Emperor Of Blue Flower Mountain - LightNovelsOnl.com
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There was a woman, slender and pale, struggling against two elderly fairies.
"Jia Ying, you mustn't do this!" Doctor Zufu could be heard urging the woman. "Didn't we raise you better? Lady Mei has the right to...instruct her sons however she likes!"
"Lady Mei won't hurt him very seriously anyway," Nurse Zumu added with a helpless look on her face, "so let him take his punishment!"
Rather than replying, the distraught woman continued to struggle. Tears were rolling off her cheeks, pale lips trembling, and a sob escaped her mouth.
Everyone turned to stare at the dramatic scene happening at the entrance. Her anger was temporarily overcome by her curiosity of the newcomer, Mei Hua stopped hitting her son, much to Yan Li's relief.
Ye stepped forward and whispered in Mei Hua's ear, "That's Wei Sheng's mother."
Hearing that, Mei's brow furrowed and she immediately called out to the two fairies, "Doctor, Zumu, let her come over. And you two come as well."
Doctor Zufu and Nurse Zumu looked at each other, shrugged, and let her go. Their release was so abrupt, she stumbled. Before anyone even thought to help her up, she stood and ran over. She ran right up to Yan Li and covered his battered body with her own, as if to s.h.i.+eld him.
"Please don't hurt him, my Lady!"
"If he is guilty, I am too." She looked up at Mei Hua with big watery eyes. "I will take his punishment! Please punish me instead!"
"Yingying," Yan Li spoke in a soft voice. "You shouldn't be here, go home."
Seeing his miserable appearance, Jia Ying gave a strangled sob.
"I won't, I won't go! I'm guilty too!"
Mei Hua couldn't help feeling dumbfounded. Shouldn't this Jia Ying lady be furious at her son? But instead she was defending him!
Ye walked over and pulled Jia Ying off Yan Li. When she started to struggle, he exasperatedly explained, "You can stay, you can stay! Lady Mei won't keep beating him right in front of you. She's not a monster, she'll at least wait until you're not looking."
Mei Hua nodded her head sharply in agreement and then frowned. Eh? Why did it sound like she was a vicious, sneaky abuser in this scenario?
Jin walked over to Mei Hua and stared down at the woman as if trying to remember something.
Finally he gave a slight nod and commented, "Ah, I remember you. Aren't you the child that was rescued with Mei. Hmm..? Didn't the Fairy Doctor and Nurse take you in?"
"My Lord, I am indeed that child. Please forgive me for not greeting you sooner." Jia Ying managed to sound respectful around her sniffling. "All of us in the Palace rejoiced at your Lords.h.i.+p and Lady returning to good health."
Jin stood a little straighter, pleased. At least this girl knew how to respect her better. Waving his hand dismissively, he responded, "When would you have had the time to greet me? Not to worry."
Mei Hua rolled her eyes at his behavior, and turned to the two elderly fairies and asked, "Did you two really adopt a child?"
Doctor Zufu pointed accusingly at Nurse Zumu. "She adopted her, I just kept her healthy."
"Hah!" Nurse Zumu scoffed. "Don't listen to the old grump, Lady Mei. He definitely adopted her too. Though to be honest, all the fairies in the Palace took her in, not just us."
Mei Hua raised an eyebrow and gave Jia Ying a closer look. She'd never heard of Jin's fairies being attached to a regular human child. Even with herself, it had taken a long time for the fairies to warm up to her, and only then because the Emperor himself had ended up liking her. It was quite a remarkable feat this young woman had managed to be accepted by all the Palace fairies.
Jia Ying was pet.i.te, pale skinned, and slender to the point of almost looking frail. Her black eyes were round and innocent, giving her small circular face a gentle appearance. Though they were faded, Mei could faintly see scars peppered on any visible portion of her skin. There was definitely a story there, which she hoped to ask about later. Rather than a stunning beauty, she could be described as adorable and delicate. In a word, she was the complete opposite of Yan Li's bulky rough exterior.
Jia Ying misunderstood Mei Hua's intense staring and took it for a glare. With a look of determination, she used her sleeve to wipe her tears and bowed deeply.
"My Lady, I am more to blame for Yan Li breaking his vow than he is, so please punish me instead."
Mei Hua scratched her cheek and couldn't help feel a little embarra.s.sed. Even if she wanted to, she didn't know how to punish a girl. All she'd ever dealt with were sons— sons that weren't even entirely human. If she treated this girl the same way she did her sons, wouldn't that be cla.s.sified as bullying the weak?
However, this young lady really seemed to want to take the blame for her son. Rather than just deny her outright, it seemed better to figure out why she blamed herself.
"And what, exactly, did you do that I should punish you?"
"I seduced your precious son—"
"Yingying!" "Little Jia!" Both Yan Li and the fairies cried out in surprise at her words.
"—with the intention of getting pregnant—"
"No, no, Yingying, what are you doing?!" Yan Li frantically tried to talk over Jia Ying and at the same time cover her mouth.
Jai Ying bobbed her head and avoided Yan Li's hand, continuing her confession:
"—knowing he wouldn't be my husband and he'd refuse to acknowledge the child."
Mei Hua's mouth fell open at this admission, Jin raised an eyebrow, and Ye sighed and covered his face with a hand. The two other sons, now thoroughly ignored, watched with amused interest. As long as they weren't the ones in trouble, this kind of drama was definitely entertaining to them.
Yan Li pleaded with Mei Hua, "Mother, that's not how it happened—"
"How would you know?" Jia Ying interrupted, a slight glint in her eye. "I've loved you since I was a little girl, but you were too busy training and fighting to notice me. If I waited for you to make the first move, I'd die an old maid!"
Every man and fairy nodded in agreement. Yan Li had been almost obsessively focused on gaining strength and fighting, to the point that other areas in his life suffered. He was blunt and tactless, he missed obvious social cues. It's not as though girls hadn't tried flirting with him, but he never noticed. Or perhaps he just didn't care for their attention.
Up until this exciting reveal, no one was really sure how the two even got together. Jia Ying was tight lipped while Yan Li would only flippantly brag but never give any details. Now they all knew: Jia Ying had made the first move and probably all the moves after. It wouldn't surprise anyone if she'd had to throw herself naked at him, just so he didn't misunderstand.
Seeing everyone's reaction, Yan Li's face fell. This wasn't at all how it happened, but everyone was taking Jia Ying's side of the story. It'd be difficult to convince his Mother otherwise.
Seeing Yan Li looking pitiful and ragged from her wallops, Mei Hua began to feel sorry for him. Any remaining anger dissipated from her heart.
"Alright, alright. So you seduced him and not the other way around." She pursed her lips and tried to look stern. "You say you've loved him since childhood, yet you made him break his vow. And for what? You were so impatient you couldn't even wait?"
Jia Ying's face dropped slightly, a look of guilt clearly visible on her face. She glanced at Jin and Ye before inhaling deeply, as if gathering her courage.
"Honestly speaking, Lady Mei, I wasn't sure when… even if… you'd ever wake up."
Mei Hua paused.
"Are you saying you thought I'd die?"
The air tensed, Jin's eyes narrowing dangerously while Ye just looked terribly disappointed. Jia Ying trembled slightly under both men's stares and shook her head hastily.
"No!… Not die exactly. Would Lord Jin ever allow such a thing? But your body was being kept alive with Jianghu pills and fairy magic. After ten years it seemed very unlikely you'd wake up. Even if you were to wake… I wasn't sure… it'd be in my life time."
"I see." Mei Hua rubbed her chin. "So you thought… if I never woke, Yan Li would never be released from his vow?"
"And that being the case, why wait? You might as well make a go at him and at least have a son before you grew too old and died?"
"Yes, my Lady. Even if I would never get the chance to wear the red dress, to bear his son was my greatest wish."
"Imagine if someone did that to your son. Would you be happy with her? Would you want to welcome her into your family?"
Jia Ying hands tightened into fists.
"No, my Lady."
Mei Hua sighed and muttered under her breath, "Even so, the fault is not all yours…"
She turned to Yan Li and gravely asked, "Son, do you love this woman?"
Yan Li returned her stare with a very serious one of his own.
"When she, ah, 'pushed' herself on you… did you love her then?"
He glanced at Jia Ying. The younger woman was looking at the ground, face tense and lips flattened into a thin line. His lips curved up slightly.
"Mother won't know this, but Jia Ying is actually Doctor Zufu's only disciple. To practice her medicine, she would travel to nearby towns and villages, treating children for free. If she found a child abandoned or starving, she wouldn't leave them to die. She'd bring them back here and take care of them as her own children. Though it's true I trained to be strong, I still came home. Every time I came back… she'd somehow acquired a new child."
"Really?" Mei Hua glanced at Jin in genuine surprise, "You allowed that?"
"This… er… the Fairy Doctor and Nurse wanted them. And their situation was similar to yours when I first met you… It's not like they took up much s.p.a.ce or interfered and I thought… I thought you might like them..." His words petered off near the end and his brow furrowed. "...was I wrong?"
Mei Hua's eyes crescented as she smiled warmly. "You weren't wrong. You did well."
Seeing her expression, Jin was immensely pleased with his decision all those years ago. The Fairy Doctor and Nurse had come to him on Jia Ying's behalf to allow them entrance. At first he'd not been willing, but the Fairy Nurse had argued that if he allowed Mei Hua in when she was an orphan, why not others? And wouldn't his wife be impressed to hear him being so generous when she woke up? He'd thought on this for a while and decided she was right. After checking them to make sure they weren't heavily tainted, he'd allowed them all to stay.
Mei Hua cleared her throat and straightened her face into a more serious expression.
"Children in the Palace…" Mei Hua tilted her head as she continued talking to Yan Li. "I suppose you couldn't help noticing her if a gaggle of children followed her around.."
"Exactly. I couldn't help noticing her…" Yan Li closed his eyes, brows pinched together slightly. "Mother when you did not wake up… the Palace became… cold and lonely. It was empty without you there, filled with silks, jades and luxuries though it was. So—even though I'm ashamed to admit it— I preferred to be out, training and fighting in the mountain as it was much more comfortable. For years, I would only visit the palace when I was required. But then Jia Ying… she and her children… they brought laughter back. And suddenly being home wasn't so bad. She was like… like a light in a dark place for me… I understood then why Father calls you his 'Mountain Flower'. She became like that to me, something beautiful in a desolate place."
He opened his eyes and gave an affection glance at Jia Ying. "So yes, she seduced me, but not in the way she's thinking."
Jia Ying covered her face with her hands and blushed all the way up to her ears. It was clear she'd never heard any of this from Yan Li directly and had been thoroughly taken off guard.
Mei Hua's heart trembled. After being in a coma for nineteen years, of course she knew her sons suffered. Each one in a different way. Jia Ying may have done something selfish, but she also comforted Yan Li when he needed it most.
Reaching out her hand to Jia Ying, she bent down and gently placed it on the severely embarra.s.sed woman's head.
"Thank you." Mei Hua said softly.
"My Lady?" Jia Ying looked up puzzled.
She then straightened up and looked at Jin.
"What about you?"
"Hm? What about me?"
"They're your sons too, don't you have anything to say?" Mei Hua gave him an exasperated look and waved at the sons in question. All three were still sitting in a repentant position with their legs tucked under them and hands on their knees.
Jin blinked and then looked at his sons with a sudden glint of mischief in his eyes.. They slightly s.h.i.+fted their weight under his gaze, suddenly suspecting their Father was up to no good.
"It seems to me…" He said slowly, "That my sons are too pa.s.sive. One doesn't even notice women, the other just gets led around by them, and the last one even let himself get seduced. Isn't the man's job to find, to pursue, to seduce? Now that I think about it, they really aren't taking after me in the areas that matter."
"You—! What are you even— that's not the point of— " She sputtered angrily while smacking him repeatedly. Jin didn't look the slightest bit repentant and even went so far as to sport a slight, amused smile. With one last smack she said "How are those the areas that matter!"
Mei Hua saw her actions weren't having the desired effect and folded her arms over her chest with a helpless sigh.
"Never mind, never mind…" She muttered before turning to the still sitting Yan Li and Jia Ying. "Both of you are adults and should know better. Your actions don't just affect you. You've involved an innocent third party. Or did you think I forgot about my own Grandson?"
"Mother—" "Lady Mei—" They both tried to speak up at the same time, but Mei Hua held up a hand.
"Let me finis.h.!.+ This silly vow my sons made complicated a simple matter. There is only one way to get my forgiveness and treat my Grandson properly." She looked very severe for a split second and then her face loosened and she shrugged her shoulders. "You two just get married already, why don't you? Ye, how fast can we getting a wedding thrown together?"
"A fancy wedding?" Ye grinned broadly.
"Of course it's going to be fancy!"
"Then a week at least." Ye grinned almost maliciously. "Because no matter what she says, I know she secretly made herself a wedding dress and has been building up her dowry all these years by herself."
"How did you--?!" Jia Ying cried out in surprise. She'd been very careful to hide the wedding dress, and her dowry she'd stowed away in various places so it couldn't be identified.
Ye pat his chest confidently, not a trace of shame. "Did you actually think you could be sneakier than me? I learned from the best."
The young woman could only stare at him speechlessly.
Mei Hua laughed at Ye's comment, "Very good! A week from now you two get married and I'll just pretend this whole debacle didn't happen."
"Mother!" Yan Li gave a joyous cry. Standing up, he hugged Mei Hua and lifted her, causing her feet to dangle.
"Lady Mei, I—I— won't disappoint you!" Jia Ying followed a little unsteadily, tears starting to form in her eyes again.
While patting the back of her son, Mei Hua smiled humorously at Jia Ying.
"Who's a Lady? If my own family calls me that, I really am going to be inconsolably angry." Yan Li put Mei Hua down, only to be immediately grabbed by his brothers. They began teasing him mercilessly. With her son preoccupied, Mei Hua turned to the first daughter-in-law of the family.
"O-oh," Jia Ying touched her face, feeling extremely shy. "Sh-should I call Popo Mei Hua?"
"Mother in law?" Mei Hua pursed her lips, looking dissatisfied. "But my sons' wives will be the closest I ever have to daughters… why am I just regulated to being an in-law? That's not fair!"
She grabbed Jia Ying's hands, eyes s.h.i.+ning. "How about you just call me Mother, huh?"
Seeing Mei Hua's pleading expression, Jia Ying blushed again.
"Is that really alright?"
"Of course, of course! Why wouldn't it be? Do you think daughters need to be perfect? My sons certainly aren't but you don't see me disowning them! Besides you're far more qualified to be a member of this family than I ever was… I didn't even know I was marrying the Emperor! I was tricked! I'm just a simple Mountain Monkey in the end you know. But you're a Doctor, raised in a Palace by Fairies! You even take care of a whole bunch of children in your spare time. Educated and virtuous!" Mei Hua paused, eyes wide. "Wait, you're so much better than me! Am I even qualified to be your Mother?"
"My Lady, h-how could you not be qualified? If you aren't qualified, who can be? Even if you say you're a— a— 'Mountain Monkey', aren't you beloved by the Fairy Emperor? Does he love so easily? And his opinion is the only one that matters here. So it would be my honor to call you Mother."
"Hehe." Mei Hua rubbed the bridge of her nose, pleased.
"Do… um… should I call the Lord… Father?" Jia Ying asked hesitantly, glancing at Jin. He'd been hovering just behind his wife through the entire conversation.
"What do you think?"
His voice had been extremely bland, but his expression was not. From the narrowing of his eyes and the slight down turn of his lips it was clear the answer was 'no'.
Jia Ying gulped. "Now that I think it… Doctor Zufu has been my Father figure since I was small. It would be disrespectful of me to call someone else Father when I have had him this whole time…"
"Oh. Is Zumu like your Mother then? If I'm making things awkward for you—"
"No, no, ah! She's always been Auntie Zumu to me, so you're fine."
"I see…that relief… but not for Father… hm…" Mei Hua turned to look at Jin, who's face immediately became pleasantly relaxed. "…you'd be alright with gonggong?"
"Hm? Whether Jia Ying calls me Father-in-law or not, that's up to her."
Mei Hua grinned and turned back to the younger woman. "See? You can just call him Gonggong Jin."
Jin raised an eyebrow and gave a tight, unpleasant smile in Jia Ying's direction while his wife wasn't looking.
"Um…" Jia Ying laughed nervously. "I… I've only ever called him Lord Jin, it would be— er—difficult to change at this point— since he doesn't mind either way— I shall just keep calling him that?"
"Oh well…" Mei Hua looked a little disappointed and then cheered up. "As long as you call me Mother, I guess it's alright."
When Jia Ying saw Jin's expression of approval, she finally started to relax. She was well acquainted with both Lord Jin and Shan Hui's temper and would prefer not to upset either. It was really fortunate that Lady Mei Hua was as friendly as the fairies and Yan Li had said. Otherwise, how could she bear under such a moody and uptight Father-in-Law? Just this conversation was making her sweat enough to fill a lake!