Ch 43: In the Quiet of Morning

Leaves rustled in soft murmurs above Ye Hua and a gentle peach blossom-scented breeze stirred his hair, waking him from a dreamless sleep. He tightened his protective embrace around the warm body sleeping next to him, smiling as images of the night before danced through his mind. Making love to Bai Qian had been perfect; she had been perfect, so full of passion. Every last detail of his first time with her would be engraved in his memory for all eternity.

He had awakened in the early hours of the morning just long enough to shift back into his human form to carry a sleeping Hu Mei back to the bed in the clearing. Ye Hua had fallen asleep with a fox next to him under the covers but it was Bai Qian’s bare human body he held in his arms now, evidence of their new physical intimacy. He couldn’t think of a better way to start the day.

Bai Qian moved with a soft sigh and Ye Hua opened his eyes, thinking she must be awake. She was still sleeping, her face carefree and peaceful in a way it never was when she was awake. He studied her features, memorizing every little detail, wondering if she had done the same all those mornings he had feigned sleep while she watched him. 

His gaze lingered when it moved to her lips. Parted just the slightest bit, they beckoned him with their soft lushness. Desire stirred in Ye Hua as he imagined waking her with a gentle kiss before making love to her again. When he looked away from the temptation, his eyes met Bai Qian’s. She was watching him with a drowsy smile. How long had she been awake? And how long had he been distracted by thoughts of kissing her? 

“Good morning,” she whispered, breaking the silence, a faint blush appearing on her face as Ye Hua pressed his lips to her brow in a light kiss.

“Good morning,” he responded, laying his head close to hers on the pillow they shared. “Did you sleep well?”

She nodded. “More than well. I don’t think I’ve ever slept so soundly.”

Ye Hua couldn’t stop the pleased grin that crossed his face. He inched closer to her. Interest sparked in Bai Qian’s eyes before she kissed his lips, placing her hand on his shoulder. Her hand moved to his chest, caressing the skin there with her arousing fingers before trailing them lower. Ye Hua covered her hand with his, savoring the pleasure her touch gave him.     

“You promised I could explore,” Bai Qian reminded him, the pink coloring her cheeks growing darker. She thought he was trying to stop her which couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Yes,” Ye Hua responded, his voice hoarse.  

He turned onto his back and moved Bai Qian’s hand even lower on his body before releasing it, encouraging her to keep going.  Closing his eyes, Ye Hua fought to maintain his control as first Bai Qian’s curious hands and then her lips learned his body as thoroughly as he had learned hers the night before. He could remain still and passive for only so long and soon Ye Hua was doing some exploring of his own, reacquainting himself with all her lovely slender curves and the flavors of her skin and sweet essence. He loved everything about her and would never get his fill.

Bai Qian’s shyness revealed itself once again when her hand wrapped around Ye Hua’s swollen length. Once again, Ye Hua placed his hand over hers, teaching her the pressure and rhythm he enjoyed the most before releasing his grip to slide two fingers in between her slick folds. His thumb found her taut nub and began to rub it in firm circles. 

Soon they were both panting with aroused pleasure and impending climax. When he could control himself no longer, Ye Hua nudged her hand away mid stroke and reversed their positions on the bed until he was hovering above her. He moved his aching erection in between her folds before pushing himself into her slick heat with a deep groan. Bai Qian gasped and moved her hips against his. His eyes locked with hers. They were hazy with need. He refused to release her gaze as her core clenched around his length in stimulating waves.

Mindful of their frenzied race to the end the night before, Ye Hua thrust himself into her with a steady rhythm this time, allowing their pleasure to build to a slow and intense crescendo. He growled low in his throat as she whimpered and tried to hurry his pace. He would not be rushed. Not this time. 

“Ye Hua.” Bai Qian’s voice was a plea he could not ignore. Ye Hua increased the force of each of his thrusts but he continued rocking into her steadily. Her nails dug into the skin of his shoulders where she clung to him and she bent her knees in order to meet his movements more strongly.

Her eyes snapped closed, finally breaking the connection of their gazes, and she arched up into him, climaxing with a loud cry. Ye Hua followed Bai Qian over; the tight grip of her muscles pushed him over the edge. Pleasure shot through him in intense waves. He emptied his seed into Bai Qian with a shuddering growl and two strong jerks of his hips.      

Neither of them spoke right away as Ye Hua held Bai Qian close to him, his embrace both tender and protective. He wanted to spirit her away to somewhere secluded where they could have nothing but peaceful days together followed by passionate nights. A private place where they could spend an eternity worrying about nothing more serious than whose turn it was to fix the next meal. Mostly his, Ye Hua thought with amusement, for Bai Qian had proven to be a little lost when it came to the kitchen the few times she had tried to help him cook.

His amusement faded with a sigh. A quiet life in a secluded home was not a luxury available to them no matter how tempting it may be. Ye Hua had responsibilities he could not run away from and Bai Qian had a life she was waiting to reclaim as her own. The sooner they dealt with the current threats to Bai Qian, the sooner they could start to build their future life together in earnest. 

“I guess we should be heading back soon,” Bai Qian said softly. There was regret in her tone and Ye Hua wondered if she had been thinking something similar to his own thoughts. “Your brother will be wondering where we are if he finds out we’re not on Kunlun Mountain.”

Probably not, Ye Hua mused to himself with a small smile Bai Qian didn’t notice. Mo Yuan had known they were no longer on Kunlun the moment they had left and he likely had a general idea where they were and what they had been doing. But Ye Hua didn’t tell Bai Qian that. She had already been embarrassed enough after having been caught sneaking to his room. Ye Hua didn’t want to embarrass her any further.

“I can make some breakfast first,” Ye Hua said before kissing Bai Qian’s lips. “Mo Yuan isn’t expecting to get started with your training at any set time this morning so there’s time for us to eat something. Are you hungry?”

Bai Qian nodded and sat up, the covers falling away to reveal her torso and breasts. Then she stood up and lifted her arms over her head. Ye Hua admired the view as she stretched with a contented sigh before he followed her out of bed. He put his pajama pants on before helping her pull her nightgown and robe on. He then tied the robe closed for her, finding joy in sharing something as simple as getting dressed with her. 

After sending the bed back to his chamber in Kunlun Temple with a wave of magic, Ye Hua took Bai Qian’s hand, intertwining his fingers with hers, to lead her to the cabin. The ancient trees parted their branches for them as they left the grove, their leaves rustling a fond goodbye behind him and Bai Qian as they walked through the peach trees hand in hand.


Bai Qian and Ye Hua had taken a quick swim together in the lake by the cabin to wash up before getting dressed for the day. Now Bai Qian sat on her favorite rock, bare feet dangling into the cool tranquil water as she waited for Ye Hua to prepare their breakfast. His magic surrounded the area, forming a barrier to protect her, a reminder that this quiet morning with Ye Hua was but a brief respite from the danger she was still facing.

She should be famished after last night but Bai Qian wasn’t sure she wanted to eat. Her training on Kunlun would begin today and she was anxious, wondering whether she would be able to learn what she needed to. 

“One step at a time,” she murmured out loud before sighing. 

Then a new unrelated thought popped into her mind from out of nowhere, one that made her just as nervous but in a different way. Now that the idea was there she couldn’t let go of it. Could she be…? No. Surely not. Was that even how it happened? Would she know right away if it was? And how would she know? 

Her mother had never had the chance to explain pregnancy to her. All Bai Qian knew about it was from the gossip she had overheard as a child about pregnant women; most were married but some were not.  I need to ask Ye Hua. Did she dare bring it up with him? He would know the answers, wouldn’t he?

Lost in her thoughts, the sound of Ye Hua’s footsteps behind her startled Bai Qian. She smiled weakly in response to his questioning look, thanking him when he handed her a bowl of congee topped with sauteed goji berries and peach slices. He joined her on the large rock, dipping his feet into the water next to hers.  

“I know it’s not much but the kitchen is kind of bare this morning.”

“This is fine,” Bai Qian responded, distracted. “It looks good.” She stirred her spoon around but didn’t start eating. Should she ask him now? Or maybe it would be better to wait until after they had finished.

Ye Hua took a bite of his congee. “I’ve never made congee this way before but it doesn’t taste too bad.” He glanced her way. “I thought you were hungry.”

“I am… or I was. I just… I’ll eat in a minute.” Bai Qian set her bowl aside and turned to face him, determined to get some answers. “Could I be pregnant?”

Her eyes widened when Ye Hua choked on his food and then started coughing. “Are you okay?” she asked, worried he couldn’t seem to catch his breath. She rubbed his broad shoulders and patted his back, hoping it would help in some way. When it didn’t, she summoned a cup of water from the cabin and handed it to him. He gulped it down.

“Thanks,” Ye Hua wheezed. He took another large gulp of water after Bai Qian refilled the cup for him. She rubbed his shoulders again. “I’m okay,” he croaked, clearing his throat and finishing off the rest of the water. 

“Sorry,” she said, feeling bad that she had obviously surprised him with her question. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Yes. I’m okay.” His eyes were still red and watering but his voice sounded stronger and Bai Qian relaxed, letting her hand drop from his shoulders. “I just wasn’t expecting you to ask that particular question. Not now anyway.”

“It’s just that Mother never explained having babies to me. I overheard rumors when I was a girl but she always told me it was a conversation for when I was older. But then the idea occurred to me this morning.” Her face heated with embarrassment but she continued on. “Is… what we did last night and this morning… when we were, um, joined together… is that how women become pregnant?” Her face felt hotter than ever and she wanted to look away from Ye Hua but she didn’t.  

He smiled, his expression understanding and free of judgement, as he reached for one of her hands. “I’m glad you asked.”

“You are?” His words surprised her after the way he had reacted earlier to her question.

“Yes. This is something we probably should have discussed before making love but it never occurred to me.”

Making love. So that’s what it was called. Bai Qian was relieved to finally have a name for it without having to ask. She had asked enough awkward questions for the day. She turned her attention back to Ye Hua for his explanation, grateful he seemed willing to explain and unembarrassed by the topic.

“The answer to your second question is yes. What we did last night and this morning is how women become pregnant.” Bai Qian listened with rapt attention, fascinated by his brief overview about how babies were made. It all made a strange kind of sense once he was finished explaining.

“As for your first question,” Ye Hua continued, “the answer is no. You are not pregnant. I don’t know how fox fertility works but dragons can control their fertility with their cultivation. My seed was not fertile last night or this morning. So this isn’t something you need to worry about.” He paused, his voice growing hesitant when he spoke again. “Do you want to have children, Qian Qian?”

Bai Qian didn’t immediately answer though her fox perked up at the idea, giving Bai Qian a yip of encouragement. Given the course of her life up until meeting Ye Hua, Bai Qian had never even thought about whether she wanted children before. It hadn’t been possible so she had never even asked herself the question. But her situation had changed. Did she want children? Imagining herself starting a family with Ye Hua brought warmth to her heart and a shy smile to her lips. With his patient and understanding nature, she had no doubt Ye Hua would be a great father. 

“Yes,” she said after a few minutes. “I would like for us to have children. Not right now but one day I would like to be a mother. What about you? Do you want children?”

“Yes,” Ye Hua answered without hesitation, a blend of heat and affection entering his eyes as he faced her. “I look forward to being a father. But only when you’re ready.” He leaned toward her and her lips met his halfway in a short but passion filled kiss, a kiss that was filled with promises for the future.

Bai Qian’s appetite was much improved after their conversation and she made short work of the delicious congee Ye Hua had made for them. One of these days, she would learn to cook as well as he did so she could also make meals for him and their family. 

“Are you ready to leave for Kunlun now?” Ye Hua asked after she had finished washing and drying their breakfast dishes, a chore Bai Qian insisted on doing whenever he cooked.

“I think so.” The bolt of nerves she had thought settled struck Bai Qian again when she heard the word Kunlun.

“Are you still worried about training with Mo Yuan?”

“A little.” She looked down at her hands. “While he’s not nearly as intimidating as I expected him to be, he’s still War God. And I still feel unqualified to learn from him.” She had meant what she had told Ye Hua the other day; she didn’t even know the proper way to hold a weapon, much less the basics of using one.

“Do you have your brother’s dagger?” Ye Hua asked. “It won’t hurt to take a few more minutes before we go.”

Confused, Bai Qian nodded and pulled it out of the hidden pocket of her dress. She handed it to Ye Hua, who unsheathed it and handed it back to her, hilt first. 

“Show me how you would hold it,” he encouraged her. “I can teach you the proper way to grip a dagger.”

She did, holding it tightly in her hand. Ye Hua obviously remembered what she had said. 

“You almost always use a dagger with one hand so you want your palm placed in the middle of the hilt for better control of the blade,” Ye Hua explained patiently, positioning her hand properly. “You don’t want to hold it too tightly or your fingers may fatigue or cramp. The hilt should feel comfortable in your hand.” Bai Qian loosened her hold. “But don’t loosen your grip too much. Whether you’re sparring or facing an enemy in battle, one of your opponent’s main objectives is to disarm you. One of your goals is to prevent that from happening so your grip should stay firm.”

Bai Qian adjusted her grip again. “That’s it,” Ye Hua told her after checking. “With practice the correct grip will come instinctively and the dagger will start to feel like an extension of your arm.” He stepped behind her and placed his hand on her hips to help adjust her stance. “Stand like this.” 

The heat from Ye Hua’s chest warmed Bai Qian’s back through the thin fabric of her dress as he moved closer. He reached his arm along hers and then placed his hand on top of hers lightly, wrapping his fingers over hers on the hilt of the dagger. Her heart started pounding as memories of their lovemaking the night before flashed through her mind. She now understood better why Ye Hua wasn’t the best person to teach her to defend herself. And his close proximity was more distracting than ever after their night together.

“Now move your arm this way as you step forward,” he said, guiding her through a sweeping motion followed by a quick stab. As their arms moved in sync, Ye Hua’s pelvis and stomach rubbed against Bai Qian. Heat flashed through her. He stepped back and Bai Qian released a pent up breath as he put distance between them. 

“Repeat the motion slowly,” Ye Hua told her, his voice gruffer than it had been just minutes before. It was the only indication she could find that he was just as affected by their closeness as she was. “This is a basic move that can get you out of a tight spot.” 

Bai Qian forced herself to concentrate on what she was doing. Ye Hua studied her form closely, stepping in to make an adjustment to her shoulders before moving away again.

“Show me again,” he said, “only move a little more quickly this time.” 

She did and he smiled. “Very good. As you practice, keep increasing your speed. Daggers are ideal weapons to have in close quarters. You don’t need a lot of room to maneuver with one but you also have to be close to your opponent to make a hit. They leave you more exposed to attacks from your opponent which can be a problem. The key is to move in quickly and then step back out of harm’s way quickly if you can. If you can’t, there are other evasive moves you can make to avoid a counter strike. I can show you another day when we have more time. Or Mo Yuan can teach them to you.” 

Bai Qian nodded as she listened, repeating the move a few times before lowering her hand. She secured the dagger when Ye Hua handed her the sheathe. “Thank you, Ye Hua.” 

“Daggers are great secondary weapons to keep hidden on your person. If an opponent traps you in a tight spot where it becomes difficult to maneuver with your sword, you can reach for the dagger and use it to catch your opponent off guard. If the strike is effective, not only can you injure your opponent you can also use it to make him back off so you can get out into the open again.”       

“Thank you,” she repeated, reaching for his hand. “I feel a little better about going to Kunlun now.” She appreciated him taking the extra time to help her build up some of her confidence.

“Are you sure?” He gave her fingers a reassuring squeeze. 

“Yes.” She stood on her tiptoes to kiss his cheek. “I’m ready. I really am.”

Ye Hua’s cultivation wrapped around her as he jumped them to Kunlun Mountain for her first day of training.

⇛ Next part: Ch 44: A Mindful Breath

⇚ Previous part: Ch 42: The Darkest of Spells

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