Chapter 9

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Written by Panda & kakashi
Edited by JoAnne

Mo Yuan was indeed very angry. Mainly at himself.

Though steady, he was also quite inebriated - a convenient excuse for several failed attempts to control his emotions. He was not ready to spend time with his gathered friends and disciples, this much was certain.

He went straight to his meditation cave, where he kept spare clothes. After putting away the tattered remnants of his wedding outfit, Mo Yuan chose a simple robe of soft, dark blue fabric. He healed the bites, the scratches, the cuts ... and realized he was completely unscathed otherwise. Actually, he felt rejuvenated. It was unheard of - and presumptuous to even think it - but it looked like his close encounter with this Demon woman had done wonders for his cultivation.

He returned his hair to order but left it down, something he normally reserved for the intimacy of his bed chamber. He did not wash, unable to rid himself of her lingering scent. Let her essence disappear on its own and prolong the time of their goodbye.

He thought of her quivering, exquisite body, her smooth, hot skin against his hands, his face, his lips... her surprisingly soft breasts ... her unchecked desire, her wetness, her pleasure ... he closed his eyes in agony.

Had she not broken the spell by reminding him of who he was, he would not have been able to leave... indeed, he had not wanted to leave. He had even half-turned back, still at the orchard. He could not avoid the truth: he had seen a softer, more vulnerable Demon Queen tonight. As much as he respected and admired her bravery and fierceness, being the one to awaken that secret part of her felt like a gift of the heavens.

Enough.

He sat down on his meditation cushion, forcing himself into a calming breathing pattern.

The unexpected events of this evening would not be repeated, he thought. This could go no farther. He had briefly lost his way today, but no more of that. Tomorrow, he had to deal with the mess of his cancelled wedding, had to offer apologies and re-enter negotiations with the family of the bride. He would have to go see the Heavenly Lord too; he tended to get upset when his plans derailed.

As for Zhe Yan, the meddler - that conversation could wait, but he would have to talk to Dong Hua Dijun before anything else. The Demon Kings had been quiet for years, observing the unrest in the Ghost Realm from the sidelines. That was likely to change with Shao Wan's return. The Heavenly Tribe needed to be prepared for war.

Mo Yuan looked up - someone was at the cave entrance. He had half feared and half expected Si Yin to come, but it was Ye Hua, carrying two bottles of wine. His brother and more alcohol - two things he could really use right now.

***

"Mo Yuan High God," Ye Hua bowed.

He saw that Mo Yuan had changed his clothes: he looked decidedly less tattered than when he had returned to Kunlun, but he did smell rather strongly of peach blossom wine. Ye Hua realized he had never seen his brother with his hair unbound. It made him look much younger. Much more like himself.

Mo Yuan sighed. "I really wish ... you would call me Da-ge."

Ye Hua stiffened. "Mo Yuan High God, are you alright?"

Mo Yuan sounded so weary. Ye Hua had felt his brother's pain earlier, but it had quickly subsided. He had assumed that Mo Yuan was back to normal, but maybe Qian Qian was right? What if Mo Yuan was severely injured and just hid it from them? It was certainly what Ye Hua would do.

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