing Qiu’s period of mourning for those lost in the demon massacre had recently ended. A final, solemn ceremony had been held to mark the 100th day after the attack. It was time now to celebrate life again with the happy arrival of spring, and of happy tidings as well.
Bai Qian’s father and Zhe Yan were already at the Market, helping to set up the tables and benches and decorations. Mo Yuan and his disciples would be arriving shortly to join the noisy, boisterous, unpretentious, practical, down-to-earth woodland spirits of Qing Qiu.
A laughing Bai Qian shifted to her fox to dash her way faster through the trees.
With his hands clasped behind him, Mo Yuan stood alone on the temple’s stone terrace overlooking the southern slope of the mountain. It was the perfect view to appreciate the magnificent spring morning; the world alight and alive once more after its winter of peaceful repose. Mo Yuan considered the vibrant, beautiful weather of this day another blessing of Fate, one of many he’d been given in recent months.
A warm breeze caught and played with the ends of his loosely top-knotted ponytail. Mo Yuan smiled. Bai Qian told him his hair held a trace of the wind.
They had spent the night upon his bed with the hearth fire crackling. A night of gentle lovemaking as the day ahead was to be quite busy.
At one point, while Mo Yuan stroked Bai Qian’s back during a quiet pause, he’d asked her a set of questions he’d been curious about for some time.
“What do I feel like to you, Qian Qian?” Given how Bai Qian saw the world and people through senses other than sight, Mo Yuan wanted to know. “What do I sound like?”
She’d moaned softly when he’d kissed her lips slowly, thoroughly, before asking what he tasted like as well. Then he’d asked her the most pressing question to him of all.
“What is my scent to you?”
As a dragon, his sense of smell was his most powerful and since a predator could not scent themselves, he truly wished to know.
Bai Qian had told him his scent was like that of sunlight to her.
At first, Mo Yuan thought she was teasing him. Sunlight? Sunlight had no scent. But then she’d explained it to him in that unique way of hers…
Sunlight stirred the atmosphere, flavouring the wind just like he did. His scent was a creamy musk that evoked the air of hot summer afternoons and crisp, cool dawns and sultry dusks for her. It burned both hot and cold at all times.
Bold and gentle, intense yet soft, as was sunlight so was his scent to her.
It had left Mo Yuan speechless for quite some time.
Bai Qian had replied to his other questions by telling him the taste of his skin had a spice of fire and his sounds were like music; the measure of his steps, the rhythm of his breaths, the cadences of his laughter, the timbre of his growls…
His hair held a trace of the wind and his body heat always felt soothing to her.
“Then allow me to soothe my Lady some more,” he’d whispered as he gently lay himself on her again.
“What do I look like to your eyes, Mo Yuan?” Bai Qian had asked him a while later.
“You look like my heart’s desire, Qian Qian. The peach blossom heart of a dragon.”
Mo Yuan now glanced down at his attire for the umpteenth time to make sure all was neat, then shook his head as he reminded himself for the umpteenth time that no one in Qing Qiu would care what he wore to their banquet.
He’d chosen a tunic of crimson red over black hemp pants and black leather boots. His only adornment was the supple black belt cinched about his waist.
One afternoon while Bai Qian had been otherwise occupied, Mo Yuan had gotten little Jia to take him to the artisan who’d carved his pearl dragon. He’d commissioned Lu Tang to make him a leather belt, one studded with pearl peach blossoms.
Mo Yuan grinned as he recalled the amused look of approval he’d gotten from the Phoenix. Zhe Yan had just happened to stop by the artisan’s stall at the exact time Mo Yuan had been there to pick up the belt. It must have been the talk of the Mushroom Market how the Gold Dragon had had a belt of peach blossoms made for him.
A twinkle-eyed Phoenix had suggested Mo Yuan wear the belt at his meeting the next day with Tianjun, which he did.
The meeting with the Heavenly Ruler had been to discuss any findings in the search for clues to the mysterious shamanic cabal of Nine or their underground temple.
But it seemed these were truly forgotten by the legends of Time as no reference could be found in the Celestial library nor annals of Kunlun. Perhaps it was best so.
As to how, or what, Heavenly Mother may have known or foreseen with regards to her silver moon orchid, this would have to remain a mystery as well. But it would never be something forgotten by her son. For no matter what Mo Yuan chose to believe of it all, he felt grateful.
Thank you, Mother, for saving Qian Qian…
…for saving me.
At the end of the meeting, Mo Yuan had taken the occasion to inform Tianjun that he would be marrying Qing Qiu’s Bai Qian in the summer. The look on the man’s face had been one to behold.
Mo Yuan took pleasure in explaining the wedding would not be by Celestial rites but conducted in Fox Clan tradition. The prospective groom was to be locked up with the prospective bride inside the Fox Den for eight days and nights upon which they would be considered wed once they were let out.
If they wanted to be let out. Mo Yuan chuckled inwardly.
The words Haode then muttered under his breath made Mo Yuan wonder what colourful reply the Phoenix would have made had he been there. More likely, the Phoenix would have blasted the Heavenly Ruler across the room, as Mo Yuan wanted to do upon hearing an incredulous ‘the blind fox?’
The blood drained from Tianjun’s face as he stumbled backwards when a growling Mo Yuan’s eyes flashed gold and the thunderous clap of a lightning bolt exploded above the Celestial Palace.
The Dragon God of War and Grandmaster of Kunlun required no one’s approval or permission to marry whom he pleased… in whatever tradition he wished. It was mere courtesy he observed informing Tianjun of any of it.
Truth be told, Mo Yuan was quite content and frankly relieved to be spared all the pomp and circumstance of a Celestial wedding.
Before leaving without another word from Tianjun, a still growling Mo Yuan made a point of saying he would return to the Heavens after he’d wed to pay his respects to his parents’ shrine with his Lady of Kunlun. Mo Yuan knew Bai Qian was nervous about that but he was confident he could make her feel at ease with him by her side when the day came. Just as he was confident he’d made clear his warning to a Heavenly Ruler who would do well never to provoke him again with regards to his mate.
Die Feng’s brisk and purposeful footsteps on the stone terrace brought Mo Yuan’s thoughts back to the present.
“Shifu, the men are ready and await you by the gate. I apologize for the delay. Sixteenth kept us waiting, um, because he couldn’t find his braided hair tie.”
Mo Yuan turned to face his second-in-command.
Die Feng was wearing a loose linen shirt of ocean blue over brown leather pants and boots. The man’s thick dark hair was cinched atop his head with trident shaped pins of sea glass. It was a rare sight indeed to see Kunlun’s First Disciple dressed in the casual wear of his sea people. But though his clothes appeared comfortable, Die Feng’s expression was not.
“What’s wrong, Die Feng? You seem ill at ease.”
“Shifu, I have never dressed like this as a guest. I have never attended a banquet in such a casual manner before.”
“It is the way of Bai Qian’s people. You don’t like it?”
Mo Yuan was surprised by a rare smile from the man.
“No…” Die Feng started slowly, “no, I think I do actually, Shifu. It is refreshing, isn’t it? It has been nothing but a pleasure to get to know the Lady and her people these past months. Working hands-on alongside her father the Fox King especially. Building stalls for the Mushroom Market and digging out a new well together has me wishing my own royal father could follow the example of the Fox King in certain matters.”
The example of the Fox King…
The morning Mo Yuan had brought Bai Qian back home to then ask to speak in private with her father, Bai Qian had only laughed and gone about her business when the silent Fox King gestured Mo Yuan into his library.
Mo Yuan had felt the same rush of adrenaline he did whenever he headed into battle, except this time with an unnerving edge of anxiety he’d never experienced before.
As the Fox King had taken a seat in his reading chair, his sharp gaze never wavered from Mo Yuan who remained standing before him and who, without preamble, formally announced his intentions with regards to Bai Qian and asked the Fox King’s permission to court and marry his daughter. What say the Fox King to his request, Mo Yuan had finished with.
The Fox King had burst out laughing.
A stunned Mo Yuan could only stand there gobsmacked as he watched Bai Zhi struggle to catch his breath.
“Wh–why are you asking me, Dragon?!” he managed to say, wiping at his tearing eyes. “It’s Qian Qian’s permission you need, not mine. Unless you’re planning to marry me too…? No? I didn’t think so.”
After a few minutes, a slightly more composed Fox King crossed an ankle over a knee and encouraged Mo Yuan to take the seat opposite him.
“You did ask her, yes?” the chortling Bai Zhi said as he reached over his desk for a jug of peach wine and two cups.
Mo Yuan had felt his face muscles relax as relief coursed through him.
“Yes. A treatise of sorts has been forged between Kunlun and Qing Qiu. Certain last minute details had to be renegotiated but both parties concerned reached an understanding of agreement.”
“Good! Good! Whatever the hell that means. All you need from me is to vacate the Den for eight days. Just let me know when.” Bai Zhi smiled warmly.
“Ahh… I see you are unfamiliar with Fox customs.”
And it was then that Mo Yuan had learned of the Fox Clan’s marriage tradition.
One he was beyond eager to fully participate in.
“We best get on our way,” Mo Yuan told Die Feng. “Before there are no more of Bai Qian’s jianbing for Eleventh and Sixteenth to fight over.”
Even the air tasted delicious! Or so everyone was saying.
Long banquet tables were laden with huge platters of steamed buns, tea eggs, bowls of fruit, nuts, pitchers of Zhe Yan’s new peach tea he’d finally perfected over the winter –once he’d finished his latest text, The Rising Phoenix’s Classic of Internal Alchemy.
There were countless trays of grilled vegetables, mounds of berries which butterflies flitted over, a variety of honey jars, and complimentary free sample mud pots from the Wild Boar which now held rose petals mixed in.
And whenever the chittering squirrels ran past, people knew to dodge to the side to avoid being struck by the freshly shelled nuts they tossed to refill the bowls.
The Mother Rabbit had made her famous carrot stew for the feast and had earlier had her children and husband carry pots of it to each table while she had wobbled behind, pregnant as she was. “Gu Gu! I’m going to be a big sister!” Jia had bounded most excitedly into the Fox Den one early winter afternoon to announce.
A resounding cheer rose when Bai Qian emerged from behind the mushroom stall balancing platters piled thickly with jianbing on each of her tails. Chang Shan followed directly behind with platters balanced along the length of his arms. There followed Fenfang and her sprite Lele with large bowls of steaming mushrooms, then Da Bao with an extra table held above his head stacked with dozens of plates. Lastly were Jia and Delun and all the rabbit siblings, carrying the sauce jars and condiments.
Laughter and lively conversation were always the best seasoning and condiment of any meal though. And the Kunlun disciples, princes and men of high rank in their own lands and seas, sat relaxed and carefree spread out at various tables amongst the people.
Gao Fushuai was currently chatting up a storm with the Wild Boar, interested to learn more about the latter’s skin softening mud packs. Migu, who sat beside the Beekeeper, kept rustling in laughter as he listened to Ya Tou the Monkey spirit animatedly answer all of Zi Lan’s questions about her tree leaping techniques. Da Bao, who sat facing his Sixteenth Brother, calmly poured another cup of peach tea for Fenfang next to him. And a quietly smiling Die Feng beside the Fox King, couldn’t quite keep from chuckling along with Zhe Yan next to him at little Jia; the little bunny having wedged herself comfortably between Bai Qian and Mo Yuan sitting together across from Bai Zhi.
Two steaming stacks of jianbing that had been placed on their table had shrunk fast and, reminiscent of another breakfast, there were only three left. When Die Feng politely lifted the platter to allow the Tortoise to trundle unimpeded across the table to get to the sliced apples, only two jianbing remained when he put the platter back down between Da Bao and Zi Lan.
Da Bao and Zi Lan blinked at one another in surprise, both disciples’ gazes narrowing as they looked at Die Feng whose lips twitched as he chewed most satisfactorily.
Fenfang smiled sweetly at Zi Lan when she took the top jianbing with her chopsticks and placed it upon Da Bao’s plate. The Giant smiled sweetly at Zi Lan who nickered in frustration but then realized he could have the last jianbing to himself.
He reached forward with his chopsticks.
A white fox tail shot out from beneath the table and slapped down the edge of the platter. The last jianbing launched into the air to flip topsy turvy squarely upon Mo Yuan’s plate.
Zi Lan raised his hands in defeat when his Shifu now smiled sweetly at him too.
“That was perfect, Gu Gu!” Jia clapped her hands in appreciation. Then noticing the 16th Disciple’s pouting expression, she offered her last strawberry to him which he took carefully with a crooked grin.
The Fox King put down his mug and rose to stand. A hush fell over every table. Excitement charged the air. For everyone knew what the Fox King was going to announce.
And in the typical straightforward fashion of the woodlands, Bai Zhi simply said, “Bai Qian and Mo Yuan will wed, having chosen the auspicious date of the summer solstice. I know you already all know this given how happy secrets never remain secret here for long.” There was warm laughter all around. “Just as I know you already all wish them well.”
Bai Qian then rose to address everyone, explaining that while she would be abdicating in order to assume her role as Lady of Kunlun, she would always…always…always be their Gu Gu.
“Gu Gu!” Jia hugged her tight around the middle. Then the little rabbit girl reached over to the sitting Mo Yuan and hugged him round the neck.
All the Kunlun disciples beamed at their obviously moved Shifu who hugged the little rabbit back.
When Bai Zhi and Bai Qian sat back down, another hush fell as Die Feng rose unexpectedly and cleared his throat.
“Shifu.” Die Feng’s tone was most formal. “We are all family on Kunlun. I know I speak on behalf of my brothers present, and absent” –the disciples’ mugs were raised with a chorus of ‘Zhong Yi’– “when I say that we are all most happy for you and our future Shilao.”
Bai Qian had never considered she would be addressed by that title. Mo Yuan’s hand reached for hers under the table and gave a gentle squeeze.
“If my Lady will accept,” Die Feng continued. “The Disciples of Kunlun would like to present you with gifts we’ve made in appreciation for the happiness and love you have brought to Shifu, and thus to Kunlun.”
Each of Mo Yuan’s men now rose from their tables to come forward and present her with a gift they had made by their own hand.
And such wondrous gifts they were! That each could be appreciated by its feel, its sound, its scent, or its taste was not lost on Bai Qian, nor on a proudly smiling Mo Yuan who’d known nothing of this.
Gao Fushuai went first, presenting Bai Qian with a beaded velvet pillow which when she ran her palm over, the raised beads revealed the star constellations above Kunlun.
Another gift was a carved wooden set of tea cups from Da Bao, each cup etched with outlines of the mountain’s birds.
From Zi Lan she received a braided chime which sounded like the clopping of hooves when its hollowed tubes of wood would catch the wind on the Mountain.
She received pairs of oversized knitted mittens –it obviously not having gone unnoticed how she and Mo Yuan had held hands during their wintry strolls — a hand-stitched comforter filled with goose down, herbal oil, fragrant soaps…
Chang Shan made her a chessboard where every square was recessed to hold intricate playing pieces she could feel out with her fingertips.
Die Feng presented her with a delicate jewellery chest made of different textured seashells.
The First Disciple then let her know, that as a group with all the apprentices and students of the temple, they had planted a sensory garden for her on Kunlun. All its plants and flowers could be appreciated not only for their scents but for their “leafy stemmed, fuzzy foliaged touches, and bloom popping, seed rattling, leaf squeaking sounds” as the junior apprentices had apparently enjoyed describing them.
Mo Yuan gently wiped away Bai Qian’s happy tears.
“There’s more food to eat, everyone!” Fenfang called out, receiving a cheery round of hoorays in response.
“Took you long enough,” Bai Qian teased Zhe Yan when he finally plunked himself down beside her.
It was well into the afternoon and people had started leaving their seats to sit at other tables or mingle about the Market. At their end of the table, only Mo Yuan, her father, and herself remained where they were.
“I made a gift for you, and Mo Yuan, too,” the Phoenix declared. “It just won’t be ready until autumn.”
Zhe Yan explained that he had cultivated a very special peach tree sapling for them to plant on Kunlun but had to wait for its roots to be more established.
“It should grow well once planted. I’m curious to see how a tree from the Peach Grove flourishes to produce fruit on Kunlun.”
She heard him chug back a cup of his tea.
“You know, Mo Yuan,” Zhe Yan said, smacking his lips. “It was when Qian Qian and I first went to Kunlun that I talked about my idea for making peach tea. Turned out brilliant, didn’t it? I’m looking forward to making batches of peach wine shortly.”
“I’m surprised you didn’t bring any to the banquet,” Mo Yuan laughed.
“Mmm, Qian Qian wouldn’t let me. Ow!” She’d poked him in the side with a tail.
Zhe Yan’s voice shifted direction towards her father.
“My trees in the Grove are all pruned. In a few days, I’ll start to dust off and ready the jugs for the new wine. Oh! That reminds me, Qian Qian. As I was considering gathering feathers to make a proper duster, it occurred to me you still have my tail feather from before. The one I plucked off to lend you?”
Bai Qian sat up straighter.
“Oops, that’s right. I’d totally forgotten about it, Zhe Yan. I’m so sorry. Hold on.” Opening out her palm, Bai Qian summoned the feather she’d kept tucked away for months.
She felt Zhe Yan jerk, then Mo Yuan’s arms wrap around her as a multitude of gasps was followed by breath-holding silence.
A silence broken by her father’s low chuckle.
“An incidental role, Zhe Yan?” Bai Zhi sounded amused. “What have you to say now, oh messenger pigeon?”
“Mo Yuan? What’s going on?”
“It’s Zhe Yan’s feather, Qian Qian,” Mo Yuan said with a touch of awe. “It’s completely silver and glows like the orchid used to. Can you sense anything from it?”
Bai Qian could feel nothing unusual at all from the soft plumes against her palm. The feather felt just like Zhe Yan’s feather always had.
But given what Mo Yuan described and all that had come to pass, Bai Qian knew what she had to do. Reaching out with a tail, she took hold of her best friend’s arm.
“Take the feather, Zhe Yan,” she said softly. “I believe it was always meant to be returned to you this way.”
After a long moment, Zhe Yan’s fingers trembled against her palm as he took the feather.
“I… I guess silver will just have to be part of my colour wheel from now on,” Zhe Yan said.
Then Zhe Yan, being Zhe Yan, just couldn’t resist.
“Though it shouldn’t come to anyone’s surprise, should it, that every phoenix comes with a silver lining.”
When the afternoon sun hung low in the sky, everyone returned to their seats. And slowly, the people of Qing Qiu stopped conversing, directing their gazes towards the Fox King.
The Kunlun disciples looked about in confusion, not understanding what was going on.
Mo Yuan’s own gaze narrowed as he felt the change of atmosphere, a charged excitement in the air with a rush of… anticipation.
Bai Qian tensed beside him. Did she know what was happening? Looking down at her face, he saw her cheeks blush. She did.
A current of a wild, ancient power wove through the air.
Mo Yuan locked eyes with Bai Zhi who was staring straight at him. One by one, the Fox King’s nine tails emerged, sable black and shimmering with his power sparking between them.
“It is time to bring the feast to a close,” the Fox King declared. “Thank you, Grandmaster of Kunlun, for caring as you do about Qing Qiu and its people. We have all come to believe you may be deserving of Bai Qian after all.”
Mo Yuan’s eyes flashed gold when the Fox King slowly rose to plant his fists on the table and lean forward.
“But if you don’t kiss her here, Dragon, right here and right now in front of all of us, I will throw your scaly hide inside the Den with her and lock you there for eight upon eight upon eight days and nights, God of War or not.”
Mo Yuan bolted to attention.
The fifteen generals of Kunlun cried out a battle call of victory, joined by all the woodland spirits of Qing Qiu, when the Dragon God of War pulled his Nine-Tailed Fox Goddess to her feet and kissed her most soundly.
“Good tidings! Good tidings!” the Crow Spirit who flew between the forest realms cawed. The joyous news would soon spread throughout all Four Seas and Eight Lands. “The White Fox and the Gold Dragon will wed as of the summer solstice! Good tidings! Good tidings!”
師姥 shilao (grandmaster’s wife)
叔叔 shu shu (uncle)
岳父 yuefu (father-in-law)
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