“Can I get anything else for you, Lady Meixiu? Lady Bai Qian?” Die Feng asked at the end of the evening meal. The tables had been cleared and the murmur of boisterous voices had died down as Mo Yuan’s disciples prepared to complete their evening chores.
“No. Thank you, Die Feng,” Bai Qian answered after Meixiu shook her head. Bai Qian smiled when he bowed hastily and then raced out of the room after his seniors to try and catch up with them. She had grown fond of Die Feng. He took his assigned duty to assist her and Ye Hua whenever needed seriously and had been a big help.
“I don’t think Ye Hua or Mo Yuan will be coming home anytime soon,” Bai Qian spoke after a minute of contemplative silence. “The dead bear must have been the one who set the fire if it’s taking them this long to investigate.”
Meixiu didn’t disagree with Bai Qian’s assessment. Hope that some clues revealing the identity of the traitor would finally be discovered welled up within Bai Qian but she tried to temper it with a reminder that she should remain patient and wait for Ye Hua’s return.
“I wonder if we’ll still be able to go to Qing Qiu tomorrow,” Bai Qian continued, changing the subject. She had a restless urge to begin cleaning up her family’s land and Ye Hua had agreed they shouldn’t delay such an important task any longer despite the ongoing search for the traitor and Bai Qian’s training. Whenever they both had a free moment to spare, they planned to focus on righting the wrong the demons had caused to her home. Mo Yuan, Meixiu, and Zhe Yan had all agreed to help whenever they could. The next few months would be extra busy for her as she balanced time between different tasks but Bai Qian liked that she was taking steps toward a better future for herself and Ye Hua.
“There will still be time to go even if we have to make it a shorter visit than planned. Everybody knows how crucial it is to start rebuilding Qing Qiu. It will send an important message to the realm and to our enemies.”
Bai Qian was relieved to hear Meixiu say “our enemies” because it made her feel less alone in her fight against those who wished to harm her. It was comforting to have the support of friends and family.
“Besides, Heavenly Father and Mother are planning to visit Qing Qiu with us as well,” Meixiu continued.
“They are?” Bai Qian was excited to hear this piece of news and was already looking forward to seeing them again.
“Oh no,” Meixiu groaned. “I can’t believe I said that. Ye Hua wanted their visit to be a surprise.”
“I’ll pretend I don’t know,” Bai Qian responded with a laugh. “And I promise to act surprised when I see them.”
“You better,” Meixiu answered with a laugh of her own.
“Do you two mind having some company?” a soft, pleasant voice asked, interrupting them.
“Heavenly Mother,” Bai Qian said, standing along with Meixiu to bow in greeting to the dragon goddess, who waved off their formal greetings and hugged them each in turn instead. “I know I’ll be seeing you both tomorrow but I was anxious to see how things were going with Bai Qian so I decided to visit tonight when a meeting I had scheduled was canceled. I won’t stay long.”
“We’d be happy if you joined us,” Meixiu said and Bai Qian nodded. “Now we can tell Ye Hua it was his mother who spoiled the surprise,” Meixiu added when Heavenly Mother took a seat next to Bai Qian.
“What surprise?” the dragon goddess asked with confusion.
“Ye Hua hasn’t told Bai Qian that you and Heavenly Father are planning to visit Qing Qiu with us tomorrow. He asked Mo Yuan and I to keep it a secret but I let it slip out accidentally.”
“I see,” Heavenly Mother responded. “And he didn’t expect me to drop by Kunlun for a surprise visit so he mentioned no word of it to me. And since he didn’t tell me, he has no room to be upset about it. Which is what I will tell him if he complains.” She smiled. “Us women in the family have to stick together.” They all nodded as if agreeing to a secret pact, an idea that delighted Bai Qian to no end.
“Where are Ye Hua and Mo Yuan?” Heavenly Mother continued. “I didn’t sense them anywhere on the mountain when I arrived.”
“Ye Hua received word that a bear had been found dead,” Bai Qian answered. “He left with Mo Yuan and Zhe Yan to investigate. They haven’t returned yet.”
A look of worry appeared on Heavenly Mother’s face for a brief moment at the news. “I hope they are finally finding some answers.” Bai Qian thought there was more the wise goddess wanted to say but she remained silent.
“We think the bear must be related to the fire in some way because they’ve been gone so long,” Meixiu said. “This might be the break they’ve been searching for.”
“That would be welcome news.” Heavenly Mother turned to Bai Qian and changed the subject. “How has your training been going?”
“It’s been going okay. I still have a lot to learn.”
“Don’t sell yourself short, Qian Qian,” Meixiu added. “You’ve been doing very well. You learn quickly when you stay focused.” She turned to Heavenly Mother. “Qian Qian will be a great warrior in no time.”
“I can already sense that your magic has grown in strength,” Heavenly Mother told Bai Qian. “Your increased power along with the skills you are learning will help you a great deal in the future.”
Bai Qian blushed and looked down, pleased and embarrassed to hear them praise her. She pushed a strand of hair back behind her ear when it brushed her cheek, tickling her skin. Her bracelet glinted with the reflection of candlelight, catching Heavenly Mother’s eye. She smiled.
“Ye Hua gave you the jewelry already.” She seemed pleased.
“So that bracelet is part of your jewelry collection,” Meixiu said to Heavenly Mother before turning back to Bai Qian. “I thought it might be. It looks very similar to the style of jewelry Mo Yuan gave me when he asked me to marry him.” A sentimental expression filled her face as she smiled fondly at the memory. “He asked me while we were taking a moonlit walk in my family’s arboreal garden. He was so nervous and seemed a bit uncertain when he asked. I’ve never seen him act that way before. It was sweet and very romantic.”
She paused and then grinned excitedly. “This means you and Ye Hua are engaged to be married and I didn’t realize it. We should celebrate. When did he ask you? If you don’t mind sharing, I’d love to hear the story.”
Confusion filled Bai Qian as she looked first at Meixiu’s excited expression and then Heavenly Mother’s. She had always assumed she and Ye Hua would one day marry. He had told her the jewelry was intended for his wife when he gave it to her but she hadn’t considered what the gift actually meant. Did it mean they were engaged and she hadn’t realized it at the time? They had discussed their lives and spending them together but they had never really talked about marriage before. And he had never asked her. Did he have to ask her to marry him for it to happen? Her mind raced with memories of all the romantic tales she had listened to in the past. Now that she thought about it, the men always asked the women to marry them at the end of the story. Was Ye Hua planning to ask her? And if so, why hadn’t he asked before now? They were sharing a bed and making love, things supposedly only appropriate for married couples.
“I… he hasn’t asked me to marry him.”
Meixiu’s face fell with disappointment. “Oh. But you two are planning to get married, right?”
“I think so… at least, I’ve always thought we were going to but I… we haven’t really talked about it, I guess. But there’s been so much going on. Maybe that’s why.” Bai Qian looked at Heavenly Mother who was watching her with concerned understanding. “I’m not sure if he’s planning to ask me. Has he mentioned anything about it to you?”
Heavenly Mother shook her head but then smiled softly at Bai Qian. “He hasn’t. I can’t speak for him and tell you what’s on his mind. You should talk to Ye Hua about it if you’re worried. And let him know how you feel.”
“I will,” Bai Qian said softly.
“I’m so sorry, Qian Qian,” Meixiu said, taking Bai Qian’s hand and giving it a comforting squeeze. “I didn’t mean to go on and on like that.”
“It’s okay. Don’t apologize.”
“I’m excited to see Qing Qiu for the first time,” Meixiu said abruptly, clearly trying to change the subject. “Father and Grandfather had nothing but good things to say about your family and the people of Qing Qiu. The Eagles mourned your family’s passing when the news reached us. I was a young girl at the time but I still remember it. My grandfather respected your father a great deal which is a big part of the reason he allowed me to train you and share some of our combat techniques with you.”
“I had the good fortune to visit Qing Qiu several times before it was lost,” Heavenly Mother said. “I was always impressed with the kindness and goodwill of the people living there. It was a wondrous place and a great loss when it fell.”
“I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed, Meixiu, when you see it. It doesn’t look like anything special now,” Bai Qian said, thinking back on the ruin her family home had become. “It just looks sad and deserted.”
“But it won’t look that way forever,” Meixiu responded. “And I won’t be disappointed. I will be honored to have the chance to watch as you bring your family’s land back to life. I will help you in any way I can.”
“Thank you,” Bai Qian whispered.
“If you don’t mind me asking, what was it like living in the peach tree forest?” Meixiu continued. “When I heard your story for the first time, I couldn’t help but admire your ability to survive. But I also wondered what it must have been like living on your own like that.”
Bai Qian didn’t answer right away. She looked down at the surface of the table as memories came rushing back to her.
“You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to,” Meixiu added hastily. “I didn’t mean to bring up something difficult for you to talk about.”
“No, it’s okay,” Bai Qian responded, gathering her thoughts. She raised her eyes to look at Meixiu. While she still had trouble talking about the deaths of her family, she didn’t mind discussing the rest of her past as much as she used to. Meixiu and Heavenly Mother were a part of her family now and they would listen to her story without judgement.
“It was lonely,” Bai Qian began. “The peach tree forest is beautiful and peaceful. And safe. I was lucky to have such a place to live. It provided shelter, food, and places to hide. My fox helped me a lot in the beginning and we managed to get along. But it was very lonely.”
Both Meixiu and Heavenly Mother listened attentively as Bai Qian described her life in the peach tree forest. She explained where her den was and about the trails she had created throughout the forest and how they never deviated far from easy hiding places should she need them. The only thing she didn’t tell Meixiu about was the ancient grove in the heart of the forest. That special place was for her and Ye Hua alone.
Meixiu had new respect in her eyes when she looked at Bai Qian now. “I’m amazed by your strength, Qian Qian. I don’t think I ever could have survived under similar circumstances. How in the world did Ye Hua ever find you?”
For the first time since starting her story, Bai Qian smiled. “Stubborn persistence.”
Meixiu and Heavenly Mother laughed at her answer.
“He simply refused to give up and go away,” she elaborated. “Every day he was there, invading my quiet life, making a nuisance of himself. Until one day curiosity got the better of my fox. He continued to search for me and she started following him in turn to see what he was up to.”
“And he never realized?” Meixiu asked.
“No. He never spotted her.”
“I think there must be a good story here,” Heavenly Mother said, encouraging Bai Qian to go on.
The mood was much lighter as Bai Qian shared the story of how Ye Hua spent weeks prowling through the peach tree forest, only leaving out the times their cultivations had connected through Ye Hua’s snares. She had to pause when she told them of his scheme to fake being seriously injured; they were laughing too hard to hear what else she had to say.
“Don’t tell Ye Hua I told you about that,” Bai Qian said when their laughter had died down. “I don’t think he knows I saw him.” This revelation caused Meixiu and Heavenly Mother to start laughing even harder, Bai Qian joining them this time.
“I really want to be there when you tell him,” Meixiu said after she caught her breath. Bai Qian grinned.
The bear’s human body was in an advanced state of decay and it was clear that wild animals in the area had gotten to it, possibly destroying evidence in the process. Ye Hua frowned, suppressing a growl from the black dragon. The lingering stench of rotten flesh had the great beast feeling on edge. He exchanged a pointed look with Mo Yuan and Zhe Yan before studying the ground around the area, looking for footprints.
“Has anyone touched the body?” Ye Hua asked, glancing at the bear who had led them to the remains.
“No, your Highness,” the man responded. “The Elders alerted you right away, as soon as the body was discovered. Nobody has touched it. We don’t even know who it is yet.”
“May I take a look?” Zhe Yan asked, waiting for the bear to answer before approaching the body out of respect.
“Of course. That is why I was ordered to bring you here. The Elders want you to know we are willing to fully cooperate with you in this matter.”
Ye Hua didn’t immediately respond, watching as Zhe Yan knelt next to the dead bear’s remains. He believed the bears had good intentions but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t remain on his guard for any signs of deceit. For this reason, they had all agreed beforehand that Mo Yuan would remain a silent observer the whole time while Ye Hua questioned the bears and Zhe Yan examined the body. Mo Yuan was skilled at sensing deception in others and the bears may become suspicious if he did the questioning instead of Ye Hua who was Crown Prince and also more directly affected by what had happened.
“We were told nobody in the bear clan has been reported missing. Is this still true?” Ye Hua asked after a few minutes of silence. “This body didn’t appear here overnight. He’s been dead for several weeks at least. Somebody must be missing him.”
“There is nobody missing from the clan,” the bear confirmed. “There are bears who live on their own outside the village. This must be one of them. It will take some time to track down his identity and the location of his den.”
“Let me know when you learn anything further,” Ye Hua said in a polite tone but the underlying order in his words was apparent.
“Yes, your Highness. We will.”
The other man stepped back and Ye Hua glanced at Mo Yuan. A subtle nod from his brother told Ye Hua that Mo Yuan believed the man was telling the truth.
The light was growing dim as twilight settled over the forest when Ye Hua moved closer to the body. The man’s ragged, shredded clothing was stained a rusty brown where blood had once covered his chest. From a neck wound? It was difficult to get any sense of the bear’s appearance since his face was nothing but torn bits of flesh clinging to bone.
“What do you think, Zhe Yan?” he asked.
“I find no evidence he was killed by magical means. I suspect he was stabbed in the throat based on the pattern of dried blood but it’s difficult to say for sure. Animals have made a mess of the body along with his clothing, something I believe the perpetrator was counting on.”
Ye Hua nodded. “That would be my guess too.”
“He’s definitely the bear who set the fire,” Zhe Yan continued. “Look at the bone of his right forearm. Do you see the scorch mark there?”
Kneeling down next to Zhe Yan, Ye Hua took a closer look at the area Zhe Yan indicated. There was a strange black mark on the bone.
“Only an ember of phoenix fire would burn down to the bone so precisely in one spot like that. And the magic lingers there.”
Ye Hua moved his hand over the area. He could sense a slight trace of phoenix magic there. “I can feel the essence of the magic.”
“I also found this,” Zhe Yan continued, handing Ye Hua a small scrap of paper. A time was written on the paper. That was it; there was nothing else. “Do you recognize the handwriting?”
After studying the paper for a minute, Ye Hua shook his head, frustrated he couldn’t identify the writing. He handed it to Mo Yuan who also shook his head after taking a look at it for himself. “There’s not enough there to identify the writer even if I did know the person’s handwriting,” he said, speaking for the first time since they had entered the clearing. “Unless more information about this bear is found, I think this is going to end up being a dead end, Ye Hua. We need to find another way to uncover the traitor’s identity.”
“I’m afraid you’re right, Da Ge.” Ye Hua sighed and stood. His patience was wearing thin. Soon, he would confront Weisheng directly and deal with the political consequences such a move might bring with it. He turned to speak to the bear again. “Thank you for your help in this matter. We are done looking at the body so you are free to do with it as you like. Let me know if anything else turns up.”
“Yes, your Highness.”
After spending a fun evening with Heavenly Mother and Meixiu, Bai Qian decided to meditate while waiting for Ye Hua to return. Sitting cross legged in the middle of the bed she now shared with him, Bai Qian closed her eyes and tried to concentrate. But her mind was first filled with questions about what useful evidence the bear’s body might reveal before turning back to her earlier conversation with Meixiu and Ye Hua’s mother. Had she misunderstood Ye Hua’s intentions somehow? Was he planning to ask her to marry him one day? Maybe she should ask him. Was it a legitimate proposal if the woman asked the man?
She opened her eyes and frowned, wishing she had thought to ask Heavenly Mother about the rules governing engagement and marriages when she had had the chance. Then her frown deepened when she realized she was distracting herself from what was most important. Finding the traitor and cleaning up Qing Qiu must take precedence over marriage and other more personal worries. When her life was more settled, she would follow Heavenly Mother’s advice and ask Ye Hua about his intentions.
Feeling too lost in thought to concentrate, Bai Qian opened her eyes and looked at the painting she had hung on the stone wall with her magic. It was the most recent gift Ye Hua had given her– a painting he had called A Reflection of the Soul.
She loved it. It was a portrait of her kneeling and gazing down into the calm waters of the small lake near their cabin, trees laden with peach blossoms behind her, a wistful expression on her face. Reflecting back at her from the lake surface was a little white fox, Hu Mei, her eyes shimmering with eager curiosity. Bai Qian had watched him paint it and she often wondered how he had so easily captured two sides of her personality in one painting.
Bai Qian’s busy mind quieted as she stared at the peaceful image and she finally found the calm state she needed to meditate effectively.
The room around Bai Qian faded and she was once again back in the Fox Den, a scared little girl hiding from the dragon as he callously searched her home and her father’s body. She could sense her fox coming closer to the surface in order to comfort her when the heartbreaking memory returned and to protect her while her mind was focused inwards. Terror gripped her and her heart stuttered as adrenaline pulsed through her. Bai Qian deepened her breathing in response as Mo Yuan had taught her, checking that her fox was still with her. Hu Mei was still there just as she had always been there.
Bai Qian’s fear slowly ebbed away as she breathed, pushing more and more of it away with every exhale until she was calm. Now she could begin to watch the dragon more objectively. What had he been looking for that night? She wished she knew but she didn’t think she would ever discover the answer to that mystery.
It was the moment he seemed to sense her and turned in her direction that Bai Qian felt sure she had caught a hint of his scent as it wafted over to her hiding spot. It had reminded her of something. What was it? Her terror had erased it from thought at the time but she believed she could uncover it if she tried hard enough.
Beads of sweat broke out across her brow as she paused her memory in that one terrifying moment and concentrated harder. It was right there at the edge of her memory, like a word stuck on the tip of her tongue. Why couldn’t she uncover it? He was a dragon. His scent would likely resemble that of some type of weather. But what? She almost had the answer but then the memory evaporated and she was back on Kunlun Mountain as her strength failed her.
Disappointment flooded through her and Bai Qian opened her eyes. There was nothing new. She still didn’t have the answer she was seeking. She flopped back on the bed with a huff and stared up at the ceiling as exhaustion took over. Maybe she would think of it next time. Or maybe Ye Hua would finally have some answers after the investigation of the dead bear. Her eyes started to blink slowly as sleepiness settled over her but before she could drift off to sleep, her fox let out a joyous yip and Ye Hua opened the door.
The black dragon growled a soft greeting to his fox as Ye Hua closed the door behind him. Bai Qian sat up, a smile on her face as she greeted him shyly. There was frustration in his expression but he still returned her smile and greeted her with a soft kiss. She watched as he then changed into his nightclothes and brushed his hair after undoing his topknot. That he wasn’t using magic to get ready for bed spoke of his unhappiness with his progress in the search for the traitor. He must be feeling restless.
Bai Qian stood and took the brush from his hand.
“I’ll do it,” she told him softly and guided him over to sit on the bed. “You didn’t find anything useful, did you?” she asked as she brushed his hair.
Ye Hua sighed heavily. “There was nothing as usual. No matter how hard we look, there’s never anything there. I don’t understand how he can hide his identity so completely.” Bai Qian set the brush aside and hugged his neck, leaning her body into his back. She had never heard him voice his frustration so openly before. “I want to go to the Demon Realm and question Weisheng. If I can confront him alone without his guards, I can make him tell me who it is.”
“Isn’t that a risky course to take?” she asked, wanting to remind him of the risks without sounding like she was taking anybody’s side against him. Mo Yuan had been cautioning him against such a step and had been urging him to be patient.
“It is,” he responded, turning to face her. “I could upset the delicate balance of peace the treaty keeps in place. I don’t want to risk destroying that but I will if it’s the only way I can keep you safe.”
“But…” Bai Qian started to protest.
“Think about it though. If the dark magic tribes turn against us that easily, then they’re not really allies to begin with. I can’t ever trust them and Father has never completely trusted them either. He’s always been judicious about what information he shares with them. Maybe it’s better to bring that out into the open now so the resentment within their ranks doesn’t fester further.”
“It could lead to war, couldn’t it?”
Ye Hua sighed again. “It could. That’s what stays my hand in this matter. But we can’t wait around doing nothing for too long either. How long will the current peace really last with the demons plotting against us? Weisheng is always looking for an angle to outsmart and overpower us. I fear his decision to approach you so openly in the Heavens means he has a plan in place to rebel against my father. Otherwise he wouldn’t dare make such a risky move.”
“Have you already made the decision to go to the Demon Realm?” Bai Qian’s heart sank at the thought of him going into enemy territory alone. She tensed as she waited for him to respond.
“Not yet. Mo Yuan knows all the reasons I’m considering it as well as I do and yet he still cautions me against it. And so does Father. I value their opinions and I won’t make a hasty decision without discussing it with them further. As much as I hate it, my actions will affect the whole realm and I can’t ever forget that.” Bai Qian relaxed, relieved by his answer.
“Mo Yuan and I decided to sit down with Father in the morning before we go to Qing Qiu to discuss what our next steps should be,” Ye Hua continued. “Maybe we can come up with an alternate plan.”
“I hope so,” Bai Qian whispered. Even though he was usually so careful to think everything through, she still worried he might do something impulsive out of a desire to protect her.
“The rest of this discussion can wait until tomorrow. Let’s talk about something more pleasant, Qian Qian,” Ye Hua urged her, scooting further onto the mattress and leaning back against two pillows. He pulled her body next to his and she placed her head against his shoulder and wrapped an arm around his chest in an embrace, throwing one of her legs over his thighs without thought. “Did you enjoy your day?”
She nodded and then smiled, snuggling closer to him. “I did. I especially enjoyed watching you spar with Mo Yuan. I don’t think I’ve ever watched you in action with your sword before.”
“It’s a shame we had to cut the fight short. I was about to beat Da Ge, you know.”
Bai Qian grinned. “I don’t know about that. Meixiu insists Mo Yuan was winning.”
Ye Hua scoffed playfully. “Of course she would say that. She’s biased against me.”
“Just like I’m biased for you,” Bai Qian responded with a giggle. Then her expression grew serious and she moved to straddle Ye Hua’s lap, enjoying the way his eyes darkened with intent desire in response to her unusually bold move.
She kissed him, sweeping her tongue against his lips. He opened them, his tongue meeting hers hungrily. She pulled away after a few minutes, a pleasant shiver running through her when he growled his displeasure at the loss of contact. Bai Qian could feel his heart beating rapidly when she placed her palms on his bare chest to steady him and herself.
“I love you, Ye Hua,” she whispered softly. “Will you marry me?”
Bai Qian froze, cringing as the question slipped from her mouth unbidden. What was she doing? That was not the question she had thought to ask him. She said nothing, worried as she waited for his response. Silence descended over them as Ye Hua stared at her in surprise. She moved off his lap and kneeled on the mattress, hands clasped in her lap as she looked down at them.
“I… It’s just… I’m not sure,” Bai Qian stopped. She lifted her eyes to meet his, determined to discuss it now that the subject of marriage had been brought up. “We live like a married couple already and we’ve discussed spending our lives together and having children before. But we’ve never discussed marriage itself. You gave me the jewelry from your mother and said it was meant to be given to your wife. Does that mean we will be getting married one day? Or do we just continue on as we’ve been?”
“I don’t mean to make things awkward between us. I just don’t know how any of this stuff works,” she added quietly.
“You’re not making things awkward,” Ye Hua whispered as he pulled her back onto his lap. He brushed the back of his thumb along her cheek in a comforting gesture. “Never think that. I want you to feel comfortable talking about anything you want to with me.”
“Okay,” she said quietly.
His hand reached for hers and he held it affectionately. “I’m sorry, Qian Qian. I never wanted to leave you feeling uncertain about my intentions for the future. I have wanted to ask you to marry me but I’ve been waiting for the perfect time.” He smiled. “What I should have been doing instead was planning how to create the perfect moment. And now my courageous and beautiful fox has taken the matter into her own hands as she is so adept at doing.”
She smiled shyly back at him. “Isn’t the man supposed to propose? Does it even count as a real proposal if I’m the one who asks? I wonder if it’s against the rules.”
“It counts to me,” Ye Hua responded with seriousness. “And that’s all that matters. There’s nobody here but us and we make our own rules when it comes to our relationship. What the rest of the world thinks is proper doesn’t matter.” He grew silent and watched her expectantly. Bai Qian blushed when she realized he was waiting for her to repeat her earlier question.
“Will you marry me, Ye Hua?” Her voice was soft and shy though joy was zipping through her as she watched the man she loved more than she could ever describe in words.
Warm love filled his eyes as he returned her gaze. “Yes, I’ll marry you, Qian Qian. I can think of nothing I want more than to call you my wife.”
Bai Qian’s fox yipped with happiness and the black dragon’s pleased growl rumbled throughout the room. Ye Hua hastily erected a privacy barrier around the room as Bai Qian leaned toward him and placed her lips on his.
There was a stronger, more urgent need building between them this time when they sealed their decision with another passionate kiss. Their lovemaking that night was both more tender and more intense than it had ever been and Bai Qian was overwhelmed by cresting waves of pleasure when they climaxed together. Afterwards, she clung to Ye Hua, wrapped up in his strong arms, silently begging the fates to always keep him safe until she eventually fell into a dreamless sleep.
⇛ Next part: Ch 48: A Step Back
⇚ Previous part: Ch 46: A Sparring Match
That was gorgeous , I loved it ! Nice twist , well done 🙂 sweet that Bai Qian is not letting things fester , but is just bringing them up herself … and technically, as the monarch of Qing Qai in her own right , she out ranks Ye Hua, who is only Crown Prince . In matters on etiquette, perhaps that is actually more appropriate! Her relationships with the women in her life are meaningful and important too, which is true for most of us. Very happy.
Thank you! I must confess that this chapter turned out very different from my original plan for it.i never expected BQ to be so straightforward and to the point while discussing marriage with YH. But then, I’ve always found BQ to be a character who does what she wants when she wants while I’m writing. It’s best not to argue with her, lol. And, in the end, I think that approach was more appropriate than my original plan.
I agree the relationship between BQ and HM and MX is very important. They provide her with fun and friendship, a woman’s perspective on life and love, and can help guide and support her. There are some things YH can’t possibly understand.